Several reasons for not employing Issa in Scripture translation in the Muslim world1. عيسى /Ɂīsa/ should not be considered a transliteration of the Greek name Iēsous, first, because it contains an ع /Ɂ/, a phoneme which does not exist in the Greek language, and second, because the root letters are scrambled and in fact are virtually inverted:
ي + س + و + ع = يسوع /yesûɁ/ ع + ي + س + ى = عيسى/Ɂîsâ/
As a result, the Quranic name Issa/Ɂīsa/, unlike the name Yeshua/Yesu, does not echo the ‘Yah’ morpheme or its likeness (and thus does not acknowledge Yahweh), nor does it reproduce the ‘šuɁ’ morpheme or its likeness, which connotes the salvation for which Yahweh is renowned.
2. There is no trace of ‘Yah’ in Issa. The only biblical name mentioned in the Qur’an in which the ‘Ya(h)’ morpheme remains more or less intact is زَكَرِيَّا / zɛkariyyā (Zechariah), the father of John the Baptist. Another possible exception, though not as clear, is the first syllable in the name Yusef. 1 Other than these abbreviated forms of Yahweh, the complete absence of the full name of Yahweh in the Qur’an—the text of a religion claiming to be the seal of the prophetic revelations—is striking given that it appears over 6500 times in the Hebrew OT. 2 And given the fact that the Qur’an co-opts Hebrew adjectives employed in the OT to describe God such as Rahim, 3 Ali, 4 Aziz, 5 Jebaar, 6 and Qaduus, 7 and takes them as names for God, makes the complete absence of the full name Yahweh all the more conspicuous. 8
Because God has revealed his holy name and is zealous for it, we can be confident that it will remain forever and be glorified. 9 In the law we read, “God also said to Moses, “Say this to the Israelites: Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever; this is how I am to be remembered in every generation” (Exodus 3:15 HCSB, emphasis added). In Psalm 83 Asaph when pleading with God to defeat the nearby nations who had formed an alliance to destroy them, God’s people, prays, “Let them be put to shame and terrified forever; let them perish in disgrace. May they know that You alone—whose name is Yahweh—are the Most High over all the earth” (vv. 17-18, HSCB, emphasis added). So too in the prophets we read, “I am Yahweh, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another or My praise to idols.” (Isaiah 42:8 HCSB, emphasis added). Thus the personal name of the one true and eternal God that is acknowledged and embraced throughout the whole OT will one day be honored by all.
Furthermore, the Qur’an alters the name of Jesus—a name that appears over 960 times in the NT—in such a way that the original ‘Ya(h)’ morpheme disappears and is no longer detectable. Thus, although the Qur’an mentions the generic name of God repeatedly, it neither mentions the personal and covenantal name of God in its fulness, nor does it render the Messiah’s name in such a way that it acknowledges or echoes the name of Yahweh.
3. The adversary seems intent on suppressing the personal name of God, or when that’s not possible, defiling it. 10 Yahweh is the name by which believers approach God in worship and apprehend him in prayer. 11 Its rich meaning is informed by all that God has revealed of himself in redemptive history as documented in Scripture. In Psalm 44 forgetting God’s name is considered an offense as serious as idolatry: “If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:20-21, emphasis added). Speaking through Jeremiah the LORD asks, “How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart, who think to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, even as their fathers forgot my name for Baal?” (Jer. 23:26-27, emphasis added).
This tactic appears to be quite old. When the Adversary approached Eve in the garden of Eden, he employed the generic term for God in his question, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Gen 3:1). Keil and Delitzch keenly observe,
Beale and Kim likewise observe, in comparing what God actually said to Adam with what Eve said in response to the serpent, “Through doubt, the serpent undermined God’s word. Eve’s reply to the serpent shows that the serpent succeeded in his plot. Notice the subtle differences between God’s word in Genesis 2:16-17 and the woman’s reply in Genesis 3:2-3:
First, the name of God is changed from “the LORD [Yahweh] God” to “God.” While this does not sound like much in English, “the LORD God” is the personal name of God that signifies an intimate and covenantal relationship, while “God” is the God of power who created all things (Elohim). While Genesis 2 presents the LORD God issuing commands in covenant relationship to his special people, Eve appears to look at this personal God from a distance in Genesis 3. 13
These striking observations, which have much to say about Satanic schemes and human nature, also have a significant bearing on the discussion at hand. The lesson is clear. We to whom God has made known his personal name in the light of his wonderful saving acts on our behalf must not, like Eve, content ourselves with merely a “general numen divinium,” that is, a generic term for God. Rather we shall delight in God’s personal name. There is no one like Yahweh. We lay hold of him by the name he revealed to us, and in that name we glory, and to that name we give thanks and praise. And for the very same reasons, we also delight in the Messiah’s God-given name which echoes and acknowledges the personal name of God. Exchanging it for a name that does not do so may very well be playing into the enemy’s hands.
