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"Yahweh" is a Hebrew word meaning "I am" and is the name by which God identified Himself in the Old Testament. What I am wondering is if (from a NT perspective) the name "Yahweh" has any significance, or if it is merely the meaning "I am" that carries significance.

So my question is whether the NT mentions "Yahweh," and if so, how?

  • Does the NT use the word "Yahweh"? I know Jesus made several "I AM" statements, but in Greek that is not "Yahweh," but “εγω ειμι" which just means ... "I am" or "I am he".

  • Does the NT quote any OT texts that use the word "Yahweh"?

    • If so, is "Yahweh" retained in Hebrew (or transliterated) or is it translated some other way like "εγω ειμι" or "κυριος" (Lord) or something similar?
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    Currently there are not any extant Greek texts containing the Tetragrammaton-even in the oldest manuscripts from the 2nd century. If it was there and then removed, then how? The early church was persecuted and scattered. They made copies of copies and these scattered as well. How would someone or some group have gathered all of these letters and copies and changed them all? It would have had to happen almost immediately after they were written. And if that was changed, what else was changed? We would have no reason to believe the validity of the texts if we believe that they have been altered. – user3553 Feb 19 '14 at 21:53
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    Yahwe means "he is", not "I am". Basic Hebrew grammar. – fdb Feb 4 '15 at 19:28
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John's Revelation is the only New Testament text to use the name of 'Yahweh' outside of transliterations of theophoric names. The abbreviated form 'Yah' appears four times in Revelation 19, embedded in the Greek word ἁλληλουϊά (hallelou-Ia), from the Hebrew phrase הַֽלְלוּ־יָֽהּ (halelu-Yah).

Otherwise the New Testament authors tend to follow the traditional custom of translating Yahweh into Greek as κύριος ('lord') whenever they quote the parts of the Hebrew scriptures that mention 'Yahweh'


It is worth noting, 'I am' is not exactly the meaning of Yahweh, at least as understood by ancient Jews. 'I am that I am' is the common translation of the Hebrew phrase אֶֽהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶֽהְיֶה (ehyeh asher ehyeh), used to describe God in Exodus 3 just before he identifies himself to Moses by the name 'Yahweh'. This is where the 'I am' phrase comes from.

  • NKJV Romans 8:13 uses LORD [caps-small-caps] to indicate it's source was the Tetragrammaton. However, I have not found another version that's in agreement. Some very early fragments of Jewish scripture from the time period of Jesus and Paul also had references to the Hebrew Tetragrammaton. [Aramaic was spoken in Judea and Greek was spoken in the Roman Empire. Latin was used in official government documents. So, Paul likely spoke Aramaic and Greek] – user12711 Apr 26 '18 at 18:26
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In a word, No – the divine name, YHWH, does not appear in any NT text, nor does any NT writer allude to it. Of the many OT quotations in the NT that include the divine name in the original Hebrew texts (e.g. Mt.3:3; 22:37; Mk.12:29; Lk.4:18), none carry 'YHWH' forward into Greek. All use the generic kyrios, or 'Lord', most likely because NT writers almost always – in 307 of 340 cases (per Archer and Chirichigno) – quoted the Greek LXX rather than translate from Hebrew, if they even knew the language.

Even the shortened form of YHWH that appears in some Hebrew personal names (e.g. Jehoshaphat = "Yah has judged") disappeared in Greek. Thus the Hellenized Mattias for Mattithyah (Matthew), Elias for 'Eliyah (Elijah), Ēsaïas for Yĕsha`yah (Isaiah), and Iēsous for Yēšūă (Joshua). These examples demonstrate that English translators of the Greek often re-introduced the Hebrew 'yah' connection, though not, curiously, for Jesus himself.

The ‘yah’ connection is also lost, then found, with the apparent transliteration of the Hebrew ‘Hallelu Yah’ (literally, ‘Praise Yah’, e.g. Ps.105:45) into the Greek allēlouïä in Rev.19, and often re-transliterated into English as ‘hallelu-jah’! This single NT syllable likely originates in the Hebrew name of YHWH, though the NT writer likely didn't know it.

