God is referred to by a number of names in the Bible - not just a single name. In fact, one of the ways God reveals Himself to us in scripture is through His names. And, each of these names has great significance. Each of God's names tells us something important about God, His character, and how He relates to us.
Let’s look at the more frequently used and significant names for God in the Bible along with commentary for each name by Pastor Adrian Rogers.
Have you ever thought about God as a daddy?
Galatians 4:6 says, "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."
"Abba" is the Aramaic word meaning "Daddy" or "Father." It's a term of warm affection, intimacy, and respect for one's father. For some of you, that may sound like an irreverent way to address God, but Jesus called God, "Our Father," in Matthew 6:9 and He gave us that same right.
In America, children call their fathers, daddy. But in the Middle East, they say Abba. Jesus says that we can call the great God of the Universe, Abba Father. Daddy Father.
Related Scripture: Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6
The noted historian, H. G. Wells, made a list of the ten greatest men of history and number one on that list was Jesus Christ. But, Jesus doesn't belong on that list. He doesn't belong on anybody's list. He is Jesus the First and the Last.
Jesus said in Revelation, "I am Alpha and Omega." Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet. Omega is the last. If Jesus was speaking to an English audience, He would say, "I am A and Z."
Did you know that the Bible is made up of just twenty-six letters? What Jesus is saying about the written word is true about the living Word. John 1 tells us that "In the beginning was the Word…and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." Jesus was in the beginning as the Word of God. And He is God's final word for all eternity.
Related Scripture: Revelation 1:8, 1:11, 21:6, 22:13
What do you think about when you hear this name for God - "Ancient of Days"?
Isaiah 46:9-10 says,
"Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure."
Only God can tell in ancient times the things that are not yet done. Thomas Watson, who was the chairman of IBM, said in 1943, that there's a world market for maybe five computers. In 1977 Ken Olsen, the founder of Digital Equipment, said, "There's no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." It's comments like these that help us see how foolish we are to think we can know the future. Only God is the Ancient of Days.
Related Scripture: Daniel 7:9, 13, 14
1 John 4:2 says, "Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God."
John uses two names, Jesus, which refers to His human name, and Christ, which refers to His divine title. Jesus Christ is fully man and fully Messiah at the same time. Christ, which means Messiah, the Anointed One is His divine title. Jesus is God in human flesh. This is the fundamental doctrine of our faith - that God stepped out of heaven and took upon human flesh. We call that the incarnation. Carnis means flesh.
When Jesus Christ took upon Himself humanity, He did not take it while He was here on earth and then laid it aside when He went back to heaven. He took His humanity back to heaven with Him. For all eternity Jesus Christ will be a man.
Related Scripture: Matthew 1:16, 16:16-20; Mark 8:29; Luke 2:11, 9:20; John 1:41, 4:42, 6:69, 7:41-42, 11:27, 17:3, 20:31; Acts 2:36, 3:18, 5:42, 8:37, Romans 5:8, 5:15, 6:4, 6:23, 8:1, 8:39, 10:17; 1 Corinthians 1:30, 11:3, 12:12; 2 Corinthians 2:14-15, 5:17-20, 8:9, 12:9-10; Galatians 2:20-21, 6:14; Ephesians 1:5, 2:5-7, 4:15; Philippians 1:6, 1:21, 2:5-11, 3:7-9, 3:20, 4:19, Colossians 3:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; 1 Timothy 1:15-16, 2:5; Hebrews 3:6, 5:5, 9:14, 10:10, 13:8; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 John 5:6, 20; Revelation 11:15
Isaiah 43: 1-3b says, "But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Savior." God is saying, "I made you, I saved you, I'm going to take care of you." God has made you for a purpose And He's going to take care of you. Even when sin marred God's original creation, God didn't say, "I'm finished with it." No. God made it and God stays with it. Isn't that a wonderful arrangement?
Related Scripture: Psalm 139:13-18
You think about His omniscience, He knows everything. God is the God of all knowledge. God inhabits eternity. God sees the beginning. God sees the middle. God sees the end. God sees it all at one time. God is all-knowing - He can't learn anything. God knows everything that's going to happen. Not a blade of grass moves but what He knows it. If you're saved, God knew that you would receive the Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing takes God by surprise. God never says, "Ooops. I never thought of that." God is omniscient. I don't understand how He swung the stars in the night sky. Or scooped the oceans and heaped up the mountains and runs this mighty universe. Romans 11:34 says, "For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counselor?" We don't have to know all that our Father does for Him to be our Father.
Related Scripture: 1 Samuel 2:3; Romans 11:33-36; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31
El Elyon speaks of the supremacy of God. He is above all. Now, what does El Elyon mean? The word means the strongest of the strong and the highest of the high. Hinduism and Pantheism speak of God as a part of the universe. But God is not a part of the universe. He is the transcendent God. He is above all. He is the Most High God. Jesus is our El Elyon. Colossians 1:16-17 says, "For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist." God is above all things. Jesus is our El Elyon.
