Scripture identifies and describes God in many ways across the entire canon of Scripture and our understanding of Him must be based in the total presentation of Himself in all the Scriptures. However, for our purposes, we will attempt to summarize the sweep of biblical data by the words: God, the covenant Lord. First, God is the “Lord” ([Jehovah]; kurios). Even though [Jehovah] is not the only name of God in Scripture, it is uniquely the name by which God identifies Himself (Exod. 3:13–15;34:6–7). He does this both at the beginning of His covenant with Israel and also as the name that has been given to Jesus Christ as the head of the new covenant (Exod. 6:1–8; 20; John 8:58; Phil. 2:11). Secondly, God is the “covenant” Lord. He is the God who not only talks the universe into existence but who is also active in it. His action in the world is supremely seen in covenantal relations that find their climatic fulfillment in Jesus Christ the Lord. Hence the expression, “the covenant Lord,” nicely captures much of the biblical data regarding the identity of the God who creates, sustains, rules, and by grace, redeems a people for Himself.
Chad Brand, Charles Draper, Archie England et al., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 659.
Jesus’ proper name derives from the Hebrew “Joshua,” meaning “[Jehovah] saves” or “salvation is from [Jehovah]” (Matt. 1:21
). Christ is the Greek term for “anointed,” equivalent to the Hebrew Messiah. This anointed Savior is also Immanuel, “God is with us” (Matt. 1:23
; Isa. 7:14
). Paul’s favorite term for Jesus was kurios, “Lord,” and the earliest Christian confession was that “Jesus is Lord.” The sublime introduction of Jesus in the prologue to John’s Gospel presents Him as the logos, the “Word” who created all things (1:3) and who became flesh and dwelt among us (1:14). He is the Life (1:4) and the Light of mankind (1:4); the Glory of God (1:14); the only begotten God who makes the Father known (1:18). The Gospels record Jesus’ own self designation as Son of Man, the title He frequently used to speak of His humiliation, His identification with sinful mankind, His death on behalf of sinners, and His glorious return. While Jesus was the Son of Man in respect to His ministry and passion, He is also Son of God, the uniquely begotten one sent from God Himself (Mark 1:1
; John 3:16
). The book of Hebrews shows Jesus as God’s great high priest (3:1; 4:14) who both makes sacrifice for His people and who is Himself the sacrifice (10:10–14). Hebrews also presents Jesus as the creator of all things (1:2), the perfect representation of God (1:3), and the apostle of our confession (3:1). The metaphors used of Jesus, particularly in John’s Gospel, speak poignantly to the indispensable need for a person to know Jesus. He is the water of life (John 4:14
), the bread of life (6:41), the light (8:12), the door (10:7), the way, the truth, and the life (14:6).
Chad Brand, Charles Draper, Archie England et al., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 900.
KINGDOM OF GOD
In the NT the fullest revelation of God’s divine rule is in the person of Jesus Christ. His birth was heralded as the birth of a king (Luke 1:32–33). The ministry of John the Baptist prepared for the coming of God’s kingdom (Matt. 3:2). The crucifixion was perceived as the death of a king (Mark 15:26–32).
Jesus preached that God’s kingdom was at hand (Matt. 11:12
). His miracles, preaching, forgiving sins, and resurrection are an in-breaking of God’s sovereign rule in this dark, evil age.
God’s kingdom was manifested in the church. Jesus commissioned the making of disciples on the basis of His kingly authority (Matt. 28:18–20
). Peter’s sermon at Pentecost underscored that a descendent of David would occupy David’s throne forever, a promise fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:30–32
). Believers are transferred from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of God (Col. 1:13
God’s kingdom may be understood in terms of “reign” or “realm.” Reign conveys the fact that God exerts His divine authority over His subjects/kingdom. Realm suggests location, and God’s realm is universal. God’s reign extends over all things. He is universally sovereign over the nations, humankind, the angels, the dominion of darkness and its inhabitants, and even the cosmos, individual believers, and the church.