  • Care to provide any scholarly citations that the NT writer did not know Hebrew? Most linguistic scholars I have spoken with or read see many Semiticisms in Matthew, John, I, II, and III John, and in Revelation - which they usually take to indicate that Hebrew and/or Aramaic was strongly influential on the writers. If this is the case, it is very hard to believe the writer would be ignorant of the significance of -yah without any evidence to the contrary. – vbnet3d Jul 31 '17 at 14:17
  • Thanks, @vbnet3d. Unlike many NT writers, it seems the primary writer of Revelation was Hebrew-literate. But was Rev.19:1-6 – the only NT vs to use alleluia – written by a Jewish writer or later Christian compiler/translator (see link)? That’s beyond our scope here, but I suggest it’s likely the Greek writer/translator didn’t know the Hebrew etymology of alleluia because burying even the shortened form of the divine name in a Greek transliteration feels disrespectful to me. Source criticism might prove otherwise. jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12712-revelation-book-of – Schuh Aug 1 '17 at 4:13
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Actually the scriptures may have been changed. The instances of Lord could have originally been the tetragrammaton. It was later changed to Lord or PIPI in greek. Here is a paragraph explaining. YHWH in the New Testament

"Girolamo, the translator of the Latin Vulgate confirms this fact. In the prologue of the books of Samuel and Kings he wrote: "In certain Greek volumes we still find the Tetragrammaton of God's name expressed in ancient characters". And in a letter written in Rome in the year 384 it says: "God's name is made up of four letters; it was thought ineffable, and it is written with these letters: iod, he, vau, he (YHWH). But some have not been able to decipher it because of the resemblance of the Greek letters and when they found it in Greek books they usually read it PIPI (pipi)". S. Girolamo, Le Lettere, Rome, 1961, vol.1, pp.237, 238; compare J.P.Migne, Patrologia Latina, vol.22, coll.429, 430.

Around 245 C.E., the noted scholar Origen produced his Hexapla, a six-column reproduction of the inspired Hebrew Scriptures: (1) in their original Hebrew and Aramaic, accompanied by (2) a transliteration into Greek, and by the Greek versions of (3) Aquila, (4) Symmachus, (5) the Septuagint, and (6) Theodotion. On the evidence of the fragmentary copies now known, Professor W. G. Waddell says: "In Origen's Hexapla . . . the Greek versions of Aquila, Symmachus, and LXX all represented JHWH by PIPI; in the second column of the Hexapla the Tetragrammaton was written in Hebrew characters." - The Journal of Theological Studies, Oxford, Vol. XLV, 1944, pp. 158, 159. Others believe the original text of Origen's Hexapla used Hebrew characters for the Tetragrammaton in all its columns. Origen himself stated that "in the most accurate manuscripts THE NAME occurs in Hebrew characters, yet not in today's Hebrew [characters], but in the most ancient ones". A biblical magazine declare: "In pre-Christian Greek [manuscripts] of the OT, the divine name was not rendered by 'kyrios' as has often been thought. Usually the Tetragram was written out in Aramaic or in paleo-Hebrew letters. . . . At a later time, surrogates such as 'theos' [God] and 'kyrios' replaced the Tetragram . . . There is good reason to believe that a similar pattern evolved in the NT, i.e. the divine name was originally written in the NT quotations of and allusions to the OT, but in the course of time it was replaced by surrogates". - New Testament Abstracts, March 1977, p. 306."

The article is an interesting read if you are curious.

