“El, Yahweh, Adonai, Theos ”
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"Know God By All His Names"
The names used for God in the Bible describe various aspects
of God, and they help us to understand all of his various
THE BIBLICAL IDEA OF NAME
In the Bible, the name of God and the being of God are closely
This is similar to the ancient idea of what a name signifies.
In the Hebrew language, the word for “name”
most probably meant “sign” or “distinctive mark.”
In the Greek language, “name”
(onoma) comes from a verb that means, “to
Because of this, a name indicates how a person or object is to
be known. The idea of a name is not to be taken in the sense of a label or an
arbitrary way of identifying or specifying a person, place, or object.
“Name” in biblical usage correctly
describes the person, place, or object and indicates the essential character
of the person or thing it is naming.
Adam named the animals according to their nature (Genesis
Noah means “one who brings relief and
comfort” (Genesis 5:29).
Jesus means “savior” (Matthew
1:21). When a person was given a new position or a radical change took
place in his life, a new name was given to indicate that new aspect.
This happened in the life of Abraham, the “father of
many” (Genesis 17:5), and Israel, “one who
strives with God” (Genesis 32:28).
A person’s name expressed and described the most important
characteristics of that person. With regard to the names of God, there are
considerable differences. These are most clearly seen when Bible scholars
confront the question of whether the names of God are names given by God
concerning himself or they are names given to God by people who observed his
acts and thought about his character.
Here are some examples of various kinds of divine
1. Proper names: El, Yahweh, Adonai, Theos (God),
2. Personal names: Father, Abba, Son, Jesus, Holy
3. Titles: Creator, Messiah/Christ,
4. Essential names: Light, Love, Spirit.
5. Descriptive names: Rock, Ba’al, Master, Rabboni, Shepherd.
THE NAMES OF GOD IN THE OLD TESTAMENT EL AND
The name El is found over
200 times in the Hebrew Bible. It is best translated
as “God.” The term el has a number of possible
meanings. The root is thought by some to be ‘ul,
which means “to be first” or “to be strong.”
Others suggest the root is ‘alah,
which means, “to precede” and suggests “leader” or “commander.” It can also
mean, “to be afraid.” God, the strong one, should be
feared. Other scholars suggest that the preposition el, which means,
“to, toward” is the root.
The idea then is of “one giving self to
others” or of “one to whom others go for
Some scholars suggest that the word ‘alim, meaning, “to bind,” should
be considered as a root also.
This would then be translated as, “the
strong one binds and holds firm control.”
Common to these four suggested root meanings is the idea of
strength, power, supreme excellence, and greatness.
El in the Old
Testament is used particularly in the earlier books, where it
describes God’s dynamic power and authority. El
describes God as the great producer. He is the One
who has such power that whatever is made, done, kept, or destroyed is his
doing (Exodus 15). El is also used to express
the idea that God is not to be identified as part of creation but as the One
who is above, behind, and responsible for all creation (Psalm 19).
Elohim is also commonly used as the
name of God, and it occurs over 2,500 times in the
Old Testament. There are differences of opinion concerning the exact origin
and meaning of this plural name. Some scholars have suggested that
Elohim is the plural form of El, but it seems more likely that it is a plural of Eloah, which appears in the poetical writings of the Old
Some writers have suggested that this plural form comes from
pagan religions that believed in more than one god, but no such plural form
is found among pagan religions as the name of a deity. Others scholars have
suggested that the plural form is used to indicate the three-part nature of
God, and support for this has been seen in the use of a singular verb with
this plural noun.
The biblical doctrine of the Trinity, as it is developed
throughout the Bible, does not appear to be based on the use of this plural
form of God’s name, even though the two positions do not contradict each
other. The plural form, Elohim, is best understood
as expressing intensity.
God makes himself known by this name as the Lord of intense
and extensive glory and richness as he displays his power in the created
universe. Because of this, when the Bible speaks of creation, it states,
“In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the
earth” (Genesis 1:1). This name is repeated 35 times in Genesis 1 and 2 in connection with
God’s power as it is revealed in Creation.
In the book of Deuteronomy the name Elohim is used repeatedly to stress the majestic power of God
that was shown in Israel’s release from slavery in Egypt, their survival in
the wilderness, and their preparation to enter the Promised Land.
