Today, scholars are aware that Jehovah’s personal name appears some 7,000 times in the Bible. Thus, some widely used translations, such as the Catholic Jerusalem Bible, the Catholic La Biblia Latinoamérica in Spanish, and the popular Reina-Valera version, also in Spanish, freely use God’s personal name. Some translations render God’s name “Yahweh.”
Sadly, many churches that sponsor Bible translations pressure scholars into omitting God’s name from their translations of the Bible. For example, in a letter dated June 29, 2008, to presidents of Catholic bishops’ conferences, the Vatican stated: “In recent years the practice has crept in of pronouncing the God of Israel’s proper name.” The letter gives this pointed direction: “The name of God . . . is neither to be used or pronounced.” Furthermore, “for the translation of the Biblical text in modern languages, . . . the divine tetragrammaton is to be rendered by the equivalent of Adonai/Kyrios: ‘Lord.’” Clearly, this Vatican directive is aimed at eliminating the use of God’s name.
Protestants have been no less disrespectful in their treatment of Jehovah’s name. A spokesman for the Protestant-sponsored New International Version, published in English in 1978, wrote: “Jehovah is a distinctive name for God and ideally we should have used it. But we put 21⁄4 million dollars into this translation and a sure way of throwing that down the drain is to translate, for example, Psalm 23 as, ‘Yahweh is my shepherd.’”
In addition, churches have hindered Latin Americans from knowing God by name. Steven Voth, a translation consultant for the United Bible Societies (UBS), writes: “One of the ongoing debates in Latin American Protestant circles revolves around the use of the name Jehová . . .
Interestingly enough, a very large and growing neo-pentecostal church . . . said they wanted a Reina-Valera 1960 edition, but without the name Jehová. Instead, they wanted the word Señor [Lord].” According to Voth, the UBS rejected this request at first but later gave in and published an edition of the Reina-Valera Bible “without the word Jehová.”
Deleting God’s name from his written Word and replacing it with “Lord” hinders readers from truly knowing who God is. Such a substitution creates confusion. For example, a reader may not be able to discern whether the term “Lord” refers to Jehovah or to his Son, Jesus.
Thus, in the scripture in which the apostle Peter quotes David as saying: “Jehovah said to my Lord [the resurrected Jesus]: ‘Sit at my right hand,’” many Bible translations read: “The Lord said to my Lord.” (Acts 2:34, NIV) In addition, David Clines, in his essay “Yahweh and the God of Christian Theology,” points out: “One result of the absence of Yahweh from Christian consciousness has been the tendency to focus on the person of Christ.” Thus, many churchgoers are hardly aware that the true God to whom Jesus directed his prayers is a Person with a name—Jehovah.
Satan has worked hard at blinding people’s minds about God. Even so, you can become intimately acquainted with Jehovah.