Name for God in the New Testament
Since Jehovah is the personal name used for God in the Old Testament, one would expect it to be used plentifully in the New Testament as well. However, the name Jehovah simply isn’t there!
This fact has led one particular religious group to develop their own translation of the Bible, inserting the name Jehovah where they deem appropriate.21 However, there is simply no historical basis for inserting Jehovah into thousands of ancient manuscripts.
It would have been virtually impossible to alter over 5,000 early manuscripts, some dating to within a few decades of the original writings. Furthermore, over 36,000 non-biblical letters and documents from early Christians citing New Testament passages exhibit no evidence that the name Jehovah was used for God.22
Just as there are three Hebrew words for God in the Old Testament, there are also three primary Greek names used for God or Lord in the New Testament:23
New Testament Names for God
- Kurios—meaning “Lord” or “Ruler”
- Theos—meaning “God”
- Pateras—meaning “Father”
Whereas theos is the formal Greek word for God, pateras speaks of God as Father. Jesus taught his disciples to pray to God as their Father in heaven.24
In his prayer to the Father prior to leaving earth, Jesus spoke of the glory they shared before the world existed.
And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world.25
The disciples frequently referred to Jesus as Lord (kurios). The Greek word kurios could simply be a title of honor referring to a man’s power and authority. Many references to Jesus Christ use the word in that manner. However, the word kurios sometimes referred to God.
Greek-speaking Jews referred to their God as “Lord.” In the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, kuirios is not only used as a translation of the Hebrew word adonai or lord, but, since Adonai was also read by the rabbis in place of God’s personal name “Yahweh” or “Jehovah,” Kuirios was also used to render it. Therefore to any reader of the LXX “Lord” was a common name for “God.” Applied to God, the title denotes His power over the world and men as the Creator, the ruler, and the giver of life and death.26