Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Name Above All Names

It is so energizing and exciting to participate in #Write31days, an online writing challenge where writers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day in the month of October. Within the #Write31days category of Inspiration & Faith, I chose to focus on the topic of the Name Above All Names every day for 31 days. You can view each of my daily posts at this landing page.

Krista Hamrick’s beautiful original art prints, Name Above All Names Alphabet and Psalm 23 have so inspired me. Each of the 26 individual Names she has identified are so special, as Krista has intricately painted, almost like stained glass windows, each one with its Scripture reference.

My heart has been drawn to do a word study for each of the names included in her art print. Krista and I felt led to publish our Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ available on Amazon at this link. 

I was inspired listening to Phillips, Craig, and Dean's anointed hymn, Your Name, while studying Philippians 2:9

NIV:  Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.

AMP:  For this reason also [because He obeyed and so completely humbled Himself], God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,

Expanded: So God raised [exalted] him to the highest place. God made his name [or gave him the name] greater than [far above] every other name

Lightfoot: But as was his humility, so also was his exaltation. God raised him to a preeminent height, and gave him a title and a dignity far above all dignities and titles else.

NLT:  Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names,

Phillips:  That is why God has now lifted him so high, and has given him the name beyond all names.

Wuest: Because of which voluntary act of supreme self-renunciation, God also super-eminently exalted Him to the highest rank and power, and graciously bestowed upon Him THE NAME, the one which is above every name

The Apostle Paul is not referring here to the physical name as we think of it today but is using "name" as it was used in Scripture to represent the total person. In this sense, the Bible uses one's "name" to speak of the total person, as well as of the office, the rank, and the dignity attached to the person because of his position. Today we use a name as little more than a distinguishing mark or label to differentiate one person from other people. But in the world of the New Testament, the name concisely sums up all that a person is. One's whole character was somehow implied in the name. In this passage "name" speaks not only of the total Person of Christ but also speaks to His title which supersedes forever every title every given to anyone. In short, the Name of the Lord is what He is, it is Himself.
Paul is presenting the divine paradox, foolish to the natural man—that the way up is down. That a cross precedes a crown. That the road of exaltation by the Father is paved by humble service to others for the Father's glory.

Pastor A. T. Robertson discussing the phrase "God highly exalted Him" writes that...”Because of Christ’s voluntary humiliation God lifted Him above or beyond huper the state of glory which He enjoyed before the Incarnation. What glory did Christ have after the Ascension that He did not have before in heaven? What did He take back to heaven that He did not bring? Clearly, His humanity. He returned to heaven the Son of Man as well as the Son of God. It means that Jesus Christ still bears the scars of His crucifixion in His hands, side and feet, scars which will eternally testify to the New Covenant which He cut with all those who have placed their faith in Him. His covenant scars bear evidence that once genuinely saved, always saved, for once a sinner has entered covenant with Jesus, He will never break that covenant. This picture of the exalted God-Man retaining the scars of Calvary should comfort all believers regarding the absolute eternal security of their salvation.”

Greek Scholar Kenneth Wuest writes: "That which was graciously bestowed was not “a name,” but “the Name.” The definite article ("to" = the) appears in the Greek text and refers to a particular name. The title, The Name, is a very common Hebrew title, denoting office, rank, dignity. The expression, “The Name of God” in the Old Testament, denotes the divine Presence, the divine Majesty, especially as the object of adoration and praise. The context here dwells upon the honor and worship bestowed on Him upon whom this name was conferred. The conferring of this title “The Name,” was upon the Lord Jesus as the Son of Man. A Man, the Man Christ Jesus, who as Very God had voluntarily laid aside His expression of the glory of Deity during His incarnation, now has placed upon His shoulders all the majesty, dignity, and glory of Deity itself. It is the God-Man Who stooped to the depths of humiliation, Who is raised, not as God now, although He was all that, but as Man, to the infinite height of exaltation possessed only by Deity. It is the answer of our Lord’s prayer, “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” It is the glory of Deity, not now seen shining in infinite splendor as in His pre-incarnate state, but that glory shining in perfect contrast to and with His glorified humanity raised now to a place of equal dignity with Deity. It is the ideal and beautiful combination of the exaltation of Deity and the humility of Deity seen in incarnate Deity. The word given is the translation of the Greek word used when God in grace freely gives salvation to the believing sinner. It is so used in Romans 8:32 ("He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give charizomai us all things?" It was an act of grace on the part of God the Father toward the incarnate Son who had voluntarily assumed a subordinate position so as to function as the Sin-bearer on the Cross."