4. Alien names impede natural concordance. Issa, as a name devoid of the ‘Yah’ morpheme, does not reflect the historic and phonetic link that exists between the Messiah’s original name and ‘Yahweh is our Righteousness,’ the Messianic name foretold by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 23:5-6), nor between the Messiah’s name and ‘Joshua,’ the name of Moses’ assistant, who in leading the children of Israel into their promised inheritance was a type of Christ. His model of faith and devotion stands in stark contrast to the OT figure that the name Issa generally evokes by way of assonance.
5. Of all the biblical names, the Quranic name عِيْسَى /Ɂisā (‘Issa’) most closely resembles that of ‘Esau,’ עֵשָׂו /ʿē•śāw/, the one person in Scripture whom God says he “hated.” 14 In Malachi 1:2b-3a the LORD declares, “I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated,” a verse that Paul cites in Romans 9:13. Bible translations therefore, that replace Jesus with Issa will be obliged to alter the name of Esau to avoid any confusion between the two names, which differ only in the final vowel in Arabic. 15 Translations which transliterate the Messiah’s name, on the other hand, are not compelled to do so since the two names (Yeshua and Esau) naturally distinguish themselves. Furthermore, it should be added, the meaning of Esau’s name appears to be ‘hairy,’ as inferred from the context in which it first appears (Genesis 25:25) 16 Of the two names ‘Yah is salvation’ and ‘Hairy,’ only the first is capable and worthy of describing the identity and mission of the promised son of David, the Savior of the world. Once again, because the act of naming is an exercise of authority in the biblical economy, no creature has the right to alter the name that God has given his incarnate Son. It is both holy and wonderful, and gives great insight into the nature of the God whose name he bears.
Several Philosophical, Ethical and Tactical Considerations in favor of Transliterating Jesus’ Name
1. Employing the Islamic name Issa rather than Jesus/Yesu(s) in NT translation, while faithfully rendering the remainder of the apostolic presentation of Jesus the Messiah is inconsistent and confusing. Rather than creating a bridge for readers leading from the known to the unknown, and from the familiar to the new, it potentially becomes a kind of Trojan horse in the sense that readers are subtly confronted with two divergent and conflicting authorities simultaneously. That is, while the name Issa as a ‘form’ is derived from one authority, the Qur’an, the ‘meaning’ that is poured into it comes from another authority, the Bible. This combination of divergent authorities could implicitly endorse both in the minds of the readers. In any case, the marriage of the two conflicting traditions is bound to be a rocky one given that the status, rank, and mission of the Messiah, as well as the meaning of his miracles, for example, are completely at odds with one another. Furthermore, the name Issa comes with its own ‘conceptual baggage,’ informed as it is by an alien religious system. Readers cannot readily discard the various notions associated with it, try as they might. Why not use a fresh form such as Yeshua instead and inform it with fresh biblical meaning? New wine deserves new wine skins!
2. Extreme forms of cultural adaptation stretch if not abuse theological categories. To justify the replacement of Yesu with Issa some proponents would certainly appeal to the notion of ‘redemption.’ By ‘borrowing’ the traditional term Issa, for example, and filling it with biblical meaning, this Islamic form, advocates would claim, can be ‘redeemed.’ But this seems to be, for the most part, fanciful and wishful thinking. Biblically speaking, certain things, such as our “flesh,” are simply not redeemable and must be put to death. When do the apostles ever exhort believers to ‘redeem’ pagan names and traditions? Their overarching concern was the redemption of people rather than customs or terms. 17 While certain positive and neutral cultural elements were used for the advance of the gospel, 18 negative elements were consistently rejected. For example, in OT times Yahweh rejected every attempt of his erring and compromised people to address him by the name Baal. Baal therefore was a name that simply could not be ‘redeemed’ and which God would never allow to represent him. 19 In the NT, while the eating of meat bought in the market or served in a neighbor’s home was permissible, eating in pagan shrines was not (1 Cor 10:20-21; Rev. 2:14, 20). The apostles consistently exhort the believers to repudiate the sexual immorality (1 Cor. 6:18; 1 Peter 4:3-4; 1 John 2:15-17) and idolatry (1 Cor. 10:14; 1 Peter 4:3; 1 John 5:21) that was widely practiced then as now. New converts burned their magic books out of reverence for Christ (Acts 19:18-19). Not every pagan custom was redeemable then, nor is it today!
