Q: I have a question concerning the name of God. According to the teaching I have received, the name of God consists of four letters in Hebrew. These four letters are sometimes read “Yahweh” and sometimes “Jehovah.” My question is: Which pronunciation is correct? Or are they both correct? If both are correct, then what is the difference between them? Why is it always read Jehovah Jireh? Why not Yahweh Jireh?

A: To answer your question, it is usually just the differences in languages more than anything else and that is true in more than just the name of God.

In Hebrew, God's name comprises four Hebrew letters that correspond to the English letters as YHVH and the exact pronunciation of that has been lost, but the most educated guess is it is pronounced as Yahweh. Keep in mind that in Hebrew there is no “J” sound so that letter never appears in the Hebrew text. So in Hebrew the phrase would not be Jehovah Jireh but it would be YHVH Yireh.

God produced the New Testament in Greek rather than Hebrew and therefore, certain adjustments had to be made because Greek does not have a “Y” sound nor does it have a “SH” sound. So in place of saying YHVH he uses the Greek word kurios, which means “Lord” and can be used either of God or of man.

Let me go to another example. In Hebrew, the name of the Messiah is Yeshua. As you move from Hebrew to Greek, the Hebrew “Y” became the Greek “I” and the Hebrew “SH” sound became the Greek “S” sound. Thus in Greek Yeshua became Ieisous. But as you move from Greek to Latin and then Latin to English the Hebrew “Y” sound and the Greek “I” sound became “J” and hence you have the name Jesus which is a bit closer to the Greek rendering than the Hebrew rendering.

The same applies to how you pronounce the capital city of Israel. In Hebrew it is pronounced as Yerushalayim. In Greek it is pronounced as Ierousalem. Then again, as you go from Latin to English it becomes Jerusalem.

Many other examples could be given, so the issue boils down to how certain things are pronounced in Hebrew as over and against Greek as over and against Latin, as over and against English.

What this shows is that in the final analysis, God is not concerned as to how to pronounce a specific word or name but that you understand the meaning of that word and name and apply it accordingly.