How to Study the Meaning and Significance of Jesus’s Names
Advanced Skill ● 8 min
Perhaps you've enjoyed learning about other people's study of Scripture. Maybe even you've read "Unwrapping The Names of Jesus" or similar books that study His names and His characteristics. But have you ever wondered, "Well, could I do that myself?"
Or what if there's a name that you want to study that you can't find in the devotional, it's not included there, but you want to know more about it?
Well, in this Bible study tutorial, I want to teach you how to study the names of Jesus for yourself.
You can apply these same steps to studying any attribute of God. So let's pick one to start with.
I just looked at Isaiah 9:6; it has a whole wonderful list. It says, "For to us, a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called 'Wonderful Counselor,' 'Mighty God,' 'Everlasting Father,' 'Prince of Peace' ... and it goes on.
I thought we'd start with "Wonderful Counselor," because that's one that I did not include in "Unwrapping the Names of Jesus" but it's a beautiful name. It has so much significance.
So let's walk through the steps, alright?
First of all, what you're gonna do is read the text. If you know where the name shows up, read that verse. If you don't know, and you're like, "I know somewhere Jesus is called 'the Lamb of God' but I'm not sure where it is," just Google it. That's what I do. Google and say "Lamb of God, Bible verse" and it will pull up in order of relevance. Or you can go to Bible Gateway or blueletter.com and look it up there.
So read the text that it first shows up in, and then write down any observations you have based on that text. So here, if we looked up this verse, some things that I would write down is, it says, "He will be called 'Wonderful Counselor.'" So I might write down the question: Who will call Him "Wonderful Counselor?"
There's a whole listing of names and I might notice that "Wonderful Counselor" is the first one. So I might write down an observation: Is there significance to the fact that it's first in the list? Observations can take the form of questions that you have about the text, but it could also be, "Oh, it starts, 'To us a child is born.'" It's so interesting that Jesus is called "Wonderful Counselor" even as a child.
Take some time, pause the video, and look at Isaiah 9:6, and write down another two or three observations about this text. Go ahead and hit pause.
Alright, are you back?
Hopefully you've taken a moment to write down a few more observations. So the first step is: read the text, write down your observations. The next step is to read the context.
So you might wanna look up the context of chapter 9. It says, "There will be no more gloom for those who are in distress." And it talks about the people walking in darkness seeing a light, and there's joy, "Rejoice, rejoice," over and over again.
So this is a prophecy about the coming Messiah. And it says that, "the zeal of the Lord," in verse 7, "will accomplish this." Read the surrounding context and then write down another two or three observations about "Wonderful Counselor." Go ahead, hit pause, and write it down.
Alright, here we go.
So you've read the text, you've written observations, you've read the context and written down a few notes about that, so the next thing that's a lot of fun to do is to look up cross-references. And by that, I mean, in my Bible, right here, you might see that there are letters right at the top.
So for me, if I go down and I look at the letters, it says that the text could read "Wonderful" comma "Counselor." So it's possible that those are two different titles for Jesus, which is interesting. You might wanna write down that observation on the text. But then the other letter takes me to Job 15:8.
Turn over to Job 15:8 with me, and we're gonna read that together. It says, "Do you listen in on God's counsel? Do you limit wisdom to yourself?" So it's talking about God's wisdom, God's counsel. It cross-references over to Romans 11:34, so I'll flip over to Romans 11:34, and this is Paul writing, "Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor?"
Well, from Isaiah 9:6 we know that Jesus is the Counselor. So as you read the context, write down additional notes based on what you're learning in those cross-references. And go back and forth. As you're reading in Romans, you might find another cross-reference. Those little numbers and letters. We have a tutorial on how to use cross-references if you need that. So you can go search for that, watch that video if you need more help.
Pause the video, take a moment, look up those cross-references, and write down a few notes about what you learn about the "Wonderful Counselor."
Alright, are you back?
So, read the text, write down observations, read the context, write down more notes, read cross-references, write down more notes. You might want to look up the word. What is the meaning of this word "Counselor" that is used in the original text?
I went ahead and did that, and I have Blue Letter Bible pulled up here on my computer and it tells me that it's the word "yaats." I'm probably pronouncing that wrong. But it's Strongs Number H3289, so you can look it up that way, too, if you want.
The definition says, "To advise, to consult, "to give counsel, purpose, devise, plan." So, yeah, to give counsel, to plan. As you're studying the word, you might wanna look up where else is this word used in context to better understand it. So go ahead and do that, and, you got it, write down your notes and observations.
Alright, did you do that?
The last step then, you might wanna look up commentaries, if you'd like, you can do that, and then write down notes on those commentaries. And then, what you'll wanna do is look at all your notes for the name and then write down the main idea. Boil it down to, "What is the main point? What does it mean that Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor? What does it mean to His relationship with God the Father, what does it mean in His relationship toward us, as His children, as His Bride? What are the implications there?"
Summarize it in one main idea and then, once you have that, ask the Holy Spirit, "How does that apply in my life? What should I be doing differently? How should I live differently now that I know that Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor?"
So those are the steps I go through when I study a name, or an attribute, of God. It's a lot of fun; it can take as little as eight to ten minutes, it can take two to three days, depending on how deep you wanna go. But it is always, always worth it to grow in our knowledge and love of Jesus.
So my challenge to you this week is to pick another name that you want to study next, because you already studied "Wonderful Counselor" with me on this tutorial, and go through these same steps, study that name, and then come over to the Facebook group and share with us, what did you learn about it? Share with us the meaning and significance of this new name and how it applies to your life. We can't wait to hear from you.