Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Names of God

For whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Romans 10:13
I've often been fascinated by the various names of God in the scriptures. They're really titles, not names, but they tell us important things about the attributes of God. My personal favorites are Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), Comforter (John 14:26), and Advocate (see e.g. Doctrine and Covenants 48:3). I went looking for a list of all of the names of God in scripture, and I didn't find one. I found a few incomplete lists from the Old Testament, but nothing complete or comprehensive. (I was hoping that Ziff, the Bloggernacle's resident statistician, had done something, but the closest he got was an analysis of which titles for Jesus Christ were most commonly used in General Conference talks.)

So, since I have a tendency to start giant projects, I'm going to make a list of all the names of God in the scriptures. There's an element of subjectivity in this endeavor, especially in the allegorical passages, but I'm going to give it a go anyway. It's a long-term project, but I'm hoping to finish by the end of the year. (I just started today. I'm in Genesis 6.)

Here's my methodology:
  • I'm going to list each name once, with a notation of the first verse in which it appears. At some point, I would like to do a search to find out how often each name appears, but the search function on the new scripture site at isn't all that reliable right now. If it improves, I'll run the searches.
  • I'm going to make the list from the LDS standard works in English. This means that I'll be using the King James Bible (both Old and New Testaments), the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants (including the Official Declarations), and the Pearl of Great Price. I will not be using the JST, and I will not include any non-canonized documents such as the family proclamation, etc.
  • My list will not differentiate between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Since they constitute one God (see e.g., Doctrine and Covenants 20:28, 2 Nephi 31:21), there is no need for distinction. (i.e. Jesus Christ is a name of God, Holy Ghost is a name of God, etc.)
If anyone has ideas on how to speed this along (like, for example, a link to a reliable list from the Bible so that I can move on to the uniquely LDS scriptures), I would appreciate it. I'm not too worried about computers causing the same result as in Arthur C. Clarke's sci-fi short story The Nine Billion Names of God.

Once I'm done, I'll blog it.

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