Among several mementoes hanging on my back porch is a sign, “Rev. B. R. Devin, Pastor.” Each name reveals an aspect of him, though rarely are all the names used together. The B. was inherited from his father and grandfather Bernard. No one called him Bernard, except probably his mother when he was in trouble. The R. is Robert. Most people called him Bob, but I called him Daddy.
If we, as individuals, carry many names, then it is no wonder that God would have many. For further study, read the books by Ken Hemphill, Nathan Stone, or Ann Spangler. One good website source is http://www.gotquestions.org/names-of-God.html, but caution is needed when entering cyber-space. There are false teachings on the subject, whose purpose is to steal God’s identity for false gods.
For example, Muslims attempt to prove we worship the same God, based on the truth that the term “Allah” is derived from the same root word as El-oah, a form of the word Elohim, which is a much-used name of God. You know, like the song lyrics say, “You like po-tay-to, and I like po-tah-to,” but in this case it’s “You say Elohim and I say Allah.” However, there is a vast difference in the Triune God we worship — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and the god of Islam who has no son. We do not worship the same El.
God has a more specific name, YHWH (Yahweh), “I AM WHO I AM.” It doesn’t denote an attribute, like the God who sees or the God who heals. It is simply God’s unique name. For example, most of my dad’s names denote either origin or position, except Robert (Bob). Bob was simply his personal name, and it was the most used of all his names.
In the same way, YHWH is used the most in the Bible, 6519 times. Out of respect for the holiness of His name, it is usually translated to English as LORD or Jehovah. Some exceptions are made in the Holman Christian Standard Bible. A good example is when “identity theft” was occurring against God through Ahab, who was leading the country toward allegiance to Baal, son of El. EL, get it? Elijah set up a contest to prove who was the true God. When it was over, the people shouted, “Yahweh, He is God! Yahweh! He is God!” (1 Kings 18:39)
In this day of political correctness, He still says, “I am Yahweh, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another or My praise to idols.” (Isaiah 42:8 HCSB)
The LORD also speaks of the name of Jesus, “God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. “ Philippians 2:9-11
About the Writer:
Ruthe Turner misspells her own name, ever since a church secretary spelled it with an e in a church directory. Ruthe felt it was wise to not correct a church secretary! There is so much more to learn about the names of God, and the suggested authors’ books are available at Truett Memorial Library of First Baptist Church.