New Christian Names Blend Spirit and Style
Modern Christian names combine spirituality with style, conveying a faith-based message with contemporary sensibility.
These new names with an evangelical feel aren’t traditional biblical names, well-worn virtue names, or even the old prophet names that are so popular nowadays. No, this is a fresh, modern style of Christian names that shout their meaning to the rooftops.
This style draws together several types of name. There are word names, some overtly Christian, like Amen, Epiphany, and the Kardashian-West boys’ names, Saint and Psalm. Others have more subtle symbolism and can also be secular, such as River and Shepherd.
Like Saint, these modern Christian names can have quite grandiose meanings — Savior and Messiah, for example. These may seem novel to English speakers, but other cultures traditionally use names with these meanings, like Salvador.
Other names in this style are biblical place names such as Jericho and Galilee, titles like Kyrie and Adonai, and books of the bible. Genesis is by far the most popular, especially if you include all the spelling variations.
We see these modern Christian names as part of a larger trend for spiritual names of all kinds, by parents seeking names that are fresh, distinctive and full of meaning. Join us for a deeper look.
Christian or secular?
The popularity charts show that some modern evangelical names got their break from pop culture, especially on-screen characters and celebrity baby names.
That doesn’t mean they’re not Christian. Most of the starbabies and characters were no doubt named with spiritual meaning in mind, and there’s probably an overlapping Venn diagram of parents who also consider this, and ones who choose them for the fame factor. The celebs certainly played a role in making the public aware that these could be baby names.
Canaan — Shot up in 2015 and 2016 after Oprah Winfrey revealed it was her son’s name.
Creed — Rose in 2016 after the 2015 Rocky franchise movie of the same name. Teen Mom personality Kailyn Lowry just used it for her son, after the fictional boxer.
Cross — Broke into the chance in 1997, thanks to Alex Cross, a character in the movie Kiss the Girls (credit to Nancy’s Baby Names for this).
Deacon — Boosted by Reese Witherspoon’s son in 2003, and a character in the show Nashville from 2012.
Halo — Rose for girls and entered the chart for boys in 2008, the year of Beyoncé’s single.
Psalm — We’re eager to find out if Kimye’s name pick had an impace on the 2019 charts.
Saint — Another Kardashian-West name, soaring up since 2017.
Shiloh — In the girls’ Top 1000 since 2007, the year after Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie used it for their child. They are now called John.
Trinity — Peaked in 2004, just after the Matrix movies were in theaters.
New Christian names
These names have never been used until recent years, or were given to under 5 children in a year so didn’t show up on the charts. Most are now used for a small number of children each year.
Adonai — first used in 1990 for boys, 2001 for girls
Believe — 2014 (g)
Bethlehem — 1985 (g)
Bless — 1987 (g), 2001 (b)
Blessed — 1993 (g), 2001 (b)
Blessin — 1997 (g), 2018 (b)
Blessings — 2000 for girls)
Calvary — 1998 (b), 2009 (g)
Chosen — 2003 (b), 2005 (g)
Cross — 1997 (b)
Emmaus — 2007 (b), 2013 (g)
Exodus — 1999 (b)
Galilee — 2001 (g)
Gift — 1999 (g), 2016 (b)
Gracious — 1999 (g)
Hallelujah — 2001 (g)
Halo — 2000 (g), 2008 (b)
Kingdom — 2008 (b)
Praise — 1990 (g), 2001 (b)
Psalm — 1999 (g+b)
Rejoice — 1997 (g)
Righteous — 2001 (b), 2011 (g)
Sacred — 2003 (g)
Savior — 1998 (b)
Saviour — 2005 (b)
Soul — 2000 (b), 2002 (g)
Testimony — 2017 (g)
Triumph — 2007 (b)
Zeal — 2006 (b), 2009 (g)
These names have a longer history of use (in a broad spectrum from ancient days to the 1970s) and might sound more familiar. Some are currently falling from peak popularity, but they all have a modern Christian flavor and are relatively well-known.
Other modern Christian names
Names marked * were also given to a small number of boys in 2018.
Names marked * were also given to a small number of girls in 2018.
What are your favorite names in this style? Have you spotted any we missed?
