The Name of God

From time to time I get questions about the name of God and why I don’t use it on my pages. I actually do refer to God in the most reverent and respectful way I can – by never writing or pronouncing His holy name.

When you read the Bible, your favorite version may or may not contain an English word, “Jehovah” or “Yahweh”. Those words may or may not appear next to “The LORD”. Notice how LORD is in all capital letters, and sometimes expressed in smaller capital letter for the “ORD” portion. The words “Jehovah” and “Yahweh” are an English language attempt to pronounce the four Hebrew characters from the original texts.

The Hebrews used those four characters, Biblical scholars refer to as the “Tetragrammaton“, to signify the incommunicable Name of God. The four characters come from the Hebrew verb “to be” or as God referred to himself with Moses, I AM. The closest English equivalent to those four characters is “JHVH” or “YHVH”. Since Hebrew is written without vowels, we can’t really know what those characters would sound like.

Tetragrammaton

The Tetragrammaton as it appears in three types of Hebrew scripts

Of course the Hebrew culture from the time of Moses, through the time of Jesus and for centuries afterwards is an oral one and they would have had to deal with the aproximately 6,800 times that the Tetragrammaton appears in their scriptures. Quite simply, as Hebrews read scripture aloud in their worship, they substituted one of two words for the Tetragrammaton. Those words are “Elohim” and “Adonai”.

Adonai: “Lord, Lord, LORD,” master, or owner
Elohim: mighty, strong, prominent [based on El (God) and Eloah]

Modern Bible translation practices use “The LORD” any time the Tetragrammaton appears to honor two things:

  1. The Hebrew practice of never pronouncing God’s holy name. It shows the reverence and awe due the One who created the universe and everything in it.
  2. The 4th commandment – (Exodus 20:7) where God commands us not to misuse His holy name. This commandment is the root of the Hebrew practice.

So, depending on your favorite version of Scripture, you might see The LORD or any of these words used to say who God is.

  • Advocate – 1 John 2:1
  • Almighty – Revelation 1:8
  • Alpha – Revelation 1:8
  • Anointed One – Psalm 2:2
  • Author and Perfecter of our Faith – Hebrews 12:2
  • Beginning – Revelation 21:6
  • Branch – Zechariah 3:8
  • Bread of Life – John 6:35,48
  • Bridegroom – Matthew 9:15
  • Carpenter – Mark 6:3
  • Chief Shepherd – 1 Peter 5:4
  • The Christ – Matthew 1:16
  • Comforter – Jeremiah 8:18
  • Consolation of Israel – Luke 2:25
  • Cornerstone – Ephesians 2:20
  • Dayspring – Luke 1:78
  • Day Star – 2 Peter 1:19
  • Deliverer – Romans 11:26
  • Desire of Nations – Haggai 2:7
  • Emmanuel – Matthew 1:23
  • End – Revelation 21:6
  • Everlasting Father – Isaiah 9:6
  • Faithful and True Witness – Revelation 3:14
  • First Fruits – 1 Corinthians 15:23
  • Foundation – Isaiah 28:16
  • Fountain – Zechariah 13:1
  • Friend of Sinners – Matthew 11:19
  • Gate for the Sheep – John 10:7
  • Gift of God – 2 Corinthians 9:15
  • God – John 1:1
  • Glory of God – Isaiah 60:1
  • Good Shepherd – John 10:11
  • Governor – Matthew 2:6
  • Great Shepherd – Hebrews 13:20
  • Guide – Psalm 48:14
  • Head of the Church – Colossians 1:18
  • High Priest – Hebrews 3:1
  • Holy One of Israel – Isaiah 41:14
  • Horn of Salvation – Luke 1:69
  • I AM – Exodus 3:14
  • Jesus – Matthew 1:21
  • King of Israel – Matthew 27:42
  • King of Kings – 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 19:16
  • Lamb of God – John 1:29
  • Last Adam – 1 Corinthians 15:45
  • Life – John 11:25
  • Light of the World – John 8:12; John 9:5
  • Lion of the Tribe of Judah – Revelation 5:5
  • Lord of Lords – 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 19:16
  • Master – Matthew 23:8
  • Mediator – 1 Timothy 2:5
  • Messiah – John 1:41
  • Mighty God – Isaiah 9:6
  • Morning Star – Revelation 22:16
  • Nazarene – Matthew 2:23
  • Omega – Revelation 1:8
  • Passover Lamb – 1 Corinthians 5:7
  • Physician – Matthew 9:12
  • Potentate – 1 Timothy 6:15
  • Priest – Hebrews 4:15
  • Prince of Peace – Isaiah 9:6
  • Prophet – Acts 3:22
  • Propitiation – I John 2:2
  • Purifier – Malachi 3:3
  • Rabbi – John 1:49
  • Ransom – 1 Timothy 2:6
  • Redeemer – Isaiah 41:14
  • Refiner – Malachi 3:2
  • Refuge – Isaiah 25:4
  • Resurrection – John 11:25
  • Righteousness – Jeremiah 23:6
  • Rock – Deuteronomy 32:4
  • Root of David – Revelation 22:16
  • Rose of Sharon – Song of Solomon 2:1
  • Ruler of God’s Creation – Revelation 3:14
  • Sacrifice – Ephesians 5:2
  • Savior – 2 Samuel 22:47; Luke 1:47
  • Second Adam – 1 Corinthians 15:47
  • Seed of Abraham – Galatians 3:16
  • Seed of David – 2 Timothy 2:8
  • Seed of the Woman – Genesis 3:15
  • Servant – Isaiah 42:1
  • Shepherd – 1 Peter 2:25
  • Shiloh – Genesis 49:10
  • Son of David – Matthew 15:22
  • Son of God – Luke 1:35
  • Son of Man – Matthew 18:11
  • Son of Mary – Mark 6:3
  • Son of the Most High – Luke 1:32
  • Stone – Isaiah 28:16
  • Teacher – Matthew 26:18
  • Truth – John 14:6
  • Way – John 14:6
  • Wonderful Counselor – Isaiah 9:6
  • Word – John 1:1
  • Vine – John 15:1

Brian Atkinson

Brian is an international and inspirational speaker, consultant, and voice artist. Brian has served as the Director of Digital Communications at American Bible Society, and the Director of Digital Media at The Bible Gateway (Gospel Communications International). He has worked as a communications director, technology manager, church-planter, radio announcer, welder, and ice cream man. He has a lot of t-shirts.

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