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James: Name Symbolism and Spiritual Meaning

James: Name Symbolism and Spiritual Meaning

The name James is quite common, and extremely popular throughout various cultures and regions around the world.

So, what’s in a name? Understanding the symbolism behind the name James and what it means today can help you if you are naming a child of your own or if you are simply curious about another James who is already in your everyday life.

What Does James Mean?

The name James, although extremely common, is not entirely original. In fact, the name James is actually derived from another name you may be familiar with, which is Jacob.

Most definitions will actually display that both James and Jacob have similar meanings, which can be translated to “substitute”, or the Hebrew word “supplanter”, which is the original Hebrew word for the name Jacob.

The names James and Jacob are both considered classically Biblical names, although the names themselves can be traced back to Scottish roots.

The name James is also said to become more popular once King James VI was in charge of England throughout the 17th century.


The origin of the name James is said to have come from the Latin name ‘lacomus’, which is also found in Biblical Latin texts from the word ‘lacobus’, also known as the Hebrew name of ‘Ya’aqov’, which can be translated into modern-day Hebrew and English as Jacob.

Are There Variations of the Name James?

Yes, there are actually multiple variations of the name James, which can be translated as follows:

  • Hebrew/English: Jacob
  • Italian: Giacomo
  • Spanish: Jaime
  • Irish: Séamas
  • French: Jacques
  • Welsh: Iago

As listed above, you might notice many familiar-sounding translations of James in various languages from all around the globe.

The Name James in the Bible

The name James is prevalent throughout the Bible as it is the same name as the Hebrew and Greek name Jacob, which is one of the leading individuals in the Bible itself.

In the New Testament of the Bible, Jacob was one of the two apostles who are named.

Jacob (or James today) in the Bible, was born between 1400 B.C. and 1900 B.C. and died between 1300 B.C. and 1800 B.C. He was approximately 147 years old at the time of death.

His father was Isaac, and his grandfather, Abraham, two major individuals that are references throughout the Bible.

Jacob is known as the man who battled with God and God allowed him to win, giving him the highest blessing of the Lord.

According to some, the name Jacob (in Hebrew) means “God defended”, or Ya’akobh, which can indicate a force of protection for those who share the same name.

In some Biblical traditions, the name Jacob can be translated to “the one who holds onto the heel”. Ultimately, Jacob (James), is known as a man who is full of the grace of the Holy Spirit.

The Popularity of the Name James

The name James has had its moments of popularity and glory, especially through the years 1940-1952, when James was ranked as the #1 most popular name across the charts in the US, according to the Social Security Administration.

James has since topped many charts, even if it is not always awarded the #1 spot.

While the name James was extremely popular between the 1940s and ’50s, the name resurfaced between 1993 and 2013, ensuring the name hit the top 10 name charts each year in a row without missing a beat.

Today, more people than ever are also using James as a non-gender-specific name and also as a female’s name, which is increasing the overall popularity of the name worldwide.

James Symbolism

In numerology and ancient symbolic systems, the name James cultivates an image of bluntness, positivity, and agreeableness (to an extent). In numerology, the number for the name James is 3.

James and the Number 3

The name James has a numerology number of three, which represents an individual who is good at heart and seeking a path that allows their own talents and skills to shine.

Those with the name James may find it easier than others to make and maintain friendships, even throughout the entirety of their lives.

They may also find it easy to charm others while making them laugh, which assists in social situations as well as with climbing the ladder of their preferred career path.

James and the number 3 represents an individual’s desire to be appreciated and respected for their own personal skills and creative endeavors, rather than feeling trapped in a box that cannot be unlocked.

James and Careers

Symbolically, based on numerology calculations, the name James is best-suited for careers that allow him the opportunity to communicate openly with others, lend a helping hand, and express himself creatively in some way or another.

Some careers that may be ideal for those who are named James might include: Working as an advisor or as a counselor (regardless of industry), working in Public Relations, working in the wellness and wellbeing industries, etc.

Wherever James is able to express himself while simultaneously helping others is where he will likely feel as if he is thriving the most.

Best Day for James

According to numerology, the best day for James each week is a Friday, which may or may not already be a favored day of yours.

Friday is a harmonious day for individuals who are named James and can open up the door to new creative ventures and endeavors if you allow yourself to let them in.

You may also find Fridays as one of your most productive days of the week if your name is James, as this is often the day for the perfect opportunity to close out any weekday tasks and prepare yourself for a relaxing weekend.


Knowing the meaning of the name James can help with naming children or learning more about the lineage and foundation of words.

When you familiarize yourself with the various methods of finding or discovering names, it is much easier to seek out a name that is most meaningful to you.