Was the New Testament Written in Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic?

By COGwriter

From time to time over the decades (the first time was in the 1970s), I have been contacted by someone who read one or more publications which persuaded them that the New Testament (NT) was originally written in a language other than Greek.

Now, the New Testament shows that its main writer, the Apostle Paul knew Greek (Acts 21:37-39) and that he wrote letters to Greek speakers in ancient Greece (which included Asia Minor).

Nearly all the books of the New Testament were written to or from Greek-speaking cities and/or addressed to Greek-speakers.

But some claim that second century references by Papias and Irenaeus that a copy of Matthew's Gospel account was written in Hebrew (or as some interpret it, Aramaic) help prove that the entire New Testament was written in a language other than Greek.

Could that be the case?

Now, the driving force beyond the belief that none of New Testament was written in Greek, irrespective of the reasons given, is that those who try to insist that Greek was not the original language want to use what could be called "sacred names."

Why so?

Well, the Greek New Testament does NOT use the names Yahweh/Yahveh or Y'shua/Yashua for God the Father or Jesus. Thus, if any of the New Testament was originally written in Greek, then it can be pointed out that such "sacred names" were not required nor enjoined for use by Christians as they are not mentioned in the New Testament.

(More on 'sacred names,' can be found in the article The Bible, Church History, and Sacred Names. A related sermon is available: Sacred Names: True or False Gospel?)

But is there strong evidence to support that the New Testament was originally written in Aramaic or Hebrew? Or does the preponderance of evidence point to Greek?

The intent of this article is to provide evidence of the truth for those that have "ears to hear" as Jesus said in Matthew 11:15.

Here is a link to a related sermon: What language was the New Testament written in?

What About the Aramaic?

The ancient Aramaic language originated among the Arameans in northern Syria and became widely used under the Assyrians. While the Old Testament was mainly written in Hebrew, a few passages in the Old Testament were written in Aramaic. Generally recognized Aramaic phrases include Genesis 31:47; Ezra 4:8-6:18, 7:12-26; Jeremiah 10:11; Daniel 2:4b–7:28; plus possibly one or more words in Job 36:2a and Psalm 2:12--two other, questioned, places have also been proposed with possibly one word each: Genesis 15:1 and Numbers 23:10--presuming that someone like Ezra made minor edits for clarity.

Various ones have compared the relationship between Hebrew and Aramaic to that between the modern versions of Spanish and Portuguese: the two are distinct languages, but sufficiently related that a reader of one can understand much of the other (the pronunciation can be another matter, however--see Isaiah 36:11).

Some claim that the New Testament was originally written in Aramaic. It has been stated that the position of the Assyrian Church of the East is that the Syriac Peshitta (a Bible version which is written in a vernacular form of Aramaic), used in that church, is the original of the New Testament. For instance, the patriarch Shimun XXIII Eshai declared in 1957:

With reference to ... the originality of the Peshitta text, as the Patriarch and Head of the Holy Apostolic and Catholic Church of the East, we wish to state, that the Church of the East received the scriptures from the hands of the blessed Apostles themselves in the Aramaic original, the language spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and that the Peshitta is the text of the Church of the East which has come down from the Biblical times without any change or revision." (April 5, 1957) (Aramaic New Testament. https://readtiger.com/wkp/en/Aramaic_New_Testament accessed 08/17/17)

The basic claim that advocates of this tend to make is that since Jesus and others in Judea spoke Aramaic, some of the translations into Greek do not appear to be logical, and the disciples would not have known Greek, therefore the entire New Testament was written in Aramaic. Yet, Jesus spoke Semitic Aramaic (sometimes also called Jewish Palestinian Aramaic), not the form used in the Peshitta text. He also spoke Hebrew and had some knowledge of Greek.

Now, as far as the claim that the scriptures were handed down in Aramaic, consider that in what was once northern Syria, that the church leaders there were Greek and wrote Greek. Serapion of Antioch stated in Greek that the scriptures were "handed down" to those in Antioch from the apostles.

Furthermore, consider:

There is no hard evidence--there is only speculation based upon interpretation--for the assertion that there were Hebrew (or Aramaic) originals behind the Greek manuscripts that have come down to us. This speculation was advanced in the 1930s by Dr. Charles Cutler Torrey, "and has since been rejected by virtually all scholars. Dr. Torrey’s idea was that there must have been an Aramaic original text, since the Greek of the New Testament was not grammatically correct, and often reflected the grammatical constructions of Semitic languages more than of classical Greek. Nearly all scholars who have studied the subject agree that portions of certain books have some Aramaic coloring, but they say that this is to be expected of writers for whom Greek would have been only a second language.

