Bible Basics (5th edition): A study manual revealing the joy and peace of true Christianity

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1.3 God’s Name and Character

If there is a God, it is reasonable to think that He will have devised some means of telling us about Himself. We believe that the Bible is God’s revelation to man, and that in it we see the character of God revealed. If we allow this word of God to fill our mind, a new creature is formed within us which has the characteristics of God (James 1:18; 2 Cor. 5:17). Therefore the more we apply ourselves to God’s word and take the lessons to ourselves, the more we will become “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29) who was in character the perfect image of God (Col. 1:15). In this lies the value of studying the historical parts of the Bible; they are full of lessons telling us how God has dealt with men and nations, always displaying the same basic characteristics.

In Hebrew and Greek a person’s name often reflected their character and/or information about them. Some clear examples:

§          ‘Jesus’ = ‘Saviour’ - because “he shall save his people from their sins” (Mt. 1:21).

§          ‘Abraham’ = ‘Father of a great multitude’ - “for a father of many nations have I made you” (Gen. 17:5)

§          ‘Eve’ = ‘Living’ - “because she was the mother of all living” (Gen. 3:20).

§          ‘Simeon’ = ‘hearing’ - “Because the Lord has heard that I was hated, He has therefore given me this son” (Gen. 29:33).

In Jer. 48:17, knowing the people of Moab is paralleled with knowing the name of Moab. The Psalms often parallel God Himself with His name, His word and actions (Ps. 103:1; 105:1; 106:1,2,12,13).

It is therefore to be expected that God’s name and titles will give us much information about Himself. A detailed study of the name of God is advisable after baptism; further appreciation of God’s character as expressed in His name is something which should go on during all our life in the Lord. What follows is therefore very much an introduction.

When Moses wanted a deeper knowledge of God to strengthen his faith during a very traumatic period of his life, an angel proclaimed the name of the Lord. “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, although that will by no means justify the guilty” (Ex. 34:5-7).

This is clear proof that the name of God entails His characteristics. His possession of them is proof that God is a personal being.

God has chosen one particular name by which He would like to be known and remembered by His people; it is a summary, an epitome, of His purpose with men.

The Israelites were slaves in Egypt, and needed to be reminded of God’s purpose with them. Moses was told to tell them God’s name, so that this would help motivate them to leave Egypt and start the journey towards the promised land (cf. 1 Cor. 10:1). We too need to understand the basic principles concerning God’s name before we are baptised and start our journey towards God’s Kingdom.

God told Israel that His name was YAHWEH, meaning “I am that I am” or, perhaps, “I will be who I will be” (Ex. 3:13-15). This name was then slightly extended. “God said moreover (i.e. in addition) unto Moses. This is what you shall say unto the children of Israel, the LORD (Yahweh) God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob...this is My name for ever, and my memorial to all generations” (Ex. 3:15).

God’s full name is therefore “The LORD God”.

The Old Testament was written mostly in Hebrew, and our English translation inevitably misses out a lot of detail when it comes to translating the Hebrew words for ‘God’. One of the common Hebrew words translated ‘God’ is ‘Elohim’, meaning ‘mighty ones’. God’s “memorial”, the name by which He wants us to remember Him, is therefore




It is therefore God’s purpose to reveal His character and His essential being in a large group of people. By obedience to His word we can develop some of God’s characteristics in ourselves now, so that in a very limited sense God reveals Himself now in true believers in this life. But God’s name is a prophecy of the time to come when the earth will be filled with people who are like Him, both in character and by nature (cf. 2 Pet. 1:4). If we wish to be associated with the purpose of God and to become like God. If we wish to die no more, living forever in complete moral perfection, then we must associate ourselves with His name. The way to do this is to be baptised into the name - i.e. Yahweh Elohim (Mt. 28:19). This also makes us the descendants of Abraham (Gal. 3:27-29) who were promised the eternal inheritance of the earth (Gen. 17:8; Rom. 4:13) - the group of ‘mighty ones’ (‘Elohim’) in whom the prophecy of God’s name will be fulfilled. This is explained in more detail in Study 3.4.

