The REAL (Biblical) Meaning of William? - Origin, History & Stories
William is a masculine name of Germanic origin which comes from the Germanic name Wilhelm.
The root of the name Wilhelm stems from the Germanic elements wil which means will or desire and helm which means helmet or protection.
Williams means resolute protector or strong-willed warrior.
William became a popular English name after the Norman conquest by William the Conqueror in the 11th century.
Its popularity lasted throughout the Middle Ages and in recent years it has been a popular choice in the United States.
William has consistently been among popular boy names since the 1900s and has ranked in the twenty top names for boys.
If you are researching boys’ names with a rich history for your baby you are in the right place.
This article will explore the real biblical meaning of the name William by providing the Hebrew, biblical, and spiritual meanings.
We will also take a look at the biblical origin of the name William and provide Bible stories and verses about this baby boy name.
What does William mean in Hebrew?
There are twelve variations of the name William in Hebrew.
Betzalel, Gad, Gavriel, Katriel, Magen, Melech, Shimri, Shmarya (Shemariah), and Yaakov are masculine forms of William while Chasya, Shimra, and Yaakova are feminine Hebrew names.
Betzalel, Shmarya, and Chasya means protection of God or protected by God. Gad stands for fortune or good luck.
God is my strength is the meaning for Gavriel while Katriel is defined as my crown is God.
Magen means the Lord is my shield while Melech stands for king.
Shimra is defined as guarded, protected, or to keep safe from harm while Shimri means my guard or my watcher.
Yaakov and Yaakova stems from the name Jacob and mean he who supplants or held by the heel.
The origins of William in the Bible
Though the name William is not found in the Bible the root words will and helmet along with the Hebrew variations of the name are referenced in scripture.
To trace the biblical origin of the name William, we will explore the origin of biblical figures such as Gad, Shmarya (Shemeriah), and Melech.
The first time the word helmet is used in scripture was to describe the armor of the Philistine champion Goliath.
This strong-willed warrior of the Philistines knew the value of a helmet.
“He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels;” (1 Samuel 17:5 NIV)
Son of Jacob
Gad was the son of (Leah's servant) Zilpah and Jacob and one of the twelve tribes of Israel.
“The sons of Leah’s servant Zilpah: Gad and Asher. These were the sons of Jacob, who were born to him in Paddan Aram.” (Genesis 35:26 NIV)
Descendant of Binnui
Shemariah was a descendant of Binnui as recorded in the book of Ezra.
“From the descendants of Binnui: Shimei, Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah, Maknadebai, Shashai, Sharai, Azarel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, Shallum, Amariah and Joseph.” (Ezra 10:38-42 NIV)
The first mention of the name Melech (Melek) was in reference to Abimelech, king of Gerar who took Sarah away from Abraham.
“And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.” (Genesis 20:2 KJV)
The name Melech appears in the Old Testament a number of times. One character with this name was Ebed-Melech the Cushite.
He proved himself as a resolute protector of Jeremiah and helped him out of a pit.
“But Ebed-Melek, a Cushite, an official in the royal palace, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern. While the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate,” (Jeremiah 38:7 NKJV)
The biblical meaning of William
Exploring the Hebrew variations of the name is a great way to unearth the biblical significance of the name William.
The biblical meaning of the name William may include fortune, protection and king.
Having another baby was a significant life experience that shows good fortune and God's favor.
Leah considered herself fortunate to have had her servant bear a son for her and she thought Gad was the perfect name for the child.
“When Leah saw that she had stopped having children, she took her servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. Leah’s servant Zilpah bore Jacob a son. Then Leah said, “What good fortune!” So she named him Gad.” (Genesis 30:9-11 NIV)
William is not just the modern version of the name Gad but also a solid boys’ name that may be used as a testament of God's favor and an expression of how fortunate you are as a parent to have a child.
“Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.” (Psalm 5:12 NIV)
The children of Gad could have stayed on the eastern side of Jordan with their flocks, herds, and family members when they realized the land was suitable for their livestock.
Instead, they decided that they will make cities to protect their women and children and continue with the other tribes.
In making their decision the tribe of Gad considered the protection of their immediate family as well as that of the other tribes.
“But we will arm ourselves for battle and go ahead of the Israelites until we have brought them to their place. Meanwhile our women and children will live in fortified cities, for protection from the inhabitants of the land.” (Numbers 32:17 NIV)
Protecting his loved ones is very important to William and this is why it's a powerful first name to give your child.
