What Are Some Names for God in the Old Testament?

Tanja Luther/Getty Images

The three primary names of God in the Old Testament are Yahweh, Adonai and Elohim. Many of God’s names written in the Old Testament are transliterations of the original Hebrew name, while others are translations of the name’s meaning.

Yahweh is a transliteration of the non-vocalized “Tetragrammaton,” which are the four Hebrew consonants standing for the ancient Hebrew name for God. Many biblical scholars agree that “Yahweh” draws special emphasis to the covenant nature of God.

The name Adonai translates to “Lord” in the Old Testament. In Hebrew, “adon” denotes masters, rulers, or husbands. God as “Adonai,” biblical emphasizes God’s ownership or sovereignty over all things.

Elohim translates into “God” and is technically a plural noun. Biblical scholars agree that the Old Testament does not call the God of the Bible “Elohim” because there are many gods, but because using the plural form was a means of showing honor.