”I am who am!”

What does this expression mean?

God expressed Himself like so in the Bible. But what I want to know is what does it mean? What is its intrinsic meaning?

  • Which translation are you using? The one I have presents that as "I am that I am" ... not sure how important that distinction is, but it would be helpful to include which version of the bible you are using for your citation. Dec 4 '19 at 13:03

God said :

I am that I am. [Exodus 3:14, KJV.]

I am that which I am. [Exodus 3:14, Young's Literal.]

'I am' expresses a personal existence, an individual being.

'That I am' or 'that which I am' expresses a form of being, a mode of existence.

Elsewhere, God reveals that he is eternal, he is the Creator of all things :

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. [Isaiah 40:28, KJV.]

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, states 'God is Spirit' (John 4:24, KJV).

The mode of God's existence is eternal spirit.

As such, he is known by faith, not by human sight or by scientific knowledge.


It is helpful to remember that in the time of the events of the Old Testament, names very often had meaning that were understood by those who heard the name. Moses means "from water," because the daughter of Pharaoh took him from the water, Isaac comes from the Hebrew "he laughs", and so forth.

Often these names will identify a distinguishing characteristic of the person who has the name.

This is the case here with God.

As to the intrinsic meaning of that declaration: the chief distinction between the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, versus any other gods, is that the former actually is, whereas the latter are all fictitious; therefore the true God's name is the statement that He is, which sets Him utterly apart from the false gods invented by man.

  • 1
    I want to add: God only gave this name when pressed by Moses what he should tell the Israelites when asked which god sent him. God basically asserts: The only God there is sent you(, why do you even ask for a name as if there were others?!)
    – kutschkem
    Dec 4 '19 at 12:43
  • There were a few words missing, and the question asked for an "intrinsic meaning." (Which I believe that you did offer). Please review the edit to make sure that your intended message was preserved. Dec 4 '19 at 13:06

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Rev. 1:8

I agree that it's an expression of His existence or state.

58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” 59 Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.

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