In the OT the kingdom of God encompasses the past, present, and future. The kingdom of God had implications in the theocratic state. The kingdom of God is “already” present but “not yet” fully completed, both a present and future reality. The kingdom was inaugurated in the incarnation, life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. God’s kingdom blessings are in some measure possessed now. People presently find and enter God’s kingdom. God is now manifesting His authoritative rule in the lives of His people. God’s kingdom, however, awaits its complete realization. His people still endure sufferings and tribulations. When fully consummated, hardships will cease. Kingdom citizens currently dwell alongside inhabitants of the kingdom of darkness. God will eventually dispel all darkness. The final inheritance of the citizens of God’s kingdom is yet to be fully realized. The resurrection body for life in the eschatological kingdom is a blessing awaiting culmination.
God’s kingdom is soteriological in nature, expressed in the redemption of fallen persons. The reign of Christ instituted the destruction of all evil powers hostile to the will of God. Satan, the “god of this age,” along with his demonic horde, seeks to hold the hearts of individuals captive in darkness. Christ has defeated Satan and the powers of darkness and delivers believers. Although Satan still is active in this present darkness, his ultimate conquest and destruction are assured through Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection. Sinners enter Christ’s kingdom through regeneration.
Many of Jesus’ parables emphasize the mysterious nature of God’s kingdom. For example, an insignificant mustard seed will grow a tree, as God’s kingdom will grow far beyond its inception (Matt. 13:31–32
). The kingdom of God is like seed scattered on the ground. Some seed will fall on good soil, take root, and grow. Other seed, however, will fall on hard, rocky ground and will not grow. Likewise, the kingdom will take root in the hearts of some but will be rejected and unfruitful in others (Matt. 13:3–8
). As wheat and tares grow side by side, indistinguishable from each other, so also the sons of the kingdom of God and the sons of the kingdom of darkness grow together in the world until ultimately separated by God (Matt. 13:24–30
Although closely related, the kingdom and the church are distinct. George Eldon Ladd identified four elements in the relationship of the kingdom of God to the church. The kingdom of God creates the church. God’s redemptive rule is manifested over and through the church. The church is a “custodian” of the kingdom. The church also witnesses to God’s divine rule.
The kingdom of God is the work of God, not produced by human ingenuity. God brought it into the world through Christ, and it presently works through the church. The church preaches the kingdom of God and anticipates the eventual consummation.
Chad Brand, Charles Draper, Archie England et al., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 988-89.
In the O[ld] T[estament] the kingdom of God is usually described in terms of a redeemed earth; this is especially clear in the book of Isaiah, where the final state of the universe is already called new heavens and a new earth (65:17; 66:22) The nature of this renewal was perceived only very dimly by OT authors, but they did express the belief that a humans ultimate destiny is an earthly one. This vision is clarified in the N[ew] T[estament]. Jesus speaks of the “renewal” of the world (Matt 19:28), Peter of the restoration of all things (Acts 3:21). Paul writes that the universe will be redeemed by God from its current state of bondage (Rom. 8:18-21). This is confirmed by Peter, who describes the new heavens and the new earth as the Christian’s hope (2 Pet. 3:13). Finally, the book of Revelation includes a glorious vision of the end of the present universe and the creation of a new universe, full of righteousness and the presence of God. The vision is confirmed by God in the awesome declaration: “I am making everything new!” (Rev. 21:1-8).
The new heavens and the new earth will be the renewed creation that will fulfill the purpose for which God created the universe. It will be characterized by the complete rule of God and by the full realization of the final goal of redemption: “Now the dwelling of God is with men” (Rev. 21:3).
The fact that the universe will be created anew shows that God’s goals for humans is not an ethereal and disembodied existence, but a bodily existence on a perfected earth. The scene of the beatific vision is the new earth. The spiritual does not exclude the created order and will be fully realized only within a perfected creation. (Elwell 2001, 828-29)
 It is unwise to speak of the written Word of God as if it were of human origin, saying ‘OT authors express the belief,’ when what was written is the meaning and message of what God wanted to convey by means of the human author.
 Create anew does not mean a complete destruction followed by a re-creation, but instead a renewal of the present universe.
The OT does not picture death as a permanent condition within the created order. Instead, the prophets point to the day when God will call the righteous from their graves and into everlasting life (Dan. 12:2). The prophets proclaim that death has no place in the consummation of the eschatological kingdom of God (Isa. 25:8). The resurrection from the dead at the last day is seen as a vindication of the glorious faithfulness of God to His covenant promises (Ezek. 37:12–14).
