The Importance of Names

Names have significance. They have power. They define us.

the importance of names

They’re more than a bunch of letters grouped together to sound pleasant to the ear. Names are more than a convenience allowing people to talk to each other. Names are a gift from God. These words contain His power. They give things meaning. They bring us meaning.

“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” – Proverbs 22:1 (NIV)

In the Old Testament in Genesis, God said, “Let there be light.” And there was. He named it into existence.

God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” And there was. He called it sky. And He called the dry ground land. From that land, God made man. He made Adam (Earth). Then God gave the power to name to this first man.

Adam named the animals. And he named Eve (Mother of All). And that power has been given to us.

Consider the freedom that comes in naming a fear you have, or the cause of shame you hide, or the root of anger strangling you. When I own my fears, say them out loud, identify them, then I loosen the controlling grip they have over me.

That’s the significance and power of a name.

When I was born, my mother gave me a name — Christopher. It means Christ-bearer. My Father gave me a name too. It’s a bit different. It came later in my life. It’s my “true name,” the name He calls me. And it’s a name I’m still trying to grow into — Love Giver and Teacher.

When God gave me a name, like He did with people in the Bible including Abraham, Sarah and Jacob, He said to me,

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” — Ephesians 5:8 (NIV)

When God gave me my name, He said I am a new creation in Jesus Christ; the old has gone, the new has come. God’s Word is helping me to understand the meaning of my name and the kind of character I should seek. It tells me to surrender self, to imitate God’s character, and to live a life of love.

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” — Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV)”

I recently saw a story from Indonesia that highlights the significance of a name.

Yudea is a 21-year-old mother and has been part of our Survival Program (CSP) for three years. She has two children.

Before enrolling in the CSP, Yudea “didn’t know the importance of having a healthy environment. She didn’t know the benefit of boiling water before drinking it, or washing hands before touching meals. She never asked her children to take a bath or wash their hands and feet after they play. She didn’t know that if someone doesn’t clean up his or her body, he or she can get sick easily.”

When Yudea gave birth to her daughter, “she couldn’t buy milk or vitamins to boost her daughter’s health, so her daughter got sick easily.” After enrolling in the CSP, this changed.

the importance of names cisipi

She received nutritious food, vitamins, milk and a lot of information that supported her as a pregnant mother. She also was able to go to regular pregnancy checkups at the doctor without having to think twice about what she and her husband would have to pay.

So when she gave birth to her second child, a healthy son, Yudea showed her thankfulness to God by naming her son Cisipi.

Cisipi doesn’t get sick easily, like other children in his neighborhood. As he plays with friends his same age, Cisipi looks different. He is more active than the other children. When other children don’t have extra energy to run around, Cisipi can run everywhere without feeling tired at all. Cisipi is a fast learner and he loves to ask his mother questions.

Cisipi is the acronym of our Survival Program (CSP), with an “i” added between each letter. The meaning of the name is “grateful to God.”

“It is a form of my gratitude because the CSP has made my son grow healthy and smart,” says Yudea.

Names are important. They contain meaning for people. They define who we are. And usually we’re not who we think we are.


Do you share a name with a child in poverty, in desperate need of help?

Click on this link to find a child in poverty with your name!

Find a Child With Your Name! ›

We originally published this post on June 25, 2010.

25 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Avatar
    RaghavWatts June 11, 2018

    It is great!! Each of our name defines us has an impact similar to our very presence. God has helped man become one formidable being and still we are all different. A name,a difference helps change explains the existence of room for growth.

  2. Avatar
    Karen April 29, 2017

    It means so much to be able to choose your sponsored chilld by name. 25 years ago my brother died. His name was Stephen. When the time came to find a child to sponsor, God sent me to a little beauty with the same name. As I write to Stephen and see that beautiful name in print, I am finally starting to heal. Thank you Compassion, for living up yo your name. Blessings.

  3. Avatar
    McLord December 19, 2016

    Names means a lot therefore be careful how you name your children

  4. Avatar
    Ythes August 26, 2015

    looking for the meaning of the name TY

  5. Avatar
    Sunet van der Toorn April 21, 2015

    Where do I get the biblical meaning of my name(s)?

