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?

  • Closer perhaps, but arguably not exactly identical. So if both are approximations, why choose one over the other?
    – Waggers
    Oct 11, 2011 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. Oct 11, 2011 at 8:09
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    "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, 2012 at 17:29
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    Also for JWs, Jehovah and Jesus are not on the same "level", so to speak, because they do not believe in trinity. So while Jehovah is the name of God (and was actually in common use in Europe and elsewhere long before JWs), Jesus is a being created by God (as the bible refers to him as the "first born of all creation" in Col. 1:15). For this reason JWs would not direct worship to Jesus (or Mary, or the "saints", for that matter) nor pray directly to Jesus, being that prayer is a form of worship.
    – user19845
    Oct 21, 2017 at 23:10

6 Answers 6


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.

  • 1
    "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? Jul 9, 2012 at 7:20
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    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, 2013 at 21:03
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    The publication you mention is not available online, but the excerpt on "Jehovah" from Insight, which makes many of the same points, is available here. Mar 29, 2017 at 17:51
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    @MonikaMichael, as to "Just as you wouldn't dare call the president by name"...based on what logic? People have been calling Donald J Trump and all previous presidents by their names (and worse) since the declaration of independence.
    – user19845
    Oct 21, 2017 at 23:14
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    @Mr.Bultitude The publication is now available on jw.org. I've edited in a link to it.
    – user32540
    Jun 4, 2018 at 2:14

The actual pronunciation of the tetragrammaton is up for debate. If a person leaned toward "Yahweh" or "Yehovah," we wouldn't have a problem with that. But "Jehovah" is the most accepted version in English, and a viable translation.

Jesus is an acceptable English translation OF the greek version (Iesous) of a name that would more directly be transliterated Yeshua (which would be directly translated "Joshua"). Most of us recognize that and would have no problem with a more original pronunciation. But most of the biblical names translated into modern versions had a different original pronunciation... the point is that we recognize which individual is which.

No, we do not believe in a trinity and do not believe Jesus is a "person of a Godhead." But Jesus is still our lord and savior, the son of God, our messiah and king. We believe everything he said about himself, including what he said at John 14:28 and 17:3.


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.)


The question is answered well in the 2013 edition of the New World Translation appendix:

Much info on why Jehovah’s witnesses believe using the name Jehovah is important is found there. Specific to your question is the following:

Those who say that the divine name should not be used because it is not known exactly how to pronounce it will nevertheless freely use the name Jesus. However, Jesus’ first-century disciples said his name quite differently from the way most Christians do today. To Jewish Christians, the name Jesus was probably pronounced Ye·shuʹa‛. And the title “Christ” was Ma·shiʹach, or “Messiah.” Greek-speaking Christians called him I·e·sousʹ Khri·stosʹ, and Latin-speaking Christians Ieʹsus Chriʹstus. Under inspiration, the Greek translation of his name was recorded in the Bible, showing that first-century Christians followed the sensible course of using the form of the name common in their language. Similarly, the New World Bible Translation Committee feels that it is reasonable to use the form “Jehovah,” even though that rendering is not exactly the way the divine name would have been pronounced in ancient Hebrew.

Another great question comes to mind when looking at the picture below

enter image description here


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.


You used "Jehovah" when if to use it closer to Hebrew then it Would be Yahweh.

You say why don't JWs use the Hebrew for Jesus when you yourself use the English for God's name instead of the Hebrew yourself; why because that the natural way in our language.

We use the language common to the people in the land we live in. If I lived in Israel the I would use Hebrew, or in Greece I would use Greek but in England (USA) we the English version. Examples of Jesus' name in various languages:-

Afrikaans Jesus

Albanian Jezusi

Arabic Isà عيسى‎ (Islamic or classical arabic) / Yasū يسوع‎ (Christian or latter Arabic)

Amharic ኢየሱስ

Aragonese Chesús

Aramaic/Syriac ܝܫܘܥ (Isho)

Arberesh Isuthi Armenian Հիսուս (Eastern Armenian) Յիսուս (Western Armenian) (Hisus)

Azerbaijani İsa

Belarusian Ісус (Isus) (Orthodox) / Езус (Yezus) (Catholic)

Bengali যীশু (Jeeshu/Zeeshu) (Christian) 'ঈসা ('Eesa) (General)

Breton Jezuz

Catalan Jesús Chinese simplified Chinese: 耶稣; traditional Chinese: 耶穌; pinyin: Yēsū

Cornish Yesu

Croatian Isus

Czech Ježíš

Dutch Jezus

Estonian Jeesus

Filipino Jesús (Christian and secular) / Hesús or Hesukristo (religious)

Fijian Jisu

Finnish Jeesus

French Jésus

Galician Xesús

Garo Jisu

Georgian იესო (Ieso)

Ghanaian Yesu

Greek Ιησούς (Iisús modern Greek pronunciation)

Haitian Creole Jezi

Hausa Yesu

Hawaiian Jesu

Hebrew Yeshua יֵשׁוּעַ‎

Hindustani ईसा / عيسى (īsā)

Hmong Daw Yexus

Hungarian Jézus

Icelandic Jesús

Igbo Jisos

Indonesia Yesus (Christian) / Isa (Islamic)

Irish Íosa

Italian Gesù

Japanese イエス (Iesu)/イエズス (Iezusu)(Catholic)/ゼス(zesu) ゼズス(zezusu) (Kirishitan)イイスス(Iisusu)(Eastern Orthodox)

Jinghpaw Yesu

Kazakh Иса (Isa)

Khmer យេស៑ូវ (Yesu)

Kisii Yeso

Korean 예수 (Yesu)

Kurdish Îsa

Latvian Jēzus

Ligurian Gesû

Limburgish Zjezus

Lithuanian Jėzus

Lombard Gesü

Luganda Yesu

मराठी-Marathi येशू - Yeshu

Malagasy Jeso, Jesoa, Jesosy

Malayalam ഈശോ (Isho), യേശു (Yeshu)

Mirandese Jasus

Maltese Ġesù

Mongolian Есүс

Neapolitan Giesù

Norman Jésus

Occitan Jèsus

Piedmontese Gesù

Polish Jezus

Portuguese Jesus

Romanian Isus (almost all) / Iisus (Eastern Orthodox)

Russian Иисус (Iisus)

Sardinian Gesùs

Serbian Isus / Исус

Sicilian Gesù

Sinhala ජේසුස් වහන්සේ - Jesus Wahanse

Scottish Gaelic Ìosa

Slovak Ježiš

Slovenian Jezus

Spanish Jesús

Swahili Yesu

Sylheti যীশু (Zishu) (Christian) 'ঈছা ('Eesa) (General)

Tajik Исо (Iso)

Tamil இயேசு - Yesu

Telugu Yesu

Thai เยซู - "Yesu"

Turkish İsa

Turkmen Isa

Ukrainian Ісус (Isus)

Urdu عیسیٰ

Uzbek Iso

Venetian Jesu

Vietnamese Giêsu, Dêsu

Welsh Iesu

Yoruba Jesu

Zulu uJesu

  • This is not an answer to the question posted
    – User 14
    Dec 12, 2018 at 18:58
  • @Kris 22 Is this better?
    – user43190
    Dec 12, 2018 at 19:21
  • Your first sentence makes no sense.
    – curiousdannii
    Dec 12, 2018 at 22:25
  • @curiousdannii Better in the above?
    – user43190
    Dec 12, 2018 at 23:10

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