Choosing a first name for a new arrival is often a carefully considered process that can be influenced by various factors: family traditions, cultural trends or even personal stories. Among the most enduring and universal sources of inspiration are sacred texts such as the Bible. For generations, biblical names have found their way into families around the world, offering not only a pleasing sound but also a wealth of meaning and cultural or spiritual heritage. In this article, we'll explore the most common biblical names across time and culture, and the stories and meanings that make them so captivating.
The origins of biblical names
The Old Testament
Many first names come from the Old Testament, reflecting Jewish history and culture. These names, such as David or Sarah, have meanings that are deeply rooted in the biblical stories.
The New Testament
The New Testament also offers an abundance of first names, mainly centred around the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Names like Mary and Peter are perfect examples.
Most Popular Male Forenames
The name David is a classic that has stood the test of time. It means "beloved" in Hebrew. In the Bible, David is the second king of Israel, and his story is full of bravery, poetry and complexity.
David remains one of the most popular first names in many countries, mainly because of its biblical and cultural heritage.
Meaning "Who is like God?", Michael is another popular biblical name. The archangel Michael is often seen as a heavenly protector and warrior.
In the Western world, Michael is one of the most commonly given names, partly due to its importance in the Bible.
Gabriel, which means "God is my strength", is an archangel important in biblical texts, particularly in announcing the birth of Jesus to Mary.
This name has grown in popularity in recent years, especially among families looking for an angelic or celestial name.
Most Popular Female Forenames
Sarah, which means "princess" in Hebrew, was Abraham's wife and the mother of Isaac. Her story is one of the most emblematic in the Old Testament.
Sarah continues to be a popular choice for girls, especially for families looking for a name that is both classic and meaningful.
Mary is the mother of Jesus. The name means "beloved" or "lady" in Hebrew.
This name has peaked in popularity at various times and remains a traditional and enduring choice.
Rebecca means "she who unites" or "servant of God" in Hebrew. In the Bible, she is Isaac's wife and the mother of Jacob and Esau.
Rebecca is a timeless name that has regained popularity in the 21st century.
The name Jordan is inspired by the river where Jesus was baptised. It means "to go down" in Hebrew, in reference to the river's movement towards the Dead Sea.
Jordan is a popular choice for both boys and girls, and has become even more popular in recent decades.
Alexis, although not directly from the Bible, is of Greek origin and means 'defender'. It is often associated with character traits such as loyalty and bravery, qualities valued in biblical texts.
This name has seen an increase in popularity, especially as a name for girls, but it is also used for boys.
Choosing a name for your child is an important task that can have lasting implications. Biblical names not only sound melodious, they are also rich in history and meaning. From royal figures to angels to iconic characters, these names continue to inspire and touch people of all cultures and faiths. By choosing a biblical name, you are giving your child a cultural and spiritual heritage that will stay with them throughout their lives.
What is the source of the meanings of first names?
Most of the meanings of biblical names are taken from the original languages of the Bible, including Hebrew and Greek.
Are biblical names popular in all cultures?
While the influence of biblical names is strongest in Judeo-Christian cultures, many have found their way into different cultures around the world.
How do I choose a biblical name for my child?
The best way to choose a biblical name for your child is to find a name that has a special meaning for you, either because of the biblical story associated with it or because of the sound of the name.