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What Is God’s Name in the Old Testament?

God was known by several names in the Old Testament. Which one is accurate?

by Bodie Hodge on April 17, 2012
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Bodie Hodge, AiG–U.S., examines many of the different names referring to God in the Old Testament.

I am sometimes surprised at how easy it is to answer some alleged Bible contradictions. And this one is rather easy. Imagine if someone came up to me and said, “What is your name? Is it Bodie or Mr. Hodge?” Well the answer is simple: it is both.

Should we assume that God has only one name and all others are contradictions in Scripture? That would be absurd. God often gave new names to people, such as Jacob becoming Israel or Abram becoming Abraham and so on. The names have meaning too. For example, Abram means “exalted father” and Abraham means “the father of a multitude.” The latter name obviously reflected the promise God made to Abraham about having countless offspring. So having more than one name is no contradiction at all.

God often revealed things by the name He gave for Himself. For example, Jehovah-Jireh means “the Lord provides.” In fact, the name Jehovah is derived from YHWH, the name God revealed to Moses. It is from a root word translated as “I AM” in the title “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14). This helps us understand that God is the ultimate authority in all matters at all times and existence is predicated upon Him. In fact, there are a number of names that God reveals to us in Scripture. Here are some from the Old Testament:

Some Old Testament Names of God (Not exhaustive)1

NameBrief meaningReference
ElohimGod (Majestic plural yet used with singular verbs for God)Genesis 1:1
ElGod (singular)Genesis 7:1
El ShaddaiGod is sufficient/almightyGenesis 17:1
El ElyonGod Most HighDeuteronomy 26:19
El RoiGod seesGenesis 16:13
El OlamGod everlastingGenesis 21:33
El GibborMighty GodIsaiah 9:6
Jehovah“I AM WHO I AM” or Yahweh or “to be”; In English Bibles translated as “LordGenesis 2:4 (Jehovah Elohim specifically here)
Jehovah-MagenThe Lord my shieldPsalm 3:3
Jehovah-TsaddiqThe Lord is righteous 2 Chronicles 12:6
Jehovah-JirehThe Lord provides or the Lord seesGenesis 22:14
Jehovah-RaphaThe Lord healsExodus 15:26
Jehovah-NissiThe Lord is our bannerExodus 17:15
Jehovah-M’KaddeshThe Lord sanctifiesLeviticus 20:7
Jehovah-ShalomThe Lord is our peaceJudges 6:24
Jehovah-RohiThe Lord is our shepherdPsalm 23:1
Jehovah-ShammahThe Lord is thereEzekiel 48:35
Jehovah-SabaothLord of hostsIsaiah 1:24
Jehovah-TsidkenuThe Lord is our righteousnessJeremiah 23:5
Jehovah-Hoseenu (Asah)The Lord our MakerPsalm 95:6
Judge (Shaphat)The JudgeGenesis 18:25
Mighty One (Abir)Mighty OneGenesis 49:24
Branch (Tsemach)The BranchJeremiah 23:5
Holy One (Kadosh)Holy One2 Kings 19:22
Jealous (Kanna)JealousExodus 34:14
Deliverer (Palet) or (Rhuomai Greek)Deliverer2 Samuel 22:2 and Romans 11:26
Savior (Yeshua)SaviorIsaiah 43:3
Redeemer (Ga’al)RedeemerJob 19:25
Shepherd (Ra’ah)The Shepherd, overseerGenesis 49:24
Stone (Eben) of IsraelStoneGenesis 49:24
Strength (Eyaluwth)StrengthPsalm 22:19
AdonaiMaster or Lord (as plural); in English Bibles translated as “Lord”Genesis 15:2
Rock (Tsur) of IsraelRockIsaiah 30:29
King (Melekh)KingIsaiah 41:21 [of Israel]; Psalm 74:12
Father (Ab) or (Abba Greek)FatherMalachi 1:6 and Galatians 4:6
First (Ri’shon) and Last (Acharon) or (Protos and Eschatos in Greek)First and LastIsaiah 48:12 and Revelation 1:11
ImmanuelGod with usIsaiah 7:14

Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions: Volume 2

Footnotes

  1. Note that in some cases there are variant spellings because they have been transliterated from Hebrew into English.

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