In Jesus of Nazareth, the promised destruction of death in the Kingdom of God has arrived. Jesus exercised His sovereignty over life and death by raising the dead (Matt. 9:18–26; Mark 5:35–43; Luke 7:11–17; 8:49–56), while claiming Himself as the source of bodily resurrection and eternal life (John 11:25). Jesus asserted that at the last day He personally would call His people from their graves (John 6:39), a promise reiterated in the apostolic preaching of the early church.
The decisive turning point in God’s purposes to overturn the reign of death came in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus endured death for the world, bearing in His body the holy judgment of God against rebellious creation. His resurrection from the dead vindicated Him as the anointed Messiah and beneficiary of God’s covenant promises (Rom. 1:3–4; Acts 2:22–36). The apostles preached Jesus’ resurrection as His triumph over death. As the Second Adam, He is the firstfruits of the resurrection of the righteous (1 Cor. 15:20–23). Those who believe in Him will find themselves resurrected, not because of their righteousness, but because they are united to the resurrected Christ.
Paul, having established death as the consequence of a universal human depravity, heralds the resurrection of Jesus as pronouncing the death knell for death itself (2 Tim. 1:10). Proclaiming that the end times have come in Christ as the “last enemy” is destroyed in the resurrection of the Messiah (1 Cor. 15:26), Paul mocks the power of death in light of the victory of Jesus (1 Cor. 15:55). He assures believers on the basis of God’s resurrection of Jesus that the same bodies buried in the graves will be raised to life in the new creation (1 Cor. 15:35–49). Believers, therefore, have no reason for despair in the face of death (1 Thess. 4:13–18).
The Bible posits the believer’s hope in the face of death not only in Jesus’ resurrection triumph over death but also in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit. The OT prophets linked the resurrection from the dead to the coming of the Spirit of God in the eschatological kingdom (Ezek. 37:13–14). The Spirit’s regeneration of the people serves as a guarantee of the coming regeneration of the universe (2 Cor. 1:22; 5:1–5; Eph. 1:14).
The Bible compares Jesus’ reversal of physical death in resurrection with His reversal of spiritual death in the regeneration of the human heart, an act that is likened to God’s calling light into existence at the creation event (2 Cor. 4:6). Regeneration is said to be God “making alive” those who had been “dead” in their sins (Eph. 2:1) that they may walk in the newness of the new creation (Rom. 6:4).
Chad Brand, Charles Draper, Archie England et al., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 406-07.
Derived from the combination of the Greek eschatos, meaning “last,” and logos, meaning “word” or “significance.” Refers to the biblical doctrine of last things. The doctrine of last things normally focuses on a discussion of the return of Christ at the end of the age, the coming judgments, various expressions of the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God, the nature of the glorified body, and the prospects for eternal destiny. Generally, eschatology sets itself apart as a theology of the future and in juxtaposition to both history and the present age.
Chad Brand, Charles Draper, Archie England et al., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 503.
SEPARATE FROM THE WORLD
The moral world overlaps with the human world because many people are hostile toward God and therefore the Scriptures use the term “world” to describe that environment or spirit of evil and of enmity toward God and the things of God. Particularly, in the Gospel of John, “world” takes on this sinister meaning. The world was not originally evil, yet “the whole world,” since the fall, has come “under the sway of the evil one” (1 John 5:19 HCSB). The cross is foolishness and an offense to the world. In contrast to the moral corruption and darkness of the world Jesus came as the “light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5; 12:46) to keep men from stumbling in the darkness (11:9–12).
Worldliness is the idolatrous worship of the things one lusts after that belong to this world. “Therefore, put to death whatever in you is worldly” (Col. 3:5 HCSB). Things of this world cannot be considered inherently wrong or evil but can become so when not used in accordance with God’s word and/or when one exalts them to a position that belongs to God alone. For this reason the world stands as a picture of corruption (2 Pet. 1:4). James calls the worldly person an adulteress and warns that to be allied to the world is to be at war with God (James 4:4). John discourages the believer from being a lover of the world and the things of the world (1 John 2:15) while Paul proclaims that “the world has been crucified to me, and [I] to the world” (Gal. 6:14). When one has “died with Christ” and been born of God, that person no longer belongs to the world (Col. 2:20) but has conquered the world through their faith in Jesus Christ (1 John 5:4–5), being instructed through grace to deny worldly lusts (Titus 2:11–12). Christ warns of danger of losing one’s soul as a result of striving after the world (Matt. 16:26).
