What’s In a Name

3/11/2023  Written by Steve Papale

When most students of the Bible come across genealogies they often grunt and push through to get to the rest of the chapter. However God puts genealogies there for a reason such as to prove historical accuracies and prophecy.

The entirety of the Bible points to Jesus Christ. And sometimes God does a particular thing in a marvelous way that points to His sovereignty.

The genealogy in Genesis 5 runs from Adam to Noah. Often the meaning of the names can provide great insight. When converting proper names from Hebrew to English they are generally transliterated or approximated from one language to another based on pronunciation. This is different from translation which conveys meaning. However a study of word roots can provide clarity. Below are the generally but not universally accepted names and meanings found in this genealogy:

Name / English Meaning
Adam / man
Seth / appointed
Enosh / mortal, miserable
Kenan / sorrow (I’ve seen dwelling also)
Mahalalel / the blessed God (last 2 letters “el”, the name of God)
Jared / shall come down
Enoch / teaching
Methuselah / his death shall bring (the year he died the flood came)
Lamech / the despairing (lament or lamentations)
Noah / comfort, rest

Putting them together we have:

Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow/dwelling (but) the blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring the despairing comfort.

Amazingly, the names of the first humans created by God provide a summary of the Gospel. This can only make sense with the names in this specific order. God’s plan for man’s redemption was planned before the creation and supernaturally telegraphed to the world. Ephesians 1:4 says “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.”