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Bible verses about Name, Value of
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Perhaps the most important scriptural significance of names is not so much in the label as it is in the reputation (whether of fame or infamy) of the holder of the label. God has often changed the label to fit more correctly the characteristics of the person, i.e. Jacob (Contender) to Israel (Prevailer), Abram (Father) to Abraham (Father of Nations), and Hillel (Light-Bringer) to Satan (Adversary). Even a name change by God cannot automatically alter the reputation of an individual.

David F. Maas
What's in a Name Anyway?


 

Exodus 20:7

This commandment requires serious reflection. Like the second, it includes a warning that God will not hold us guiltless. It seems that sometimes God deliberately understates things for subtle emphasis and to ultimately magnify the meaning.

To understand this commandment better, we need to explain four words:

Take, throughout the Old Testament, is translated into English from seventy-four different Hebrew words. This one means "to lift up," "bear," "carry," "use," and "appropriate."

Vain has the sense of "desolating"; "that which lacks reality, purpose, value, or truth." It may also be translated "lying," "false," "worthless," "profane," "foolish," "reproachful," "curse," "blaspheme," or "useless."

Guiltless means "free," "clear," "innocent," "clean," "blameless," "unpunished."

Name means "a mark or sign standing out"; "a word by which a person, place or thing is distinctively known." Its Hebrew root denotes "high," "elevated," "a monument." It indicates majesty or excellence. A name identifies, signifies, and specifies.

This commandment has nothing to do with the proper pronunciation of God's name, which no one knows anyway since it was lost in antiquity. It has nothing to do with superstition or magical uses of a name. Its application is far broader.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Third Commandment (1997)


 

Exodus 20:7

The third commandment deals with God's name, His character, His office, His position as the great sovereign Ruler of the universe: "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain" (Exodus 20:7; Deuteronomy 5:11). In biblical terms, personal names have a meaning, for they usually describe some aspect of the person's character. So it is with God's name. The Bible reveals Him under different names, each given with a purpose: to set forth some distinct virtue or characteristic of His nature.

In this commandment, the Hebrew word rendered "guiltless" may also be translated "clean." A person is clean or unclean according to how he uses the name of God, whether in truth or in vanity. A person who continually talks about God but denies Him in his daily life is unclean; he is guilty of breaking the law of God, a sinner. If we use God's name in a way that denies the true meaning and character of God, we break the third commandment. As we can easily see, God is greatly concerned about how we use His name.

Martin G. Collins
The Third Commandment


 

Proverbs 22:1

On this verse, the Jewish commentary, Soncino, says that a person's good reputation, his name, is his most valuable asset. This is because of the integrity it took to produce it and the benefits it provides for one after he has it.

The Bible shows that God jealously guards His name and acts to ensure that it remains untarnished. His name represents what He is, and so it is with us as well. When we hear a name, images of what that person is immediately come to mind. In our mind's eye, we might recall a person as tall or short, male or female, learned or ignorant, black or white, angry or passive, beautiful or plain, vocal or quiet, honest or lying, responsible or irresponsible. Many character traits may flash through our minds in a moment or two.

The same happens to others as they think of us. What we project to others has everything to do with what we believe and practice. What kind of witness are we giving? Is what we believe and practice as true as God's Word?

Thus, if we want to have a good name in the eyes of God and man, we have to recognize truth, understand it and make it a part of us by submitting to it. This is where truth in a person's witness begins. If truth does not form the foundation of a person's life, the witness will reflect it.

Mankind—from Adam on—has been unwilling to do this. God says our "heart is deceitful above all things and [incurably sick (NKJV margin)]" (Jeremiah 17:9). We keep lying to ourselves and others, thus our name is not good before God. It means that to have this good name, we, as God's regenerated children, must face our vanities and stop deceiving ourselves that God will "just have to take us as we are." We need to quit blaming our failures, problems, and shortcomings on others, providing ourselves with justification for what we are and do.

Conduct is the "stuff" of which reputations are formed. Good conduct has truth at its foundation and integrity as its constant companion. From these two, a witness is produced. God wants our reputation before men to be built on His truth. Are we honestly doing this?

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Ninth Commandment (1997)


 

Proverbs 22:1

The word "name" translates from the Hebrew word sheem, which designates something as a mark or memorial of individuality, and by implication, honor, authority, or character. The King James Version (KJV) also translates it into "fame," "famous," "infamous," "named," "renown," and "report."