Chad Brand, Charles Draper, Archie England et al., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 1686.
APPLYING THE BIBLE
The Bible is a loving letter from our heavenly Father. (1 Thessalonians 2:13) If we take the things we learn, and apply them in our lives, we will live a life far more beneficial than those who do not. As you grow in knowledge, you will draw ever closer to God, the Giver of “Every good gift and every perfect gift.” (James 1:17) You will discover the beauty of prayer. You will find that God is strengthening you to cope in times of trouble. If you live and walk in harmony with His Word, the opportunity of life everlasting awaits you. Romans 6:2
The Bible gives us answers to questions and life that can be found nowhere else, and offers illumination to its readers. Those that take in this life-saving knowledge are freed from the misunderstandings of life that dominate billions of others. For instance, many fear death, and the Bible can lift that fear.
Genesis 2:7 (American Standard Version) And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Ezekiel 18:4 (English Standard Version) Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.
John 11:25 (English Standard Version) Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
Acts 24:15 (English Standard Version) having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.
What do we see in these four texts? First, we see that humans [the persons] are “souls”, not that they possess one at Genesis 2:7. Second, Ezekiel 18:4 informs us that we as “souls” can die. Third, Jesus informs us of the hope of a resurrection just as he gave his friend Lazarus, only better at John 11:25. Fourth, Acts 24:15 tell us that there will be a resurrection of the just (those who walked with God and trust in the Son), and the unjust (those who never had a chance to hear the Bible truth).
Another facet of benefiting from the Bible is that it shows us the way to get the best out of life now, even in imperfection.
1 Timothy 3:2 (English Standard Version) Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,
2 Corinthians 7:1 (English Standard Version) Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
1 Corinthians 6:18 (English Standard Version) Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.
What do we discover in these three texts? Is there any doubt that if we possess the quality of self-control that we will not have better health and better relationships. Through ‘cleansing ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit,’ we evade damaging our health. Finally, the marriage is on safe grounds by our fleeing from sexual immorality.
Another aspect of the Bible is that it will help us to find true happiness in this imperfect world that we live in, with the hope of even greater happiness to come. Bible knowledge helps us to find the innermost harmony and satisfaction and gives us faith and hopefulness. It assists us to develop such pleasing characteristics as empathy, love, joy, peace, kindness, and faith. (Galatians 5:22, 23; Ephesians 4:24, 32) Such characteristics will help us to be a better spouse, father or mother, son or daughter.
Another facet of the Bible is its prophecies, which will help us to understand where we are in the steams of time, and what is yet to unfold.
Revelation 21:3-4 (English Standard Version) And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
The Names of God
UASV . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . English:
God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Elohim
Jehovah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JHVH/YHWH
Lord . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Adonai
Jehovah God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Adonai JHVH/YHWH
Jehovah of armies . . . . . . . . . . Jehovah Sabaoth
God Almighty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . El Shaddai
Kurios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jehovah
Bible Trranslation Magazine accepts the American Standard Versions position and will use Jehovah, the personal name of God in Hebrew, which it is found 6,828 times in the Hebrew text (BHK and BHS). You will notice below that other translations favor Yahweh.
that they may know that you,
whose name is Yahweh, you alone, are the Most High over the whole earth.
May they know that You alone,
whose name is Yahweh, are the Most High over all the earth.
That they may know that thou alone, whose name is Jehovah, Art the Most High over all the earth.
How Some Translators Feel About the Personal Name of God
American Standard Version of 1901: “[The translators] were brought to the unanimous conviction that a Jewish superstition, which regarded the Divine Name as too sacred to be uttered, ought no longer to dominate in the English or any other version of the Old Testament . . . This Memorial Name, explained in Ex. iii. 14, 15, and emphasized as such over and over in the original text of the Old Testament, designates God as the personal God, as the covenant God, the God of revelation, the Deliverer, the Friend of his people . . . This personal name, with its wealth of sacred associations, is now restored to the place in the sacred text to which it has an unquestionable claim.”
