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Lord Vs God

How many names and titles are there for God? Would it surprise you to know the Bible contains over 100? Of course, that number depends on how we define what a name or title is. Nevertheless, the God of Judaism and Christianitythe God of the Bible – has many different titles and names. Each carries weight and is precious. They all tell us something different about God’s character and how He relates to us.

So, what does the word “God” tell us about God? What’s the difference between “God” and “Lord?” Do they mean the same thing, or does each tell us something different? Let’s check it out!

What is God?

When reading the Bible, you’ve probably noticed the word “god” capitalized sometimes but not at other times. When this word is capitalized in the Bible, it means the One God, the only true God, the Creator, and King of the universe.

When it isn’t capitalized, it refers to the many false gods that people worshiped in Biblical times and still do in some parts of the world today. They believed these “gods” had superhuman powers over nature and humans.

The word translated as “God” in the Bible comes from several Hebrew and Greek words.

The first time the word “God” is used in the Bible is in the very first verse, Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

The Hebrew word used here for “God” is Elohim.” The Old Testament uses this word for the One God, but also for other gods. The word Elohim is used almost 2,600 times in the Old Testament.

The Old Testament also uses the Hebrew word YHVH (Yahweh or Jehovah) over 6,000 times. This word also means God and exclusively the One God, not the false gods of the other nations. It is the proper name of the God of Israel. Many times, YHVH and Elohim appear together. In that case, the Biblical translators often translate YHVH as LORD (all capital letters), so they do not have to make it “God God” in English. YHVH means the Creator, Performer of His promises, the absolute and unchanging One, the unchanging and infinite One, the Redeemer.

Other times, YHVH occurs with Adonay (Adonai), which does mean Lord, so then, in that case, YHVH is translated into English as “God.” The two together become “Lord God.”

In the New Testament, the Greek word Theos is translated as “God.” The word Theos appears in the New Testament over 1,300 times. This Greek word also means the gods of other people. For instance, when a poisonous snake bit Paul, and he didn’t die, the people on the island thought he must be a god (using the Greek word Theos) (Acts 28:6).

What is Lord?

As previously mentioned, the Hebrew word YHVH is sometimes translated as “Lord,” especially when paired with Elohim. For instance, in the following passage, “LORD” is YHVH and “God” is Elohim:

  • “Then Asa cried out to the LORD his God: ‘O LORD, there is no one besides You to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on You, and in Your name we have come against this multitude. O LORD, You are our God. Do not let a mere mortal prevail against You.’” (2 Chronicles 14:11)

Adon or Adonai is a Hebrew word usually translated as “lord” in the Old Testament. This word can be for a person or for God, so the translators usually capitalize it when it means God. This word carries the meaning of lord, king, husband, father, superintendent, or master (like the owner of an estate who has people working under him). It is used as a respectful way to greet prophets, recognizing they speak for God.

When used for God, Adonai is a proper name for God that is similar in meaning to YHVH. It carries the idea of king, father, and master. In the following passage, the word Adonai is translated as “Lord,” and Elohim is translated as “God.”

  • “Lord, hear! Lord, forgive! Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.” (Daniel 9:19)

Ini the New Testament, the word usually translated as “Lord” is kurios. This word is used for people (as in “master”) and for God. Kurios is a respectful title, something like “sir” in English. It is used for someone with power and authority, like a king or master. When used for Jesus, it carried the idea of “Messiah” and ruler of the universe.

  • “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!” (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

Is Lord another word for God?

Yes and no. Yes, they both refer to God. And yes, the Bible translators translate the Hebrew word YHVH as both “LORD” and “God.”

However, there’s a difference between a name and a title. And there’s a difference between a generic name and a name with specific meaning for one Person only!

Several words are translated as “God” and “Lord.” Often, you will find “Lord” and “God” together – “Lord God” or “the LORD your God” – as in Deuteronomy 10:17

  • “For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who does not show partiality, nor take a bribe.”

However, when they’re together, the word translated “Lord” is usually YHVH, which is only used for the unchanging, infinite Creator and Redeemer. YHVH is a proper name for God, not a title. In many Bible translations, YHVH is translated as LORD with all capital letters, so the readers clearly understand it means the LORD, not a human lord. This word “LORD” carries the meaning of God being eternal and Self-Existent.

Adonai is usually translated as “Lord.” It can be used for a person or for God; thus, it’s more a title of respect. It doesn’t always mean God.

For instance, in Genesis 24, we read the story of Abraham and his “servant,” the oldest in his household and in charge of everything Abraham owned. The servant was essentially Abraham’s second-in-command or his chief of staff. Yet, he respectfully called Abraham “Adonai” or master. But, later in the story, when Rebekah meets the servant at the well, she calls the servant “Adonai” out of respect for his age and apparent position. She did not know who he was, but he showed up with ten camels, indicating he was a man of some importance.

In the same way, the New Testament word for “Lord” is Kurios, a title of respect similar to Adonai. It can be used for a person or for God.

Is Jesus Lord or God?

He is both!! The New Testament uses Theos over 1,000 times when speaking of Jesus. This Greek word Theos carries the meaning of the Supreme God, the Creator, Owner, and Sustainer of the universe. For instance:

  • “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God (Theos), and the Word was God (Theos.) He was in the beginning with God (Theos). (John 1:1-2)
  • “Behold, the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him ‘Immanuel’ (which means, ‘God [Theos] with us’).” (Matthew 1:23)

When people called Jesus “Lord” in the New Testament, it was often merely recognizing His power and authority, but not necessarily His divinity. Sometimes, it was a way of showing Him respect as a teacher and healer.

Jesus reminded folks that if they called Him “Lord,” they needed to truly recognize Him as their Lord and Master by doing God’s will. They need to not only hear Jesus’ words but act on them.

  • “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23)


After His resurrection, when people called Jesus “Lord,” it meant infinitely more than a title of respect. It meant they recognized Jesus was divine – He was their God and Master. For instance, when Thomas first saw the resurrected Jesus, he cried out, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)

When God poured out the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, Peter boldly proclaimed:

  • “Let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah” (Acts 2:36).

Recognizing Jesus as both God and Lord is part of believing in Him for salvation.

  • “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame.’

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him;

For  ‘Everyone who called on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  (Romans 10:9-13)

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