Is Jehovah the True Name of God?
Many call God “Jehovah” but don’t know where that name came from. What is God’s name? Does the Bible have instructions on the proper way to address Him?
Is Jehovah the True Name of God?
Brother Bob Pellien
Minister of the Gospel
Brother Bob: In our episode for today we’ll be responding to a question of a Mr. Randy Capilitan who asks—which is a very common question that we receive here—but Randy asks, “What is the true name of God? Is [Jehovah] the name of God? Is it necessary to call Jehova as His name?”
Different variations of this question have, like I said, often been received here [at] our program and asked. So today we’re going to use once again the Holy Bible as a basis to respond to Randy’s question and questions regarding the name of God that we’ve been receiving regularly concerning the different names of God.
How does Jesus want people to address God?
How should we address God, dear friends? Does God even have a name? This is a very important question on our episode for today, and it’s especially important for those who want to properly worship God. So for us living in this day and age in the Christian Era, we follow the lead of our Lord Jesus Christ since He’s the begotten Son of God, He’s the one of course qualified to teach us how to approach God as His children. And Lord Jesus Christ does truly teach us this and let’s read His words. In the Book of Matthew 6:9:
In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven,…
[Matthew 6:9 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: Dear friends, Jesus is teaching His disciples how to pray. He said “in this manner, pray.” And if we read all the subsequent verses following that, [it’s] all the different guidance that He gave them relative to proper prayer. What was the first that we just read? How to address God. What did He teach? He said, “Our Father in heaven.” So He taught His disciples (likewise, all of us), He taught us how to pray and how to address God. And He does so by showing us how to call upon God. And what He taught was to call Him (God) “Father.” We call God our Father.
Now, did Christ put into practice what He instructed His disciples concerning how to address God, when Jesus Himself prayed? Did He use a personal name of God when He addressed God? Let’s, let’s check in the Book of John 17:1:
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You,
[John 17:1 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: What did Jesus do when He prayed to God? He addressed God as “Father,” not any specific personal name. Now, how else can we call God? The apostles gave us some important additional insight on that. How did the apostles also call God in the Book of Acts 4:24:
So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them,
[Act 4:24 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: The apostles also prayed to God, and likewise addressed Him as “Lord.” So we’re also taught then to refer to our Creator as “Lord.” And that’s because He’s the One and Only true and Almighty, all-powerful God that we all came from. Therefore, He is our Father, and we should obey Him, because He is our Lord God.
Are there different names for God in the Bible?
Brother Bob: Now, dear friends before we start reading additional biblical passages here regarding the name or names of God, a couple of things we should understand regarding the significance of a personal name. Now without getting into them, the specific meaning of any particular name, let’s just understand first: what’s the basic purpose of a personal name in the first place? Is it not to be able to identify one person from another? This is why there’s always a link between name and identity. And the truth is that names are a part of every culture, and they’re of great importance, both to the individual who receives the name or has been named, and to the societies that have given them a name. Why? Because it’s what helps distinguish one individual from another. That distinction is made by virtue of name.
OK, with all that having been said, because there is only one true God, with no one else to mistakenly identify as another god, there’s only one God. He does not have, nor does He need to have a personal name like the rest of us do. Again, why? There’s only one true God so there’s no need to distinguish Him from any other.
So in view of this, let’s study the different names or appellations, that the Bible does attribute to God and their meanings. For example, the Holy Scriptures [introduce] various names and appellations of the one true God throughout the history in the Holy Scriptures. For example, in Exodus 3:14, God addressed Himself to Moses. Did God address Himself to Moses with a personal name? What did He say? “I am who I am.”
And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”
[Exodus 3:14 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: Or in some other translations of the Bible, when God introduced Himself to Moses, He said, “I will be what I will be.” We can see how [the Bible] makes very clear here that there was no one else that could be referred to as God. There was no need for God to give a personal name. He just said, “I am who I am.” “I am who I will be.” That’s it. He is God. He is the Father. He is the Creator in Isaiah 42:5 and 8. He also called Himself as “Lord”:
Thus says God the Lord, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it,
And spirit to those who walk on it:…I am the Lord, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images.
[Isaiah 42:5,8 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: And also in the book of Exodus 34:14. He likewise used the name “Jealous”:
(for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),
[Exodus 34:14 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: In Amos 5:27 [and] Amos 4:13, He was also named “God of hosts”:
Therefore I will send you into captivity beyond Damascus,” Says the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts….For behold, He who forms mountains, And creates the wind, Who declares to man what [b]his thought is, And makes the morning darkness, Who treads the high places of the earth—The Lord God of hosts is His name.
