Teen Bible Study: What's in a Name?
Youth Magazine
December 1985
Volume: Vol. V No. 10
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Teen Bible Study: What's in a Name?

   Even though your parents probably gave you your name when you were born, during the years since then you have been giving yourself a name. Now when people think of your name, they also think of the reputation you've been building.
   Having a good name - a good reputation - can lead to many benefits and privileges at home, at school and at work. It can greatly improve a person's chances for success in life.
   What can we all be doing now that will guarantee us a good name one that will gain the respect of parents, teachers, bosses and also friends?
   Before beginning this study to learn the answers, be sure to get a Bible, a pen or pencil and some paper. Reading and writing out the Bible verses that answer the questions asked will help you remember the important principles you'll be learning.

A person's name is a pretty important thing - especially when it stands for a good reputation!
   1. Just how important is it to have a good name? Proverbs 22:1.
   King Solomon, the wisest of all men because of the wisdom given to him by God (I Kings 3:11-12), said a good name is worth more than great riches. He knew from practical experience and observation the value of a good name. He knew that many advantages and privileges come to the person with a good reputation.
   2. Does a good name come from doing what is right and pleasing in God's sight? Proverbs 21:21, 11:27, 14:9, 20:11.
   Whether young or old, those who are sincerely trying to do what is right will be respected more and more by God and others. When their names are mentioned, they are remembered for the good they have done and the character they have developed as a result.
   3. But what about the young person or adult who doesn't care about doing what God says? Will he or she be respected? Proverbs 12:8, 13:5, 10:7.
   Realizing how important it is to follow the principles God has given us in the Bible, let's learn about some specific things we can be doing to build a good name.
   If you begin to do these things now, you will start building the kind of reputation that will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life!
   4. How does the Fifth Commandment read? Exodus 20:12. Will the young person who respects and honors his or her parents be gaining favor in their eyes? Proverbs 10:1, 23:24-25, 15:20. What about those who disrespect their parents? Proverbs 20:20, 17:25, 28:7, 19:26.
   A wise young person will be striving to honor and respect his or her parents, following their instructions and advice to the best of his or her ability.
   A positive and cooperative attitude will bring privileges and opportunities a foolish son or daughter would not be given.
   Such favor does not come overnight. It is the result of consistent, trustworthy conduct over a period of time.
   You probably have already shown considerable respect for your parents. Why not begin now to show them even greater respect? This will build even greater respect for you in return!
   5. Just how important is it to be truthful and to think twice before we speak? Proverbs 12:22, 10:18, 17:27-28, 15:1 ,23.
   A hasty remark can get you into trouble and end up seriously hurting your reputation, as well as that of others. Think before speaking - don't always say the first thing that comes to mind. It might be better to say it later or not even say it at all!
   Gossip and slander will hurt the reputation of the person who spreads it in the end. Avoid such talk completely! Work at being known as cheerful and helpful - a person who has positive, encouraging words to say to and about others.
   6. Will bragging and boasting about ourselves end up getting us into trouble will shame come to the person who is filled with pride? Proverbs 27:1-2, 20:6, 11:2, 16:5, 18. But will God (and humans) honor the humble - those who are less concerned about themselves or their accomplishments and more concerned for others? Proverbs 18:12, 29:23.
   Pride causes people to do and say things that bring shame and troubles on themselves.
   Vain people are mostly concerned about themselves and talk mostly about themselves, their accomplishments, plans and goals. They have little, if any, concern for others. Solomon warns that such an attitude will not only ruin reputations, but be devastating to character!
   Those who are humble, who realize they don't know it all, who admit mistakes when they make them, who listen to advice and correction, who are concerned about others, will receive the honor of both God and man.
   7. Will a diligent, hard worker who does excellent work be looked up to by others and even stand before important people? Proverbs 22:29. But what about those who are lazy and irresponsible? Proverbs 10:5, 26, 25:19.
   Good grades, awards, praise and promotions go to those who are known as diligent, hard workers who excel in what they do! Adults respect and admire young people who are serious about their work, who are careful to do it right, who will not compromise standards of quality and excellence. Such people eventually become known by influential people. The lives of Joseph and Daniel are certainly classic examples of this.
   8. So far, we have learned about the kind of actions that will earn a young person a good name. We have seen some of the many benefits that result. But what happens to the person Solomon calls a "fool"? Proverbs 3:35, 14:33, 35. Will he bring shame and reproach on his parents? Proverbs 17:21.
   The fool does not enjoy the benefits of the wise person. Unless he changes his ways, he will eventually bring reproach and destruction on himself. No wise person wants to be in the company of a fool (Proverbs 13:20).
   9. As a young man, did David have a good name - a sterling reputation? I Samuel 16:18. Did he continue to have a good name throughout the remainder of his life, enjoying the respect of God and man? I Samuel 18:30, Acts 13:22, 7:46.
   Even as a young person, David was respected. His basic motivation in life was to obey God to the best of his ability. On many occasions, he resisted the temptation to be revengeful - to act rashly and harm Saul, the king of Israel who wanted to kill him out of jealousy. Most important of all, David was highly regarded by the almighty God Himself!
   10. What kind of reputation did Jesus Christ have as a young person of age 12? Luke 2:40. Did He continue to grow in favor with God and man? Verse 52.
   As a young man, Christ took life seriously and prepared Himself for His future work. The way He acted and the words He spoke earned the respect and admiration of the adults who knew Him.
   What is the basic reason heroes of the Bible, such as Joseph, Ruth, Daniel, Esther, as well as David and Christ, have such good names?
   As young people and adults, they worked hard to obey God and treat people with kindness and respect. They followed the principles for successful personal relationships explained in the Bible.
   Remember: You were given a name by your parents, but what pops into the minds of others when your name is mentioned is largely determined by you! So do your best to make your name a good one!

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Youth MagazineDecember 1985Vol. V No. 10