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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Name (2)

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NAME (ὄνομα).—1. In the Gospels the word is frequently used in the ordinary sense of a distinctive appellation or title, and especially to denote personal proper names (e.g. Matthew 10:2, Mark 5:22, Luke 1:5; Luke 1:27, John 1:6). See following article.

2. Rarely it is found in the sense of ‘reputation,’ ‘fame,’ ‘glory’—the result of a person’s name being on every tongue. So it is said of Jesus, ‘His name was spread abroad’ (Mark 6:14; cf. ‘a name which is above every name,’ Philippians 2:9).

3. But especially ὄνομα is used, like Heb. שֵׁם, not as a mere external designation, or distinguishing label attached to an individual, but with the suggestion of its significance as characteristic of personality. Hence the importance attached, just as in the OT, to the choosing of a name (Matthew 1:21, Luke 1:13; Luke 1:31; Luke 1:63). hence also (cf. Genesis 17:5; Genesis 17:15; Genesis 32:28) the alteration of a name, or the addition of another name, when some vital fact of experience has made the character different from what it was before (e.g. Matthew 16:17-18, Acts 13:9). It is when we remember that ‘name’ stands for character that we see the force of such an expression as ‘to receive a prophet in the name of a prophet’ (Matthew 10:41). This does not mean to receive him in the name or for the sake of someone else, but to receive him in his character as a prophet—for his work’s sake, and on the ground of what he himself is.

4. This use of ὄνομα as significant of character is of very frequent occurrence with reference to God—corresponding here again to the employment of שֵׁם in the OT. When Mary sings in the Magnificat, ‘Holy is his name’ (Luke 1:49), it is the revealed character of God that is meant. When Jesus teaches His disciples in the Lord’s Prayer to say, ‘Hallowed be thy name’ (Matthew 6:9 = Luke 11:2), it is that Divine quality of Fatherhood which He has just set in the very forefront of the prayer that He desires them to hallow. When He did works in His Father’s name (John 10:25), He did them by appealing to His Father’s self-revelation, and hence by His Father’s authority. When He exclaims, ‘Father, glorify thy name’ (John 12:28), He is asking the Father to complete in the eyes not only of the Jewish people, but of the great Gentile world represented by those Greek seekers who now stood before Him, the manifestation of His holiness and love given in the Person and ministry of His Son. And when He says in the Intercessory Prayer, ‘I have manifested thy name’ (17:6, cf. v. 26), He is speaking once more of that Fatherhood of God of which His own earthly life had been the revelation and the pledge.

5. Corresponding to the foregoing use of ὄνομα as expressive of the revealed character of God, is the constant employment of the word, not only in the Gospels, but throughout the whole of the NT, to denote the character, dignity, authority, and even the very Personality of Jesus Christ. This is the use made of it by the First Evangelist (Matthew 12:21) when he applies to Jesus the words of Deutero-Isaiah according to the LXX Septuagint reading, ‘And in his name shall the Gentiles hope’ (Isaiah 42:4). The meaning of the author of Acts is similar when he writes, ‘The name of the Lord Jesus was magnified’ (Isaiah 19:17). When our Lord speaks of those who ‘receive a little child in my name’ (Matthew 18:5 ||), or gives a gracious promise to the two or three who in His name are gathered together (Matthew 18:20), or assures us that whatsoever we shall ask in His name the Father will bestow (John 16:23 f.), He is certainly not speaking of the use of His name as a species of magical formula—nothing could be further from the mind of Christ (cf. Matthew 7:22)—but of a service and worship and prayer undertaken for His sake or inspired by faith in His Person. And when in the Johannine writings the very same blessings are assured to those who ‘believe on his name’ (John 1:12; John 2:23; John 3:18, 1 John 3:23; 1 John 5:13) and to those who believe on Himself (John 3:16; John 6:40, 1 John 5:10; cf. esp., as occurring in close juxtaposition, John 3:15 with John 3:18, and 1 John 5:10 with 1 John 5:13), it seems plain that by ‘the name of Jesus’ is meant the Personality of Jesus as that has been summed up in ‘the name’—the name, above all, of ‘only-begotten Son of God’ (John 3:18, cf. 1 John 5:13).

