Although the New Testament is the most common source Christians go to when choosing a name, many people without a particularly religious interest are also using the New Testament. New Testament names are appealing because they have a traditional feel and a slightly reverent nature without appearing as obscure and antiquated as many of the names found in the Old Testament.
The names of the authors of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) have understandably been popular with parents looking for "Christian" names, but for those parents that are not overly religious (and that includes not at all) they do not appear overtly pious because of their popularity. The names of the apostles, at least eleven of them, are also good possibilities. They include: Simon (called Peter); Andrew, Simon's brother; James the Elder (son of Zebedee); John, James the elder's brother; Philip; Bartholomew; Matthew (or Levi); Thomas; James the younger; Judas (or Thaddeus, brother of James the Younger); and Simon Zelotes. According to the scriptures, the twelfth apostle, Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus, later hung himself. Matthias served as his replacement.
Other popular male names from the New Testament to choose from include: Alexander (son of the man who carried Jesus' cross), Demas (a collegue of Paul), Elias (a variation of the Old Testament's Elijiah), Galio (older brother of Seneca), Jairus (leader of the synagougue at Capernaum), Jason (a collegue of Paul), Nathaniel (disciple of Jesus), Stephen (a matyr), and Timothy (a collegue of Paul's).
Female names from the New Testament include: Anna (prophet who called Jesus the messiah), Eunice (mother of Timothy), Julia (the woman greeted by Paul in the book of Romans), Mary (mother of Jesus), Phoebe (a woman in the book of Romans), Salome (mother of John the apostle), and Tabitha (a woman in the book of Acts).
Like the Old Testament, male names within the New Testament far outweigh the number of female names; therefore, consider using the names of places mentioned in the Bible as a name. Bethany, for example, refers to a village from the book of Luke, and Magdala, the town of Mary Magadalene. Also consider using a male name for a girl, slightly modified or as is.
Finally, if you have particular aspirations for your child, the patron saints of the Catholic Church provide names that are specifically associated with a trade or area. To illustrate this point, if you are, or hope your child will be, an artist you might want to name her Catherine, after the patron saint of art.
This page was last modified on 16 May 2003.
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