The Bible has a lot of strange names in it, and none of us enjoy stumbling over words out loud or in our heads when we’re trying to read. So to help you out, we’ve put together the following list of pronunciation helps so that you can look up a word quickly and easily. Be aware that there is no one “right” way to say many of these names, which is why you’ll find different opinions if you look them up online. The purpose of this list is to make getting help quick and easy so you can get back to focusing on the content of what you’re reading. Many names are used multiple times, so we’ve added some brief notes to help you identify some key characters. Feel free to copy and use this list however you want. We’ll add more names to it as they come up.
Using phōnĕtĭc symbols over vowels is a quick way to show when a vowel should be pronounced with a short or long tone. The following list of common English words will help you identify what sounds to make for each vowel symbol.
The long ā is used in the words stay, train, Satan, angel, Yahweh, & pray.
The short ă is used in can, man, Satan, & sat.
The long ē is used in tree, see, Jesus, holy, & me.
The short ĕ is used in bed, fed, & said.
The long ī is used in bible, sigh, my, & cry.
The short ĭ is used in Christian, sin, & devil.
The long ō is used in no, show, holy, & grow.
The short ŏ is used in mom, stop, God, & hawk.
The long ū is used in you, true, & food.
The short ŭ is used in but, mother, trouble, Jesus, & trust.
We CAPITALIZE the syllable of the word that you should emphasize. For example:
Jesus = JĒ-zŭs
Christian = KRĬS-chŭn
Bible = BĪ-bŭl
Jeremiah = jār-ŭ-MĪ-ŭ
Abel-Meholah [Ă-bĕll-mĕh-HŌ-law] – 1) a city.
Abiathar [ŭh-BĪ-ŭh-thar] – 1) means “father of abundance”; 2) the son of Ahimelech & the eleventh high priest in succession from Aaron through the line of Eli; this Abiathar was the sole survivor of the slaughter of priests at Nob
Abijah [ŭh-BĒ-jŭh] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a king of Judah.
Abner [ĂB-ner] – 1) Saul’s cousin and the top commander of Saul’s army
Absalom [ăb-SŬH-lŏm] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a son of King David.
Achish [Ā-kĭsh] – 1) the king of the Philistine city of Gath who allowed David to live in Philistia during his flight from Saul
Adonijah [ădd-dōh-NĪ-jŭh] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a son of King David.
Aeneas [ŭh-NĀ-ŭs] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a Jewish man in Lydda who Peter healed in Acts 9.
Agabus [ĂG-ŭh-bŭs] – 1) a man’s name; a Jewish prophet in Acts.
Agrippa [ŭh-GRĬP-ŭh] – 1) a man’s name; 2) Herod Agrippa I ruled in Palestine during a portion of Acts.
Agrippina [ăg-grĭh-PĒ-nŭh] – 1) a woman’s name; 2) the fourth wife of Roman Emperor Claudius & the mother of Roman Emperor Nero.
Ahaz [Ā-hăz] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a king of Israel.
Ahaziah [ā-hŭh-ZĪ-ŭh] –1) a man’s name; 2) a king of Israel during the time of Elijah; 3) a king of Judah during the time of Elisha.
Ahijah [ŭh-HĒ-jaw] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a prophet who predicted the split of Israel into two warring kingdoms.
Ahimelech [ŭh-HĬM-ŭh-lĕk] – 1) means “my brother is king”; 2) the priest of Nob who David conned into helping him during David’s flight from Saul
Amalekites [ŭh-MĂL-lŭh-KĪTS] – a people group who the Israelites fought with in Numbers.
Amaziah [ăm-ŭh-ZĪ-ŭh] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a king of Judah.
Ammon [ĂM-on] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a nation in the Old Testament that bordered Israel.
Ananias [ănn-nuh-NYE-us] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a man in Acts 5 who was killed for lying about his donation to the Church; 3) the man who God sent to help blind Saul in Acts 9; 4) a high priest in New Testament Israel.
Antioch [ĂNN-tee-awk] – 1) a city in the Roman region of Syria; 2) a city in the Roman region of Pisidia
Antipas [ĂNN-tih-puss] – 1) a tetrarch of Galilee who beheaded John the Baptist.
Aram [uh-RĂM] – 1) called Syria in some translations, Aram was one of Israel’s northern neighbors & her frequent enemy.
