Wednesday, 19 July 2017

How Many Names Does God Have?

The Bible’s answer

God has just one personal name. It is written יהוה in Hebrew and is usually rendered “Jehovah” in English. * Through his prophet Isaiah, God stated: “I am Jehovah. That is my name.” (Isaiah 42:8) This name appears about 7,000 times in ancient Bible manuscripts​—far more frequently than any other term for God or, indeed, anyone else’s personal name. *

Are there other names for God?

Although the Bible refers to God by only one personal name, it uses many titles and descriptions for him. The following list of some of those titles and descriptions shows how each one reveals an aspect of Jehovah’s nature or his personality.
Title
Reference
Meaning
Allah
(None)
Derived from Arabic, the word “Allah” is not a personal name but a title meaning “God.” Bible translations in Arabic and other languages use “Allah” as an equivalent for “God.”
Almighty
Has irresistible power. The Hebrew expression ʼEl Shad·daiʹ, “God Almighty,” occurs seven times in the Bible.
The Alpha and the Omega
“The first and the last,” or “the beginning and the end,” meaning that there was no Almighty God before Jehovah and there will be none after him. (Isaiah 43:10) Alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.
Ancient of Days
Had no beginning; existed for an eternity before anyone or anything else came into being.​—Psalm 90:2.
Creator
Brought all things into existence.
Father
Life-giver.
God
An object of worship; a strong One. The Hebrew word ʼElo·himʹ is plural, indicating Jehovah’s majesty, dignity, or excellence.
God of gods
The supreme God, in contrast with the “worthless gods” worshipped by some.​—Isaiah 2:8.
Grand Instructor
Gives beneficial teaching and direction.​—Isaiah 48:17, 18.
Grand Maker
Brought all things into existence.​—Revelation 4:​11.
Happy God
Characterized by joy and happiness.​—Psalm 104:31.
Hearer of prayer
Personally listens to each prayer offered to him in faith.
I Am That I Am
Exodus 3:​14King James Version
Becomes whatever is needed to fulfill his purpose. This phrase has also been translated “I Will Become whatsoever I please” or “I Will Become What I Choose to Become.” (The Emphasised Bible, by J. B. Rotherham; New World Translation) This description helps to explain the personal name, Jehovah, given in the next verse.​—Exodus 3:​15.
Jealous
Exodus 34:14King James Version
Tolerates no rivalry in worship. This term has also been translated “does not tolerate rivals” and “known for requiring exclusive devotion.”​—God’s Word Bible; New World Translation.
King of eternity
His rulership has no beginning or end.
Lord
Owner or master; Hebrew ʼA·dhohnʹ and ʼAdho·nimʹ.
Lord of hosts, Lord of Sabaoth
Isaiah 1:9King James VersionRomans 9:​29King James Version
Commander of vast forces of angels. The title “Lord of Sabaoth” can also be rendered “Jehovah of armies” and “Lord of the [heavenly] armies.”​—Romans 9:​29New World Translation; NET Bible, footnote.
Most High
Occupies the supreme position.
Most Holy One
More holy (morally clean and pure) than any other being.
Potter
Has authority over individuals and nations, just as a potter has authority over clay.​—Romans 9:​20, 21.
Redeemer, Repurchaser
Isaiah 41:14King James Version
Recovers or buys back mankind from sin and death through the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ.​—John 3:​16.
Rock
A secure refuge and source of salvation.
Savior
Delivers from danger or destruction.
Shepherd
Cares for his worshippers.
Sovereign Lord
Has supreme authority; Hebrew ʼAdho·naiʹ.
Supreme One
The highest sovereign.

Place names in the Hebrew Scriptures

Some place names in the Bible include God’s personal name, but these are not alternate names for God.
Place name
Reference
Meaning
Jehovah-jireh
“Jehovah Will Provide.”
Jehovah-nissi
“Jehovah Is My Signal Pole,” or “my Banner.” (Today’s New International Version) Jehovah is a God around whom his people can rally for protection and help.​—Exodus 17:13-​16.
Jehovah-shalom
“Jehovah Is Peace.”
Jehovah-shammah
Ezekiel 48:35, footnote, American Standard Version
“Jehovah Is There.”

Reasons to know and use God’s name

  • God must feel that his personal name, Jehovah, is important, because he included it thousands of times in the Bible.​—Malachi 1:​11.
  • God’s Son, Jesus, repeatedly stressed the importance of God’s name. For instance, he prayed to Jehovah: “Let your name be sanctified.”​—Matthew 6:9; John 17:6.
  • Those who come to know and use God’s name take the first steps in building a friendship with Jehovah. (Psalm 9:​10; Malachi 3:​16) Such a relationship enables them to benefit from God’s promise: “Because he has affection for me, I will rescue him. I will protect him because he knows my name.”​Psalm 91:14.
  • The Bible acknowledges: “There are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth, just as there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords.’” (1 Corinthians 8:​5, 6) Yet it clearly identifies the one true God by his name, Jehovah.​—Psalm 83:18.