This is not a "Sacred Name"
Throughout the past 70 years, "Sacred Name"
movements have developed. Though not a unified movement, these
groups generally emphasize the necessity of using God's name
"correctly." (God's name appears in the Old Testament as YHWH
when transcribed from Hebrew into English letters.) Some may also
incorporate a supposed "correct" pronunciation of Jesus' Hebrew
name as a tenant of faith. (Jesus' Hebrew name is usually written
in English as Yahshua, Yeshua, or Y'shua, with other variations
as well.) Each group will have its own emphasis, but frequently
there is an aura of biblical orthodoxy associated with correct
pronunciation of either (or both) names. Salvation may be tied to
the "correct" use of either name.
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Our comments regarding "LORD" in the English Old
Testament are entirely different from a "Sacred Name" emphasis.
Our focus is on correctly translating Scripture into another
language. At the risk of some redundancy, the issue is as
- We have criticized the Watch Tower Society for producing a
Bible (the New World Translation) with a "New Testament"
in which a single Greek word Kurios (meaning "Lord" or
"lord" [master]) was translated selectively as "Lord" (when
referring to Jesus) or "Jehovah" (when referring to Yahweh of
the Old Testament). We object because the New World
Translation has improperly translated the Greek New
Testament text in order to produce a "New Testament" in keeping
with their theology. Our assertion is that a word in the
original Greek New Testament manuscript must be translated into
the receiving language—English, in this case—in
such a manner that it conveys the same thought to today's
reader that it did to the New Testament writer and the readers
of that day. By selectively translating Kurios as "Lord"
or "Jehovah" depending on the theological implications of the
verse, the translators of the New World Translation
Greek Scriptures (New Testament) have violated the principle of
conveying the same meaning as that of the original manuscript.
The original word Kurios could be used to identify
either the "Lord" or "YHWH" to the first century reader. That
degree of vagueness must be maintained in today's English
translation because it was intended as such in the original
- However, if we call the Watch Tower Society to
accountability for improper translation when introducing
"Jehovah" into the New Testament, we must also examine our
600-year English tradition of translating YHWH as "LORD." YHWH,
which was used 6,828 times in the Old Testament, was clearly
understood by Jewish readers to be the Divine Name. Translation
into English is complicated by a number of factors.
Nonetheless, in today's English-speaking world, "Yahweh" is
probably the best choice for most readers. (However, "Jehovah"
is equally representative of YHWH for those more familiar with
that term. "Jehovah" is no more problematic than translating
Jesus' name from Greek [Iesous] to "Jesus.") Our
expectation for Old Testament translation must be parallel to
the expectation stated above for the New Testament. A word in
the original Hebrew Old Testament manuscript must be translated
into the receiving language—we are again talking about
our English translations—in such a manner that it conveys
the same thought to today's reader that it did to the Old
Testament writer and the readers of that day. Therefore, the
Old Testament word YHWH must be translated into today's English
in a way which will clearly identify the Divine Name of the Old
Testament God. We must be as willing to evaluate our own faulty
translation of the Old Testament as we are to evaluate the
translation of the New World Translation "New
We are not advocating the use of God's name in
the Old Testament because it conveys some mysterious power. We
are simply asking that Scripture be translated in both Testaments
in a way that will convey the meaning of the original inspired
Scripture to today's reader. Just as this will require removal of
"Jehovah" from the New World Translation's "New
Testament," so it will also require the appropriate translation
of YHWH in the Old Testament in order to convey the Divine