Bible Names for Boys
Bible names for boys have dominated the US popularity list for its entire history, with Biblical boy names Jacob and Noah taking the top spot for nearly twenty years until recently, when Liam took over.
Along with Noah and Jacob, other Bible baby boy names in the US Top 25 include James, Benjamin, Elijah, Lucas, Ethan, Samuel, David, and Asher. Unique biblical boy names gaining visibility — in the UK and Australia as well as the US — include Felix, Cyrus, Ezra, and Thaddeus.
Faith and religion have always been important components of why parents choose Bible names for their sons. Boys' names from the Bible that have ranked highly in the US since the 19th century include John, James, Joseph, and Thomas. These and many other Bible boys' names have been so widely used over so much time that many people may forget their biblical antecedents.
Old Testament names for boys once considered too antiquated for the modern world have become more popular in recent years. More and more baby boys are being given such Old Testament names as Abraham, Moses, Micah, Jonah, and Abel, going far beyond names like Adam, Zachary, and Samuel which were among the first Old Testament boy names to be revived.
Old Testament names are the only Biblical names that Jewish parents consider, whereas Christian names for boys can come from both the Old Testament and New Testament, which includes Jesus Christ.
New Testament boy names becoming more popular include Silas, Jude, Titus, and Luke. James, a classic boys' name from the New Testament, is popular as both a first and a middle name and is beginning to be used for girls. A names from the Bible are popular today for boys: Asher, Abel, Abraham.
As parents are searching for uncommon but meaningful names for their sons, the Bible can be a great source of inspiration. Unique boy names from the Bible we are hearing more of include Abiah, Azariah, Boaz, Lazarus, Lucius, Phineas, and Rufus.
Biblical names for boys are widely used outside the US, too. In the UK, the top Biblical boy names are Noah, Jacob, and Thomas. In Germany, Paul and Elias are the top Bible names for boys, while in France Gabriel and Adam are the most popular boys' names from the Bible.
The names below, shown in extended versions, are ranked in order of current popularity on Nameberry. More unique Biblical boy names are listed alphabetically below the top names.
Description:Felix was originally a Roman surname but was adopted as a nickname by the ancient Roman Sulla, who believed that he was especially blessed with luck by the gods. It is the name of four popes and sixty-seven saints; in the Bible, Felix is a Roman procurator of Judea.
Origin:Aramaic, Latin, Greek
Meaning:"of the forest; or prayed for"
Description:Silas is a Biblical name of debated – or possibly multiple – origins. It may be a simplified form of the Latin Silvanus, meaning "of the forest", or alternatively may be a Greek form of the Aramaic Seila or Hebrew Saul, meaning "asked for, prayed for".
Origin:Latin diminutive of Judah
Description:Jude is an example of a name whose image was turned on its head primarily by one appealing celebrity. So take a bow, Jude Law: You--in collaboration with the Lennon-McCartney song "Hey Jude"--have erased Jude's old connections to the traitorous Judas Iscariot and Thomas Hardy's tragic Jude the Obscure, and inspired a legion of new babies named Jude.
Meaning:"fortunate, blessed, happy one"
Description:In the Bible, Asher was one of Jacob's twelve sons who gave their names to the tribes of Israel. Asher is derived from the Hebrew word osher, which means "happiness." Rabbinical scholars claim that the Asherites lived up to this meaning, as they had the most oil, wisdom, and male children compared to the other tribes.
Description:Ezra is potentially an abbreviation for the Hebrew phrase Azaryahu, meaning “Yah helps.” In the Bible, Ezra led a group of fifteen hundred Israelites out of slavery in Babylon and back to Jerusalem. The Latin name Esdras derives from Ezra.
Meaning:"devotion to God"
Description:Caleb has two potential derivations, the first being from the Hebrew kelev, meaning “dog,” and the second from the Hebrew components kal and lev, together meaning “whole heart.” In the Old Testament Caleb is one of only two ancient Israelites (Joshua was the other) who set out from Egypt to finally enter the promised land.
