Why did some people’s names change in the Bible?
Here's the answer:
God changes some people's names in the Bible to give them a new identity.
There are many people in the Bible whose names changed. God changes Abram's name to be Abraham. Abram meant "high father," but God changed it to Abraham, which means, "father of a multitude." God also changed Sarai's name to Sarah. Sarai meant "my princess," yet Sarah means "mother of nations."
God changes the name of Jacob to be Israel. Jacob's name originally meant deceiver and he lived up to that name. After many major events to change Jacob and Jacob finally yielding to God, God gave him the new name Israel. The name Israel means "having power with God." Through Israel came the twelve tribes of Israel.
Jesus changed Simon's name to Peter. Simon meant "God has heard,” while "Peter" meant "rock." Jesus changed Simon's name the first time He called him to be one of His disciples. While God might not change our names in the present day, He does give us a new identity in His Son. Through Jesus, we can grow in our new identity and bring God joy by following Him.
"God also said to Abraham, 'Do not continue to call your wife by the name Sarai. Her name will be Sarah'" (Genesis 17:15).
"Then the man said, 'Your name will not be Jacob anymore. Instead, it will be Israel. You have wrestled with God and with people. And you have won'" (Genesis 32:28).
"And he brought Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, 'You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas.' Cephas means Peter, or Rock" (John 1:42).