I've looked through much of the "similar questions" section, but my search goes deeper, I believe, it goes to the idea of one's name and what it represents. And then to see that most translations of the OT use the Tetragrammaton of YHWH to say "the LORD". I have never seen anyone called the John, the Lisa, the Steve, unless, as I have seen spoken of, that you want to differentiate the person from another of the same name, and this one- the Steve, is the best, most important, most prolific one, here using the article "the" makes sense. You could say that this Lord is the highest and best Lord and so are differentiating this Lord over others- obviously making perfect sense, but this doesn't go very far as to being the actual name of the person- just that he is a Lord, specifically "the" LORD. And then to add, I have never seen anyone called Lord as a name.

In my up bringing and I dare say most, when the word Lord is used it doesn't give the person that is being spoken about a personality yet the God that we are speaking about is loaded with personality and when the article "the" is placed in front of the word LORD the personality of the one being spoken about is lost- at least in my sense of how I read it. I wonder if this is how many people see this- the LORD? As part of my journey, (by way of clarifying why I ask this question- which in my mind is so different from the ones found here at hermenutics.exchange and so many other places) I look at one of the most prolific verses from the Bible of John 3:16 and see that "...that whoever believes in him" ....well we all know there were plenty of demons that knew who Jesus was, and I dare say who the Father was, but they, as far as I know won't be saved. I get the sense that knowing who the Father- YHWH is of much more importance than checking off a box that says I believe, as so many of the sinners' prayer profess.

As I see it, knowing, really knowing and putting one's complete faith into the creator- YHWH is of extreme importance on the journey. (Adding the faith of Abraham and his story into the mix). And so my search of the importance of YHWH in the word goes on.

I can see that once someone spends so much time communing with God and His word that one might bestow in a form of reverence the title of THE LORD and especially MY LORD, but I don't think that if you are on the outside looking in and haven't been on the journey of getting to know Him how the words' "the LORD" are very helpful.

I can see the use of the title "the LORD" by one's self, that it becomes the moment that you completely deny one's self and lay down your life, to pick up your cross and - the implement of your death and follow Jesus.

Luke 9:23 ESV And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

I have been on this journey a large part of my 56 years and I dare say that now seeing the almost 7000 instances of JHWH being turned into "the LORD" has caused much thought. But God knows, and I thank Him even now. I welcome to hear what might come of this question in this forum.

  • Welcome to BHSX. Many thanks for your question. Please do not forget to take the tour (link below) to better understand how this site works. All questions here need a specific Bible passage to analyse. Please couch this question in those terms to prevent it being closed.
    – Dottard
    Aug 9, 2021 at 21:00
  • I think this question is okay as is, there are a thousand verses that could be quoted, but it's really about the general principles of translation.
    – curiousdannii
    Aug 10, 2021 at 2:44
  • 2
    I have never seen anyone called the John, the Lisa, the Steve - Probably because you don't speak German. Your question is primarily linguistic, and basically amounts to asking why ancient Hebrew cannot be translated word for word into proper English.
    – Lucian
    Aug 10, 2021 at 3:07
  • 1
    Why indeed!! Great question. Upvoted + 1. To say that the "inspired NT writers", as per @Dottard, utilized 'definitive' titles in their writings is not known with any 'undeniable' certainty. The 'use' is more to do with "uninspired NT copyists" with a possible 'trinitarian' bias. If Jesus is supposed to be YHWH in the flesh, as opposed to his own all too 'distinctive' personality, then what better way to express same than to call them both Lord/lord. For further relevance see my comments here:- hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/66156/… Aug 10, 2021 at 7:37
  • 1
    @Michael16 adonai means "My Lord", with the intensive plural ("My Lords"). "Adon" means "Lord", and the ending is a pronomial suffix. Many translators followed the masoretic vocalization convention, translating YHWH to "Lord". Elohim means "God", also with the intensive plural, e.g. "Gods".
    – Robert
    Aug 12, 2021 at 17:31

7 Answers 7


The reason why the publishers of the Divine Name King James Bible restored the Divine Name seems to me a good answer to this question. Here is their posting that was posted on September 2, 2015, on the Cleveland Daily Banner.

A new King James Bible has broken a centuries-old tradition and is following in the footsteps of several Bible translations that restored the Divine Name to its original place in the Old Testament.

The Divine Name King James Bible is raising eyebrows in the world of Bible translators for replacing the capitalized GOD and LORD with the English translation “Jehovah” in 6,972 places. In Hebrew the four letters representing the Divine name, also called the Tetragrammaton, is YHWH. To this day no one is certain of its exact pronunciation.

Translators of the Divine Name King James Version are following the pattern of other Bible translations, including Young’s Literal Translation, Darby Translation, The New World Translation, The American Standard Version and The Bible in Living English, in restoring the Divine Name where it was originally written.

Publishers of this latest King James Version wrote, “We specifically left the Authorized Version as it is except to restore the Divine Name. We hope then to make people pause and ask themselves if they want ANY modern English Bible that does not display God’s Divine Name as it is found in the original writings no matter how well translated it is.”

The group also stated it is not affiliated with or sponsored by any religious organization and the new edition was not produced by the direction, assistance or approval of any religious organization or religious community.

Explaining their reason for restoring the Divine Name where it originally appeared, the publishers stated online, “Does it not seem clearer than ever why Jesus instructed us at Matthew 6:9 to pray ‘Hallowed be thy name’ not ‘hidden be thy name.’ Jesus faithfully showed why the name of Jehovah must be known to us, for only by that way would we know who Jesus is and how actually Jesus set the pattern for pure worship.

“This is directly tied to our having eternal life, for Jesus himself said in prayer to Jehovah, ‘And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.’” — John 17:3.”

While some scholars prefer the transliterated pronunciation “Yahweh,” others say the name Jehovah has already been established over centuries and preserves the four consonants of the original Divine Name in English (JHVH). Publishers of this latest effort to restore the Divine Name said, “The base text of the Authorized King James is in the public domain but the exclusive feature of restoring the name Jehovah or Yahweh to the otherwise unmodified content of the base text constitutes an important new literary expression.”

One example given of this “new literary expression” is at Isaiah 42:8 where the Divine Name KJV reads, “I am Jehovah: that is my name.” Numerous translations continue to insert “LORD” or “Lord” where the Divine Name originally appeared, a practice that is being challenged by adherents to more literal translations.

There is also the “21st Century King James Version”(KJ21), completed in 1994, which updated obsolete words from the 1611 edition by using Webster’s New International Dictionary, second edition. Spelling, punctuation and capitalization were also updated. While the more popular Authorized King James Version uses the Divine Name “Jehovah” in Exodus 6:3, Psalm 83:18, Isaiah 12:2 and Isaiah 26:4, The New King James Version replaced the name with LORD or YAH in those verses and Psalm 68:4.

