Blessed Be the “Name”!

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We Christians sing a hymn that contains these words: "Blessed be the name, blessed be the name, blessed be the name of the Lord." We also sing choruses that proclaim: "Your name is like honey on my lips"; "His name is exalted far above the earth"; "Praise the name of Jesus, praise the name of Jesus...." However, we may have misunderstood, or partially misunderstood, many biblical expressions that contain the idiom, "the name of."

Revised: 11-Jan-2013
We Christians sing a hymn that contains these words: “Blessed be the name, blessed be the name, blessed be the name of the Lord.” We also sing choruses that proclaim: “Your name is like honey on my lips”; “His name is exalted far above the earth”; “Praise the name of Jesus, praise the name of Jesus….”

The main reason that we find the expressions “the name of the LORD” and “the name of Jesus” in Christian songs and poems is because the expressions are so common in the Bible, for example: “I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD” (Ps. 116:13; RSV); “I will sacrifice a thank offering to You and call on the name of the LORD” (Ps. 116:17; NIV); “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe” (Prov. 18:10; RSV); “And you will say in that day: ‘Give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name; make known his deeds among the nations, proclaim that his name is exalted'” (Isa. 12:4; RSV); “For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts” (Mal. 1:11; RSV).

We may have misunderstood, or partially misunderstood, many biblical expressions that contain the idiom, “the name of.” As is so often the case with misunderstanding of Scripture, the problem is simply one of translation. The Hebrew expression, “the name of,” has, unfortunately, usually been translated literally to English. Consequently, we have become so familiar with this idiom—it appears frequently in Scripture—that we accept it as good English. English speakers may even focus on the word “name” in the expression “the name of the LORD” rather than on the word “LORD.”

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