A photograph capturing an aged Bible, open to the book of Luke, with the name "Carter" highlighted, symbolizing its connection to biblical significance and evoking curiosity about its meaning.

What Does The Name Carter Mean In The Bible?

If you’re wondering what the name Carter means from a biblical perspective, you’ve come to the right place. This comprehensive guide will examine the origins, meanings, and significance of the name Carter in the Bible.

We’ll explore questions like: Where does the name Carter come from? What does it mean? And does the Bible say anything specific about the name Carter? By the end, you’ll have a thorough understanding of this intriguing biblical name.

The Etymology and Meaning of the Name Carter

The name Carter has English origins and can be traced back to medieval times. Let’s explore the fascinating history and meaning behind this popular name.

The name Carter has English origins

Carter is an old English surname that was occupational in origin. It dates back to the Middle Ages when surnames started to become widely used across England.

In the 12th and 13th centuries, the job of a “carter” was an important one. The carter was responsible for transporting goods from one place to another using a cart or wagon pulled by horses or oxen.

So the surname Carter referred specifically to someone who did this job of hauling goods by cart. It’s easy to see how occupational names like this became hereditary surnames passed down through the generations.

It comes from the English occupation surname Carter

The surname Carter comes from the Middle English word “cart”, meaning a “two-wheeled vehicle” or “cart”. It comes from the Old English word “cræt” and is related to the Old Norse word “kartr”.

So a Carter was originally a person who made or used carts as part of their occupation. Some specific occupations associated with the name include:

  • A cartwright – someone who builds and repairs carts and wagons.
  • A carter – someone who drives carts to transport goods.
  • A carrier – someone who works with carts in a transportation role.

Over time, Carter became a well-established English surname, especially common in the midlands and south of England. By the 14th century, it had become a hereditary surname passed on from father to son.

The surname refers to someone who transports goods by cart or wagon

As an occupational surname, Carter refers to someone whose job involves transporting goods using carts or wagons. So in a literal sense, it means:

  • Cart driver
  • Wagon driver
  • Transporter of goods by cart

A Carter would have been responsible for driving carts laden with goods from one place to another. This could involve distributing goods from the place they were produced to markets and towns.

Or it could involve transporting goods on longer journeys between cities, towns and ports. A Carter provided an essential service in trade and commerce in medieval times before more modern transport methods developed.

So the name Carter literally means ‘transporter’ or ‘cart driver’

  • Transporter – someone who moves goods using carts/wagons
  • Cart driver – someone who drives carts pulled by horses or oxen
  • Wagon driver – someone who handles wagons loaded with goods

But the name has a long history and interesting evolution from its roots as an English medieval surname. Today Carter also has associations of strength, hard work, persistence and provision due to its occupational beginnings.

So while the literal meaning relates to carts and transport, the name Carter has some wonderful historical significance and depth behind it.

Mention of the Name Carter in the Bible

The name Carter itself does not appear in the Bible

The name Carter is an occupational English surname meaning “transporter of goods by cart.” It does not appear verbatim in the Bible, which was written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.

But the English surname meaning relates to biblical occupations

Though the name Carter itself is not found, the occupation of a carter was certainly present in biblical times. Goods were regularly transported via carts in ancient Israelite society.

In biblical times, cart driving was an important role

Carts and wagons were essential for moving goods and supplies in the Ancient Near East. Though many people traveled by foot, carts enabled the transport of crops, building materials, and other heavy loads (Source).

In the Bible, carts were referenced for both civilian and military purposes. For example, Genesis 45:19 mentions carts used to transport Jacob’s household to Egypt. And 1 Samuel 6:7 describes Philistines sending back the Ark of the Covenant on a cart pulled by milk cows.

Goods were transported via carts and wagons in ancient Israel

Here are some examples of goods carried by carts in the Bible:

  • Construction materials – 1 Kings 5:17 (cedar logs)
  • Military supplies – Isaiah 5:18 (sin)
  • Agricultural produce – Amos 2:13 (grain)
  • Household goods – 1 Samuel 6:7 (gold)

So while the name Carter itself is not found, carting was certainly an occupation in biblical times. The Carter surname connects to this history of transporting goods by cart in ancient Israelite society.

Symbolic Meaning and Significance

Though not directly mentioned, the name Carter has biblical significance

While the name Carter does not appear directly in the Bible, it has significance through its historical connections. In biblical times, a carter was someone who transported goods by cart or wagon. This occupation is alluded to in several passages that reference carts and wagons (Gen. 45:19, 1 Sam.

