Is Jehovah God’s Name?

Jehovah’s Witnesses love to stand on peoples’ doorsteps and point out that their religion uses the proper name of God. However, they may be surprised to note that the Watchtower disagrees with them.

Page 23 of the 1969 edition of the Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures says, “While inclining to view the pronunciation ‘Yahweh’ as the more correct way, we have retained the form ‘Jehovah’ because of people’s familiarity with it since the 14th century.”

Does the Watchtower really want to let people’s familiarity with a word define God’s name?

According to page 885 of the 1971 edition of Aid to Bible Understanding, Yahweh is “the most likely pronunciation” of the Hebrew letters YHWH. It’s ironic to me that these people proudly refer to themselves as Jehovah’s Witnesses when they have such a great focus on using God’s personal name. In my opinion, they should promptly change the name to Yahweh’s Witnesses.

The truth is that no one knows the proper pronunciation of YHWH. The word Jehovah came about when a Catholic monk inserted the vowels from the Hebrew word for Lord (Adonai) into YHWH. Further, YHWH is never found in the New Testament, but in the New Testament of the New World Translation the Watchtower inserts the term Jehovah more than 200 times.

While accepted Bible translations using LORD in place of YHWH may or may not be the ideal solution, this at least avoids the intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy that the Watchtower has to employ to continue its use of Jehovah.

The good news is that while God deserves our utmost reverence, all who believe in Jesus as their Savior from sin don’t need to debate endlessly about the exact vowels for God’s proper name. We have become God’s adopted children (John 1:12). I don’t call my human father by his proper name. I call him “Dad.” By God’s grace, I’m God’s child, and I can call him Abba, Father (Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6).

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9 Responses to Is Jehovah God’s Name?

  1. Adam Smith says:

    Amen to that brother! Especially the last paragraph…Jesus taught us in Matthew that we can call him Father.

  2. Alan says:

    Some things to consider:

    *** Reasoning from the Scriptures, p. 195 “Jehovah” ***
    Which form of the divine name is correct—Jehovah or Yahweh?

    No human today can be certain how it was originally pronounced in Hebrew.

    *** Awake! magazine, 1999 2/8 pp. 7-8, Identifying the Only True God ***
    Jehovah or Yahweh?

    Whereas the name Jehovah appears in the King James Version and other Bible translations, some prefer to use the name Yahweh instead of Jehovah. Which name is correct?

    The most ancient Bible manuscripts were written in the Hebrew language. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the divine name occurs almost 7,000 times and is spelled with four consonants—YHWH or JHVH. These four-consonant words are commonly called the Tetragrammaton, or Tetragram, derived from two Greek words meaning “four letters.” Now the question of accurate pronunciation arises because early Hebrew writing consisted of consonants with no vowels to guide the reader. So whether the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton becomes Yahweh or Jehovah depends on which vowels the reader supplies to the four consonants. Today many Hebrew scholars prefer Yahweh as the true pronunciation.

    However, consistency favors Jehovah. In what way? The pronunciation Jehovah has been accepted in English for centuries. Those who object to using this pronunciation should also object to the use of the accepted pronunciation Jeremiah and even Jesus. Jeremiah would need to be changed to Yir·meyah´ or Yir·meya´hu, the original Hebrew pronunciations, and Jesus would become Ye·shu´a‛ (Hebrew) or I·e·sous´ (Greek). Hence, many Bible students, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, feel that consistency favors the use of the already well-known English-language “Jehovah” and its equivalent in other languages.

    *** Is there a Creator who cares about you?, chap. 7, p. 113, What Can You Learn About the Creator From a Book? ***

    “The original pronunciation was eventually lost; modern attempts at recovery are conjectural,” notes a Jewish commentary on Exodus. Admittedly, we cannot be certain how Moses pronounced the divine name, which we find at Exodus 3:16 and 6:3. Yet, frankly, who today would feel obligated to try to pronounce Moses’ name or Jesus’ name with the precise sound and intonation used back when they walked the earth? Nonetheless, we do not shrink from referring to Moses and to Jesus by name. The point is, instead of being excessively concerned over just how an ancient people speaking another language pronounced God’s name, why not use the pronunciation common in our language? For example, “Jehovah” has been used in English for 400 years, and in the English language, it is still widely accepted as the name of the Creator.

