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Bible verses about God's Name
(From Forerunner Commentary)

In Psalm 8:1, God uses two names for Himself: "LORD" is YHWH, the self-existent One, the Eternal, the name God frequently uses when He is emphasizing His covenant relationship with us. "Lord" is Adonim, a plural title indicating ownership—in this case He owns the entire creation!

Both of these names are at times combined with other words to form even more specific descriptions of Him. The name most frequently combined and recognized is YHWH. Here is a short list of some of them:

YHWH-Jireh—God our Provider—Genesis 22:14.
YHWH-Mekaddishkem—God who sanctifies—Exodus 31:13.
YHWH-Nissi—God is my banner—Exodus 17:15.
YHWH-Roi—God our shepherd—Psalm 23:1.
YHWH-Ropheka—God our healer—Exodus 15:26.
YHWH-Shalom—God our peace—Judges 6:24.
YHWH-Shammah—God is present—Ezekiel 48:35.
YHWH-Zidkenu—God our righteousness—Jeremiah 23:6.

Psalm 23:1-6—which more people claim as their favorite portion of Scripture than any other—is a brief expounding of these eight names of God! Though the names do not actually appear in the verses, the implication of how God serves us is. Verse 1 shows God's guidance (Roi) and providence (Jireh). Verse 2 speaks of Him giving us peace (Shalom), and verse 3, of Him restoring us (Ropheka) and leading us to righteousness (Zidkenu). Verse 4 reminds us how God is with us (Shammah). Finally in verse 5, He encourages (Nissi) and anoints or sanctifies us (Mekaddishkem).

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Third Commandment (1997)


 

Exodus 3:13-14

A name expresses more than mere identification. God's name expresses His nature and operations, so He must explain His name to Moses. The Israelites in Egypt did not know God. They undoubtedly had a memory of Him, or they would not have cried out to Him to relieve them of their bondage. However, they had no relationship with Him and therefore did not really know Him. They knew of Him, but they did not know Him.

By comparison, neither did we know Him when we were in spiritual Egypt, even though we were not completely ignorant of Him. When Paul spoke to the pagan Greeks in Acts 17, he spoke assuming that they knew somewhat of the God he represented. He introduced his God to them as the "unknown God," and explained enough about Him to enable them to relate to Him. Nor were they completely ignorant of the God of creation. Nevertheless, when in spiritual Egypt, ignorance of God and His true nature and operations is pretty deep, and that is part of humanity's basic problem.

John W. Ritenbaugh
A Pre-Passover Look


 

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


 

Exodus 20:7

The third commandment emphasizes the holy quality of His character and offices as identified by His names. His names reveal what He is. It is the Christian's responsibility to adorn and uphold the reputation and glory of all that those names imply. When we were regenerated, His Family name—God—became our Family name! We were baptized by the Spirit of God into that name. The third commandment therefore covers the quality of our witness in bearing that name.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fifth Commandment


 

Exodus 33:19-20

We cannot be sure what Moses had in mind when he asked to see God's glory. He probably wanted to see God's glorious and radiant brilliance and form. God obliged to some degree, but He gave Moses something more than he expected—in fact, something totally unexpected. As He passed by him, He preached a sermon on His name, the third commandment!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Third Commandment (1997)


 

Exodus 34:5-8

God expounds eleven attributes: YHWH, El, the Merciful One, the Gracious One, the Longsuffering One, the Mighty One, the Kind and Loving One, the True One, the One who Preserves Kindness, the Forgiving One, and the Chastising One.

God gives Moses, not so much a vision of His power and majesty, but of His love, of how He relates to His creation. The real glory of God is His character, His nature, especially toward His children. His names are signposts of His nature, reminders of what we can expect Him to do as we live by faith.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Third Commandment (1997)


 

Exodus 34:5

God was preaching him a sermon on what He is. The names of God describe Him. They tell us what God is, what He does, and what He will do for us.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Forbearance


 

Exodus 34:5-8

What man or institution has these qualities? In addition, He is the eternal Creator, Healer, Savior, Judge, and the very pinnacle of wisdom, understanding, and grace.

