Let me state, first and foremost, that the Name, “Jesus” is neither a magic word, like Abracadabra, nor is it an evil, mistranslation of the Name of the Son of God…

The name given Jesus, at birth, is the name that we know in English as Joshua (יְהוֹשׁ֫וּעַ). It means, “The LORD is salvation” Nothing special about that name, Joshua, the son of Nun, who took the people into the promised land had the same name. It was a common Jewish name for boys and chances are very great that Jesus was not the only boy in his school with the name Joshua…

It has been the habit of translators into most languages, including Latin, to transliterate the Hebrew name (יְהוֹשׁ֫וּעַ) when referring to Joshua in the Old Testament, and to transliterate the Greek name (Ἰησοῦς), when referring to Jesus of Nazareth. Thus, in English, we have two versions of the same name. Joshua and Jesus.

King James messed up on that once, in the Book of Hebrews:

Hebrews 4:8 KJV, “For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.”

That messed up a lot of people’s theology for a great many years. You will notice that, without exception, all other translations use the name “Joshua”, because in context that is obviously who it was talking about.

The distinction, in English between Joshua  and Jesus is perhaps artificial but extremely helpful. Most references to the Old Testament Joshua, are in Hebrew, while all references to Jesus of Nazareth are in the New Testament and written in Greek. It is natural to use a more Hebrew pronunciation with an Old Testament character and a more Greek pronunciation for the Messiah of the New Testament.

Some have made much of the fact that there is no “J” sound in Hebrew. Just for reference, there was no “J” sound in English in 1611. The “J” was pronounced as a “Y”, in both England and the American Colonies, when the King James translators spelled the word Jesus. The hardening of the letter into what we now identify as the “J” sound was gradual. It was not a plot by King James to rename the Son of God…

The next time someone tries to tell you that calling (יְהוֹשׁ֫וּעַ  Hebrew) or (Ἰησοῦς, Greek), Jesus is somehow “evil”, just laugh quietly and ignore them…



Author: davidrice1951

I am a vile sinner. I have been a soldier and a sailor. I have been a student and a teacher. I taught English in Mexico. I started and taught in a Bible College in Venezuela. I am married to Cathy, a beautiful lady from Guyana. We have two children, Christopher and Amanda. I am saved by Grace, washed in the Blood and filled with the Spirit. I love Jesus, my wife, my kids and you...

One thought on “THE NAME OF JESUS”

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