In this Names of God reading plan, we are learning more about God by studying the names given to Him in Scripture. Rather than having our writers share their own reflections on these passages, we’ve instead provided research-rich content to aid in your study of each day’s featured name of God, including the background of the name(s), a brief explanation of the character of God emphasized by the name(s), and a reflection question to help you dig deeper into the text.
Adonay (Hebrew), Kurios (Greek)
In the Old Testament, adonay, or “lord,” was a common way to refer to God. It comes from the word used to describe human masters who ruled over servants. The Israelites used it verbally instead of pronouncing the name Yahweh, and it communicated their reverence for the Holy God of Israel as their ruler and ultimate authority. Adonay is a reminder that we serve a holy, sovereign God who is Lord over all.
Kurios, or “lord” in the New Testament, was used to show respect to people with authority like emperors or masters. It is used to describe both God the Father and Jesus the Son in the New Testament. When followers of Jesus called Him “lord,” they showed Him honor. In Paul’s letters, he used the word as a title for the risen Jesus. “Lord Jesus Christ” became a primary way to refer to Him, implying He shared the authority of the God of Israel. Kurios is a powerful name of honor for Jesus.
A title of honor, respecting the authority and ruling power of God
What does this name teach me about God?