What Does James Mean In the Bible?

What Does James Mean In the Bible?

When you are choosing a name for your child, it may be overwhelming. Of course, you want to choose the perfect name, and there are an endless amount of options out there in the world! Some of the things that you should look at in a name are its meaning, of course, but also its significance and history.

Names can have strong connections to different cultures and religions, too. One name that has a particular connection to the Christian religion is the name, James.

Take a look below to learn more about the name James, such as its meaning and its significance in relation to Christianity and the text of the Christian Bible itself. 

Meaning of the Name James

The name James is known to mean “closely follow at the heel of God”. This is a lovely way to ensure that your child comes into this world with a connection to the Lord already.

However, James actually has two meanings in relation to the Christian faith. It may have slightly different meanings in other languages, too, but for the purpose of this article, we are discussing the name James and its connection to Christianity and the Bible.

James comes from the Hebrew verb that the name Jacob comes from. Due to this, in Hebrew, James has another meaning, and it is essentially the same meaning as the name Jacob. In Hebrew, James means “to follow, to be behind”, “holder of the heel”, or “he who closely follows”, just as the name Jacob does.

Essentially, James is another form of Jacob.

Significance of the Name James

Now, you may be wondering why the name James is significant, or why it would be a good name for your child. This is a name that is mostly used for boys, but in some instances, has also been given to baby girls in recent years. As we mentioned above, James can mean “closely follow at the heel of God”.

Also, in Hebrew, James can mean “to follow, to be behind”, “holder of the heel”, or “he who closely follows”. James is a name that does appear in the text of the Bible as well.

James was a brother of Jesus and was also the author of the Book of James in the Bible. Another James that appears in the Bible is the apostle James. However, the apostle James was not the same author of the Book of James! James can be a wonderful name choice, as it has a beautiful and powerful meaning, as well as a history in the Christian Bible, too. 

Name History of the Name James

The name James has a varied history. It dates all the way back to the time of the Bible, as more than one figure with this name appears in the text. It is also a classic Anglo-Saxon name. James comes from the Latin name Jacomus, which can be translated and understood to mean “may God protect”. As it is a classic name, it has sustained its popularity over the years. Some are even naming their baby girls James, even though the name is not truly considered to be a unisex name!

Over the last 100 years, James clocked in as the number 1 most popular name.

There are plenty of famous Jameses in history who are still alive today. An example of a famous James is the American actor James Franco. 

Further Reading – What Does the Number 7 mean in the Bible?

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the name James mean to God?

James is a name that means “closely follow at the heel of God”. It comes from the Latin name Jacomus that means “may God protect”. Usually, names and their root names have the same meaning, but in this case, it is not true! However, both have a link to God and to Christianity. James also comes from a Hebrew verb that means “to follow, to be behind”, “holder of the heel”, or “he who closely follows”. It is also the verb that the name Jacob comes from!

What is the Hebrew meaning of the name James?

The name James comes from the name Jacob. The Hebrew meaning of James, then, is the same as the Hebrew meaning of Jacob. Both James and Jacob means “supplanter”. A supplanter is a person who rises up to take the place of another. This can be negative or positive, as it can be a sign of someone who shows perseverance! In Hebrew, Jacob and James can also mean “to follow, to be behind”, “holder of the heel”, or “he who closely follows”. James, however, also has its own meaning, while this is not the Hebrew meaning. James can also mean “closely follow at the heel of God”. 

What is a supplanter in the Bible?

In the Bible, a supplanter is a person who rises up to take the rightful place of another. A synonym for supplanter is usurper. By definition, a supplanter is one who wrongfully or illegally seizes and holds the place of another. However, in the Bible especially, this can also be seen as a sign of strength and perseverance, rather than a negative thing. A great example of a supplanter in the Bible is the story of Jacob and Esau, where Jacob In this instance, Jacob was the supplanter. He rose up and was able to take the birthright that was meant for Esau as the first born son. 

Is James a good name?

Of course, whether or not James is a good name will depend upon what you are looking for in a baby name. It is usually used for boys, though some people have started to use James as a name for girls, too. An example of this is the daughter of actors Ryan Reynolds and BLake Lively. James is a classic name that will not go out of style like some of the more trendy baby names these days might go out of style. Plus, it is a name that has a connection to Hebrew and the Christian religion, with a powerful meaning.

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About the author

Lucas is a former worship pastor and Hillsong College graduate (2005). He has spoken at churches, conferences and worship events and loves inspiring people to be more than just a Sunday service-goer. He founded 15 Degrees NE and is one of our leading authors.

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