Torrey advanced his theory before the discovery of Greek papyri from the period in which the New Testament was written. Since those discoveries, scholars have generally rejected Torrey’s theory. As Dr. Henry Thiessen explained in Introduction to the New Testament: "The discovery of the papyri has done much to undermine this theory. It has shown that practically every supposed mistranslation in the Gospels appears a regular idiom in the Greek papyri of the period; and the latter certainly are not translations from the Aramaic" (p. 35).

Not only are there no extant copies of these supposed "Aramaic originals" of New Testament books; no early writings about the New Testament indicate that such originals ever existed! Today, we have portions of second century writings by men who either knew the Apostle John or were personally taught by him. A close examination of those writings reveals no evidence of Aramaic (or Hebrew) original texts!" (Ogwyn J. What is the Savior's Name. LCN. July/August 2005).

Let it be stated, if the original writings of the New Testament were in Aramaic, they do not exist. It is more likely that some of the gospel writers had statements attributed to Jesus in Aramaic and translated them into Greek as well as possibly had some in Greek.

The earliest New Testament manuscripts that we know of are in Greek. The oldest is called Rylands Library Papyrus P. 52 and is from A.D. 90-125 A.D., with c. A.D. 100 considered as being the more likely date. This document, which I have reviewed photos of, is clearly in the Greek language. And if the New Testament had not been originally written in Greek as some claim, it fairly quickly was being communicated in Greek.

Papyrus 52 predates the earliest manuscript founds in Hebrew or Aramaic (see also Was the New Testament Written in Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic?). Another early manuscript is called Papyrus 66 (P66) and has been claimed to be from the early to mid second century (others have other views). It contains much of the Gospel of John and uses the Greek abbreviations for certain names. P66 often abbreviates the names of the Father, God and Jesus Christ to two or three letters in which the last letter changes according to the grammatical use with the name is highlighted with a line over the abbreviation:

Jesus is abbreviated as Ιη-, (transliterated into English as Je- or Ye-). Christ is abbreviated as Χρ- (literally Chr-). The word God is recorded as Θ- while Father is shown as Πρ- and Lord as Κ-. These abbreviations clearly derive from the Greek terms and not the Hebrew. (Nathan P. Early Manuscripts Answer Modern Question about Sacred Names. June 15, 2010, http://firstfollowers.vision.org/first-followers/)

I have also personally reviewed photographs of P66 and have seen the highlighted abbreviated names on it. It is in Greek, not Hebrew nor Aramaic.

Perhaps it should be noted that there are over 5,000 ancient manuscripts of the New Testament in Greek.

The overwhelming consensus of scholars is that the Old Testament of the Peshitta was translated into Syriac from Hebrew, probably in the 2nd century AD, and that the New Testament of the Peshitta was translated from the Greek:

The Peshitta Old Testament was translated directly from the original Hebrew text, and the Peshitta New Testament directly from the original Greek. (Sebastian P. Brock The Bible in the Syriac Tradition St. Ephrem Ecumenical Research Institute, 1988, page 13).

Syriac is a dialect of Aramaic, but written in a different alphabet. Rather than being written in the alphabet that was also used for Hebrew, Syriac was written in an alphabet that later evolved into the alphabet of Arabic. (One can search for Syriac on the internet and see that it looks like Arabic.) Aramaic had been an important ancient language since the period of the Babylonian Empire, and was so commonly spoken that Jews in Galilee, such as Jesus and his disciples, spoke Aramaic as their daily language. (Aramaic is very similar to Hebrew, about as close as Spanish and Italian are today.) The Peshitta is an early translation of the Bible into Syriac, and is very valuable for the study of the text of the Bible and of the church in the east, but this version of the Bible is not older than the ancient Greek or Latin versions. Thus it is written in the language that Jesus and his disciples spoke, but the text itself does not have a direct line to them. (Syriac as common language in Jesus' time. Massachusetts Bible Society. https://www.massbible.org/exploring-the-bible/ask-a-prof/answers/syriac-common-language-jesus-time retrieved 03/32/19)

What has been believed to be the oldest dated Peshitta (Syriac Aramaic) manuscript is dated to "464 CE" (Lasater R. Was the New Testament Really Written in Greek? A Concise Compendium of the Many Internal and External Evidences of Aramaic Primacy. 2008, p. 199). The same source claims that the New Testament was "completed around 100 AD" (Ibid, p. 208)--about when the Rylands Library Papyrus P. 52 was written.

