Which Bibles Use the Name Yahweh and How Often? A Full Table

For centuries, Jewish people have read the title “Adonai” in the place of the proper name “Yahweh” when it appears in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament. Most modern translations follow this pattern and use the word “LORD” in all caps to designate the Hebrew name of God. However, not all Bibles have remained faithful to this tradition, instead opting to use the name “Yahweh” or the consonants “YHWH.” In this post, we’ll examine a few popular examples of Bible versions that use the sacred name in the place of the LORD. This is by no means an exhaustive list but will help us explore the question of whether or not we should use Yahweh in our Bible translations.

Version Year Published Translation Philosophy Divine Name Used #
21 Century King James Version 1994 Formal equivalence Jehovah 8
American Standard Version 1901 Formal equivalence Jehovah 5,831
BRG Bible 1901 Formal equivalence Jehovah 7
Darby Translation 1890 Formal equivalence Jehovah 5,791
Easy-to-Read Version 1987 Dynamic equivalence Yahweh 12
Geneva Bible 1560 Formal equivalence Jehovah 8
Holman Christian Standard Bible 2004 Dynamic equivalence Yahweh 611
King James Version 1611 Formal equivalence Jehovah 7
Lexham English Bible 2011 Formal equivalence Yahweh 5,824
The Living Bible 1971 Paraphrase Jehovah 408
The Message 1993 Paraphrase Yahweh 1
Names of God 2011 Dynamic equivalence Yahweh 5,856
New American Bible (Revised Edition) 1970 Formal equivalence Yahweh 3
New Living Translation 1996 Dynamic equivalence Yahweh 11
The Passion Translation 2017 Dynamic equivalence Yahweh 450
The Voice 2012 Dynamic equivalence YHWH 2
World English Bible 2000 Formal Equivalence Yahweh 5,795
Wycliffe Bible 2001 Formal equivalent Yahweh, Jehovah 1, 4
Young’s Literal Translation 1862 Formal equivalent Jehovah 5,787
Table of the Use of the Divine Name in Most English Bibles*

*Keep in mind this is not a comprehensive list. This is a list of popular Bibles available for search on the website BibleGateway.com. The number of occurrences and percent alignment with the Hebrew Scriptures is based solely on the appearance of the word “Yahweh” or “Jehovah.” Instances where the name was shortened to “Yah” in the Hebrew Bible are not counted here.

The Divine Name of Choice

When it comes to the divine name, no one really knows how it was pronounced. Since the original Hebrew text did not have vowels, there is no way for us to know for sure how the words were originally pronounced. We are at the mercy of the Masoretes, who copied the Hebrew text in the late first millennium B.C. They added vowel points for us to aid in pronunciation and to help us differentiate between words with the same consonants. But something you need to understand about the Masoretes is that they held the Hebrew Bible in very high esteem. They refused to change anything about the original text.

So if there was something in the text that the Masoretes believed to be a mistake, they wouldn’t change it. Instead, they would make a note in the margin, almost like an ancient footnote. This was called ketiv qere. Over the consonants, they would place a K for ketiv, which is Aramaic for “written.” Then in the margins, they would fix the mistake and write a Q for qere, which means “read.” In other words, the Masoretes are telling us, “This is what’s written in the text, but this is how you should read it.” The vowel points they place on the consonants, then, reflect how you should pronounce the consonants in the margin. They do not belong to the consonants under which the markings appear.

Here’s where it gets fun. Every so often, there would be a word or phrase that the Masoretes would pronounce differently time it appeared. And if it appeared often enough, it became what’s known as Qere Perpetuum. The idea here is that the average reader of the Hebrew text should be familiar enough with these words that they didn’t need assistance in the margins. So instead of writing out the qere in the margin, the Masoretes would only change the vowel points.

What do you think the most common example of Qere Perpetuum is? You guessed it: the divine name.

