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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What are Your Favorite Biblical Names?

Let's work on another entry for the Favorites category; it seems like once we have three entries (and this would be the third), we have enough for a sidebar menu! This time the topic is favorite biblical names.

I find this category difficult because so many biblical names have been completely mainstreamed: if a family had a Michael, a Jacob, and an Abigail, I wouldn't think, "Ah, a biblical theme!"

And many lists contain names that weren't used as names for individuals in the Bible: Eden, Zion, Cana, Jordan, Bethany, Selah, Shiloh---and that seems like a different KIND of biblical name.

And of course there is the Bad Guys problem: Delilah is a lovely name, and I'd go right ahead and use it---but I would not use it AS a biblical name, or put it on a list of favorite biblical names, since then I'd be using it as the namesake of a Bad Guy; I'd only use it as a non-biblical name. Ditto the name Cain, which has a great on-trend sound: I think it's fine to use it, but I wouldn't suggest it to parents looking for a biblical name.

And many biblical names are such that if you asked 100 people, no more than one of them would know it was a name from the Bible or know the story associated with the name.

But are we discouraged? No! We are relaxed, laid-back people, and we can cope with categories that are difficult to pin down! And so as usual with this category of post, we will not sweat it: we will just make lists of names that we think of as biblical names, and we will just mention the one or ones we like. We will not fret overmuch about making sure the ones we list are our Very Very Favorites; we will just make a little list and be done with it. We will not worry about listing ones someone else has already listed, because duplicates make this a better resource for people looking to see what names of this sort are in favor. And if we think of more names later, we can come back and add them at any time: this will be a work in progress, available for anyone who wants to add to it or anyone who wants to use it to browse for ideas.

I would add the general suggestion that anyone considering a Biblical name look up the name in the Bible before using it. (Typing the name and the word "Bible" into a search engine is a pretty good way to catch all the references---and to make sure it's in there.)

Here is my own casual, fret-free list:

Anna
Bethany
Elizabeth
Eve
Esther
Miriam
Naomi
Ruth

Benjamin
Daniel
Ethan
Isaac
James
Joel
John
Mark
Paul
Reuben
Simon

68 comments:

Michelle said...

I love this category, especially for the boys. Because I would describe my favorite style for boys as 'puritan farm names', and many of those are right out of the Bible. My favorites:
Asa, Silas, John, Ezekiel (this one I like for the nick- Zeke), Jedediah, Samuel and Caleb (again, for the nick- Cale)

For the girls:
Mary, Rachel, Rebecca, Dinah, Lydia, Esther and Eve.

In the 'in the Bible but not a name' category:
Shiloh (although, I would not use this reference to one of the bloodiest battles of the War of Northern Aggression), and Abilene.

Alex said...

Boys:
Josiah
Caleb
John
Matthew
Jacob
Joseph
Elijah/Eli
Benjamin
David

Girls:
Eve
Ruth
Mary
Hannah
Rachel
Rebecca
Martha
Anna

Oh, I love bible names. My favourite boys names are Josiah and Eli, and my favourite girls are Martha and Anna.

Alex said...

Oh, and I forgot Isaac! I love it. I think I need to have a lot of kids in order to use all these names...

Sarah said...

I have two Biblical names for boys:

Judah

Asher

I like that Judah means "praise, thankful" and that Asher means "happy, blessed".

For a girl, though it's not Biblical, per se, I like Kyrie (pronounced Keer-ee-Ae), which is Greek for "Lord". It's from the part of church liturgy called "Kyrie Eleison" which means "Lord, have mercy". But, then, I'm a big liturgy nerd.

Wendy said...

Justus
Rachel
Leah
Asher
Nathan
Ezra

Colleen said...

I am sad to not see Isaiah on the list. That is one of my favorites and not as commonly used as Isaac.

I also love:
Jonah
Ezra
Reuben
Soloman
Isaac
James
Matthias
Asher
Judah
Jude
Simeon (I like it better than straight up Simon)
Amos
Malachi
Elijah

Girls:
Naomi
Chloe
Phoebe
Lydia
Anna
Elizabeth

Swistle said...

