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Modern Christian Baby Names

These names step away from traditional biblical and saints' names, and draw on Christian symbols and concepts. They include meaningful word names like Amen and Hosanna, and place names from the Bible, like Jericho and Galilee. Some are more subtle and can also be secular, like River and Shepherd. Many of these names are unisex, and many have only been in use since the end of the twentieth century or even later, which gives them a fresh and lesser-known feel. We've also added a few more established names with a particularly evangelical flavor.
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EvangelineHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "bearer of good news"
  • Description:

    Evangeline is a romantic old name enjoying a major comeback, thanks to its religious overtones, Eva's popularity, and the star of the TV megahit Lost, Evangeline Lilly. Evangelia and Evangelina — two variants of Evangeline — are sure to tag along for the ride.

RiverHeart

  • Origin:

    Nature name
  • Description:

    River shares the tranquil feeling of all the water names, and seems to have pretty much escaped its past strong association with River Phoenix and his unfortunate fate. Keri Russell and the Taylor Hansons both have sons named River, Natasha Henstridge used it as the middle name of her boy Tristan, and Jason Schwartzman pluralized it for daughter Marlowe Rivers.

ZionHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "highest point"
  • Description:

    Zion has taken off in recent years, especially after singer Lauryn Hill used it for her son in 1997 and incorporated the name into a hit song. It combines a user-friendly Ryan-Brian sound with the gravitas of religious significance. The Hebrew pronunciation is 'tzeeyon'.

ShilohHeart

  • Origin:

    Biblical place-name, Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "tranquil"
  • Description:

    Cool meets Born Again meets Brad and Angelina, who made Shiloh an instant star when they chose it for their daughter. While Shiloh has risen from obscurity thanks to its celebrity baby use, it hasn't become a star the way brother names Maddox and Pax have. It entered the Top 1000 in 2007, one year after the birth of Ms. Jolie-Pitt.

SelahHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Description:

    The name is derived from the term commonly used in the Book of Psalms, which has a many Hebrew scholars in confusion over its meaning. Given its context in the Bible, Selah is likely to mean “to praise” or “pause and reflect upon what has just been said." Lauryn Hill used this name for her daughter.
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ShilohHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "tranquil"
  • Description:

    Haunting biblical and Civil War place-name; now unisex—especially after the mega-high-profile Brangelina couple picked it for their daughter. It debuted in the Top 1000 for boys in 2015.

EmmanuelHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "God is with us"
  • Description:

    Emmanuel--spelled with one or two 'm's'-- was popular with early Jewish immigrants, until overused nickname Manny caused it to fade. Now, this important biblical name is being revived in its full glory.

FaithHeart

  • Origin:

    Virtue name
  • Description:

    Faith is one of the most straightforward of the virtue names popularized by the Puritans in the seventeenth century, many parents still choosing it as an indicator of their religious conviction. Faith peaked in 2002 at Number 48.

RiverHeart

  • Origin:

    Nature name
  • Description:

    Most of the notable Rivers have been male, but this nature name certainly flows as well for a girl. Kelly Clarkson's choice of River for her newborn daughter further raised the profile of the name for girls.

JerichoHeart

  • Origin:

    Biblical place-name
  • Description:

    A biblical place name with trumpeting verve and strength.
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CruzHeart

  • Origin:

    Spanish
  • Meaning:

    "cross"
  • Description:

    For a single-syllable Latino surname, this new popular kid on the block packs a lot of energy and charm and is one of the most stylish Spanish names for boys in general use today. Victoria and David Beckham named their third son Cruz, following Brooklyn and Romeo, and it was also picked up on by tennis star Lleyton Hewitt for his son. Other parents may prize its Christian associations.

ShepherdHeart

  • Origin:

    Occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "sheep hearder"
  • Description:

    Shepherd is an occupational surname with a pleasant pastoral feel. It was chosen for their son by the Jerry Seinfelds, which might inspire others to follow their lead.

SalemHeart

  • Origin:

    Biblical place-name or Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "safe"
  • Description:

    Salem is a Biblical place name in Canaan, believed to be the same as Jerusalem, as well as the Massachusetts town famous for its late 17th century witch trials. Salem is also a popular first name in its own right throughout the Arabic world.

VesperHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "evening star"
  • Description:

    This Latin word used for evening spiritual services was introduced to baby namers by the Eva Greene character Vesper Lynd in the modern James Bond film Casino Royale in 2006, based on the Ian Fleming novel, and is just now beginning to provoke interest among namers, with its spiritual reference and soft, whispery sound.

DeaconHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "messenger, servant"
  • Description:

    This name was transposed from the word for a church officer to a baby name when Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe chose it for their son, after a baseball player ancestor, and Don Johnson followed suit. Its popularity also got a boost from Nashville character Deacon Claybourne -- only to fall a bit in recent years.
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MercyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "compassion"
  • Description:

    The quality of mercy makes this lovely Puritan virtue name a quiet favorite today. Although it was most popular in the late nineteenth century, Mercy is on its way to a comeback -- it rose 143 spots between 2012 and 2013, making it one of the year's fastest-rising names. Right now, it's still stylish and distinctive, a rare and wonderful combination.

