Knowing God Through His Names and Descriptions

Welcome to a new year of daily expositional meditations. As you have discovered, these E-Med(itations) are more than a devotional, but an exposition of Scripture with application in mind and worship in heart – those twin goals define my objective for you who read these.

Entering the sixth year of E-Meds, I have been overwhelmingly blessed. I often don’t know where a given e-med will lead, but there are constantly new discoveries as these unfold. And the upcoming series is no exception.

This new series will be quite different from the five years prior. Those previous ones worked through consecutive sections of Scripture: the book of Matthew, prison epistles, the book of Hebrews, the Upper Room and the book of Romans. The new series is topical, going through the names and descriptions of God in Scripture. So we will not be following consecutively through a Scripture section.

My biggest decision (and one which I lost some sleep over!) was how to order the list of names and descriptions. Where do I draw the line to limit the study to 260 distinct names or descriptions, and how do I keep from regurgitating what many other authors have already written about this subject? This all was no easy task, believe me. I have adopted a somewhat alphabetical order, based on the Hebrew terms (OT) and English terms (NT). An index will be included at the end showing various groups of related names such as some of the more well-known “Jehovah” combinations, like Jehovah-Jireh, Jehovah-Nissi, etc.

The individual studies will involve much background information to explain why the particular name was used in a given situation. The goal, though, is not to gain an academic understanding, but to come to a better understanding of our God, the Creator of the universe, who wants to be known as Yahweh, and what that means. So we begin the study with a little more in-depth study of His “Divine Name” and how that forms a basis for building our knowledge of Him.

The genesis of using this topic for 2017 E-med(itations) comes from 1 John 2:12-14, where twice the aged apostle charges: “I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning.” He distinguishes this from his charge to “little children” and “young men.” At the same time, it is a goal for those who are younger in the faith, to look up to and set as their goal the maturity of the “fathers.”

Spiritual maturity comes with the knowledge of God. Our goal is not just to understand our “forgiveness” (little children). It is not just to “overcome the evil one” or to “be strong” and let the Word of God abide in us (young men). Our goal should be to know Him, the Father of us all, who was from the beginning.

Studying the names of God, therefore, is one way to plumb the depths of who He is in His many manifestations. And it is for this purpose we embark on this fascinating, humbling and profound journey of knowing Him more and knowing Him better—which will lead to us worshipping “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).

Chuck Gianotti, January 1, 2017

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