[Amos 5:27, 4:13 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: In Isaiah 57:15. He is also named as “Holy”:
For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
[Isaiah 57:15 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: What can we see? We can see here that when it comes to the names of God, the Bible gives so many various names. It would be wrong to just hone in on any one of them and say, “That’s the ultimate.” No, there’s no such basis for that.
Where did the name “Jehovah” come from? Should we call God Jehovah?
Brother Bob: We find it necessary for a moment here, dear friends, let’s pause and tackle the claim of some who say things like this: “Jehovah. That’s His one and only name, Jehovah.” And there’s another group popping up nowadays [and] they’re using the term“Yahuah.” And they’re insisting that’s the one and the only name of God and the only name that should be used in reference to God.
Since we already stated that God does not have a personal name like we do.
God does NOT have a personal name
Brother Bob: Why? Because there’s no other true God to distinguish Him from. Let’s learn how this term “Jehovah” came about, and how it has also came to be viewed in the way that it’s being viewed by others in the world nowadays.
Dear friends, if we reference Hebrew manuscripts; Hebrew of course being the language of the Old Testament, one of the names of God cannot be pronounced and it cannot be pronounced because it consists of four Hebrew consonants: Y, H, V, H.
4 Hebrew consonants:
Y H V H
Brother Bob: The Hebrew letters: Y, H, V, H, commonly referred to as the Tetragrammaton. So when the Scriptures were being read during that time and when one came across these four consonants (Which were not intended to be pronounced. They’re consonants.) What would be pronounced [instead] is one of the other names of God. For example, as we read earlier when God said, “I am who I am,” or “I will be what I will be,” or simply, “Lord.”
I am who I am – Exodus 3:14 NKJV
I will be what I will be – Exodus 3:14 CJB
Lord – Isaiah 42: 5, 8 NKJV
Brother Bob: None of these are, of course, a personal name. Where and when did the name “Jehovah” come about? It was over 1,000 years after the Bible’s completion. It appears first and about 1520 A.D. when some thought these four consonants (which was, as I said earlier, not intended to be pronounced at all), they thought, “Well, it should be pronounced.” So you might wonder how did they pronounce a word or come to pronounce a word that has only four consonants and no vowels? Well, what did they do? They simply just used the vowels of another word.
And we can read this in the New international Dictionary of New Testament Theology. Let’s take a look at what’s recorded here in Volume 2 pages 69 and 70:
The form Jehovah arose out of a misunderstanding which in turn arose out of the reluctance of pious Jews to pronounce the divine name (c. 300 BC). Instead they uttered the word ‘adonay, my Lord. In the MT [Masoretic Text] the divine name was written with the consonants of YHVH and the vowels of ‘adonay, as a reminder to say the latter whenever the word was read. The divine name appears as yehowah in the MT…. The form Jehovah is thus a malformation giving what is virtually a transliteration of a word which is found in the text of the Heb. OT, but which was never actually used as a word.
[New international Dictionary of New Testament Theology Vol. 2, pgs. 69-70]
Brother Bob: And you know, dear friends, the same point was made in the reference of Harper’s Bible Dictionary, page 1,036. Let’s take a look at how they described what happened:
The hybrid word ‘Jehovah’ is a combination of the vowels of ‘Adonai’ with the consonants of the tetragrammaton; its appearance in the KJV was the result of the translators’ ignorance of the Hebrew language and customs.
[Harper’s Bible Dictionary, p.1036]
Brother Bob: “Jehovah,” as the supposed name of God, in which some believe is His only true name, [is] a mistaken form of the divine name of the Creator. To insist on using this term in reference to God is [to] propagate an error. It should be understood that God’s name cannot be played with. It’s important that God would be always addressed correctly. God’s name must not be taken in vain, used uselessly, for He had laid down a very important prohibition on those who would invoke His name. What was that prohibition? Well, let’s, let’s go ahead and read that in Exodus 20:7:
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
[Exodus 20:7 New King James Version]
Brother Bob: Let’s simply follow the teaching. Follow the example of our Lord Jesus, our Savior, and address God as “Father.” This is what we should all believe. This is what we should all follow because that’s in the Bible.
Dear friends, when you’re ready to learn more about the fundamental teachings found here inside the Church Of Christ, please visit us online, incmedia.org. Or visit any of our various social media accounts (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter). To speak to a minister of the Gospel and worship with us, you can find a directory of our houses of worship online as well. And if you have any questions about the Bible, please email us for a chance to be featured on the show. I’m Bob Pellien. Thank you for joining us and we’ll see you again next time right here on That’s in the Bible.