Watch the video above and talk about it with a group or mentor. Learn more.

One important word in the ancient Hebrew shema prayer is “LORD” - the very name of God himself.

Key Points:

  • The word “LORD” in English Old Testaments (OTs) is usually a translation of the holy name of God in Hebrew – YHWH (Yahweh).
  • We first learn the meaning of YHWH in Exodus 3, when God calls Moses through the burning bush to free the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. The name means “he will be.”
  • The Ten Commandments prohibit people from misusing God’s name, but not from speaking it. Rules were added by Jewish leaders later that prohibited anyone from speaking God’s name.
  • God is a judge, a healer, a deliverer, and many other good things. God is sovereign and in control of all creation, shown even in his name.

Quote This:

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (NASB) Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

See Also: God, Old Testament, Theology

Talk About It
  1. What is your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you?
  2. Jewish leaders created extra laws to keep themselves from breaking the Law of Moses, and Jesus later criticized some leaders for doing this. What are some examples of how we today can create “extra laws” over and above what the Bible teaches? Are we wise or are we foolish to do this? Explain.
  3. What does it mean that God “is” according to this topic? Why does this matter for understanding God?
  4. Is it important to understand who God is to worship him? Why or why not?
  5. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

This is part of the Hebrew Word Studies series.