THE REASON GOD’S NAME
IS MISSING FROM MANY BIBLES
“…the distinctive Hebrew name for God
– usually transliterated Jehovah,
is in this translation
represented by “LORD.”
– Today’s English Version (preface)
There are many different reasons why God’s name
was removed from the Bible. I will attempt to
briefly discuss them here.
First off, it was a MISTAKE to remove God’s Name
from the bible.
As Author of the Bible, Only God himself has the
right to change or alter the Bible. God himself
gave mankind a warning – in his own Word – The Bible;
to NOT add to – NOR take away from his Words.
“I warn everyone who hears the words
of the prophecy of this book:
If anyone adds anything to them,
God will add to him the plagues
described in this book.
And if anyone takes words away
from this book of prophecy,
God will take away from him
his share in the tree of life.”
– A MISTAKE –
of The Name (Jehovah)
has entailed upon the reader,
and especially upon the hearer,
its suppression was a MISTAKE…”
–Rotherham, 1, Ch. IV, 22-29
“…the most common “ERROR” made by most
translators in the last 3500 years…is their
elimination of heaven’s revealed Name of
the Most High, Yahweh (Jehovah)”
– A. B. Traina;
in the Preface of the Holy Name Bible
“The substitution of the word “Lord” is most unhappy;
for…it in NO WAY represents the meaning of the
sacred name (Jehovah)…”
– The 1872 edition of Smith’s Bible Dictionary
THE BASIC REASONS THAT TRANSLATORS
REMOVED GOD’S NAME FROM THE BIBLE :
1. Anti-Semitic Feelings
The Jewish God of the Jewish Messiah
was hated and despised by the Greeks and Romans.
When Christianity became a State Religion of Rome –
All attempts to blot out the Hebrew origins of Jesus
were employed – and Removing God’s Name from the Bible
was a major attempt to obscure Jesus’ Jewish heritage.
“Well, be assured that the God that the Jews
worship – is the very same God that we worship.
Their sacred writings, the Law and the Prophets,
we revere and read aloud in our meetings.
And because we worship this God of the Jews,
the one thing we cannot be accused of is novelty.”
–Glimpses Issue #139 :
Why Early Christians Were So Despised;
Ken Curtis PH.D., Beth Jacobson,
Diana Severance Ph.D.,
Ann T. Snyder and Dan Graves. ©2003
by Christian History Institute.
“The Octavius of Minicius Felix” ;
2nd century A.D.
2. Support of Trinitarian Doctrine
When Rome voted to adopt the Trinity doctrine of
the numerous Pagans in her empire – The Name of
God – YHWH (translated Jehovah in English) –
interfered and hindered the Newly Adopted teaching
That Jesus was the Almighty God – Jehovah.
Rome paid her translators to remove God’s name
almost Seven Thousand Times (7,000) from the Bible.
“In the first two centuries nearly all the
various readings of the New Testament came
into existence, the majority of them by
deliberate alteration of the text…in the
interests of (the trinity) dogma…”
-the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics;
The Bible in the Church
“Codex B (Vaticanus)…was altered by a later hand
in more than two thousand places. Eusebius, therefore,
is not without grounds for accusing the adherents
of….the newly-risen doctrine of the trinity
of falsifying the Bible…”
-(Fraternal Visitor 1924, p. 148;
translated from Christadelphian Monatshefte).
“The removal of the Tetragrammaton (Jehovah)
from the New Testament and its replacement
with the surrogates KYRIOS and THEOS blurred
the original distinction between the Lord God
and the Lord Christ, and in many passages
made it impossible which one was meant.
As time went on…it was often impossible
to distinguish between them. Thus it may be
that the removal of the Tetragrammaton (Jehovah)
contributed significantly to the later…Trinity “
– George Howard, Bible Scholar ;
The Name of God in the New Testament,
BAR 4.1 (March 1978), pg 15
“It was they who demanded, in effect,
that Christianity be “updated” by blurring
or even obliterating the long-accepted
distinction between the Father and the Son.”
– When Jesus Became God
by Richard E. Rubenstein, p.74
Because the God of Christ – The Jewish God, Jehovah,
was not popular with the world of mankind, they
sought to remove him from their Bibles. Bible
translators knew that for their Bibles to be purchased
they would need to appeal to their readers. They
also knew, that if they used God’s Divine Name Jehovah,
then people would not purchase their Version and thus
they would lose money.