3. Modern western culture relativizes names. For many in the occident, the kind of linguistic relativism expressed in the oft-quoted Shakespearean line, “A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet,” seems self-evident. But in the biblical worldview names generally carry more weight than they do in the West, and when given by God himself they typically reflect the character and/or destiny of the referent. From the time of the LXX until recently, biblical names were consistently transliterated in Scripture translation. It appears therefore, that the impetus to replace rather than transliterate Jesus’ name when translating the Bible into languages impacted by Islam springs more from modern cultural perspectives and values (such as religious inclusivism, linguistic relativism, marketing savvy) than the biblical worldview (God’s word is powerful, cannot be broken, will never pass away, and will prove true). ‘Yehoshua’ is the name that God gave to his incarnate Son, a name that was perfectly suited to his character, identity, and mission. No angel or person has the right to name or rename the Messiah, for no creature has any authority over him. Bible translators should therefore seek to transmit his God-given name as faithfully as possible through a reasonable and consistent process of transliteration, as was the practice of the apostles when ministering in the Greek-speaking world.
4. The primary aim of Bible translation is to accurately transmit God’s message in a clear and understandable way for the glory of God and the benefit of all people. Because the message of Scripture is ultimately God’s and not ours, and because each word was carefully chosen and breathed out, translators must resist the temptation to interpret it, embellish it, or reconfigure it in such a way as to gain wider acceptance. Rather than endorse human culture or set everyone at ease, the God of Scripture speaks in such a way as to reveal heaven’s eternal perspective and expose human rebellion in order to drive people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. God is most glorified when his word is accurately relayed by his holy people and revered as truth by those who hear it. Though the widespread dissemination and acceptance of God’s word are desirable outcomes (over which translators have little control), accurate transmission of God’s word is primary (over which translators have much greater control and responsibility).
5. Transliterating biblical names preserves concordance and better shows the coherence and continuity of both testaments. By employing a reasonable transliteration of the Savior’s name—rather than replacing it with a local idiom—we preserve the natural concordance that exists between his God-given name and the dozens of OT names that incorporate abbreviated forms of Yahweh, whether as a prefixes or suffixes, including the majority of the anointed sons of David as well as Joshua, Moses’ assistant and successor. It also preserves the natural concordance that exists between Yeshua and the OT Messianic name ‘Yahweh our Righteousness,’ as well as between Yeshua and the imperative Hallelujah, found not only in the OT but also in the final book of the NT. Finally, the name Yeshua properly transliterated is a most fitting name for the One who boldly told his Jewish antagonists, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” All of these interconnecting linguistic elements show that Yahweh’s wonderful promises, as recorded by the Hebrew prophets, all find their ‘yes’ in the Yeshua the Messiah, as proclaimed by his chosen apostles, thereby making the NT the crowning sequel of the OT.
