For the TNT Project

Names are more than just nice sounding words that identify one object from another. Names prophesy the connection between identity and destiny. The Bible reminds us that names have authority and so the naming of a child or location should be taken seriously–as the Bible says, “For as his name is, so is he” (1 Samuel 25:25).

Research for the Name Translation Bible (TNT) project has been part of my ministry for over a decade. The more I have devoted myself to the study of names, the more I have become thoroughly convinced of their spiritual significance and how each name undeniably impacts lives and destinies.

The art of deciding on a name, whether for a child at birth or for something newly created, must not be undertaken without sacred inspiration. When a name is assigned correctly, a deep sense of satisfaction fills the room. It is no coincidence that the first job assigned to Adam was to give names to all the creatures.
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In The Bible

The apostle Paul reminded Philemon of the significance of his runaway slave when he included the meaning of the slave’s name, Onesimus in his letter. Onesimus, means “useful.” So the text actually reads as follows:

“Onesimus (Useful) who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me” (Philemon 1:10-11).

Paul wrote that Onesimus was useful, just as his name foretold. (Although Philemon probably needed some convincing of that fact.) Paul connected the meaning of Onesimus’s name purposefully to provide hope, encouragement and direction to the situation.
Mary or Miriam
The Hebrew name “Miriam” or often translated “Mary” comes from the root word “mara” which means bitter. To name someone “bitter” is not a wise choice, unless it is to signify a person who has authority in bitter situations. For instance, two women named Mary remained with Jesus during his entire crucifixion(Matthew 27:56). So, we see that those named Mary have the ability to stand with others through times of suffering.
The story of Jabez is about a boy who caused his mother much pain in birth. Unfortunately, his mother chose to mark him forever with the remembrance of that hard day by naming him Jabez. “His mother named him Jabez(Bringer of sorrow), saying, ‘Because I bore him with sorrow’(1 Chronicles 4:9-10). As a result, anytime his name was spoken, he was reminded of the pain he caused his mother. But one day, he cried out to our God to break the curse put upon him by his name. As he prayed, the blessing of our God was released and he was freed from one “bringing sorrow.”

Jabez(Bringer of sorrow) called on the God of Israel(Struggles with God), saying, ‘Oh that you would doubly bless me and enlarge my border! May your hand be with me and may you keep me from evil that I may not cause pain!’ And our God granted him his request” (1 Chronicles 4:10).
Jacob wrestled with the God-angel-man prior to his name change.
“Your name will no longer be called Jacob(Heel grabber), but Israel(Struggles with God); for you have struggled with our God and men and have overcome” (Genesis 32:28).

The meaning of heel grabber pointed to Jacob’s nature of trickery which he often used to achieve his life goals. However, after this encounter, his name was changed to reveal his new nature. As Jacob, he struggled in the ways of man to get what he wanted, but as Israel, he struggled with his God to become an overcomer.
In the New Testament, Jesus changed the name of Simon to Peter as he declared the revelation of Jesus as the Christ. Jesus replied to Simon’s Messianic confession:
“Blessed are you, Simon(One who hears and obeys) Bar-Jonah(Son of a dove), for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. I also tell you that you are Peter(Stone), and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:17-18).

Simon experienced a name change that prophesied his solid rock commitment to the declaration that Jesus is the Anointed One. History confirms that Peter lived up to his name. Clement of Rome(35-99 C.E.) wrote, “Peter... endured not one or two but many labors, and at last, having delivered his testimony, departed unto the place of glory due to him”(1 Clement 5:4). Peter died delivering testimony of the Christ, like a cornerstone on which a building is built.
The Bible teaches us that the blessing of our God comes by having his name upon us. Yahweh gave Moses instructions on how to bless the people and to place His name upon them:

“Yahweh (Jealous one) bless you and keep you. Yahweh (Jealous one) make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
Yahweh(Jealous one) lift up his face toward you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).

As this blessing is pronounced, the name of Yahweh is placed upon His people so that they may walk in peace. “So will they place my name upon the children of Israel(Struggles with God); and I will bless them” (Numbers 6:27).


The Author

Chris Monaghan and his wife, Debbie, live near Richmond, Indiana, U.S.A. Chris and Debbie are the Senior Leaders of a Gateway Church. Chris is also the co-founder of the Gateway Hunger Relief Center that feeds thousands of families each month in his region. Chris believes in equipping every believer to do what Jesus did and his focus is on changing atmospheres of cities through worship, teaching and humanitarian acts. Chris has traveled to three continents, and regularly sees physical and emotional healings take place. 

Chris has authored six books and has written over 25 worship songs. Chris is a graduate of Penn State University, has a Master of Biblical Studies from Messiah Biblical Institute and has taught and studied at many other Seminaries and Bible schools. Chris and his wife Debbie also serve as coordinators for Family Foundations International and help facilitate emotional healing through their seminars. Chris and Debbie have five children and one grandchild.

For speaking requests contact [email protected]
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The Name Translation (TNT) is a version of the Bible where every name is defined directly in the text to allow the readers to understand each verse in a new perspective.
Order TNT Bible Today!
Research for The Name Translation (TNT) Bible project has been part of my ministry for over a decade. The more I have devoted myself to the study of names, the more I have become thoroughly convinced of their spiritual significance and how each name undeniably impacts lives and destinies. Learn More
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