Skip to content

Skip to table of contents

New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)


Verses Where the Divine Name Does Not Appear as Part of Direct or Indirect Quotations in the Book of John

JOHN 12:38a “Jehovah, who has put faith . . . ?”

REASON(S): In this quote from Isaiah 53:1, the original Hebrew text uses the divine name only once, in the expression “the arm of Jehovah.” John, however, under divine inspiration quotes from the Septuagint translation of Isaiah’s prophecy, where the Greek text begins with the form of the word Kyʹri·os (Lord) used for direct address. (See Romans 10:16, where Isaiah 53:1 is also quoted.) The translators of the Septuagint may have inserted the divine name in this first occurrence in order to clarify that the prophet addresses his questions to God. Since Kyʹri·os in later copies of the Septuagint is often used as a substitute for the Tetragrammaton in the original Hebrew text (as is the case in the second occurrence of Kyʹri·os in this quote), the divine name has been used here in the main text.​—See John 12:38b.


  • When commenting on the same quotation from Isaiah 53:1 that is found at Romans 10:16, The Bible Commentary, edited by F. C. Cook, 1981 reprint, makes this comment on the first occurrence of “Lord” in that quotation: “The word ‘Lord,’ added here and in the Greek versions of Isai. liii. I [53:1], shows the prophet turning to Jehovah, as the sender of the message . . . The addition is in harmony with the original meaning of the passage, and with St. Paul’s comment upon it in v. 17.”

  • The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, by R.C.H. Lenski, says of the same quotation from Isaiah 53:1 that is found at Romans 10:16: “Paul adds ‘Lord’ to the quotation since the prophet’s question was addressed to Yahweh.”

  • In the book The Principles and Practice of New Testament Textual Criticism, G. D. Kilpatrick lists John 12:38 as having two occurrences of “Κύριος [Kyʹri·os] = Yahweh.”

  • The Complete Jewish Bible, by David H. Stern, 1998, uses capital and small capitals for the word “ADONAI” twice in this verse. In the introduction to this Bible, the translator explains: “The word ‘ADONAI is used . . . wherever I, as the translator, believe ‘kurios’ is the Greek representation of the tetragrammaton.”

  • The Companion Bible, with notes by E. W. Bullinger, 1999 printing, uses capital and small capitals for LORD twice in the main text of John 12:38 to show that both occurrences refer to Jehovah. In Appendix 98, “Divine Names and Titles in New Testament,” on p. 142, it lists John 12:38 twice under the heading “LORD . . . Used of Jehovah.”

  • The Scofield Reference Bible, 1909, by C. I. Scofield, says in a marginal note on the first occurrence of “Lord” at John 12:38: “Jehovah. Isa. 53.1.”

  • The NLT Study Bible, Second Edition, 2008, puts “LORD” in capital and small capitals in both occurrences at John 12:38. The translation committee for this Bible makes this comment in the “Introduction to the New Living Translation”: “We have generally rendered the tetragrammaton (YHWH) consistently as ‘the LORD,’ utilizing a form . . . that is common among English translations.” Commenting on the New Testament, the committee says: “The Greek word kurios is consistently translated ‘Lord,’ except that it is translated ‘LORD’ wherever the New Testament text explicitly quotes from the Old Testament, and the text there has it in small capitals.” (Italics ours.)

SUPPORTING REFERENCES: J12, 14, 16-18, 22, 23, 34-36, 39, 46, 52, 61, 65, 66, 88, 93, 100-102, 105, 106, 114-118, 122, 130, 133, 136, 144-147, 149, 190, 191, 201, 204, 212, 225, 236, 244, 262, 265, 271, 273, 289, 295-297, 322-325