Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Jehovah or Yehovah vs. Yahweh
One of the wonderful things about our confessions is that we may take refuge in them in matters of controversy, and though we may be assailed for our views on certain topics – here I am referring to textual matters – if the confessions support us detractors will be found assailing them and not us, whatever they may say.
J. Gresham Machen coined a phrase he used in many applications – the necessity of Christian education to replace soul-killing scientific instruction, contra euthanasia, and contra political oppression – that phrase being, “the tyranny of experts”, and his refusal to be subject to such. I have found it useful myself on occasion as I refuse to be under bondage to “the tyranny of experts” of sorts who assert their views must be accepted as sound scholarship, and who proceed according to presuppositions and methodologies I do not subscribe to. I may consider their work and use their findings if I so choose, and I may not.
While supposed “experts” differ among themselves theologically or textually, the confessions are a safe shelter from such disputations, at least among those Reformed who honor them.
What I am referring to at the moment is the use of the divine name יהוה (YHWH), called the Tetragrammaton, and how it is to be pronounced.
In the Westminster Standards, the Larger Catechism at Q&A 101 we have this:
WLC 101 What is the preface to the ten commandments?
A. The preface to the ten commandments is contained in these words, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.1 Wherein God manifesteth his sovereignty, as being Jehovah, the eternal, immutable, and almighty God;2 having his being in and of himself,3 and giving being to all his words4 and works:5 and that he is a God in covenant, as with Israel of old, so with all his people;6 who, as he brought them out of their bondage in Egypt, so he delivereth us from our spiritual thraldom;7 and that therefore we are bound to take him for our God alone, and to keep all his commandments.8
1 Exod. 20:2
2 Isa. 44:6
3 Exod. 3:14
4 Exod. 6:3
5 Acts 17:24, 28
6 Gen. 17:7 compared with Rom. 3:29
7 Luke 1:74, 75
8 1 Pet. 1:15-18; Lev. 18:30; Lev. 19:37
In the Canons of Dordrecht we have
First Head of Doctrine
Error 9 / Rejection – Jehovah twice named
Second Head of Doctrine
Error 1 / Rejection – Jehovah once named
The framers of these Confessions, in the texts of their Confessions showed their view of the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton. It is sometimes said, they didn’t have access to some of the data that is now available and we see them now as somewhat ignorant – as though the Lord was remiss in providing reliable data for the Reformers’ use at the time of Reformation, and we their progeny must capitulate to Rome in their steads, as they erred! Sola Scriptura overturned! The Reformed communions thrown into disarray as their “Paper Pope” – the Masoretic Hebrew and Textus Receptus Greek – acknowledged by the expert scholars of our time to be inadequate exemplars of an intact and authoritative Bible.
This is actually what appears to be the case in our day! It would appear that, as regards textual matters, Rome has emerged victorious in overcoming Sola Scriptura as the Reformers framed it. The Reformed churches and their members are grievously divided as to what the genuine Biblical text is – a terrible wound in the body of Christ.
Does the Vatican exercise supervision over the UBS, and the Nestle-Aland Greek texts? See this:
United Bible Societies welcomes Pope Francis
The Introduction to the Nestle-Aland: Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th revised edition (2006) explicitly confirms this close relationship between the UBS and the Vatican:
“The text shared by these two editions was adopted internationally by Bible Societies, and following an agreement between the Vatican and the United Bible Societies it has served as the basis for new translations and for revisions made under their supervision. This marks a significant step with regard to interconfessional relationships.” (p. 45)
Does the Vatican have a say in what Old Testament texts are used in its United Bible Societies editions? It was the Old Testament variants – and the issue of the vowel points – Rome used against the Reformation divines back in those days.
EXPOSED – The Vatican “unites” with “separated brethren” through Bible versions. Stated goal since 1965.
The United Bible Societies and Rome
An argument for Jehovah, and examination of the issues, although this approach is not my basis in this post:
Who is this Deity Named Yahweh? -Dr. Thomas M. Strouse
A related topic on the Confessions, which may be of interest to some:
The Johannine Comma (1 John 5:7) was cited a proof text for the Trinity in the following confessions and catechisms:
Westminster Confession of Faith 1646 2.3
Westminster Larger Catechism Q&A 6
Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 6
The London Baptist Confession of 1689 2:3
The Belgic Confession of 1561, Article 9 quotes the passage: “There are three who bear witness in heaven– the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit– and these three are one.”
The Heidelberg Catechism of 1563, Lord’s Day 8, Q&A 25, footnote 5
Is it to be supposed that the framers of these confessions were ignorant in this matter also, seeing as they didn't have access to some of the data and manuscripts that are now available to us in the 21st century? Or did the Lord God, in the providential preservation of His word, provide what He deemed necessary for these men to have available to them?
Many of us trust the Lord’s perfect providence for the Reformed divines over the expertise of scholars with a lot of data, particularly when the scholars look down on the Confessions.
Another article of interest, although – again – not my approach in this post:
Aren’t newer translations based on a better Greek text?