When the Masoretes read the Hebrew scriptures, they wouldn’t utter the name of God. Instead, they replaced it with Adonai, or Lord. In instances where the text placed Yahweh and Adonai side-by-side (Lord Yahweh, or LORD God in most English translations), the Masoretes would pronounce Yahweh as Elohim, which means God. Again, when they copied the Hebrew text, they were not allowed to change the consonants. So they left the consonants YHWH in the text, but they changed the vowel pointing. If the vowel under Yahweh was an a, that meant you were supposed to pronounce YHWH as Adonai. If the vowel was I, that meant you were supposed to pronounce YHWH as Elohim. Again, since this was a common reading, the Masoretes would not put the new consonants in the margins. They just expected anyone who read the text to understand to read Adonai or Elohim.

Around the 12th century, just a couple hundred years after the Masoretic Text was transcribed, a misunderstanding of the qere Perpetuum led to the spelling of God’s name as “Yehowa,” using the consonants YHWH and the vowel pointing from Adonai. Sometime in the 16th century, this Germanized into Jehovah, a spelling that is still popular today in many Bible versions and worship songs.

So how did we get from Jehovah to Yahweh? Well, again, we really don’t know how the name was pronounced due to a lack of proper vowel points in the Masoretic text. Multiple pronunciations have been offered, but Yahweh is by far the scholarly consensus. This makes the most sense of the textual evidence since there seems to be a clear connection between the name of God and the first person “to be” verb, ehyeh (“I am who I am,” Ex. 3:14). This pronunciation also takes into account extra-biblical evidence in order to build the most convincing case for this pronunciation. Again, while we really don’t know for sure how the name was pronounced, Yahweh is most likely the closest we’ll get to firm answer.

All that said, translations that choose to use the name of God instead of the traditional LORD have a choice to make. Many versions, especially older versions or versions with a heavy KJV or ASV influence, continue to use Jehovah, despite the fact that it is based on a misunderstanding of Hebrew vowel points and ketiv qere. Other versions use Yahweh in an attempt to modernize the text and bring us closer to the original vocalization. Still others choose not to make a firm translation decision for something about which we cannot be certain and choose to leave the consonants YHWH. The decision of the translators is shown in the table above.

Translation Philosophy: The Issue of Consistency and Readability

Not all versions are equal when it comes to rendering the divine name as Yahweh, YHWH, or even Jehovah. The biggest problem translators have when approaching the Hebrew text with the intention of using the divine name Yahweh is consistency. Some translations, which approach the biblical text from a formal equivalent word-for-word philosophy use the divine name as often as possible, whereas versions that seek an idea-for-idea translation use the name considerably less often. Let’s look at a few examples.

As a baseline, keep in mind that the Hebrew Bible uses the name Yahweh roughly 6,800 times. As you can see in the table above, many of the formal equivalent translations (word for word) are mainly in line with the Hebrew Bible’s usage.

However, more readable versions that still attempt to use the divine name have a more difficult time with consistency. Take the Living Bible, for instance, which uses the name Jehovah less than 500 times. Or the Holman Christian Standard Bible, which used the name a little more than 600 times.

When it comes down to it, the sheer volume and repetition of the name Yahweh in Hebrew does not lend itself to a smooth reading in English. This is the main reason why, in their 2017 reboot of the HSCB (the Christian Standard Bible), the translation committee decided not to use the name Yahweh.

Traditionally, English Bible translations have chosen not to supply vowels in order make the name of God (YHWH) pronounceable; they simply render this name as a title (LORD). The CSB Translation Oversight Committee chose to come into alignment with other English translations, departing from the HCSB practice of utilizing “Yahweh” in the text. The HCSB was inconsistent, rendering YHWH as “Yahweh” in only 656 of 6,000+ occurrences of YHWH, because full consistency would be overwhelming to the reader. Yet feedback from readers also showed that the unfamiliarity of “Yahweh” was an obstacle to reading the HCSB. In addition, when quoting Old Testament texts that include an occurrence of YHWH, the New Testament renders YHWH with the word kurios, which is a title (Lord) rather than a personal name. This supports the direction of bringing the CSB is in line with most English translations, rendering YHWH as LORD.

Christian Standard Bible

Should We Say Yahweh or LORD?

The question we have yet to ask is whether or not Bible translations should even use the name of God. Is it appropriate to write Yahweh or YHWH?

From a pure translation perspective, I think it makes the most sense to use Lord or LORD in the place of the name of God. This conviction of mine is not theological in nature but merely reflects my own translation philosophy.