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    Writing this article lead into me doing further research because it is very interesting for me. I found out that the Greek scriptures where probably translated from Aramaic. – Jeremy Nov 23 '13 at 0:13
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    That is one prominent view, but not the only prominent view. There are significant reasons for doubting that hypothesis as well. – Jas 3.1 Nov 23 '13 at 19:58
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    DV explanation: the suggestion in this answer is historically unlikely, and the extended quote (which includes reliable information) presented in a tendentious (I think misleading) fashion. The evidence needs handling with care, and while specialists still debate details, it seems probable that by the time of the NT, "kurios" is read regardless of what characters are on the parchment/papyrus. ... 1/2 – Dɑvïd Jan 16 '14 at 21:12
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    ... There is some solid academic discussion available online: (1) A. Pietersma, "Kyrios or Tetragram" (1984); (2) D.B. Capes, OT Yahweh Texts in Paul's Christology (1992); + (3) L. Hurtado, "Divine Name and Greek Translation" (blog post). I leave this as comment because I lack time to construct a quality answer for BH.SE just now - might come back to this. [end] 2/2 – Dɑvïd Jan 16 '14 at 21:14
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The NT does not mention the Tetragrammaton itself, but Rev 4:8 mentions its meaning as revealed in Ex 3:14-15.

God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM"; and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'" God, furthermore, said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'YHWH, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.' This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.”

We have to take into account two properties of Hebrew verbs: stem and form.

A verb stem is an offshoot of the root that is used to indicate the properties of voice and aspect. The relevant stems here are:

  • Qal stem: Simple action, active voice;
  • Hifil stem: Causal action, active voice.

Hebrew has two main verb forms: the Perfect and the Imperfect. The perfect describes completed action whereas the imperfect describes actions or states which are incomplete, ongoing, habitual, or continual.

The Name revealed in Ex 3:14, "Ehyeh", is qal stem, first person, singular, imperfect form, of the verb "hyh", "to be". Therefore it means "I was", "I am", or "I will be", all in a continuing sense, depending on the context where it may be used. So if used by God in the first person, since God lives in eternity, which is not an infinite succession of moments but one moment of infinite fullness, it will be "I Am" (which is clear in Jn 8:58, when Jesus says "before Abraham was, I Am", and not "before Abraham was, I was").

The Name revealed in Ex 3:15, "YHWH", comes from "hwh", an earlier variant of the root "hyh", "to be". In contrast to "Ehyeh", it can have two possible meanings depending on its vocalization:

  • qal stem, third person, singular, imperfect form, if vocalized "YiHWeH", meaning "he was", "he is", or "he will be", all in a continuing sense, and depending on the context where it may be used. So if it is used by a creature, which exists in time, to refer to God, it would refer to all three meanings at the same time, as in the past God continually was, in the present God is, and in the future God will continually be: "He Was, Is and Will Be". Thus, in this case the Tetragrammaton is the same Name revealed in Ex 3:14 but pronounced by a creature, denoting God as He is in Himself: Absolute, Subsistent Being.

  • hifil stem, third person, singular, imperfect form, if vocalized "YaHWeH", meaning "He causes to be", or, more completely, "He was causing, causes and will cause to be". In this case, while the Name of Ex 3:14 denotes God as He is in Himself, the Name in Ex 3:15 denotes God as He is for us: the Creator.

Now, compare the first option with Rev 4:8:

And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, Who Was and Is and Is to Come!”

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The Septuagint renders the divine name as Kyrios, which of course appears plenty in the NT, but only by context could you determine if Kyrios is a reference to YHWH or simple a title of honor, "Lord". The only safe place to assume that Kyrios = YHWH in the NT would be when the NT quotes the Hebrew Bible.

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In Hebrew the name of God is spelled YHWH. Since ancient Hebrew had no written vowels, it is uncertain how the name was pronounced originally, but there are records of the name in Greek, which did have written vowels. These records indicate that in all likelihood the name should be pronounced "Yahweh."

Shortly before the first century A.D., it became common for Jews to avoid saying the divine name for fear of misusing it and breaking the second commandment ("You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain," Dt 5:11). Whenever they read Scripture aloud and encountered the divine name, they substituted another Hebrew word, "Adonai" (which means "Lord" or "my Lord"), in its place.

Eventually Hebrew developed written vowels, which appeared as small marks called vowel points and were placed above and below the consonants of a word. In the sixth or seventh century some Jews began to place the vowel points for "Adonai" over the consonants for "Yahweh" to remind the reader of Scripture to say "Adonai" whenever he read "Yahweh."