A pro-Aramaic NT source has claimed, "That the Peshitta dates back to 175 AD at the very latest" (Ibid, p. 208). But even if 175 A.D. is correct, it simply was not the original text. It should also be noted that Lasater's book is very misleading when it tries to indicate since entire codexes of the Greek and Aramaic New Testaments that exist are similar ages, then the Peshitta is as old (or older) as the Greek and hence the oldest text. Yet, documents like Rylands P52 show that basic view to be in error.

And the situation for Aramaic is worse than that.

For one, it originally did not include all the books of the New Testament. The traditional New Testament of the Peshitta had only 22 books--it was missing the Second Epistle of John, the Third Epistle of John, the Second Epistle of Peter, the Epistle of Jude and the Book of Revelation. The missing books were later reconstructed by the Syriacist John Gwynn in 1893 and 1897 from alternative manuscripts, and included them in the United Bible Societies edition of 1905. The 1997 modern Aramaic New Testament has all 27 books. But the fact that is missed 5 originally should raise flags.

But that was not its only major flaw.

Notice the following from Steve Caruso, who was a professional Aramaic translator for 15 years, concerning the commonly claimed Aramaic Peshitta language of the New Testament:

The Wrong Language

Many Peshitta Primacy advocates claim that the Peshitta dates back to the first few centuries AD. Since it’s written in Classical Syriac, and Syriac was spoken at that time, it seems logical that the text could be that old. The problem, however, is that not all Syriac is equal.

If the Peshitta was written right after Jesus’ lifetime, one would expect the dialect to match up with other inscriptions from the first few centuries. This particular dialect of Syriac is known as Old Syriac, and is attested in about 80 different inscriptions. So when we compare the two what do we find are some very curious and telling differences.

All verbs in Aramaic start out as a “root” of (usually) 3 letters that express a particular concept. From there, prefixes, suffixes, and vowels are added to indicate the tense, person, number, gender, etc. of the verb and place it in context. For the “Perfect” (think of it roughly as the past tense) the defining feature is suffixes, where for the Imperfect (think of it roughly as the future tense) the defining feature is prefixes.

In Classical Syriac, to express the 3rd person masculine Imperfect (“he will X”) one adds on the prefix - /n-/. For example,


k-t-b
The verb “to write”

becomes



“He will write.”

This is one of the major defining features of the Classical Syriac dialect, it is ubiquitous and exclusively used in the Peshitta, and virtually every other dialect of Aramaic outside of the Syriac family makes use of a different prefix. For example, in Judean, Galilean, and Samaritan Aramaic that prefix is /y-/. For example:


k-t-b
The verb “to write”

becomes


So what is the significance of this prefix? The Syriac dialect, like other Aramaic dialects, originally used /y-/ for its Imperfect verbs. We have a large number of examples of this in the Old Syriac corpus:

From an inscription at Birecik Kalesi (6 AD) we find:

(he will see)
(he will praise)
(they will bow [to] him)

From an inscription at Serrîn (73 AD) we see:

(he will praise),
(they will bow [to] him),
(he will be) twice,
(“he will come”),
(he will perish),
(they will throw),
(they will find).

From an inscription at Sumatar Harbesi (~150 AD) we see:

(he will be) twice,
(he will judge), and
(he will give).

From an inscription at Sumatar (~150 AD) we find:

(he will perish), and
(he will be).

Each and every one of these examples makes use of /y-/.

It’s only until around the turn of the third century we start seeing examples of /n-/ in the Imperfect regularly mixed in with /y-/, and by about the 4th century it had completely replaced /y-/ as the preferred prefix with not a single further documented example. By the dawn of the golden age of Classical Syriac literature (around the 5th century) /y-/ was absolutely nowhere to be found.

In other words the Peshitta, at the earliest, represents fourth century Syriac.

It cannot be from the first or second centuries AD as some proponents claim. (Caruso S. Problems With Peshitta Primacy. http://aramaicnt.org/articles/problems-with-peshitta-primacy/ accessed 08/17/17)

Presuming the above is correct, there is no way that a fourth century language was used for the original New Testament. The type of Aramaic pointed to as original would not possibly used for the New Testament:

There are numerous dialects and Aramaic has continually changed over the centuries of its existence, with unique dialects in Palestine, Samaria, Galilee, etc. Edessan Aramaic/Eastern Aramaic, differed from Western dialects. There was also 100-200 years between the time of the apostles and the Syriac, which brought even more changes.

