God in English “translations”

The term “God” appears frequently in virtually every English translation of The Bible. This term is typically a translation of el, elohim, or theos. Upon careful review you'll discover this one English word has been "translated" from 29 different Hebrew and Greek words. Please refer to Definitions... for the meaning of "translation" and transliteration".

"God" has become a generic term, due to its common usage, both in the Bible and in the world. While many people use this term as a "name" for The Supreme Being, it is anything but a name. It's actually a title or a description of the nature of a supreme being. To understand this, all you have to do is read the definitions of the actual Hebrew and Greek words "translated" as "god". They are listed below for your reference.

This process of translating multiple terms into the same English word is very confusing. It does not accurately convey the meaning or intent of the original Hebrew. Yet another problem lies in the reality that the translations from Greek simply cannot cope with the multiple Hebrew concepts involved in these terms.

Please ask yourself, “How can 29 different Hebrew and Greek words all mean the same thing?” The obvious answer is, “They can’t, and they don’t.” This simply makes no sense. It's a corruption of the original languages, and of the English language. The very last place this should happen is in connection with The Word of YAHWEH

In addition to mistranslation the term "God" is inserted 66 times into the English text as an "assumed" or "inferred" identifier by the translators. There is no word in the original languages to supply these insertions. This is also, potentially at least, an alteration or adulteration of the text. Here are some interesting statistics obtained from my Accordance Bible Software program:

    Total words translated as “God” - 4444.

    Total number of different words thus translated – 13 Hebrew, 16 Greek

    Insertions – 66.

Not all of the words translated as “god” properly mean “god”.

Not all of the words so translated are even applied to “god” as The Supreme Being.

To understand the terms used one needs to refer to the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance numbers supplied with each term as identified in the list below. These are as "translated" in The King James Version of the Bible. Take special note of the highlighted ones and the number of times they occur. Those beginning with “el…” are all variations of the same Hebrew root word in one form or another. 

Here are the terms used, and how they’re "translated" (a real misnomer):

god = 57

          G2316  theos  qeo/ß  = 4

          H0410  ’el  lEa = 14

          H0426  ’elahh  ;hDlTa = 2

           H0430  ’elohiym  MyIhølTa = 30

           H0433  ’elowahh, ’eloahh  ;AhølTa ,;AhwølTa = 5

           (No Key number) = 2

GOD = 1

           G2316  theos  qeo/ß  = 1

God = 4386

           G0112  atheos  a‡qeoß  = 1

          G2316  theos  qeo/ß  (variant) = 1

          G1161  de  de÷  (variant)

          G2312  theodidaktos  qeodi÷daktoß  = 1

          G2314  theomachos  qeo/macoß  = 1

          G2315  theopneustos  qeo/pneustoß  = 1

          G2316  theos  qeo/ß  = 1301

           G2318  theosebes  qeosebh/ß  = 1

           G2319  theostuges  qeostugh/ß  = 1

           G2316  theos  qeo/ß  (variant) = 1

           G2532  kai  kai÷  (variant)

          G2962  kurios  ku/rioß  = 1

          G2316  theos  qeo/ß  (variant) = 1

          G3361  me  mh/  (variant)

          G2316  theos  qeo/ß  (variant) = 1

          G3754  hoti  o¢ti  (variant)

          G3785  ophelon  o¡felon  = 2

          G5377  philotheos  filo/qeoß  = 1

          G5537  chrematizo  crhmati÷zw  = 5

          G5538  chrematismos  crhmatismo/ß  = 1

          H0136  ’Adonay  yÎnOdSa = 1
           H0305  ’achalay, ’achaley  yElSjAa ,yAlSjAa = 1

          H0410  ’el  lEa = 211

          H0426  ’elahh  ;hDlTa = 79

          H0430  ’elohiym  MyIhølTa = 2334

          H0433  ’elowahh, ’eloahh  ;AhølTa ,;AhwølTa = 51

          H1008  Beyth-’El ;Eb = 4

          H3068  Yhwh  hDwøh◊y = 4

          H3069  Yhwh  hIwøh◊y = 304 lEa_ty

           H3863  luw’, lu, luw  wl ,aUl ,a…wl = 2

          H4310  miy  yIm (variant) = 6

          H5414  nathan  NAtÎn (variant)

          H6697  tsuwr, tsur  rUx ,r…wx = 2

         (No Key number) = 66

SPECIAL VARIATIONS  

Next, I'd like you to take a closer look at some of these individual terms and their meanings. Several terms occur quite frequently. We need to look at these more closely to understand what they represent. Once we have that perspective it's far easier to recognize what a huge problem we have in our English translations of the Scriptures. From there it's possible for you to find a way to make notes in your own bible translation, or to study this problem in more depth, so you can understand what YAHWEH (God) intended His Word to say to us.

