Why do people in the Bible sometimes have more than one name?

Here's the answer:

People's names in the Bible change for a variety of reasons. They can change because God changes their name, they are forced to change their name, a major event happened in their life, or because of different translations.

There are many people in the Bible who had more than one name. One person in the Bible who had his name changed by God was Abram. The name Abraham meant “exalted father." God changes Abram's name to be Abraham, which means “father of a multitude” (Genesis 17:5). Abraham's wife Sarah also had her name changed by God. Her original name was Sarai, but God changed it to Sarah.

Peter also had his name changed by God. Peter's name first was Simon, but Jesus changed it to Peter, which means "rock." A person's name in the Bible could also be changed if they were forced to have their name changed. This was true for Joseph. The Egyptians renamed him Zaphenath-Paneah (Genesis 41:45). King Nebuchadnezzar also changed Daniel's name to Belteshazzar. These names were not changed by the person's decision. Each of them was forced to change his name.

A person can also have more than one name because of a significant event in their life. As in the case of Jacob, his name was changed to Israel. Lastly, a person can also have more than one name because of translation. The way a Bible translates a name can create different names depending on which version of the Bible you are using. We see this in the name of Joshua, which is an Anglicization of the Hebrew form of Jesus.

Bible Truth

"You will not be called Abram anymore. Your name will be Abraham, because I have made you a father of many nations" (Genesis 17:5).

"God also said to Abraham, 'As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah'" (Genesis 17:15).

"The chief official gave them new names. He gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar. He gave Hananiah the name Shadrach. He gave Mishael the name Meshach. And he gave Azariah the name Abednego" (Daniel 1:7).