significance of a name

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What is the meaning of your name? Could your name be contributing to what is happening in your life? Every name is significant, even the one without a meaning means meaningless. This post gives the power and significance of names

“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” – Proverbs 22:1 (NIV)

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins – Matthew 1:21 (NKJV)

A name effectively describes you in a way more than you can understand with your common sense. Your name does not just represent you, it is who you are. It is not merely a combination of letters to form a word used to refer to you, it actually defines you. It is a description of your personality and it interprets your traits. It can be a statement, giving a glimpse to your future or a prayer that you should live up to the potential expressed in the name.

Significance Of A Name

Your name signifies your person, character, value, reputation, ownership, will and authority.

  • Speaking and writing in “the name” means authority – Esther 8:8
  • Naming something signifies your ownership of that person or thing – Genesis 2:23, Genesis 48:5-6, 16
  • Forgetting God’s name means to depart from Him – Jeremiah 23:27
  • Acting in another person(s) name means representing them – Acts 4:7-10
  • To blot out someone’s name is the destruction of the person – Deuteronomy 9:14
  • A name signifies one’s reputation (Mark 6:14) and character – Genesis 27:36
  • To believe in someone’s name is to believe in his person – John 1:12


Adam means red earth signifying his origin, for man was formed out of the dust of the ground – Genesis 2:7. It also indicates his end; at death man returns to the ground – Genesis 3:19.

Adam was given the power to name the animals and their names say a lot about them. A lion, legendary ruler, known as the king of the jungle depicts wisdom, self-control, focus, courage and strength.  And Christ is called the king of kings, the lion of the tribe of Judah. Also, the Hebrew name for donkey is chamer from the word “chomer” meaning material, heavy. And donkey is used as a working animal; it can carry heavy materials comfortably.


When God met Moses at the burning bush and commissioned him to go and deliver the Israelites, Moses asked for His name should the children of Israel ask him – Exodus 3:13. God’s name would tell a lot of the God who is promising to deliver the Israelites by the hand of Moses. And God answered, “I AM WHO I AM” – Exodus 3:14. This means He is all in all, all-sufficient, unchangeable, faithful to His word, self-existing, He would be what He would be to the Israelites. It explains His name Jehovah. And truly, God lived up to His name, “I AM” for them and delivered them with an outstretched hand, with great signs and wonders – Exodus 13:3, 9


The Lord was called Jesus for He was to save His people from their sins – Matthew 1:21. The name of Jesus described His purpose on earth. His whole assignment was to get to the cross and die that man may be saved and reconciled back to God – Romans 5:6-11. He fully lived and accomplished His purpose just like his name prophesied.

Effects Of a name

The effect of a name is according to its use; the higher the frequency of its use the greater the effects. First-name has greater effect on an individual more than the surname. And sometimes, effect of a nickname is even greater, depending on what name the person goes by more.

 Furthermore, shortening of names reduces the effect of the names; the shortened form of the name may even become meaningless. For example, the name “Onyedikachi” means “who is like God”. Short form “Onye or Ony”i means “who”, which means nothing.

Also, names given by men and women of God have double effect on the bearers: the effect of the name itself and effect of the will of the giver of the name. The man of God names the person from a connection with God and depth of knowledge of the power and significance of the name he is giving. So, he names the person as a representative of God, enhancing the realization of the full potential embedded in the name.

Change Of Names

Change of name can either be done by the individual or by another person. Giving of a new name by another establishes authority over an individual. Whether the change of name was initiated by the bearer or by another person, the change signifies a new beginning or direction in the person’s life. Most of the time, the change is for the better.


Abraham’s name was changed from Abram to Abraham meaning “father of many nations.” God changed his name Abram (exalted father) to Abraham in order to fulfil His plan to multiply him greatly and make him father of many nations –Genesis 17:2-6.  And truly, Abraham became the father of both the physical and spiritual Israelites – Galatians 3:13-14, Romans 9:6-8.


God changed her name from Sarai (quarrelsome) to Sarah which means princess – Genesis 17:15-16. God was going to make Abraham father of many nations through her, making her mother of many nations too; a change of name to fulfil this purpose became necessary.


Jacob’s name was changed from Jacob to Israel which means prince that prevails with God. This new name came as a blessing from God when he struggled with the angel of God and prevailed – Genesis 32:26-28 and God confirmed it again in Genesis 35:10. Jacob means supplanter and the name was following him everywhere he went. Esau his brother acknowledged the effect of the name on him (Genesis 27:36). He supplanted Esau twice: he took away his birthright and blessing. But after his name was changed, Israel kept prevailing in life even up till today.


His mother called him Ben-oni meaning son of my sorrow but his father called him Benjamin, meaning son of the right hand – Genesis 25:18. I suppose his father didn’t want him to experience the effect of a negative name as he did.


Jesus gave Simon the new name Peter, meaning stone – John 1:42, and in Matthew 16:18 Christ gave the reason for this new name; upon Peter He was going to build His church and the gates of hell would not be able to prevail against it. Peter was the rock on which the gospel of Christ grew and prevailed. He spearheaded the crusade for Christ with great power and anointing and prevailed both with the Jews and the gentiles – Acts 2, Acts 10

What is in a name? A lot is in a name that you cannot overlook it and call yourself by any kind of name. A good name is desirable more than great riches. My name is Ngozi meaning blessing. I must say I am greatly blessed and many people agree that I am a blessing to them. Your name contributes largely to your future, so look inward and consider your name again.

Ngozi Nwoke

Grace and peace of God be unto you.


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Image by Tito & Eva Marie Balangue