Shakespeare once asked, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Solomon disagreed. He said that a good name is better than precious ointment and that it ought to be preferred over great riches” (Ecc. 7:1, Prov. 22:1). To be fair, Shakespeare was thinking of a name merely as a label, while Solomon was referring more to a person’s reputation. But consider this: would a rose be a popular symbol of love if it was called “stink-weed” or “death-thorn”? Of course not! A man wouldn’t give a Death-Thorn to a woman whose heart he was trying to win.
Names are important. They’re identifying marks that distinguish one thing from another. A name is more than an arbitrary label or a random combination of sounds. A name conveys the nature and essence of that which it represents.
My great-grandfather had a very long name: Albin Albert Christian Christoph Gottlieb Max Thomas. Each name meant something. He was named after a plethora of friends and relatives whom, for whatever reason, his father wanted to honor. The tradition was passed down from generation to generation. Thankfully, in naming me, my dad decided that he would only honor my grandmothers – Marie and Anna – and I ended up with only two names as compared to my great-grandfather’s seven.
The Bible reveals that the Lord God has more than a hundred names. And each name means something. It reveals an important aspect of his nature or points to one of the ways in which he relates to us. His many and varied names enable us to know Him better. We don’t really know him until we know him by name. And that’s exactly what this Knowing God by Name Bible Study is all about!
Knowing God by Name is a 7-week interactive Bible study with 5 daily lessons each week. Each day, you’ll be studying a different Hebrew name of God. The daily lessons, to be completed on your own, should take no more than 20 minutes to complete. Ideally, each week you’ll gather with others who are also studying this material to meet for a small-group discussion. The included leader guide can help facilitate discussions.
These workbook features are designed to enhance your experience: an opening transliteration of the Hebrew/English name of God and introductory verse; Scriptures that highlight the word being taught; a worship quotation from an ancient hymn; and a concluding "Know Him by Name" daily personal-response activity.
In week one of this Bible study, you’ll examine the Lord’s names of deity — you’ll see that he alone is God. In the weeks that follow, you’ll study his names of character, names of power, names of authority, names of splendor, names of intimacy, and names of sufficiency.
I hope that throughout this study you’ll be as amazed and awestruck by the Lord’s magnificence as I was. While writing, I often fell to my knees in breathless wonder. If these lessons help you see but a faint glimpse of his glory, I’m confident that you, too, will be overwhelmed. More than anything else, studying the names of God ought to compel our hearts to worship. That’s why the lessons all contain quotes from various writers of ancient hymns. Perhaps the richness of their prose will reach through the halls of time and stir your heart to feel what they felt. Perhaps it will cause some familiar melody to bubble up within your spirit and erupt in a song of praise. Ultimately, we’re powerless to know God without the help of his Holy Spirit. The Spirit knows “the depths” of God and makes God known to us. (1 Cor. 2:10-13) I pray that his Spirit may indeed grant us this grace.
In the internet world, a person’s identity is called a “handle.” A handle, like a name, helps us get a grip on the person with whom we’re interacting. I don’t know about you, but the prospect of getting a better grip on God fills me with awe and anticipation. Do you want to know God better? You will -- when you get to know him by name!
In His Grip,