6. “Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God” (1 Cor. 10:32). Excellent Bible translation does not dispense with “God’s fellow workers” 20 (evangelists, teachers, exegetes, etc.) and try to “do it all” for the reader. Instead of interjecting explanatory and interpretive elements into the text of Scripture (which should rather be presented in the paratext), it leaves room for God’s fellow servants to make things clear to the readers, as Philip did for the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:34-35). In other words, excellent translation makes room for the strategic gifts with which God has endowed the body of believers. Ideally, evangelism involves face to face interaction with real, flesh and blood people who have been impacted by the living Lord of the church, people who are living examples of Jesus’ power to redeem and transform repentant sinners, rather than simply an encounter with a written presentation of the facts. Furthermore, excellent translation is not only sensitive to the culture of “the target audience” but is first and foremost sensitive to God himself, the Author of Scripture, and secondly to his holy people, especially in regard to their transgenerational and transcultural core convictions. Georges Houssney, the chief translator of the New Arabic Version (NAV) or ‘Kitab al-Hayat,’ when discussing his own journey in Bible translation writes, “Contrary to the trend in contextualization, NAV does not contain terms borrowed from the Qur’an or distinctively Islamic popular speech. The vocabulary used is that of the literary standard Arabic used in respectable publications. It is, in the most part, a secular vocabulary, neither Muslim nor Christian except in the case of specialized terminology like the name of Jesus.” 21 Houssney, notably, cites the name of Jesus 22 as a primary example of the ‘specialized terminology’ that was employed in the NAV in accordance with the translation’s guiding principles. And what precisely were those guiding principles? He explains, “Every effort was made to preserve the terminology and idioms used in the Church while producing a Bible that Muslims can read.” 23 There was a very practical and strategic consideration as well, “One of the major purposes for the NAV is to communicate the meanings of the gospel to those who have limited exposure to Christian terminology. A Muslim’s understanding of the Bible would then not be hindered by the difficult terms he is not familiar with. At the same time, Christians are not hindered by culturally offensive terminology borrowed from the Qur’an. I realized that when Muslims show interest in Christ, it is the Christians who will be coaching them and discipling them. It makes sense, therefore, to produce one translation that can communicate the same concepts to both the church and Muslims. This indeed was a difficult task, but not impossible by any means.” 24 Interestingly enough, as Houssney notes, the vast majority of those receiving the NAV are Muslims.
Final thoughts on the place and role of transliteration in languages
While transliteration may appear to be no more than a matter of combining ordinary phonemes in unusual ways to mimic the sound of foreign words, it is much more than that. A culture’s efforts at transliterating foreign names and words is one of the primary ways by which it earmarks and transmits important intercultural exchanges and stores them in its collective memory. Most if not all cultures borrow at least a few foreign terms and transliterate them as a way of branding important personalities, concepts, and innovations that have come from outside their own ethno-linguistic circle and impacted them or the world as a whole, as a way of identifying the historic origin of the item in question, as a way of recognizing that other cultures exist and have influence, and as a way of stepping outside the immediate culture and seeing things from another point of view.
Whether those personalities, concepts, and innovations are considered beneficial or not is another matter. When taken as something positive, the foreign loanword may even be a way for the culture to humble itself and recognize that it is not the source of all that is noble and good, and to acknowledge that it has benefited from outside input. If taken as something negative, the foreign loanword may be a way for that culture to distance itself from the item and exonerate itself from being the source of it. In our own culture, for example, certain foreign terms like streusel, détente, cappuccino, and sushi are considered positive, whereas other foreign terms like gestapo, guillotine, mafia, and kamikaze are not. The same is true of foreign names as well, whether we are speaking of a positive figure like Mother Theresa or of a despicable one like Adolph Hitler.
Nor should we think of transliterations as necessarily static. In just one generation, for example, the English-speaking world, if not the whole western world, has upgraded certain transliterations to more authentically reflect the pronunciation of words in the languages where they originated. Thus, Pekin is now pronounced Beijing, Bombay has become Mumbai, and Ivory Coast is called Cote d’Ivoire. Why these changes? First, because the language in which a foreign word originated sets the standard by which the accuracy of a transliteration is judged, and second, because we have realized that we both can and need to do a better job at transliterating certain key words out of respect for those who coined them, as well for ourselves. The present plea to render the Messiah’s name in a way that more accurately reflects the language in which it originated is similar. It recognizes that foreign names and loanwords are an enriching feature of every human language, and that that the Hebrew language in this case sets the standard by which to judge all transliterations. We are also asking for broader recognition of the fact that ‘Issa’ is neither a transliteration of Yeshua nor Yesu, but is virtually an inversion of the original Semitic root letters instead. Though the Messiah’s name originated and was developed in one human culture in particular—that of ancient Israel—we must remember that it was God rather than the Messiah’s birth culture who chose the name for him. It stands therefore by divine authority. And the best way for a people to remind itself of the name’s heavenly origin and of its hidden (foreign) meaning is to transliterate it. While no transliteration of Yeshua will exactly replicate the original name, a fair approximation of the original pronunciation (taking into account the phonetic limitations of each language) in which the Hebrew morphemes ‘Ye-’ 25 and ‘šuwaʿ ’. 26 are reasonably expressed, or at least have a traceable echo, is acceptable.
