Generation after generation, parents have chosen biblical names for their baby boys, sometimes continuing names that have been in their families for years, sometimes selecting meaningful names from favorite Bible stories, and sometimes simply choosing names whose sounds they like. Whatever reasons parents might have for using biblical names for a baby boy, they will want to be prepared to explain where the name appears in the Bible and why the name was particularly meaningful to them.
Naming a baby boy after a Bible hero gives parents the opportunity to tell their little one the story that makes the name special. Among the more common names of Bible heroes are David, best known to children from the story of David and Goliath, and Noah of Noah and the ark fame. Other possible names from Biblical heroes include Joseph, Paul, Stephen and Joshua. Less common today are little boys named for the heroes, Samson, Moses, Mordecai and Gideon.
Parents may hope to teach their children values by using Biblical stories and instilling some of the qualities reflected by the names of Biblical characters. For example, Andrew means “manly;” Asher and Felix mean “happy;” Asa, “a healer;” Clement, “merciful;” Enoch, “dedicated;” Jethro, “excellence;” Luke, “bright (as in a light);” and Solomon, which means “peace.” Even though all parents aren’t aware of the meanings of the biblical names they choose, they might want to know what the name means before they make a final decision.
Reference to God
Some names might be chosen because the meanings make specific reference to God. Among the most often chosen are Michael, “who is like God;” Daniel, “my judge is God;” and Timothy, “honoring God.” Other choices used less often include Gabriel, “man of God;” Emmanuel, “with us is God;” Joel, “Yahweh is God;” Jude, “God shall be praised;” Nathaniel, “given of God;” Raphael, “God heals;” and Samuel, “his name is of God.”
Popular Biblical Names
Since 1910, according to the Social Security Administration, most of the popular names for boys have come from biblical sources. In 2009, for the first time, Ethan, which means “strength,” topped the list. In previous years, Michael, “who is like God;” Matthew, “gift of Yahweh;” David, “beloved;” and Jacob — along with its Greek form, James — and means “he who supplants;” all made the list of the most popular names for various years. Runners up for the most popular biblical names for American-born baby boys include Joshua and Daniel.