The 21st Century King James Version, however, restores the Divine Name in the four places where the Authorized King James Version used it for centuries. The Divine Name King James Version, however, restores the name Jehovah in nearly 7,000 places where YHWH or JHVH (Latin) originally was.

Personally, I am in favor of the most literal translation of the Holy Bible in its entirety regardless of who translates it. I understand the need for modern translations in view of the way meanings of words change. Still, any translation that is going to be closest to what was originally written and what was originally meant is bound to bring its readers closer to God, wouldn't you agree?

Besides, at Deuteronomy 4:2 — the verse that tells humans not to add or take away from God’s Word — many translators removed the Divine Name! Do you find that offensive? Should you? I wonder how does that make God feel? I simply want the truth as God intended us to have it, don't you? You don’t have to be a scholar to know that removing someone’s personal name and replacing it with a title is not accurate translating. One might call it an audacious, even presumptuous move by translators.

Some people are adamant about sticking with the Bible they were raised on. Others see the benefit in modern translations. To each his own. I was raised on the King James Bible. I will always love it. But I also love modern translations which give me the benefit of more advanced research into the original Hebrew and Greek language. My goal, like yours, is to understand the Word of God, not change it.

Whichever translation you personally prefer, most people will agree there should always be room for the author’s personal name in His own book.

For further information, visit: http://dnkjb.net

The following is copied and pasted from "researchsupportsthetruth". Here are some of the reasons why the Divine Name is missing in most bible translations.



“…the distinctive Hebrew name for God – usually transliterated Jehovah, is in this translation represented by “LORD.”– Today’s English Version (preface)

There are many different reasons why God’s name was removed from the Bible. I will attempt to briefly discuss them here.

First off, it was a MISTAKE to remove God’s Name from the bible.


As Author of the Bible, Only God himself has the right to change or alter the Bible. God himself gave mankind a warning – in his own Word – The Bible; to NOT add to – NOR take away from his Words.

“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life.” (Revelation 22:18,19)(NIV)-BibleGateway


“…the suppression of The Name (Jehovah) has entailed upon the reader, and especially upon the hearer, irreparable loss… its suppression was a MISTAKE…” –Rotherham, 1, Ch. IV, 22-29

“…the most common “ERROR” made by most translators in the last 3500 years…is their elimination of heaven’s revealed Name ofthe Most High, Yahweh (Jehovah)” – A. B. Traina; in the Preface of the Holy Name Bible

“The substitution of the word “Lord” is most unhappy; for…it in NO WAY represents the meaning of the sacred name (Jehovah)…” – The 1872 edition of Smith’s Bible Dictionary


1. Anti-Semitic Feelings
The Jewish God of the Jewish Messiah was hated and despised by the Greeks and Romans. When Christianity became a State Religion of Rome – All attempts to blot out the Hebrew origins of Jesus were employed – and Removing God’s Name from the Bible was a major attempt to obscure Jesus’ Jewish heritage.

“Well, be assured that the God that the Jews worship – is the very same God that we worship. Their sacred writings, the Law and the Prophets, we revere and read aloud in our meetings. And because we worship this God of the Jews, the one thing we cannot be accused of is novelty.” –Glimpses Issue #139 : Why Early Christians Were So Despised; Ken Curtis PH.D., Beth Jacobson, Diana Severance Ph.D., Ann T. Snyder and Dan Graves. ©2003 by Christian History Institute.
“The Octavius of Minicius Felix” ; 2nd century A.D.

2. Support of Trinitarian Doctrine When Rome voted to adopt the Trinity doctrine of the numerous Pagans in her empire – The Name of God – YHWH (translated Jehovah in English) – interfered and hindered the Newly Adopted teaching That Jesus was the Almighty God – Jehovah. Rome paid her translators to remove God’s name almost Seven Thousand Times (7,000) from the Bible.

“In the first two centuries nearly all the various readings of the New Testament came into existence, the majority of them by deliberate alteration of the text…in the interests of (the trinity) dogma…”-the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics; The Bible in the Church

“Codex B (Vaticanus)…was altered by a later hand in more than two thousand places. Eusebius, therefore, is not without grounds for accusing the adherents of….the newly-risen doctrine of the trinity of falsifying the Bible…”-(Fraternal Visitor 1924, p. 148; translated from Christadelphian Monatshefte).

“The removal of the Tetragrammaton (Jehovah) from the New Testament and its replacement with the surrogates KYRIOS and THEOS blurred the original distinction between the Lord God and the Lord Christ, and in many passages made it impossible which one was meant. As time went on…it was often impossible to distinguish between them. Thus it may be that the removal of the Tetragrammaton (Jehovah) contributed significantly to the later…Trinity “– George Howard, Bible Scholar ; The Name of God in the New Testament, BAR 4.1 (March 1978), pg 15

It was they who demanded, in effect, that Christianity be “updated” by blurring or even obliterating the long-accepted distinction between the Father and the Son.” – When Jesus Became God by Richard E. Rubenstein, p.74

3. MONEY Because the God of Christ – The Jewish God, Jehovah, was not popular with the world of mankind, they sought to remove him from their Bibles. Bible translators knew that for their Bibles to be purchased they would need to appeal to their readers. They also knew, that if they used God’s Divine Name Jehovah, then people would not purchase their Version and thus they would lose money.

God’s name Jehovah/Yahowah appears in the original hebrew text about 7000 times, but the NIV fails to mention it even once. When asked about this, Edwin H. Palmer, Th.D., Executive Secretary for the NIV’s committee wrote :

“Here is why we did not: You are right – that Jehovah is a distinctive name for God and ideally we should have used it. But we put 2 1/4 million dollars into this translation and a sure way of throwing that down the drain is to translate, for example, Psalm 23 as, ‘Yahweh (Jehovah) is my shepherd. Immediately, we would have translated for nothing. Nobody would have used it (or purchased it). Oh, maybe you and a handful [of] others. But a Christian has to be also wise and practical. We are the victims of 350 years of the King James tradition. It is far better to get two million to read it- that is how many have bought it to date- and to follow the King James, than to have two thousand buy it and have the correct translation of Yahweh(Jehovah). . . It was a hard decision, and many of our translators agree with you.” – The Reason NIV removed Jehovah’s Name Edwin H. Palmer, Th.D., Executive Secretary for the NIV‘s committee

“The situation today, where many translations… exists largely because of the amount of money to be gained…”-(The Preservation of the Bible By Faithful Churches) –By Charles V. Turner

It was a tradition of the Jews to avoid using God’s name altogether. They stopped all mention of him. No longer using God’s Divine Name, they no longer used it in their prayers, even making it a sin to say his name out loud. They considered it “blasphemy” to utter the name of God, Jehovah. Many translators admit to following this “Jewish Tradition” and have thus removed Jehovah’s name and replaced it with Titles such as “LORD” and “GOD” – all in capitals – to show that they have removed God’s name in those places. Jesus condemned the man-made tradition of the Jews. Following their lead in this – would be directly against Jesus’ Teachings on this issue.

