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LORD and Lord and the divinity of Jesus.

by Findo on December 13th, 2010

I had to excise this from my sermon last Sunday, as it was too much of a tangent, but it’s interesting, so here’s the same idea modified to blog format.

Have a look at  Romans chapter 10, where Paul writes:

[9] because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. [10] For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. [11] For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” [12] For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. [13] For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Now look at vs 13 – everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Paul is actually quoting from the OT – he’s quoting the prophet Joel (2:32) and if we look at that verse we’ll see something quite interesting. The first half of the verse, the quoted bit says:

And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls

Most bibles will have the word LORD in all capitals. In the OT there are two different Hebrew words that are translated into English as Lord. When we see it written in all capitals that indicates that the Hebrew used is ‘Yahweh‘ (also written as ‘Jehovah’) – the sacred, holy proper name of God. The Jews considered it so holy, they would not utter it, and when they wrote it, they left out all the vowels (YHWH) so it was not completely written out.  The other word is ‘adonai’ and it is a title that is used of God, very often in conjunction with Yaweh – as in ‘Lord God’ – literally, sovereign God. Most English translations leave ‘adonai’ in normal print as ‘Lord’. For example in Psalm 8:1 we see the two side by side:

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

All-capitals LORD – Yahweh is the name of God, normal print Lord (adonai) is his title. We might translate it as:

O God, our sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

The NT Greek has only one word rendered Lord – kyrios. Look again at Romans 10. Kyrios is the word Paul has used that is translated ‘Lord’. But, notice that the passage in Joel that he is quoting uses the sacred, proper name of God – Yahweh. The Lord in Romans 10 is the all-capitals LORD of Joel 2. Can you see what Paul is doing here? He’s telling us that this Jesus is God.

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