Are Names Self-Fulfilling Prophecies?

When reading the bible I’ve often wondered if names are self-fulfilling prophecies. I mean the amount of times people have lived out the meaning of their names. Take the story of Jacob and Esau. Or the names of Joseph’s brothers. Or how God changes people’s names when they have a new purpose, like how he changed Abram’s name, Jacob’s name (to Israel) and Simon’s name (to Peter by Jesus).

When you look at the meaning of the names they serve a purpose. For example God renames Abram Abraham because he shall be the father of many (and he did become the father of many) Genesis 17: 5. Jesus renamed Simon Peter and Peter means stone and I’ve heard many sermons that talk about Peter’s personality and how stubborn he was and how his stubbornness was used for good. Then there’s Jacob who got renamed Israel as a blessing when he won a fight against God. The meaning of the name Israel being:

“28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,[a] because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” Genesis 32: 28.

And Jacob was a fighter. He never gave up in life. He got Esau’s birth right and he worked fourteen years just so that he could marry Rachel.

Outside of the bible I’ve met people whose names become self-fulfilling prophecies. There are the obvious names like mine, Gift, or Delight or Faith and even I have heard Resistance (I collect such names). Now my name is Gift and I wouldn’t say I’m a Gift or something cheesy like that but I do tend to be a jack of all trades but a master of none (until I discovered writing and martial arts and dancing mwahahahahahahaha). So in a way my name came true. I have seen similar things in my other obvious named friends.

The most fun ones however are the ones that aren’t obvious like English names when you look up the meaning. For example did you know that Maria can mean sea of bitterness or sea of sorrow? Its meaning is disputed though and some think it means rebellion or wished for child or mistress/lady of the sea (my source). I found this out when researching for a name for my book. I had named a character a variation of Maria but when I saw that it could mean bitterness I had second thoughts. My character wasn’t like that at all and I didn’t want to curse her so I changed her name. #lifeofanauthor

I honestly do think a name can have an effect on a person. A person can fight the meaning like my friend (who I shan’t name because she’s the only one with that name that I know) said her name’s meaning is so obvious that sometimes she struggled with it as people expected her to be as her name described. So yeah names have an effect.

What do you think? My thoughts aren’t concrete so I’m curious to see what others think.

4 thoughts on “Are Names Self-Fulfilling Prophecies?

  1. I read an article once that names carry certain frequencies. Well basically all noise has a frequency. But each name has a specific frequency, right? So that is why some names seem to always accompany a certain type of person. Ever met an actually “chatty Cathy”? So, yeah. I believe that names have a certain amount of power. But I also think that each person makes their own destiny. And I don’t think everyone named Mary is a sea of bitterness…lol. Most the Marys I know are really pleasant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s true, not all Mary’s are seas of bitterness. So it can carry power but not in a sense you’re trapped by the meaning. Even myself I had to figure out how to work with my name because the meaning was so obvious.
      Also I didn’t know that about the frequencies, thank you for sharing.


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