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New Testament Boys' Names

Rome, which was founded in 753 B.C.E., was the greatest city in the world by the time of the New Testament. The Christian church was well established there, but many Christians were also persecuted by Roman emperors. The dominant influence that the Greeks and Romans had at the time is reflected in many of the names that appear in the New Testament.

  • Bartholomew: This name comes from the Greek Bartholomaios, which means "son of Talmai," an Aramic name meaning "hill" or "mound." Bartholomew was the name of one of the 12 apostles.
  • Cornelius: From the Latin word meaning "horn." Cornelius was the first Gentile converted by Peter.
  • James: A variant of Jacob. James was the older brother of John and one of the 12 disciples. He was also the first martyr among the apostles.
  • Jason: Derived from a Greek word that means "to heal." Jason was a relative of Paul.
  • Jesus: The name is a Greek form of Joshua, and is, of course, the name of the son of God.
  • John: This most popular name is derived from the Hebrew yehohanan, meaning "God is gracious."
  • Luke: Although no one's exactly sure, Luke is thought to mean "from Lucanus," a region of southern Italy. Luke was one of the four evangelists.
  • Mark: From the Latin, meaning "warlike." Mark was another of the four evangelists
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  • Matthew: From the Hebrew mattithyah, meaning "gift of God." Matthew was one of the 12 apostles. He changed his name from Levi when he answered the call to be a follower of Jesus.
  • Matthias: Another of the 12 apostles; his name comes from the same name that Matthew does.
  • Phillip: Phillip also was an apostle of Jesus. The name comes from the Greek word meaning "lover of horses."
  • Silas: This name comes from the Aramaic word that means "asked for." Silas was a member of the early church who was, at one time, jailed with Paul for his beliefs.
  • Stephen: It comes from the Greek stephanos ("crown" or "garland"). Stephen was the first Christian martyr.
  • Simon: From the Hebrew word meaning "heard." Simon carried the cross after Jesus buckled under its weight.
  • Timothy: From the Greek words tim ("honor" or "respect") and theos ("God"), meaning "honoring God."

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Baby Names © 1999 by Sonia Weiss. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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