“Boone’s Dad! Boone’s Dad!”
My son’s friend was over playing and needed help getting some toys out of Boone’s closet. Without even considering that my husband might have an actual name, the child used the name he most closely associated to Daron…Boone’s Dad. After all, to a six-year-old boy, that’s who Daron is.
“Hey, Coach Scott!”
In his seventeenth year of teaching and coaching, it’s difficult for Daron to go anywhere without running into a former student or player. His first students are now grown and have their own children, yet, any time they see Daron, they address him with the title by which they first knew and grew to love him. To those people, that’s who Daron is…Coach Scott.
My husband and I are approaching our twentieth anniversary. Before we were married, we dated for almost five years. That means we have been kissing each other for more than half of our lives. We met in our freshman orientation group at Hardin Simmons University, and that first day, I only learned his first name. As we socialized in the same circle, I grew to know him by his activities (he was #10 on the basketball team, for example). We started dating, and as our affection grew, somewhere along the way I began calling him Sweetheart, because, of course, that’s who he is to me.
These are three of many names by which my husband is known. None of them are wrong, but at the same time, none of them alone gives the full picture of who he is.
Learning someone’s name is often the first step in knowing someone, because you can’t fully know someone without learning their name. In our culture, a name is usually just a name. It rarely has anything to do with a person’s quality or essence or identity. Not so in ancient Semitic cultures. More than telling which, names tell who. They imparted identity and character. Our failure to understand the function of names from the Hebrew’s mindset means that as we read our Bibles, we often skip over the names because they are clumsy for our mouths to pronounce; since names hold little meaning for us, we don’t regard their significance in the Scriptures. Therefore, we miss the additional information those names give us about the narratives in which they appear. Names provide so much more texture to the accounts than we’re aware, but we haven’t been trained to pay attention to them. (A terrific example of this occurs in the first five verses of the book of Ruth, but I’ll let you dig into that on your own.)
While names of people and places play major roles in the development of the Biblical narrative, none are so important and instructive for us as the myriad names of God.
As the history of God’s revelation of himself to man unfolds, God introduces us to increasing dimensions of his character and essence by how he refers to himself—names by which he chooses to be known.
Over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting a blog series that will look at specific names for God in scripture. I hope it will reveal new depths of God’s character to us as we gaze at each one. I’ll show you how our family is using these names as springboards for studying the Bible and memorizing scripture. Subscribers to the blog will receive additional content via email, so click the link below to avoid missing out!
Whether you’re single, married, with or without children, engaging in a small group or personal study time, the material can be a launch point to suit your circumstances. I’m confident it will be a benefit to both of us as we increase our awareness of the character of God who has made himself known to us by name!