Tuesday, February 8, 2011


My wife and I have three wonderful daughters, and we love them very much. I had hoped we would have a son, but that was not to be. I picked out a name for him, but unfortunately, God did not bless us with a boy. I had chosen Ross Clayton; Ross was a good friend in Elementary school, and Clayton was my grandfather's name. One day, I called my mother to tell her I intended to name our first son after her father, and when she heard his name was to be Ross Clayton, she said, "Don't you mean after my mother and my father?" I had no clue what she meant. Then, she told me her mother's maiden name was Vena Ross Masters. I couldn't believe it; now I was sure God was going to give us a son. Perhaps the child we lost through a miscarriage was a boy, I don't know, but there had to be some purpose for the "coincidence." Perhaps it was simply to encourage my mother in her final years.

We eventually did have a "son," but we were not able to name him Ross Clayton. You see, he was actually our grandson, and by the time he came to live with us, he was twelve. Our daughter did not use the name we had picked for him, but she did name him Corey, after Vena and Clayton Cory. She never was very good at spelling (just kidding Dawn), but I love her for honoring my grandparents.

Names have meaning, and although we may not be aware of it, there seems to be some correlation between a person's name and his or her character. Our oldest daughter's name is Laurie, which means "Laurel-Crowned." She is a strong leader and very bright. Our second daughter's name is Dawn, which means "Dawn," surprisingly enough, but to me, it means a fresh new start, a new beginning. If you knew Dawn, you would immediately realize how important a new start was for her. Our third daughter's name, Cheryl, means "beloved." Although she doesn't like people knowing she is old enough to be a grandmother (so don't tell her I said that), she is still our "baby girl."

The Bible has numerous examples of names having a special meaning. "Adam" in Hebrew, אָדָם‎, ʼĀḏām, means "dust of the ground, man; mankind." "Joshua" in Hebrew, יהושע (sometimes יהושוע, "Yehoshua"), means "Yahveh is salvation." In the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament), all instances of the word "Yehoshua" are rendered as Ἰησοῦς" (Iēsoūs/Jesus), the closest Greek pronunciation of the Aramaic ישוע, "Yeshua." Hence, the name Jesus means "Savior" (Matt. 1:21). "Abraham" means “the father of a multitude" (Hebrew: ʼaḇ-hămôn goyim). "Samuel" in Hebrew, שְׁמוּאֵל, means "God has heard." "David" in Hebrew, דָּוִד, means "beloved." That is why God called him a man after His own heart (Acts 13:22).

Hebrew names for God include: YHVH - "I Am" (Ex. 3:14). Elohim - the most common of the original names of God is plural in form though commonly accompanied by a singular verb or adjective. El - a name of God, is used chiefly in poetry and prophetic discourse, rarely in prose, and then usually with some epithet attached, as "a jealous God." Other examples of its use with some attribute or epithet are: El 'Elyon ("most high God"), El Shaddai ("God Almighty"), El 'Olam ("everlasting God"), El Ḥai ("living God"), El Ro'i ("God of seeing"), El Elohe Israel ("God, the God of Israel"), El Gibbor ("Hero God"), etc. Adonai - is a name of God used by the Masorites as a substituted reading for YHVH, and always appears as LORD in the King James Version. It means,"my Lord," and is a plural for majesty. Ẓeba'ot - the names YHVH and Elohim frequently occur with the word Ẓeba'ot ("hosts"), as YHVH Elohe Ẓeba'ot ("YHVH God of Hosts"). To be continued.

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