Origin:English variation of Jacob, Hebrew
Description:James is an English derivation of the Hebrew name Jacob. James is biblical (the name of two apostles in the New Testament), royal (kings of both England and Scotland), presidential (with more U.S. Chief Executives named James (six) than any other name), and it is shared by countless great writers and entertainers.
Description:Noah was derived from the Hebrew name Noach, which itself came from the root nuach, meaning "rest." In the bible, Noah was deemed the only righteous man of his time, singled out by God to survive the great flood sent to punish the world. Noa is generally a separate feminine Hebrew name, although it's also found as a variant spelling of the male name Noah.
Description:Very popular in the Iranian community, this name of the founder of the Persian Empire has had a more down-home, corncob pipe-smoking image for most Americans in the past, but this has begun to change.
Description:Ethan derives from the Hebrew name Eitan. There are several Ethans in the Old Testament, the most prominent of whom, Ethan the Ezrahite, is praised for his wisdom. International variations include Etan and Izan.
Description:In the Old Testament, Levi was the third son of Leah and Jacob, from whom the priestly tribe of Levites descended; in the New Testament, Levi was Matthew's given name before he became an apostle. It is suspected that Levi derives from the Hebrew word yillaweh, meaning “he will join.”
Meaning:"gift of God"
Description:Nathaniel was derived from the Hebrew name Netan’el, meaning “gift of God,” composed of the elements natan, meaning “to give,” and ’el, in reference to God. The name is featured several times in the Old and New Testaments, typically spelled Nathanael. In the New Testament, Nathanael is also known by his other name, Bartholomew.
Description:Thomas is the Greek variation of the Aramaic name Ta’oma’. It came about because there were too many apostles named Judas; Jesus renamed one Thomas—meaning "twin"—to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot and the Judas also known as Thaddeus. At first, it was used only for priests.
Origin:Greek from Hebrew
Meaning:"God is good"
Description:Tobias is the Greek form of the Hebrew Tobiah, which was derived from the name Toviyah. Toviyah was created from the elements tov, meaning "good" and yah, representing the Hebrew God. Tobias is the name of several biblical figures but is primarily associated with the story of Tobias and the Angel.
Meaning:"the Lord has remembered"
Description:Zachary is the English variation of Zacharias, which itself is derived from the Hebrew name Zechariah. The name Zachary is attached to eight different people in the Bible, the most prominent being the father of John the Baptist, and it's also presidential, via 12th president Zachary Taylor. Zackery is an alternate spelling, and nicknames include Zack, Zach, Zac, and Zak.
Meaning:"man from Lucania"
Description:Luke originated as a short form of Lucas, a Latin derivation of the Greek name Loukas. The most famous bearer of the name is the first-century Greek physician—an evangelist and friend of Saint Paul, as well as the author of the third Gospel of the New Testament—who was also supposed to have been a portrait painter. He thus became the patron saint of doctors and artists.
Meaning:"hewer; or, having a stump for a hand"
Description:Gideon is a no-longer neglected Old Testament name, but still makes an excellent choice for parents looking to move beyond such overused biblicals as Benjamin and Jacob. In the Old Testament, Gideon was a judge called on by God to rescue the Jews from the Midianites, and the name was popular among the Puritans.
Meaning:"told by God"
Description:Samuel was derived from the Hebrew name Shemu’el, meaning “told by God.” In the Old Testament, Samuel was one of the great judges and prophets of the Israelites, destined for a holy life from birth. He established the Hebrew monarchy, anointing both Saul and David as kings.
Description:Jacob comes from the Latin name Iacobus, which was ultimately derived from the Hebrew name Ya’aqov. In the Old Testament, Jacob was one of the most important patriarchs of the tribes of Israel. He was the youngest son of Isaac and Rebecca and the twin brother of Esau, as well as the husband of both Leah and Rachel. The 12 tribes of Israel evolved from his 12 sons.
Origin:Latin form of Luke
Meaning:"man from Lucania"
Description:Lucas is the Latin derivation of the Greek name Loukas. The meaning of the name references Lucania, an ancient territory in Southern Italy. Lucas is related to the names Luke and Luca; however, Lucius and Lucian derive from a different root and have a different meaning.