Aramean [AIR-uh-ME-in] – a person from the nation of Aram.
Arimathea [AIR-ruh-muh-THEE-yah] – a city.
Arioch [AIR-ee-awk] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a captain of the royal guard who spoke with the prophet Daniel.
Asa [A-suh] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a king of Judah.
Asahel [ĂS-ŭ-hĕl] – 1) the younger brother of Joab who Abner kills
Asherah [ĂSH-er-uh] – also spelled Ashtoreth; a very popular goddess in the biblical world who was worshiped by many nations and viewed as the partner of the god Baal; called “the Queen of Heaven” by Jews in Jerusalem; a popular means of worshiping her was to carve grotesque/pornographic figures called “Asherah poles” or “Asherim” in the Bible.
Ashkelon [ĂSH-keh-lawn] – 1) a major city in the country of Philistia.
Assurbanipal [ăss-er-BĂN-uh-paul] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a king of the Assyrian Empire
Athaliah [uh-THALE-ee-uh] – 1) a woman’s name; 2) a queen who briefly seized the throne in Judah before the reign of King Josiah.
Augustus [aw-GUS-tus] – 1) a man’s name; 2) the emperor of Rome at the time Jesus was born.
Azariah [ăzz-uh-RYE-uh] – 1) a man’s name; 2) an alternate name for King Uzziah of Judah
Baal [BALE] – 1) a very popular male god in Bible times; 2) a title of respect which translates as “lord”
Baal-Zebub [BALE-zeh-bubb] – 1) the god of the Philistia city of Ekron; 2) translates “lord of flies”
Baasha [BAW-shah] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a king of Israel
Barnabas [BAR-nuh-bus] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a Jewish companion of the apostle Paul, the uncle of John Mark, and an apostle in the early Church
Baruch [bar-RUKE] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a scribe of the prophet Jeremiah
Bathsheba [băth-SHĒ-bŭh] – 1) a woman’s name; 2) a wife of King David & the mother of King Solomon
Belshazzar [BELL-sha-zar] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a Babylonian king who saw a hand writing on a wall in Daniel.
Belteshazzar [bell-teh-sha-ZAR] – 1) a man’s name; 2) an alternate name assigned to Daniel when he was enslaved by the Babylonians
Ben-Hadad [BEN-huh-dăd] – 1) a man’s name
Ben-Hinnom [ben-HIN-um] – referred to as Gehenna in the New Testament, this was a valley/ravine located on the southern side of Jerusalem where live children were burned alive as sacrifices to false gods, particularly the Ammonite god Molech
Blastus [BLĂSS-tuss] – 1) the personal assistant to Herod Agrippa 1 who assists in smoothing out tension between Agrippa and the people of Tyre and Sidon [see Acts 12]
Britannicus [britt-TĂN-nih-cuss] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a son of Emperor Claudius of Rome & the stepbrother of Nero
Caesarea [sess-uh-REE-uh] – 1) a city
Caligula [cuh-LIG-yu-luh] – 1) a man’s name; 2) an emperor of Rome & the nephew of Emperor Claudius
Chaldeans [chăl-DEE-ins] – 1) an ethnic group; 2) the people of Chaldea; 3) later referred to as the Babylonians
Chemosh [CHEE-mosh] – 1) a god worshiped in Bible times who required child sacrifice
Cilicia [sill-IH-see-yuh] – 1) a region in the Roman Empire where the apostle’s Paul town of Tarsus was located.
Claudius [CLAW-dee-us] – 1) a man’s name; 2) an emperor of Rome who adopted Nero as his son
Coniah [ko-NI-uh] – see Jehoachin
Cyrene [si-REEN] – 1) a state in the Roman Empire; 2) a city in the Roman state of Cyrene
Derbe [DIR-bee] – an important city in the region of Lycaonia in the province of Galatia [see Acts 14]
Doeg [DŌ-ĕgg] – 1) an Edomite who served as the chief herdsman for King Saul & massacred the priests at Nob
Edomite [Ē-dō-mīte] – 1) a descendant of Esau (who was also called Edom); 2) a person living in the nation of Edom, which bordered Israel
Eliab [ĕ-LĪ-ŭb] – 1) David’s eldest brother who was present during David’s battle with Goliath
Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani [eh-LEE, eh-LEE, lem-MAH-shuh-bach-TAWN-e] – a phrase spoken by Jesus on the cross which means “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”
Elymas [ell-EE-muss] – 1) the Greek name of the Jewish sorcerer Bar-Jesus who Paul rebukes in Acts 13.
