“The proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God is … the God whom he calls his Father.” Those words are as true today as they were when C.H. Spurgeon first spoke them 162 years ago to the congregation of New Park Street Chapel in Southwark, England.
But how can we know the unknowable? How can we search out the infinite?
God told the nation Israel through the prophet Jeremiah, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (29:13). God also promised, “for [My people] shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them” (Jeremiah 31:34, also quoted in Hebrews 8:11).
But what practical steps can we take to gain that knowledge?
In his classic work on the names of God, Herbert Lockyer writes, “Our knowledge of the Trinity is dependent upon the way each Person presents Himself in Scripture by designations and deeds.”
In biblical times, a name represented both one’s character and reputation. When we study the names of God, we learn more about Him. We discover what He values and why protecting His good name is so important to Him. As David observed in Psalm 9, “Those who know Your name put their trust in You” (v. 10 ESV).
The Bible reveals God to us by using many descriptive names, both in the Old and New Testaments. The first, and most common one, is God (El in Hebrew). The triune nature of God is revealed in the plural form of El, which is Elohim.
In this series, we’ll examine the various compound forms of the name Yahweh, or Jehovah, used in the Hebrew Scriptures. In Hebrew, this name is represented by four letters—YHWH. Many English versions of the Bible use LORD to signify this name. The use of the small-caps (uppercase O, R, D) distinguishes it from another Hebrew name for God, Adonai, which is translated Lord (lowercase o, r, and d).
Join us as we seek to trust God more by studying the names He uses to identify Himself in the Old Testament.
- C. H. Spurgeon quoted in J.I. Packer’s Knowing God, 20th-anniversary Edition (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), p. 17.
- Herbert Lockyer,All the Divine Names and Titles in the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975), introduction, par 2.
- The name Yahweh is so precious to Jews that it is never spoken and seldom even read. For this most holy name, they substitute Adonai.