I’ve noticed that names seem to be important to God. One of the responsibilities He gave to Adam was name the animals.
“Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name” (Genesis 2:19, NKJV).
In addition, several stories in the Bible involve Him naming or renaming people to reflect His will for them. He renamed Abram to be Abraham (Genesis 17:5), meaning “father of multitudes.” He named Ishmael (Genesis 16:11), whose name means “God will hear.” He named Isaac (Genesis 17:19), whose name means “laughter,” because his parents laughed at the idea of having him in their old age (Genesis 17:17).
He renamed Jacob to be Israel (Genesis 32:28), meaning “he will rule as God.” He named John the Baptist (Luke 1:13), whose first name comes from a Hebrew word meaning “God-favored.” The Father named Jesus (Matthew 1:21), Whose name comes from Hebrew words meaning “God saves.” And Jesus renamed Simon to be Peter (John 1:42), meaning “stone.”
The Bible makes frequent references to God’s names:
- “Yahweh” – the self-existing One
- “El Shaddai” – God almighty
- “Yahweh Jireh” – the Lord, Who provides
- And the list could go on.
Get the picture? Names are important.
My wife gave birth to our third child, a son, on Wednesday night. After a miscarriage and then a stillbirth, we were all understandably excited about this baby. We named him Benjamin Kaspar Byrns, a name that we had had picked out since we found out we were expecting again. People ask us how we picked the name, and since names are important, I’d like to share the meaning with you.
We chose the name Benjamin largely because of his older brother. Benjamin’s brother, Joseph Heath Byrns, was stillborn in 2009. He was named Joseph because Joseph, from the Old Testament, was one of my favorite people in the Bible. His faith and perseverance are an amazing example. And his middle name was Heath so that he could share the name with his daddy, me. In the Bible, Joseph had many half brothers by his father, but only one full sibling. Benjamin, like Joseph, was born to Jacob and his favorite wife, Rachel. So, when we were expecting a brother for our Joseph, we decided that he too should be Benjamin.
The name Benjamin means “son of my right hand.” And that is who Benjamin is to me: the long-awaited miracle who has expanded our family; my “right-hand man,” who I plan to take with me daily on the journey of the coming years, loving him, and teaching him by example what it means to be a godly man.
His middle name, Kaspar, comes from a war hero and pioneer in our family. My 6th great grandfather, Georg Mansker, had a brother named Kaspar. Their whole family left Germany in the 1740s to come to this country. Kaspar fought for American independence in several battles of the Revolution. After the war, he came south and led the first American settlers into what is now Nashville, Tennessee. His home, Fort Mansker, still stands near Nashville. (His Wikipedia article is here.) Historical records spell his name as Kasper, Kaspar, or even Gaspard. So, we simply chose a traditional German spelling, Kaspar.
And as a bonus, we realized after we chose the name that he shares the initials BKB with my dad, his grandfather.
There you have it, the explanation behind his name. I hope that one day he will trust Christ as his Savior and add the most important name of all: “Christian.” We’re already praying for our son, and we ask that you’ll join us in praying for him too.