Question: "What are the different names of
God and what do they mean?"
Answer: Each of the many names of God
describes a different aspect of His many-
faceted character. Here are some of the
better-known names of God in the Bible:
EL, ELOAH: God "mighty, strong,
prominent" (Genesis 7:1 ; Isaiah 9:6 ) –
etymologically, El appears to mean “power,” as
in “I have the power to harm you” ( Genesis
31:29 ). El is associated with other qualities,
such as integrity (Numbers 23:19 ), jealousy
(Deuteronomy 5:9 ), and compassion
(Nehemiah 9:31 ), but the root idea of might
ELOHIM: God “Creator, Mighty and
Strong” (Genesis 17:7 ; Jeremiah 31:33 ) – the
plural form of Eloah, which accommodates the
doctrine of the Trinity. From the Bible’s first
sentence, the superlative nature of God’s
power is evident as God (Elohim) speaks the
world into existence (Genesis 1:1 ).
EL SHADDAI: “God Almighty,” “The Mighty One
of Jacob” (Genesis 49:24 ; Psalm 132:2 ,5 ) –
speaks to God’s ultimate power over all.
ADONAI: “Lord” (Genesis 15:2 ; Judges 6:15 ) –
used in place of YHWH, which was thought by
the Jews to be too sacred to be uttered by
sinful men. In the Old Testament, YHWH is
more often used in God’s dealings with His
people, while Adonai is used more when He
deals with the Gentiles.
YHWH / YAHWEH / JEHOVAH:
“LORD” ( Deuteronomy 6:4 ; Daniel 9:14 ) –
strictly speaking, the only proper name for
God. Translated in English Bibles “LORD” (all
capitals) to distinguish it from Adonai , “Lord.”
The revelation of the name is first given to
Moses “I Am who I Am” ( Exodus 3:14 ). This
name specifies an immediacy, a presence.
Yahweh is present, accessible, near to those
who call on Him for deliverance (Psalm
107:13 ), forgiveness ( Psalm 25:11 ) and
guidance ( Psalm 31:3 ).
YAHWEH-JIREH: "The Lord Will
Provide" ( Genesis 22:14 ) – the name
memorialized by Abraham when God provided
the ram to be sacrificed in place of Isaac.
YAHWEH-RAPHA: "The Lord Who
Heals" (Exodus 15:26 ) – “I am Jehovah who
heals you” both in body and soul. In body, by
preserving from and curing diseases, and in
soul, by pardoning iniquities.
YAHWEH-NISSI: "The Lord Our
Banner" (Exodus 17:15 ), where banner is
understood to be a rallying place. This name
commemorates the desert victory over the
Amalekites in Exodus 17 .
YAHWEH-M'KADDESH: "The Lord Who
Sanctifies, Makes Holy" (Leviticus 20:8 ; Ezekiel
37:28 ) – God makes it clear that He alone, not
the law, can cleanse His people and make them
YAHWEH-SHALOM: "The Lord Our
Peace" ( Judges 6:24 ) – the name given by
Gideon to the altar he built after the Angel of
the Lord assured him he would not die as he
thought he would after seeing Him.
YAHWEH-ELOHIM: "LORD God" (Genesis 2:4 ;
Psalm 59:5 ) – a combination of God’s unique
name YHWH and the generic “Lord,” signifying
that He is the Lord of Lords.
YAHWEH-TSIDKENU: "The Lord Our
Righteousness” (Jeremiah 33:16 ) – As with
YHWH-M’Kaddesh, it is God alone who
provides righteousness to man, ultimately in
the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, who
became sin for us “that we might become the
Righteousness of God in Him” ( 2 Corinthians
YAHWEH-ROHI: "The Lord Our
Shepherd" ( Psalm 23:1 ) – After David pondered
his relationship as a shepherd to his sheep, he
realized that was exactly the relationship God
had with him, and so he declares, “Yahweh-
Rohi is my Shepherd. I shall not want” (Psalm
YAHWEH-SHAMMAH: "The Lord Is
There” (Ezekiel 48:35 ) – the name ascribed to
Jerusalem and the Temple there, indicating that
the once-departed glory of the Lord ( Ezekiel 8
—11 ) had returned ( Ezekiel 44:1-4 ).
YAHWEH-SABAOTH: "The Lord of
Hosts" ( Isaiah 1:24 ; Psalm 46:7 ) – Hosts means
“hordes,” both of angels and of men. He is
Lord of the host of heaven and of the
inhabitants of the earth, of Jews and Gentiles,
of rich and poor, master and slave. The name
is expressive of the majesty, power, and
authority of God and shows that He is able to
accomplish what He determines to do.
EL ELYON: “Most High" (Deuteronomy 26:19 ) –
derived from the Hebrew root for “go up” or
“ascend,” so the implication is of that which is
the very highest. El Elyon denotes exaltation
and speaks of absolute right to lordship.
EL ROI: "God of Seeing" ( Genesis 16:13 ) – the
name ascribed to God by Hagar, alone and
desperate in the wilderness after being driven
out by Sarah (Genesis 16:1-14 ). When Hagar
met the Angel of the Lord, she realized she had
seen God Himself in a theophany. She also
realized that El Roi saw her in her distress and
testified that He is a God who lives and sees
EL-OLAM: "Everlasting God" (Psalm 90:1-3 ) –
God’s nature is without beginning or end, free
from all constraints of time, and He contains
within Himself the very cause of time itself.
“From everlasting to everlasting, You are God.”
EL-GIBHOR: “Mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6 ) – the
name describing the Messiah, Christ Jesus, in
this prophetic portion of Isaiah. As a powerful
and mighty warrior, the Messiah, the Mighty
God, will accomplish the destruction of God’s
enemies and rule with a rod of iron (Revelation
Recommended Resources: The Names of God
by Ken Hemphill and Logos Bible Software.
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