In this context, Elohim is also
recognized as the Lawgiver who will powerfully give judgment to people who
break the covenant. The writers of the Psalms also used this name repeatedly
as they acknowledged and praised God as the majestic ruler who had
demonstrated his awesome power in many dimensions of life (Psalm 68).
Some scholars point to the use of Elohim when God
spoke to Abraham and said he would be Elohim to
Abraham and his descendants.
In other words, God would be in a covenant relationship to
them (Genesis 17:1-8). Included in this relationship is the idea that
God is always ready to use his power to help those people who are in covenant
relationship with him. With this in mind, Elohim
also expresses the concept of God’s faithfulness in regard to the covenant
and the promises and blessings involved in it. The name Eloah mainly occurs in the poetic writings of the Old
It occurs about 41 times in Job.
Isaiah used it to express the incomparable character of God (Isaiah
44:8). In the same way David asked, “Who is God
[Eloah], but the LORD?” (2 Samuel 22:32).
Moses was the first to use the name Eloah in his song
(Deuteronomy 32:15-17), referring to Israel’s God in the context of
the “no-gods,” which had been chosen in place of the
Rock of salvation. This name was probably used to
stress the fact that God is the only true and living One, the One to be
adored and worshiped. God is to be revered with a holy fear. Another closely
related name is Elah, which is found in Ezra
and Daniel. Some think Elah is a Chaldee or Aramaic form of
Its root is said to be ‘alah,
which means “to fear” or “to be
perplexed.” God as Elah is the God to be
feared and worshiped. In view of this meaning, we can understand why, in the
time of Israel’s exile and immediately after their return, this name was
El Elyon is the name used to describe
the God of Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18-22) as God Most High. In
Psalm 57:2 and Psalm 78:56 the Hebrew reads Elohim Elyon. It is believed that the term Elyon comes from the
verb ‘alah, which means, “go up,
be elevated, to be exalted.”
There are a number of instances where the term Elyon is used alone, but the context indicates that it is used
in these cases as a synonym for God (Numbers 24:16, Psalm 83:18
and Isaiah 14:14).
The term elyon is used quite frequently as an adjective. In
these cases, it is translated as “high, highest, upper, and
uppermost.” The basic ascription given to God when this name is used
is One who is above all things as the maker, possessor, and ruler of
everything. He is incomparable in every way. He is subject to no one and no
He is the Exalted One. El Shaddai is
used in the longer form seven times in the Bible (Genesis 17:1;
Genesis 28:3; Genesis 35:11; Genesis 43:14; Genesis
48:3; Exodus 6:3 and Ezekiel 10:5).
In the shorter form, Shaddai,
it appears more frequently. It appears in Job 30
times, in Psalm 19:1 and Psalm 68:14, one time in Ruth (Ruth 1:21), once in Isaiah (Isaiah
13:6), once in Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:24) and once in Joel (Joel
1:15). In these passages, the combined ideas of God as the
all-powerful, all-sufficient, transcendent, and sovereign ruler are
This meaning is generally accepted, but there are differences
as to the exact meaning of the term Shaddai. Some
scholars have begun with shad as the first concept to be considered. The
meaning of shad is “breast, pap, or teat,” and it is
considered a “precious metaphor” of the God who
nourishes, supplies, and satisfies.
The root of shad (shadah), in Jewish usage, is to moisten. This meaning is not the
preferred one in the context of which El Shaddai
appears. Neither is the word shed, a reference to a demon, which some
scholars have sought to use because it appears in Deuteronomy 32:17
and Psalm 106:37 speaking of Israel’s idolatry.
In addition to the fact that shed is spelled differently, the
connection between the concept of demon and God as all-powerful is difficult
to establish. More acceptable is the suggestion that Shaddai is a term that combines sha
(“the one who”) and dai
(“is sufficient”). The later Greek versions have
adopted this meaning.
The most preferred explanation is that Shaddai comes from the verb shadad
(“to overpower, to deal violently, or to
devastate”). A clear connection between shadad and Shaddai is said to be found
in Isaiah 13:6 and Joel 1:15. God as El Shaddai is presented as the
all-powerful One, totally self-sufficient, absolute ruler, and the One who
makes final judgments. The Greek Old Testament has adapted this meaning.
It translates El Shaddai as
Pantokrator, the “All-Ruler” or “Sovereign One.”