Colleen- But it IS on the list! You have put it on the list! We are making this list together!

Therese said...

My Biblical Names list would be:

Mary
Rachel
Rebecca
Sarah
Elizabeth
Ruth
Naomi
Magdalene

Matthew
John
James
Jacob
Elijah
Noah
Mark
Paul
Simon
Luke
Benjamin
Daniel
Isaac
Cain
Abraham
Jonah

Anonymous said...

Ephraim, Micah, Leah, Rachel

Colleen said...

Swistle: Then, I put it on the list. :)

Isaiah! :)

Thanks!

Gail said...

Junia

David

Elisabeth said...

Boys:
Andrew
Asher
Benjamin
Ephraim
Ezra
Gideon
James
Levi
Simon

I wrote this down, and then I realized that I have a fondness for the names in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers :)

Girls:
Miriam
Mary
Esther
Elizabeth
Ruth
Susanna
Tabitha

Tracy said...

Another poster already said "Ezra" but that's one that isn't super popular.
Or Ezekiel
Hosea
Obedia
Levi
Amos
Jonah
Micah
Joshua
Jonah

Anonymous said...

If I were to use a biblical name it would be out of admiration. Therefore, my favorite people from the bible are:

Girls
Deborah
Jael
Rebecca
Miriam
Mary
Martha

Boys
Barak
Elijah
John
Gideon
Moses
Joseph
Isaiah

Kit said...

Sarah

Noah
Luke
Matthew
Jonah
Gideon
Adam

Anonymous said...

Boys
Thomas!
Levi
Josiah
Uriah
Isaac
Nathan
Jonas
Jonah
David
Abraham
Abram

Girls
Miriam
Ruth
Sarah
Elizabeth

Laura said...

I absolutely adore Biblical boy names. My 3 sons have New Testament names for their first and their middles. My boys are: Paul Stephen, Mark Joseph, and James Philip. I'd love a future son to be Luke but that's dh's younger brother so it's probably not possible. Thomas is a long time favorite of mine as well but it sounds a bit off with my surname. The front runner right now for a future son is Andrew. I also see the charm of Peter, Simon, and Timothy.

I'm not as wild about Biblical girls names. My two favorites are Ruth and Elizabeth. Phoebe, Lydia, and Chloe are great as well. I think Lois is a bit dated for current use but I think it's a nice name as well.

Anonymous said...

Leah (love how it sounds, but would have a hard time using it since her story is sad)
Rachel
Rebecca
Elizabeth
Ruth (solely because I like Ruth the person; if it weren't Biblical, I wouldn't like it)
Magdalene, nn Maggie (but I'd never use it since people think Mary Magdalene = prostitute)


Asa
David
Mark
Luke
Daniel
Stephen
Samson

Anonymous said...

My sons name is Isaiah - love it!!

Also...
Canaan
Levi
Gideon
Judah
Ezra
Malachi

Anna
Ruth
Leah
Selah

Annika said...

Samuel is my favorite for boys, and Ruth for girls. (My children are Sam and Grace, and I could make a case for Grace being biblical despite not being an actual name that was given to people until the 1700s, but...I won't.)

Anonymous said...

Boys:

Ethan
Nathan
Judah
Jonah
Gideon
Solomon
Asher

Girls:

Magdalene (it's my favorite despite the connotations)
Rebekah (from the Old Testament - this is my sister's middle name)
Keturah (I know two girls with this name)
Miriam
Elizabeth
Eve
Selah

Janelle said...

Phoebe
Tabitha
Dinah
Jemima
Keturah
Mary

Jude
Jeremiah
Joel
Levi
Joseph
Jesse
Philip
Silas

Patricia said...

Girls:
Anne / Anna
Abigail
Elizabeth
Joanna
Rachel
Rebecca
Sarah
Susanna

Boys:
Andrew
Daniel
David
Ethan
James
John
Jonathan
Joseph
Matthew
Michael
Thomas
Timothy

It seems that we should define what we mean by "biblical baby names" and set some perimeters before this category joins the sidebar menu.

