What Does the Name Yahweh Mean?

Although the Bible attributes many names to God, the name Yahweh is a bedrock name that can stand alone.

The original story of Yahweh goes back to Exodus 3:13-15 where God is speaking to Moses through the burning bush. He gives him the ultimate mission: Free the Israelite people from Egyptian bondage.

Moses wonders: How in the world will I convince my people that God is really sending me on this mission, and that it will be successful?

Going along with my last post, God tells Moses: “I am who I am. . . . Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations, (Exodus 3:14-15).

This passage tells us that God’s name I AM and Yahweh are used interchangeably. So I Am is one interpretation of Yahweh.

Yahweh in Jewish tradition was too sacred a name to say out loud. So as time passed, Jews began speaking the name Adonai, or My Lord, in place of Yahweh. Sometimes Elohim replaced this holy name, but these two replacements could also be used for other things. Yahweh, however, holds an exclusive claim as God’s name. Although our English language doesn’t have an exact translation for Yahweh, the Old Testament references this name as LORD with all capital letters.

From Bible Study Tools, Jenna Martin shares a great post: 7 Meanings of Yahweh & Why It’s Such an Important Name for God. Amongst other pertinent information that she shares, I love this nugget of truth: “Yahweh is only used in the Bible when the author is talking about God’s personal, relationship with his people. The fact that God introduces himself to us as ‘Yahweh’ tells us that his first priority in relating to us is making sure we know that he is the intensely personal God, seeking to have a relationship with his people.”

God certainly doesn’t need us, but He wants us. Nothing illustrates this truth more clearly than Jesus entering our world and taking our punishment upon himself so we can have eternal life.