A. HEBREW NAMES:
The Hebrew word translated “God” is ELOHIM. It is found first in Genesis 1:1 and then over 2,500 additional times in the Old Testament. The meaning of this word includes all of God’s essence and thus presents all of His attributes at once. While many times this title is used to describe the Father, the student will see that the title is also used to describe the Son and the Holy Spirit, because the Trinity is God.
ELOHIM is a plural (meaning more than one) word, which is described by scholars as a “plural of majesty.” It denotes His unlimited greatness. This word, although plural, consistently employs singular verbs, once again showing there is but one God (Deuteronomy 6:5).
The word ELOHIM is often attached to another word that gives additional information about God and becomes another title for Him.
a. God Almighty.
“God Almighty” is the usual translation of EL SHADDAI. “EL” is a shortened form of ELOHIM. It was often used as to describe the blessings that God poured out on His people.
It is found in: Genesis 17:1; 28:3; 35:11; 43:14; 48:3; 49:25; Exodus 6:3; Numbers 24:4, 16; Ruth 1:20,21; Job 5:17; 6:4, 14; 8:3, 5; 11:7; 13:3; 15:25; 21:15, 20; 22:3, 17, 23, 25, 26; 23:16; 24:1; 27:2, 10, 11,13; 29:5; 31:2, 35; 32:8; 33:4; 34:10, 12; 35:13; 37:23; 40:2; Psalms 68:14; 91:1; Isaiah 13:6; Ezekiel 1:24; 10:5; Joel 1:15.
b. God Most High.
“God Most High” is the usual translation of EL ELYON, which refers to His supremacy in all matters.
2 Chronicles 7:21; 8:5; 23:20; 27:3; 32:30; Nehemiah 3:25; Psalms 7:17; 9:2; 18:13; 21:7; 46:4; 47:2;50:14; 57:2; 73:11; 77:10; 78:17, 35, 56; 82:6; 83:18; 87:5; 89:27; 91:1, 9; 92:1; 97:9; 107:11; Isaiah 7:3;14:14; 36:2; Jeremiah 20:2; 36:10; Lamentations 3:35, 38; Ezekiel 9:2; 41:7; 42:5.
c. Everlasting God.
The descriptive title “everlasting God” is the usual translation of EL OLAM. The Hebrew word OLAM is better understood as eternal (having no beginning or end) rather than everlasting (having no end).
YAHWEH is most often translated as “LORD” in all capital letters so that it may be distinguished from other words, which are translated as “Lord” or “lord.” YAHWEH is also combined often with other terms that further describe His person and role.
God’s name “LORD” is the usual translation by the Hebrew word YAHWEH. YAHWEH is God’s personal name Exodus 3:14 and is used over 5,300 times in the Old Testament. It denotes His active self conscious existence. The first use of LORD is found in Genesis 2:4 where it is joined to ELOHIM and translated LORD GOD.
God’s personal name became so sacred in Israel that after the Babylonian exile (586-516 B.C.) they did not pronounce His name but instead called Him ADONAI. During the sixth and seventh centuries A.D. the vowels of ADONAI were combined with the consonants YHWH to form the word “Jehovah” to remind the reader to pronounce YHWH as ADONAI.
a. The LORD Will Provide.
“The LORD will provide” is the translation of the title YAHWEH YIREH. This title is found inGenesis 22:14 and refers to the time when the Lord provided a ram to Abraham as a sacrifice in place of His son Isaac.
b. The LORD Is My Banner.
“The LORD is my Banner” is the translation of the title YAHWEH NISSI. This title is found inExodus 17:15 and was given to the Lord by Moses after the defeat of the Amalekites.
c. The LORD Is Peace.
This title “the LORD is Peace” is the translation of YAHWEH SHALOM. It is used in Judges 6:24.
d. The LORD Of Hosts.
“The LORD of hosts” is the translation of YAHWEH SABBAOTH, a military term, which means that the LORD is commander over the armies, including the angelic armies and the armies of Israel . It is first used in 1 Samuel 1:3 and then hundreds of times more.
3. LORD, MASTER, OWNER.
ADONAI is also a plural word like ELOHIM, which denotes the majesty of God. However, unlike ELOHIM, it is found in the singular as ADON. The word ADON means a “lord” in the sense of a master or owner. It is used to denote authority. Its first use is in Genesis 18:3 where Abraham uses it to address the Lord.
The Greek equivalent is KURIOS.
B. GREEK NAMES:
The Greek word for “God” is THEOS. Like the Hebrew word ELOHIM, this title presents all of God’s attributes at one time. It is the word most frequently selected to translate ELOHIM in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament).
The Greek word for “Lord” is KURIOS. It is used over 700 times in the New Testament and emphasizes authority and supremacy. The word can also be used simply as a title of respect.
We saw in the previous point that THEOS and ELOHIM have the same meaning. We will also see that KURIOS and YAHWEH are equal in meaning to each other. In Mark 11:9, the writer is quoting Psalm 118:26, which says “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD.” The Hebrew word in Psalm 118 is YAHWEH while the word used to translate it is KURIOS.
“Master” is the usual translation of the word DESPOTES, although it is at times translated as “Lord” (Luke 2:29 ; Acts 4:24 ). “Master” emphasizes the idea of ownership rather than the ideas of authority and supremacy which are emphasized by KURIOS.