Bnonn Tennant (the B is silent)

Where a recovering ex-atheist skewers things with a sharp two-edged sword

About God Language & Interpretation


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1 minute to read It’s a name, people.

It was particularly emphasized to me this morning what a terrible translation policy it is to render the tetragrammaton as “the LORD“, after a children’s talk which explained the third commandment iterated half a dozen names for God without ever mentioning the one he actually gave to Moses and the Israelites—the one to which the commandment is referring.

I do not blame the teacher. I blame the Bibles he is working from.



I didn’t quite follow this post. Doesn’t the NT always translate Yahweh in OT quotations as Kurios also? I think there are good reasons for the “Lord” translation, as I understand that the Hebrew name had an actual theological meaning that is – admittedly partly – conveyed by the title Lord. I think John Frame’s Doctrine of God has some discussion of this that you might find interesting.

I’ve heard of different translations in Bibles of other languages – I think I remember that there was a French Bible that translated the word “Eternal One” or something like that. But to me it is less confusing for readers to have the NT quotes line up. And of course any good Bible will have “Lord” in small caps and a note at the front as to what the name means.

I also didn’t understand your comment about the children’s talk. Don’t you think that saying “Oh my Lord” or “Oh God” or “Goodness Gracious” or something similar violates the commandment? Maybe I’m overreading and you just wish the children were being taught not to say “Oh Yahweh,” although I’m skeptical that that is a big problem in any English speaking country.

I think the Westminster Catechism discussion on the Third Commandment – questions 111-113 -114 – is pretty good.

Best, Henry