God’s name Jehovah/Yahowah appears in the original hebrew
text about 7000 times, but the NIV fails to mention it even once.
When asked about this, Edwin H. Palmer, Th.D.,
Executive Secretary for the NIV’s committee wrote :
“Here is why we did not : You are right – that Jehovah is
a distinctive name for God and ideally we should have
used it. But we put 2 1/4 million dollars into this
translation and a sure way of throwing that
down the drain is to translate, for example,
Psalm 23 as, ‘Yahweh (Jehovah) is my shepherd.‘
Immediately, we would have translated for nothing.
Nobody would have used it (or purchased it).
Oh, maybe you and a handful [of] others.
But a Christian has to be also wise and practical.
We are the victims of 350 years of the King James tradition.
It is far better to get two million to read it-
that is how many have bought it to date-
and to follow the King James, than to have two thousand
buy it and have the correct translation of Yahweh(Jehovah)
. . . It was a hard decision, and many of our translators
agree with you.”
– The Reason NIV removed Jehovah’s Name
Edwin H. Palmer, Th.D.,
Executive Secretary for the NIV‘s committee
“The situation today, where many translations…
exists largely because of the amount of money
to be gained…”
-(The Preservation of the Bible By Faithful Churches)
–By Charles V. Turner
4. MAN MADE “TRADITION“
It was a tradition of the Jews to avoid using God’s
name altogether. They stopped all mention of him.
No longer using God’s Divine Name, they no longer used
it in their prayers, even making it a sin to say his
name out loud. They considered it “blasphemy” to
utter the name of God, Jehovah. Many translators
admit to following this “Jewish Tradition” and have
thus removed Jehovah’s name and replaced it with Titles
such as “LORD” and “GOD” – all in capitals – to show
that they have removed God’s name in those places.
Jesus condemned the man-made tradition of the Jews.
Following their lead in this – would be directly against
Jesus’ Teachings on this issue.
“…Yahweh (Jehovah), is the proper personal name
of the God of Israel…the term Adonai, ‘My Lord’
was later used as a SUBSTITUTE. The word LORD
in the present version represents
the TRADITIONAL usage.”
– New American Bible (Catholic)
Introduction to the O. T., Page XI.
“In this translation
we have followed
the orthodox Jewish TRADITION
and substituted ‘the Lord’
for the name ‘Yahweh’ (Jehovah)”
— Preface – 1935 Bible ;
J. M. Powis Smith and Edgar J. Goodspeed
“And why do you break the command of God
for the sake of your tradition?
…Thus you nullify the word of God
for the sake of your tradition. “
During the time when Israel was in slavery to Babylon,
she absorbed and adopted many Babylonian customs and
ideas. One of these was the “Superstition” against using
the name of a God – for fear that bad things would
happen to them. As the Babylonians called their Chief
God – Marduk by the title “LORD” so as not to offend
him, so too – the Jews adopted this idea in reference
to Jehovah God.
“When the Yisraeli (Israelites) came out of Babylonian
captivity, they brought along with them the Babylonian
culture, and along with it Babylonian beliefs and
superstitions. One of these pagan Babylonian practices
or beliefs was called “ineffability.”
This was the SUPERSTITION against using the name
of a deity for fear of something bad happening to them.
The idea was that if you said the name of a deity
he or she would notice you. The pagan practice of
ineffability was further reinforced by Greek
-(b.Pes. 50a) (b.Kidd. 71a).
“The avoidance of the original name of God (Yehowah)
both in speech and, to a certain extent, in the Bible…..
first arose…..in Babylonia. According to Dalman
(l.c. pp. 66 et seq.),”
-The Jewish Encyclopedia
Crawford Howell Toy, and Ludwig Blau
“The idea that only the priest could utter
The NAME of The HEAVENLY FATHER, and that he
was to disguise or hide it from the common people,
came from the idea that the NAME was “ineffable”
or “unutterable”. However this was a pagan doctrine
that they adopted from the Egyptians, Babylonians,
and the Greeks…”
-THE FINAL REFORMATION; KOSTER P.54, P112
Marduk was, therefore, a very important god of Babylon.
In the first millennium BCE, his name was considered
so holy, that it was almost never pronounced;
instead, people said and wrote Bêl, ‘LORD’.
Herodotus correctly calls the supreme god of Babylon
Bêl (“lord”), because his real name was not pronounced.