Ephraim [EH-frum] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a grandson of Jacob, the son of Joseph & the brother of Manasseh; 3) one of the 13 tribes of Israel; 4) one of the twelve states in Israel
Evil-Merodach [ē-vĭl-MĀR-ŭh-dŏck] – 1) a man’s name;
Ezra [EZZ-ruh] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a priest who wrote the book of Ezra and possible the Chronicles
Gad [găd] – 1) the 7th of Jacob’s 12 sons; 2) a tribe of Israel with territory located east of the Jordan River; 3) a prophet who was an advisor to David and who warned David not to conduct his national military census
Galatia [gŭh-LĀY-shŭh] – 1) a region in the Roman Empire where Paul did missionary work.
Gamaliel [gŭh-MĀY-lē-ĕl] – 1) a man’s name;
Gath [găth] – 1) means “wine” or “winepress”; 2) the name of several towns in Israel, usually used with another name to clarify the location, such as Gath-Rimmon; 3) one of five major cities that made up the city-state system in Philistia
Gaza [GAWZ-ah] – a city in Philistia
Gedaliah [ged-AL-e-yah] – 1) a man’s name;
Gehazi [geh-HAH-zee] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a servant of the prophet Elijah
Gehenna [geh-HEN-nuh] – 1) a transliteration of Ben-Hinnom [see that entry]; 2) a valley near Jerusalem that was associated with fire and anguish, thus it became a metaphor for Hell
Goliath [gō-LĪ-ŭth] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a Philistine giant who fought with David
Habakkuk [HĂBB-ŭh-cŭck] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a prophet who wrote the book of Habakkuk
Hades [HAY-deez] – 1) the name of the fictitious underworld which the New Testament Jews believed in; Hades was located in the center of the earth and was thought to have good and bad sections
Haggai [HĂG-gee-EYE] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a prophet of Yahweh
Hanani [HĂN-nŭh-nigh] – 1) a man’s name; 2) the father of Jehu; 3) a prophet of Yahweh in 2 Chron. 16; 4) a trusted brother of Nehemiah (Neh. 2).
Hananiah [hăn-nŭh-NIGH-yŭh] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a false prophet who opposed Jeremiah [see Jer. 28].
Hapi [HĂPP-ee] – 1) an Egyptian god
Hazael [hŭh-ZAY-el] – 1) a man’s name
Hermes [HER-meez] – 1) a Greek god of commerce, eloquence, travel, and theft; 2) viewed as a messenger for other Greek gods; 3) a son of Zeus; 4) the Greek equivalent of the Roman god Mercury
Hezekiah [hezz-ŭh-KI-ŭh] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a king of Judah who knew the prophet Isaiah.
Hophra [HŌ-frŭh] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a pharaoh of Egypt.
Horesh [HŌR-esh] – 1) means “forest”; 2) a place near Ziph where David hid from Saul
Hoshea [ho-SHAY-ŭh] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a king of Israel.
Iconium [i-CŌNE-ee-ŭm] – city in the Roman province of Galatia [see Acts 14]
Ish-Bosheth [ĬSH-BŌ-shĕth] – 1) means “man of shame”; 2) one of Saul’s sons who took the throne after Saul’s death, this Ish-Bosheth was originally named Ish-Baal or Esh-Baal (man of Baal); the name “Baal” was often substituted with “shame” as a way of communicating the shamefulness of idol worship
Jeconiah [jeh-ko-NI-ŭh] – see Jehoiachin
Jedidiah [jeh-dih-DIE-yah] – 1) a man’s name meaning “loved by Yahweh”; 2) an alternate name given to baby Solomon by Yahweh [see 2 Sam. 12:24-25]
Jehoahaz [Jeh-HO-a-hăz] – 1) the 16th king of Judah, also known as Shallum [SHALL-um] & Joahaz [JO-uh-hăz]; the son of King Josiah who reigned in Jerusalem only three months before being deposed by Pharaoh Neco and taken to Egypt as a prisoner; 2) the 11th king of Israel; a son of Jehu who reigned 17 years
Jehoiachin [jeh-HOY-ŭh-kin] – 1) a man’s name; 2) the 18th king of Judah who was also known as Jeconiah & Coniah [ko-NI-uh]; son of Jehoiakim; reigned only 3 months before being imprisoned in Babylon
Jehoiakim [jeh-HOY-uh-kim] – 1) a man’s name; 2) the 17th king of Judah; a son of King Josiah who was chosen by Egypt to replace his brother Jehoahaz; reigned 11 years before being murdered in Jerusalem [see Jer 22:18-36]; renamed Eliakim [e-LIE-uh-kim] by Pharaoh Neco of Egypt
Keilah [KĒY-lah] – 1) means “fortress”; 2) a fortified city in Judah near the Philistine border that was 18 miles SW of Jerusalem and 8 miles NW of Hebron; David saved this city from Philistine attack
Kolaiah [coal-EYE-yah] – 1) a man’s name; 2) Ahab son of Kolaiah was a false prophet condemned by Yahweh in Jer. 29.
