Why Did Jesus Rename His Disciples?

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, had twelve disciples who were known for their unwavering faith and dedication to Him. However, did you know that Jesus renamed some of his disciples? In this article, we will explore the reasons why Jesus chose to rename his disciples.

The Importance of Names in the Bible

In the Bible, names hold great significance as they often reflect a person’s character or destiny. For instance, Abram’s name was changed to Abraham (meaning “father of many nations”) by God because he was destined to become the father of many nations (Genesis 17:5). Similarly, Jacob’s name was changed to Israel (meaning “he who struggles with God”) after he had wrestled with an angel (Genesis 32:28).

Why Did Jesus Rename His Disciples?

1. To Show Their New Identity

Jesus renamed Simon to Peter (meaning “rock”) because he would be the rock on which Jesus would build His church (Matthew 16:18). This renaming was significant because it showed that Simon’s identity had changed from a mere fisherman to a leader in the early church.

2. To Help Them Fulfill Their Purpose

Jesus renamed James and John “Boanerges” (meaning “sons of thunder”) because they were zealous and passionate about spreading the gospel message. This new name helped them fulfill their purpose by giving them a sense of identity and direction.

3. To Reinforce Their Faith

Jesus also renamed Saul to Paul after his conversion on the road to Damascus. The name Saul meant “asked for” while Paul meant “little.” This renaming reinforced Paul’s faith and humility as he embarked on his mission as an apostle.

4. To Symbolize Their Transformation

Finally, Jesus renamed Levi to Matthew (meaning “gift from God”) because he saw potential in him despite his previous occupation as a tax collector. This renaming symbolized Levi’s transformation from a greedy tax collector to a disciple of Jesus Christ.


In conclusion, the renaming of Jesus’ disciples held great significance as it showed their new identity, helped them fulfill their purpose, reinforced their faith, and symbolized their transformation. As followers of Christ, we too can experience a similar transformation and take on a new identity through faith in Him.