SaintHeart

  • Origin:

    American word name
  • Meaning:

    "saint"
  • Description:

    Saint as a descriptive word name was first chosen by rocker Pete Wentz for his younger son (baby brother is Bronx), and now Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have catapulted the name into the celebrity stratosphere by choosing it for their baby boy. The couple called their baby "Saint" throughout the pregnancy because his conception had been so difficult. Saint was named in our predictions for the top baby name trends of 2015, on descriptive word names which also include Royal and Noble, King and Rogue. Saint is moving beyond the group of names that are only celebrity baby names and into the general lexicon.

SalemHeart

  • Origin:

    Biblical place-name or Arabic
  • Meaning:

    "safe"
  • Description:

    Salem is a biblical place-name in Canaan, believed to be the same as Jerusalem. Americans may be more familiar with Salem as the name of the Massachusetts town famous for its witch trials in the late 1600s. It's also a popular Arabic name widely-used for both genders.

MessiahHeart

  • Origin:

    Aramaic word name
  • Meaning:

    "expected savior or deliverer"
  • Description:

    A handful of years ago, a judge in Tennessee ruled that parents could not name their son Messiah, "because there's only one." That decision has since been overturned.

GalileeHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "the province"
  • Description:

    Galilee is a highly unusual place name, Galilee being a large region in northern Israel, the home of Jesus during at least thirty years of his life, and also where he cured a blind man. The Sea of Galilee gets its name from the area.
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RansomHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "shield's son"
  • Description:

    Ransom may be rakish and handsome, but it carries an unavoidable association with holding someone for ransom. But that kind of bad boy image might be exactly what attracts you to Ransom in the first place. While Ransom feels like a modern appellation ala Breaker or Ranger, it's interesting to note on the popularity chart that it was actually quite popular at the end of the 19th century but fell off the Top 1000 around 1930.

CreedHeart

  • Origin:

    English word name
  • Description:

    Creed appeared on the US Top 1000 for the first time in over a century in 2016; it was the year's second-fastest-rising boys' name. It probably got a bump from the seventh movie in the Rocky series, called simply Creed. Some may know it from the character on the popular television show The Office.

TrinityHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "triad"
  • Description:

    Trinity bounded up the charts after the release of The Matrix, whose heroine was named Trinity. Country singer Trace Adkins used it for his daughter.

CanaanHeart

  • Origin:

    Biblical place name
  • Description:

    Pronounced KAY-nan, this Old Testament place name has a strong modern feel. It was one of the fastest-rising names of 2015, breaking into the Top 1000.

ZionHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "highest point"
  • Description:

    A Biblical place name that's one of the rising unisex baby names for both girls and boys. It's got an uplifting feel and that zippy Z beginning. Zion is an alternate name for Jerusalem and is used as a nationalistic pro-Israel movement known as Zionism. The name has gained popularity after being used by celebrities Lauryn Hill, Dwyane Wade, and Fantasia Barrino.
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HosannaHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "deliver us"
  • Description:

    In the New Testament this was exclaimed by those around Jesus when he first entered Jerusalem. An exuberant choice!

FisherHeart

  • Origin:

    Occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "fisherman"
  • Description:

    As a member of two trendy name categories, animal and occupational, this name broke into the Top 1000 in 2004 and would make a nice tribute to an angler Grandpa.

AlphaHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek, first letter of the alphabet
  • Description:

    The first letter of the Greek alphabet ande the brightest star in every constellation, this would make an interesting choice for a first daughter, though it does give off some spectral sci-fi reverberations--and references to the term "alpha male.".

JubileeHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew
  • Meaning:

    "ram's horn"
  • Description:

    Jubilee has a joyous and jubilant aura, but it wouldn't be an easy name to carry, what with all that pressure to be a living, breathing, 24-7 party. Jubilee was the name selected by television's Duggars for their miscarried child.

KyrieHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "Lord"
  • Description:

    Kyrie may be a name of God used widely in the ancient church refrain Kyrie Elieson, or Lord, have mercy, but it's rising in popularity for boys in the US on the strength of basketball star Kyrie Irving. Irving pronounces the first syllable of Kyrie to rhyme with my, whereas with the religious word it rhymes with fear.
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GenesisHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Genesis -- the name of the first book of the Bible -- is not nearly as original for babies as you'd think; Genesis has been quite popular for several years now. Genesis entered the Top 1000 girl names in 1988 and the Top 100 names for girls in 2008, though it only entered the boys' Top 1000 in 2018.

HeavenHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Among the children named Heaven are the daughters of TV personality Brooke Burke and rap singer Lil' Mo, who also has a daughter named God'iss Love. Some parents have taken to using Nevaeh instead—Heaven spelled backwards.

PromiseHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Promise is one of those word names with an uplifting meaning that is making inroads as a girls' name, like sisters Dream and Serenity. How promising is Promise as a first name? Our try at cleverness illustrates perhaps the biggest problem with naming your baby girl Promise: It will be difficult for people to resist making bad puns on the name. We promise (argh) you'll be tired of hearing them well before your baby Promise's first birthday.

HaloHeart

  • Origin:

    American word name
  • Description:

    Being a modern word, Halo didn’t become used as a name until around the nineteenth century. Halo is now mostly given to girls, and has become more common since the Halo video game series was released in 2001, in which Halo rings are huge structures used as weapons, but do have a religious connection. A space age virtue name and possible honour name for Gloria.

LeviticusHeart

  • Origin:

    Greek
  • Meaning:

    "belonging to the Levites"
  • Description:

    Old Testament book way too heavy to carry.
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ChosenHeart

  • Origin:

    WORD NAME
  • Description:

    Chosen is officially a baby name thanks to Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who chose (can't resist) the word as the name of his newborn son. While it may inspire bad puns, Chosen is actually a pretty good word name: It's got the two-syllable, n-ending sound that is so fshionable for boys' names, plus a positive, affirming meaning. And if Saint and Messiah can be baby names, why not Chosen? And there's no reason it can't also work for girls.

EpiphanyHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name, Greek
  • Meaning:

    "manifestation, striking appearance"
  • Description:

    Epiphany is based on the ancient Greek word for a feeling or realization that comes upon you suddenly. It often relates to the divine, as in the realization that Christ is the son of God. The Feast of the Epiphany, which commemorates the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus, takes place on January 6, ranking Epiphany among the unique January baby names. As word names and spiritual names become more popular, the attractive Epiphany becomes a more viable choice.

SoulHeart

  • Origin:

    Modern Word Name
  • Description:

    A charming addition to the ever-growing crop of virtue names.

GenesisHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Though Genesis is a Top 100 girls' name, it's by all rights a unisex choice. And really, there's nothing intrinsically female about Genesis, unless you use nickname Gen which sounds exactly like the ubiquitous Jen.

MiracleHeart

  • Origin:

    Latin
  • Meaning:

    "wonder, marvel"
  • Description:

    A recently popular spiritual name that entered the Top 500 in 2003.
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DivinityHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Could be a sister to Trinity, Genesis, or Heaven.

GloryHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Glory sounds fresh and uplifting and a lot more modern than Gloria (which is definitely feeling the stirrings of a revival, though some might still view it as a terminal Old Lady name). Glory, as in "Glory Be" and "Old Glory," has both a religious and a patriotic flavor.

HaloHeart

  • Origin:

    English, word name
  • Description:

    The word has been used in English since the sixteenth century, and in the sacred sense since the seventeenth; it replaced “glory,” the older term for divine light. Being a modern word, Halo didn’t become used as a name until around the nineteenth century. Halo is now mostly given to girls, and has become more common since the Halo video game series was released in 2001, in which Halo rings are huge structures used as weapons, but do have a religious connection. A space age virtue name and possible honour name for Gloria.

NazarethHeart

  • Origin:

    Hebrew place-name
  • Description:

    Nazareth, used equally for boys and girls, is one of several place names with religious associations -- Galilee, Jericho --that have been rising in use in recent years. The name may relate to branch or to the verb watch or guard, but there are many possible derivations and meanings.

PsalmHeart

  • Origin:

    American word name
  • Description:

    Kanye West and Kim Kardashian added this new word name to the lexicon when they chose it for their second son and fourth child. Psalm and Saint certainly make a perfect sibset. A psalm is a hymn or sacred song. The bible contains a Book of Psalms.
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CrossHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Evocative word name that's refreshingly straightforward. Overtones of Christianity and penalty. More subtle option: Cruz.

EmanuelHeart

  • Origin:

    Spelling variation of Emmanuel
  • Meaning:

    "God is with us"
  • Description:

    Fewer letters does not always mean easier—the traditional spelling is the one most people will recognize.

KyrieHeart

  • Origin:

    Short form of Kyra or Greek
  • Meaning:

    "Lord"
  • Description:

    Kyrie elieson is one of the oldest religious refrains, meaning Lord, have mercy. As a first name, though, Kyrie is less a name of God and more a nickname-name that might be short for Kyra or a diminutive that stands on its own, a la Kylie. The best-known Kyrie is the male basketball player Kyrie Irving, who pronounces the first syllable to rhyme with my rather than fear. He has inspired more than 1000 baby boys to be given this name one recent year in the US, while it was given to 178 baby girls. Impressive numbers.

AmenHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name or variation of Amon
  • Description:

    Brother for Heaven or Nevaeh.

SpiritHeart

  • Origin:

    Word name
  • Description:

    Spiritual names -- Peace, Destiny -- are becoming more popular, but this may be taking it too far.
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