Lamsa's Pe-shi-tta (dashes included to bypass the forum filter) is inaccurate. Odessa, the focus of Syriac and its major New Testament versions was not evangelized, much less established in Christianity, until after A.D. 116, which was long after the NT had been written. Lamsa used unidentified Aramaic texts to supply missing portions of the texts he chose, and in some places merely copied from the King James Version. The forms of Aramaic he used are not the Aramaic from the time of Jesus. Aramaic spoken today, called the Eastern group of dialects, is different from the Aramaic spoken by Jesus Christ, which was the Western group, a branch that is considered extinct. ('Embrachu' Tom. The "AENT" and the Khaboris Codex. http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=168313&page=2)

many (most) scholars understand Aramaic to be the common spoken language of the people in Galilee during the time of Jesus and his disciples.  This dialect of Aramaic used in Galilee is similar to the dialect used in the Peshitta New Testament. ( Which Language Did Jesus Speak – Aramaic, Hebrew, or Greek? by James J. DeFrancisco, Ph.D. http://godward.org/hebrew%20roots/which_language_did_jesus_speak.htm retrieved 03/32/19)

Notice also the following from Paul Stevenson, who is a translator, editor and linguist:

Was Syriac "The Language of Jesus"?

Today you can find various books written in Syriac or teaching Syriac or translated from Syriac, in which the author claims that this is "Aramaic, the language of Jesus." Well, it is true that Syriac is one of the many dialects of Aramaic, and it is true that Jesus spoke Aramaic. However ... (sorry to burst any bubbles) Jesus did not speak Syriac. Jesus spoke a rather different dialect of Aramaic. Stevenson P. Was Syriac "The Language of Jesus"? The Language Fan, March 8, 2008 http://syriacspanish.blogspot.com/2008/03/was-syriac-language-of-jesus.html accessed 08/19/17)

Now, someone did question this:

2 comments:

C. Williams said...

Peer-reviewed evidence would indicate that you are incorrect in your claim that Jesus did not speak the Syriac dialect of Aramaic (probably one of several dialects that he spoke). The spoken Syriac dialect is nothing more than "middle" Aramaic, and much scholarly evidence suggests he would have been well-versed in it.

April 29, 2017 at 5:24 PM
Linguist said...

C. Williams, please provide me with a list of the-peer reviewed publications to which you are referring. I cannot give an intelligent response to an assertion without details.

April 29, 2017 at 7:44 PM

But as of June 7, 2019, C. Williams did not provide proof (at least none that I saw at Paul Stevenson's website. This has been my problem with the Peshitta claims--there are assertions and opinionated conclusions, but without provable facts.

Dr. Orville Boyd Jenkins posted:

Many Aramaic Languages
By the time of what is known as Peshitta, Aramaic had broken up into various languages.  In the time of Christ, there were two major versions of the language, Eastern and Western, with their local varieties.  Dr Emerton comments on these different Aramaic languages:

"Texts of the following centuries show differences between western and eastern dialects of Aramaic.  The distinction appears, for example, in the Targums: the Jerusalem or Palestinian Targums (on the Pentateuch) are in western Aramaic, whereas the Targums of Onkelos (the Pentateuch) and Jonathan (the Former and Latter prophets) reached their final form in the east, though they were probably originally composed in Palestine.  Western dialects include Jewish Palestinian Aramaic and Samaritan and Christian Palestinian Aramaic, and eastern dialects include Babylonian Aramaic (e.g., the Babylonian Talmud), Syriac, and Mandaic, the language" of the texts of the gnostic Mandean sect)  [J A Emerton, "Aramaic," Oxford Companion to the Bible (Oxford/NY: Oxford University Press, 1993), p 46.]

Today there are 19 languages in the Aramaic family, as reported by the Ethnologue.  Two of these have large populations, and the others are small.

Comparative linguistics finds that no one speaks the form used in the Peshitta translation.  Thus it makes no sense to claim, as most of the Aramaic Primacy advocates do, that the Aramaic spoken today is the same language Jesus spoke.

From what I find in historical and linguistic sources, it appears that the Aramaic of the Peshitta was never the universal form of Aramaic.  The Peshitta translation was in the form of Aramaic spoken in the area of what is now Urfa, Turkey. ...

