John meaning | John etymology

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John in Biblical Greek
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The name John in the Bible

The English name John is the transliteration of the Greek name Ioannes, and the Greek name Ioannes is the transliteration of the Hebrew name Johanan.

The Hebrew name Johannan was quite popular in ancient Israel, and the Greek name John, or rather Ioannes, subsequently shows up quite a few times in the New Testament. John occurs five or six times in the New Testament:

  • John the Baptist (Mat 3:1)
  • John the Apostle (Matthew 4:21) who may or may not be the same as John the Revelator (Rev 1:4)
  • The father of Simon Peter (John 1:42).
  • A Levite of high-priestly descent (Acts 4:6).
  • A man also known as Mark (Acts 12:12). Peter averts to his mother Mary's house after the angel walks him out of prison.

Etymology of the name John

The name John, or rather the Hebrew original, Johannan, consists of two elements. The first part is יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which is the truncated form of יהוה, which is YHWH, the Name of the Lord.

The final part of the names John and Johannan comes from the verb חנן (hanan), meaning to be gracious:

Abarim Publications Theological Dictionary

John meaning

For a meaning of the name John, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Yahweh Has Been Gracious, but for Johanan NOBSE reads Yahweh Is Gracious. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names does not treat John or Johanan separately and refers to the name Jehohanan, which Jones takes to mean The Lord Graciously Gave.

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