November 2017


Faith & God

The word faith comes from a Latin word meaning ‘trust or confidence.’ It can mean ‘to trust or believe in someone or something’ or ‘a belief in the existence of God.’ Some linguistic scholars trace the word God back to the word ‘ghut.’ This comes from an ancient language called PIE (Proto-Indo-European that existed over 7,000 years ago) meaning, ‘that which is invoked.’

Divine Name of God

In the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), God spoke to Moses from a burning bush calling him to bring God’s people, (the Israelites), out of slavery in Egypt to freedom. In the conversation, God revealed his Divine Name, ‘I AM WHO I AM’ (Exodus 3:14). The ancient Hebrew language did not contain vowels (a,e,i,o,u, etc) so when the Divine Name came to be written down, it was spelt with just four consonants – YHWH.

When the Hebrew Scriptures were translated into ancient Greek, which had written vowels, YHWH might have been pronounced ‘Yahweh,’ but this is far from certain. Just before the 1st Century AD, in Judaism the Divine Name was considered too sacred to utter. When it appeared in the Scriptures, the reader would replace it with the title ‘Adonai’ (Hebrew for ‘Lord’). At the same time, Christians adopted this practice in their written translations of the Hebrew Scriptures into ancient Greek. Nowhere in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) does the Divine Name appear.

In the 13th Century, some Christian Bible translators decided to take the vowels out of ‘Adonai’ and add them to YHWH to create ‘YaHoWaH.’ When translated into Latin it became ‘Jehovah.’ This word does not accurately correspond to any version of the Divine Name that appears in ancient Hebrew. As the spelling and pronunciation of YHWH remains a mystery, making up a name may be seen as disrespecting God. It would be like spelling Damian – DMN, and coming up with Damon or even Demon!

Today, most accurate Bible translations do not translate YHWH, and when it appears in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) it is reverently replaced with the ancient title ‘LORD’ (in capitals).