“…Yahweh (Jehovah), is the proper personal name of the God of Israel…the term Adonai, ‘My Lord’ was later used as a SUBSTITUTE. The word LORD in the present version represents the TRADITIONAL usage.” – New American Bible (Catholic) Introduction to the O. T., Page XI.

“In this translation we have followed the orthodox Jewish TRADITION and substituted ‘the Lord’ for the name ‘Yahweh’ (Jehovah)” — Preface – 1935 Bible ; J. M. Powis Smith and Edgar J. Goodspeed

“Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? …Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. “ (Matthew 15:3,6)(NIV)-BibleGateway

5. SUPERSTITION During the time when Israel was in slavery to Babylon, she absorbed and adopted many Babylonian customs and ideas. One of these was the “Superstition” against using the name of a God – for fear that bad things would happen to them. As the Babylonians called their Chief God – Marduk by the title “LORD” so as not to offend him, so too – the Jews adopted this idea in reference to Jehovah God.

“When the Yisraeli (Israelites) came out of Babylonian captivity, they brought along with them the Babylonian culture, and along with it Babylonian beliefs and superstitions. One of these pagan Babylonian practices or beliefs was called “ineffability.” This was the SUPERSTITION against using the name of a deity for fear of something bad happening to them. The idea was that if you said the name of a deity he or she would notice you. The pagan practice of ineffability was further reinforced by Greek Hellenization.” -(b.Pes. 50a) (b.Kidd. 71a).

“The avoidance of the original name of God (Yehowah) both in speech and, to a certain extent, in the Bible….. first arose…..in Babylonia. According to Dalman (l.c. pp. 66 et seq.),” -The Jewish Encyclopedia TETRAGRAMMATON; by Crawford Howell Toy, and Ludwig Blau

“The idea that only the priest could utter The NAME of The HEAVENLY FATHER, and that he was to disguise or hide it from the common people, came from the idea that the NAME was “ineffable” or “unutterable”. However **this was a pagan doctrine that they adopted from the Egyptians, Babylonians, and the Greeks…” **-THE FINAL REFORMATION; KOSTER P.54, P112

Marduk was, therefore, a very important god of Babylon. In the first millennium BCE, his name was considered so holy, that it was almost never pronounced; instead, people said and wrote Bêl, ‘LORD’.

Herodotus correctly calls the supreme god of Babylon Bêl (“lord”), because his real name was not pronounced. -[Herodotus, Histories 1.181-2; tr. Aubrey de Sélincourt]

“The ineffability of divine names was on old idea in Egypt… the name of Osiris himself was said to be ineffable…the name Marduk of Babylon was also declared ineffable. The Greeks avoided the names of their deities and preferred to call them by the titles Kurios and Theos.”-The Final Reformation By Dr. Koster; pp. 54 and 112

“…But at least by the third century B.C.E. the pronunciation of the name YHWH (Jehovah) was avoided, and Adonai, “the Lord,” was substituted for it…” – Encyclopedia Judaica (p. 679).

“The Hebrews considered The Name of God to be ‘ineffable’ and substituted in reading Adonai (My Lord).” -Columbia Encyclopedia Vol. 2 under the subject ‘God’

Some Bible Translators say that they have removed God’s name from the Bible – because Jehovah is not the proper way to say God’s name in Hebrew. This reasoning is merely an excuse and not a reason at all. For if this reason was valid, then we would also have to remove Jesus name from the Bible, since the name “Jesus” is not the way that it was written or spoken in Hebrew either. Many Hebrew names are written in the Bible – which are not as they were in Hebrew and yet we do not remove them. Therefore this reasoning is truly invalid. Examples of Jewish names in the Bible which are translated into English – much differently than their original Hebrew couterparts – are : Jesus, Jeremiah, Jonah, Joel, Jerusalem, Joshua, etc.

“… the Committee… is, omitting the name of God (because) the word ‘Jehovah’ does not accurately represent any form of the Name ever used in Hebrew…” – The Preface of the Revised Standard Version

Thus, the Hebrew “ye-ru-sha-LA-yim” became “Jerusalem“; “ye-ri-HO” became Jericho; and “yar-DEN” become “Jordan”. Hebrew personal names such as “yo-NA” became “Jonah”, “yi-SHAI” became “Jesse” and “ye-SHU-a” became “Jesus“.

Likewise “YHWH, Yahweh, or Yehowah” became “Jehovah” in english.

God does not need to be distinguished from other gods. Some translators have made this statement. Who are we to say that God doesn’t need a name ? God deemed it necessary to name all the stars in the heavens, and to place his name upon people that he liked, and upon places that were important to him. His own word the Bible – emphasizes the importance of a name. The translators of the Bible did not remove Satan’s name from the Bible – nor did they remove the names of numerous false gods from the Bible.

“the use of any proper name for the one and only God… is entirely inappropriate for the universal faith of the Christian Church.”-the preface of the Revised Standard Version; Under reasons (excuses) for the removal of God’s personal name – Jehovah

“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.” (Psalms 147:4)(NIV)-BibleGateway

“Lift up your eyes on high, and see who hath created these, that bringeth out their host by number; he calleth them all by name… The everlasting God, Jehovah, the Creator of the ends of the earth…” (Isaiah 40:26,28)(ASV)-BibleGateway

“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” (Proverbs 22:1)(NIV)-BibleGateway

“A good name is better than oil of much worth…” (Ecclesiastes 7:1)(NLV)-BibleGateway

“…The Sacred Name Yahovah was revealed to man by Yahovah Himself and is not a man-given name”-(see II Apol., 10, 13; Trypho, 126, 127). Justin Martyr (First Apology Chapter 6) For no one can utter the name of the ineffable God; and if any one dare to say that there is a name, he raves with a hopeless madness. Justin Martyr (Second Apology Ch 7 & Ch 13) “the unbegotten and ineffable God’

In the Bible, refusing to mention the name of a god means refusing to worship this god (Ex 23:13) and that is why Satan incited the Israelites, by means of the prophets of Baal, not to use the Name of Jehovah (Jr 23:27).

