Commentary on Bible Prefaces
(updated 10/5/2010)


Before we begin it must be understood that our English bibles are not the original language in which scriptures were written. I sometimes talk to people who don't understand this very basic principle, but it is totally true. The King James Version was the first major translation into English and was created approximately 1600 years after Yahushua the Messiah came to earth. 

Most all translations in various languages have chosen to replace the name "Yahweh" with another title or name of their choice, usually "the LORD" or "GOD" in all capital letters.

It's amazing to me that man has chosen to take Yahweh's name out of His own book.

The following is a commentary on the various prefaces and introductions which explain their reasoning for removing the Heavenly Father's name from English bibles. Let's start with the ever popular NIV...

New International Version - Preface

"In regard to the divine name YHWH, commonly referred to as the Tetragrammaton, the translators adopted the device used in most English versions...

This statement runs true in the majority of modern English translations. The primary reasoning for replacing the name of Yahweh with something else is 'tradition'. In other words, "As long as everyone else does it, it must be okay". 

..of rendering that name as "LORD" in capital letters to distinguish it from adonai, another Hebrew word rendered "Lord" for which small letters are used.

We can see already that replacing the name "Yahweh" with "The LORD" presents a major problem. What do they do when there is a legitimate use of the title "Lord/Master" in the original text? It might be confusing to the reader as to whether it is speaking of a human lord/master or Yahweh. 

So what to do? Their solution is to make the "Adonai" source in small letters and where the name of Yahweh exists, they'll put capital letters! In other words, if it reads "Adonai (lord/master)" In the original they will translate it as "lord" or "Lord". But if it says "Yahweh" in the original, they will render it as "LORD" in all capital letters.

I doubt that half the people who read the scriptures even realizes they are doing this.

Wherever the two names stand together in the Old Testament as a compound name for God, they are rendered "Sovereign LORD.""

Now we see that a more complicated problem arises. There are instances in scripture that the Hebrew reads "Adonai Yahweh" or "Lord/Master Yahweh". If they were to put "Lord" where Yahweh exists in the original, they would have to translate the passage as "Lord the LORD"! So to avoid having the reader sound a bit silly, they translated "The Master Yahweh" it as "Sovereign LORD" to avoid confusion.

Amazing what people will do to serve tradition and reject what Yahweh has placed in scripture!


Today's English Version - Preface

Following an ancient tradition,

Again, tradition is the reason. 

begun by the first translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (the Septuagint) and followed by the vast majority of English translations, the distinctive Hebrew name for God (usually transliterated Jehovah or Yahweh), is in this translation represented by "LORD." When Adonai, normally translated "Lord," occurs preposed to Yahweh, the combination is rendered by the phrase "Sovereign LORD."

So the "Today's English Version" uses the same renderings as the NIV...all on the basis of following the others.
 


Revised English Bible - Introduction to the Old Testament

The divine name (YHWH in Hebrew characters) was probably pronounced 'Yahweh',

One excuse some use for not keeping Yahweh's name in the text is that they aren't sure His name is really pronounced "Yahweh". But if a translator ever admitted that His name was definitely pronounced 'Yahweh' this would mean that they have one less excuse. Most scholars today agree on the form "Yahweh" and not one scholar believes His name is "The LORD." But this doesn't stop them.

but the name was regarded as ineffable, too sacred to be pronounced.

Yes, this was the doctrine that got this whole idea started. But Yahweh says:

Jere 10:25a  Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name..

and...

Joel 2:32a  And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the YAHWEH shall be delivered..

How can anyone call on His name if it is hidden away by superstitious doctrines?

The Masorites, therefore, wrote in the vowel signs of the alternative words adonai ('Lord') or elohim ('God') to warn readers to use one of these in its place.

The Masorites were who copied and preserved the Hebrew scriptures from scroll to scroll down through the ages. They added 'vowel signs/pointings' to the Hebrew text (which was primarily all consonants) so the language would be preserved. But when they came to the name of Yahweh, they inserted alternative vowel pointings so that the reader would not speak the name of Yahweh but say "adonai" (lord) instead.

So we can see that through the ages, there has been a conspiracy to hide the name of Yahweh Almighty despite what Yahweh says in His word about how we should praise, exalt, bless, love, teach, preach, anoint, assemble, believe, give thanks, honor and call on His name.

