The Devotional Diva - What’s In a Name?  

The Devotional Diva - What’s In a Name?

By Barbara Gobbs
Executive Assistant and Ministry Partner - Pocket Full of Change Ministries

“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we are saved” Acts 4:12 [That name is Jesus]

I believe people pick out names for their children based on what is pretty, popular and what sounds good. Since my daughter just had a baby – we’ve just experienced this name-the-child process. Of course, she passed over my submission, but I digress.

Sometimes we name our babies after someone special in our lives or even ourselves. Perhaps it follows a pattern or makes cool initials. These are all fascinating ways to name a child. However, in Biblical times, names often represented who the child would grow up to be or circumstances surrounding the child’s birth.

Abraham of the Old Testament means “father of many.” Pharaoh’s daughter named a certain baby, Moses, because she drew him from the water. Mary was instructed to name her child Jesus, which translates “the Lord is salvation.” If you read the Bible, you will find these names were indeed, accurately given.

Just out of curiosity, do you know what your name means? I know what mine does and I’ve been poking fun at it for years. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so glib. For grins and giggles, I researched the Internet to see if anything new popped up. Nope, the meaning has not changed but I did pick up a few more morsels of information.

My first name has Greek, Latin American and English translations. The short definition is “strange” Not too many of my friends will argue that point! However, the more accurate definition is foreigner or stranger. That ties in with Psalm 119:19a that declares,“I am a stranger on this earth.”

My search also uncovered that apparently some other Barbara is the patron saint of miners, sailors and architects. She is called to defend them against any untimely death, like lightning strikes. Apparently, her father killed her and then he was struck by lightning. Tisk-Tisk. The moral of the story: you might mess with Texas but not a gal named Barbara!

All in all, I guess my name represents a very real aspect of my Christian beliefs. After all, I am truly only a stranger in this land – my real home is in heaven. However, the bottom line is that I was named after a cousin who was a secretary for the FBI.

I think it is safe to say that the true value of my name is not measured by mere definition of words but perhaps of works. Do I live out what I believe with consistency? To coin a phrase, does my walk match my talk? You see, I voluntarily choose to have my name identified with Jesus. However, my name and my life mean nothing without Jesus. Therefore, do I actually live in a way others can see Christ in me? Is there meaning to what they see in me? What about you?

Rather than searching a website for what our name means, maybe we should try something simple like this: write these words on a piece of paper: (insert your name here) means . . . .

When someone hears your name, how would they fill in the blank?

As your name is spoken - does it mean: faithfulness, compassion, kindness, gentleness, word of salvation to the one who hears it? Is there any way it might mean: unkind, unforgiving, prideful, hateful, uncaring to those around you? I pray not!

So what’s in a name? You tell me!

May our names be a constant reflection of the name of Jesus and His character! Barbara

Barbara Gobbs is a ministry partner with and the Executive Assistant of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. For more information, to schedule a speaker for an event, or to request a newsletter, go to or call Gail Golden, Publicist at 904 316-5462. This ministry is supported by donations. If this ministry helps you or others, and God calls you to help support this work, you can make a donation to Pocket Full of Change Ministry at POB 51205, Jacksonville Beach, Florida 32240.

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