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What Does the Bible Say About..The Name Jesus?

Was anyone named Jesus before Jesus the Christ? I know in Luke the Angel Gabriel told Mary to name her child Jesus and it seems that no other person (or at lease I cannot find one) was named so in that time period. The reason for the question is I have noticed that seems a common practice in the Hispanic culture to name some males Jesus. I just don't know what to think about it.


I recall in my school years a new teacher, who had just moved to New Mexico from somewhere else, that made the mistake when calling roll for the first time of calling one child by the name Jesus (JE-sus). This embarrassed the child who quickly pointed out his name was Jesus (Hay-SUS). What the child did not understand was that the name was the same. Most Hispanics use the name Jesuchristo for Jesus the Christ.

The name Jesus is a Latin form of the Hebrew name Joshua. Jesus was probably known as Yeshua, which is a variant of Yehoshua, the successor to Moses. The name of the prophet that we call Hosea is another variation of the same name. So is Hoshea the king of Israel (2 Kings 17). So there were people by that name before that particular Yeshua or Jesus. That is why he is often known as Jesus the Christ or Jesus of Nazareth, to distinguish him from others of that name. We have no record in the Bible of anyone else by that name at the same time, but considering how many Jews are named Joshua today it is logical to assume that many were given that name then.

In the King James Version of the Bible, Hebrews 4:8 reads, “For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.” In some other translations it says “For if Joshua…” This is probably the more accurate translation, but the confusion is there because the names are the same. (I once had a discussion with a man who rejected these newer translations because they “take the name of my Lord out.” What he could not understand is that they did not change the name, just the way we refer to two separate individuals in English.) The questioner did some more research and points out that I missed "Jesus, called Justus" in Colossians 4:11. This person would have been contemporary with Jesus of Nazareth, showing this was not a unique name at the time.