Our modern New Testaments are based on what’s called an eclectic text. Eclectic texts are pieced together by scholars using the discipline of textual criticism. Our New Testaments do not reflect one single document but take all the textual evidence into account.

Our Old Testament, on the other hand, is not based on an eclectic text. It comes from one Hebrew manuscript, the Leningrad Codex. Since the Leningrad Codex uses the vowel pointing for Adonai or Elohim over the consonants YHWH, it’s clear that they intended for Lord or God to be used instead of Yahweh. Since we are translating a single document, I think we ought to be as faithful to that document as we can.

Granted, in many instances, English translations do make use of textual criticism and go with other readings when appropriate (or when they just don’t understand the original Hebrew). However, due to the sheer volume of YHWH as Adonai or Elohim in the Leningrad Codex, it’s my personal conviction that we have no reason to alter the intentions of the original transcribers.

A more pressing question is whether or not it’s appropriate to use the name of Yahweh at all. As a worship leader for several years, I struggled with this question. Should we be singing songs that mention the name, Yahweh? Is it appropriate?

After much reflection, I personally don’t see anything wrong with using God’s name. God revealed his name to Moses thousands of years ago so that Moses and the Israelites could come to know him in a unique and intimate way. That invitation for a unique and intimate relationship with God is still open to us today, and I see no reason for not using the name Yahweh.

However, I would advise against using the name of Yahweh in public worship, simply because you don’t know who is listening. Using the name can be incredibly offensive to some groups of people. For that reason alone, I chose to stop singing songs that mentioned the name of God. Again, this choice was not theologically motivated but simply made out of respect for people that may find offense in my casual usage of a sacred and holy name.

Please let me know in the comments below if I’ve left anything out! I’ll continue to add to this table as I find more versions.

Tyler Martin
Hey, I'm Tyler Martin! I'm a husband, father, content creator, and Bible nerd. I have a B.A. in biblical languages and an M.A. in biblical exegesis. I've spent my life learning about the Bible and I am passionate about helping others discover the beautiful and imaginative world of the scriptures.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
19 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dan
Dan
April 6, 2022 4:41 pm

There are numerous points to be made here. I will venture a few:
The author of the Bible (2 Pe 1:21) saw fit to have his personal name written over 6,800 times in the guidebook that he gave mankind. A quick check into Strong’s cites David’s name in the Holy writings some 1100 times, Jesus over 900 times, and Moses at around 800.
Let that sink in for a minute. If you used a Bible that had removed Jesus personal name over 900 times in places it belonged and replaced his personal name with a title in those 900 places, how would that make you feel?
Of note is the fact that most all Hebrew names in the Bible that begin with a ‘J’ mean ‘Jehovah something’. For example Jehu means ‘Jehovah is he’. Joel means ‘Jehovah is God’, and Jesus name means ‘Jehovah is salvation’.
Being faithful to the Hebrew (which has no letter ‘J’), then Yehu means Yehovah or Yahweh is he. Yoel means Yehovah or Yahweh is God, and Yeshua (or Yehoshua) means Yehovah or Yahweh is salvation.
The spelling and pronunciation of any of these name in English were NOT with a J sound (pronounced /ˈdʒeɪ/) . You can peruse an actual 1609 Douay-Rheims or 1611 KJV Bible and you will find that there is no ‘J’ in those translation. Why? Because the letter J did not come into use into the English alphabet until the 1630’s. So Jesus name was spelled Iesus and Jehovah as Ieovah, John as Iohn, James as Iames and so on.
Yet, the ONLY name that has been removed because it’s ‘not the original’ way of pronouncing it or ‘following a man-made tradition’ (see Mark 7:13) is the personal name of God. Even the 25+ pagan false gods names mentioned in HIS word have not been taken out.
Take any Jewish Hebrew translation of the scriptures (Tanakh) and you find they have dared not remove God’s personal name from their scriptures. They did embrace not speaking the name out of fear of taking God’s name in vain (Ex 20:7). This was a man-made tradition. How do we know?
Here is a very small sample of God’s sentiments about knowing and using his name (citing the ASV in the article’s list):
Exodus 3:15 Jehovah, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
Psalms 83:18 That they may know that thou alone, whose name is Jehovah, Art the Most High over all the earth.
Isaiah 42:8 I am Jehovah, that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise unto graven images.
Joel 2:32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall be delivered;
Micah 4:10 For all the peoples walk every one in the name of his god; and we will walk in the name of Jehovah our God for ever and ever.
Malachi 3:16 . . . and a book of remembrance was written before him, for them that feared Jehovah, and that thought upon his name.
Whether someone uses Yehovah, Yahweh, or Jehovah is a personal matter. However we all want to make an informed decision. Substituting his personal name for ‘Lord’ (which is a title, not a name) does not harmonize with God own words nor that of his son, Jesus, who said in prayer on the night of his arrest:
John 17:6, 26 I manifested thy name unto the men whom thou gavest me out of the world . . . and I made known unto them thy name, and will make it known;

