• Karen O'Reilly

Yahweh: What does Yahweh mean?

Updated: Oct 19

Yahweh is the Hebrew name for God meaning I Am, The Self-Existent One. I Am. He was. He is. He always has been and always will be. He is the Self-Existent One with no beginning and no end.


Yahweh: I Am, The Self-Existent One

God replied to Moses, “I am who I am. Say this to the people of Israel: I am has sent me to you.” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh,[b] the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.

This is my eternal name, my name to remember for all generations. Exodus 3:14-15.

Pronouncing The Name: yah-WEH


This is Day 2 of a 30 Day study on The Names Of God. If you haven't read the introduction yet, please start HERE


Who is Yahweh?

We first come across the name Yahweh-I Am with the infamous conversation between Moses and God at the burning bush. God has a way of catching up with people in the most unexpected places and in the most unexpected ways.


Who would have thought that God (Yahweh) would care about a runaway convict and murderer?


Who would have thought that God (Yahweh) could use a convict and murderer to save His chosen people-the Israelites that were held in captivity in Egypt?


Yet God did and Yahweh still chooses to use the least underqualified people to do the work that He has prepared in advance for them to do. (For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10)


Yahweh means I Am in Hebrew

In the book of Exodus, we find God's chosen people, the Israelites in bondage as slaves in Egypt. The Israelites had settled in Egypt during the time of Joseph but now they had become so numerous that Pharaoh had made them slaves in order to subdue them.


However, even though they suffered hard labor and difficult circumstances, it didn't destroy them. It seems that the challenges only made them stronger and they became even more numerous!


So Pharaoh came up with another plan, a horrible, evil plan to kill every newborn Hebrew boy.

Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Throw every newborn Hebrew boy into the Nile River. But you may let the girls live.” Exodus 1:22.


When Moses was born, his mother hid him for a few months but when she couldn't hide him anymore, she placed him in a basket and strategically set him to float down the river Nile, straight to where Pharoah's daughter was bathing.


She rescued Moses and raised him as her son.

Forty years later, Moses was upset about the fate of his people and when he found an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, he murdered him and hid him in the sand. When Pharoah heard of this, he sought to kill Moses.


That is how, in one day, Moses went from being the prince of Egypt to a runaway convict!


In Exodus chapter 3, we find Moses taking care of sheep on the far side of the Midian desert. One day, while he was taking care of the flock, he noticed a bush was burning up without being burned up.


He went to investigate and you can read what happened by reading Exodus chapter 3 HERE


Yahweh means ' The Self-Existent One '

God told Moses of His plan to free the Hebrew nation from Egyptian slavery and that He was going to use Moses to work His plan. Moses did not like God's plan! Moses argued with God about the reasons that he was the wrong man for the job.


This is when we learn of God's name as Yahweh-I Am, The Self-Existent One.


But Moses protested, “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?”

14 God replied to Moses, “I am who I am. Say this to the people of Israel: I am has sent me to you.” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.

This is my eternal name, my name to remember for all generations. Exodus 3:13-15.


Yahweh in Hebrew

God uses two forms of the same name in the above passage of scripture. I Am is the first-person form of the verb to be and is the name He uses when speaking of Himself. Lord, or Yahweh in Hebrew, is the third person form of the same verb translated as "He is." When God speaks of Himself, He says "I Am," and when we speak of Him, we say, "He is."


Originally, the Name was only four letters: YHWH. After some time, scribes inserted vowels to form the word, Yahweh. Some Bible translations render the same name as Jehovah.


YHWH in the Bible

  1. YHWH appears in the Old Testament more than 6,800 times and is found in every book of the Bible except for Esther, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs.

  2. The name YHWH was considered so holy to the early rabbinical scribes, that they wouldn't even write the letters. They used "the Name,", "the Great and Terrible Name," or "the HOLY NAME" whenever it appeared.

  3. Over 230 biblical texts, representing nearly every book of the Old Testament have been discovered in caves near the Dead Sea. They are known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. They are on display in a museum in Israel. One review I have read recounted by Sharon Jaynes is that she was struck by the unchangeable authenticity of God's word through the centuries. What really caught her attention was a fragment from the book of Deuteronomy. She noticed four dots where the Hebrew letters for Yahweh should have appeared. Four dots. It shows how deeply the scribes reverenced and revered the name YHWH. They wouldn't say the name or even write God's name. You can read more about The Dead Sea Scrolls HERE and HERE

When Jesus was being attacked by the religious leaders who failed to recognize Him as the Messiah, He shocked them by claiming to be the Messiah but also by identifying Himself with Yahweh, saying: "Before Abraham was born, I Am." The religious leaders were enraged and they tried to stone Him!

Here is a list of the eight 'I Am' statements of Jesus:


The I Am statements of Jesus:

  • I am the bread of life. (John 6:35)

  • I am the light of the world. (John 8:12)

  • Before Abraham was born, I am. (John 8:58)

  • I am the gate for the sheep. (John 10:7)

  • I am the good shepherd. (John 10:11)

  • I am the resurrection and the life. (John 11:25)

  • I am the way and the truth and the life. (John 14:6)

  • I am the true vine, and my father is the gardener. (John 15:1)


The Names Of God And Their Meanings Chart:

I have prepared a free printable for you to use as you explore the names of God. You will find it in our Resource Library Here.


This journal has prompts for you to use as you prayerfully meditate on the names of God. There is also a chart with a list of 30 Names of God and their meanings.


So who is Yahweh to you?

How does knowing God as Yahweh impact your life?

How can you grow in your Christian walk by understanding God as Yahweh?


Yahweh knows your name!

Did you notice that God called Moses by name?

When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

“Here I am!” Moses replied. Genesis 3:4.

God calls your name! He knows your name. You are fully known and deeply loved- read Psalm 139.

Just as God had heard the cries of the Hebrew people in Egypt and was concerned about their suffering, I Am sees you, hears you and is concerned about your suffering too.


Go back up a bit and reread the I Am statements of Jesus. That is who He is to you.

Whatever you need...God is.


Take some time and journal your thoughts and write your own prayer to God on the pretty stationery that you will find in the Resource Library or use your own notebook.


Praying the Name Of God, Yahweh:

When you pray the word of God, you are praying His words of truth into your situation. It is the same when you pray the names of God. When you understand the meaning of the specific name of God and pray it over your situation-it is declaring His power over it. It certainly will build your faith and expectation of God to move in it. When you pray God's name, you are declaring the truth of who God is and you are proclaiming His power at work in your life.


Let's Pray:

Yahweh, I praise your holy name. You are the great I Am, the Self-Existent One. You have no beginning and you have no end. Help me to comprehend that you know me by name. Help me to truly understand that I am fully known and deeply loved by You. Amen.


Names of God Bible Study

If you are intrigued by the names of God, you will love the Names of God study. Studying the names of God will impact your life. You will be encouraged by them and your faith can only grow deeper and stronger as you discover that God sees you as His treasure. He delights in you!


Grab your own printable/digital copy.

The Names of God Bible study


I would love it if you could share with me your thoughts as you work your way through this Scripture plan. You can connect with me via email karen@scripturalgrace.com or on our FACEBOOK page.


Come back tomorrow as we unpack the name, El Roi-The God Who Sees Me. You will find it HERE

It's all about His grace

xx Karen.




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