While employing the name Yeshua/Yesu in Bible translation for the Muslim world is right and fitting for all the reasons mentioned here, it should be acknowledged that it is not a magic wand. That is, it can still be abused, misused, sullied, rejected, and blasphemed. We must therefore be vigilant and recognize that we will best honor the Lord’s name not simply by using and repeating it but especially by trusting and obeying the One who bears it, out of respect for who he is and all that he did to win our salvation.
Thus, for existing NT translations which employ the Quranic name Issa we would recommend upgrading it to a transliteration of the Hebrew name Yeshua, or of the Greek transliteration Yesu. If for some reason this is not possible, future editions of such translations should at least include a thoughtful presentation of the Messiah’s real name, its origin, and its meaning in the paratext. 27 For those translations which are now underway we would strongly recommend following the apostolic precedent by employing a fair and reasonable transliteration of the Hebrew name Yeshua/Joshua. This is the path that shows the greatest respect for the Name-Giver, that smooths the way for a deeper disclosure of its inherent meaning, and unites those who believe with all who call upon it for eternal salvation. Hallelujah! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
- The long vowel /ū/ in the first syllable of يُوْسُف / yūsuf (Joseph) appears to render the long vowel /ōw/ in the first syllable of the Hebrew name yōwsef. This together with the initial ‘y’ may be an abbreviated form of the divine name. Others think it simply to be the 3rd masculine singular marker of the verb: he will add. Keil and Delitzsch, however, in the section on Ex. 30:22-24, propose a double meaning for the name Joseph: God removed the reproach + that Jehovah might add another son. This renowned exegetical duo when speaking of Rachel naming her firstborn, conjecture: “in giving the name, probably at the circumcision, she remembered Jehovah and prayed for another son from His covenant faithfulness.” They believe that the name Joseph can, in this way, be explained without appealing to the double source theory in which the appearance of the name Yahweh in narratives before the time of Moses is taken as an anachronistic interpolation. But this theory was largely based on an overly restrictive reading of the verb for knowing/making known in Exodus 6:3. The fact that people in the time of Enosh began calling on the name of Yahweh (Gen. 4:26) and that Abraham named the place where his son Isaac was redeemed by God ‘Yahweh Yireh’ (Gen. 22:14) indicates that the patriarchs knew God’s personal name. It was to Moses, however, that God made known the fuller and deeper meaning of his covenant name at the burning bush (Gen. Ex:13-15). ↩
- 6521 times in the KJV according to Strong or 5321 times (in its independent form?) according to TWOT, I, p. 210 ↩
- רַחוּם /ra•ḥuwm/ ‘merciful,’ e.g. Exodus 34:6 ↩
- עֶלְיֹון /ʿel•yōwn / ‘Most High,’ e.g. Genesis 14:22 ↩
- עִזּוּז /ʿiz•zuwz / ‘strong,’ Ps. 24:8 ↩
- גִּבֹּור /gib•bōwr / ‘mighty,’ e.g. Isaiah 10:21 ↩
- קָדֹושׁ /qā•ḏōwš / ‘holy,’ e.g. Isaiah 1:4 ↩
- At this point someone could contend that the NT also lacks the complete name of Yahweh. While it is true that the full divine name is never transliterated in the NT, the reasons for its absence are entirely different. It was not due to any ignorance, neglect, or rejection of the sacred name, but to reverence for it! The Jewish people of the time would read Adonai (the Hebrew word for Lord) in place of the divine name for fear of somehow abusing or misusing God’s personal name and thereby incurring judgment (Ex. 20:7). Certainly, for the very same reasons the LXX typically translated Yahweh with ‘Kurios’ rather than transliterating it, and the apostolic writers of the NT were no different. In this sense the name Yahweh is very much present in the NT, albeit in an indirect way. Both Paul and James’ mention of ‘Lord of Hosts’ (κύριος σαβαώθ /kurios sabaōth), for example, is a prime illustration of this fact (Rom. 9:29, James 5:4). This in turn makes the apostolic practice of transliterating rather than translating the Messiah’s Hebrew name all the more striking! Because the apostles embraced the OT and turned to it again and again in support of their message, there is no doubt that they acknowledged and embraced the name Yahweh, which they typically expressed, as was the custom of the day, via the title ‘Kurios’ (Lord). The Qur’an by contrast has no such device for representing the full name of Yahweh. ↩