Communication with the Audience
The original written documents would have been naturally written in the language of the audiences to whom they were originally written.  Thus Greek appears to be the logical medium for writing to Greco-Roman gatherings, which included Jews whose mother tongue was also Greek.  Why would Paul have used Aramaic when he could could write them in their native tongue or the common language between different language groups?  Why would he write in Aramaic to a multi-racial and multi-lingual congregation in a Greek town in a language of another Province in a language they did not understand?

Even the Jews in that area were Greek-speaking, though it is likely some could speak Aramaic, if they had maintained contacts with Jerusalem. http://orvillejenkins.com/languages/aramaicprimacy.html retrieved 03/07/19

Jesus did not speak the form of Aramaic that those who claim the Aramaic New Testament was the original New Testament.

Despite this, in a section titled From Scripture to Publication in the Aramaic English New Testament it is claimed:

... the Church of the East ... preserved the Peshitta text for nearly 2,000 years. (Roth G. Aramaic English New Testament. Netzari Press, 2012, p. ix)

One can not preserve something for nearly 2,000 years if it was not written nearly 2,000 years ago.

Perhaps the boldest, and in my view blasphemous, claims related to the Peshitta is as follows:

The Greek NT has many contradictions and errors, while the Peshitta lacks them" (Lasater R. Was the New Testament Really Written in Greek? A Concise Compendium of the Many Internal and External Evidences of Aramaic Primacy. 2008, p. 213)

No, there are NOT contradiction in the original Greek text. Yes, there are things that are hard to understand (2 Peter 3:16), but that is also the case with the Aramaic.

The Peshitta itself does have errors.

Notice something that Steve Caruso pointed out:

The Peshitta’s Mistakes

Where those who promote Peshitta Primacy tend to emphasize that the Peshitta is perfect and unchanged, and this is partially true as it has a very strong manuscript transmission with few copyist errors. However, the core Peshitta text does make a number of mistakes. They are subtle, and one must look carefully to find them.

The Problem With “Rabbouli”

In John 20:16, Jesus and Mary Magdalene have the following exchange:

Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned, and said to him, “Rabboni”; which is to say, “Teacher.”

In every Greek tradition we find something similar to:

λέγει αὐτῇ ὃ Ἰησοῦς Μαρία στραφεῖσα ἐκείνη λέγει αὐτῷ Ἑβραϊστί Ῥαββουνι ὁ λέγεται Διδάσκαλε
legei autê ho Iêsous Maria strafeisa ekeinê legei autô Hebra’isti Rabbouni ho legetai Didaskale
Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni” which means “Teacher.”

However in every manuscript of the Syriac Peshitta we puzzlingly find:


amar lah Yeshua Maryam w’ethpanayath w’amra’ leh `ebra’ith Rabuli d’methe’mar Malpana
Jesus said to her, “Mary” and she turned and said to him in Hebrew “Rabuli!” which is to say “Teacher.”

There is a discrepancy between the precise word that Mary spoke, as well as an odd accusation of its etymological origins. The Greek tradition says “Rabbouni” where the Peshitta tradition says “Rabbouli”. “Rabbouni” could easily come from rabuni which means “my teacher” or “my master” in Jewish dialects of Aramaic; however, “Rabouli” is not a common word at all. The only possibility is that it is a later Syriac word that means “head shepherd,” but the form “Rabouli” is not attested in any contemporary dialects to Jesus. It is not attested in Hebrew, either.

Second, they both claim that this word is “Hebrew,” rather than Aramaic. This is not so much of a problem in the Greek, as Ἑβραϊστί is commonly used to describe words of both Hebrew and Aramaic origins (in a sense it’s used as “the Jewish language”); however, in the Syriac Peshitta, it is only really used to describe Hebrew words, as Syriac itself is an Aramaic language. But, as we touched upon earlier, this is not a Hebrew word. ...

There are some wordplays completely missed due to the fact that Syriac is an Eastern dialect of Aramaic, where Galilean is a Western dialect. Between the two there are a large swath of lexical differences, and puns and wordplay depend heavily upon double-meanings that may be present in one dialect ... but completely absent in another. (Caruso S. Problems With Peshitta Primacy. http://aramaicnt.org/articles/problems-with-peshitta-primacy/ accessed 08/17/17)

There are also other problems with the Aramaic original NT position. More from the above author are in his article Problems With Peshitta Primacy.