From this verse, we see that a good name (a combination of reputation and character) certainly should outweigh riches, prominence, position, and status. Conversely, a lack in either can leave us in a state of moral and/or spiritual poverty, seeking self-worth over godly worth.

An example of this can be seen in those who strive for political office or a promotion. They attempt to leave an impression of character with the public or a boss, but it is an impression built on a shaky foundation of duplicity. While they may have a "good" reputation, it is not supported by the real important ingredient, character, which is earned throughout our lives.

A starkly contrasting example of this is that of Jesus Christ as a man: "[He] made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:7). Christ—God Himself—humbled Himself, surrendering His right to a godly reputation, yet still left the legacy of righteous character and reputation as a human.

Ecclesiastes 7:1-8 gives another example of a good name, this time compared to that of fine ointment and life and death. The chapter starts with "A good name is better than precious ointment," but goes on to say "the day of death [is better] than the day of one's birth." Ointment, in this case, symbolizes a richness or excellence that is added to a person's state, or it may represent anointing oil used to set a person or thing apart as different or special. Verse 8 concludes, "The end of a thing is better than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit."

In human terms, we know at birth we are a clean slate—we have no knowledge, understanding, wisdom, reputation, or character. Only at death, after lifelong endeavor, do we have the total life experiences to establish a good or bad name and reputation, and this occurs because of the character we have gained or failed to gain in the process.

For those who truly desire it, a good reputation and godly character is built patiently and not through devious or self-aggrandizing means. Based on this, reputation or a perceived good name is simply not enough without the character to accompany it.

Staff
Our Reputation, Our Character


 

Proverbs 22:1

All members of God's church have inherited a Family name far more valuable than any surname. We have an awesome responsibility to uphold and honor the nobility and dignity of the name of God. The reputation we create for our church, our businesses, or our institutions is the legacy we pass on to our brothers and sisters and our children.

David F. Maas
What's in a Name Anyway?


 

Proverbs 22:1

A good reputation, based upon what a person is in his dealings with others, is certainly of greater worth in God's eyes than wealth.

John W. Ritenbaugh
How to Know We Love Christ


 

Ecclesiastes 7:1

Why is the day of death better? At birth, a person is largely a blank slate - his reputation is nothing (apart from his connection with Mom and Dad), so his name is little more than a mere label. However, at his death he has built either a good reputation or a bad one.

David F. Maas
What's in a Name Anyway?


 

Matthew 28:19

The word translated "in" is the Greek word eis. It means "into," "inside of." We are baptized into water, into the church, by means of the Holy Spirit. His name becomes ours by begettal (or adoption, as Paul says in Romans 8). It is our spiritual Family name! Therefore, our responsibility is to grow and uphold that name—to bring honor upon it by our words, attitudes, and deeds.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fourth Commandment (Part 1)


 

Acts 6:1-3

It is not without validity that most of our impressions or beliefs about our family, close friends, and acquaintances automatically involve knowledge about their character as a part of their reputation. Obviously, our interactions give us insight to these people's characters and reputations, whether our perceptions are true or false. Those who know us best will see any growth of character or lack of it. Even so, some can have blind spots in relation to a particular person (for instance, a mother may ignore her son's flaws), or the person may have a talent for concealing their shortcomings, even from those closest to them.

We see a positive side of this in Acts 6:1-3, where the apostles tell the church to choose seven men to become deacons. One of the criteria was that these men were to be "of good reputation," which translates from the Greek word martureo, meaning "to be a witness, that is, to testify (literally or figuratively)." The KJV also renders martureo as "give [evidence]," "bear record," "obtain a good honest report," "be well reported of."

These men were to show evidence of God's Spirit and wisdom in their lives, a combination of a good name as well as growth in character. It is interesting that, because they knew them best, the people were to select these men according to their character.

Staff
Our Reputation, Our Character


 

Revelation 3:12

No matter what a person's name means, it identifies him. Our new names will identify us with a person ("God"), a place ("New Jerusalem"), and very likely a function or responsibility in God's government ("My new name"). Obadiah 1:17, 21 gives us an insight of what our function may be:

But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. . . . Then saviors shall come to Mount Zion to judge the mountains of Esau, and the kingdom shall be the Lord's.

John W. Ritenbaugh
God's Promises Are Sure!


 

Revelation 3:12

When God resurrects us into His Kingdom, He will give us names to designate our existence, nature, and responsibility in the Kingdom. We are assured of carrying God's own name if we overcome sin. What a tremendous reward to bear His name for all eternity!

Martin G. Collins
The Third Commandment


 

 




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