Norwegian version

Where to find the Name in the Bible

The Old testament

A well known Bible translation is the King James Version. Do we find God's name in this translation? Yes, in Exodus 6:3, Psalm 83:18, Isaiah 12:2 and Isaiah 26:4.

The name occur almost 7000 times in the Hebrew writings. It is written with four Hebrew consonants (from right to left) (transliterated variants: YHWH/YHVH/JHWH/JHVH), and is therefore also called "the tetragrammaton". In Biblia Hebraica og Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia the tetragrammaton is written 6828 times.

Many translators choose to use titles as "Lord" instead of God's name. But there are also several translations which has preserved God's name, for example American Standard Version which uses the name Jehovah all places where it occur in the Hebrew writings.

Here is a comparison of Psalm 83:18

Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia

American Standard Version
That they may know that thou alone, whose name is Jehovah, Art the Most High over all the earth.

The New Jerusalem Bible
Let them know that you alone bear the name of Yahweh, Most High over all the earth.

King James Version
That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.

New International Version
Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD-- that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.

The New Testament

In the Greek writings we find the Divine Name only four times in the text. In these four occurrences the Hebrew expression Hallelujah (Hallelu-Yah) is used in the Greek text (Revelation 19:1, 3, 4, 6).

Hallelu-Yah means "praise Yah", and Yah is a contraction of the Divine Name - like the Biblical name Jonathan is a short for Jehonathan.

Since the Divine Name was written both in the Hebrew writings and the early Greek translations of these, the writers of the New Testament knew very well this name.

Paul Kahle has been a professor in semitic philology at several German universities. He has done path-breaking research of the history of the bible text. He writes in his book The Cairo Geniza: "We know that the Greek Bible text [the Septuagint] as far as it was written by Jews for Jews did not translate the Divine name by ky'rios, but the Tetragrammaton written with Hebrew or Greek letters was retained in such MSS [manuscripts]."

In the New Testament there are several quotations from the Old Testament where you will find the Divine Name. But in all these verses the name is replaced with the Greek word ("kyrios" - Lord) or ("theos" - God). Paul Kahle writes: "It was the Christians who replaced the Tetragrammaton by ky'rios, when the divine name written in Hebrew letters was not understood any more." This was done in the second or third century.

This explains the fact that in many old editions of the New Testament, translated into Hebrew, the name of God is included several times in scriptures that is not a quotation from the Old Testament.

Jesus taught his disciples to use God's name, as John 17:6 shows us: "I have revealed your name to the men you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have obeyed your word." (NET Bible)

Because of this, several Bible translators have chosen to re-insert the Divine Name in the New Testament, in places where it most likely were written in the original text.