During the days of Jesus’ apostles in the first century C.E., Christian congregations were formed in many lands. The members of those congregations regularly met together to study the Scriptures. Did those early Christians find Jehovah’s name in their copies of the Scriptures?
Since Greek had become the international language, many congregations used the Greek Septuagint, a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures completed in the second century B.C.E. Some scholars claim that from the time it was originally translated, the Septuagint had always replaced God’s name with the title Ky′ri‧os, the Greek word for “Lord.” But the facts show otherwise.
The fragments illustrated here are portions of the Greek Septuagint that date from the first century B.C.E.
They clearly show Jehovah’s name, represented in the Greek text by the four Hebrew letters יהוה (YHWH), or the Tetragrammaton. Professor George Howard wrote: “We have three separate pre-Christian copies of the Greek Septuagint Bible and in not a single instance is the Tetragrammaton translated kyrios or for that matter translated at all. We can now say with near certainty that it was a Jewish practice before, during, and after the New Testament period to write the divine name . . . right into the Greek text of Scripture.”—Biblical Archaeology Review.
Did Jesus’ apostles and disciples use God’s name in their inspired writings? Professor Howard notes: “When the Septuagint which the New Testament church used and quoted contained the Hebrew form of the divine name, the New Testament writers no doubt included the Tetragrammaton in their quotations.”
Therefore, we may safely conclude that the first Christians could read God’s name both in their translations of the Hebrew Scriptures and in their copies of the Christian Greek Scriptures.