But basically, the Aramaic claim is a myth as Dr. Michael Heiser (Univeristy of Wisconsin, Department of Hebrew and Semitic Studies; minor in Classical Studies) points out:

The Myth of an Aramaic Original New Testament

Posted by MikeHeiser | Aug 3, 2017 | Ancient Texts & Manuscripts, New Testament, Paleobabble

I get questions about whether the New Testament was originally written in Aramaic. ... I would only add that this discussion makes zero sense for the two-thirds of the New Testament written to Gentile churches. It’s really about gospel originals (and Luke must then be excluded). And there are no (as in zero) manuscripts of the New Testament that compete with the earliest Greek manuscripts of the New Testament for chronological primacy, either. Aramaic New Testaments from antiquity are all translations made a couple centuries or so after the New Testament was written in Greek. http://drmsh.com/the-myth-of-an-aramaic-original-new-testament/ retrieved 03/07/19

It should also be noted that there are translation errors in the Aramaic showing bias. Like most biased translators of Greek, the two translations of the Syriac/Aramaic I have seen have both mistranslated John 14:17 and John 15:26.

“He is The Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it has neither seen him nor known him; but you know him, for he dwells with you and he is in you.” (John 14:17, Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

The Spirit of Truth, He who the world is not able to receive because it has not seen Him, nor does it know Him. But you know Him for He dwells with you and He is in you. (John 14:17, Aramaic English New Testament)

“But when The Redeemer of the accursed comes, him whom I shall send to you from the presence of my Father, The Spirit of Truth, he who proceeds from the presence of my Father, he shall testify concerning me.” (John 15:26, Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

'Spirit' is not a masculine term in Aramaic. Those who do not believe that there are biases in the Aramaic translation are in error.

Here are two correct translations from the Greek to the English:

Even the Spirit of the truth which the world cannot receive because it perceives it not, nor knows it; but you know it because it dwells with you, and shall be within you. (John 14:17, A Faithful Version)

"The helper whom I will send to you from the Father will come. This helper, the Spirit of Truth who comes from the Father, will declare the truth about me. (John 15:26, God's Word Translation)

More on the Holy Spirit can be found in the article: Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity?

In the Greek New Testament, a number of verses include Aramaic phrases or words which are then translated into Greek. In the Peshitta, sometimes the word or phrase is quoted twice in Aramaic, indicating that the words needed to be translated from one Aramaic dialect to another.

Matthew 27.46 reads:

Peshitta — And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice and said: "Ēl, Ēl, why have you forsaken me?"

Greek — And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying: "Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

The parallel verse in Mark 15:34 reads in both in the quotation/translation form it has in the Greek:

Peshitta — And in the ninth hour, Jesus cried out in a loud voice and said: "Ēl, Ēl lmānā shvaqtāni" that is "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Greek — And at the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying: "Eloi, Eloi, lamma sabacthani?" Which is, being interpreted, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

The having to repeat certain statements twice in Aramaic, as opposed to Aramaic and the Greek translation, in places like Matthew 27.46 and Mark 15:34 seems to disprove the Aramaic hypothesis. It makes sense to have the Greek translation of Aramaic in a Greek text, but not the other way around if Aramaic were the original language.

The fact of Jesus speaking in a version of Aramaic accounts for seemingly unusual translations into Greek—the so-called “bad idiom transfers,” poetry, grammatical issues, and "split words" that the Aramaic primacy advocates point to as proof (e.g. Lasater, pp. 13, 147-151).

Consider also the following from Mark:

41 Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, "Talitha, cumi," which is translated, "Little girl, I say to you, arise." (Mark 5:41 NKJV)

41 And he took the hand of the girl and said to her, "Talitha cumi (Young girl arise)." (Mark 5:41 Aramaic New Testament)

Why quote and translate from Aramaic while leaving the Aramaic in?

The Aramaic English New Testament also does not properly handle 2 Corinthians 6:2, and hence gives a misconception related to salvation (see also the book Is God Calling You?).

The book Was the New Testament Really Written in Greek? A Concise Compendium of the Many Internal and External Evidences of Aramaic Primacy claims that "split words" is one of the "most convincing proofs" of "Peshitta primacy"

But is it really?

No.

Having read the arguments, they simply are not proof. They are assertions of opinions. One of which was that certain words would not coincidentally be the same--thus this proves an Aramaic origin. Yet, we see this clearly happening with the New Testament and Greek translations of the Old Testament, plus we see this when early church writers quoted the New Testament. We also do not seem to have any early post-NT church writer who quoted Aramaic (other than if they quoted a Greek translation account that included it).