John_3_16
John_3_16
November 14, 2021 7:39 am

I was born in America. I learned & speak American English. Facts. Not brag nor intending offense.

When I say Holy Spirit, God, Lord or Jesus Christ, my thoughts & feelings are of those Heavenly beings. That is my language. I do not feel left out that YHWH first made Israelites His chosen people & later included gentiles via His Son. How many interpretations for “Father” or “Son” exist today? A translation does not automatically mean loss of meaning. It is translated from one form to another so both end with the same understanding & meaning. I have heard my name pronounced in several languages. None spelled or sounded the same as my given American name. BUT, I responded because it was me!

Do any of us really believe that the Lord God who took human form to die for our sins is confused when we pray in the Spirit via our own languages? I am betting my eternal life that He knows it is me & to Whom I am praying.

I feel Beelzebub’s influence in this. Anything to misdirect attention away from salvation. Original Hebrew was not used to record life & times of Jesus Christ. He preached to the world. He used several nationalities as apostles.

No offense meant. We live in an age where the world is dying, millions of unborn are legally murdered, same sex marriages are legal & it is becoming illegal to voice a Christian opinion based on your chosen translation of the Word.

To me, God & YHWH are one & the same. I know & He knows, of this, I am certain. Just say’n.

Stay safe & God (YHWH) bless us all.

ELAINE POMERANSKY
ELAINE POMERANSKY
September 21, 2021 1:52 pm

I’m looking to buy an English translation Bible (not too expensive) that translates exactly what is written. As you menation tne Yahweh and Lord substitution, I can’t find a Bible that has the authentic words that are written, such as Yahweh. It seems to be a superstition in Rabbinic Judaism that one must not say the name YHVH as it is too holy. Don’t know why they presume El is a generic term and not a name. Or how Judaism and Christianity have managed to turn Elohim into a singular. As you’ve kindly invited in the stranger to ask, in Isaiah it says that Yahweh brings both good and evil, is Yahweh God or is El the real God?

JohnDavid
JohnDavid
August 1, 2021 7:01 am

It’s the most powerful sound in the universe.

Mr Garvey
Mr Garvey
June 4, 2021 5:39 pm

God is a title
The real name is Yahweh
I choose Elohim Yahweh and Yashua Messiah over God and Jesus Christ ✍️

Shelley Keith Childs
Shelley Keith Childs
May 27, 2021 8:25 pm

For me the question is why did the KJV translators choose to feature the Tetragram as a name in these 7 verses, departing from their substitutionary use of LORD as it appears elsewhere? The word ‘name’ is often present, but there are many other verses (esp. the Psalms) which state ‘the LORD is my name’. In Exodus 6:3 he is specially calling attention to his uniqueness through his name, but other than that I can’t see a pattern of ‘most prominent use’ or something along those lines.

