Hebrew Meaning Of Yahweh

Understanding the Hebrew meaning of Yahweh is helpful in better understanding Yahweh himself. In the ancient Hebrew culture, a name held a much higher value than it does in most Western cultures today. The ancient Hebrew mindset sees a name as a description of the character and essence of that person, and therefore is very important. So let's take a look at the name of Yahweh and what it means.

YHVH - Life, Breath, I AM

The original Hebrew letters that make up Yahweh's name (יהוה‎) do not have pronunciation markings (the transliteration into English is YHVH), so no one can be absolutely sure how the name is pronounced, and there certainly are differing opinions on this topic. But I'm not here to discuss the topic of pronunciation, but rather to take a glimpse into the meaning of the name.

There are numerous studies done on the meaning of the name, and I encourage you to do in-depth research on the topic, but it seems like many people agree with the idea that Yahweh carries the meaning of "life" (as in existence) and "breath" (as in the breath of life). From this definition, we can see that Yahweh's name is beautiful, as it describes his creative nature and it demonstrates his power to give life and bring things into existence.

If you read the story of Yahweh revealing himself to Moses through the burning bush (Exodus 3), you'll notice that Yahweh describes himself to Moses as "I AM WHO I AM." So, Yahweh describes himself as One who exists. This further backs up the idea of Yahweh's name meaning "life" and "breath."

Yahweh Is God's Personal Name

One of the highlights of my research of the ancient Hebrew language was when I discovered that the word "Yahweh" is only used to describe the God who created all things, and it never describes an idol-god, mankind, angels, or anything created. That makes this name special and unique, and "holy" (meaning "set apart").

In fact, the Biblical meaning of Yahweh makes the name so special and holy that some think that it should not be uttered, as a way of showing respect to the name. I personally am of the perspective that uttering the name of Yahweh, if done with respect, is a way of honoring the existence of our creator in a very intimate way. So I love to use the name regularly. (If you are of the belief that The Name should not be uttered, please do not take offence at my use of The Name. My intention is only to show respect and honor to my Maker).

A Translation That Uses The Name Yahweh

I have grown to appreciate and use the translation "World English Bible," because of its use of the word "Yahweh." Many English translations, including the NIV, NASB, KJV, and NLT, just to name a few, replace the Hebrew word for Yahweh with the word "Lord," whose meaning is not related to the meaning of "Yahweh," except for the fact that they both refer to our Creator.

For those like myself who know and appreciate the Hebrew meaning of Yahweh, the WEB translation (available online at ebible.org/web) serves as a valuable tool to help you fully experiencing the name of Yahweh in his written word.


We have learned the meaning of the name of Yahweh in Hebrew, and we learned that it is his personal name. We have also learned of an English translation of the Bible, WEB, that uses the proper name. Now that you are armed with this knowledge, I encourage you to study the Bible in greater depth, paying close attention to the use of Yahweh's name as you do so. There is so much to be discovered in the written Word of God!
About The AuthorJonathan Hostetler lives in southern Pennsylvania. He grew up in a strong Christian family, dedicated his life completely to Jesus at the age of 9, experienced a spiritual breakthrough at the age of 15, and is now in his mid twenties, joyfully serving Yahweh and sharing Yahweh's message of salvation and hope both on the internet and in person.
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