    Agape, Alan.
    john1one@earthlink.net
    http://www.goodcompanionbooks.com

  3. billphillips says:

    Alan,

    Thanks for your comment and all the info.

    Why would Jehovah’s Witnesses get so excited about having and using God’s proper name, when by their own admission they don’t really know what it is? If someone’s name were Gerald, would he answer to Gerard? If you believed Gerald were the most likely pronunciation, would you go on calling him Gerard, reasoning that Gerard is the most commonly used pronunciation?

    Don’t you think you’re a child of God/born of God? If you’re an adopted child of God, why don’t you just call Him Father?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  4. Dan says:

    If someone’s name is John in English there name is not pronounced John in Spanish it is Juan correct?
    Coming from a bilingual culture I do not find your Gerald comment noteworthy. My name is pronounced differently a lot in my family (English & Spanish), however I answer to it when it is called, because that’s how it is pronounced in another language, and regardless it is my name.
    The English pronunciation Jehovah was not just slopped together by just one monk and called good. There are several others that agree on the pronunciation of the name.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehovah

    John 12:28-29 (NIV) “Father, glorify your name. Then a voice came from heaven, I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”

    John 10:25 (NIV) “Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me,”

    John 5:43 (NIV) “I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him.”

    Matthew 6:9 (NIV) “This, then, is how you should pray: ” ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,”

    Exodus 3:15 “God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, [a] 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, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.” (Original Hebrew renders it YHWH (JEHOVAH)but was replaced for some reason with LORD????)

    Coming from a small town it is common for people to ask me, “who is your Dad”? Would anyone who is asked that question answer, “My Father”?

    Abraham was called a friend of god was he not? Even Job referred to having an intimate Friendship with God.

    James 2:23 (NIV) “And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.”

    2 Chronicles 20:7 (NIV) “O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?”

    Job 29:4 (NIV) “Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house,”

    Now have you ever just called one of your good friends just Friend or by name?
    How could you truly say you know someone and not even know their name?

    The sad thing about all of this is, instead of recognizing that “God”, or the “Father” does have a name people choose not to use it. They say it is to holy to use or that we don’t know the proper pronunciation of it so we will replace it with a label like “God”, “Lord”, and “Father”.

    I do refer to Jehovah as God, and Heavenly Father, but I also use his name, and am not afraid, or ashamed of doing so.

  5. billphillips says:

    Dan,

    Thanks for your comment.

    How many people do you have that have agreed on Jehovah. I think the most proper pronunciation is Yahweh, and the Watchtower agrees with me.

    You say you call Him your Heavenly Father. I assume that means you consider yourself to be one of His children, and you are born again/born of God. Is my assumption correct? I’ve asked that question probably a dozen times on this blog, and have yet to receive an answer from a Jehovah’s Witness. Why do you think that is? (That’s a genuine question. I’m not trying to start an argument.)

    Thanks,
    Bill

  6. Dan says:

    Bill,
    I guess you didn’t read my statements but that’s okay…
    I don’t want an argument either because those usually go nowhere.
    I am born again just like Jesus was born again through spirit (Matthew 3:16)
    John 3:4-6
    John 4:24
    You probably have gotten your answer but have not considered it, from what I have gathered upon your response to your comment above.

  7. billphillips says:

    Dan,

    It’s my understanding that Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t consider themselves to be born again unless they believe they’re of the 144,000. Are you of the 144,000, or is my understanding incorrect?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  8. Dan says:

    Bill,
    Sorry I don’t know ask a Jehovah’s Witness.

  9. billphillips says:

    Dan,

    Sorry. I assumed you were a Jehovah’s Witness.

    Thanks,
    Bill

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