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Top 55 Name Game

An Easy-to-Play Bible Survey Game

This is an easy way to do a quick survey of the people on the Bible Top 55 list by considering each names to see if the same name is still in use today in English and / or other languages. If the name on the card is considered acceptable as a modern person's name by the group, the card is worth one point.

The game can be played one card and player at a time, with lots of discussion, or more quickly as a free-for-all grab by all players at the same time. There should always be SOME discussion of the names and the Bible characters, however. For instance, in order to keep a card a player may be required to say something about the person named.

Many of the most common names in English and various other languages are from the Bible. Naturally the same is true of many names on the Bible Top 55 list, names like David (#2), Jacob (#6), Aaron (#8), Paul (#10), Joseph (#11), Joshua (#12), Peter (#13), Samuel (#16), John [the Baptist] (#22), Jonathan (#25), Daniel (#35), Sarah (#37), Rachel (#48), Benjamin (#50), Mary (#52), and Adam (#53). Several other names in the Bible are somewhat less popular today but still used, names like Abraham (#7), Isaac (#14), Jeremiah (#19), Josiah (#30), Esther (#42), Asa (#45), Noah (#47), and Isaiah (#51).

Some other names are not used much, if at all, today in English, because they are too difficult like Nebuchadnezzar (#9), because they are names of bad people in the Bible like Ahab (#15), Absalmon (#23), Laban (#40), Balaam (#42), and Haman (#54), or because they are titles rather than names such as the two Pharaoh on the list (#21 and #32).

Several names are controversial. For instance, the name Jesus (#1) and Moses (#3) are more commonly used in Spanish than in English, and many other names are included in baby-name websites but are not common in most English speaking groups or countries, names like Solomon (#5), Elijah (#27), Ezekiel (#28), and Mordecai (#46). Controversies should be settled by group consensus.

When our two girls were born we struggled to find names that would have biblical meanings but also work well in both English and Japanese. -- Today some "struggle" because there are only four women in the BIBLE TOP 55 list, Sarah (#37), Esther (#42), Rachel (#48), and Mary (#52). Why? Well, first, several other women (Rebekah, Leah, etc.) are in the Top 100. Second, most of the women in the top 100 were good, but many of the men were not. Third, the Top 55 list is dominated by kings,  rulers, and prophets.

© 2020 by Jon F. Mahar, Hakusan City, Japan

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