Yet, mankind is so deluded that, without realizing it, many worship their consciences formed by their own earthly experiences. Their consciences are nothing more than an inner voice, a sort of a moral policeman that has taken up residence within. Can it be trusted? Do we trust ours? This is better than nothing, but conscience is easily perverted and often abnormally developed because it is almost entirely dependent upon upbringing and propaganda from this world's media. Since this is Satan's world, there is little chance that a person's conscience will be entirely aligned with God's standards.

Others superimpose on God their conceptions of a human father, but this, too, is woefully inadequate. What if one has no father as part of his life? What if his father was stupid, foolish, tyrannical, or over-indulgent? What kind of positive impression will that leave? Is God merely a grand old man, a head-patting, gray-headed, somewhat doddering person whose mind wanders back to better times, forgetful of what is occurring on the earth and in our lives?

God's name is "I was, I am, I will be." He has lived for eternity, but He is not old; He is every bit as modern as tomorrow. When God came as a man, He showed He did not have a completely placid temperament, a God who would not say, "Boo!" He did not just let sleeping dogs lie. He was not uninspired and uninspiring; Jesus stirred people up so that they said, "No man ever spoke like this Man!" (John 7:46). He challenged and exposed the hypocrisies of the religion of His day and was moved to deep anger by the shameless exploitation taking place at the Temple. He was of such personality that He walked unscathed through hostile crowds. Jesus was meek, but the term indicates that He had the power to use as He willed, restraining it as an act of mercy, wisdom, and love.

Christianity is not for the soft and sentimental. We have a war on our hands, and our God is a powerful warrior—the Lord of Hosts is His name. He is on our side, but He demands our loyalty.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The First Commandment


 

Exodus 34:5-7

Here is how God obliged Moses: Besides passing before him and revealing His form except for His face, He preaches to him what amounted to a sermon on His name—on the third commandment! He expounds eleven attributes: Yahweh, El, the Merciful Being, the Gracious One, the Longsuffering One, the Mighty One, the Bountiful Being, the True One, the Preserver of Bountifulness, He who bears away iniquity, and He who visits iniquity.

God did not demonstrate for Moses His power and majesty, but His love, His way of relating to His creation. In other words, the glory of God is the manifestation of His character, His nature, His manner of dealing with His people, His potential children. His names are signposts of His attributes and character. They advertise His nature. They remind us of what we can expect Him to do and what He requires.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Third Commandment


 

Exodus 34:5-7

In Exodus 33:18, Moses requests God to display His glory. How did God respond to that request? He preached him a sermon on His name! Or we could say that He expounded before Moses on the third commandment. What we have here is probably just the barest summary of what God said—the notes, as it were, of what He talked about more fully. He likely preached him a sermon on eleven names of God: Yahweh, El, the Merciful One, the Gracious One, the Longsuffering One, the Almighty, the Bountiful One, the True One, the Preserver of Abundance, He Who Takes Away Iniquity, and He Who Visits Iniquity.

What He did before Moses was rehearse His nature. It was so encouraging to Moses, because he knew then that the children of Israel would not be abandoned—that God would be with him—because of what He is. He would remain with them, though not because Israel deserved His presence in any way, shape, or form—every single one of them deserved to be dead! But because God is God, He would continue through with His purpose, and these names exemplified what He would be doing.

So God did not give Moses a vision of His majesty and power, but of His character. The glory of God is the manifestation of His nature, of His character, of His way of relating to His creation—especially to His children. His names are signposts of His nature. They are reminders to us of what we can expect Him to do. That is why Moses was so encouraged.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Holiness (Part 1)


 

Psalm 8:1-4

Other translations use words like "glorious," "majestic," and "to be admired" rather than "excellent" to express the feelings generated by meditating on how God is revealed by the heavens He created! The starry heavens stretched before David showcase the awesome and spectacular majesty of God.