“Yahweh (Jehovah) is the name that indicates the God of the Hebrews. Where the Philistines worshipped Dagon, the Egyptians, Amon, and the Ammonites, Milcom, the Hebrews worshipped YAHWEH (Jehovah). The title ‘god’ (elohim) is ALSO applied to false deities in the Scriptures as well as Yahweh (Jehovah), hence is NOT a term by which one can be distinguished from the others. When the voice said, ‘I am Yahweh (Jehovah),’ there was no doubt in any listener’s mind as to the identity of the speaker. He was the God of the Hebrews. So far as is known, no other peoples called their god by this name.”– Review and Herald, December 16, 1971

“In the Scriptures there is the closest possible relationship between a person and his name, the two being practically equivalent, so that to remove the name is to extinguish the person. (Num. 27:4; Deut. 7:24) To forget God’s name is to depart from Him.”Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, p. 571 (1964)


Non-superstitious Jewish translators always favored the name “Jehovah” in their translations of the Bible. On the other hand one can note that there is no Jewish translation of the Bible with “Yahweh”.

Immanuel Tremellius Latin 1579 Jehova
Baruch Spinoza Latin 1670 Jehova*
Samuel Cahen French 1836 Iehovah
Alexander Harkavy English 1936 Jehovah**
Joseph Magil (see below) English 1910 Jehovah
Rabbi L. Golschmidt (see below) German 1921 Yehovah

“non-superstitious Jewish translators always favored the name Jehovah in their translations of the Bible. On the other hand one can note that there is NO Jewish translation of the Bible with Yahweh.” —_M. Gérard GERTOUX; a Hebrew scholar, specialist of the Tetragram; president of the Association Biblique de Recherche d’Anciens Manuscrits


As a follower of Christ, Peter used Gods name, Jehovah. When Peters speech was put on record the Tetragrammaton (YHWH / Jehovah) was here used according to the practice during the first century B.C.E. and the first century C.E.”– Paul Kahle; Studia Evangelica, edited by Kurt Aland, F. L. Cross, Jean Danielou, Harald Riesenfeld and W. C. van Unnik, Berlin, 1959, p. 614 (See App 1C §1.)

"The early Christian scholars therefore easily learnt the true pronunciation.” – The 15th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, volume 12, p. 995, under the heading “Jehovah”


“The ASV (American Standard Version) has “Jehovah” in it about 6,823 times, just like the original Hebrew, but the NASB removed it every time. This makes for some awkward situations like Psalms 110:1, “The LORD said to my lord.” “ -Jason Beduhn Northern Arizona University Department of Humanities Arts and Religion

Jesus’ name appears only 500 some times in the Bible; whereas Jehovah’s Name appears almost 7,000 times.

Obviously Jehovah is proud of his name.

So how does he feel about mankind removing HIS Name from the Bible ?


“Remember this, that the enemy hath reproached, O Jehovah, And that a foolish people hath blasphemed thy name.” (Isaiah 74:18)(ASV)-BibleGateway

“And now this admonition is for you, O priests. If you do not listen, and if you do not set your heart to honor my name,” says Jehovah Almighty,“ I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings.” (Malachi 2:1) (ASV)

“How long, O God, will you allow our enemies to mock you? Will you let them dishonor your name forever?” (Psalm 74:10) (NLT) -BibleGateway

“And all day long my name is constantly blasphemed. Therefore my people will know my name; therefore in that day they will know that it is I who foretold it. “ (Isaiah 52:5,6) (NIV) -BibleGateway

“Therefore, behold, I will cause them to know, this once will I cause them to know my hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is Jehovah.” (Jeremiah 16:21) (ASV) -BibleGateway

“And I will sanctify my great name, which hath been profaned among the nations, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the nations shall know that I am Jehovah.” (Ezekiel 36:23) (ASV) -BibleGateway

“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall be delivered…” (Joel 2:32)(ASV)-BibleGateway

“…this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘In the ‘last days’….. everyone who calls on the **name of the Lord (Jehovah) **will be saved.'” (Acts 2:16,17,32)(NIV)-BibleGateway


So rather than follow the Jewish Traditions – that Jesus Condemned – We should follow Christ’s example in making his Father’s name known.

“Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified.” (Matthew 6:9) – BibleGateway

Jesus used his father’s name – and told us to do the same.

In prayer to his father, Jesus said: “O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them YOUR NAME and I will continue to make it known… “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world.” (John 17:25,26,6)(ESV)-BibleGateway

“I will praise thy name for ever and ever.. Great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised; And his greatness is unsearchable.” (Psalm 145:2,3)(ASV)-BibleGateway

“That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.” (Psalm 83:18) (King James Version) -BibleGateway

  • 3
    Thank you Alex. A million times thank you. If I could only vote you up more than once, I would. This is pure gold for us non-trinitarians. Aug 11, 2021 at 1:55
  • 3
    Alex Balilo An excellent answer. God directed that his name be included in his Word some 7,000 times. Obviously, he wants us to know and use his name +1 Aug 11, 2021 at 8:11
  • You list anti-Semitic feelings as one of the reasons for replacing YHVH with Lord. The LXX shows that practice was in place before Christ was born. Moreover, Judaism continues that practice, in both written translations (i.e. the JPS and the NJPS translations of the Tanakh which use "Lord") and spoken (i.e. the use of "Adonai" or "ha-Shem" in liturgy and prayer). To assert modern Judaism adopted a Christian practice which grew out of hatred for the God of Israel is a bit absurd. Aug 15, 2021 at 14:42
  • @Revelation Lad, I used to believe what you said here, but if you examine this link,"bible.ca/manuscripts/…" Ancient Septuagint copies, you will find that at least some of the Greek Septuagint copies during Christ's ministry contained YHWH's name written in an ancient Hebrew font. None of the later copies reflect this fact. So, the church at some point stopped propagating His memorial name. History points to the Roman church's decrees from the 3rd and 4th century.
    – Highdown
    Feb 10 at 17:58
  • Unfortunately for your theory it was Judaism, not the Church, who started this treatment and continues it to this day. Feb 10 at 21:50

Why is YHWH, the name of the God, replaced by a title, "the LORD", why is the article "the" used? The 1st of thousands of references, Gen 2:4

It has long been held that the "inspired NT writers", writing in Greek, did not utilize the 'Tetragrammaton' in their original writings, of which none, incidentally, survive to this day. Consequently, writings in evidence to this day, are nothing short of 'copies'. The question, therefore arises as to, how faithful to the original writings, were the 'copyists'.

Since the Christian Greek Scriptures were an 'inspired' addition and supplement to the sacred Hebrew Scriptures, this sudden disappearance of the divine name (found almost 7000 times in the OT) from the Greek text seems inconsistent, especially since 'James' said to the apostles and older disciples at Jerusalem about the middle of the first century AD:-

..."Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from the Gentiles a people for His name." Acts 15:14 [NASB]

Then in support, James made a quotation from Amos 9:11,12 where the divine name 'is' used. If Christians are to be a people for God's name, why should His name, represented by the Tetragrammaton, be abolished from the Christian Greek Scriptures? The usual explanation for this no longer holds. It was long thought that the basis for the absence of the divine name in our extant manuscripts was that the name was missing in the Greek Septuagint (LXX), the first translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, which was begun in the third century BC. This thought was based upon the copies of LXX as found in the great manuscripts of the fourth and fifth centuries AD.: Vatican ms 1209, Codex Sinaiticus, and Codex Alexandrinus. In these the distinctive name of God was rendered by the Greek words, we know as Kyrios and Theos. This 'namelessness' was viewed as an aid to teaching monotheism.

