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Question and Answer

What is the significance of the "el" in biblical names?


The Hebrew word for God is el." When you encounter names in your Bible reading that have "el" in them, the name in question points to God’s character, person, and work in some way. Note the following examples: Michael (Who is like God – Dan. 12.1); Daniel (My Judge is God – Dan. 1:8); Eliezer (My God is help – Ex. 18:4); Elizabeth (the oath of God – Luke 1:5); Elijah (My God is the Lord – 1 Kings 17:1); Elimelech (My God is king – Ruth 1:2); and Immanuel (God with us – Matt. 1:23). Much truth is packed into these names!


BY Dr. Winfred O. Neely

Dr. Winfred Neely (B.A., D.Min. Trinity International University; M.A. Wheaton) is currently working towards an advanced research degree in Old Testament at the University of Bristol, England. He is an ordained minister of the Gospel and a full-time professor of hermeneutics, homiletics, and pastoral studies at Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. Prior to joining the faculty at Moody, Winfred served churches in the City of Chicago and is currently interim pastor of the Judson Baptist Church in Oak Park, IL. He brings to his ministry a global perspective, having served as a missionary/pastor in Senegal, West Africa for nine years. He is also involved in a global equipping ministry, speaking and conducting workshops and training events at churches and conferences in the US and abroad. He and his wife Stephne have been married for forty years and have four adult children and nine grandchildren. He takes acting classes from time to time and is an ardent fan of science fiction films such as Star Wars and Star Trek.

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