The Greek text of Jam. 2:7 according to the Textus Receptus states,

Ζʹ οὐκ αὐτοὶ βλασφημοῦσιν τὸ καλὸν ὄνομα τὸ ἐπικληθὲν ἐφ᾽ ὑμᾶς TR, 1550

which the King James Version translates into English as,

7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? KJV, 1769

I would have supposed the English phrase “by the which ye are called” (i.e., “by which you are called”) in the King James Version to have been translated from the Greek phrase «τὸ καλὸν ὄνομα ὅ ἐπεκλήθητε», literally, “the good name that you are called (surnamed).”

Furthermore, it seems to me that the Greek phrase in the TR—«τὸ ἐπικληθὲν ἐφ᾽ ὑμᾶς»—is more accurately translated into English as “which is called upon you.” So, how should the phrase «τὸ ἐπικληθὲν ἐφ᾽ ὑμᾶς» be translated and understood?


I would translate James 2:6-7 like this:

6 But you mistreated the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you, and they who drag you into court? 7 Is it not they who blaspheme that good name ‒ the one after whom you were called?


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ἐπικληθὲν could just as well been given as "upon being named", but I felt "Is it not they who blaspheme that good name ‒ the one after whom you were named?" didn't read as well as how I've given it.

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    This site expects more in depth analysis of the original language and why one rendering is preferred over another than "I felt". – Caleb Dec 1 '16 at 17:04
  • It doesn't surprise me that you are unable to see the DEEP analysis that it glaringly obvious in my presentation. – enegue Dec 1 '16 at 19:44
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    I think you should also explain that EPV is your personal translation. The designation improperly suggests that the translation has been vetted elsewhere which it has not. On this site you are required to identify the version you are using. In the case of a personal translation your initials are not adequate to identify the translation. I've spoken to you about this before. Your approach is unethical. – Ruminator Aug 14 '18 at 16:12

As is so often the case, this is an allusion to the LXX:

Brenton Isa 43:7  even all who are called by my name: for I have prepared him for my glory, and I have formed him, and have made him: 

LXX Isaiah 43:7 πάντας ὅσοι ἐπικέκληνται τῷ ὀνόματί μου ἐν γὰρ τῇ δόξῃ μου κατεσκεύασα αὐτὸν καὶ ἔπλασα καὶ ἐποίησα αὐτόν

Notice the context of the sonship of the Jews:

Isa 43:6  I will say to the north, Bring; and to the south, Keep not back; bring my sons from the land afar off, and my daughters from the ends of the earth;  Isa 43:7  even all who are called by my name: for I have prepared him for my glory, and I have formed him, and have made him:

I concur with Clarke:

...To be called by the name of anyone, is synonymous with being regarded as his son, since a son bears the name of his father (see Isa_44:5; Isa_48:1). The expression, therefore, means here, all who were regarded as the children of God; and the promise is, that all such should be re-gathered to their own land...


Paul, like James understands the believers to be part of God's family which spans heaven and earth:

Eph 3:14  For this cause I bow my knees unto [God,] the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,  Eph 3:15  Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

Barnes has some helpful notes on this passage, again tying the name-bearing to being family:

Is named - This means substantially the same as is. They are all of one family. They all have one father, and are all of one community. The expression is taken from the custom in a family, where all bear the name of the “head” of the family; and the meaning is, that all in heaven and on earth are united under one head, and constitute one community. It does not mean that all are “called” by the same name, or that the name “Christian” is given to the angels, but that they all pertain to the same community, and constitute the same great and glorious brotherhood. Part are in heaven, near his throne; part in distant worlds; part are angels of light; part redeemed and happy spirits; part are in the church on earth; but they are all united as one family, and have one head and Father. This glorious family will yet be gathered together in heaven, and will encompass the throne of their common Father rejoicing.

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This appears to be a reference to the baptismal formula ("the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost").

I would translate the Greek as follows:

οὐκ αὐτοὶ βλασφημοῦσιν τὸ καλὸν ὄνομα τὸ ἐπικληθὲν ἐφ᾽ ὑμᾶς

Do they not blaspheme the good name which is invoked over you?

Cf. Eph 5:26.

Matthew 28:19 (DRB) Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

Alternatively, the word ἐπικληθὲν could be taken to mean 'known by' (as in a surname or other appellation). In which case it could refer to the name 'Christian,' which is indeed a "good" name, and a badge of honor.

1 Peter 4:16 (DRB) But if as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.

Cf. Acts 26:28.

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  • Pardon my ignorance but how does that work? What is the name? Is it "the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost"? Because the Father's name is YHVH, the son's name is "Jesus" and "the Holy Ghost" is a descriptor. There is strong evidence that that passage is a later addition. – Ruminator Aug 13 '18 at 23:13
  • What strong evidence? Also, without this in Matthew we have it in the Didache, written about the same time. So we don't lack the baptismal formula either way. – Sola Gratia Aug 14 '18 at 14:46
  • The Didache is not canonical. Here's some evidence. biblicalunitarian.com/verses/matthew-28-19 Of course the most obvious and most powerful evidence is that the disciples NEVER used that formula in Acts or anywhere else. – Ruminator Aug 14 '18 at 14:53
  • Neither is the canon canonical. Still Christian. Still true. Also, where does it say they never used this formula? Baptism in the name of Jesus is only in contradistinction to defunct baptism of John. Cf. Acts 19:2, 3, 5: "did you recieve the Holy Ghost? .... [No.] Into what, then, were you baptized?" Clearly he expected Trinitarian baptism which included the Holy Ghost... pretty conclusive and simple. – Sola Gratia Aug 14 '18 at 15:37
  • "We feel confident that...he would never have...Thus, we believe that the earliest manuscripts read “in my name,” and that the phrase was enlarged to reflect the orthodox position as Trinitarian influence spread." is not evidence. It's special pleading and deliberately ignores that Eusebius us much later than those who DO retain it as is. – Sola Gratia Aug 14 '18 at 15:37

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