What does Peniel mean?

So glad you asked! … and we always have to be careful about the spelling…  The word Peniel is taken from the story in Genesis 32:22-30 where Jacob, who was renamed Israel by God, wrestles with “a man” who in actuality is God. The Lord has used this story to teach us many life principles such as: the importance of perseverance; clinging to God (and not running away) in crisis or when we fail; difficulty is designed for us to develop intimacy with God; intimacy leads to character transformation which leads to fruitfulness; and many more. 

… So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face”…


So then, our vision statement, Cultivating An Atmosphere For Face to Face Encounters With God, is derived from the lessons we are learning from this scripture passage. We want our lives to be transformed more and more into the image of Jesus, and this is best done when we create an environment where we can encounter God face to face, as opposed to a purely cerebral understanding of the truth. This is our goal, for ourselves, and for those to whom we minister.


The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and everything else that he had. And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel,saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” … (ESV)