Names of God

An Overview

One way to learn more about God, who He is and what He is like is to study the many names and descriptions given of Him in Scripture. A study like this can often be overlook by the seemingly more exciting teachings of Scripture. But, all of Scripture points back to who God is. And we must not loose sight of Him who is the author of Scripture.

The genesis of using this topic for E-med(itations) comes from 1 John 2:12-14, where twice the aged apostles charges: “I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning.” He distinguishes this from his charge to “little children” and “young men.” At the same time, it is goal for those who are younger in the faith, to look up to and set as their goal the maturity of the “fathers.” Spiritual maturity comes with the knowledge of God. Our goal is not just understanding our “forgiveness” (little children). It is not just to “overcome the evil one” or to “be strong” and let the word of God abide in us (young men). Our goal should be to know Him, the Father of us all, who was from the beginning.

My biggest decision (and one which I lost some sleep over!) was how to order the list of names and descriptions, where do I draw the line to limit the study to 260 distinct names or descriptions, and how do I keep from regurgitating what many other authors have already written about this subject? This all was no easy task, believe me. I have adopted a somewhat alphabetical order, based on the Hebrew terms (OT) and English terms (NT). An index will be included at the end showing various groups of related names like, for example, some of the more well-known “Jehovah” combinations, like Jehovah-Jireh, Jehovah-Nissi, etc.).

The individual studies will involve much back ground information to help understand why the particular name was used in a given situation. The goal, though, is not to gain an academic understanding, but to come to a better understanding of our God, the Creator of the universe, who wants to be known as Yahweh, and what that means. So we being the study with an little more in-depth study of His “Divine Name” and how that forms a basis for building our knowledge of Him.

Studying the names of God, therefore, is one way to plumb the depth of who He is in his many manifestations. And it is for this purpose we embark on this fascinating, humbling and profound journey of knowing Him more and knowing Him better—which will lead to us worshipping “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).

Some notes for the readers:

1. The reader will notice that in this devotional exposition series we capitalize pronouns and other direct references to Deity, being consistent with the pattern of the NASB, which is the version used. However, it should be noted that the original Greek in which the New Testament was written does not make this distinction.

2. Why just five days per week? Our experience is that for most people routines of life revolve around a five day work week, so it is often easier to schedule devotional reading in that framework. This of course leaves the weekends free for alternate readings — which provides variety. We might suggestion on the weekends, the reader read one chapter of Proverbs and three chapters of Psalms each day. In this way, in one year the entire book of Proverbs will be read three times, and the book of Psams twice–with a few days to spare!

3. We suggest taking 15 minutes each workday morning: 1 minute to pray, asking the Lord to open your mind and heart to His voice. 10 minutes for reading and musing on the meditation, 4 minutes for prayer based on devotional for the day. The more specific you can be in your prayer, the better. Remember, the Lord wants to hear from you. Feel free, of course, keep a log of your prayer concerns, so that you can be consistent.

I pray the Lord will use these brief daily meditations to encourage you in your walk with the Lord.

Chuck Gianotti