Jairus Keith – What’s in a name?

So our new little boy is named Jairus Keith Phillips.  If you are scratching your head at the reasoning and pronunciation, don’t feel bad.  I think everyone who hasn’t heard us say Jairus’s name first has either asked us for pronunciation help, or just gone ahead and said the name how it looks to them.

Kassie and I want the names for our kids to be significant- not just names that we like the sound of, but also names that have a meaning or story behind them.  We wanted the names to be relatively rare, but not invented by us.  We love names that are uncommon today, but had increased popularity a few centuries ago. Our first son’s name means “my messenger” or “God’s messanger.” Cora is named for her two great-grandmothers who established a legacy of honoring God in their families in the face of challenges and hardship.


So, for kid #3:

Jairus is a ruler of the synogogue in the New Testament who comes to Jesus to ask Him to heal his sick daughter.  The daughter dies before Jesus arrives at the home, but he takes Jairus and his wife into the girl’s room and raises her from the dead.  His instructions to Jairus were “Do not fear, only believe.” These words are the foundation of faith.  God, through Jesus, holds out these unbelieveable promises and tells us to trust Him.

Jairus (the Greek form of the Hebrew Jair) means “enlightened by God.”  We pray that our son is given eyes to see, ear to hear, a mind to know, and a heart to love God.

We’re pronouncing the name JER-us (like Jairus Byrd, the NFL football player).  We’re not pronouncing it Jah-eye-rhus, even though that’s more common and how most people say the name in the Bible.

If you want to try at home: our son’s name does not rhyme with Iris or Cyrus, but does rhyme with Harris.  We won’t be offended if you mix things up.

We’re planning to move to Spain in about a year and the Spanish version of Jairus is Jairo, a good Spanish name that his friends will undoubtedly use.

Keith, Jairus’s middle name, is my dad’s name.  We wanted to honor my dad in this way and continue a bit of a family tradition.  Keith is a Gaelic/Scottish name that means “woods,” “outdoorsy,” or “from the woods” depending on who you ask.  Coming from rural Missouri, this is apt. Keith also my middle name.


About Brian Phillips

Brian lives in Spain with Kassie and their kids.
This entry was posted in Family, Jairus, Personal. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Jairus Keith – What’s in a name?

  1. Jennylyn Javar says:

    the name of my son is Jairus too. He was born 24/07/2009. My friend recommend this name when I was still pregnant, when she heard a story in the bible about Captain Jairus. She loved the name because, Jairus has strong faith in Jesus to heal her daughter and raise his daughter from the dead. and My name start also in J and J. We call our son Jai and his Father’s name is Rai as Raimond means he is a Jr

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