6:7). So while the name itself is not found, the concept of a Carter points to meaningful biblical themes.

Driving a cart symbolizes spiritual progress and advancement

In the Bible, journeys often represent spiritual development and growth. Carts and wagons were essential for travel in ancient times. So the act of driving a cart symbolized progress, advancement, and moving forward on one’s spiritual path. A Carter enabled this forward motion.

Likewise, the name Carter has connotations of spiritual progress and purpose.

Transporting goods represents provision and blessing from God

In a time before mass transportation, carts were crucial for delivering goods and supplies. Carter was the occupation of moving these items from one place to another. In the Bible, God’s provision is often described as deliveries of grain, produce, and other goods (Genesis 42:26, 1 Kings 5:11).

Therefore, the Carter’s role of transporting merchandise symbolized God’s faithful provision and blessings. So the name Carter also suggests divine provision.

Famous Carters in the Bible

The Bible references several minor characters that have names etymologically related to “Carter.” While their stories may be obscure, these Carters play their own small parts in Biblical history.

Several minor biblical characters have Carter-related names

A few Biblical figures have names that relate to the meaning of “Carter,” which is “transporter of goods by cart.” For example, the prophet Amos mentions a man named Kartan in his book (Amos 2:2). The name Kartan comes from the Hebrew word kartan, meaning “two leathern bags.”

So while Kartan’s exact role is unknown, his name suggests he may have transported goods.

Oholiab helped construct the Tabernacle (Exodus 31:6)

Another Carter-esque name is Oholiab, who aided the construction of the Tabernacle. As Exodus 31:6 describes: “And behold, I Myself have appointed with him Oholiab…one who can skillfully work in gold, silver, and bronze…” So the name Oholiab indicates a “tent father” – one who shelteringly cares for God’s transportable Tabernacle.

Succoth-benoth was a Babylonian deity (2 Kings 17:30)

One odd Carter reference is the pagan god Succoth-benoth, mentioned in 2 Kings 17. This idol’s name meant “booths of daughters” (source) – perhaps referring to fertility rites. Still, the name relates to sheltering “booths” or tabernacles, tying back to the carter concept of portable shelters.

Amon’s servant Zabad slew him (2 Kings 24:17)

The final Carter is Zabad, who assassinated King Amon of Judah according to 2 Kings 24:17. The name Zabad meant “he who gave” in Hebrew. Perhaps this relates to “Carter” in the sense of Zabad fatally “giving” his king a mortal wound.

Popularity and Usage of Carter as a Name

Carter emerged as an English given name in the 19th century

The name Carter first appeared as an English masculine given name in the 19th century. Its use was probably inspired by the occupational surname meaning “transporter of goods by cart.” Prior to the 19th century, Carter was solely a surname in England and America, referring to someone who transported goods by cart or wagon.

It was probably inspired by the surname meaning cart driver

The surname Carter dates back to the Middle Ages in England. It referred to a person who transported goods via horse-drawn cart or wagon. Carting was an essential occupation before trucks and automobiles, so those with the name Carter played an important role in commerce and trade.

As surnames began to be adopted as first names in the 1800s, Carter likely became an appealing option due to its occupational roots and connection to hard work and responsibility.

The name grew in popularity in the late 20th century

While Carter was used as a given name in the 19th century, it was not widely common. Its popularity greatly expanded in the late 20th century. In the United States, Carter first entered the top 1,000 names for boys in the 1960s and rose rapidly up the rankings after that:

1900s: Not ranked
1960s: #982
1970s: #184
1980s: #32
1990s: #27

The name peaked in popularity in the U.S. around 2003, when it was the #18 name for baby boys. Its celebrity namesakes, such as Carter Oosterhouse, Carter Jenkins, and Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys, helped fuel its rise.

Today it ranks as a common boys’ name, though used for girls too

In 2022, Carter ranked #59 in popularity as a masculine name in the United States, according to the Social Security Administration. While it remains far more common for boys, the name is also gaining popularity for girls. In 2022, it ranked #694 for girls.

The name retains a strong connection to its surname roots. Many continue to use Carter as a nod to the English occupational name meaning “transporter by cart.” It conveys hard work, responsibility, and a traditional blue-collar image.

But the name has also taken on some new connotations as a modern boys’ name with a trendy unisex vibe.


In summary, while the name Carter itself does not appear in the Bible, its meaning of ‘cart driver’ relates to important biblical occupations and symbolism of progress and blessing. The name has ancient English roots and remains popular today.

So next time you come across someone named Carter, you can share the fascinating biblical connections behind their name!

Similar Posts