NOTE: Please keep in mind that everything after the (: —) in Strong's definitions represents the ways the term is actually "translated" in the KJV. These are not part of the definition of the terms.

God - as EL

Its essential meaning is strength or might. It's often used in the sense of the “mighty one”, or even “the mightiest one”, when used, and translated, as “God”. There are other forms of this term that need to be identified and explored as well. The most important of them is “elohim”, which we will explore in a moment. For a review of the terms please see Definitions…

410. lEa }el, ale; shortened from 352; strength; as adjective, mighty; especially the Almighty (but used also of any deity):
—God (god), x goodly, x great, idol, might(-y one), power, strong. Compare names in “-el.”

352. lˆyAa }ayil, ah´-yil; from the same as 193; properly, strength; hence, anything strong; specifically a chief (politically); also a ram (from his strength); a pilaster (as a strong support); an oak or other strong tree:
—mighty (man), lintel, oak, post, ram, tree.

193. l…wa }uwl, ool; from an unused root meaning to twist, i.e. (by implication) be strong; the body (as being rolled together); also powerful:
—mighty, strength.

This term occurs 245 times. It is used as follows:

   god = 14           H0410  ’el  lEa
   God = 211        H0410  ’el  lEa

   God’s = 2         H0410  ’el  lEa 

   gods = 2          H0410  ’el  lEa 

   goodly = 1       H0410  ’el  lEa

   great = 1          H0410  ’el  lEa

  idols = 1           H0410  ’el  lEa

  Immanuel = 2   H6005  ‘Immanuw’el  lEa…wn;DmIo (variant)

                          H0410  ’el  lEa (variant)

                          H0410  ’el  lEa (variant)

                          H6005  ‘Immanuw’el  lEa…wn;DmIo (variant)

    might = 1         H0410  ’el  lEa

    mighty = 5       H1121  ben  N;Eb (variant)

                         H0410  ’el  lEa (variant)

    power = 4       H0410  ’el  lEa

    strong = 1       H0410  ’el  lEa

  
God - as Elohim - Old Covenant

Elohim is the plural form of el. It indicates more than one, but is used as a singular term when referring to the unified nature of YAHWEH. It is often found combined with the personal name in the form of YAHWEH + Elohim. In this form, depending on which Hebrew grammar book you may read, the term can mean several different things. It can mean YAHWEH of elohim (it is a plural term), referring to YAHWEH as the supreme one who is over all elohim (gods). Or, it could be read as YAHWEH my elohim, making Him your personal “mightiest one” – the one you honor above all others. More likely it is to be read as YAHWEH, The Elohim.

Since I’m not a Hebrew scholar I can make no claim to fully understanding these concepts. I really cannot determine what's correct in the absolute sense. What's very clear, however, is that these term should never be translated as “LORD God” (nor any variation thereof).
That's not a translation! it's a perversion of the text.
In fact, it's a replacement of the actual Hebrew words with words that have different meaning, and do not represent the truth of the original language.

I can, however, give my opinion concerning this term. I believe, when it’s used in reference to or in connection with the concept of a supreme being, that it should be thought of as a superlative. It adds, descriptively, the concept of honor and praise to YAHWEH as the One who alone is the creator and sustainer of all things. He is, as the definitions below reveal, The Mightiest One among any that are referred to as "gods" - in a strict sense, the literal meaning of elohim.

As a basis for such a view I’ll present Strong’s definition of the term:

430. MyIhølTa }elohiym, el-o-heem´; plural of 433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative:
—angels, x
exceeding, God (gods)(-dess, -ly), x (very) great, judges, x mighty.

Now, take a moment to review how the term, elohim,, or elohiym, is actually translated in the KJV. Note that it is used of angels, pagan gods and goddesses, judges, and powerful persons -  as well as being used of YAHWEH as The Supreme Being. Does this seem a bit confusing to you?

      angels = 1         H0430  ’elohiym   MyIhølTa

     exceeding = 1    H0430  ’elohiym  MyIhølTa

     god = 30            H0430  ’elohiym   MyIhølTa

     God = 2334       H0430  ’elohiym  MyIhølTa

     goddess = 2        H0430  ’elohiym   MyIhølTa

      godly = 1          H0430  ’elohiym    MyIhølTa

     God’s = 7         H0430  ’elohiym  MyIhølTa

     Gods = 2          H0430  ’elohiym    MyIhølTa

     gods = 214      H0430  ’elohiym   MyIhølTa

     God-ward = 1    H4136  muwl, mowl, mowtl, mul  lUm ,lawøm ,lwøm ,l…wm (variant)

                                 H0430  ’elohiym    MyIhølTa (variant)

     great = 2           H0430  ’elohiym    MyIhølTa

     judge = 1          H0430  ’elohiym   MyIhølTa

      judges = 4        H0430  ’elohiym    MyIhølTa

     mighty = 2        H0430  ’elohiym     MyIhølTa


God - as Everlasting
“The Everlasting God” is not a name. It is, rather, a description, or perhaps a title. 