This theory has been completely disproved by the discovery of a 'fragmented' papyrus roll, "Papyrus Fouad 266" of LXX that contains the second half of the book of Deuteronomy. Not one of these fragments shows an example of Kyrios or Theos being used instead of the divine name, but in each instance the Tetragrammaton is written in square Hebrew characters.

In 1944 a fragment of this papyrus was published by W. G Waddell in Journal of Theological Studies, Vol. 45, pp. 158-161. Subsequently, many other fragments were photographed and the following three studies were produced:-

(1) A. Vaccari, 'Papiro Fuad, Inv. 266' published in Studia Patristica, Vol. 1, Part 1 ....

(2) W. Baars, 'Papyrus Fouad, inv. 266' published in Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift, Vol. XIII ...., and...

(3) George Howard, "The oldest Greek Text of Deuteronomy, " published in the Hebrew Union College Annual, Vol. XLII ....

A certain Paul Kahle concluded via one Peter Vaccari that the papyrus, which must have been written about 400 years earlier than Codex B, contained perhaps the most perfect Septuagint text of Deuteronomy that has come down to us.

Did Jesus Christ, and those of his disciples who wrote the Christian Greek Scriptures, have at hand copies of the Greek Septuagint with the divine name appearing therein in the form of the Tetragrammaton? Yes! The Tetragrammaton persisted in copies of LXX for centuries after Christ and his apostles. Sometime during the first half of the second century AD, when Aquila's own Greek version was produced, it also showed the Tetragrammaton in archaic Hebrew letters.

Jerome, of the fourth and fifth centuries AD, in his prologue to the books of Samuel and Kings, said:- " And we find the name of God, the Tetragrammaton, in certain Greek volumes even to this day expressed in ancient letters." Thus down to the time of Jerome, the chief translator who produced the Latin Vulgate, there were Greek manuscripts of translations of the Hebrew Scriptures that still contained the divine name in its four Hebrew characters.

Matt 7:29 tells us: "He (Jesus) was teaching them as a person having authority, and not as their scribes." In the hearing of his faithful apostles, Jesus prayed to YHWH God, saying:- I have made your name manifest to the men you gave me out of the world.... I have made your name known to them and will make it known."-John 17:6,26.

The question now before us is: Did Jesus's disciples use the divine name in their inspired writings? We have basis for answering yes! Matthew's gospel account was first written in Hebrew, rather than Greek, as is indicated by Jerome, of the fourth and fifth centuries AD, who had this to say:-

"Matthew who is also Levi, and who from a publican came to be an apostle, first of all composed a gospel of Christ in Judaea in the Hebrew language and characters for the benefit of those of the circumcision who had believed. Who translated it after that is not sufficiently ascertained. Moreover, the Hebrew itself is preserved to this day in the library at Caesarea, which the martyr Pamphilus so diligently collected. I also was allowed by the Nazarenes who use this volume in the Syrian city of Beroea to copy it." - 'De viris inlustribus' chap. III. (Translation from the Latin text edited by E.C. Richardson and published in the series "Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur," Vol. 14, Leipzig, 1896, pp. 8,9.)


Matthew's Hebrew account would correspond closely with the Hebrew version of the 19th century by F Delitzsch, in which Matthew contains the name Jehovah 18 times.

Most all of the above narrative was taken from Appendix 1A, pages 1133 thru 1138, shortened for brevity and most all emphasis mine, of "The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures"

The removal of the Tetragrammoton, created a confusion in the minds of early Gentile Christians about the relationship between the "Lord God' and the 'lord Christ' which is reflected in the MS tradition of the NT text itself. As in the above, the 'definite' article is required when using a 'title', such as Lord. If we are talking 'proper name' however, as in YHWH, then it is not necessary, as all proper nouns in Hebrew are 'definite' as a matter of course.


Why is YHWH, the name of the God, replaced by a title, “the LORD”, why is the article “the” used? The 1st of thousands of references, Gen 2:4

Notice what the Benson Commentary has to say on the topic of Exodus 20:7:

The third commandment is concerning the manner of our worship: where we have, 1st, A strict prohibition. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain — Supposing that, having taken Jehovah for their God, they would make mention of his name, this command gives a caution not to mention it in vain, and it is still as needful as ever. We take God’s name in vain, 1st, By hypocrisy, making profession of God’s name, but not living up to that profession. 2d, By covenant-breaking. If we make promises to God, and perform not to the Lord our vows, we take his name in vain. 3d, By rash swearing, mentioning the name of God, or any of his attributes, in the form of an oath, without any just occasion for it, to no good purpose, or to no good. 4th, By false swearing, which some think is chiefly intended in the letter of the commandment. 5th, By using the name of God lightly and carelessly. The profanation of the form of devotion is forbidden, as well as the profanation of the forms of swearing; as also, the profanation of any of those things whereby God makes himself known.

So why was the use of YHWH forbidden?

In Encyclopedia.com's article "God, Names of" under the heading "yhwh" explains why:

The avoidance of pronouncing the name yhwh is generally ascribed to a sense of reverence. More precisely, it was caused by a misunderstanding of the Third Commandment (Ex. 20:7; Deut. 5:11) as meaning "Thou shalt not take the name of yhwh thy God in vain," whereas it really means either "You shall not swear falsely by the name of yhwh your God" (jps) or more likely, "Do not speak the name of yhwh your god, to that which is false," i.e., do not identify yhwh with any other god.

Additionally, the article "Is It Wrong to Pronounce God’s Name?" from the March 8, 1999 issue of Awake! magazine states the following under the heading "The Third Commandment":

But what about the prohibition mentioned in the third of the Ten Commandments? Exodus 20:7 forcefully states: “You must not take up the name of Jehovah your God in a worthless way, for Jehovah will not leave the one unpunished who takes up his name in a worthless way.”

What exactly does it mean to take up God’s name “in a worthless way”? The JPS Torah Commentary, published by the Jewish Publication Society, explains that the Hebrew term rendered above as “in a worthless way” (lash·shaw’ʹ) can mean “falsely” or “for nothing, in vain.” The same reference work continues: “The ambiguities [of this Hebrew term] allow for the proscription [prohibition] of perjury by the principals in a lawsuit, swearing falsely, and the unnecessary or frivolous use of the divine Name.”