Where the divine name occurs in the Hebrew text, this has been signaled in The Revised English Bible by using capital letters for 'LORD' or 'GOD', a widely accepted practice.

Since it is 'widely accepted', it must be truth and acceptable to do? Not according to Yahushua! He said the way to life is a narrow way.

Matt 7:14 (NKJV) "Because narrow [is] the gate and difficult [is] the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.


American Standard Version - Preface

"I. The change first proposed in the Appendix --- that which substitutes "Jehovah" for "LORD" and "GOD" (printed in small capitals) --- is one which will be unwelcome by many, because of the frequency and familiarity of the terms displaced. But the American Revisers, after a careful consideration, were brought to the unanimous conviction that a Jewish superstition, which regarded the Divine Name as too sacred to be uttered, ought no longer to dominate in the English or any other version of the Old Testament, as it fortunately does not in the numerous versions made by modern missionaries.

Now with some reservation I would almost have to admire those who translated the American Standard 1901 version. They at least tried to restore some truth (even though they knew it would be unwelcome) and reject the ridiculous tradition of hiding and substituting the name of Yahweh from the common reader. But then as we read on...

This Memorial Name, explained in Ex. iii. 14,15 and emphasized as such over and over in the original text of the Old Testament, designates God as the Personal God, as the covenant God, the God of Revelation, the Deliverer, the Friend of his people; --- not merely the abstractly "Eternal One" of many French translations, but the ever living Helper of those who are in trouble. This personal name, with its wealth of sacred associations, is now restored to the place in the sacred text to which it has an unquestionable claim."

Sounds great so far! They can see that the scriptures do place importance on His name...over and over and over... But if you read the translation you will see that they insert the known error, "Jehovah," that was used a total of 4 times in the King James Version. But most every scholar knows that "Jehovah" is a falsification of Yahweh's name. Click here for more information on this!


Revised Standard Version - Preface

Now here is the preface that really bothers me the most.

"A major departure from the practice of the American Standard Version is the rendering of the Divine Name, the "Tetragrammaton."

The Revised Standard Version translators have chosen not only to depart from the practice of the ASV translators but to berate them as well.

The American Standard Version used the term "Jehovah"; the King James Version had employed this in four places, but everywhere else, except in three cases where it was employed as part of a proper name, used the English word LORD (or in certain cases GOD) printed in capitals. The present revision returns to the procedure of the King James Version, which follows the precedent of the ancient Greek and Latin translators and the long established practice in the reading of the Hebrew scriptures in the synagogue.

So they, as well as the others, call us back to tradition as justification for removing Yahweh's name from His own book. I'm not sure why they cannot see where Yahushua told the scribes and Pharisees on various occasions:

Mark 7:9 He said to them, "All too well you reject the commandment of Yahweh, that you may keep your tradition.

While it is almost if not quite certain that the Name was originally pronounced "Yahweh",

Again, they wouldn't dare say that they are totally certain. However it is totally certain that His name is not pronounced "The LORD."

(While it is almost if not quite certain that the Name was originally pronounced "Yahweh",)..this pronunciation was not indicated when the Masoretes added vowel signs to the consonantal Hebrew text.

This is because they favored tradition over commandments, just as Yahushua said they did.

To the four consonants YHWH of the Name, which had come to be regarded as too sacred to be pronounced, they attached vowel signs indicating that in its place should be read the Hebrew word Adonai meaning "Lord" (or Elohim meaning "God"). The ancient Greek translators substituted the word Kyrios (Lord) for the Name. The Vulgate likewise used the Latin word Dominus. The form "Jehovah" is of late medieval origin; it is a combination of the consonants of the Divine Name and the vowels attached to it by the Masoretes but belonging to an entirely different word. The sound of Y is represented by J and the sound of W by V, as in Latin.

They even share how this idea of substituting His name got started. This might be the only Jewish tradition that most of Christianity follows. It amazes me how dedicated translators are to following a Jewish tradition that breaks a commandment of Yahweh but they'll ignore the Jew's examples of where they actually do keep the Law of Yahweh!

For two reasons the Committee has returned to the more familiar usage of the King James Version: (1) the word "Jehovah" does not accurately present any form of the Name ever used in Hebrew; and

Ahh! Notice how they conveniently forget to mention why they reject the name "Yahweh" in their 'reasons!'