Lucius [LOO-she-uss] – 1) one of the leaders in the church of Antioch of Syria [see Acts 13]
Lycaonia [lih-kay-OH-nee-uh] – a Roman province in the region of Galatia which included the cities of Lystra, Iconium, and Derbe [see Acts 14]
Lystra [LIH-struh] – 1) an important trade center in the region of Lycaonia; 2) the possible hometown of Timothy; 3) the city where Paul was stoned in Acts 14.
Maaseiah [măss-SAY-yah] – 1) a man’s name; 2) Zedekiah son of Maaseiah was a false prophet condemned by Yahweh in Jer. 29.
Manaen [man-NAY-en] – 1) the friend of Herod Antipas and a leader in the church of Antioch of Syria [see Acts 13]
Messalina [mess-uh-LEE-nuh] – 1) a woman’s name; 2) the third wife of Emperor Claudius
Merab [MARE-răbb] – 1) Saul’s eldest daughter who he offered to give to David in marriage as a reward for David defeating Goliath, but David declined.
Micaiah [mih-KYE-uh] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a prophet of Yahweh who predicted the death of Ahab
Michal [mĭh-CALL] – 1) a daughter of Saul & David’s first wife
Moab [MŌ-ăb] – a nation that bordered Israel
Molech or Molek [MŌ-leck] – 1) a false Ammonite god worshiped in the Old Testament who required child sacrifice
Naaman [NĀ-măn] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a leper who was healed by the prophet Elisha
Nabonidus [năb-o-NIGH-duss] – 1) a man’s name
Naboth [NĀ-bawth] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a Jewish man who Queen Jezebel killed to steal his vineyard
Nadab [NĀ-dăbb] – 1) a man’s name
Naioth [NĀ-awth] – 1) means “dwelling”; 2) a building or district in Ramah where David stayed with the prophet Samuel and other prophets during his flight from Saul
Nebuchadnezzar [nebb-uh-kuh-NEH-zar] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a king of Babylon who became a follower of Yahweh through the influence of the prophets Daniel & Jeremiah.
Nebuzaradan [neb-uh-zuh-RAY-dăn] – 1) a man’s name
Neco [NEH-ko] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a pharaoh of Egypt.
Nehelamite [neh-HELL-a-mite] – 1) a title likely meaning “dreamer” that was used by the false prophet Shemaiah in Jeremiah 29.
Nero [NEAR-row] – 1) a man’s name; 2) an emperor of Rome who greatly persecuted Christians.
Obadiah [O-buh-DIE-uh] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a prophet in Elijah’s time; 3) the prophet who wrote the book of Obadiah.
Pamphylia [pam-FILL-ee-yah] – a Roman province in southern Turkey
Paphos [PAY-foss] – a city on the island of Cyprus where Paul rebukes a Jewish sorcerer [see Acts 13]
Perga [PER-guh] – a major coastal city in the Roman province of Pamphylia where John Mark quits his first missionary journey with Paul & Barnabas [see Acts 13]
Philistia [fĭl-ĬH-stē-ŭh] – 1) a nation that bordered Israel
Philistines [FĬL-ĭh-stēns] – 1) people from the nation of Philistia
Pisidia [pih-SIH-dee-uh] – 1) a region in ancient Rome that was near Galatia
Praetorian Guard [pray-TOR-e-un GAHRD] – 1) the Praetorian Guard was the group of royal bodyguards who protected emperors of Rome.
