James 2:7 and Acts 15:17

James 2:7 and Acts 15:17

Does Acts 15:17 and James 2:7 prove that the Administrator invokes Jesus Name over a Convert?



-Js 2:7 kjb

"Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?"

Matthew Poole's Commentary

called upon you, either, which was called upon over you, when you were baptized into it; or rather it is a Hebrew phrase, and, implies no more than (as we read it) their being called by it, as children are after their fathers, and wives after their husbands, Genesis 48:16 Isaiah 4:1; for so God’s people are called by his name, Deu 28:10 Ephesians 3:15.

Proper grammar really does necessitate "by you called"...however, interpreters also look at intended meaning and the above commentary shows that he is split between the thought of baptism where the Name is traditionally invoked over the candidate and the Hebrew meaning that the convert, after having converted, is called by The Name of God.

Seeing that grammar shows "by you called" i can negate the "called over you" option he contemplates....however, the Hebrew rendering of "the Name you bear" is to me more probable to the context of the verse, especially since baptism is not mentioned specifically in the context. 

The verse certainly can read "by you called" seeing that G1941 is in the middle voice there, and is a most possible rendering, but even though the grammar agrees with self invocation, which supports my position that self invocation is included in water baptism, i still see James 2:7 as best meaning "the Name which you bear". The Name which is now pocessed or bore by the convert. Especially seeing that James is directly quoting the Septuigent, as we will discuss below. 

-Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary-

that worthy name—which is "good before the Lord's saints" (Ps 52:9; 54:6); which ye pray may be "hallowed" (Mt 6:9), and "by which ye are called," literally, "which was invoked" or, "called upon by you" (compare Ge 48:16; Isa 4:1, Margin; Ac 15:17), so that at your baptism "into the name" (so the Greek, Mt 28:19) of Christ, ye became Christ's people (1Co 3:23).

Geneva Study Bible

Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are {e} called?

(e) Literally, which is called upon of you.


ACTS 15:17


"That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things."

-Acts 15:17 KJB

-Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible 

"....some think the words are to be transposed thus, "that Israel on whom my name is called might possess the remnant of Edom, and all the people;''"

Acts 15:16-17 is a direct quote from Amos 9:11-12 where the speaker in Acts is explaining prophetic fulfillment of gentiles being allowed into the family of God, just as Jews. This is the context of Acts 15:17, Gentiles being afforded adoption into God's family, NOT Christian baptism. 

Though some advocate for Acts 15:17 to read "over whom my Name is invoked", i do think "called by My Name" or "upon whom My Name is Called" is a better rendering considering the Hebrew thought implications of the statement.

Acts 15:17 is not describing the actions occurring at someone's baptism but rather the effects of adoption into God's Family. 

Converts, AFTER having been baptized in Jesus Name and filled with The Holy Ghost are now "born from above" into a state of being able to be "called by My Name" or "upon whom My Name is called".

"In order that the rest of mankind may earnestly seek the Lord—even all the nations which are called by My name,"

-Acts 15:17 Weymouth

The Hebrew concept is reflected in Weymouth's N.T. above.

Many commentaries and grammarians will determine that it should read "over whom my Name is invoked" but this does not show that anyone invoked the Name in baptism over a convert. 

This rendering does show that the subject (heathen/gentiles) has had God's Name called over them, which is a Jewish way of saying that God is the One to Whom they now belong, Who now protects them. Under Who's Name they are now covered. 

(See Deut 28:10, Is 63:19, Jer 14:9, etc...)

-Barnes' Notes on the Bible

"This verse is quoted literally from the Septuagint,....as James applies it, the Gentiles might be brought to the privileges of the children of God....Upon whom my name is called - Who are called by my name, or who are regarded as my people."

The verse is not adressing baptism or how someone is baptized, but that the gentiles are "called by" the Name of God or have had the Name of God called upon them....this is describing the effects of baptism in Jesus Name and obedience to the Gospel, NOT the means by which the Name is applied at baptism.

One must understand the Jewish meaning behind the statement. It's a Hebrew idiom meaning that they are adopted into the family of God....

just as the Hebrews are called by God's Name....so then have been the Gentiles who believe on Christ. This is the thought conveyed by the verse.

The God's Word Translation does a good job conveying the thought behind the text:

"so that the survivors and all the people who aren't Jewish over whom my name is spoken, may search for the Lord, declares the Lord"

-Acts 15:17 GWT

The nations/heathens/gentiles that believe on Christ have had God's Name applied at baptism, therefore, the effects of that act then produce the means by which they can be said to be those "by which My Name is called" or "upon which My Name is called" or "over which My Name is invoked".

-Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

"upon whom my name is called] An Aramaic mode of saying “who are called by my name.” The expression is so translated James 2:7 (cp. Deuteronomy 28:10, &c.)."

The verse adresses the state of being AFTER having converted, it is NOT describing the method by which the Name is applied to a convert. 




A big giant elephant in the theological room is that some have not adressed the fact that baptism is NOT mentioned in the context whatsoever in either passage, (Acts 15 or James 2),.

