What’s in a name? A question we sometimes here bears special meaning in a recently released book from Paul Thigpen. The Biblical Names of Jesus: Beautiful, Powerful Portraits of Christ takes a look at the various names in scripture attributed to Jesus Christ. From Old Testament prophecy to New Testament fulfillment the names are plentiful and this book gives incredible insight into a number of them.
One might ask why this book is so necessary. “For many ancient peoples, including the Jews, the name of a person was much more than just a convenient label. A name, properly given and correctly understood, was seen to reflect something important about a person’s identity, such as his origins, status, character, deeds, or destiny.” If ever there was a person in the history of the world that understanding these things was necessary it would have to be those names relative to the savior of the world.
Paul has divided this book into four parts each focusing on different aspects of Christ. His Life on Earth, His Life in Heaven, His Life in the Church, and His Life in Us. Each of the sections sheds light on the importance of each of these aspects that Jesus holds in your faith journey. What becomes apparent as working your way through this book, is that God slowly pulled the curtain back on the identity of His Son. He slowly revealed him in glimpses and foreshadowing through prophecies that eventually became a reality in the small town of Bethlehem. In the first section his identity is revealed through the names The Way, the Truth, and the Life; Lion of the Tribe of Judah; Lamb of God; and Firstborn of the Dead.
Jesus’ influence and identity transcend our earthly shackles to those relative to his heavenly role. While reflecting upon Jesus’ role with God in heaven, the names King of Kings; Word of God; I Am; Son of God; Son of Man; and Savior of the World are covered. As the foundation of His Church, the book looks at Jesus as Cornerstone; Bridegroom; Bread of Life; and Good Shepherd. The more we draw closer to Jesus the more we establish a more intimate and personal relationship with him. We see this in his roles as True Vine; Dawn from on High; Pioneer and Perfecter of Our Faith; and Alpha and Omega.
Each chapter concludes with a number of scripture passages that lead the reader into a deep-dive study in scripture. This lends the book perfectly to personal or small group study. Reading about each of the names in the book is like discovering a new treasure while on the quest to become more aware of an old friend. By the end of the book, when all of the treasures have been unearthed, readers will have a complete picture of Jesus’ role through his divinity in his Church.
Listen to my interview with author Paul Thigpen on Off the Shelf 104.