He has a strong desire to put the needs and interests of others before his own and he values the protection of the Lord.
“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.” (Psalm 5:11 NIV)
Katriel, a Hebrew variant of William, means my crown is God and the biblical name Melech means king.
These names point to authority, acknowledge God as sovereign, and indicate that the bearer is seen as important.
"…you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way…" (Philippians 4:1 NIV)
If you need a name that will let your little boy know he's your joy and crown then William is an excellent choice.
It is one of those classic middle names that you may use to remind your child how important and powerful he is.
“You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.” (Isaiah 62:3 NIV)
The spiritual meaning of William
William is a great Christian boy name with strong spiritual significance.
The Lord is my shield, God is my strength, and resolute protector are some of the spiritual meanings of this name.
The Lord is my Shield
If you need a Christian name that will have a significant impact on the life of your child then William is a great choice.
It will remind him to put on the armor of God as he daily travels the Christian pathway.
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13 NIV)
Naming your child William is also a great way to express your gratitude to God for protecting you throughout your pregnancy and allowing you to have a healthy baby.
“But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.” (Psalm 3:3 NIV)
God is my strength
As a parent you will need all the help you can get to train your child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
The name William is a beautiful name because it will remind you and your child to draw strength from God.
“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV)
This name will teach your son not to depend on material things or his own sense of strength but to trust and depend on the Lord to overcome the obstacles he faces.
“May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. ⁷ Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” (Psalm 20:4,7 NIV)
Ebed-Melech did not just care about the wellbeing of Jeremiah but did everything he could to protect him.
“So Ebed-Melech took the men with him and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took from there old clothes and old rags, and let them down by ropes into the dungeon to Jeremiah.” (Jeremiah 38:11 NKJV)
William is a strong name that will complement your son's last name well.
This is because like Abed-Melech, he has a genuine concern for others. To others he's a helmet of salvation that advocates, shields, and protects.
“He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head;” (Isaiah 59:17 NIV)
What Bible verses contain William?
Words associated with the meaning of the name William are found in both the Old and New Testament of the Bible.
Here are some verses that include good fortune, Melech, shield, and helmet.
“Then Leah said, “What good fortune!” So she named him Gad.” (Genesis 30:11 NIV)
“The sons of Micah were Pithon, Melech, Tarea, and Ahaz.” (1 Chronicles 8:35 NKJV)
“Eluzai, Jerimoth, Bealiah, Shemariah and Shephatiah the Haruphite” (1 Chronicles 12:5 NIV)
“Then Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, “Please put these old clothes and rags under your armpits, under the ropes.” And Jeremiah did so.” (Jeremiah 38:12 NKJV)
“My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart.” (Psalm 7:10 NIV)
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2 NIV)
“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” (Proverbs 30:5 NIV)
“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” (Ephesians 6:16 NIV)
“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17 NIV)
Stories about William in the Bible
A number of stories in the Bible capture the meaning of the name William.
Biblical accounts also feature characters with variants of the Hebrew name for William.
The story of David and king Saul's helmet, the account of Caleb the strong-willed warrior, and the story of Abimelech king of Gerar are some examples.
David and Saul's helmet
When David decided to fight Goliath, King Saul gave him his armor for protection.
When David put on the armor, which included a helmet, they were too large for him.
David went into battle with his slingshot and a shield of faith believing that the Lord will protect him.
“Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head.” (1 Samuel 17:38 NIV)
Caleb the strong-willed warrior
Caleb was one of the twelve sent to explore the promised land.
Thanks to his strong will he and Joshua were the only two individuals from their generation who entered the promised land.
“I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then.” (Joshua 14:11 NIV)
Abimelech king of Gerar
One night the Lord appeared to Abimelech in a dream and told him that he had offended Abraham by taking his wife from him.
Abimelech informed his officials and later made amends with Abraham.
“But God came to Abimelek in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.” (Genesis 20:3 NIV)
William is a masculine name with deep roots in German and Hebrew Culture.
It stems from the old high German name Wilhelm and has strong biblical and spiritual significance.
Fortune, protection, and king are some of the biblical meanings of the name William while the Lord is my shield, God is my strength, and resolute protector are spiritual meanings of the name.