Are we including any word that is in the bible, whether or not it was the name of a person?

Are we including names that evolved from biblical names: e.g., Elizabeth --> Isabelle and John-->Evan?

What about female forms of male names like Joseph-->Josephine; Michael-->Michaela?

And how about the offshoots of those names: Michaela -- Mikayla -- Kayla -- Kaylee?

The website biblical-baby-names.com includes all of the above and more. I found their indication of which names in the SSA Top 500 names of 2010 are "biblical" of interest, including:
Jayden
Mason
Jackson
Tyler
Evan
Julian, etc.

Isabella
Addison
Alexis
Alyssa
Ashley
Brooklyn
Kaylee
Gianna, etc.

http://www.biblical-baby-names.com/popular-names-2010.html

Julie said...

Joseph is very much from the Old Testament (or as Jews know it, *The Bible,* since there's nothing else for them). Joseph was the favored youngest son of Jacob {because his mother was Rachel}. He was sold into slavery by his older brothers and like his brothers, has one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel named for him.

My favorite biblical names are:
Rebecca
Rachel
Sarah
Hannah
Eve

Isaac
Joseph
Eli{jah}
Nathan
Samuel

Annie said...

Oooo, fun one!

Boys:
Levi
Abel
Asa
Ezra
Amos
Samson
Jethro
Simon
Moses
Abram

Girls:
Miriam
Naomi
Tabitha
Jemima
Susanna
Dinah
Phoebe
Priscilla
Shiloh

Michelle said...

Don't know HOW I missed Jemima and Jesse, but I definitely second them.

Laura said...

I don't think anyone mentionned Nathaniel yet.

StephLove said...

Benjamin
David
Isaiah
Jonah
Joshua
Micah
Noah
Zachary

Elizabeth
Leah
Naomi
Rebecca
Ruth
Susannah

Claire Wessel said...

Boys:
Cyrus
Judah
Asa
Ezra
Hezekiah
Saul
Reuel
Raphael
Shiloh
Simeon (which hubs vetoes because he thinks "simian" when he hears it)

Girls:
Jezebel (maybe I'll be brave enough to use it someday!)
Delilah
Naomi
Eden
Vashti
Mary
Selah
Eve

Claire Wessel said...

ack! Forgot to put Keturah and Jerusha

Issas Crazy World said...

Alexander, Samuel, Micah, Gabriel, Benjamin, Matthew, Isaac, Nathaniel, James, Thomas, Michael and Charles. Although I'm unsure if Charles is, or if I just think it's biblical.

Almost all of my favorite boys names are biblical. Although for me, it's the classic feel to them, instead of the religious one.

Girls...Elizabeth, Anne (I think is one?), Phoebe and Abigail are the ones I can think of.

Jessica said...

My favorite boy name EVER is Luke. I love it so. I'm still bitter my husband won't use it.

Although, I think now I need to start saying my favorite boy name is Paul, as that's my son's name. (I do love it. Probably more than Luke at this point, because it's associated with my son.)

I'm also a big fan of Thomas, my husband's name. You can see we're a big fan of mainstreamed biblical names.

monicabenson said...

I think Judith is a fresh choice for a little girl - I'm surprised I haven't seen it yet. I don't care for Judy, but Judith is lovely.

Anonymous said...

Well, I am learning a lot here -- I didn't realize that some names I love, like Phoebe and Tabitha, were Biblical names! Fun.

Off the top of my head, I love Nathaniel, Bartholomew, James, Luke, Timothy, Tabitha (!), Phoebe, Mary.

Anonymous said...

Mary
Sarah
Rachel
Magdalena
Adah
Julia

Ezekiel
Elijah
Isaac
Peter
Aaron

Anonymous said...

Gotta add Priscilla as I haven't seen it yet. :)

Anonymous said...

Anna, Miriam, Rachel, Elizabeth, Tabitha

Adam, Jacob, Thomas, James, Matthew, Jonathan, Nathaniel

My Biblical style preference is obviously for the names that have gone more mainstream.

booksdontgrowontrees said...

