Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I think everyone knows that the name Jesus is Greek, but why don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses use his Hebrew name, which is closer to Joshua than to Jesus?

share|improve this question
Closer perhaps, but arguably not exactly identical. So if both are approximations, why choose one over the other? – Waggers Oct 11 '11 at 7:57
Given they are close in Hebrew their English and other modern language forms vary significantly more, to the point they do not appear related. – Frederico.34 Oct 11 '11 at 8:09
"Jesus" is not Greek--it's English. The Greek is more like "Iesous". The name "Jesus" is derived from that Greek word. – Narnian Dec 21 '12 at 17:29

There's a problem with one of your assumptions: Jehovah's Witnesses don't use Jehovah "to be accurate". They use Jehovah because they think it's important to call God by name, and because Jehovah is the traditional rendering in English. They accept that the original pronunciation has been lost, and argue that were it important, Jehovah God would not have allowed it to be lost. They do make linguistic arguments in favour of a trisyllabic pronunciation, but these are lesser considerations.

They also remark that many names contain elements of the divine name: Jeremiah and Jehoshaphat, for example. They argue that if you were to change Jehovah to Yahweh, you should, for the sake of consistency, change these names too.

For more information, see their official publication The Divine Name that Will Endure Forever.

share|improve this answer
"They use Jehovah because they think it's important to call God by name". Do you happen to know why they think that? Some Christians don't do that out of respect (Just as you wouldn't dare call the president by name). What is their reason for believing the opposite? – Monika Michael Jul 9 '12 at 7:20
Basically, because the name is used in the Bible, and it is nowhere said not to use it. – TRiG Jul 9 '12 at 9:16
God want's us to know his name. There are quite a few instances in the bibles that tell us that, such as Psalm 83:18 "May people know that you, whose name is Jehovah, You alone are the Most High over all the earth." Man decided that God's name was too holy to be said. If that where the case would God have given us his name? No, then clearly this thought of not using his name out of respect is from man. – Jeremy Dec 4 '13 at 21:03
"They also remark that many names contain elements of the divine name: Jeremiah and Jehoshaphat, for example." And same can be said if the divine name were Yahweh, regarding names such as Abiyah, Adoniyah, etc., and these also occurse at the end of many names, including Elijah (i.e., Eliyah). But you did answer the question asked. :) – Simply a Christian Sep 8 '15 at 0:10

This is my understanding from studying with a JW who visited my home and became a weekly visitor over the course of several months. (I am not JW, but am not opposed to study.) During the course of this study, I was informed that they (JW) do not believe in the trinity. They are not concerned with honoring Jesus in the same way that God should be honored.

(Also, the correct name for Jesus, according to Jewish tradition is Yeshua.)

share|improve this answer

Its the same reason why Jehovah's Witnesses use Jehovah which is not Hebrew or Greek.

What matter most is that you are using the accepted equivalent translation in your own language or dialect to pertain to God or to his son, Jesus, and you are not constraint of using their names because of their original pronunciation is lost through time.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.