Related Scripture: Genesis 14:18-20; Psalm 61:2; 92:1; Daniel 7:25
God never changes. Psalm 90:1-2 says, "Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God." What a wonderful thing to know that in a changing world God does not change! Time does not alter God. Psalm 90:4 says, "For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night." Well, what do all these verses mean? There are no surprises to God. As Corrie Ten Boom says, "There's no panic in heaven." God knows the past and the future at the same time. Jesus is our El Olam. He is the King of the Ages. Hebrews 1:8 says, "But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom."
Related Scripture: Genesis 3:22; 21:33; Psalm 90:1-2; 93:2; Isaiah 9:6; 26:4; 40:28
El Roi was first revealed in the Bible by Hagar. She was Sarah's handmaiden, who became pregnant with Abraham's child so, in their minds, they could fulfill the promise of God. Soon after the child was conceived, things became very difficult between Sarah and her. So much so, that Hagar fled out into the wilderness. Friendless, homeless, pregnant, not knowing what would become of her, she laid down by a fountain in the wilderness. There, an angel appeared to her to give her comfort and to speak of God's grace and mercy. Genesis 16:13 says: "And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?" Did you know that God sees you right now? God knows your very thoughts. His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.
Related Scripture: Genesis 16:13; Genesis 16:1-16; Psalm 33:18-19
The name El Shaddai appears seven times in the Word of God. As I read the newspapers, I can go back to the Book of Genesis and see that immutable, unbreakable promise that God made to father Abraham. Genesis 17:1-2 says, "And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before Me, and be thou perfect. And I will make My covenant between Me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly." This promise has changed the world. Every Jew upon the face of the earth is a living testimony of the faithfulness of Almighty God. And this God who keeps His promise to Abraham is the same God that keeps His promises to you and I through Jesus Christ.
Related Scripture: Genesis 17:1-19, 28:3; 35:11; 43:14; 48:3; Exodus 6:2-3; Ruth 1:20; Job 5:17; Ezekiel 10:5; Psalm 91:1
Genesis 1:1 says, "In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth." It literally says, "In the beginning Elohim, Elohim created the heaven and the earth." That's the Hebrew word from two root words: El, which means strength and unlimited power. And the last part is allah, which means to keep a promise. Elohim is also a plural noun. I believe that right here on the threshold of the Bible we see an indication of the nature of God, as shown in the Holy Trinity - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. All three were present in creation (see John 1:3). Aren't you glad we find the Savior in chapter 1, verse 1? Aren't you glad we find the Holy Spirit in chapter 1, verse 1? Aren't you glad we find the Father in chapter 1, verse 1 of the Word of God?
Related Scripture: Genesis 1:1-3, 27-28; 3:3; Isaiah 40:28, 54:5; Psalm 19:1-6, 95:6; Nehemiah 9:17; Hebrews 1:8, 11:3
The name Jehovah is used some 6,800 times in the Bible. It is the personal covenant name of Israel's God. In the King James Version of the Bible, it's translated "Lord God." Not only does it speak of God's strength, but also it speaks of the sovereignty of God and the goodness of God. The root of this name means "self-existing," one who never came into being, and one who always will be. When Moses asked God, "Who shall I tell Pharaoh has sent me?" God said, "I AM THAT I AM." Jehovah or Yahweh is the most intensely sacred name to Jewish scribes and many will not even pronounce the name. When possible, they use another name.
Related Scripture: Isaiah 40:3; 10; 1 Samuel 1:20; Exodus 6:1-4; 3:1-22; John 6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 9, 11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1, 5
Can you imagine what a modern writer would do if he tried to describe the creation of the heavens and the earth? Even if he believed in God, what an avalanche of adjectives he would pour out! What double-jointed and obtuse terms he would have to use to describe the creation of the earth! Aren't you glad that God said it, surely, sweetly, sublimely, and simply: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." How beautiful that is. It always tickles me when I read about how scientists are trying to discover the mystery of the creation of the universe. They just scratch their heads and say, "We've got to go back to the laboratory now, a lot of things we thought we knew we didn't know." God just spoke and it was so.
Related Scripture: Genesis 1:1; Psalm 33:6; Isaiah 40:28-31; Job 38:1-41, 39:1-30, 40:1
The Lord is a reigning banner over us all the time. The Hebrew for "banner" comes from the root word "to be high" or "raised." This was the name given to the altar that Moses erected to commemorate the defeat of the Amalekites at Rephidim (Exodus 17:8-15). He goes before us and behind us to give us the victory in all circumstances of life. Even in the midst of the battle, the banner of the Lord is raised over us. Psalm 23:5 says, "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over." Who is the God who prepares a table of celebration in the presence of the enemy? When the enemy shall come in like a flood, then shall the Lord hold up a banner before him. The victory in all of life is the Lord's.