Bible Basics: Contents

Part 1: "The things concerning the Kingdom of God" Study 1: God 1.1  The Existence Of God || 1.2  The Personality Of God || Belief In Practice 1: Knowing God || 1.3  God's Name And Character || Belief In Practice 2: Grace (John Parkes) || Belief In Practice 3: The All Seeing God || Belief In Practice 4: God Is Omnipotent || Belief In Practice 5: Responding To The One God || 1.4     The Angels || Belief In Practice 6: God As Creator || Digression 1: God Manifestation || Digression 2:  Why The Trinity Was Accepted || Study 1: Questions Study 2: The Spirit Of God 2.1  Definition || 2.2  Inspiration || 2.3  Gifts Of The Holy Spirit || 2.4  The Withdrawal Of The Gifts || 2.5  The Bible The Only Authority || Digression 3: Is The Holy Spirit A Person? || Digression 4: The Principle Of Personification || Belief In Practice 7: The Implications Of Inspiration || Study 2: Questions Study 3: The Promises Of God 3.1  Introduction || 3.2  The Promise In Eden || 3.3  The Promise To Noah || 3.4  The Promise To Abraham || 3.5  The Promise To David || Belief In Practice 8: Covenant Relationship With God || Study 3: Questions Study 4: God And Death 4.1  The Nature Of Man || 4.2  The Soul || 4.3  The Spirit || 4.4  Death Is Unconsciousness || 4.5  The Resurrection || 4.6  The Judgment || Belief In Practice 9: Judgment Now || 4.7  The Place Of Reward: Heaven Or Earth?|| 4.8  Responsibility To God || 4.9  Hell || Digression 5: Purgatory || Digression 6: Ghosts And Reincarnation || Digression 7: The 'Rapture' || Belief In Practice 10: The Motivational Power Of Understanding Death || Study 4: Questions Study 5: The Kingdom Of God 5.1  Defining The Kingdom || 5.2  The Kingdom Is Not Now Established || 5.3  The Kingdom Of God In The Past || 5.4  The Kingdom Of God In The Future || 5.5  The Millennium || Digression 8: The Kingdom Of God Now (Graham Bacon) || Belief In Practice 11: What The Kingdom Of God Means Today || Study 5: QuestionsStudy 6: God And Evil 6.1  God And Evil || 6.2  The Devil And Satan || 6.3  Demons || Digression 9: The Implications And Origin Of The Belief In A Personal Satan || Digression 10: Witchcraft || Digression 11: What Happened In Eden? || Digression 12: Lucifer || Belief In Practice 12: Battle For The Mind || Study 6: Questions

Part 2: "The things concerning...the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 8:12) Study 7: The Origin Of Jesus. 7.1  Old Testament Prophecies Of Jesus || 7.2  The Virgin Birth || 7.3  Christ's Place In God's Plan || 7.4  "In the beginning was the word" || Digression 13: Jesus The Son Of God (Michael Gates) || Digression 14: Did Jesus Create The Earth? || Belief In Practice 13: Jesus Didn’t Pre-exist: And So What? || Study 7: Questions Study 8: The Nature Of Jesus 8.1  Introduction || 8.2  Differences Between God And Jesus || 8.3  The Nature Of Jesus || 8.4  The Humanity Of Jesus || 8.5  The Relationship Of God With Jesus || Belief In Practice 14: The Real Christ || Digression 15: How The Real Christ Was Lost || Digression 16: The Divine Side Of Jesus || Study 8: Questions Study 9: The Work Of Jesus 9.1  The Victory Of Jesus || 9.2  The Blood Of Jesus || 9.3  Jesus As Our Representative || 9.4  Jesus And The Law Of Moses || 9.5  The Sabbath || Digression 17 The Crucifix || Digression 18: Was Jesus Born On Dec. 25th? || Belief In Practice 15: The Meaning Of Christ’s Resurrection For Us || Belief In Practice 16: Christ Died For Me- So What Should I Do? || Belief In Practice 17: The Real Cross || Belief In Practice 18: The Inspiration Of The Cross || Study 9: Questions || Study 10: Baptism Into Jesus 10.1  The Vital Importance Of Baptism || 10.2  How Should We Be Baptized? || 10.3  The Meaning Of Baptism || 10.4  Baptism And Salvation || Digression 19: Re-baptism || Digression 20 The Thief On The Cross || Belief In Practice 19: The Certainty Of Salvation || Study 10: Questions Study 11: Life In Christ 11.1  Introduction || 11.2  Holiness || 11.2.1  The Use Of Force || 11.2.2  Politics || 11.2.3  Worldly Pleasures || 11.3  Practical Christian Life || 11.3.1  Bible Study || 11.3.2  Prayer || 11.3.3  Preaching || 11.3.4  Ecclesial Life || 11.3.5  The Breaking Of Bread || 11.4  Marriage || 11.5  Fellowship || Study 11: Questions ||