This Jewish commentary correctly highlights that ‘taking up God’s name in a worthless way’ involves using the name in an improper way. But could pronouncing God’s name when teaching others about him or when turning to our heavenly Father in prayer be rightly termed “unnecessary or frivolous”? Jehovah expresses his view through the words of Psalm 91:14: “Because on me he has set his affection, I shall also provide him with escape. I shall protect him because he has come to know my name.”

We have biblical evidence that the use of YHWH was in use:

  • Just then Boʹaz arrived from Bethʹle·hem and said to the harvesters: “Jehovah be with you.” And they replied: “Jehovah bless you.” (Ruth 2:4)
  • “Give thanks to Jehovah, call upon his name.” (Psalm 105:1)

What would have people said with the following locations?

For more information see the following articles:


This question, unless edited, may be closed but I want to be helpful to what appears to be a genuine question.

The article, "the" is regularly used to accommodate the stricture of English because, without it, the English would be ungrammatical - English usually requires an article (or "O") before a title (as distinct from a name) to denote the vocative, or in 3rd person speech. For example, we might say, "Tell George to go home." But if we use a title, we would say, "Tell the sergeant to go home."

This Greek word, “Tetragrammaton”, simply means “four letters”. It refers to God’s holy name in the Hebrew Old Testament, namely, יְהוָ֥ה YHWH. As with all Hebrew words, it (originally) contained consonants only and no vowels. Thus, its pronunciation is unknown having been lost at the Babylonian captivity.

Since the Tetragrammaton was regarded by the Jews as supremely sacred, they would not pronounce it. Therefore, a well-trained scribe would say, “Adonai” (= Lord), or “Elohim” (= “God”) if the next word was “Adonai”, whenever he saw the Tetragrammaton in the text. The word was so sacred that many early Hebrew and Aramaic MSS treat it differently: They would either write the name:

  • in very ancient Paleo-Hebrew letters,
  • or leave a simple space or gap,
  • or use square script letters of the tetragrammaton,
  • or use “tetrapuncta” (four dots);

… all to warn the reader not to pronounce the holy name but to say “Adonai” or “Elohim” as required.

In the earliest Greek MSS of the LXX prepared by Jews in 1st and 2nd centuries BC, the practice was similarly varied: The oldest LXX MSS (P. Ryl. 458) has blank spaces, or others have ΙΑΩ (= “IAO”) in an attempt to transliterate the holy name. Some very early Greek LXX MSS even have the Tetragrammaton in paleo-Hebrew letters.

However, all the LXX MSS prepared by Christians from earliest times uniformly replaced the Tetragrammaton with kyrios (= “Lord”). This was almost certainly due to the uniform practice of the NT inspired writers using “Kyrios” in the NT whenever they quoted the OT texts, eg, Ps 45:6, 7 (Heb 1:8, 9); Ps 102:25-27 (Heb 1:10-12); Ps 22:22 (Heb 2:12); Isa 8:17 (Heb 2:13), Ps 110:1, (Matt 22:44, Mark 12:36, Luke 20:42, Acts 2:34), etc. Take the simple example of the Shema in Deut 6:4 compared to Mark 12:29

  • Hear, O Israel! The LORD (YHWH) is our God, the LORD (YHWH) is one!
  • Hear O Israel, the Lord (Κύριος) our God, the Lord (Κύριος ) is One.

Note that as stated above, the Tetragrammaton, YHWH is translated by Κύριος. Here is a longer (non-exhaustive) list of the places in the OT Masoretic text where YHWH has been translated with Κύριος (= "Lord") by the inspired NT writers.

  • Matt 4:7 quotes Deut 6:16
  • Matt 4:10 quotes Deut 6:13
  • Matt 5:33 quotes Num 30:2 & Deut 23:21
  • Matt 21:9 quotes Ps 118:26
  • Matt 21:42 quotes Ps 118:22
  • Matt 22:37 quotes Deut 6:4, 5 & 10:12
  • Matt 22:44 quotes Ps 110:1
  • Matt 23:39 quotes Ps 118:26
  • Matt 27:9, 10 quotes Zech 11:12, 13
  • Mark 1:3 quotes Isa 40:3
  • Mark 11:9 quotes Ps 118:26
  • Mark 12:10, 11 quotes Ps 118:23
  • Mark 12:29 quotes Deut 6:4
  • Mark 12:30 quotes Deut 6:5
  • Mark 12:36 quotes Ps 110:1
  • Luke 3:4-6 quotes Isa 40:3-5
  • Luke 4:18 quotes Isa 61:1
  • Luke 4:19 quotes Isa 61:2
  • Luke 10:27 quotes Deut 6:5
  • Luke 13:35 & 38 quotes Ps 118:26
  • Luke 20:37 quotes Ex 6:3
  • Luke 20:42 quotes Ps 110:1
  • John 1:23 quotes Isa 40:3
  • John 6:45 quotes Isa 54:13 but uses θεοῦ for יְהוָ֥ה YHWH rather than Κυρίου.
  • John 12:13 quotes Ps 118:26
  • John 12:38 quotes Isa 53:1
  • Acts 2:20 quotes Joel 2:31
  • Acts 2:21 quotes Joel 2:32
  • Acts 2:25 quotes Ps 16:8
  • Acts 2:34 quotes Ps 110:1
  • Acts 3:22 quotes Deut 18:15
  • Acts 4:26 quotes Ps 2:2
  • Acts 7:31-34 quotes Ex 3:4-7
  • Acts 7:48-50 quotes Isa 66:1, 2
  • Acts 13:47 quotes Isa 49:5, 6
  • Acts 15:17 quotes Amos 9:12
  • Rom 4:3 quotes Gen 15:6 but uses θεῷ instead of κυρίῳ.
  • Rom 4:8 quotes Ps 32;1, 2
  • Rom 9:28 quotes Isa 10:22, 23
  • Rom 9:29 quotes Isa 1:9
  • Rom 10:13 quotes Joel 2:32
  • Rom 10:16 quotes Isa 53:1
  • Rom 11:3 quotes 1 Kings 19:14
  • Rom 12:19 quotes Deut 32:35, 36
  • Rom 14:11 quotes Isa 45:23
  • Rom 15:11 quotes Ps 117:1
  • 1 Cor 1:31 quotes Jer 9:24
  • 1 Cor 2:16 quotes Isa 40:13
  • 1 Cor 3:20 quotes Ps 94:11
  • 1 Cor 10:9 quotes Num 21:5, 6
  • 1 Cor 10:26 quotes Ps 24:1
  • 2 Cor 6:18 quotes 2 Sam 7:8
  • Eph 5:19 paraphrases Ps 30:4 & 92:1
  • Heb 10:30 quotes Deut 32:35, 36
  • 1 Peter 2:3 quotes Ps 34:8, 9
  • 1 Peter 3:12 quotes Ps 34:15, 16


Therefore, because translating YHWH by "Lord" was good enough for the inspired NT writers, it has become the standard for most translators ever since. See the historical note below for more information.