I do not condone the use of Acts 15:17 nor James 2:7 to identify how Jesus Name is invoked in baptism, i find any argument to that effect quite baseless scientifically.

It is my opinion that those who attempt tying Acts 15:17 and James 2:7 into the exclusive act of Christian water baptism leave allot for wanting, in that they fail to explain the Hebrew origins of the statement "called by" God's Name.

Different commentators have different opinions, and some often tie in James 2:7 with Acts 15:17 in reference to water baptism but the fact is that niether passage mentions the specific Name of Jesus nor is baptism identified anywhere in the text.

When examining most commentaries that tie Acts 15:17 with baptism, the student will notice them using words like "probably" and "presupposed" and "probability" and "may be", etc...The commentators are stating their opinion as to what is POSSIBLY referenced in the verses in question.

Herein we have examined much evidence to the contrary, especially the fact that this language is of ancient Hebrew origin and NOT sourced from the thought of N.T. initiation practices.

I submit that, in many instances, overreaching Jesus Name baptism advocates show themselves to be needlessly clamouring for every piece of evidence to support their position that they can find in the concordence....

There is no need to pursue such obvious overreaches due to the overwhelming abundance of evidence in favor of Jesus Name baptism already available to us.

There is no need to stretch for proofs where there are none to provide that Jesus Name baptism was the original formula. Even Trinitarian Theologians readily admit that "in (into) The Name of Jesus (Christ)" was the original formula.

This precarious practice of overreach in attempting to link Acts 15:17 and James 2:7 specifically to baptism alone opens the Apostolic movement up to ridicule from our opponents and in fact does harm to the Apostolic movement as a whole.

Furthermore, to attach water baptism specifically to the passages in question without taking into account the Hermeneutics leading you to O.T. passages does gross violence against the meaning of the passages and simply does not stand the test of contextual-criticism or critical-historical scholarship.

Contextual Science and Historical Criticism should be consulted when dealing with these two verses. 

Essentially what some are doing is relying on grammatical science alone and applying their presupposition to a limited Hermeneutic involving strickly the N.T. and more specifically, N.T. Christian water baptism. This is folly.

Those of that pursuation are looking back to N.T. times and stopping there.

Whereas, the Biblical characters who said these words were looking from their time back to the O.T. and referencing a more ancient meaning that was manifested much much earlier and before Christian water baptism was even thought of.

I do think that baptism is part, just as repentance and Holy Ghost infilling is part, of being qualified, that it can be said of us to be "called by My Name" or "over whom My Name is called" but these phrases do not mean to specifically reference and isolate water baptism individually and exclusively.

If we isolate Christian Water Baptism as the exclusive means by which it may be said of us to be "called by My Name", in the Hebrew context of the saying, then we exclude Repentance and Holy Ghost infilling from the process which allows us to be able to be called God's people.

This isolation, in fact, supports a more Catholic view of baptismal regeneration.

However, if we allow repentence and Holy Ghost infilling to be included with water baptism in Jesus Name, 

(entire obedience to the gospel) as the requirements for enabling us to be "called by My Name", we then harmonize with the fact that obedience of the Gospel in it's entirety is necessary to create the environment where within we can be said to have "My Name called over you" or "Called by My Name" in the Hebrew context of the thought. 

Simply put, Js 2:7 and Acts 15:17 explain the product of obeying the entire Gospel,  not just baptism, and that product being identified as meeting the requirments so that it can be said of us that we have been adopted into the family of God. 

The effects of the gentiles having obeyed the entire gospel , not just water baptism, is what is meant by the phrase "called by My Name" or "over whom My Name is called". 

If we fail to expound on the Hebrew origins of the thought and meaning, the 3 fold process of obedience to the gospel is put in danger. 

Additionally, the Apostolic movement as a whole is disserviced and opened to ridicule by whosoever will find this data. 

I find that, in scripture, BOTH the administrator AND the convert are identified as being instructed to invoke Jesus Name in water baptism. 

However, i do NOT see Acts 15:17 NOR Js 2:7 describing any support for the subject of baptism specifically. These verses are describing, in a very Hebrew way, the effects of the 3 fold obedience to the gospel as a whole. 

I hope i have articulated the data in a way which readers can objectively analyze it. Sometimes the introduction of new data has a hard time being processed by our brains, especially if our current position has been long established and we have taught that position to others over time. 

I would challenge anyone to shew where either of the contexts in these passages are referring to water baptism at all and additionally, i would ask that all study further into what is meant to have "the Name of The LORD called over" you in the sense of the meaning of the texts in question.

This question is one that most certainly needs adressed. And i thank God for the platform to adress these questions honestly and openly.

To study more about our findings on water baptism and self invocation, please find the following link:

"1st Century Baptism"


"so that the rest of humanity might seek the LORD, including the Gentiles--all those I have called to be mine. The LORD has spoken--"

-Acts 15:17 NLT

mark august; MDiv

writing for

Academy of Christian

Theological Studies

A.C.T.S. Think-Tank


"Bridging the Gap Between

Oneness and Trinitarianism"