Commenting on verse 1, the Soncino Commentary says that God's majesty is "rehearsed above the heavens." Rehearse can mean "to repeat" or "tell in detail." David tells us that God has invested the heavens with awesome splendor to direct man's mind to ponder the Creator's existence, majesty, and excellence. This thought also implies that He is just as majestic in demonstrating Himself on earth as He is in the heavens. What excellence do we see in earth and heaven? Power, order, beauty, loving providence, wisdom, reason, logic, and vastness of thinking.

David intended this psalm to direct our thinking toward God's greatness and puny man's insignificance. However, that awesome, majestic, glorious God is glorifying Himself in man! He has chosen what the world considers weak and foolish—us—to appreciate and respect His glory, His name.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Third Commandment (1997)


 

Psalm 8:1-4

Modern translations replace "excellent" with terms like "glorious," "great," or "majestic." The glory of God is revealed in His creation. One of His names, of course, is Creator. The psalmist sees the starry heavens stretched above him as an awesome and spectacular showcase of the majestic power of God.

The Soncino Commentary translates the second phrase of the first verse as, "Whose majesty is rehearsed above the heavens." The author comments, "The psalmist is saying that day after day man has the awesome splendor of God's power displayed before him." Thus, God has invested the heavens with glorious splendor to direct the mind of man to the Creator's majesty. This idea accepts that He is greater than even His creation demonstrates.

What excellence or glory do we see in the earth and sky? Do we consciously realize that a creator, any creator, is greater than what he creates, and do we then apply that inference to God? Do we see in it our holy Creator's power, order, beauty, loving providence, wisdom, reason, logic, and vastness of thought? Some measure of this will occur if we make the effort to seek Him.

God intends this psalm to direct our thinking toward His greatness and puny man's insignificance. Yet, that majestic, awesome God is glorifying Himself in man by creating in him the desire to be like Him! He has chosen what is weak and foolish—even by the world's standards—to appreciate and respect His glory, His name. Rightly understood, this is a truly humbling meditation.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Third Commandment


 

Psalm 18:1-3

David begins by declaring, "Fervently do I love you!" and then delivers a torrent of God's names, eight of them! He knew God's attributes as expressed by His names, trusted what they taught him, and conducted his life accordingly. By faith, he trusted God to intervene in the affairs of men. Paraphrased, the eight names are "strength," "foundation," "place of safety," "fountain," "deliverer," "my strong God," "defender," and "horn of my salvation."

Consider what David did in light of a modern circumstance: When the car needs repair, we take it to the person who has the title ("auto mechanic") or name (reputation). We do not take it to the dentist. In like manner, we are to seek God in our need in areas in which He has revealed Himself to us as skilled and willing to help. However, where does that leave one who has not sought God and does not know what He can and will do or what He requires?

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Third Commandment


 

Psalm 23:1-5

Psalm 23:1 says, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want," another instance of Yahweh. This name for God is frequently combined with other words to form more specific descriptions of Him. Psalm 23 is in reality a brief expounding of eight names of God in the first five verses. It brings to light:

YHWH-Roi—God our shepherd—Psalm 80:1.

YHWH-Jireh—God our provider—Genesis 22:14.

YHWH-Shalom—God our peace—Judges 6:24.

YHWH-Nissi—God is my banner—Exodus 17:15.

YHWH-Ropheka—God our healer—Exodus 15:26.

YHWH-Zidkenu—God our righteousness—Jeremiah 23:6.

YHWH-Shammah—God is present—Ezekiel 48:35.

YHWH-Mekaddishkem—God who sanctifies—Exodus 31:13.

Each of these names provides us with building blocks of knowledge to strengthen and encourage us in the use of faith.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Third Commandment


 

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?


 

Daniel 11:32

The word translated "know" (Hebrew, yada; Greek, ginosko) is foundational when considering God's sovereignty. Yada appears in Daniel 11:32: "Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits." "Know" indicates a close, warm, and even passionate intimacy combined with head knowledge that produces an "edge" in a person's life. This enables us to trust God and, at the same time, to perceive what He is doing. It is this factor that makes God's Word authoritative to us.