Related Scripture: Exodus 17:15
Psalm 23 and John 10 are the most beautiful descriptions of God as our Shepherd, Jehovah Rajah. When we say "Lord," we think of God's deity. When we say "my Shepherd," we think of God's humanity. God in human form - Jesus Christ - prophesied in the Old Testament and revealed in the New Testament. The Jehovah of the Old Testament is the Jesus of the New Testament. As the Good Shepherd, He dealt with the penalty of sin. As the Great Shepherd, He deals with the power of sin. As the Chief Shepherd, He's coming to take us from the very presence of sin.
Related Scripture: Psalm 23; 80:1; 95:7; Isaiah 40:11; Jeremiah 31:10; Ezekiel 34:12; 23; Matthew 25:32; John 10:11-27; Hebrews 13:20-21; 1 Peter 2:25; 5:4
Does Jesus heal? Yes! He is the Almighty Lord, our healer. He can heal instantaneously by a miracle. He can heal over time through medicine. But let me add, that not every saint will be healed in this lifetime either by miracle or by medicine, nor instantaneously or in time. Right now, God is more interested in having you holy rather than healthy. Our bodies are not yet redeemed. The redemption of the body is going to come at the rapture of the church and the resurrection of the Christian dead. It is at that time that we will be made like unto Him. There is no sickness in the Lord's body and there will be no sickness in our resurrection body. If you are not healed in this life, child of God, you will be healed in eternity.
Related Scripture: Exodus 15:26; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Psalm 6:2; 41:4; 103:3; 147:3; Isaiah 19:22; 30:36; 57:18-19; Jeremiah 3:22; 17:14; 30:17; Matthew 8:7; 10:1; Luke 4:18
The Lord greeted Gideon in peace, so he built an altar and named it "The LORD is Peace" (see Judges 6:23-24). You have probably heard the blessing "Shalom" from Jewish friends and acquaintances. It means peace. More importantly, it means the Lord, our peace. Where does the Shepherd lead His sheep? Beside the peaceful, still waters. "He leads me beside the still waters; He makes me lie down in green pastures" (Psalm 23:2). When your heart is content, you are at peace. And where does that contentment come from? The grace of God. There's no man more discontent than one who is not experiencing the amazing grace of God. Only in Jesus, will you find security, sufficiency, and serenity.
Related Scripture: Genesis 49:10; Judges 6:23-24; Psalm 4:8; 29:11; Proverbs 16:7; Isaiah 26:3; 2 Thessalonians 3:16
Psalm 139:7 asks, "Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy presence?" And what is the answer? God is omnipresent. He's everywhere. Somebody said that God is a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. There is not a murmur, but that He hears it. There's not a movement, but that He sees it. There's not a motive, but that He knows it. Neither Death, darkness, nor distance can hide us. When I am discouraged, His presence sees me through. When I am lonely, His presence cheers me up. When I am worried, His presence calms me down. When I am tempted, His presence helps me out.
Related Scripture: Genesis 28:15; Ezekiel 48:35; Psalm 23:4; 46:1; 139:7-12; Jeremiah 23:23-24; Amos 5:14; Matthew 18:20; 28:20; John 14:16-17; Acts 7:48-49; 17:24-28
Jehovah-sabaoth literally means the Lord Almighty. It speaks of the sovereignty of God over all the powers of the universe. The second stanza from Martin Luther's hymn "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" says, "Did we in our own strength confide, Our striving would be losing, Were not the right man on our side, The man of God's own choosing. Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He, Lord Sabbaoth His name, From age to age the same, And He must win the battle." David understood the greatness of God when he went against Goliath with five smooth stones and a sling. David said to Goliath, "Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied." Oh, that each of us would have this same conception of God in our battles.
Related Scripture: Isaiah 6:3; 1 Samuel 1:3, 17:45; 2 Samuel 6:2, 7:26-27; 1 Chronicles 11:9; Haggai 1:5; Romans 9:29; James 5:4; 2 Corinthians 6:18; Revelation 1:8; 4:8
We are not righteousness in and of ourselves. Our righteousness comes from God and God alone. Jesus imputes His righteousness into us so that we can see God. For you see, Hebrews 12:14 says that without holiness, no man will see God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." Isn't that terrific? You see, if you are a child of God, you are holy. Are you feeling that you can't live the Christian life? That's right where you need to be. You see, God never asked you to live the Christian life apart from Him. He wants to be your strength, He wants to live the Christian life through you and do for you what you could never do for yourself.
Related Scripture: Genesis 15:6; Jeremiah 23:6; Psalm 4:1; 5:8; 24:5; 31:1; 36:10; 71:15; 89:16; Matthew 6:33; Romans 4:22; 5:18; 8:10; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9
Yireh is from the same Hebrew word as Moriah, which is the name of the region where God sent Abraham to sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22). In Genesis 22:11-13 we read, "And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son." God provided the lamb. And Abraham called the place Yahweh-Yireh - God is our substitutionary sacrifice.
Related Scripture: Genesis 22:14, 22:1-18