Steven T. Byington, translator of The Bible in Living English, explains why he uses God’s name: “The spelling and the pronunciation are not highly important. What is highly important is to keep it clear that this is a personal name. There are several texts that cannot be properly understood if we translate this name by a common noun like ‘Lord,’ or, much worse, by a substantivized adjective [for example, the Eternal].”
Holman Christian Standard Bible of 2003
: However, the HCSB
OT uses Yahweh, the personal name of God in Hebrew, when a biblical text emphasizes Yahweh as a name: “His name is Yahweh” (Ps 68:4
). Yahweh is also used in places of His self-identification as in “I am Yahweh” (Is 42:8
). Yahweh is used more often in the HCSB
than in most Bible translations because the word Lord in English is a title of God and does not accurately convey to modern readers the emphasis on God’s personal name in the original Hebrew.
Insight into the Use of Divine Names in the New Testament Texts—Dr. John McRay
One noteworthy contribution the papyri makes to our understanding of the text of the New Testament is the insight they give us into the aura of sanctity that attached to divine names.131 We have long known that when Jewish scribes copied the name
(Yahweh—“Jehovah” or “Lord”), which appears more than six thousand times in the Old Testament, they washed their hands both before and afterwards because it was “the name that defiles the hands.” The name was so holy that it was, and still is, considered irreverent to pronounce it. Yigael Yadin says, “From the Second Temple period onwards it was never uttered by Jews, and the practice is followed to this day.”132 They used the term (Adonai, “my Lord”) instead, which the ancient scribes wrote in the margin of the Hebrew Bible wherever Yahweh, the divine Tetragram (or Tetragrammaton, i.e., “Four Letters”), occurred. Yadin has argued that the scribal practice at Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, was to make a distinction between canonical and noncanonical texts by using two different kinds of script for the divine name. Although in the canonical books the scribes entered the divine name in the late Aramaic script in which all their Hebrew texts were written, in the noncanonical books they used the old Hebrew script for the divine name. However, Harmut Stegemann has produced several examples of biblical as well as nonbiblical texts from Qumran in which the Tetragram is written in both kinds of script.134 The reason for the fluctuation in scripts for the divine name is an enigma. George Howard has shown that Greek translations made by Jewish scribes contain the Tetragram in Hebrew, while copies made later by Christian scribes replace the Hebrew Yahweh with the Greek κύριος (“Lord”). This suggests that the presentation of the divine name in a distinctive way—whether preserving it in old Hebrew in the texts employing the Aramaic script of Hebrew or preserving it in the Aramaic script in the texts employing Greek—was a uniquely Jewish practice in the beginning.
The point of all this in connection with New Testament manuscripts is that a related but somewhat different phenomenon occurs in some of our very early texts. The mid-second-century Papyrus Egerton 2 employs abbreviations for various divine names, including God, Lord, Father, and Jesus. (Bell and Skeat Fragntertts, 2.) A third-century manuscript of the Shepherd of Hermas similarly uses abbreviations for Lord, God, Spirit, and Son,137 so the practice was not limited to Scripture. These abbreviations normally consist of the first and last letters of the divine name, although sometimes the first and second are used, or even three letters as in the case of Spirit (ΠNA, ΠNI, etc.). A horizontal line is placed above the letters to show that they form a contraction for a divine name. At times the use of an abbreviation gives us an insight into the early church’s interpretation of a text. For example, in John 3:6 Jesus said to Nicodemus, “That which is born of the spirit is spirit.” Should either of the words for “spirit” be understood as referring to the Holy Spirit? In p66, which dates to about A.D. 200, the scribe wrote out the second word for “spirit” normally (πνεῦμα, pneuma), but abbreviated the first as a nomen sacrum (FINS), thus indicating his belief that the Holy Spirit is meant by the first term. That the two words stand side by side serves to highlight the contrast (ἐκ τοῦ πνς πνεῦμά ἐστιν, ek tou pns pneuma estin).138 Sacred abbreviations are found consistently in early New Testament manuscripts.139 Thus, the uniquely Jewish practice of occasionally writing the covenant name of God in different script is matched by the equally unique Christian practice of using abbreviations for sacred names. The Alands assert that “manuscripts of the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament, can be assigned with confidence to a Christian or Jewish origin on the basis of their use or non-use of the nomina sacra forms.”140 Whether the Christian practice arose directly from the Jewish one, as Ludwig Traube suggested long ago,141 is uncertain. Howard thinks it arose among Gentile Christians who, having nothing comparable to the distinctive treatment that Jews gave to the name Yahweh, invented the abbreviations to compensate for this deficiency.142
137 Campbell Bonner, A Papyrus Codex of the Shepherd of Hermas (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1934), 18.