Now here is an amazing statement:

(2) the use of any proper name for the one and only God, as though there were other gods from whom He had to be distinguished, was discontinued in Judaism before the Christian era and is entirely inappropriate for the universal faith of the Christian Church."

Question: Who are they to decide what is appropriate for one's faith? I thought it was their job is to translate, not decide what we are to believe!

To me, this statement is a sad commentary of how far some have gone from the scriptures. Not only do they say why they have chosen to replace Yahweh's name with a title of their choosing but they also state that 'use of any proper name...is entirely inappropriate!'

Amazing! Who invented the idea of having a name of our Creator? Is it not Yahweh Himself??

Is Yahweh also 'entirely inappropriate' for placing His name there in scripture over some 7000 times? Are they saying indeed that the one whom they claim to worship is 'entirely inappropriate' for placing His name there? Oh my!

Furthermore, they say it is 'entirely inappropriate for the universal faith of the Christian Church.' But to me this begs the question, "Why have a different substitution for the name "Yahweh" in each language? Would it not be more 'universal' to use ONE NAME?" Yahweh has said:

Mala 1:11a (NKJV) For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles..

Translators are participating in a tradition which undermines Yahweh's desire to make His name great among the Gentiles.


New King James Version - Word study on Exodus 3:15 (New Open Bible)

Now I do like this word study. Even though the NKJV translators followed the traditions of the elders and forsook the idea of keeping Yahweh's name in the text, whoever wrote this word study is very frank about what actually is taking place.

Exodus 3 records one of the greatest revelations in the Old Testament: the personal name of God. (The words translated God in our Bible [El, Elohim, Eloah] are not names, but the standard vocabulary for the Deity and even for false gods.

God told Moses His plan to use him in delivering the Israelites from Egyptian bondage, and Moses had asked whom He should tell the people had sent him. God answered Moses: "I AM WHO I AM." He told Moses to tell them the "I AM" had sent him, "the LORD God." "I AM" and "LORD" are both probably derived from the Hebrew verb to be (hayah) because God is the ever-present One, "the Eternal" (Moffatt translation).

Many people are puzzled that in this and many other (over six thousand!) passages some Bibles read LORD in all capitals (e.g., KJV, NKJV, NIV), some read "Jehovah" (ASV, DARBY), and some read "Yahweh" (Jerusalem Bible). Why such a radical difference? Do the manuscripts vary that much? No, not at all.

Because the name of God is so important---Jews devoutly refer to Him as "the Name" (ha Shem)---it is well worth exploring this revelation in some detail. It is merely a question of a Jewish tradition and how various Christian Scholars handle that tradition.

In the Ten Commandments, God forbids taking His name "in vain". That is, we should not bear false witness in oaths and probably should avoid using profanity, as well. In their great fear of violating this command, devout Hebrews went beyond the law, and when they read the Hebrew Scriptures aloud they would read the word Lord (Adonai) whenever they saw the four letters (YHWH, or traditionally JHVH in Latin pronunciation) that spelled out God's revealed covenant name. This was the sacred name by which He had committed Himself to Israel as a nation.

The most ancient copies of the Hebrew text were written in consonants only.

Actually there are some semi-vowels..as any good book on Hebrew grammar will tell you.

As the language became less and less used, scholars (call Masoretes) added little dots and dashes called "vowel points" to indicate how the text was to be pronounced. Oddly enough, they put the vowels that go with the word Adonai together with the sacred four letter name (called "tetragrammaton") to guide the readers to say Adonai aloud in synagogue services.

Jehovah

This is the origin of the name "Jehovah." It is actually a hybrid name, combining the vowels of Adonai with the consonants of YHWH into JeHoVaH or YeHoWaH (the "a" of Adonai is changed for reasons of Hebrew pronunciation). The people who produced this name were medieval Christian Hebrew Scholars; the Jews never acknowledged such a name.

The defense of this Christian hybrid is the same as the defense of the Jewish avoidance of pronouncing the name---tradition!

No surprise there. (I didn't add the "!")

There are many lovely hymns and paraphrases of the Psalms that use this name, so it would be a loss to eliminate it from our Christian vocabulary.

Choose 'what seems right to a man' over the truth? (See the study on the name "Jehovah")

The poetical form of Jehovah is Jah

Yahweh -

It is very likely that the name was pronounced very much like "Yahweh." Comparisons with transliterations of the name into other alphabets from very ancient times confirm this. The best argument for the spelling is that it is probably the historically accurate.