Gideon (It's top of my middle-name list)
Samuel (Husband's name)
Silas
Josiah
Malachi
Thomas

Micaiah (Male name in the Bible but I like it as a girl's name)
Adlai (Also a male name but I like it-and variations thereof-for girls)
Moriah (Significant place name in the Bible, also my daughter's middle name)

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add Titus to the list. Love it.

I have a friend who has Gideon, Moriah and Titus.

Erin said...

Being not-even-remotely religious, super-Biblical names are generally off-putting to me (for my own kids, they don't both me for other peoples' kids!), but there are a few I do like:

Caleb
John
Michael
Gabriel (Gabe)
Abel (thanks, Sons of Anarchy!)
Luke (one of my favorites ever, but can't use it because my daughter is Lorelai and that would be like naming my kids Romeo and Juliet)

Leah
Rachel
Abigail
Elizabeth

mamashine said...

I had no idea Chloe was a biblical name.

Samuel
Luke
Jude
Josiah
Noah
Nathaniel
Isaiah
Micah

Hannah
Leah
Rebekah
Bethany
Selah

The Mrs. said...

Rufus
Gaius
Bartholomew
Nicodemus
Augustus (hmmm... maybe not so much of a "good guy" though)
Amos
Felix (also not such a good guy)

Miriam
Phoebe
Chloe
Anna
Eve
Esther

K said...

I second the previous poster's re Deborah. She was a female judge, prophetess, and military leader at the time that women weren't exactly in the profession!

If I used it myself I would probably want to use the Hebrew form: Devorah/Devora. I think it sounds and looks a bit fresher and more current than Deborah.


Carolyn said...

Girls:
Kezia (It means "from the Cassia tree" and I would almost say I like Cassia better, but it's a stretch to call that biblical)
Rebekah
Miriam
Ruth

Boys:
Benjamin
Joseph
Thomas
Luke
Paul

Jenny Grace said...

One of my favorite name categories.

Gabriel
James
Jesse
Levi
Daniel
Isaac
Abram
Paul
Adam
Simon

Dinah
Ruth
Eve
Naomi
Miriam
Anne

There's a bunch more; that's off the top of my head.

Karen L said...

Except for the honour name Margaret, all names that we've seriously considered have been biblical. * for my children's actual names.

Aaron
Adam *
Benjamin
Gabriel
James
John *
Jonah
Simon

Naomi *
Rachel
Sarah

These were never contenders for various reasons, but I also really like:

Noah
Raphael

Eve
Mary
Leah

Karen L said...

forgot Micah and Reuben!

Elisabeth said...

Selah (My baby's first name)
Faith (Selah's middle name)
Rebecca
Leah
Hannah
Eden
Shalom (Hebrew)

Judah
Asher
David

We also know a Zipporah (nn Zippy [girl]), Canaan (girl. also Zippy's sister) and Micaiah (boy).

krisfun said...

GIRLS
Claudia
Daphne
Elisabeth
Mary
Miriam
Rebekah
Phoebe
Sarah

BOYS
Darius
David
Gideon
James
Solomon

Heidi J said...

My favorite names that appear in English translations of the Bible:

Miriam
Lydia
Esther
Naomi
Mara
Ruth
Martha

Samuel
Levi
Malachi
Reuben
Simon
Elias (only in the KJV)
Gideon
Isaac
Benjamin
Seth
Thaddeus


Names that are in non-English translations of the Bible:

Eva
Magdalena
Noemi

Eva.G said...

Boys:

Abel
Abner
Adam
Asher
Canaan
Cyrus
David
Eben
Ephraim
Ezra
Hezekiah
Judah
Levi
Luke
Malachi
Manasseh
Micah
Noah
Reuel (my husband's great uncle's name is Reuel!)

Girls:

Esther
Eve
Hannah
Leah
Miriam
Naomi
Phoebe
Ruth
Sarah

Wow, I much prefer Old Testament to New Testament names!

Eva.G said...

And how did I forget these?

