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Jehovah’s Witnesses

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 may have inserted this first occurrence of Kyʹri·os in order to clarify to the reader 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.

SUPPORT: The use of the divine name here is further supported by the following reference works that mention this occurrence of Kyʹri·os as referring to God or as an equivalent of the Tetragrammaton. It is also supported by a number of Bible translations into different languages that use such renderings as Jehovah, Yahveh, יהוה (YHWH, or the Tetragrammaton), LORD, and ADONAI in the main text or that otherwise, in footnotes and marginal notes, indicate that this is a reference to Jehovah God. For example, a number of translations of the Christian Greek Scriptures into Hebrew (referred to as J12-14, 16-18, 22, 23 in App. C4) use the divine name here.

  • The Complete Jewish Bible, by David H. Stern, 1998, capitalizes the word “ADONAI” twice in this verse. In the introduction to this Bible, the translator explains: “The word ‘ADONAIis 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, capitalizes 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 Messianic Jewish Shared Heritage Bible, 2012, uses ADONAI twice in this verse. The glossary on p. 1530 explains: “When written in small capitals, it [ADONAI] refers to God’s personal name YHWH as given in the Hebrew Bible. This personal name is God’s ‘covenant name,’ used when God is relating to the Jewish people in an intimate way.”

  • The Newberry Reference Bible, by Thomas Newberry, 1973 printing, (Hodder and Stoughton, London), p. 2. At John 12:38, “LORD” appears twice in large capitals, and the marginal note says: “Heb. Jehovah.”

  • The Scofield Study Bible, 1945, 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 letters 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.)

  • The Scriptures, translated by the Institute for Scripture Research, 2010, uses the Hebrew letters for the Tetragrammaton (יהוה) twice at John 12:38.

  • The Idiomatic Translation of the New Testament, translated by William Graham MacDonald, 2009, uses “Yahveh” twice at John 12:38.

  • The Holy Bible, Containing the Authorized Version of the Old and New Testaments, With Many Thousand Emendations, 1846, twice uses “LORD” in large capitals in the main text of John 12:38.

  • 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, 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.”

OTHER TRANSLATIONS: J12-14, 16-18, 22, 23, 34-36, 39, 43, 46, 52