What are the Names of God?

Question
What are the names of God?
Answer

We should begin by noting that there are a number of instances where no name of God is employed, but simply where some derivative of "the name of the Lord" is referenced. A few of these are:

  • (1) Abraham called on "the name of the LORD" (Gen 12:8; 13:4).

  • (2) Calling on "the name of the Lord" is to worship him as God (Gen 21:33; cf. Gen 26:25).

  • (3) The Lord proclaimed "his name" before Moses (Exod 33:19; 34:5).

  • (4) "The name of the Lord your God" was not to be used in vain (Exod 20:7; Deut 5:11).

  • (5) Israel was warned against profaning the "holy name" (Lev 22:2, 32).

  • (6) The Levities were to minister in "the Lord's name" (Deut 18:5; 21:5).

Such phrases refer to God's nature and character. They are summary statements embodying the person of God. See "What are the Attributes of God?" below.

When we turn to the New Covenant we discover something closely related. The name Jesus is used in a similar way to the name of God in the Old Covenant:

  • (1) Salvation is in only in "his name" (John 1:12; cf. Acts 4:12; 10:43).

  • (2) Christians are to gather in "his name" (Matt 18:20).

  • (3) Believers are to be baptized in "the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt 28:19)..

  • (4) Prayer is to be made in 'his name' (John 14:13-14).

  • (5) Teaching is to be made in "his name" (Acts 5:28).

  • (6) There is suffering for "his name" (Acts 5:41; 19:17).

So, just as "the name" of God in the Old Covenant spoke of the holy character and nature of God the Father, so "the name" of Jesus in the New Covenant speaks of same of the only begotten of the Father - Jesus Christ (John 3:16; cf. John 20:31; 1 John 4:9). So, even without discussing a specific name, but rather some titles, there is a lot to be learned even here.

However, as unique as this is we still need a firm and clearer picture of God's name. God did not leave us without a fuller picture of his divinity, holiness, and nature. While we do not know everything concerning God and his name we do know something more than just that he has "a name."

Please note that the verses below are just representative and are not a complete list of every verse for every name:

The Names of God

(1) Elohim (Hebrew): The plural form of Eloah, which is closely related to El, meaning "strong one." It is a plural of majesty. It is used of God's sovereignty, creative work, and mighty work (Isa. 54:5; Jer. 32:27; Gen. 1:1; Isa. 45:18; Deut. 5:23; 8:15; Psa. 68:7).

Compounds of "El":

  • El Echad: meaning, "The One God" (Mal 2:10).

  • El Hanne'eman: meaning, "The Faithful God" (Deut 7:9).

  • El Emet: meaning "The God of Truth" (Psa 31:5).

  • El Tsaddik: meaning, "The Righteous God" (Isa 45:21).

  • El Shaddai: meaning, "God Almighty" or "All Sufficient God" (Gen 17:1; 28:3; 35:11; Exod 6:1; Psa 91:1, 2).

  • El Elyon: meaning, "The Most High God" (Gen 14:19; Psa 9:2; Dan 7:18, 22, 25).

  • El Olam: meaning, "The Everlasting God" (Gen 21:33; Psa 90:1-3).

  • El Roi: meaning, "The God Who Sees Me" (Gen 16:13)

  • El Yeshurun: meaning, "The God of Jeshurun" (Deut 32:15; 33:5, 26; Isa 44:2).

  • El Gibhor: meaning, "The Mighty God" (Isa 9:6).

  • El De 'ot: meaning, "The God of Knowledge" (1 Sam 2:3).

  • El Haggadol: meaning, "The Great God" (Deut 10:17).

  • El Hakkavod: meaning, "The God of Glory" (Psa 29:3).

  • El Hakkadosh: meaning, "The Holy God" (Isa 5:16).

  • El Hashamayim: meaning, "The God of the Heavens" (Psa 136:26).

  • El Chaiyai: meaning, "The God of My Life" (Psa 42:8).

  • El Channun: meaning, "The Gracious God" (Jonah 4:2).

  • El Yisrael: meaning, "The God of Israel" (Psa 68:35).

  • El Sali: meaning, "The God of My Strength" (Psa 42:9).

  • El Erekh Apayim avi ha-tanchumim: meaning, "The God of Patience and Consolation" (Rom 15:5; i.e. Isa 57:18).

  • El Rachum: meaning, "The God of Compassion" (Deut 4:31).

  • El Yeshuati: meaning, "The God of My Salvation" (Isa 12:2).

  • El Yeshuatenu: meaning, "The God of Our Salvation" (Psa 68:19).

  • El-Kanno: meaning, "The Jealous God" (Exod 20:5; 34:14; Num 5:14, 30).

  • Immanuel: meaning, "God With Us" (Isa 7:14).

  • El Hannora: meaning, "The Awesome God" (Neh 9:32).

