Few people know it, but God has a personal name that appears in the Bible over 7000 times, represented in Romanized Hebrew by the letters YHWH. Some translate this name as Yahweh or Jehovah, but others argue that these translations are wrong because there is no J in Hebrew.
Nowadays most bibles substitute this thetagram YHWH for Lord or God, making the personal name of God unknown to most people. An attitude that I think is totally wrong. In this article we are going to try to understand why the translators did this, and are their arguments correct?
Could it be that God's name cannot or must be translated? Is using the Jehovah or Yahweh translations wrong? Can names be translated from one language to another? Let's find out?
Names cannot be translated?
One of people's arguments is that names cannot be translated from one language to another, but they translate Jesus without any problem. This argument that names cannot be translated makes no sense.
In the Bible itself, the name John is written in English John, while the book of James is written in English strangely James, it seems a translation unrelated. We also have the name of Mary which is Mary, that is, names are translated in the bible without any problem.
Our personal names are also translated from one language to another, my name Kevin in Japanese is spelled Kebin, or Kevuin, but there is no VI in the Japanese language, so I choose to spell Kebin.
Jesus in Japanese is spelled IESU, while YHWH in Japanese is spelled EHOBA, without the use of the J as some question, since there is no J in the Japanese language either.
If there is no J in Japanese, what arguments do the Japanese use to question the translation of God's name? The argument of translating the name of God with vowels or J is easily overturned.
God's name can be translated in several ways
Just as my Japanese name can be spelled and pronounced in many ways, God's name can also be translated in many ways.
In English the name of God has been translated in recent centuries in two different ways, today the most common form used is Jehova, but the other form has also been used even by the religion that uses the name of God, the Witnesses of Jehovah.
In Portuguese and some languages of Latin origin, the name Jehovah and Yahweh are usually present, both translations can be used without any problem, but I personally consider that Yahweh is of Latin origin, whereas Jehovah is really a translation into Portuguese.
Why should we translate the name of God?
Many religions claim that the name of God is too sacred to pronounce, but then why does it appear over 7000 times in the bible? Such belief that God's name should not be spoken comes from a Jewish sect after Christ, an erroneous interpretation of Exodus 20:7.
Many religious people do not mind using the name of God, nor do they notice the writing LORD in capital letters appearing frequently in their translations of the bible. Perhaps this is the main reason why no one bothers to translate God's name.
I personally believe it is important to use a translation of God's personal name, even if it is the letters YHWH, because there are many gods, and sir it is just a generic title.
Even though scholars claim that it is not correct to translate the acronyms YHWH, the aforementioned facts overturn this argument that it is impossible to translate the name of God.
Does God allow you to translate your name?
Although rare, the name of God also appears in Greek scriptures in an abbreviated form or as a mention in Hebrew texts. Perhaps the name has fallen into disuse because of Jewish beliefs that the name is too sacred.
Despite this, the name of God has not ceased to be used among true Christians who follow Christ, so much so that Paul affirmed its importance in Romans 10:13.
Even if we discard the misinterpretation of Exodus 20:7, we come to the following question: Does God think it's bad for us to try to make inaccurate translations of YHWH?
Does God not understand our efforts to translate his personal name? We saw that it is possible to translate the name of God without problem, but will God allow? Do you like it or think it's bad?
In each language there is a different word to refer to God, in English God is God, while in Japanese and Kami, but God understands all these generic terms, why wouldn't he understand a translation of his personal name?
Religions use the term Jah! no problem, even if it's an abbreviation of God's name, so why not translate the full original name?
God listens to all our words in our languages, even though it's totally different, the meanings or origins of the words, why would he think it's bad for us to try to translate his personal name that has a meaning?
I personally prefer to use uncertain translations like Jehovah, Yahweh or even the thetagram YHWH, than to use generic terms like God or Lord, and I believe that God would also prefer to be distinguished from other gods, regardless of whether it is a perfect translation or not.
This is my opinion about translating the name of God… I personally don't see a problem and I find it absurd not to translate or use a personal name to distinguish the God of the Bible from other Gods.