What’s in a Name? or Where Bible Reading Plans Go to Die

The  1st 9 chapters of Chronicles are where Bible readings plans go to die. Even for the most determined Bible reader who made it through Leviticus because they made a new year’s resolution to get through this. When they come to 1 Chronicles and it’s name after name that you thank God your parents didn’t name you, it’s tough to plow through until the adventures of David pick up.

Thanks for Image to Arvind Balaraman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

From Abimael to Zepho, Amminadab to Kiriath Jearim, there are names you can’t pronounce and probably if we are honest have no desire to learn.

Of course, there are some easy names to say– Uz, Aran, and Er.

And there are familiar names to remember — Abraham, Noah, and Judah.

Here’s my secret in getting through the opening chapters of 1 Chronicles. God knows every name. God knows every story behind every name. He knows how to pronounce their name and what it means. He knows their name and their needs. He knows their despairs and their dreams. And if he knows their name, and considered their name to have great value to put them in the Bible, just think He knows your name and most of all He knows you.

One day I hope somebody brings out a translation of the Bible that has the meaning of every name. For every name in the Bible tells a story, and it would sure make Bible reading a whole lot easier in 1 Chronicles. Look at the meaning of the following names, it transforms my appreciation of 1 Chronicles 1-2. I still can’t say some of their names, but I want to know their story and God’s story for my life.

Abimael means “My father is God.” What a statement of faith! Was that a prayer of his parents or a testament of his life?

Zepho means “Watchtower”. Is he known for standing strong or looking out for others?

Uz mean “Wooded”. A mountain man? The Paul Bunyan of his day? Did he have a friend named Buzz?

Aran means “Joyous”. What’s his story? Was his a joyous moment or a joyous life?

Er means “Awake”. That sounds good, but if you read his story in Genesis 38. He’s the eldest son of Judah, and he’s known for his wickedness, not for being awakened to the light of God.

Amminadab means “My kinsman is noble.” Don’t you hope you’re the relative God is thinking about at this point?

Kiriath Jearim means “City of Forests”. What kind of life do you live to have a city named after you?

This year in reading through the Bible in a year, I am learning to appreciate the names I read through and discovering God had a plan for their life. He has a plan for you life and mine as well. He knows us by name.

So what special name do you carry? What’s the story God is writing for your life?



Filed under Leadership in the Bible

2 responses to “What’s in a Name? or Where Bible Reading Plans Go to Die

  1. Richard–I am impressed. Usually I quickly glance at name lists and repetitive information in the Bible. I don’t dig deep in those chapters giving a genealogy of various people/tribal groups. You’ve done your homework and blessed your readers with something deeper than a recitation of little-known, obscure names in the Bible. Who would have thought digging into a name could bring out some jewels.–Tom

  2. Dean Burkey

    Another excellent blog, Richard. Along the lines of what you said about every name in the Bible telling a story, here’s the Messianic prophecy contained within the meaning of the names listed in the genealogy of Adam from Genesis chapter 5:
    Adam = “man”
    Seth = “appointed”
    Enosh = “mortal”
    Cainan = “sorrow”
    Mahalalel = “the blessed God”
    Jared = “descending; descent; or shall come down”
    Enoch = “teaching”
    Methuselah = “his death shall bring;” “when he dies, it will come”
    Lamech = “captives”
    Noah = “rest; comfort”

    “Man is appointed mortal sorrow, but the Blessed God shall come down teaching that his death shall bring the captives comfort.”

    Since Noah means rest or comfort, that prophetic message adds even more meaning to Jesus’ statement in Matthew 11:28 (NKJV): “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

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