El ‘Olam is used to
refer to God as the everlasting or eternal One, a clear instance where the
name of God and a characteristic of God are combined. The term ‘olam has a wide range of uses. It is usually defined in Bible
dictionaries as meaning “long duration, antiquity, and
It is used to speak of God’s existence, of God’s covenant and
promises, and of Jesus’ reign. Speaking to God, the psalmist said,
“You are from ‘olam (everlasting) to ‘olam
(everlasting)” (Psalms 90:2), and the prophet Isaiah spoke of
God as the everlasting Creator (Isaiah 40:28) and as everlasting
strength (Isaiah 26:4).
Jeremiah also spoke of God as the everlasting King
(Jeremiah 10:10). God’s eternal nature speaks of his infinity in
relation to time.
‘Olam, as ascribed to God, should not
be thought of as duration stretching indefinitely backward and forward.
Rather, the word speaks to God’s transcendence of all earthly limits. In
addition, ‘olam refers to the quality of God that
differs essentially from time.
The Bible speaks of El ‘Olam in
contexts where the believer’s assurance of well-being, security, and hope are
presented as prized possessions.
El Gibbor is a name that speaks of
God’s power and might. Gibbor alone is used in reference to mighty and heroic
men. The two words together always refer to God, and in some instances
Haggadol, which means, “the
greatest” is added (Deuteronomy 10:17 and Jeremiah
32:18) to emphasize the greatness and awesome majesty of God.
El Gibbor is also used to describe
the Messiah in Isaiah 9:6 and Psalms 45:4. El Ro’i is
used once to describe God as the seeing One. Hagar described the Lord this
way when she was found in the wilderness (Genesis 16:13).
Psalm 139:1-2 expresses this concept of God as the One
who sees everything. Yahweh is a distinctly proper name of God. It is never
used to refer to any pagan gods and it is never used in regard to men. It
appears 6,823 times in the Old Testament, appearing
first in Genesis 2:4, where it is joined with Elohim.
Yahweh is used 164 times in Genesis,
and it appears 1,800 times in Exodus through Joshua.
It never appears in a declined form in the Hebrew language, and it never
occurs in the plural form or with suffixes.
It is sometimes abbreviated as Yah
and Yahu (Exodus 15:2, Psalm 68:4 and
Isaiah 12:2). The exact meaning of the name Yahweh is difficult to
determine. Some think that it comes from the verb hayah, which means, “to be,” or in an
ancient form of that same verb, hawah.
There is no agreement as to whether the qal or hiphil form of the verb should
be considered as the root. Those who opt for the hiphil form read Yahweh to mean,
“cause to be”.
If this is the case, Exodus 3:14 would read,
“I will cause to be what has come to be.”
Others look to the qal form and then
translate the name as “I Am” or “I
Still others are inclined to disassociate the name from the
verb hayah and regard it as an original term that
expresses the uniqueness of Israel’s gracious God. Translators of the Old
Testament have not agreed upon the correct translation of the name
Yahweh. Since it is translated into the Greek as
kurios, which means, “Lord,” many have translated Yahweh as “LORD.”
However, ‘Adonai, which is best
translated “Lord,” appears with Yahweh in various
instances. The King James Version, for example, translates Yahweh as “God,” and
‘Adonai as “Lord.” Some
modern translators have chosen to maintain the use of Yahweh. The name Jehovah has been judged by translators to be
This name arose due to the Jewish practice of not pronouncing
Yahweh because of Leviticus 24:16,
“He that blasphemes the name of Yahweh shall surely be put
to death” (Leviticus 24:16).
This warning against a vain or blasphemous use of the name was
taken in an absolute sense, especially after Israel’s exile to Babylon
(Amos 6:10). Because of this, when reading the Old Testament, the Jews
substituted either Elohim or ‘Adonai for Yahweh.
From this, the practice of adding the vowels of ‘Adonai to YHWH (JeHoWaH) became established. The interpretation of Exodus
6:2-3 has caused many debates: “And God said to Moses,
‘I am Yahweh; I appeared to
Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as El Shaddai, but by my name
Yahweh I did not make myself known to them.’
This passage has been understood to mean that the name
Yahweh was not known or used before the time of
Moses. But that is not what the passage states. Instead, it shows how the
patriarchs did not know God as Yahweh.
