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What is the difference between LORD, GOD, Lord, God, etc. in the Bible? What does each mean?

There are multiple names and titles used for God in the Bible, and sometimes it can be confusing to understand. One confusion arises from varied capitalization of the terms "Lord" and "God," primarily in the Old Testament. In large part, this is a result of English translators attempting to convey the Hebrew term used for God's name as distinguished from other uses of "Lord" or "God." Translators have also attempted to respect the Hebrew tradition of not pronouncing or spelling out God's name. Here are a few of the terms used in the Bible and what they refer to in the original Hebrew or Greek.

LORD (in all caps or small caps): This spelling is usually used when God's proper name is meant. The Hebrew, without vowels, is YHWH (also known as the tetragrammaton). No one knows for certain what the proper pronunciation of this should be, but other translations are Yahweh or Jehovah.

Lord: "Lord" or "lord" in the Old Testament merely refers to someone of a higher rank (Genesis 18:12), including the pre-incarnate Christ, if the speaker isn't aware of His identity (Genesis 18:3). If the translation used William Tyndale's suggestion, the Hebrew Adonai was translated as "Lord" to distinguish it from YHWH. In the New Testament, "Lord" is the Greek kurios, which simply means master, whether referring to God (Matthew 1:20), Jesus (Matthew 7:21), or a general authority (Matthew 18:27).

God: "God" is an old English word which may have its origins in the Proto-Indo-European word ghu, which means to pour a libation. In the Bible, it is used for the Hebrew Elohim, which just means god, but since God is the only true god, it's an appropriate identifier. The prefix of Elohim, "el," is used in many proper names. Elohim is also related to the Arabic Allah. "God" in the New Testament is the Greek theos, which means any deity.

LORD GOD/Lord GOD: When this occurs it is usually a combination of the Hebrew Adonai YHWH.

For more on the names of God, see our article on the names of God.

Related Truth:

What are the names of God? What do the names of God mean?

What is the tetragrammaton? What does YHWH mean?

How should I understand God as Abba Father?

What is the Trinity?

Why should we study the Bible?


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