What Name Do You Use for God?
Do you know what name the Bible uses more often than any other name? Would you say David? Abraham? or Jesus?
If any of those names came to mind, you should find this series very interesting, for the most important name in the Bible is used more often than all those names combined.
A RELIGIOUS publication points out that when you say you love someone you call that person by name. You would not say: “Man, I love you.” Or: “Woman, I love you.” Instead, you would say: “John, I love you.” Or: “Margaret, I love you.” Then it asks: “What name can you give God to make him more personal and intimate?”
It discusses this question for a full page, never once mentioning the name by which God calls himself. It concludes: “The name you choose in relating to God intimately should depend on you.” But, would it not be better to use the name God chose for himself, which is used thousands of times in the Bible?
Does God Really Have a Name?
Yes, he does. In the Hebrew and Greek in which the Bible originally was written, the word “god” did not always refer to the true God. As is the case in English, it could be used for false gods and idols. So how would the true God and Creator be distinguished from man-made gods? By using a personal name. Yet many people do not know God’s name, and far fewer use it today.
In fact, you may never have seen the name of God in your own Bible. Why not? Because the men who translated your copy of the Bible into English may have changed it. They may not have agreed with the Bible writers whom God inspired to use this name thousands of times in the Hebrew Scriptures.
The Authorized Version, long used by English-speaking readers, contains God’s name, not the nearly 7,000 times it occurs in the Hebrew, but by itself only four times—at Exodus 6:3; Psalm 83:18 and Isaiah 12:2; 26:4. There are other translations that do not use God’s name at all. They have dropped God’s name from his own book!
Obviously this NAME was more important than the words translators substituted for it, so some translations print the substituted words in capitals, to let informed readers know where God’s name appears in the original text. A noted encyclopedia explains: “It should be remembered that the Hebrew name Jehovah is generally rendered, in the English version, by the word LORD (sometimes GOD), and printed in small capitals.” So when you see the word “LORD” printed this way, the translator is telling you that God’s own name, JEHOVAH, is used in the original language.—McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia, 1981, Volume IV, page 811.
Whether you have seen this name in your Bible or not, it was in the original Hebrew text. German scholars Keil and Delitzsch point out that the expression “Jehovah Elohim” (Jehovah God) appears 20 times in fewer than 50 verses of Genesis chapters 2 and 3. They say that “it is used with peculiar emphasis, to give prominence to the fact that Jehovah is truly Elohim,” or God.—Commentary on the Old Testament, by Keil and Delitzsch, 1973, Volume I, pages 72, 73.
In fact, Jesus’ own name means “Salvation of Jah [Jehovah].” And you say a shortened poetic form of Jehovah’s name whenever you say “Hallelujah.” You can look up Hallelujah in a dictionary and see for yourself that it means ‘Praise Jah,’ or ‘Praise Jehovah.’
Remember, Jehovah is God’s own name. It is the name by which HE chose to be identified. Would you like to know how the use of this name can expand your appreciation of God and his purposes? That is the subject of the following articles.