They knew him as El Shaddai through
his historical deeds. They had not come to know God according to his unique
character as Yahweh. In other words, God had always
been Yahweh. He is saying to Moses that the
descendants of the patriarchs would come to know the full, rich meaning of
the name by the way God dealt with them.
This name Yahweh reveals God’s nature in the highest and fullest sense possible. It
includes the meaning of the other names. Yahweh
particularly stresses the absolute faithfulness of God. God had promised the
patriarchs that he would be their God, that he would be with them and deliver
and bless them, keep them, and give them a land as a place of
God told Moses that Israel was about to behold and experience
the faithfulness of God as he wondrously brought them into the Promised Land.
God would prove to be a faithful, redeeming, upholding, and restoring
In working out this redemption, God would demonstrate that he
is all that his name implies including merciful, gracious, patient, full of
loving-kindness, truthful, faithful, forgiving, just, and righteous
Truly, Jacob had received an insight into the meaning of the
name when he exclaimed, “I wait for thy salvation, O
Yahweh” (Genesis 49:18). Yahweh, then,
is the name par excellence of Israel’s God. As Yahweh, he is a faithful covenant God who, by giving his word of
love and life, keeps that word by bestowing love and life abundantly on his
In view of the richness of the name Yahweh, it can be understood why there were stringent rules
regarding its proper use (Leviticus 24:11; Leviticus 24:16). It
also explains why thankful, rejoicing, worshiping Israelites used the
abbreviated form of Yahweh in song when they sang
Hallelujah: “Praise Yah” (Psalm 104:35,
Psalm 106:1, Psalm 149:1 and Psalm 150:1).
Yahweh is used in a number of phrases that are considered to
be names of God. The most common of these compound names is Yahweh Tseba’oth, which means, “hosts”.
The word “hosts” is used frequently
in the Pentateuch to refer to the armies of Israel
(Numbers 10:14-28). This is because the word is derived from the verb
saba, which means “to wage”
war. It also means, “to serve” in some contexts. For
example, Numbers 8:24 clearly makes references to the service
performed in the tabernacle.
The noun tseba’oth first occurs in
Genesis 2:1, where it refers to the many components of the earth and
heaven. Some would limit the reference in these contexts to the stars. Still
others would suggest that the word sabaoth refers to
the angels, appealing to Psalm 33:6 for evidence. The compound name
Yahweh Tseba’oth first appears in 1 Samuel
In view of the frequent use of tseba’oth in 1-2 Samuel to refer to armies (1 Samuel
12:9, 1 Samuel 14:50, 1 Samuel 17:55, 2 Samuel 2:8,
2 Samuel 8:16 and 2 Samuel 10:16), many scholars think that the
compound name refers to Yahweh as the God of armies. In other words,
God has armies to serve him. These are considered to be armies of angels who
are ministering servants to God. It has been correctly pointed out that the
compound name Yahweh Tseba’oth is used most frequently by the prophets
at times when God’s people had either suffered defeat at the hands of enemy
armies or were threatened by defeat.
Jeremiah uses it 88 times, Zechariah
uses it 55 times, Malachi uses it 25 times, and Haggai uses it 14
The compound name was used to remind them that their God had
great hosts to fight and work for him on behalf of his people. Because of
this, though Israel’s armies failed, their God was sufficient for every
possible circumstance. Israel’s commanders were to give allegiance to
Yahweh Tseba’oth (Joshua 5:14-15), and in the
name of Yahweh Tseba’oth Israel was blessed (2
Samuel 6:18). Yahweh-Nissi, which means,
“my banner” is the name that Moses called on when he
built an altar celebrating Israel’s God-given victory over the
Amalekites (Exodus 17:15).
Isaiah uses the term nissi when
speaking of the coming Messiah who is to be
the conqueror (Isaiah 11:10). Yahweh-Rapha,
which means, “healer” appears in Exodus 15:26, when Israel is assured that God, their healer,
will prevent the diseases of Egypt from affecting Israel (Exodus 15:26).
Although the name is only used once, God was often called upon
and praised as the One who could heal (Psalms 103:3, Isaiah
30:26 and Jeremiah 6:14). Yahweh-Rohi,
which means, “my shepherd” appears in Psalm
23:1. The concept of Yahweh as shepherd is explained in Ezekiel 34
when the prophet writes, “I myself will be the Shepherd of
my sheep” (Ezekiel 34:15).