Author C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity wrote: “I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him [Jesus Christ]: "I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept his claim to be God." That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic -- on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse ...You can shut him up for fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that option open to us. He did not intend to.”

Pastor Wayne Detzler writes:The word "name" is a translation of the Greek word onoma. This word is most commonly identified by its root nom, which is seen in the Latin word nomen and the English and German word "name." It is also reflected in such a combination word as "pseudonym" (a false name) or "homonym" (a word or name which sounds the same), or "synonym" (a word which means the same). Thus the name of the true God became identified with the power of that deity. In the Septuagint Greek Old Testament the word onoma appears no fewer than 1,000 times. In Hebrew thinking, a name is identified with character, and the name of God is the repository of God's power. In the times of the patriarchs human names were still full of meaning. But by the dawn of New Testament times, names were much less indicative of character. In the New Testament the word onoma and its verb form, onomazo (to name someone), appear 228 times. The most significant use of "name" is in relation to God or Jesus. In fact, when Jesus declared that discipleship was to be His disciples' main ministry, He commanded them to baptize in the name (singular) of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19). This is the clearest New Testament reference to the Trinity."

Theologian Charles F. Moule wrote: “God, in the incarnation, bestowed upon the one who is on an equality with him an earthly name which has come to be, in fact, the highest of names, because service and self-giving are themselves the highest of divine attributes. Because of the incarnation, the human name, “Jesus,” is acclaimed as the highest name; and the Man Jesus thus comes to be acclaimed as Lord, to the glory of God the Father. For Christians, the name above all other names is Jesus. The angelic messenger announced, "You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Jesus' name has become the most exalted and meaningful name on earth and in heaven. What's in that name? All the grace of God, all the wonder of redemption, all that we believe, and all that we are hoping for. We say it, we sing it, and adoration fills our souls. We anticipate the indescribable glory of that day when every knee will bow and every tongue, by glad choice or by divine constraint, will praise that highest and holiest of all names--Jesus!”

Our natural human tendency is toward selfishness instead of sacrifice and service, but in a world that rewards self-promotion and puts celebrities on pedestals, God calls us to assume a lowly place—as Jesus did when He came to earth to serve, not to be served. This King of kings and Lord of all lords made Himself nothing and didn’t cling to His rights as God but obediently humbled Himself even to the point of dying on the cross. He is calling us to join His family of servants, to bend over the fallen and lift their load, to be His hands and feet, and to call others to come to His side.

Lord Jesus, thank You for giving me a heart which desires to please You rather than to impress people. Thank You for forgiving me for my selfishness and for focusing on my life, my needs, my problems. Thank You for helping me to care more about others and their needs and to have a servant’s heart so that You can do Your work through me. In Your mighty Name Above All Names we pray, amen.

Look Up—meditate on Philippians 2:9 Pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look In
—as you meditate on Philippians 2:9 pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

Look Out—as you meditate on 
Philippians 2:9 pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.

* If you liked this post you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ



  1. Beth,
    It's been awhile since I've popped by...I always love your place. The words, "There must be a cross before a crown." spoke to me. Humility comes before exaltation. Not just the name of Jesus, but His entire being is above all. Love these insights!!
    Blessings and Happy Fall,
    Bev xx

    1. Bev, thanks so much for stopping by! I so agree with your comments..reminds me of that wonderful song by Michael W. Smith, "Above All"... so true... many blessings to you!


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