Best Word Names from Scripture

Word names are al the rage in 2023. You’ve heard of Travis Scott’s son “Aire” and you probably have several real-life friends who named their baby a quirky word names! (We know a Poppy and Cedar.) While these usually fall outside of our blog’s focus on ancient biblical names, we thought it was a fun addition and conversation piece!

Word Names from Bible Verses

Honey: Honey was highly prized during ancient times. In Exodus, The Promised Land was said to be “flowing with milk and honey.” This is both literal and metaphorical to show that God was giving the people not just any land, but good land.

“But I said to you, “You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the LORD your God, who has set you apart from the nations.” Leviticus 20:24

“They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.” Psalms 19:10

Banner: Usable B names are hard to find in the Bible. So if it’s a letter you love, it may be a chore to find something biblical that works for you. For this reason, Banner is a great addition, especially when its connected to the verse (and song) that we all know so well.

“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.” Songs of Solomon 2:4

Acacia: Tree names are a big theme for baby names recently like Willow, Oak, and Aspen. If you love nature names, but want one that’s used in high regard in the Bible, Acacia is a great fit! Many pieces of the tabernacle were built from Acacia tree, including the Ark of the Covenant.

“Moreover, you shall make an altar as a place for burning incense; you shall make it of acacia wood.” Exodus 30:1

Saint: The New Testament uses the word saint or saints 67 times speaking about believers and the bible consistently references all believers as saints! It’s become popular due to several celebrities using it – although they many not have considered its rich biblical meaning of “holy”.

“To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” Romans 1:7

Dove: The dove is the bird God chose to represent the Holy Spirit at the baptism of Jesus.

“And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him;  and behold, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’” Matthew 3:16-17

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Biblical Places as Baby Names

coolest ancient places and their meaning


Did you know “coolest ancient names” is a common search when looking for baby names!? While there are many sites that will talk about the names of Greek gods and goddesses, or Roman emperors, theres another incredible resource for ancient names – the Bible!

Place names, also known as toponyms, have always been a popular choice for baby names. We know several children named London, Paris, and even Canyon – which all count as toponyms. (We used a few for our kids too!) Since this is an intriguing concept, ancient biblical place names and their meanings, we decided to dive into the most unusual and usable place names of the Bible. Be sure to click on the names for more information!

Toponym comes from Ancient Greek τόπος “place” and ὄνομα “name”.

Unique Place Names in the Bible

Zelah: One of the cities of the Tribe of Benjamin and also the burial place of King Saul. Meaning, “side”.

Rhodes: Seen quickly in Acts as Paul and Luke are passing through. The word/place exists before the Greek, however the Greek meaning is, “Rose”.

Salem: The city ruled by King Melchizedek in Genesis. Meaning, “Peace”.

Memphis: This is the capital of Egypt mentioned in the Old Testament. Generally accepted as meaning, “Abode (place) of the good”.

Calah: First of the new cities named after Noah’s flood. The only comparable Hebrew word is Kala meaning “vigor”, but it is unknown as to if this is the meaning of the name of this particular city.

Derbe: A city in Asia Minor. Mention in Acts several times and one of the only places the Gospel was accepted immediately. Assumed meaning, “barred gate”.

Cana: A town of Galilee where Jesus did his first miracle. Meaning, “Reed”.

Rome:  Where we know Paul wrote his epistles to the Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and to Philemon. Uncertain meaning.

Judea: Mentioned in both the New and Old Testament. Meaning, “Land of the Jews”

Caria: Simply mentioned in Acts as a place being traveled through. No known meaning.

Olivet: This place has both Old Testament and New Testament references. Meaning, “Olive” or “Olive Tree”.

What do you think? Would you consider using the names of biblical places for your baby?

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Zelah: Side

Is zelah a bible name

We would never have guessed the name Zelah is biblical name, would you?! This name feels very up and coming as it reminds us of some of the other modern Z names we’ve heard recently. (We even used one for our daughter, Zara.)


Original Language + Form: Hebrew צֵלָע

Range of Meanings: Side


References or Context: Zelah, the location, is used twice in the Bible. First, it is one of the fourteen cities of the tribe of Benjamin and later the location where King Saul was buried. Zelah or Zela are the two common spellings of this place name. However, “tsela” is the common spelling of the Hebrew noun “side” which is used 41 times! We see it all the way from Genesis 2, where is speaks of God taking from Adam’s “side” to create Eve, and then speaking about the “side” of the temple and ark in Exodus & Ezekiel.

If you love Zelah and are looking for other place names in the Bible, don’t forget to check out Biblical Places as Baby Names!

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Judea: A Rare Beauty

Judea hebrew meaning

What is the meaning of Judea in the bible?

There are many variations of Judea through out the Bible, in both Old & New Testament; including Judah and Jude. Most mentions have generally have good associations (minus the well-known Judas), however Judea is rarely used and definitely the most interesting choice for a little girl!