6. There are certain phrases in which ‘the name of Christ’ occurs that call for more particular consideration.

(1) Persecution for the name.—When our Lord said to His disciples that they should be hated and persecuted ‘for his name s sake’ (Matthew 10:22; Matthew 24:9, Mark 13:13, Luke 6:22; Luke 21:12; Luke 21:17); when ‘for his name’s sake’ shame and suffering actually fell upon the Apostles and the early Church (Acts 5:41; Acts 9:16; Acts 15:26). and when St. Paul expresses his readiness not to be bound only, but also to die ‘for the name of the Lord Jesus’ (Acts 21:13)—what are we to understand by these expressions? No doubt in several of these cases ‘name’ is practically synonymous with Person; and so to suffer for Christ’s name is equivalent to suffering for His sake—an alternative phrase which is also employed (John 13:37-38, 2 Corinthians 12:10, Philippians 1:29). But sometimes it seems more natural to think of the primary meaning of ‘name’ as an external designation. The expression ὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόματος used in Acts 5:41 (Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 ‘for the Name’) and 3 John 1:7 (Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885 ‘for the sake of the Name’) suggests that ‘the Name,’ like ‘the Way’ (Acts 9:2; Acts 19:9), was a technical term, and that to suffer for ‘the Name’ meant to ‘suffer as a Christian’ (1 Peter 4:16), i.e. as one who bore the name of being a disciple of Christ. It is true that the name ‘Christian’ (wh. see) does not appear to have been originally used by Christ’s followers themselves. But at all events it was employed by outsiders (Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28), and came to be employed especially by enemies (1 Peter 4:16). And if the name Χριστιανοἰ was not current within the Church, there was a party in Corinth that claimed to be distinctively ‘of Christ’ (Χριστοῦ, 1 Corinthians 1:12), while St. Paul not only protests, with reference to this claim, ‘Is Christ divided?’ (1 Corinthians 1:13), but says a little further on in the Ep., with regard to the whole Christian body, ‘Ye are of Christ’ (ὑμεῖς δὲ Χριστοῦ, 1 Corinthians 3:23). When, again, St. Peter writes, ‘If ye are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are ye’ (1 Peter 4:14), it is evident that the reproach is brought not so much against the name of Christ itself as against those who bear it (cf. 1 Peter 4:16). And this view is confirmed when we find St. James speaking of ‘the honourable name which was called upon you’ (James 2:7 (Revised Version margin) ), the reference being apparently to Christ’s name as a designation that came to be applied to His people—probably from the fact that His name had been invoked over them at the time of their baptism.

(2) Working of miracles in the name.—In the Gospels references to the working of miracles (esp. the casting out of evil spirits) with the use of the name are found in Matthew 7:22, Mark 9:38 f. = Luke 9:49 f., Luke 10:17, and in the Appendix to Mk.’s Gospel, where, before His Ascension, Jesus is represented as assuring His disciples that those who believe shall have the power of casting out demons in His name (Mark 16:17). In Acts 3:6 ff. (cf. Acts 3:16; Acts 4:10; Acts 4:30) St. Peter cures the lame beggar at the gate of the Temple by commanding him in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth to walk. In Acts 16:18 St. Paul, with the invocation of the same name, casts the spirit of divination out of the slave-girl at Philippi. In Acts 19:13 ff. certain vagabond Jews, exorcists, take upon themselves to call over those possessed by evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, and the sons of Sceva in particular do this to their own confusion; but the implication of the narrative evidently is that the ‘special miracles’ which had just been wrought by St. Paul himself were accomplished with a like invocation (cf. Acts 19:11-12 with Acts 19:13). In James 5:14 the elders of the Church are told to pray over the sick man, ‘anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.’

The view has been taken that this use of the name of Christ for the working of miracles was nothing more than the employment of a theurgic formula, which finds its analogue in the invocations and incantations of ancient magic (so esp. Conybeare, JQR [Note: QR Jewish Quarterly Review.] viii, ix). We may be sure that in so far as such a use of His name was commanded or approved by our Lord Himself, this view is quite impossible (cf. Matthew 7:22). And as for the Apostolic Church, while it is clear that the name of Jesus was invoked by both Peter and Paul before the performance of a miracle, Peter’s prayer, after the miracle at the Temple gate, that God would accompany the use of the name by stretching forth His hand to heal (Acts 4:29-30), points to the conclusion that the name of Jesus was invoked by the Apostles in these cases simply because every appeal to God was made through the Person of the Mediator. The influence of Greek and Oriental superstition soon brought into the Church a magical and theurgic element, which gathered specially round the use of Christ’s name in formulas of exorcism. But within the Apostolic sphere, at all events, it was not a formula, however sacred, that was believed to cast out demons or work cures. St. James, after enjoining the use of the Lord’s name at a sick-bed, adds that ‘the prayer of faith shall heal the sick’ (James 5:15). And in the case of the impotent man, St. Peter, when the people came crowding into Solomon’s Porch, greatly wondering (Acts 3:11), said, ‘By faith in his name hath his name made this man strong … yea, the faith which is through him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all’ (Acts 3:16).