Amos
Daniel
Gideon
Jesse
Reuben
Seth
Silas

Eden
Lydia
Rebekah

SOO many good ones!!
Selah

Anonymous said...

Would be handy to split these into Old and New Testament. I'm Jewish and would be uncomfortable with a new testament name.

Anonymous said...

Salome!

Rebecka said...

Some of these names might be spelled differently because I'm Swedish, for example Mary Magdalene is in Sweden called Maria Magdalena.

Magdalena
Susanna
Rachel
Anna
Elizabeth
Rebecca
Mary
Therese
Lydia
Esther
Miriam
Phoebe
Ruth
Leah
Judith
Julia
Helena

James
Aaron
Jonathan
Jude
Daniel
Alexander
Johannes
Emanuel
Samuel
David
Michael
John
Felix
Benjamin
Thomas
Adam

My favourites are Elizabeth, Susanna and Helena for a girl, and Jonathan and Daniel for a boy.


Gwennan said...

I love Biblical names.

My favourites are

Abigail
Anna
Dinah
Esther
Hannah
Lydia
Martha
Miriam
Phoebe
Rebecca
Susanna(h)
Tabitha

Aaron
Adam
Amos
Andrew
Asa
Barnabas
Bartholomew
Caleb
Christopher
Cornelius
Cyrus
Eli
Ezra
Gabriel
Gideon
Isaac
Jesse
John
Joseph
Mark
Matthew
Micah
Nathan
Nathaniel
Paul
Peter
Philip
Raphael
Reuben
Samuel
Seth
Simeon
Simon
Thomas
Timothy
Tobias
Zachary

Gwennan said...

Forgot to add Silas!

vanessa said...

wait wait wait, did someone just call the Civil War the War of Northern Aggression?

I like (although probably wouldn't use unless I had dozens of babies) these names, which I think of as Biblical even though they may well not be even remotely biblical.

Esther
Miriam
Sarah (I WILL use this, family name)
Eve (she was framed!)
Abigail
Aviva
Anna
Hannah
Tova
Rivka
Tzipporah! with the nickname Tzippy!
Naomi
Ruth





Asher
Isaac
Luke
Simon
Abel
Elijah
Noah
Jonah
Silas
Ephraim
Ezra
Gabriel

Rachel said...

Asher
Asa
Noah
Jonas
Samuel

Naomi

Asher is basically my favorite name, ever since I encountered it in he noble. Clearly, I don't like biblical girl names as much (even though I have one) and right now, Naomi is it.

Jen said...

Boys:
Ezra
Elisha/Elias
Josiah
Joel
Matthew
Stephen
John
Asher
Benaiah
Micaiah
Luke
Jordan

Girls:
Rachel
Leah
Lydia
Elisabeth
Jordan
Mahala
Joy
Joanna
Mary
Hannah

Anonymous said...

Esther
Jemima
Mary
Miriam

Abel
Abraham
Eli
Ezekiel
Ezra
Isaac
John
Levi

jmv said...

Miriam
Ruth
Magdalena (has baggage)
Lydia


Gideon
Levi
Reuben
Paul
Saul
Josiah
Peter
Joshua
Isaac
Caleb

jmv said...

Isaiah and Amos, too

Anonymous said...

How can anyone forget HANNAH? I thought that was THE Biblical name for girls!

Tesni said...

Girls:

Eve
Jemima
Keturah
Miriam
Naomi
Phoebe
Sapphira
Susanna
Tamar

Boys:

Andreas
Ariel
Asa
Benjamin
Eli
Ezra
Felix
James
Jude
Levi
Noah
Reuben
Samuel
Simon

Safe to say I love biblical names? ;)

Katy said...

Benjamin
Joshua
Solomon (know a boy with this name and they call him "Solly" and it fits him perfectly!)

Leah (my daughter's name!)
Priscilla
Mary / Miriam


S said...

Galilee
Eden
Moriah
Magdala
Ariel
Talitha
Keturah

Judah
Asher
Naphtali
Canaan
Seth
Silas

Tara Mae said...

Hadassah, Nicknamed Haddi.