138 Bibliotheca Bodmeriana, ed. Martin, 5.48.
139 Metzger lists fifteen such abbreviations: the words for God, Lord, Jesus, Christ, Son, Spirit, David, Cross, Mother, Father, Israel, Savior, Man, Jerusalem, and Heaven (Manuscripts, 36). Other abbreviations were also employed in the early centuries; e.g., abbreviations for Moses, Isaiah, and Prophet are to be found in Papyrus Egerton 2.
140 Aland and Aland, Text of the New Testament, 76.
141 Ludwig Traube, Nomina Sacra: Versuch einer Geschichte der christliehen Kürzung (Munich: C. H. Beck, 1907), 3.1.32.
142 Howard, “Tetragram and the New Testament,” 76.
Another fact worth noting is that as late as the third century some scribes who copied the Greek manuscripts did not use the Greek word κύριος for the Tetragram, but transcribed the Aramaic characters (Yahweh) into Greek as ΠΙΠΙ (PIPI).143 It is possible that they did not recognize the peculiar-looking Aramaic letters in the Old Testament exemplar they were using. For at the beginning of the fifth century Jerome tells us that “certain ignorant ones, because of the similarity of the [Aramaic and Greek] characters, when they would find in Greek books, were accustomed to pronounce PIPI.”144 On the other hand, this could have been a means of simply assigning these unique Aramaic characters a special Greek form in order to perpetuate their distinctiveness for Christians. It has been suggested that Origen in the third century or Eusebius in the fourth may have made the change into Greek.145
143 Ibid., 73 nn. 52, 56; Metzger, Manuscripts, 35. In the Temple Scroll the Tetragram is written rather than
144 Jerome Letter 25 (“To Mar-cella”), cited in Metzger, Manuscripts, 35 n, 73.
145 Ibid., n. 69.
This whole issue becomes even more intriguing when we consider the possibility that the New Testament autographs, written almost entirely by Jewish Christians (the possible exception being Luke-Acts), may have preserved the Jewish custom and retained the divine name in Aramaic script in quotations from the Old Testament. Thus they may have followed the lead of some Jewish authors who used one script for the divine name when they quoted Scripture and another when they themselves referred to God. Similarly, it was customary at Qumran to use the Tetragram freely when one was either copying or introducing Scripture quotations into a commentary, but to use El (“God”) in original material written for a commentary.146
146 Howard (“Tetragram and the New Testament,” 66-67) presents two illustrations: 1 QpHab 10:6-7 (equals Hab. 2:13) and 1 QpHab 11: 10 (equals Hab. 2:16).
Having references to Yahweh clearly indicated would be of enormous help, for any verses that refer to “the Lord” are unclear as to whether Christ or God (Yahweh) is meant. For example, Peter’s quotation (in Acts 2:34) of David, “The Lord said to my Lord,” is unclear until the Hebrew original (Ps. 110:1) is read: “Yahweh says to my Adonai.” Such verses that quote the Old Testament would be clearer if YHWH (the Tetragram) were used in the New Testament.