About the 13th century the term "Jehovah" appeared when Christian scholars took the consonants of "Yahweh" and pronounced it with the vowels of "Adonai." This resulted in the sound "Yahowah," which has a Latinized spelling of "Jehovah." The first recorded use of this spelling was made by a Spanish Dominican monk, Raymundus Martini, in 1270.

Interestingly, this fact is admitted in much Jehovah's Witness literature, such as their Aid to Bible Understanding (p. 885). This is surprising because Jehovah's Witnesses loathe the Catholic Church and have done everything in their power to strip their church of traces of Catholicism. Despite this, their group's very name contains a Catholic "invention," the name "Jehovah."

Jehovah's Witnesses blast orthodox Christendom for "hiding the name of God" by replacing "Jehovah" with "the Lord" whenever "Jehovah" appears in Scripture. They charge this is a Jewish "superstition" that dishonors God (which it does not). Yet their own organization has a name that was invented as a result of the same thinking that produced use of "the Lord."

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    Please remove the last two paragraphs relating to Jehovah's Witnesses and the Catholic church, They are not relevant to the answer and inject unnecessary polemic. – Abu Munir Ibn Ibrahim Jul 29 '17 at 18:51
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Yes it does in any quote from the Hebrew Scriptures were God;s personal name appears, such as :-

Texts From The Divine Name King James Bible - http://www.dnkjb.net/1189chapters/NT40MAT22.htm

The following are just a few examples.

DNKJB Rom. 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD,( Jehovah Jol 2:31,32 2Ti 2:19 ) shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, LORD,( Jehovah Isa 53:1 ) who hath believed our report?

Hebrew N.T. Rom 10:13 כי כל אשר יקרא בשם יהוה ימלט׃

DNKJB Matt. 3:3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD,( Jehovah Isa 40:3 ) make his paths straight."

DNKJB Matt 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the LORD,( Jehovah Deu 10:20 ) thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."

DNKJB Matt 22:41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD( Jehovah Psa 110:1 ) said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?"

DNKJB Matt 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the LORD( Jehovah Deu 6:5; 10:12; Jos 22:5 ) thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Matt 22:37 And Yeshua answered him, and said: You shall love YHWH your Elohim: with all your heart, and with all your nefesh, and with all your might. 38 This, is the greatest commandment in the whole Torah."-The Hebraic-Roots Version Scriptures Revised Edition Containing The Tanak and Ketuvim Netzarim An Original Translation Made Directly from Ancient Hebrew and Aramaic Sources.

Hebrew N.T. Matt 22:37 ויאמר ישוע אליו ואהבת את יהוה אלהיך בכל לבבך ובכל נפשך ובכל מדעך׃

DNKJB Matt 22:41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD( Jehovah Psa 110:1 ) said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?

DNKJB Rev. 19:1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia;( Hallelujah - Praise Jah or Jehovah Psa 150:6; Psa 117:1,2 ); Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: 2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. 3 And again they said, Alleluia( Hallelujah - Praise Jah or Jehovah Psa 150:6; Psa 117:1,2 ). And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. 4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia( Hallelujah - Praise Jah or Jehovah Psa 150:6; Psa 106:48 ). 5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. 6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia:( Hallelujah - Praise Jah or Jehovah Psa 113:1; Rev 15:3 ) for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."

Further to the above if you consult any N.T. in Hebrew you will find "YHWH" throughout the entire text in quotes from the O.T.!

English translations that have used God’s name in the New Testament:

A Literal Translation of the New Testament . . . From the Text of the Vatican Manuscript, by Herman Heinfetter (1863)

The Emphatic Diaglott, by Benjamin Wilson (1864)

The Epistles of Paul in Modern English, by George Barker Stevens (1898)

St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, by W. G. Rutherford (1900)

The Christian’s Bible​—New Testament, by George N. LeFevre (1928)

The New Testament Letters, by J.W.C. Wand, Bishop of London (1946)

Alos

  • No, you've only demonstrated that English translators can insert a Hebrew word where it does not appear in the original Greek. In point of fact, the divine name does not appear in any Greek NT text, not even where it's quoting an OT text that included the name. – Schuh Oct 26 '19 at 17:19

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