When you read the text you must remember there are no upper and lower case letters in Hebrew. It then appears to be a description of YAHWEH as the “olam el”, meaning the sovereign for etetnity, or the eternal sovereign. Here are the three places it occurs. Strong’s definition follows. Look at it for yourself:

Gen. 21:33  And he planted a tamarisk tree in Be’ersheba. 
And he proclaimed there the Name of YAHWEH,
The Eternal El.  
(olam el - everlasting God.).

Is. 40:28 Did you not know or have you not heard? 
The Eternal Elohim,
YAHWEH
The Creator of the extremities of the earth, 
is not tired and He is not exhausted. 
There is no examination for His intelligence.

Rom. 16:26  but which now has been rendered apparent 

even through the prophetic Scriptures 
and according to the instruction of The Eternal Elohim, 
has been made known to all nations 
for the sake of listening attentively to the faith,

5769. MDlwøo {owlam, o-lawm´; or MDlOo {olam, o-lawm´; from 5956; properly, concealed, i.e. the vanishing point; generally, time out of mind (past or future), i.e. (practically) eternity; frequentatively, adverbial (especially with prepositional prefix) always:
—alway (-s), ancient (time), any more, continuance, eternal, (for, (n-)) ever(-lasting, -more, of old), lasting, long (time), (of) old (time), perpetual, at any time, (beginning of the) world (+ without end). Compare 5331, 5703.

5956. MAlDo {alam, aw-lam´; a primitive root; to veil from sight, i.e. conceal (literally or figuratively):—x any ways, blind, dissembler, hide (self), secret (thing).

God of Hosts

This is a very interesting title. It is most certainly not a name as so many try to make it. It's a description of an attribute of YAHWEH. It is “elohei tsebaot” in the Hebrew text. When you look at the definitions of the terms, elohei is a form of elohim, and it refers, as outlined above, to the mighty One, or the mightiest One. The term tsabeot, from tsaba, is typically translated as “host”, or “army”. But it refers to a mass of people, an assembly.

I've stated elsewhere on these pages that
YAHWEH is the leader of The Assemblies of Yisra’el. This is a Hebraic concept that's well noted in the history of Israel. Thus, it seems the most likely meaning is “Mighty One of Assemblies” in most contexts. YAHWEH is always The Head of the assemblies of Yisra’el, whether for peace, or for warfare. And an assembly is not always an army.

The Strong’s definitions and some Scripture references are given below for your review:

6635. aDbDx tsaba}, tsaw-baw´; or (feminine) hDaDbVx tsbadah, tseb-aw-aw´; from 6633; a mass of persons (or figuratively, things), especially reg. organized for war (an army); by implication, a campaign, literally or figuratively (specifically, hardship, worship):
—appointed time, (+) army, (+) battle, company,
host, service, soldiers, waiting upon, war(-fare).

6633. aDbDx tsaba}, tsaw-baw´; a primitive root; to mass (an army or servants):
—assemble, fight, perform, muster, wait upon, war.

Jer. 38:17  And Yirm'yah said to Tzidkiyah, 
“Thus said YAHWEH,
The Elohim of Assemblies, The Elohim of Yisrael, 
‘If you do will go forth, go forth
to the leaders 
of the King of Babel,
then your being will live. 
And this city will not be burned with fire. 
And you yourself את and your household will live.

Jer. 44:7 “And now, thus said YAHWEH
The Elohim of Assemblies,
The Elohim of Yisrael, 
‘Why are you yourselves
את doing great harm against your lives 
for the sake of cutting off for yourselves man and woman, child and infant 
from the midst of Yahudah 
for the sake of having of nothing left over for yourselves of a remnant,

Amos 3:13   Listen attentively! 
And repeat it among the house of Ya‛akob!”
- An Utterance of Sovereign
YAHWEH,
The Elohim of Assemblies. -

Amos 4:13  Indeed behold, 

the One forming the mountains
and creating wind, 
and declaring to a human being what His thought is, 
and making the dawn darkness, 
and treading upon the high places of the earth, 
YAHWEH, Elohim of Assemblies is His designation!

Amos 5:14  Seek good and not bad, 
for the sake of your living, 
and
YAHWEH, The Elohim of Assemblies will be with you,
according to what you have spoken!

Amos 5:16  For this reason YAHWEH, The  Elohim of Assemblies, 
The Sovereign, has said this,
"There is wailing in all open places 
and on all the streets they say, ‘Alas! Alas!’ 
And they call the farmer to mourning, 
and skilful lamenters to wailing.