Now the "big one" proof in Was the New Testament Really Written in Greek? A Concise Compendium of the Many Internal and External Evidences of Aramaic Primacy supposedly has to do with a "QUADRUPLE split word" in Philemon 1:1 (Lasater, p. 59-62). But again, there was no proof, just assertions that this existence and the book's explanation was proof. Actually, it is much more logical to conclude that Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, wrote to the Greek-speaking Gentile Philemon in Greek.

The same source claims that the Greek text is in contradiction for Jesus' genealogy that supposedly are solved by the Aramaic (Lasater, p. 214-216).

While I have dealt with the genealogy issue in my writings (see Why Does Jesus Have Two Different Genealogies listed in Matthew 1 and Luke 3?), Steve Caruso also addressed this (http://aramaicnt.org/articles/problems-with-peshitta-primacy/) but he then also explained that the Peshitta/Aramaic argument is in error:

Hundreds of theologians have spilled rivers of ink taking on this apparent “problem” trying to find different ways to harmonize it, but in the end, Matthew’s genealogy only has 13 actual generations in its last set rather than the 14 described.

Now within the Peshitta Primacy movement, the argument goes that in the Syriac Peshitta, the word for “husband” or aramaic gavrā can also mean “guardian,” and therefore the Joseph listed here is Mary’s father or legal guardian. This would make Mary the next generation on the list, and round out the third set of 14 evenly.

Unfortunately gavrā has no such meaning.

There is not a single ancient lexicographer in any dialect of Aramaic that attests to this, nor a single ancient Syriac-speaking theologian who brought this possibility up, nor a single modern lexicographer that attests to this meaning either. However, plenty of ancient sources attest to the fact that gavrā — in the relational context of a genealogy — exclusively means “husband” (just like the word ἄνδρα andra does in Greek). (Caruso S. Problems With Peshitta Primacy. http://aramaicnt.org/articles/problems-with-peshitta-primacy/ accessed 08/18/17)

Here is one explanation of the 13 vs. 14 generations:

In the listing of Jesus' forefathers, there is a name missing. Excluded from the list is Jehoiakim (a.k.a. Eliakim), who was Josiah's son and Jeconiah's father (1 Chronicles 3:15-16). The reason for his exclusion may be that he was a puppet king, given his rule by the Pharaoh of Egypt. The first phase of the captivity of Judah by Babylon began at the end of Jehoiakim's reign, prior to his son Jeconiah coming into power. Thus, the 3 groupings of 14 generations would include: 1. Abraham to David; 2. Solomon to Jehoiakim (he is not mentioned, but was among the first to be carried off into Babylon); 3. Jeconiah to Jesus. (Is there an error in the counting of the generations in Matthew chapter 1? https://www.gotquestions.org/14-generations.html access 11/11/17)

There is no contradiction in the Greek text. This issue also does not prove that the New Testament was not written in Greek--plus the Aramaic also does not list 14 generations--despite the claim based on a forced-mistranslation.

Notice also another possible explanation:

I. 1. Abraham; 2. Isaac; 3. Jacob; 4. Judah; 5. Perez; 6. Hezron; 7. Ram; 8. Aminadab; 9. Naasson; 10. Salma; 11. Boaz; 12. Obed; 13. Jesse; 14. David.

II. 1. Solomon; 2. Rehoboam; 3. Abijah; 4. Asa; 5. Jehoshaphat; 6. Joram; 7. Uzziah; 8. Jotham; 9. Ahaz; 10. Hezekiah; 11. Manasseh; 12. Ammon; 13. Josiah; 14. Jechoniah (ἐπὶ τῆς μετοικεσίας, Matthew 1:11).

III. 1. Jechoniah (μετὰ τὴν μετοικεσίαν, Matthew 1:12); 2. Salathiel; 3. Zerubbabel; 4. Abiud; 5. Eliakim; 6. Azor; 7. Zadok; 8. Achim; 9. Eliud; 10. Eleazar; 11. Matthan; 12. Jacob; 13. Joseph; 14. Jesus.

In the third division we have to notice that in any case Jesus also must be counted, because Matthew 1:17 says ἕως τοῦ Χριστοῦ, in keeping with Matthew 1:1, where Ἰησοῦς Χριστός is announced as the subject of the genealogy, and consequently as the last of the entire list. If Jesus were not included in the enumeration, we should then have a genealogy of Joseph, and the final terminus must have been said to be ἕως Ἰωσήφ. (Meyer's NT Commentary. http://biblehub.com/commentaries/meyer/matthew/1.htm accessed 11/11/17)

The generational count is not some error that Aramaic fixes. Aramaic claimers need to understand that their explanation is not possible according to the Aramaic. There are various possible explanations and two have been shown. It is wrong to conclude that an Aramaic original text resolves this as it does not.