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on August 21st, 2020 at 8:58 am
I like so many of these, though I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to use all of them! Selah, Shiloh, Evangeline, River, Fisher, Shepherd, Ransom. I LOVE Kyrie pronounced like “kyrie eleison,” but the pronunciation issues that would cause keep it firmly in GP territory.
on August 21st, 2020 at 9:49 am
I love the idea of Ransom. My only hesitation is that taken from a secular view, the connotation is t that great. So sad though, as a Christian name the meaning is very hopeful
on August 21st, 2020 at 10:28 am
Adonai is the Hebrew word for God. It isn’t a name for a baby.
Pamela Redmond Said
on August 21st, 2020 at 12:28 pm
@MagnoliaE Definitely agree –see https://nameberry.com/babyname/Adonai. But that has not deterred many American baby namers!
on August 21st, 2020 at 4:21 pm
When has it ever 😅 (hope that works on main site!)
I just wanted to make sure it was said here since it was on the list! Not trying to be rude or anything to you guys.
on August 21st, 2020 at 7:47 pm
Some of these are awesome and I totally think they’re cool and usable like Hosanna (know one!) and Galilee, but I agree there are some I’d definitely never use, like Adonai and Messiah!
Other names that fit this category that I’ve heard:
on August 21st, 2020 at 7:56 pm
Please don’t name your kid Adonai. That’s offensive to the max.
I also feel like many of these names are actually Jewish in origin, sometimes I feel like calling some of these names “Christian” names completely discredits their origin and meaning derived from Judaism.
on August 22nd, 2020 at 10:54 am
@babies123456 Christianity is derived from Judaism. What is your point?
on August 22nd, 2020 at 3:19 pm
Christianity actually isn’t particularly derived from Judaism. There are chasms of differences between the two.
Adonai — as with Cohen before it — is a name completely offensive to Jews. Others — Psalm, Selah, Zion (two of which are used as Hebrew names) are not necessarily “Christian.”
Lastly, “old prophet” feels very supersessionist to me.
on August 24th, 2020 at 9:38 am
I disagree with ‘Soul’ being a Christian name. It is mostly an universal concept. The only name I like from this list is ‘Psalm,’ which is funny, because I am not a fan of the Kardashians. It just sounds good to my ears.
on August 29th, 2020 at 3:38 pm
I know the topic is fresh Christian names, but I include some virtue names among others that aren’t well-worn. Some will seem “hippie”, but they’re scriptural:
Liberty, Free, Freedom, Honor, Thankful, Charity, Charis (Greek word for ‘grace’), Christian (fresh for a girl), Shalom, Eden (somewhat popular in Evangelical circles), Melody, Anastasia (Greek word for ‘resurrection’), Irene (Greek word for peace), Summer, Winter, Temperance, Sojourner, Truth, True, Prudence, Victory, Desire (for God), Patience, Moriah, Olive, Kingsley (or names related to ‘King’ – how about Kingsley for a girl?), Love or heart-related names such as Heartley, Maranatha (unwieldly, perhaps), Ruhamah, Allelu, Alleluia
Kyrie is nice, but she’ll spend her life correcting the mispronunciation KYE-REE.
on August 30th, 2020 at 3:05 pm
Some additional comments:
Zoe (Greek word for ‘life’); various jewel names in Scripture: Pearl, Onyx, Sapphire.
I saw an ‘Adonai’ in virtual church today.
I know of a ‘Loveth’, as well
I like Puritan virtue derivatives of “Hope”: Hopewell, Hopestill
I heard of a boy named ‘Honest’ in Plymouth County a few years back.
I like Rose Sharon (“I am the Rose of Sharon” Song of Sol. 2:1)
I prefer Jericho for a girl, rather than a boy
on August 30th, 2020 at 7:15 pm
Sunrise (Sunrise on high)
Hope Glory (Christ in you, the hope of glory)
Pax – Having more of a Roman Catholic feel (Pax Romana). Angelina Jolie brought to the fore “Shiloh’ and ‘Pax.’
Piper (Dan. 3:5)
Fifer – A bit of a stretch, but I prefer it to Piper for a girl. The Hebrew word ‘halil’, as I understand it, can be used for a number of wind instruments, including the fife.
on September 3rd, 2020 at 2:30 pm
Oh, and I forgot about ‘Agape.’
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