Ramah [RAW-mah] – 1) means “high”; 2) the name of several different cities that were located on heights
Ramoth Gilead [RĂM-oth-GILL-e-ădd]
Rhoda [RO-duh] – 1) a servant girl who is the first to see Peter after he is freed from prison in Acts 12.
Salamis [SĂLL-luh-miss] – 1) a town on the island of Cyprus which Paul visited on his first mission trip [see Acts 13]
Samaria [suh-MARE-ee-yuh] – 1) the capital city of the northern kingdom of Israel; 2) a region of the Roman Empire located between Judea and Galilee.
Sapphira [suh-FI-rah] – 1) a woman’s name; 2) the wife of Ananias [see Acts 5]
Seleucia [seh-LOO-see-uh] – 1) a seaport city close to Antioch of Syria [see Acts 13]
Sennacherib [seh-NĂCK-ker-rib] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a king of Assyria during the lifetimes of King Hezekiah of Judah & the prophet Isaiah.
Seraiah [sir-RYE-uh] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a messenger instructed to read Jeremiah’s prophecy against Babylon before King Nebuchadnezzar [see Jer. 50]
Sergius Paulus [SIR-jee-us PAWL-us] – 1) a Roman governor or proconsul who Paul meets with on the island of Cyprus [see Acts 13]
Shalmaneser [shăll-mah-NEE-zer] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a king of Assyria who succeeded Tiglath-Pileser, sacked Samaria, and absorbed the northern kingdom of Israel into the Assyrian Empire.
Shekinah [shuh-KINE-uh] – the glory of God’s Presence, typically manifesting in the form of a bright light [see 2 Chron. 7:1-3]
Shemaiah [she-MAY-yah] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a false prophet who opposes Jeremiah and is condemned by Yahweh [see Jer. 29].
Sidon [SIGH-don] – 1) a major port city north of Israel that was close to the city of Tyre and condemned by Yahweh in the Old Testament for being rebellious
Sidonians [SIGH-doan-e-ins] – people from the city of Sidon
Simeon [SIMM-e-un] – 1) one of the twelve sons of Jacob/Israel; 2) a tribe of Israel; 3) a state in Israel; 4) a common Jewish name; 5) one of the leaders in the church of Antioch of Syria [see Acts 13]
Tiberius [tie-BEER-e-us] – 1) a man’s name; 2) an emperor of Rome.
Tibni [TIBB-nee] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a contender for the throne in Israel who was killed by Omri.
Tiglath-Pileser [TIGG-lăth-pill-EE-zer] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a king of Assyria.
Tophet or Topheth [TOE-fett] – an altar located in the Valley of Ben-Hinnom (aka Gehenna) on which child sacrifices were made to idol gods, especially the Ammonite god Molech [see 2 Chron. 28:3]
Tyre [TIRE] – 1) a major port city north of Israel that was close to the city of Sidon and condemned by Yahweh in the Old Testament for being rebellious
Uzziah [yu-ZYE-uh] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a king of Judah
Yahweh [YAH-way] – 1) a phonetic pronunciation of YHWH; 2) the Name for God the Father which was first introduced to Moses in the book of Exodus.
Zechariah [zeck-uh-RYE-yuh] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a prophet of Yahweh.
Zedekiah [zed-uh-KI-uh] – 1) a man’s name; 2) the last king of Judah; 3) a false prophet who opposed messages from Jeremiah.
Zephaniah [zeff-uh-NIGH-yah] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a prophet of Yahweh; 3) a high priest in Jeremiah’s time.
Zerubbabel [zer-RUB-buh-bull] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a man who led the first wave of Jewish exiles back to Jerusalem from Babylon & served as governor over them
Zeus [ZEWS] – 1) the chief god in Greek mythology, believed to control the sky and weather; 2) the Greek equivalent of the chief Roman god Jupiter
Zimri [ZĬM-ree] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a king who ruled very briefly in Israel
Ziph [zĭff] – 1) town in Judean hill country that was near one of David’s hideouts during his flight from Saul
Zipporah [ZIP-poor-uh] – 1) a woman’s name; 2) a wife of Moses.
Zorah [ZOR-uh] – 1) a man’s name; 2) a city given to the state of Judah during the division of the Promised Land.