1.Genesis 22:14
And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh as it is said to this day In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen

2.Exodus 6:3
…Abraham unto Isaac and unto Jacob by the name of God Almighty but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them

3.Exodus 17:15
And Moses built an altar and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi

4.Judges 6:24
Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD and called it Jehovah-shalom unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites

5.Psalms 83:18
That men may know that thou whose name alone is JEHOVAH art the most high over all the earth

6.Isaiah 12:2
Behold God is my salvation I will trust and not be afraid for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song he also is become my salvation

7.Isaiah 26:4
Trust ye in the LORD for ever for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength

Nathan Barton
Nathan Barton
March 21, 2021 10:10 pm

While I appreciate and understand many of the comments about whether using the personal Name of our Creator is essential or permitted, I come from a tradition that expects us to show respect and honor to those we love, including our physical parents.
I was raised to NOT use the personal names of my mother, my father, and my grandparents, but to call them Father or Daddy, Mother or Mama, Grandmother, and Grandfather. NOT their given names. Did this mean that I did not have a very close, loving relationship with them? Absolutely not. Did this mean that I was being “excessively” respectful OR denying their importance by not addressing them as Jerry, Marian, JA, Frazier, Elva, or Verda. We can have a very close relationship with the Father, and indeed with Father, Son, and Spirit, without using a personal name. Yes, it is a tradition, but a respectful and godly one firmly rooted in the Scriptures.

Roy Ingle
Roy Ingle
February 28, 2021 9:22 am

I’ve always prayed and enjoyed using God’s covenant name. However I agree that it’s about preference. Thankfully our God doesn’t demand we call Him by His name. He sees our hearts and knows us well.

On a side note, John MacArthur has a team from The Master’s College and Seminary preparing a translation based off the NASB that will have Yahweh in it.

Lexi
Lexi
February 16, 2021 9:37 pm

What should we call Him? He wants a personal relationship with us, so does it make more sense to research or ask just ask Him? He wants us to love and respect him. He made us in his image. So does it make sense to ask ourselves what we want to be called by loved ones? Do you want people to call you by your title or your name? If one or the other, call Him that. If both, mix it up when you pray. Some people have developed nicknames with other people their close to. If you’re someone who loves giving people nicknames as terms of endearment and love, give God a nickname, as evidence of your love and relationship with him, but if you’re not a nickname person, then don’t. History and tradition have uses and purposes, but God is not history, he’s not dead. He’s alive. As Jesus/Yeshua reminded us, God said, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” AM not WAS. And it hasn’t changed. Whether I call Michael Jordan by his full name, Mr. Jordan, etc. it’s based on my relationship (or lack thereof). If I’m a student, I call my teacher one thing, if I am that same teacher’s spouse, sibling, parent, I use a different name. I think God cares more that you wish to talk to him, that you think of him, and acknowledge him throughout your day than he does what you call him. However I do think what you call him is an indicator of what your relationship is with him. Do you want your relationship to be personal, professional, or a lil’ bit o’ both? My relationship with Him is not the same as yours, and neither of ours is the same as those who lived on Earth centuries ago. Relationships are almost as unique as fingerprints in some ways. Does that make sense? It did to me a minute ago, but now it’s not as clear…so, uh, anyway, just thought I’d add this 2 cent perspective into the mix. 🙂

Mike Wilson
Mike Wilson
December 14, 2020 12:25 am

It seems to me that since the Holy Spirit inspired the writers of the old Testament to use the true name of our God, we have no right to go with tradition and use something the Masoretes changed from the original. They had a wrong view of Yaweh our God and decided not to use His Holy Name. Doesn’t mean we should follow suit.

Mr Garvey
Mr Garvey
Reply to  Mike Wilson
June 4, 2021 5:30 pm

Well said, they’re trying to confuse us
They do not want us to know the name of the creator. That’s why the creator himself asked a question in proverbs 30:4

Jacob Choudhury
Jacob Choudhury
November 9, 2020 5:34 am

It’s sounds like political correctness has pressurised you into being reluctant to use the name “Yahweh” in public.

J Scott Schaffer
J Scott Schaffer
September 27, 2020 3:58 pm

Thank you for your study and insight.

ปั้มไลค์
ปั้มไลค์
June 29, 2020 4:26 am

Like!! I blog frequently and I really thank you for your content. The article has truly peaked my interest.

Albert Colaco
Albert Colaco
Reply to  ปั้มไลค์
May 20, 2021 9:02 am

When Almighty God has given His Name, who are we, mere mortals to substitute it with any other? The original Word of God has the Name of the Only Living and True God (John 17:3) written more than 6500 times, it’s obvious it’s the most important Name in the Bible and in the whole Universe.