    1. Susan Sayler
      Susan Sayler April 21, 2015

      Hi Sunet! I am so sorry but we are not able to provide the biblical meaning of your name(s). I tried to research your name on Google by looking under “Sunet name meaning” and I could not retrieve anything.

  6. Avatar
    EJIKE AHIABUIKE August 24, 2014

    IGBO NAMES HAVE PHILOSOPHICAL MEANINGS.MY NAME IS EJIKEMEUWA AND IT MEANS THERE IS NO HURRY IN LIFE.

  7. Avatar
    Justine July 29, 2014

    I loved this message. It was the inspiration for me to write this post on my blog: http://www.printabletreats.com/importance-names/

    1. Emily Vanhoutan
      Emily Vanhoutan July 30, 2014

      Hi Justine! Thanks for sharing these beautiful card ideas; you sure are creative! I absolutely love the concept of spotlighting your child’s name in the letters you send her! She is blessed to have you as a sponsor. -Emily

  8. Avatar
    Lisa November 23, 2013

    In total agreement with previous post dated June 25, 2010, I hope this post will reignite as the world prepares and draws attention to celebrating Thanksgiving/s in North America to Christmas and the significance of CHRISTmas and the Holy Names of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. GLORY! Peace… Joy… Love to all this Christmas 2013.

  9. Avatar
    Titus Yohanna Hwere August 8, 2013

    You have helped me in seeing reasons why God gave His son the NAME JESUS.
    My Dad once told me, “The reason we gave you this name is to be like those people in the Bible” Praise today i am a pastor in fulfillment to my Dad’s prayers.

  10. Avatar
    inijane March 1, 2013

    its an owesome thing to know how much a name means in someones life .

  11. Avatar
    Robert Richards September 27, 2010

    And what would the Christian meaning behind the street name of “Shooter” be and what are your blessings or fears for this boys name.

    1. Avatar
      Carol October 26, 2013

      “Shooter” could be his neighborhood prayer warrior, shooting prayers to the Father as he sees the needs around him.

  12. Avatar
    Amy Wallace June 29, 2010

    Loved this! Especially the meaning behind Cisipi’s name – that’s so cool 🙂

    1. Avatar
      vincent November 12, 2013

      what is meaning of Memar

    2. Avatar
      sebastian December 6, 2010

      GREAT I BELIEVE IT RIGHTin the bible Jabez is seen crying out to God that he changes his name and bless him too,it’s good to have a.good name.

  13. Avatar
    Amanda June 28, 2010

    this is great Chris! thanks!

  14. Avatar
    Lisa June 25, 2010

    I LOVE that!

    If anyone wants to donate to the Child Survival Program, here’s the link:

    https://www.compassion.com/contribution/default.htm

    Hmmm….Chris G., wonder why you have names on the brain right now? 🙂 I hope all is going well…

  15. Avatar
    Chris Giovagnoni June 25, 2010

    I saw this comment on the Compassion Facebook page and thought it was right on the mark.

    It’s from Jonathan Pendergrass.

    This also applies to Prayer! We should be saying the name of the Lord all throughout the time we pray. There is so much Power in the name of the Living King and we do not even realize it! Calling out to God in a personal manner changes the way we pray and the outcome of our prayers!
    Just try it out, I guarentee you will feel a more intimate relationship with the one that wants us to talk to him as our Best Friend!
    God Bless you all, my brothers and sisters in Christ!

  16. Avatar
    Juli Jarvis June 25, 2010

    Love this post so much! Love your name and the one Yudea gave Cisipi! I have a name God calls me too…

  17. Avatar
    Judy June 25, 2010

    That is so sweet! What an awesome story. The end just melted my heart. Compassion is doing such wonderful things for these children. May God continue to bless their work every day. 🙂

  18. Avatar
    Sarah June 25, 2010

    That is so cool!

  19. Avatar
    Sherry W. June 25, 2010

    A new name in the world because of Compassion – great story!

  20. Avatar
    Cheri Duchrow June 25, 2010

    Awesome! Well said and very inspirational.

Add a Comment