We often refer to God as the God of Israel because Israel was the first nation that followed God. As such, the Bible uses lots of Hebrew names of God. The different names convey different aspects or attributes of God. The names convey His immense power in a way we can understand and relate to. Through His names, we get a glimpse into who He is and how we are to respond to our Lord. Find out more about God’s Hebrew names and the importance of understanding them below.
In the Old Testament, which was written in Hebraic language, names convey power, authority, position, and character. Names of God are rich with meaning and implications for our lives. When we understand each name, we learn more about God as He declares to the world who He is. It’s also a way to boost our faith and trust in God because the Bible says: “Those who know your name will put their trust in you.”
Hebrew Names Of God And Their Meaning
YHWH / YAHWEH
While the Bible has been translated into several languages, in the Torah, written in Hebrew, God had a specific name: YHWH, also known as the Tetragrammaton. YHWH is one of the most sacred Hebrew names of God. It means LORD, which has been mentioned in several scriptures, including Deuteronomy 6:4; Revelation 1:8; Daniel 9:14; Isaiah 41:4; 44:6).
For easier pronunciation, YHWH is also called Jehovah. The name is considered sacred such that devout Jews, out of reverence for Him, never say LORD. Instead, they substitute it with Adonai, a Hebrew word for “Lord.” In addition, when God’s Hebrew name “YHWH” (Tetragrammaton for yod, he, vav, and he) was used in the Old Testament, English translations usually use “LORD” in all caps or Lord in small caps.
The name Lord shouldn’t be confused with lord, which is designated for earthly rulers or kings, for instance, saying “my lord” when addressing a king. Overall, Lord/LORD/YHWH/Jehovah is a name for our heavenly ruler, God, our creator, and savior. It is believed that YHWH first appeared in the Bible when God talked to Moses as a burning bush and said, ‘I AM WHO I AM.
Elohim means God the creator, mighty strong or mighty one. The meaning is often applied when referring to creation. The meaning of this name is obtained from Genesis 1:1, which points to God’s character as a creator. Christians also use the word Elohim to signify God’s power and might.
Sometimes Elohim can be shortened to El or combined with another word to give an additional description of God. Elohim is the plural form of EL, which in Hebrew means strong one. Other names of God can also be constructed by combining the base form with other designators. For example, Elohai means my God, Elohei Haelohim, God of gods, or Ben Elohim, the son of God.
Yahweh Yireh, which means the Lord will provide, is the Tetragrammaton YHWH. This name of God is mentioned in Genesis 22:13-14, when God tests Abraham’s faith by asking him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac.
Abraham was ready to do as commanded by God, but when he picked up a knife, an angel stopped him, and God provided a ram to be sacrificed instead of Isaac. Then Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh. The meaning of this Hebrew name for God is emphasized in Phil. 4:19, which says: “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
This Hebrew name of God means God Almighty or God is All-Sufficient. The first part, “El,” means God, while Shaddai is attached to His power, glory, authority, and might. A good example of where this name of God is found is where the Bible says:
“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless” (Genesis 17:1). The meaning of El Shaddai is also mentioned in Exodus 6:3: “I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself fully known to them.”
This is another Hebrew name for God that is a Tetragrammaton of YHWH, and it means the Lord is my shepherd. Psalms 23:1 is a good example of where the Hebrew name for God Yahweh Roi is used. In this scripture, David affirms he will never lack because “the Lord is my shepherd.”
In the New Testament, Paul reiterates this message: “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). A shepherd cares deeply for his sheep. If one is lost, he will look for it until he finds it (Luke 15:4).
A similar message is stated in John 10:11: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep”. In this case, God is our shepherd, and we are His sheep. When we rely completely on our shepherd, we shall never lack.
Jehovah Rapha/Yahweh Rapha means The Lord Who Heals. The context of God’s revelation of His name, Jehovah Rapha, is mentioned early in the wilderness after the Israelites left Egypt. They had been wandering in the desert for three days when they came across the bitter waters of Mara. Through Moses, God turned the water fit to drink and identified himself as the Lord who heals.
The healing of the waters was a demonstration of God’s power to overcome sickness and impurities. But it also applies to healing human beings physically, emotionally, and spiritually (Psalm 34:18; 103:2–3).
Other Names Of God
- Jehovah Nissi – The LORD is my banner
- Jehovah Rophe (Rapha) – The Lord Who Heals/God my Healer
- Melekh – King
- Yahweh Tsidkenu – The Lord Our Righteousness
- El-Berith – God of the Covenant
- El Gibor – The Mighty God
- Elohim Kedoshim – Holy God
- El Kana – The Jealous God
- El Olam – The God of Eternity
- El Roi – the God who sees me
- El Yeshuati – The God of My Salvation
- Jehovah M’kaddesh – The Lord Who Sanctifies or God my Sanctifier
- Yahweh Shalom – The Lord Our Peace
- Yahweh Shammah – The Lord Is there
- Yahweh Sabaoth-The Lord of Hosts
Nowadays, there are many characters that people can emulate, but nothing compares to our heroic God, who goes by many names. Through each Hebrew name, we learn more about God as He declares who He is to the world. Yet in all the names, God remains omni-existence and One God.