Another case in point is Romans 10:16, which quotes Isaiah 53:1, “Lord, who has believed our report?” “Lord” would seem to refer to Christ, for “the word of Christ” is a reading which appears in the most recent New Testament texts of verse 17, even though many of the ancient witnesses have “the word of God.”147 Actually, the word Lord does not appear in the Hebrew text of Isaiah 53:1, although it does appear in the Greek text, which Paul quotes, as κύριε. Since this word became a surrogate in Christian copies of the Septuagint for YHWH, it is natural to assume that κύριε in the Septuagint of Isaiah 53:1 refers to YHWH. It undoubtedly slipped into the Septuagint from an early Hebrew lemma (in commentaries, the setting forth of a text prior to its discussion) which led to the inference that the YHWH mentioned in the second part of Isaiah 53:1 is the person being addressed in the first part of that verse. Since this verse is Scripture rather than commentary, Jewish scribal practice would have dictated the use of “Yahweh” rather than “Adonai.” The verse would then have read, “Yahweh, who has believed our report?”148 This is the way Paul would have understood the Septuagint. Contrary to current textual criticism, then, the reading in Romans 10:17 should probably be “the word of God” rather than “the word of Christ.” Rudolf Bultmann’s argument that “the unmodified expression ‘the Lord’ is unthinkable (nicht denkbar)” in Jewish usage (and thus unthinkable in Isa. 53:1a)149 is now rebutted by several Palestinian Aramaic texts which have the word Mare or Marya (“Lord”) as a title for God. Thus, pre-Christian Jews did refer to God in an absolute sense as “the Lord.”150
147 See the discussion in Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (New York: United Bible Societies, 1971), 525.
148 Other examples are discussed by Howard, “Tetragram and
McRay, John (2008-02-01). Archaeology and the New Testament (Kindle Locations 8334-8336). Baker Academic. Kindle Edition.
149 Rudolph Bultmann, Theology of the New Testament, 2 vols. (London: SCM, 1952), 1.51 equals Theologie des Neuen Testaments (Tübingen: Mohr, 1948), 52.
150 Joseph A. Fitzmyer, “The Aramaic Language and the Study of the New Testament,” JBL 99 (1980): 13.
McRay, John (2008-02-01). Archaeology and the New Testament pp. 369-372). Baker Academic. Kindle Edition.
How Does God Feel About His Own Personal Name?
Isaiah 42:8 American Standard Version (ASV)
I am Jehovah, that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise unto graven images.
Malachi 3:16 American Standard Version (ASV)
Then they that feared Jehovah spake one with another; and Jehovah hearkened, and heard, and a book of remembrance was written before him, for them that feared Jehovah, and that thought upon his name.
Micah 4:5 American Standard Version (ASV)
For all the peoples walk everyone in the name of his god; and we will walk in the name of Jehovah our God for ever and ever.
Proverbs 18:10 American Standard Version (ASV)
The name of Jehovah is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it, and is safe.
Joel 2:32 American Standard Version (ASV)
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall be delivered; for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those that escape, as Jehovah hath said, and among the remnant those whom Jehovah doth call.
Why Do Most Translations Leave It Out?
The Bible—An American Translation of 1935: “In this translation we have followed the orthodox Jewish tradition and substituted ‘the Lord’ for the name ‘Yahweh’ and the phrase ‘the Lord God’ for the phrase ‘the Lord Yahweh.’ In all cases where ‘Lord’ or ‘God’ represents an original ‘Yahweh’ small capitals are employed.
Our personal response would be
: The question that quickly comes to mine is, ‘did Jesus not say something about Jewish tradition and God’s Word?’ Yes, at Mark 7:13
, he said to the Jewish religious leaders that they were, “making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down.” Therefore, the follow up question that begs to be answered is, ‘why on earth would we follow Jewish tradition of removing God’s personal name, if Jesus condemned them for just such type of activity?’ The other question that we might ask is, ‘who is the one person that would like to see God’s personal name removed from the Bible? Satan? Does a personal name not signify a personal relationship? Are we not seeking to have a personal relationship with God?
Revised Standard Version of 1952: “For two reasons the Committee has returned to the more familiar usage of the King James Version [that is, omitting the name of God]:(1) the word ‘Jehovah’ does not accurately represent any form of the Name ever used in Hebrew; and (2) the use of any proper name for the one and only God, as though there were other gods from whom he had to be distinguished, was discontinued in Judaism before the Christian era and is entirely inappropriate for the universal faith of the Christian Church.”
Our personal response would be: Let us take issue (1) first. That would be those translators personal opinion about the correct pronunciation, as there are many other world renowned Hebrew scholars that would argue otherwise, such as Dr. Gleason L. Archer. Even if that were not so, we know that Jesus does not accurately represent the original form of his name. Who is the brave soul that would suggest we remove the name of the Son of God, Jesus, for the title of “Christ”? As for point number (2), this just is not the case; there are millions of other gods that are worshiped, albeit false gods. Even the Apostle Paul said,
1 Corinthians 8:5 Lexham English Bible (LEB)
For even if after all there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth, just as there are many gods and many lords
Of course, these other gods are false, and there is only one true God. The use of God’s personal name sets him off from these others.
