What’s in a Name?


When we are born we are given a name.  I know from experience that parents tend to put a lot of care into naming their children. Sometimes the name is a family name, or sometimes the parent likes the meaning of the name, or sometimes parents have thought of what the name would sound like when their child becomes an adult. Whatever the reason you are named it becomes your name, yet we do not become our name until we are older.

I have many memories of being a teacher where I would associate a name with a student in my mind and even to this day based on the behavior of the student; I still hear their names and smile, because their 5th grade student image pops into my head.

Do you have anyone that has ‘become’ their name, and every time you think of their name you think of them?

I have been thinking a lot about names lately, specifically names from the Bible.  It is not just the name that has me thinking but it is the people whose names were changed when major life events happen. Some for example include:

  • Abram changed to Abraham when he was to be the father of many generations. (Genesis 17:5)
  • Sarai became Sarah when she was to become the mother of many generations. (Genesis 17:15)
  • Jacob switched to Israel after wrestling with God and changed from a deceiver to a man who will prevail. (Genesis 32:28)
  • Saul during his conversion was changed to Paul. He was filled with the Holy Spirit and set his eyes on Jesus (Acts 13:9)

In fact if you want to geek out with me for a moment I created a list from my research of the names changed in the Bible (see below):

Abram Renamed Abraham God Genesis 17:5
Azariah Renamed Abednego Ashpenaz Daniel 1:7
Barnabas Also Known As Joseph The Apostles Acts 4:36-37
Barsabbas Also Known As Judas Acts 15:22
Bartholomew Believed to be Nathanael
Ben-Oni Also Known As Benjamin His Father Jacob Genesis 35:18
Boanerges Also Known As James and John Jesus Mark 3:17
Cephas (or Peter) Also Known As Simon John 1:42
Daniel Renamed Belteshazzar Ashpenaz Daniel 1:7
Daniel Also Known As Kileab 1 Chron. 3:1
Didymus Also Known As Thomas John 11:16
Dorcas Also Known As Tabitha Acts 9:36
Edom Also Known As Esau Genesis 25:30
Eliakim Renamed Jehoiakim Pharoah Neco 2 Kings 23:34
Esther Also Known As Hadassah Persian – Hebrew Esther 2:7
Gideon Renamed Jerb-Baal The men of Ophrah Judges 6:32
Hananiah Renamed Shadrach Ashpenaz Daniel 1:7
Hoshea Renamed Joshua Moses Numbers 13:16
Jacob Renamed Israel God Genesis 32:28
Jedediah Also Known As Solomon God 2 Sam 12:24-25
Jethro Also Known As Reuel Exodus 3:1
John Also Known As Mark Acts 15:37
Joseph Renamed Zaphenath-Paneah Pharoah Genesis 41:45
Levi Also Known As Matthew Hebrew – Greek Matthew 9:9
Lo-Ammi Renamed Ammi God Hosea 2:23
Lo-Ruhamah Renamed Ruhamah God Hosea 2:23
Mattaniah Renamed Zedekiah Nebuchadnezzar 2 King 24:17
Merub-Baal Also Known As Mephibosheth 2 Sam 19:12
Mishael Renamed Meshach Ashpenaz Daniel 1:7
Naomi Renamed Mara Herself Ruth 1:20
Paul Also Known As Saul Latin – Hebrew Acts 13:9
Sarai Renamed Sarah God Genesis 17:15
Silas Also Known As Silvanus 1 Peter 5:12



As I have been thinking and processing these name changes in the Bible, some to be have stuck out more then others – the ones what come with a big event.

In my own life I have had THREE MAJOR name changes:

  1. On July 24th 2010 I got to marry my BEST FRIEND! I was honored and excited to take his last name. I went from Marissa Brown to Marissa Rice. Yes, those of you who are quick in your humor may see that hyphening my last name would have been pretty funny (Mrs. Brown-Rice) but that was not the reason I wanted to take my husbands name. I was excited to enter into a convent promise and union with Him, and to represent that with a name change. I am an adored, beloved and cherished WIFE.

  1. The second MAJOR name change I got to experience was when I became a: MOM! The name of Mom, Mommy, Mother, is a honored and joyful name change! When I think of all the things I have been called in the past Mom is near the TOP! I am a MOTHER to five of the most beautiful creations I have ever seen (I know I am biased).

  1. My last name change tops them all, and I know that is hard to believe that there is something better then wife and mother. I am a chosen Child of God, I am a Christian, and I have submitted my life and am following Him. My new name is written in the Lambs Book of Life and I will never be the same!

What is in a name? Everything!

What is your name?

Published by RaisingRices

Raising Households that Serve the Lord! Our goal is that through family focused intentionality, legacy minded thinking, and being rooted in Christ, that we would lead our family to serve the LORD! Joshua 24:15

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