- Is it possible that by insisting on the reproduction of the ‘Yah’ morpheme in all languages (via the transliteration the Messiah’s name) we are somehow succumbing to “the etymological fallacy”? After all, knowing that the meanings of words change over time, we will not necessarily insist that a word must mean today exactly what meant at its point of origin. To this potential objection we respond with two considerations. First, the meanings of names, even transliterated names, are generally more stable than the meanings of other words. Although our knowledge of and attitudes towards specific historic figures change with time, Aristotle still refers to Aristotle, and Genghis Khan still refers to Genghis Khan. Secondly, the meaning of God’s personal name is unique given that he is eternal, almighty, and immutable. For him the meaning of his name, the name he revealed to mankind, does not change, and he will see to it that he will always be for us exactly who he has said he is. Thus, everything he has revealed about himself in his written word informs the meaning of the ‘Yah’ morpheme and what he has said will not change. Though our knowledge of Yahweh is growing, he himself does not change, nor does his name. His name is exceptional because he is exceptional. ↩
- Ex. 20:7; Is. 52:5 ↩
- Keil and Delitzsch commenting on Psalm 68:4 note, “His name is (exists) in יה, i.e., His essential name is yh, His self-attestation, by which He makes Himself capable of being known and named, consists in His being the God of salvation, who, in the might of free grace, pervades all history. This Name is a fountain of exultant rejoicing to His people.” ↩
- Keil and Delitzch, comments on Gen. 3:1-5 ↩
- Beale and Kim, God Dwells Among Us: Expanding Eden to the Ends of the Earth, 2014, p. 26 ↩
- By ‘hated,’ it is meant that God did not bless Esau in the way that he blessed Jacob, his younger twin brother. ↩
- NAV transliterates Esau as: عيسو ↩
- The version of BDB used by e-Sword also gives ‘hairy’ as the definition of the name, though the 1979 version of BDB gives no definition at all. ↩
- Paul also speaks of redeeming the time in Eph. 5:16 and Col. 4:5 ↩
- Paul, for example, when preaching in the Areopagus in Athens cited an inscription from a pagan altar as well as a couple of statements made by pagan authors that served his evangelistic purposes while there. Some of the apostles employed the commonly accepted format of the time for writing letters. ↩
- “And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband [ʾiy•šiy],’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal [baʿ•liy].’ For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more” (Hosea 2.16-17). ↩
- “For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.” (1 Cor. 3:9) ↩
- https://biblicalmissiology.org/2012/09/10/meaning-discrepancy-in-terminology-between-christians-and-muslims-pt-ii/ ↩
- The NAV employs the historic Arabic Christian name for Jesus: يسوع (yesûɁ). ↩
- https://biblicalmissiology.org/2012/09/10/meaning-discrepancy-in-terminology-between-christians-and-muslims-pt-ii/ ↩
- Ibid ↩
- That the morpheme יֵ /ye-/ can represent ‘Yeho-’ at the beginning of names is clear in the case of
יֵהוּא /yē•huwʾ/ (Jehu), which is the name of five different individuals in the OT. BDB takes it as a probable contraction of Yehohu, p. 219c. BDB likewise takes Yeshua/Jeshua to be a late form of Yehoshua. It is the name of two individuals and a common Levitical family name, as well as a place name in southern Judah, p. 221c. ↩
- שׁוּעַ(salvation) ↩
- As for using the name of Issa in personal evangelism, while it may be acceptable as a starting point in an initial conversation as a way to bring a friend or contact from the known into the unknown, and from the familiar to the new, our aim should be to invite the other person to come and meet the real Jesus, the one depicted by the apostles, who are the eyewitnesses he chose and equipped for this task. Part of knowing the real Jesus is of course knowing his real name—the name God gave him—as it reveals his identity as well as his mission. Because Jesus alone is the exact image of the invisible God, he alone reveals the Father to us. Thus, unless a person is given a full and complete portrait of Jesus as portrayed by the apostles of the Lamb, he or she cannot know God as he really is. ↩