Thank you.

However, the RSV's 1952 introduction explained its reason for rejecting "Yahweh" in the translation. It said that it lacks devotional qualities for English-speaking Christians. It is true that many names beginning with "Y" seem odd to our culture (all the names in English --- including Jesus---were pronounced with a Y sound, in the original, as in "hallelu-Yah").

Just totally amazing...

LORD

Most recent major English Bibles, dissatisfied with both Jehovah and Yahweh, have retained the KJV's LORD (the 1901 text read Jehovah.)

Oh but Yahweh is certainly dissatisfied with THEM. They have failed to take in account something very important to HIM.
 


The following is a summary of the excuses that they have used for their refusing to insert the true name Yahweh.

Amongst all these reasons, is there not something missing here?

YES, it is something that they have gone over painstakingly word for word! Something called THE WORD OF YAHWEH. Not once did they quote a scripture to back up their excuses.

So now that we have heard the excuses, now let's see what Yahweh's word has to say about His name:

1Kings 18:24 (KJV) And call ye on the name of your elohim, and I will call on the name of Yahweh: and the Elohim that answereth by fire, let him be Elohim. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.
Now I would like to touch on something ironic here. If you haven't read this story of Mt. Carmel, go to your scriptures and read it now or click here to read it.

This is the prophet EliYah (Elijah) speaking these words. He said "call ye on the name of your elohim, and I will call on the name of Yahweh". What was the name of their elohim? It is "Ha BAAL." What is amazing here is that "Ha Baal" means "The Lord" in Hebrew!

Here is is Brown's Driver/Briggs Lexicon on this Hebrew name of "Baal".

01168 Ba`al {bah'-al}

the same as 01167; TWOT - 262a

AV - Baal 62, Baalim 18; 80

Baal = "lord"
n pr m
1) supreme male divinity of the Phoenicians or Canaanites
2) a Reubenite
3) the son of Jehiel and grandfather of Saul
n pr loc
4) a town of Simeon, probably identical to Baalath-beer

Now I realize that the term "Baal" is one of two possible Hebrew words for "Lord/Master" but I find it rather ironic that an eerily similar practice was going on in ancient Israel. Yahweh even said:

Jer. 23:26-27 -  "How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? Indeed they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart,
27 "who try to make My people forget My name by their dreams which everyone tells his neighbor, as their fathers forgot My name for Baal.

Now, I'm not saying that those who call Yahweh "Lord" are calling Him "Baal." But what I am saying is that we have a very similar practice going on in ancient Israel and I don't think He would want me to forget His name for "the LORD" anymore than He wanted ancient Israel to forget His name for "Baal/Lord."

So Yahweh said:

Hosea 2:17 -  For I will take from her mouth the names of the Baalim, And they shall be remembered by their name no more.

Continuing with our scriptures...Yahweh said:

Isai 42:8 I am YAHWEH, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images.

Mala 2:2  If you will not hear, And if you will not take it to heart, To give glory to My name," Says YAHWEH of hosts, "I will send a curse upon you, And I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have cursed them already, Because you do not take it to heart.

Psal 105:1 Oh, give thanks to YAHWEH! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!

Psalms 116:17- I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of YAHWEH.

Isai 12:4  And in that day you will say: "Praise YAHWEH, call upon His name; Declare His deeds among the peoples, Make mention that His name is exalted.

Zechariah 13:9- And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It [is] my people: and they shall say, Yahweh is my Elohim.

This is only a small sampling of the hundreds of scriptures that tell us of the importance of His name. I invite you to consider these others by clicking here.

In conclusion it is very evident that Yahweh's name is important to Him but it apparently was not important to those who have translated His word into the English language. Therefore we must make every effort when we see His name substituted in our scriptures to restore them back as we read them. We cannot change what has already been done but we can zealously return to the faith which was once delivered to the saints.

Home | Hebrew Roots of Christianity | Request printed copy of this page | Search | And we can restore our speech to the oracles that was once delivered to the saints as well.

1 Pet. 4:11 -  If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of Elohim.

So let's restore the name of Yahweh whenever we see "the LORD" in an English bible and speak as the oracles of Elohim, just as He inspired them!