(2) Eloah (Hebrew): meaning "God" (Deut 32:15; Psa 18:31; 50:22; 114:7).

Compounds of "Eloah":

  • Eloah Ya'akov: meaning "The God of Jacob" (Psa 114:7).

  • Eloah Selichot: meaing "The God of Forgiveness" (Neh 9:17).

(3) Yahweh or YHWH (Hebrew): meaning "To Exist or "To be" (Gen 4:3; Exod. 3:14; 6:3).

Compounds of "Yahweh":

  • Yahweh Jireh (Yireh): meaning, "The Lord will provide" (Gen 22:14).

  • Yahweh Nissi: meaning, "The Lord is my Banner" (Exod 17:15).

  • Yahweh Shalom: meaning, "The Lord is Peace" (Judges 6:24).

  • Yahweh Sabbaoth: meaning, "The Lord of Hosts" (1 Sam 1:3; 17:45).

  • Yahweh Maccaddeshcem: meaning, "The Lord your Sanctifier" (Exod 31:13).

  • Yahweh Ro'i: meaning, "The Lord My Shepherd" (Psa 23:1).

  • Yahweh Tsidkenu: meaning, "The Lord Our Righteousness" (Jer 23:6).

  • Yahweh Shammah: meaning, "The Lord Is There" (Ezek 48:35).

  • Yahweh Elohi Israel: meaning, "The Lord, the God of Israel" (Judges 5:3.; Isa. 17:6).

(4) Adonai (Hebrew): meaning "Master" or "Owner" (Gen 18:2; 40:1; 1 Sam 1:15; Exod 21:1-6; Josh 5:14).

(5) Theos (Greek): meaning "God" (Matt 23:9; Rom 3:30; 1 Tim. 1:17; John 17:3; Rev 15:4; 16:7).

(6) Kurios (Greek): meaning "Lord." It may also mean "sir" (John 4:11), "owner" (Luke 19:33), "master" (Col. 3:22), idols (1 Cor. 8:5), or husbands (1 Pet 3:6), but it is used mostly as the equivalent of Yahweh. In some contexts, it refers to Christ meaning rabbi or sir (Matt 8:6) or God (John 20:28; Acts 2:36; Rom 10:9; Phil 2:11).

(7) Despotes (Greek): meaning "Master." Carries the idea of ownership while Kurios (#6 above) stresses supreme authority (Luke 2:29; Acts 4:24; Rev 6:10; 2 Pet 2:1; Jude 1:4).

(8) Pater (Greek): meaning "Father" and stressing such things as God's loving care, provision, and discipline. It is also the way we are to address God the Father in prayer (Matt 7:11; Jas. 1:17; Heb. 12:5-11; John 15:16; 16:23; Eph 2:18; 3:15; 1 Thess 3:11).

(9) Hagios Pneuma (Greek): meaning "Holy Spirit." Pneuma means "Spirit, " "wind," or "breath" (Matt 1:18, 20; 3:11, 16; 4:1; John 1:33; 3:6, 8; 4:23-24; 15:26, etc.). In Hebrew we see the Spirit referred to as Ruah (Gen 1:2). The word essentially means to "flutter" or "fly." The same word is used in Deuteronomy 32:11 to describe an eagle stirring up the nest, fluttering over its young; its creation.

He (not it) is known by many other names or titles in Scripture as well. Among them are: (1) Spirit of God, the Lord, and Christ (Matt 3:16; 2 Cor 3:17; 1 Pet 1:11), (2) Comforter, Counselor, and Advocate (John 14:16; 15:26; 16:7; cf. Isa 11:2), (3) Revealer and Spirit of Truth (John 14:17; 16:13; 1 Cor 2:12-16), (4) Teacher (John 14:26; 1 Cor 2:13), (5) Convicter of Sin (John 16:7-11), (6) Guide (John 16:13), (7) Seal, Deposit, or Ernest (2 Cor 1:22; 5:5; Eph 1:13-14), (8) Spirit of Life (Rom 8:2), (9) Indweller (Rom 8:9-11; Eph 2:21-22; 1 Cor 6:19), (10) Teacher (Rom 8:16; Heb 2:4; 10:15), (11) Intercessor (Rom 8:26), and (12) Author of Scripture (2 Pet 1:21; 2 Tim 3:16).

As one can clearly see, God has many names and each is important! They are all distinctive. They each provide us with a glimpse of divinity. They assist us in painting the glory of God on his canvas. Praise his name! "Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven" (Psa 148:13; see Job 5:9; 9:10; 11:7; Psa 18:3; 48:1; 86:10; 95:3; 96:4; 135:5; 145:3; 147:5; 148:1-14; 150:2; Jer 32:18; Rom 11:33).

Related Links:

What are the Attributes of God?

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).