Jesus demonstrated this concept’s full meaning when he came to
earth to be the shepherd who gave his life for his sheep. Yahweh-Jireh, which means, “to see ahead or to
provide” appears in Genesis 22:14. Abraham gave this name to
the place where God provided a substitute for his son Isaac, whom Abraham was
to offer as a sacrifice to God.
Yahweh-Shalom, which means
“peace,” is the name Gideon gave to the altar he
built when the angel of the Lord came to give him orders to fight the
Midianites (Judges 6:24). Yahweh appears with
a few forms of the term tsadaq, which means,
Yahweh is spoken of as our
righteousness in Jeremiah 23:6. Evidently, the thought is that David’s
Righteous Branch, the Messiah, will bring God’s righteousness to those who
are a part of the new covenant. This concept is expressed in the Pentateuch a
number of times when it is said that God has provided a way for living
In other words, God provides a way of sanctification and pure
living (Leviticus 20:8 and Leviticus 22:9).
‘Adonai as a name for God appears
about 360 times in the Old Testament, though it is
not used in the same way every time. It is first found in Genesis 15:2
and 15:8, when Abram requests more definite information concerning a
son and the Promised Land. It appears only 14 times
after that in the Pentateuch.
It appears over 50 times in the
Psalms, and certain prophets, like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Amos use it
frequently also. The word ‘adan, which means,
“master, ruler, owner, lord,” is thought to be the
root of the noun ‘adon, which is frequently used to
For example, in Genesis and 1-2 Samuel, the term is
used often for men who own slaves or are in positions of authority.
‘Adonai is correctly described as the name of
personal communication between the believer and God. In such communication
the worshiper acknowledged God’s intense majesty and greatness and also the
sense of belonging to this God. ‘
Adonai, coming from human lips,
expressed honor for God and humble submission on the part of the believing
person. ‘Adonai is the name that expresses faith,
assurance, security, ready service, and thanksgiving (Psalms 16:2 and
OLD TESTAMENT NAME COMBINATIONS
In the Old Testament, the names of God appear in various
For example Elohim-Yahweh, Elohim-Yahweh-’Adonai, and Elohim-’Adonai are very common. These combinations were an
effort to express the fullness of God’s being and character as these had been
revealed to the people of Israel.
Names of God in combination with “Israel” occur also as, for example, with Yahweh-God-Israel (Judges 5:3 and Isaiah 17:6).
God is also invoked in relation to Israel without the mention of one of his
For example, the name Qedosh Yisrael, which means the
“Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah
43:14) and ‘Abir Yisrael, which means
“Mighty One of Israel” (Genesis 49:24,
Psalms 132:2 and Isaiah 49:26). With phrases like these,
covenantal relationship between God and his people was expressed and God’s
unchanging character was described.
OLD TESTAMENT PERSONAL NAMES
The personal names of God are Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and
variations of these three names.
The term ‘Abh, which means
“father” appears more frequently in Genesis than in
any other book, and in the Pentateuch more than in
any other division of the Old Testament.
However, in these passages it is not used to describe God but
rather for someone who is the head of a family or clan. It is used often in
the sense of the responsible one God has spoken to or a person who God has
blessed with many descendants.
In the poetic books of the Bible, God is referred to as Father
but is not directly named Father. Job is asked, “Has the
rain a father?” (Job 38:28). The reference is to God who is the
maker, source, and controller of rain. In Psalm 68:5, God in his holy
dwelling place is the “Father of the
Psalm 89:26 says that David will cry to God,
“Thou art my Father.” The idea here is that God was
the Creator and Savior who raised up, delivered, and protected David. In
Psalm 103:13, “Father” is used to describe
God “as a father pities his children” (Psalms
Isaiah uses the term “Father” in relation to God four
Three times it refers to the One who
has made, saved, formed, kept, and directed Israel (Isaiah 63:16 and
Isaiah says the child God promises is to be named Everlasting
Father (Isaiah 9:6).
Used in this sense, the term establishes the Son’s equality with the Father
in stature, function, ability, and responsibility.
Jeremiah also refers to God as Father in Jeremiah 3:4
when he describes God as the origin, keeper, and friend of Israel.