-[Herodotus, Histories 1.181-2;
tr. Aubrey de Sélincourt]
“The ineffability of divine names
was on old idea in Egypt…
the name of Osiris himself was said
to be ineffable…the name Marduk of Babylon
was also declared ineffable. The Greeks
avoided the names of their deities
and preferred to call them by
the titles Kurios and Theos.”
-The Final Reformation
By Dr. Koster; pp. 54 and 112
“…But at least by the third century B.C.E.
the pronunciation of the name YHWH (Jehovah)
was avoided, and Adonai, “the Lord,”
was substituted for it…”
– Encyclopedia Judaica (p. 679).
“The Hebrews considered The Name of God
to be ‘ineffable’ and substituted in reading
Adonai (My Lord).”
-Columbia Encyclopedia Vol. 2
under the subject ‘God’
6. “JEHOVAH” IS NOT THE HEBREW WAY TO SAY GOD’S NAME
Some Bible Translators say that they have removed
God’s name from the Bible – because Jehovah is not
the proper way to say God’s name in Hebrew.
This reasoning is merely an excuse and not a reason
at all. For if this reason was valid, then we
would also have to remove Jesus name from the Bible,
since the name “Jesus” is not the way that it was
written or spoken in Hebrew either. Many Hebrew
names are written in the Bible – which are not as they
were in Hebrew and yet we do not remove them.
Therefore this reasoning is truly invalid. Examples
of Jewish names in the Bible which are translated
into English – much differently than their original
Hebrew couterparts – are : Jesus, Jeremiah, Jonah,
Joel, Jerusalem, Joshua, etc.
“… the Committee… is, omitting the name of God
(because) the word ‘Jehovah’ does not accurately
represent any form of the Name ever used in Hebrew…”
– The Preface of the Revised Standard Version
Thus, the Hebrew “ye-ru-sha-LA-yim”
“ye-ri-HO” became Jericho;
and “yar-DEN” become “Jordan”.
Hebrew personal names such as
“yo-NA” became “Jonah”,
“yi-SHAI” became “Jesse”
and “ye-SHU-a” became “Jesus“.
Likewise “YHWH, Yahweh, or Yehowah”
became “Jehovah” in english.
7. GOD DOESN’T NEED A NAME
God does not need to be distinguished from other gods.
Some translators have made this statement. Who are
we to say that God doesn’t need a name ? God deemed
it necessary to name all the stars in the heavens, and
to place his name upon people that he liked, and upon
places that were important to him. His own word the
Bible – emphasizes the importance of a name. The
translators of the Bible did not remove Satan’s name
from the Bible – nor did they remove the names of
numerous false gods from the Bible.
“the use of any proper name
for the one and only God…
is entirely inappropriate
for the universal faith
of the Christian Church.”
-the preface of the Revised Standard Version;
Under reasons (excuses) for the removal of
God’s personal name – Jehovah
“He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.”
“Lift up your eyes on high,
and see who hath created these,
that bringeth out their host by number;
he calleth them all by name…
The everlasting God, Jehovah,
the Creator of the ends of the earth…”
“A good name is more desirable than great riches;
to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”
“A good name is better
than oil of much worth…”
“…The Sacred Name Yahovah
was revealed to man by Yahovah Himself
and is not a man-given name”
-(see II Apol., 10, 13; Trypho, 126, 127).
In the Bible, refusing to mention the name of a god
means refusing to worship this god (Ex 23:13)
and that is why Satan incited the Israelites,
by means of the prophets of Baal,
not to use the Name of Jehovah (Jr 23:27).
“Yahweh (Jehovah) is the name
that indicates the God of the Hebrews.
Where the Philistines worshipped Dagon,
the Egyptians, Amon, and the Ammonites, Milcom,
the Hebrews worshipped YAHWEH (Jehovah).
The title ‘god’ (elohim) is ALSO applied to false deities
in the Scriptures as well as Yahweh (Jehovah),
hence is NOT a term by which one can be
distinguished from the others.
When the voice said, ‘I am Yahweh (Jehovah),’
there was no doubt in any listener’s mind
as to the identity of the speaker.
He was the God of the Hebrews.
So far as is known, no other peoples
called their god by this name.”
– Review and Herald, December 16, 1971
“In the Scriptures there is the closest possible relationship
between a person and his name, the two being practically
equivalent, so that to remove the name
is to extinguish the person. (Num. 27:4; Deut. 7:24)
To forget God’s name is to depart from Him.”
–Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, p. 571 (1964)
JEWISH BIBLES FAVOR THE NAME “JEHOVAH”
Non-superstitious Jewish translators always favored
the name “Jehovah” in their translations of the Bible.
On the other hand one can note that there is no
Jewish translation of the Bible with “Yahweh”.
|NAME OF VERSION
|Joseph Magil (see below)||English||1910||Jehovah|
|Rabbi L. Golschmidt (see below)||German||1921||Yehovah|
“non-superstitious Jewish translators
always favored the name Jehovah
in their translations of the Bible.
On the other hand one can note that
there is NO Jewish translation of the Bible
—M. Gérard GERTOUX; a Hebrew scholar,
specialist of the Tetragram;
president of the Association Biblique
de Recherche d’Anciens Manuscrits
THE EARLY CHRISTIANS
USED THE NAME – “JEHOVAH”
“As a follower of Christ,
Peter used Gods name, Jehovah.
When Peters speech was put on record
the Tetragrammaton (YHWH / Jehovah) was here used
according to the practice during the first
century B.C.E. and the first century C.E.”
– Paul Kahle; Studia Evangelica, edited by Kurt Aland,
F. L. Cross, Jean Danielou, Harald Riesenfeld
and W. C. van Unnik, Berlin, 1959, p. 614
(See App 1C Â§1.)
“The early Christian scholars therefore
easily learnt the true pronunciation.”
–The 15th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica,
volume 12, p. 995, under the heading “Jehovah”
ALMOST SEVEN THOUSAND TIMES
“The ASV (American Standard Version)
has “Jehovah” in it about 6,823 times,
just like the original Hebrew,
but the NASB removed it every time.
This makes for some awkward situations
like Psalms 110:1, “The LORD said to my lord.” “
Northern Arizona University
Department of Humanities Arts and Religion
Jesus’ name appears only 500 some times in the Bible;
whereas Jehovah’s Name appears almost 7,000 times.
Obviously Jehovah is proud of his name.
So how does he feel about mankind removing HIS Name
from the Bible ?
HOW DOES JEHOVAH FEEL ?
“Remember this, that the enemy hath reproached,
O Jehovah, And that a foolish people
hath blasphemed thy name.”
“And now this admonition is for you, O priests.
If you do not listen,
and if you do not set your heart to honor my name,”
says Jehovah Almighty,
“I will send a curse upon you,
and I will curse your blessings.”
(Malachi 2:1) (ASV)
“How long, O God,
will you allow our enemies to mock you?
Will you let them dishonor your name forever?”
(Psalm 74:10) (NLT) -BibleGateway
“And all day long
my name is constantly blasphemed.
Therefore my people will know my name;
therefore in that day they will know
that it is I who foretold it. “
(Isaiah 52:5,6) (NIV) -BibleGateway
“Therefore, behold, I will cause them to know,
this once will I cause them to know
my hand and my might;
and they shall know
that my name is Jehovah.”
(Jeremiah 16:21) (ASV) -BibleGateway
“And I will sanctify my great name,
which hath been profaned among the nations,
which ye have profaned in the midst of them;
and the nations shall know that I am Jehovah.”
(Ezekiel 36:23) (ASV) -BibleGateway
“And it shall come to pass,
that whosoever shall call
on the name of Jehovah
shall be delivered…”
“…this is what was spoken
by the prophet Joel:
‘In the ‘last days’…..
everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord (Jehovah)
will be saved.'”
FOLLOW CHRIST’S EXAMPLE
So rather than follow the Jewish Traditions –
that Jesus Condemned – We should follow Christ’s
example in making his Father’s name known.
“Our Father in the heavens,
let your name be sanctified.”
(Matthew 6:9) – BibleGateway
Jesus used his father’s name –
and told us to do the same.
In prayer to his father, Jesus said:
“O righteous Father,
even though the world does not know you,
I know you, and these know that you have sent me.
I made known to them YOUR NAME
and I will continue to make it known…
“I have manifested Your name
to the men whom You gave Me out of the world.”
“I will praise thy name for ever and ever..
Great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised;
And his greatness is unsearchable.”
“That men may know that thou,
whose name alone is JEHOVAH,
art the most high over all the earth.”
(Psalm 83:18) (King James Version) -BibleGateway