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Q&A: Does God want me to use only the Hebrew names He was called in the Old Testament?

Q: I have a friend who refers to God using only Hebrew names from the Bible (such as Yah).  Am I wrong to use the word "God?" Does God want me to use only the Hebrew names He was called in the Old Testament? Will it make a difference when I pray what name I use?

A: I get emails and notes from people quite a lot who do the same thing you're referring to. It is very popular these days to refer to God either by using a Hebrew name or even typing God's name while purposely leaving out some of the letters and replacing them with an asterisk. (G*d)

The short answer to your question is: no, you are not wrong to use the words, "God" or "Lord" when speaking of God or when praying. Some people might object to this, reminding you that such words are just titles and not His true name. However, there's nothing at all wrong with titles. In His instructions to us about prayer, Jesus said:

"Pray then like this: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.'"   Matthew 6:9 (ESV)

So, we see here, Jesus specifically taught us to pray using the word "Father" which is ALSO a title.

There has been a resurgence of interest in Hebrew language and culture among many Christians. In fact, an entire movement has emerged called the Hebrew Roots Movement which has encouraged believers to learn more about Hebrew culture and language. Much of the desire to gain a better understanding of such things is good, however, I have seen this focus turn into a point of spiritual pride and a path toward legalistic thinking. (Check out this link to learn about the dangers associated with the Hebrew Roots Movement.)

It's very easy to think that we have some kind of special access to God because we use the right words or refer to Him using a special biblical name. But we need to remember that our access to God is through Jesus Christ and through Him alone. We're told in Matthew, Mark and Luke that when Jesus died on the cross the veil in the Temple was torn in two. That was God's way of showing us that the way into the Holy of Holies (His presence) had now been opened through the death of Jesus Christ. So the way is not a name or a word or a title — it is a Person. Remember our Lord's words:

"I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6 (ESV)

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