Malachi 1:6 and Malachi 2:10 speak of God as the
parent who deserves honor from his children. The term “son” is one of the most-used terms in the Old Testament to
refer to God.
It commonly occurs to describe a person’s offspring or
descendants. It also appears in the sense of follower or successor. There are
a few indirect references in the Old Testament to the second person of the
Psalm 2 has such a reference when it says, “You are my son” (Psalms 2:7). It is stated in the
context of a king speaking to one who will rule with the king in future
times. In the New Testament, this is interpreted to mean the second person of
the Trinity (Acts 13:33).
Because of this, the term “son” is
applied to the promised Messiah who will be the divine ruler and judge of the
nations. The Son is equal with the Father in deity and function. Not all
biblical scholars accept this interpretation, but support is found in such
New Testament passages as Hebrews 1:8 which quotes Psalm 45:6.
As stated above, Isaiah talks about the son who will be given
(Isaiah 9:6), the one born of the virgin (Isaiah 7:14), who is
Immanuel, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace.
The name “Holy Spirit” occurs only a
few times in the Old Testament. The Spirit is referred to frequently by terms
and phrases such as “the Spirit of God” (Genesis
1:2), “the Spirit of the Lord God” (Isaiah
61:1), “the Spirit of the Lord” (Ezekiel
37:1), “the Spirit” (Numbers 11:17 and
Numbers 27:18), “my Spirit”
(Genesis 6:3), and “your Spirit” (Psalms
Though the character of the Spirit is not developed as clearly
in the Old Testament as it is in the New Testament, it can be safely stated
that the relationship between God and the Spirit described in the Old
Testament is such that there is no doubt that the Old Testament teaches the
deity of the Holy Spirit.
The character and function of the Spirit is referred to
especially in relation to the work of creation (Genesis 1:2 and
Psalms 33:6) and the equipping of servants for the service of God.
For example, the Holy Spirit equips people for craftsmanship
(Exodus 35:31), leadership (Numbers 11:17 and Numbers
27:18), and prophecy (1 Samuel 10:6, 2 Samuel 23:2, 2
Chronicles 15:1 and Ezekiel 11:5).
THE NAMES OF GOD IN THE NEW TESTAMENT PROPER
NAMES OF GOD
Theos is the New Testament equivalent
of the Old Testament names El and Elohim.
The Old Testament Elyon appears in the New Testament
as Hupsistos, which means the Highest (Mark 5:7, Luke 1:32 and
Luke 1:76). Pantokrator (El
Shaddai) appears with Theos (2 Corinthians
6:18 and Revelation 16:7).
This name was used not only to express God’s power,
sovereignty, and lordship, but also to express that God is a person who has a
close relationship with his people. This fact is established by the very
frequent use of personal pronouns with Theos.
The name Theos appears over
1,000 times in the New Testament. Kurios, “Lord,” is used to express the
Old Testament names Yahweh and ‘Adonai. Kurios means, “power,” so the meaning is not exactly the same as with
However, the New Testament does give Kurios the full weight of meaning that the Old Testament gave to
Yahweh, especially when it is used to describe Jesus
Christ (Acts 2:36 and Philippians 2:9-11) Despotes is used five times as a name
of God or Jesus in the New Testament (Luke 2:29, Acts 4:24,
2 Peter 2:11, Jude 1:4 and Revelation 6:10).
It expresses the idea of authority. The idea of brutality
conveyed by the modern word “despot” is absent from
the New Testament even when it is applied to men, where its central meaning
refers to ownership (2 Timothy 2:21).
PERSONAL NAMES OF GOD
In the baptismal formula, which is part of the Great
Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), the three personal names of God appear:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
These names carry the same meaning they do in the Old
Testament, but since the relationship of the three Persons is explained, the
New Testament meaning of the names is enriched. “Jesus” is the personal name of the Son, who is the second
person of the triune Godhead.
It means “savior” (Matthew
1:21). The root of this name, “to save,” gave
rise to names such as Joshua, Hoshea, and Hosea. The basic meaning of the Old
Testament root is “to bring into a safe, wide-open
place.” Joshua, bringing Israel into Canaan, personally did what his
The New Testament explanation, which means “save from sin,” is not contrary to the meaning in the Old
Testament. To be saved from sin is to be restored to fellowship with God and
to enter into the paradise of the heavenly kingdom.