Christian Names – Origins and Implications

Christian Names – Origins and Implications

Christian or Catholic names have their origins in the Bible and most of these names are fairly common across several countries. The other origin of these names lies in the ancient languages of Latin, Hebrew and Greek. Today, most Christian names are purely biblical in nature; catholic names have Germanic, Slavic, Mediterranean and Celtic influences as well. The list of names is unending and exhaustive. Trying to pick a suitable name can be mind boggling, particularly for first time parents. If you are looking for traditional or historic names, it’s important to know something about where the name originates from, what it means, and if it is historical, mythological or spiritual.

Every person may have his/her own preference. For example, as far as we can remember, names like Elizabeth and William have been a common feature in Christian households. Elizabeth is a far older name than William, having been derived from Hebrew and means God’s Oath. It’s a name found in the Bible. Both these names have also been popular choices in royal families for centuries.

Some people need names to have historical significance. There are many catholic names whose origins may not be clear, but are a preferred choice, because of significant historical figures, which inspire the desire in a person to name their progeny after them.

The Bible is a treasure trove, not just for its teachings. If you are of a spiritual bent, you can find several suitable names that in today’s modern world are very common place. We can barely keep up with the number of Matthews, Johns and Josephs we meet on a daily basis.

So many English forms of names are originally derived from Hebrew, Greek and Latin. The Celtic and Germanic influences are also undeniable. But currently, even the English forms of the traditional names have been shortened further. For e.g., Matthew is Matt, Samuel is Sam, Abigail is Abby and Mackensie, Mac. And no, it’s not that the first name is still Matthew, more and more people choose to name their children with the abbreviated version of the name itself.

The sense of traditional now rests more or less with the middle name. Previously, these names were almost always Biblical. Now, there is a broader tendency; names like Olivia, Henry, Sarah, Emily are also considered suitable as middle names. The history of Middle names goes back centuries, but if we had to pin a date to it, the royal family definitely used middle names by the 17th Century and in America the first recorded middle name goes back to 1835, although, it’s speculated that middle names were in existence much before these records.

Christians, in the Middle Ages used to name their children after Saints of the church, i.e. the first name. The martyrs too found favor in the list of names – Anthony, Catherine, Paul, Mark, etc. That said, the early names inspired from the Old Testament were Jewish – Mary, Joesph, Matthew, Martha and the likes.

Christian names, at the core, are always traditional and spiritual. What would be your pick?