This warm, close, and passionate relationship forms the very foundation of a true, working willingness to submit to His sovereignty. Do we really believe that, because God is holy, His anger burns against sin? That, because He is righteous, His judgments fall on those who rebel? That, because God is faithful, His promises of blessing or cursing are absolute? That, because God is omnipotent, nobody can resist Him? That, because God is omniscient, there is no problem He cannot master? "The people who know their God" do! Because God is what He is, we are seeing His prophecies of the end of this age being fulfilled in the world and in the church, and that translates into tumultuous, difficult, and sometimes scary and confusing times.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sovereignty of God: Introduction


 

Matthew 6:9

To hallow God's name means to make it holy or set it apart for holy use, respecting it greatly. We hallow His name by obeying Him in all our conduct. Conversely, prayer without obedience is a form of blasphemy (Matthew 7:21, Mark 7:6-7), as is praise offered to God in the attitude of rebellion against His way. It is vain or vanity—useless and contemptible.

Martin G. Collins
The Third Commandment


 

Matthew 28:19-20

The third commandment involves the quality of our personal witness of everything God's name implies. His name represents His position as Creator, Lifegiver, Provider, Ruler, and Sustainer, as well as His character, power, and promises. As Matthew 28:19-20 shows, "God" became our spiritual Family name upon regeneration by His Spirit, and thus we have a responsibility to grow and uphold that name's reputation by bringing honor upon it by our words, deeds, and attitudes.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fourth Commandment (Part One) (1997)


 

Matthew 28:19

Baptism serves to induct us into God's church and Family. We are literally baptized into the name of God. It becomes our Family name, and we have a great responsibility to uphold it (see Exodus 20:7; Proverbs 22:1). Afterwards, when a minister lays his hands on us, God gives us of His Spirit, and we truly become Christians, members of the body of Christ. And because we have God's Spirit in us, we become God's children and heirs with Christ of all things (Romans 8:14-17; Hebrews 2:5-13)!

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Basic Doctrines: Water Baptism


 

John 17:6

Notice that Jesus never mentions how to pronounce the Father's name. Salvation is not based on its pronunciation! Far more important is doing the will of God, an absolute necessity in truly fearing His name. The Father's name guards us from evil by the Word of God, which is truth.

Martin G. Collins
The Third Commandment


 

2 Corinthians 11:2

Jealousy has a well-deserved bad reputation because it is essentially self-centered. However, it has a positive aspect when the affection and passion that it contains are directed at upholding the well-deserved reputation of the one who is loved.

The third commandment bears directly on this subject. It is a command that is easily and carelessly broken unless we are continually conscious of our responsibility to bring honor upon the name of God, which we will do if we love Him. We will be jealous to uphold the reputation of His name.

John W. Ritenbaugh
How to Know We Love Christ


 

1 John 3:1-3

People spend their lives chasing after a name that will bring them a measure of honor or notoriety. They want to be associated with a "name" university, a "name" team, a "name" company; wear clothing with a certain "name" label; drive a "name" automobile; or marry into a certain family "name." Yet, the greatest name that anyone could possibly bear has come to us unbidden. Thus, John is exhorting his readers to remember their privileges in bearing that awesome name. Chrysostom, a fourth-century Catholic archbishop, counseled parents to give children scriptural names, urging them to tell the children stories about the person who bore that name so that, as they matured, they would have something to live up to.

Is there a paradox in what John writes? We know that in order to see God, we need to be like Him. Carnally, we think that to be like Him, we need to see Him. God says that seeing Him is not necessary, as He has chosen to conduct His purposes for man through faith in His Word. He has revealed what He is by His names and by the life of Jesus Christ. By faith, we can emulate Him through His Spirit. If we saw Him in the flesh, our curiosity would likely be satisfied, or we would be so overwhelmed by His perfection that we would give up. That is how human nature works. God's way of faith is better.

Malachi 3:16 provides wise counsel befitting the times in which we live: "Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who meditate on His name." The people described here are pictured as meditating for the purpose of praising, imitating, and passing on their thoughts to each other. They looked for God's good hand in every area of their lives.

David exclaims in Psalm 34:1-3: "I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together."

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Third Commandment


 

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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