(3) Baptizing in (or into) the name.—Christian baptism, as we meet with it in the Apostolic Church, is performed in (or into) the name of Christ (Acts 2:38; Acts 8:16; Acts 10:48; Acts 19:5, Romans 6:3, Galatians 3:27). On the other hand, in our Lord’s parting instructions to the Eleven, as given at the end of Mt., He directs them to baptize ‘into (or in; but εἰς is the preposition used) the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost’ (Matthew 28:19)—a formula that is found nowhere else in the NT. This is not the place to discuss the genuineness of the logion (in support of it see Resch, TU [Note: U Texte und Untersuehungen.] x. 2, summarized by Marshall in ExpT [Note: xpT Expository Times.] vi. [1895] p. 395 ff.; Bruce, Kingdom of God, p. 258 ff.; against it, Holtzmann, NT Theol. i. 378 ff.; Harnack, Hist. of Dog. i. 79; Moffatt, Hist. NT, p. 647 ff. See, further, art. Baptism, § 5). But if we accept the triple formula as coming from the lips of Jesus, the fact that we have no direct evidence of its use in the Apostolic Church certainly creates a difficulty. The suggestion that the shorter form is simply a designation of the fact that baptism was administered on confession of Jesus as Christ and Lord, and that the Trinitarian formula would invariably be employed in the actual administration of the sacrament, does not meet the case, for we know that in the 3rd cent, a baptism in the name of Christ was still common, and that in the time of Cyprian the controversy about re-baptism gathered round this very point.

The solution of the problem may lie in the fact that at first the efficacy of baptism was not attached to any set form of words. The Trinitarian formula itself occurs in different versions. Justin gives it after a paraphrastic fashion (Apol. i. 61); Tertullian associates the name of the Church with the names of the Three Persons of the Trinity (de Bapt. vi.), and a like usage is found in the Syrian Church (see Scholten, Taufformel, p. 39). Corresponding to this lack of fixity in the longer form is the absence of anything like uniformity in the shorter one. The name used is ‘Jesus Christ,’ or ‘the Lord Jesus,’ or perhaps even simply ‘Christ’ (1 Corinthians 1:13 suggests the last); while the relation to the name is variously expressed by εἰς, ἐν ἐπί (ἐπὶ [or ἐν] τῷ ὀνόματι Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, Acts 2:38; εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ Κυρίου Ἰησοῦ, Acts 8:16; Acts 19:5; ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ Κυρίον, Acts 10:48; εἰς Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν, Romans 6:3; εἰς Χριστόν, Galatians 3:27). It is hardly legitimate to simplify this diversity by assuming, with Dean Armitage Robinson, that εἰς and ἐν are really synonymous in every case, and that ‘in the name,’ not ‘into the name,’ is always the proper English rendering (EBi [Note: Bi Encyclopaedia Biblica.] i. 473). No doubt it is true, as he says, that ‘the interchangeability of the two prepositions in late Greek may be plentifully illustrated from the NT’ (cf. J. H. Moulton, Gram, of NT Gr. i. 62, 66, 234 f.). But this is far from deciding the question whether in the case of baptism they are used indifferently, and passages like Romans 6:3, 1 Corinthians 12:13, Galatians 3:27 strongly suggest that they are not.

All this diversity of usage seems to show that slight importance was attached at first to the question of a formula, provided that it was clearly understood what Christian baptism meant, and what it implied. Relation to Christ was the essential matter. And as Christian baptism in the NT is invariably conditional upon confession of Christ, so it was administered with an appeal to Christ’s authority (ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι); it depended for its reality upon a faith that rested on His name (ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι); and it was the outward symbol of an actual union with His Person (εἰς τὸ ὄνομα).

Literature.—The Lexx. of Grimm-Thayer and Cremer, s.v. ὄνομα; Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible , art. ‘Name’; PRE [Note: RE Real-Encyklopädie fur protest. Theologic und Kirche.] 3 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] , art. ‘Name’; Böhmer, Das biblische ‘Im Namen’ (1898); Conybeare, ‘Christian Demonology’ in JQR [Note: QR Jewish Quarterly Review.] viii, ix; Scholten, Das Taufformel; Deissmann, Bibelstudien, 181 ff.; ExpT [Note: xpT Expository Times.] vi. [1895] 247, 395, xi. [1899] 3, xv. [1904] 294; Expositor, Oct. 1902, p. 251 ff.; F. H. Chase and J. A. Robinson in JThSt [Note: ThSt Journal of Theological Studies.] , July 1905 (vi. 481), Jan. 1906 (vii. 186), Jan. 1907 (viii. 161).

J. C. Lambert.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Name (2)'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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