Names of God

Many of us have heard the phrase “names of God”. I have even heard of Bible Studies looking at that long list of names for God found in scripture. Someone compiled that list by going through the Bible and finding every single name someone either gave to God or used to address God. One such list can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_God_in_Christianity. Some of these lists go beyond just the name and look at the name’s meaning. One day as I was thinking about this, I realized something that none of these lists talked about: I also have had a lot of names throughout my life. The same goes for everyone in my family, and everyone I have ever met. What do all these names mean?

Some of God’s Names

From the All Saints Church in Nykoping, Sweden. Photo by Ulf Carlbark

In the Judeo-Christian world alone, there are many, many names of God as shown in the scriptures. Some examples are:

  • “Elohim”, “Adonai”, “LORD”,
  • “YHWH” (aka the “Tetragrammaton”),
  • “El Shaddai”, “El Elyon”, “El Olam, “El Qanna”,
  • “The One Who Lives and Sees Me”,
  • “Jehovah”, “Jehovah Jirah”, “Jehova Rapha”, “Jehovah Nissi”, “Jehovah Mekoddishkem”, “Jehovah Shalom”, “Jehovah Sabaoth”, “Jehovah Raah”, “Jehovah Raah”, “Jehovah Tsidkenu”, Jehovah Shammah,
  • “Abba”, “Father”,
  • and others!

In the Muslim world, God is often known as “Allah”. However, there are apparently 99 Names of God in the Quran, and here are some of them (transliterated):

From the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Photo by Adam Kliczek
  • “ar-Rahman”, “ar-Rahim”,
  • “al-Malik”, “al-Quddus”,
  • “As-Salam”,
  • “al-Mu`min”, “al-Muhaymin”, “al-Aziz”, “al-Jabbar”, Al-Mutakabbir”,
  • “al-Khaliq”, “al-Bari”, “al-Musawwir”, “al-Ghaffar”, “al-Qahhar”, “al-Wahhab”,
  • “ar-Razzaq”, “al-Fattah”, “al-Alim”, “al-Qaabidh”
  • and 79 others!

In reading the works of Indigenous Americans I see they referred to God as “Great Spirit”, or “Grandfather”. The Sikh refer to God as “Waheguru”, “Akal Purakh” or “Ik Onkar”. There are many names for God in other religions/cultures! To gather all of them could be a life-long project! Let’s admit that some of those above are not “names”, but “titles”. However, they are still valid for this discussion because they are used to address God. In many other cases, something special was going on between the person who had that name for God, and God. Those were personal names, not just formal titles or forms of address. These had a deep personal meaning for that person.

What About You?

Before we continue, I would ask you now, to make a list of all the names, nicknames and titles that people use to address you. Use the list below if it helps.

  • your first name,
  • your last name,
  • “Mr.”, “Mrs”, “Miss” or “Master” and either your first, last or both names,
  • what your boss calls you if it’s different,
  • school nicknames,
  • what Mom, Dad, Grandad, or Grandma called you as a young child,
  • Titles earned at work, in the military, or at school,
  • what your wife/husband calls you.

Done? No? I can wait.

Done? Nice! Notice how many names/titles you have, and how they vary. Some are very formal, some are very intimate and many are between those. Some were used by only one person and other people may or may not have even known that nickname.

So, What is This About?

God has a lot, a lot of names, nicknames and titles because He has a relationship with so many people all over the world and all throughout time!

My big question for you is: Do you have a personal nickname for God? If not yet, no worries. Think on it, how would you enjoy greeting the Creator? I recommend coming up with a nickname that creates some warmth inside you that you can feel!

Please comment and/or respond to what you heard inside of you as you read this! Let’s share!

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