Thursday, November 27, 2008

Biblical names for babies

Christians love to name their children with names appear in the Bible. But Christians have bias. For example, they don't name their son 'Judas' even though it is the Greek form of 'Judah' that refers to one of the 12 tribes and the kingdom under King David. Its meaning is something like 'the praised one'. Most Christians' bias not to use 'Judas' is because to them this name merely refers to the one who betrayed Jesus.

Anyway, when it comes to naming children, there is an interesting sociological studies in 'Freakonomics' on why certain people with certain names are higher in socio-economic status than others.

When someone asked me how would I name my son, I'll say, "Wolfhart Pannenberg Woo". Of course, I am not serious(!). That's just something I brought out to evade the irrelevant question. But on a more serious note, if someone really like a 'theological name' for their son, he/she might want to consider something like "Pannenberg Moltmann Barth Kierkegaard ". Or if the couple has 4 sons, they might want to name them with the 4 big A's: Augustine, Aquinas, Anselm, and Athanasius.

Back to Biblical names. Besides having unwarranted bias, Christians also tend to use only famous biblical characters' names such as David, Peter, John and Joshua(!). The downside of this is that there will be alot of similar names in the church. For eg. in the youth congregation of ORPC, there are 4 Joshuas.

So if you are looking for a biblical names for your children, why not turn to Nehemiah chapter 7:

Zattu, Zaccai, Binnui,
Bebai, Azgad, Adonikam,
Bigvai, Ater, Hashum,
Bezai, Hariph, Netophah,
Anathoth, Kiriath Jearim,
Kephirah, Beeroth, Lod,
Hadid, Ono, Senaah, Jedaiah,
Immer, Pashhur, Harim, Kadmiel,
Hodaviah, Shallum, Ater,
Talmon, Akkub, Hatita,
Shobai, Ziha, Hasupha,
Zeros, Sia, Padon,
Lebana, Hagaba, Shalmai,
Hanan, Giddel, Gahar,
Reaiah, Rezin, Nekoda,
Gazzam, Uzza, Paseah,
Besai, Meunim, Nephussim,
Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur,
Bazluth, Mehida, Harsha,
Barkos, Sisera, Temah,
Neziah and Hatipha
Sotai, Sophereth, Perida,
Jaala, Darkon, Giddel,
Shephatiah, Hattil, Pokereth-Hazzebaim... to list a few.

So when Christians want to name their babies with biblical names, don't confine to John, Peter, Paul, Joshua, or James. There are other ways to name your children 'Christianly'. Personally I think 'Pannenberg Moltmann Barth Kierkegaard Woo' is considerable (my gf must be tearing her hair reading this).

Christians parents, be creative.


Steven Sim said...

Naming one's sons John and James is also sometimes simply a matter of convenient and practicality.

Takan wanna name your son Pokereth-Hazzebaim. Can't even pronounce it...

Steven Sim

Sze Zeng said...

In Thailand, their names are much longer than Pokereth-Hazzebaim.

Hence they use 'nick name'. Defeat the purpose? Not sure though.

pearlie said...

Hmmm ... imagine naming your son Zeros. I agree with Freakanomics.

Sze Zeng said...

Hi Pearlie,

'Zeros'... that prevents me from high expectation over my children's exam results! :) hahaha