In this Names of God reading plan, we are learning more about God by studying the names given to Him in Scripture. Rather than having our writers share their own reflections on these passages, we’ve instead provided research-rich content to aid in your study of each day’s featured name of God, including the background of the name(s), a brief explanation of the character of God emphasized by the name(s), and a reflection question to help you dig deeper into the text.
Elohim, El (Hebrew)
Scripture Reading: Genesis 1:1-5, Job 37:5-13, Psalm 42:1-11, Isaiah 43:10-13
Elohim is the first name used for God in the Bible. It appears in the opening verse of Scripture: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gn 1:1). The Israelites adapted the name Elohim from El, an ancient word for “god,” to refer to the one true God. This name emphasizes His greatness and majesty over all creation and all other gods. Throughout Scripture this name is paired with descriptive words to distinguish God and His character from pagan gods (e.g., El Olam, “everlasting God,” El Roi, “God who sees,” and El Rahum, “merciful God”). Elohim is a reminder that the one true God is distinctly powerful.
God’s unmatched power and majesty
What does this name teach me about God?