By Elizabeth Prata
The other day I wrote an essay about the naming process in the Bible. I find it interesting that God re-named Abram into Abraham, and Simon into Peter. Nebuchadnezzar re-named Daniel and his three friends to retrain their personal identity into being Babylonian and away from being Hebrew. And we all receive from Jesus a new name written on a white stone at the end of the age.
That essay is here.
I think it’s intuitively understood that the one who names another is the one who has authority over the other. I said as much in the previous essay. This explanation from the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary says more:
“The biblical concept of naming was rooted in the ancient world’s understanding that a name expressed essence. To know the name of a person was to know that person’s total character and nature. Revealing character and destiny, personal names might express hopes for the child’s future. Changing of name could occur at divine or human initiative, revealing a transformation in character or destiny (Genesis 17:5, 15; 32:28; Matthew 16:17–18).” Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (pp. 1173–1174).
“The act of naming implied the power of the namer over the named, evidenced in the naming of the animals in Genesis 2:19–20 or Pharaoh’s renaming Joseph (Genesis 41:45; cp. Daniel. 1:6–7; 2 Kings 24:17).” End Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (pp. 1173–1174).
Now, there is another naming convention I’d like to look at.
We are living in days where it is refuted that there are two genders. Where the man is the head of the household. Where the man is expected to make ultimate decisions, who leads, and provides. Where the woman is to help the man, and joyfully submit. And this refutation is from Christians, not just the unsaved!
Adam named Eve.
In Genesis 2:19 we see that God had given Adam dominion over the Garden. He was keeper and guardian of the garden. Further, Adam was given the task of naming all the animals.
Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.
In Genesis 2:23, God formed the woman, and brought her to the man. Adam said,
The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
He named her, not the sole evidence, but another evidence of his leadership of the woman, the animals, and the garden. The one who is in authority is the one who names another. A few verses later Adam named her again-
Now the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living. The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them. (Genesis 3:20)
Again, because we are living in these kind of days, I must re-state that this is not the sole evidence of Adam’s God-given headship over Eve, but it is one.
My church started Sunday School up again. We set up in the gym instead of the smaller choir room, so we could socially distance, a difficult proposition with livestreaming, but they did it AND made a nice backdrop for the panel of speakers.
I think so highly of my elders and teachers and the teaching we receive at our church. We are beginning a several-week discussion of the meaning of the roles of man and woman, husband and wife. Here is the first installment, as we regathered for our Sunday School lessons yesterday. From left to right we have our Teaching Elder Mark, Teaching Elder Greg in the middle, and teacher and discipler of men, Fred. If you would like further explanations, please take a listen. I recommend this teaching.
The Bible is clear. There are roles for men, women, children; roles for pastors, teachers, and elders. Roles for youth and older women and younger, widows and singles. Having or not having this or that role does not mean a person is greater or lesser than another. It’s just the way God organized it.