The Son's Name

Before Jesus' birth, he was referred to as "the Son of God".

As a human, born in a Jewish family, an angel instructed Josef to call Mary's baby, Yehoshua (transliterated as "Jesus") which means, as the angel explains:

"he will save his people from their sins" -- Matthew 1:21 (ESV)

The origin of the name "Jesus"

The English form Jesus is derived from the New Testament Greek name Ihsouß, pronounced "Yesous." According to Strong’s, Yesous (Strong’s #2424) is "of Hebrew origin" and can be traced back to Joshua’s Hebrew name, Yehoshua.

Someone who reads the Bible in Hebrew, though, knows that the name Joshua sometimes appears in its shortened form, Yeshua (Nehemiah 8:17). It is apparent even in English: "Jeshua the son of Nun." (The letter J was pronounced like a Y in Old English.) Strong does not tell the reader that the Greek Yesous is actually transliterated from this shortened Hebrew form, Yeshua, and not directly from the longer form Yehoshua. The process from "Yehoshua" to "Jesus" looks like this:

There is no "sh" sound in Greek, which accounts for the middle "s" sound in Yesous. The "s" at the end of the Greek name is a grammatical necessity, to make the word declinable.

-- Dr. Daniel Botkin

The evolution of the name "Jesus" is:

  1. The Hebrew name "Yehoshua"
  2. Shortened to the Hebrew name "Yeshua"
  3. Transliterated to the Greek name "Yēsous" (note the Greek had to add the 's' at the end)
  4. Transliterated to the old English "Yesus"
  5. Transliterated to the modern English "Jesus"

However, some call "Jesus", "Yahshua".

So where did the transliteration Yahshua come from? This form of the name can be traced back to the beginnings of the Sacred Name movement, a movement that grew out of the Church of God, 7th Day, in the late 1930s. I have in my files an article entitled, "A Brief History of the Name Movement in America" by L.D. Snow, a Sacred Name believer. According to this article, "John Briggs and Paul Penn were the FIRST to pronounce and use the name Yahshua" (emphasis Snow’s). This was in 1936 and in 1937, the article states. No information is given about how Briggs and Penn came up with this (mis)translation.

-- Dr. Daniel Botkin

The correct pronunciation of the name of the Son of God

Although this is a very largely debated topic in religious circles, Berj Manoushagian concluded:

If you are speaking to Americans or English speakers, then “Jesus” is what is best to use.

If you are speaking to a Hebrew audience in Hebrew, then Yeshough is more appropriate.

But if you are concerned about the exact pronunciation of “Jesus” in Aramaic, then it is not going to be possible for any English speaker to pronounce Jesus’ name correctly. There is a sound in that name that does not exist in English, it cannot be represented by ANY English character, and it cannot be pronounced by one who does not know Arabic, Aramaic or Hebrew.

Thus, not a single one of “Yahshua, Yeshua, Yahushuah, Yehushah or Yeshoshuah” is a correct way to pronounce Jesus’ name in Aramaic.

The origin of the name "Christ"

Messiah comes from the Hebrew word mashiach and means “anointed one” or “chosen one.” The Greek equivalent is the word Christos or, in English, Christ. The name “Jesus Christ” is the same as “Jesus the Messiah.” In biblical times, anointing someone with oil was a sign that God was consecrating or setting apart that person for a particular role. Thus, an “anointed one” was someone with a special, God-ordained purpose.

In the Old Testament, people were anointed for the positions of prophet, priest, and king. God told Elijah to anoint Elisha to succeed him as Israel’s prophet (1 Kings 19:16). Aaron was anointed as the first high priest of Israel (Leviticus 8:12). Samuel anointed both Saul and David as kings of Israel (1 Samuel 10:1; 16:13). All of these men held “anointed” positions. But the Old Testament predicted a coming Deliverer, chosen by God to redeem Israel (Isaiah 42:1; 61:1–3). This Deliverer the Jews called the Messiah.

-- Got Questions

The evolution of the title "Christ" is:

  1. The Hebrew title "Messiah" (the chosen one to deliver)
  2. Transliterated to the Greek title "Christos"
  3. Transliterated to the English title "Christ"