Historical Note

During the 8th and 9th centuries AD, when the Hebrew scribes started adding vowels to the Hebrew text, they used the vowels of “Adonai” (= “Lord”) for the Tetragrammaton. Unaware of this, the King James translators transliterated the “combination” word, “Jehovah”. However, they also adopted another tradition of translating the word by “LORD” – to continue the Hebrew scribal tradition and the ancient Christian tradition.

Modern linguistic analysis has produced “Yahweh” as the best estimate of its original pronunciation.

  • 1
    You make my point in the second paragraph. In our current English language we do not say, "the John" but we will say "the pilot" if we don't know the name of the pilot. If we know the pilot, we will say, "John the pilot" or "John our pilot". And so we won't say, "LORD our God" because in the current English LORD doesn't mean a personal name but a title, small caps or not. And I dare say by most people, LORD becomes a title to them because of the article, "the" instead of a name to be revered and held in awe. Aug 10, 2021 at 13:30
  • Looking at the OT first, in Deut 6:4 the 4 Hebrew words are turned into the 8 words we see in most English translations today; The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Yet older versions dating further back (ASV, YLT, DBY) translate it; Jehovah our God is one Jehovah. This then leads me to once again look at why did the inspired NT writers chose to use Kyrios rather than leave it as the tetragrammaton? I get a sense that the inspired NT writers actually got a complete sense of who God is and in reverence used Kyrios. But it only works if they worked through the complete word- Jesus. Aug 10, 2021 at 13:44

In Hebrew there is no past, present, and future tense. YHWH probably was something like the imperfect of Hayah (he was). The imperfect tense is continuous action while perfect tense is complete action. Normally imperfect tense would translated as future tense. However, without attaching time, it would have the meaning "He continually is." Some think YHWH is hiphil imperfect, which would have the meaning, "He continually causes to be."

See https://judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/84269/in-exodus-314-is-there-a-linguistic-relationship-between-the-tetragrammaton-and/122523#122523

In the course of the Second Temple period the Tetragrammaton came to be regarded as charged with metaphysical potency and therefore ceased to be pronounced. It was replaced in speech by ʾadonai, “Lord,” rendered into Greek Kyrios. Often the vowels of ʾadonai would later accompany YHVH in written texts. This gave rise to the mistaken form Jehovah. The original pronunciation was eventually lost; modern attempts at recovery are conjectural.

Some reasons we say "the LORD." They did in the New Testament; ὁ κύριός in John 21:7. The term lord was used as a title given to people. The Lord showed we were referring to God. By the way German also uses the article, der HERR.

  • 1
    You haven't addressed the question, which is why the definite article is used.
    – curiousdannii
    Aug 10, 2021 at 2:45
  • Are you saying Peter at John 21:7 is addressing Jesus as God, or are you saying he is using a similar title as it applies to a human? Aug 10, 2021 at 22:02
  • It was John the author who used "the Lord." Almost all Trinitarians with say John was equating Jesus with God.
    – Perry Webb
    Aug 10, 2021 at 22:17
  • John was equating Jesus with Jesus, as was Simon Peter. To say that John was equating Jesus with God is pure conjecture. Aug 11, 2021 at 1:20
  • 1
    "Eli, Eli lama sabachthani?" You of all people should know how these words translate. But do you really know what is being asked by who and to whom and why??? Aug 11, 2021 at 22:01

The Name, YHVH
In commenting on Genesis 2, Jon D. Levenson states treating the Tetragrammaton YHVH as a title, "Lord" is a Jewish convention which is usually preserved in English translations:

For the first time, we see the Tetragrammaton (YHVH) or the four-letter name of the God of Israel, the pronunciation of which rabbinic law forbids categorically. The name is conventionally rendered in English as "LORD" and in Hebrew as "Adonai" (in prayer and in liturgical reading of Scripture or "ha-Shem" (in other contexts).1

The Scripture of the New Testament period was available in both Hebrew and Greek (the LXX) and writers show familiarity with, and use, both. The rendering in the LXX varies (see below) but in the majority of passages the Tetragrammaton is translated as κύριος, "Lord." The first Christians were Jewish and it is not surprising they followed the convention, especially in light of the significance κύριος (or the Latin kyrios) gives to the present-day work of Jesus:

That Christ continues his work since his exaltation is by no means a "Catholic" invention, but a fundamental idea of the whole New Testament. It was just for this reason, for instance, that the Gospel of John was written. We have seen that some of the titles considered (especially "High Priest") refer also to the present work of the Christ exalted to the right hand of God. But above all in this context we must speak of a Christological concept which points primarily to the exalted Christ. It is the concept Jesus as Lord. Its importance for early Christianity cannot be overstated.2

This designation expresses as does no other the thought that Christ is exalted to God's right hand, glorified, and now intercedes for men before the Father. In designating Jesus as the Kyrios the first Christians declared that he is not only a part of divine Heilsgeschichte in the past, not just the object of future hope, but a living reality in the present.3

The Greek Article
There is no Greek indefinite article, so the proper terminology is simply, the article. The "definite" article too narrowly describes its function:

The function of the article is not primarily to make something definite that would otherwise be indefinite. It does not primarily "definitize." There are at least ten ways in which a noun in Greek can be definite without the article. For example, proper names are definite even without the the article (Παῦλος means "Paul," not "a Paul." Yet, proper names sometimes take the article. Hence, when the article is used with them it must be for some other purpose. Further, its use with other nouns is not to make something definite that would otherwise be indefinite, but to nominalize something that would otherwise not be considered as a concept.4

This diagram5 illustrates of the basic forces of the article: enter image description here

When the article is used with a person, it is "predominantly to stress the identity of an individual..."6In other words, both Παῦλος and ὁ Παῦλος mean "Paul." This is similar to a modern writer giving emphasis by underlining or using bold letters. For example, a reader who sees Paul written as Paul, understands the writer intends to both identify and emphasize Paul.

The Article and the Creator
The use of the article as it pertains to God may not always be neatly placed in the above diagram. If the writer is a strict monotheist, "God" does not require the article. Literally, the article is an unnecessary redundancy. However, at the time, capitalization did not exist, so a writer would have to identify "God" in such a way as to convey that concept, especially in a world in which their "God" was the true "God" from among others who would be just "god." The article is the most common, but not exclusive means for doing this.