English Standard Version of 2001: Scholars call this the “Tetragrammaton,” a Greek term referring to the four Hebrew letters YHWH. The exact pronunciation of YHWH is uncertain, because the Jewish people considered the personal name of God to be so holy that it should never be spoken aloud [Jewish tradition]. Instead of reading the word YHWH, they would normally read the Hebrew word ’adonay (“Lord”), and the ancient translations into Greek, Syriac, and Aramaic also followed this practice. When the vowels of the word ’adonay are placed with the consonants of YHWH, this results in the familiar word Jehovah that was used in some earlier English Bible translations. As is common among English translations today, the ESV usually renders the personal name of God (YHWH) with the word Lord (printed in small capitals).
Our personal response would be: The irony is we are supposed to remove the personal name of the only one true God, while we retain the personal names of the false gods. If God gave us his personal name, and had it inspired to be penned 6,828 times in the Hebrew Old Testament, who has the authority to remove that personal name and replace it with an impersonal title? What text gives anyone that authority? Why have I bought out so much time for this issue of the divine name?
Joel 2:32 American Standard Version (ASV)
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall be delivered; for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those that escape, as Jehovah has said, and among the remnant those whom Jehovah does call.
This verse is quoted two times in the New Testament, by two apostles, Peter and Paul:
And it will be that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.’
For “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Footnotes: Romans 10:13 A quotation from Joel 2:32
More is Needed Than Just Being Aware of the Divine Name
Jehovah chose his own name, one rich in meaning. “Jehovah” literally means “He Causes to Become.” The divine name certainly was not new. The divine name was known and used clear back in the beginning with Adam and Eve. The Patriarchs also knew and used the divine name, as well as received promises from Jehovah. However, keeping in mind the meaning of God’s name, “He Causes to Become,” the patriarchs did not know Jehovah in an experiential way, as the one that would cause the promises to be fulfilled. (Genesis 12:1, 2; 15:7, 13-16; 26:24; 28:10-15.)
They knew the promises, but Moses was about to experience the results. No matter what was to get in the way of Moses and the Israelite people, no matter the difficulties they faced, Jehovah was going to become whatever they needed, to deliver them from slavery and into the Promised Land.
Exodus 34:5-6 American Standard Version (ASV)
And Jehovah descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of Jehovah. And Jehovah passed by before him, and proclaimed, Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness and truth,
Deuteronomy 32:3-5 American Standard Version (ASV)
For I will proclaim the name of Jehovah: Ascribe ye greatness unto our God. The Rock, his work is perfect; for all his ways are justice: A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and right is he. They have dealt corruptly with him, they are not his children, it is their blemish; they are a perverse and crooked generation.
Leviticus 22:32 American Standard Version (ASV)
And ye shall not profane my holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am Jehovah who sanctified you,
O Jehovah, our Lord, How excellent is thy name in all the earth, Who hast set thy glory upon the heavens!
Psalm 148:13 American Standard Version (ASV)
Let them praise the name of Jehovah; For his name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and the heavens.
Exodus 3:15 American Standard Version (ASV)
And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, Jehovah, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
Malachi 1:11 American Standard Version (ASV)
For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the Gentiles, says Jehovah of armies.
Exodus 9:16 American Standard Version (ASV)
but in very deed for this cause have I made you to stand, to show you my power, and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.
Ezekiel 36:23 American Standard Version (ASV)
And I will sanctify my great name, which hath been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in the midst of them; and the nations shall know that I am Jehovah, says the Lord Jehovah, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.
And may we be determined to stand firm for what was revealed to us in Scripture, not cowering to fainted hearted scholarship, who would rather please man than the Creator of heaven and earth. Let us say as the prophet Micah boldly said many centuries ago:
Micah 4:5 American Standard Version (ASV)
For all the peoples walk
each in the name of its god,
but we will walk in the name of Jehovah our God
forever and ever.