What’s in a Name?

from Nov 12, 2010 Category: Tabletalk Magazine

Anybody who has spent any time in the church can tell stories of flat-out ridiculous attitudes and actions they have seen in the lives of God’s people. There is nothing new under the sun.” Sadly, that is the case. And as Mark Futato points out in this month’s issue of Tabletalk, this has long been the case. “The book of Jonah exposes in a sometimes humorous way the foibles of the faithful in ancient Israel. Against the backdrop of human folly shines the brilliance of divine faithfulness. Such is the message of the book of Jonah. We need not, however, study the whole book to get this message. It is found in Jonah’s name.”

Of course “some scholars are hesitant to see any significance in Jonah’s name. In brief, three reasons should suffice to overcome this hesitancy. One, the author of the book of Jonah uses a variety of names for God in a way that is theologically significant. Two, the book of Jonah is filled with rhetorical devices, so we should not be surprised if the name of one of the chief characters plays into the storyline. Three, naming is significant in many other Old Testament narratives. I will mention just a few from the early chapters of Genesis.”

Find out about the significance of Jonah’s name in “What’s in a Name?