Original Language + Form: Greek Ἰουδαία adaption of the Hebrew יהודה

Range of Meanings: Land of the Jews

Concept: Judea is the Greco-Latin (or Greco-Roman) form of the land first called “Judah”. Judah is from the Hebrew word “to praise” so Judea is probably better translated as “Land of those who praise”.

References or Context: The gravity of this location, not as a physical location of importance, but as the place God chose for His people, the Jews, and in turn, His Son. Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea and even commissioned his disciples there!

…But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

Acts 1:8

If you like the biblical baby name Judea, you will love: Olivet

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Iris: Rainbow

Iris is a Christian baby name meaning Rainbow

We never appreciated the name Iris enough… until studying the Greek to find it’s connection to the Bible! Did you know it means “rainbow” in Greek?? Since rainbows are also a sign of God’s promise in the Bible, this name feels as though it has a lot of biblical significance for Christians today!


Original Language + Form: Greek ἶρις

Range of Meanings: Rainbow

Concept: Describing a brightly color halo or a circle of light

References or Context: Used twice in Revelation.

Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire.

Revelation 10:1

If you like the biblical name Iris, you will love Meris!

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Phero: A Royal Feel

Biblical Greek Baby boy name Phero

Learn more about the name Phero meaning “bear”

The title Pharaoh has always been an intriguing one and it’s even been used, more often than we might think, as a name for babies in the US; although King and Princess beat it by far on the name charts!

The Greek word Phero has nothing to do with royalty (in spite of sounding similar), but may make a great ancient alternative if you are looking for a name that could also pass as a royal title.


Original Language + Form: Greek φέρω

Range of Meanings: To carry, bring, present

Concept: Phero’s biblical meaning also has a large number of figurative uses where its translated to “endure”, “bear”, or “sustain (uphold)” and imply that they are continual. For example, God did not only sustain the universe in the past, he will continue to do so!

References or Context: 

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:5

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.

Hebrews 1:3

If you like the biblical baby name Phero, you will love: Thelo

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Meris: Partakers

Greek baby name Meris meaning partaker

“M” names are wildly popular, coming second only to those starting with “j”. If you love the letter and are looking for an unusual biblical name, Meris is darling! It’s also close enough to many other common names, like Mary, to sound pleasantly familiar while still being unique.


Original Language + Form: Greek μερίς

Range of Meanings: Portion, a share

Concept: To be “partakers”, given an assigned amount, like in an inheritance.

References or Context:

but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Luke 10:42

giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.

Colossians 1:12

If you like the biblical name Meris, you will love: Salem

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Esli: Ancestor of Jesus

Meaning is usually what draws us personally to Biblical names, but on rare occasions there are names without meanings that we love. Esli is one of those! While there isn’t a lot of information about the name, it’s mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus.


Original Language + Form: Greek Ἐσλί

Range of Meanings: Possibly the Greek for the Hebrew “atsalyahu” meaning “Yah has reserved,” “set apart”, but definitive meaning unknown.

Concept: unknown

References or Context: An ancestor of Jesus, listed in Luke’s genealogy (Luke 3:25)

If you like the biblical baby name Esli, you will love: Chara

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Rufus: Red

Rufus latin name

It’s a charming first-century Christian name. While the meaning might be simple, Rufus has two wholesome mentions in the New Testament.


Original Language + Form: Latin rūfus

Range of Meanings: Red

Concept: n/a

References or Context: Who was Rufus in the Bible? First, Rufus was the son of Simon the Cyrenian who carried the cross for Jesus (Mark 15:21). Second, he was a friend of Paul, “chosen in the Lord” (Romans 16:3). Some believe these two mentions may be the same man, however they are separated by time of 25 years and by locations also, but either way Rufus is documented to be a common Latin name during this time.

If you like the biblical baby name Rufus, you will love: Phero

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Thelo: Willing

A name meaning purpose

The name Thelo is close to Shakespeare’s “Othello” (but with out the depressing ending to that story.) It’s also similar to some modern favorites, like Theo or Milo, with the bonus of a beautiful biblical meaning.


Original Language + Form: Greek θέλω

Range of Meanings: To will, intend, desire, wish

Concept: To show willingness to act or desire to do so

References or Context: Thelo is used 40 times in the New Testament, but many variations are used totaling up to 200 uses over all.

“Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the pious, but sinners, to repentance.”

Matthew 9:13

“And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. “And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”

Matthew 8:2-3

If you like the biblical name Thelo, you will love: Bronte

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Modern Biblical Baby Names

If you take naming your baby as seriously as we did, you've come to the right place!

Joel + Ashley have six kids, two dogs (all with biblical names), and a few degrees in theology and education. They ran out things to name so they combined their love of the Bible and babies to start this website.

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Located in Houston, Texas