Amos 5:27  For this reason 
I will exile you yourselves
את beyond Damascus!” 
said
YAHWEH
The Elohim of Assemblies is His designation!

Amos 6:8   Sovereign YAHWEH has sworn by His life! 
- An Utterance of
YAHWEH, The Elohim of Assemblies. -
“I have been abhorring the arrogance itself את of Ya‛akob
And I have hated his high places! 
And I will surrender the city and all its fulness!

Amos 6:14  Indeed behold! 
I am raising up a nation against you, house of Yisra’el!” 
- An Utterance of YAHWEH, The Elohim of Assemblies. - 
“And they will oppress you yourselves
את
from the entrance to Hamath 
as far as the river of Egypt!”

God of Yisra’el

This phrase occurs 88 times.
Yisra’el is the proper name, not the traditional “Israel”.

It occurs for the first time in Exodus 5.1. Moshe and Aharon are speaking to Pharaoh, who is familiar with the concept of elohim (gods). Egypt had many of them. They were all different from The Elohim of Yisra’el. Moshe and Aharon now come to him and specifically identify their “elohim” as YAHWEH, The Elohim of Yisra’el – the “god” of Yisra’el, and not one of the gods (elohim, same word) of Mitsraim ( Egypt).

Elohim Yisrael, therefore is not a name for a “god”, it is a reference to YAHWEH as The One who is The Elohim, the only elohim, of the nation of Yisra’el. This sets the stage for all subsequent appearances of this term. It is a descriptive reference, not a name. It's often used as a title, but it's not a personal name.

Ex. 5:1 And afterwards Moshe and Aharon went in. 
And the said to Pharaoh, 
“Thus said
YAHWEH, The Elohim of Yisra’el, 
‘Send forth My people themselves.  
את
And they are to hold a festival to Me in the wilderness.’ ”

430. MyIhølTa }elohiym, el-o-heem´; plural of 433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative: 

—angels, x exceeding, God (gods)(-dess, -ly), x (very) great, judges, x mighty.

3478. lEa∂rVcˆy Yisra}el, yis-raw-ale´; from 8280 and 410; he will rule as God; Jisrael, a symbolical name of Jacob; also (typically) of his posterity: —Israel.

God of Truth

This is a title that occurs only once. Literally, the Hebrew word means to be certain, or sure. While it’s translated as truth”, it would probably be more accurate to translate it as “certainty”, indicating that YAHWEH is always reliable. We can depend on Him to be unchanging, always the same. Note the Hebrew word used here. Is it familiar to you? It "certainly" should be.

Is. 65:16  by which the one blessing himself on the earth 
will bless himself with The Elohim of Truth
And he who swears on the earth 
will swear by The Elohim of Truth. 
Indeed the former distresses will be forgotten. 
And indeed they will be concealed from My eyes.

543. NEmDa }amen, aw-mane´; from 539; sure; abstract, faithfulness; adverb, truly

—Amen, so be it, truth.

539. NAmDa }aman, aw-man´; a primitive root; properly, to build up or support; to foster as a parent or nurse; figuratively to render (or be) firm or faithful, to trust or believe, to be permanent or quiet; morally to be true or certain; once (Isa. 30:21; interchangeable with 541) to go to the right hand:
—hence, assurance, believe, bring up, establish, + fail, be faithful (of long continuance, stedfast, sure, surely, trusty, verified), nurse, (-ing father), (put), trust, turn to the right.

God of your Deliverance

This wording occurs only once. It’s a description, not a name. It does not seem to be properly translated, given the context. The context is dealing with prosperity or the lack thereof. It's not focused on salvation. The “pleasant plants and foreign seedlings”  become a heap of desparation, because they have forgotten their Elohim.

Is. 17:10 because you have forgotten 
The Elohim of your deliverance
and the Rock of your fortress 
you have not remembered. 
For this reason you will plant delightful plants 
and slips of strangers you will sow.

3468.   yesha{, yeh´-shah; or oÅ´vy yeshai, yay´-shah; from 3467; liberty, deliverance, prosperity: —safety, salvation, saving.

6697. r…wx tsuwr, tsoor; or rUx tsur, tsoor; from 6696; properly, a cliff (or sharp rock, as compressed); generally, a rock or boulder; figuratively, a refuge; also an edge (as precipitous): —edge, x (mighty) God (one), rock, x sharp, stone, x strength, x strong. See also 1049.

4581. zwøoDm ma{owz, maw-oze´; (also z…woDm ma{uwz, maw-ooz´;); or zOoDm ma{oz, maw-oze´; (also zUoDm ma{uz, maw-ooz´; from 5810; a fortified place; figuratively, a defence: —force, fort(-ress), rock, strength(-en), (x most) strong (hold).

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