The use, and lack of use of the article in the LXX is helpful to show how Jewish scholars approached the issue of the Name as it pertains to creation:

These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. (Genesis 2:4 ESV)
אלה תולדות השמים והארץ בהבראם ביום עשות יהוה אלהים ארץ ושמים

This is the book of the origin of heaven and earth, when it originated, on the day God made the sky and the earth. (LXX-Genesis 2:4)
αὕτη ἡ βίβλος γενέσεως οὐρανοῦ καὶ γῆς ὅτε ἐγένετο ᾗ ἡμέρᾳ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν

With respect to YHVH, the LXX translation "interpreted" Genesis 2:4 to ensure harmony with Genesis 1:1:

In the beginning god made the sky and the earth. (LXX-Genesis 1:1)
ἐν ἀρχῇ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν

In both cases it is "God" with the article, ὁ θεὸς, who is identified as creator. In other words, YHVH was removed from the translation of Genesis 2:4. This treatment shows not only is it acceptable to avoid pronouncing the Name; it may be omitted altogether.

With respect to creation, "Lord" conveys present-day meaning in Judaism, just as in Christianity:

10 but on the seventh day there is Sabbata to the Lord your God. You shall not do in it any labor, you and your son and and your daughter, your male slave and your female slave, your ox and your draft animal and any animal of yours and the guest who resides among you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all things in them, and he rested on the seventh day. For this reason the Lord blessed the seventh day and consecrated it. (LXX-Exodus 20)
10 τῇ δὲ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ ἑβδόμῃ σάββατα κυρίῳ τῷ θεῷ σου οὐ ποιήσεις ἐν αὐτῇ πᾶν ἔργον σὺ καὶ ὁ υἱός σου καὶ ἡ θυγάτηρ σου ὁ παῗς σου καὶ ἡ παιδίσκη σου ὁ βοῦς σου καὶ τὸ ὑποζύγιόν σου καὶ πᾶν κτῆνός σου καὶ ὁ προσήλυτος ὁ παροικῶν ἐν σοί11 ἐν γὰρ ἓξ ἡμέραις ἐποίησεν κύριος τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν καὶ τὴν θάλασσαν καὶ πάντα τὰ ἐν αὐτοῗς καὶ κατέπαυσεν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ ἑβδόμῃ διὰ τοῦτο εὐλόγησεν κύριος τὴν ἡμέραν τὴν ἑβδόμην καὶ ἡγίασεν αὐτήν

The English addition of "the" shows a noun can be definite without using the article. "The" Lord shows the English translator understood the Greek text to refer to the one God, ὁ θεὸς, who made all things. In the command, the creator is κυρίῳ τῷ θεῷ. The LXX omits the article; using κύριος and then omitting both the article and God.

Clearly the LXX use of κύριος is a title and not the name for YHVH: the seventh day is a Sabbath to Lord, who is your God. The meaning is the creator has revealed this to Moses because He is their God. Since He is their God, He is their Lord: the one whom they must obey. The article is absent because the prior work of creation is sufficient identification and the emphasis is on the present-day on-going response to that revelation.

Like the Christian Kyrios or κύριος, the LXX translated YHVH as a title, but it would be a mistake to minimize this method by considering "Lord" simply a title: in context it is a direct expression of a relationship which would not be expressed by using the name.

"Lord" when used of the creator conveys a relationship between God and man. When man acknowledges God as "Lord" it reflects a correct understanding of man's relationship to God. On the other hand, calling God "YHVH" would simply acknowledge Him as Israel's God, without necessarily any further meaning. A present day illustration would the difference between the addresses of "Mister President" and "Joe." Both identify the same person; only one conveys the proper recognition of relationship. Most would argue the best term would be the title and avoiding the title to use the name would likely be seen as inappropriate or disrespectful.

1. Jon D. Levenson, The Jewish Study Bible, Edited by Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler, Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 15
2. Oscar Cullmann, The Christology of the New Testament, Revised Edition, translated by Shirley C. Guthrie and Charles A. M. Hall, The Westminister Press, 1963, p. 192
3. Ibid., p. 194
4. Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar: Beyond the Basics An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament, Zondervan, 1996, p. 209
5. Ibid., p. 209
6. Ibid., pp. 209-210


In Hebrew, and the Greek seems to follow a similar style, all proper names are "definite". This means that the article "the" is not explicitly needed because it is already implied (Greek just adds the article). All the names or titles for God would be definite, just like names for people.

Greek actually says "the John" and "the Peter", with the definite article in the Greek text not being translated to English because it is not idiomatic in English. Essentially, in the original language the "the" would always be there. It then becomes a matter of when English should have it.

Definiteness in Hebrew and Greek may be similar to using Uppercase in English for proper nouns.

  • You say, "in the original language the "the" would always be there. It then becomes a matter of when English should have it", then the question I would ask is why is it used in front of LORD- YHWH or Kyrios and not all the other names found in the Bible? IT seems for consistency it should be all one way or the other. From reading through the word, I don't recall a use where "the" is used in front of a name other than LORD. ---- On an admin note: Should I post this as another question and then quote this question and answers as my reason for the question? Aug 10, 2021 at 12:33
  • @PilgrimMaslow The word "The" may or may not be used before a Hebrew name. If it is a proper name, it is not necessary, because all proper nouns in Hebrew are "definite" by definition. Because of the way noun construct chains work in Hebrew, adding a "the" to a common noun which is linked to the proper noun makes the common noun to be "definite" also, thus forming the chain. For example: "Aaron's rod" in English might be "the rod Aaron" in Hebrew, where both "rod" and "Aaron" are definite, making it "the rod of Aaron" instead of "rod IS Aaron" as it would be without the "the" before "rod"!
    – Polyhat
    Aug 10, 2021 at 13:45
  • @PilgrimMaslow As you can see, Hebrew grammar gets complicated. The word "lord" is not a proper noun unless the "the" is prefixed to it, which is indicated in English by using a lowercase versus an uppercase letter. "Lord" is not a name. On a similar vein, the word "Adam," when used as a name, needs the "the" because without this it just means "man" as in "mankind"--a common noun.
    – Polyhat
    Aug 10, 2021 at 13:49
  • as you can see from my comments to Dottard I believe I am now moving from the realm of Hermeneutics and into a discussion of faith in God for people in general. Since, taking a long, hard look at who is Lord in my life and how that relates to His name and what He stands for has become an overwhelming pursuit for me. And as you can see the nuances between His name and a title, which is how most people see, "the LORD" is extremely important in our understanding of even salvation. And so, if we have made Him Lord of our lives, how are we moving through every part of our day? Aug 10, 2021 at 14:15
  • 1
    @PilgrimMaslow When "LORD" is all caps in English, it means it comes from God's name in Hebrew, not the Hebrew word for "lord" (which isn't a name). The Hebrew "lord" is transliterated as "adonai." For many centuries, Jews have refused to pronounce God's name. The Masoretes added the vowel pointings for "adonai" to the tetragrammaton YWVH, but it is quite possible that the original pronunciation was close to "Yia-hie". I'm with you on the importance of the name--but I believe that the "name" is more akin to "reputation" and "character," and that the exact pronunciation is of less consequence.
    – Polyhat
    Aug 10, 2021 at 14:23

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