Jesus declared in prayer to his Father: “I have made your name known . . . and will make it known.” (John 17:26) Jesus would undoubtedly have pronounced God’s name on numerous occasions when he read, quoted, or explained portions of the Hebrew Scriptures containing that important name. Jesus would thus have used God’s name just as freely as all the prophets did before him.
If any Jews were already avoiding the use of God’s name during the time of Jesus’ ministry, Jesus would certainly not have followed their tradition. He strongly criticized the religious leaders when he said to them: “You have made the word of God invalid because of your tradition.”—Matthew 15:6.
Faithful followers of Jesus continued to make God’s name known after Jesus’ death and resurrection. (See the box “Did the First Christians Use God’s Name?”) At Pentecost 33 C.E., the very day the Christian congregation was formed, the apostle Peter, quoting from a prophecy of Joel, said to a multitude of Jews and proselytes: “Everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.” (Acts 2:21; Joel 2:32)
Early Christians helped people from many nations to come to know Jehovah by name. Thus, in a meeting of the apostles and older men in Jerusalem, the disciple James said: “God . . . turned his attention to the nations to take out of them a people for his name.”—Acts 15:14.
Nevertheless, the enemy of God’s name did not give up. Once the apostles were dead, Satan wasted no time in sowing apostasy. (Matthew 13:38, 39; 2 Peter 2:1) For example, the nominal Christian writer Justin Martyr was born about the time John, the last of the apostles, died. Yet, Justin repeatedly insisted in his writings that the Provider of all things is “a God who is called by no proper name.”
When apostate Christians made copies of the Christian Greek Scriptures, they evidently took Jehovah’s personal name out of the text and substituted Ky′ri‧os, the Greek word for “Lord.” The Hebrew Scriptures did not fare any better. No longer reading God’s name aloud, apostate Jewish scribes replaced the divine name in their Scriptures with ʼAdho‧nai′ more than 130 times. The influential translation of the Bible into Latin that was completed by Jerome in 405 C.E. and that came to be called the Vulgate similarly omitted the personal name of God.