Names in New Testament

Of the 173 names of persons given in the New Testament, 62 are of unknown meaning. Of these 60 are taken from the Greek, one from Latin, and one from the Hebrew. In the Old Testament the majority of proper names are derived from the Hebrew; in the New Testament, from the Greek. In the latter, of the names dealing with the Deity. They are

  • Ananias, Jehovah protects
  • Elizabeth, worshipper of God
  • Gabriel, strong man of God
  • Gamaliel, God recompenses
  • Heli, Jehovah is high
  • Jesus, Jehovah saves
  • John, gift of God
  • Matthias, gift of Jehovah
  • Michael, who is like God?
  • Nathanael, gift of God
  • Timothy, honoring God
  • Zachary, Jehovah remembers
  • Zebedee, gift of God

A large class of proper names for men and women is made up of adjectives denoting personal characteristics, such as

  • Andrew, manly
  • Asyncritus, incomparable
  • Bernice, victorious
  • Clement (Latin), kind
  • Eunice, victorious
  • Pudens, modest
  • Timon (Hebrew), honorable
  • Zacheus, pure

Names of things, and words referring to trades or avocations were taken as proper names:

  • Andronicus, conqueror
  • Anna, grace
  • Caiphas, oppressor
  • Judas, praise
  • Malchus, ruler
  • Manahen, comforter
  • Mary (Hebrew), bitter sea
  • Philip, lover of horses
  • Prochorus, leader of a chorus
  • Salome, peace
  • Tyrannus, tyrant

Some names seem to have been suggested by particular circumstances:

  • Cleophas, of an illustrious father
  • Joseph, whom the Lord adds
  • Mnason, he who remembers
  • Onesiphorus, bringer of profit
  • Philologus, lover of words
  • Sosipater, saviour of his father

Names of animals and plants are not frequent, the only example being

  • Damaris, heifer
  • Dorcas and Tabitha, gazelle
  • Susanna, lily
  • Rhode, rosebush

Names derived from numbers are

  • Quartus, fourth
  • Tertius and Tertullus, third

Names without Christian significance and probably derived from pagan mythology are:

  • Apollo, contracted form, of Apollonios, belonging to Apollo
  • Apollyon
  • Diotrephes, nourished by Jupiter
  • Epaphroditus, beautiful
  • Hermes
  • Hermogenes
  • Phebe, shining

“Bar” in a name means “son of,” e.g.,

  • Barabbas, son of the learned man
  • Barnabas, son of consolation
  • Barsabas, son of Sabas
  • Bartimeus, son of Timai
  • Bartholomew, son of Tolmai

There is only one word derived from a color,

  • Rufus, red

Names derived from kindred are

  • Thomas and Didymus, twin
  • Trophimus, foster-child