Another so-called Greek NT contradiction listed was related to the treatment of eunuchs by the children of Israel and in the church era (Lasater, pp. 222-223). Yet, the OT verses simply do not apply to NT Christians like R. Lasater cites. He also makes another 'contradiction' claim related to a former leper in Mark 14:3 (Lasater, pp. 224-225)--I actually dealt with this in a sermon (watch )--this again is not a contradiction.

He also makes the claim that because the Greek NT says that Jeremiah SPOKE something (Matthew 27:9-10), that is written in Zechariah and not found written in Jeremiah, that this too is a contradiction (Lasater, pp. 225-226). Well, I checked with the Greek and the Greek term transliterated as légontos in Matthew 27:9 does not mean written (Interlinear Transliterated Bible. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.). So, this is not a contradiction nor proof that Aramaic was the original language of the NT.

For the sake of space I will not rebut everyone of R. Lasater's claimed contradictions, but he is flat-out wrong on all I looked into.

He also claims that "conjunction usage" is proof that the NT was not originally written in Greek as the usage of conjunctions seems too consistent with Semitic writings (Lasater, pp. 263-269). However, since most of the writers of the NT had a version of Aramaic as their native language, it is reasonable to conclude they would have been expected to have a Semitic bias in their use of Greek conjunctions.

Of course, since the Aramaic Peshitta text used was not the language of Jesus or His disciples this eliminates Aramaic.

One 'proof' given in the book Ruach Qadim regarding why the Aramaic should be trusted is the assertion that Mark was in Egypt and died in Alexandria in A.D. 63 (Roth AG. Ruach Qadim: Aramaic Origins of the New Testament. Tushiyah Press, 2005, p. 97). However, Mark’s New Testament travels are shown and never have him going anywhere near Alexandria. The view Rausch Qadim points to that Mark died in Egypt is not consistent with the biblical nor historical reports of Mark near that period (see also Apostolic Succession). He then tries to tie that in with Clement of Alexandria--yet he was one who blended Gnosticism with his version of Christianity and should not be considered to have followed faithful presbyters as Rausch Qadim points to page 98.

Ruach Qadim states that it took took centuries for the Greeks to catch up to the ending of Mark 16:9-20 on page 100 that the Aramaic supposedly already had. Yet, the Greeks already knew of it in the second century: specifically Papias, Justin, and Irenaeus (see Should Mark 16:9-20 be part of the Bible?).

Also, it is an error for the Aramaic supporters to point to Papias. He did not write that Matthew was written in Aramaic, but Hebrew. Here is the actual Greek word Papias used: Ἑβραΐδι (Hebrew; you can see this document at http://www.hypotyposeis.org/synoptic-problem/2004/10/external-evidence-papias.html look for the first section 16) not Aραμαϊκή (Aramaic). Papias did not write the Matthew was originally written in Aramaic.

The author of Ruach Qadim points to his language being “sacred” on page 113. But the Bible does not teach that.

Consider also the following from Gareth Hughes. He is a "priest of the Church of England, who is Chaplain of Hertford College, Oxford, and doing Syriac research at Oxford University" and he "works in Aramaic." He wrote the following:

  1. Aramaic is a Semitic language ...
  2. Aramaic has a long and diverse history ...
  3. Aramaic is one of the original languages of the Bible — The Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) was originally written down in Hebrew, and the New Testament was written in Greek. However, a few parts of the Old Testament were originally written in Aramaic. ...
  4. Jesus spoke Aramaic — This is one of the big selling-points of Aramaic for many, and almost every journalist who mentions Aramaic has to make the connection with Jesus. I would too! However, we obviously have no sound recordings of Jesus speaking Aramaic, nor is he alleged to written anything down, except in the dust (John 8.6–9). Jesus’ speaking Aramaic is based on two bits of evidence. Firstly, we know that Aramaic was widely spoken by Jews and their neighbours, particularly among the lower classes. Hebrew and Greek were also important languages, and Jesus would probably have been able to speak them too. Secondly, the Greek New Testament records quite a few Aramaic words and phrases, names and places in transliteration (with no spoken Hebrew). These little fossilised bits of Aramaic are interesting in themselves — ‘talitha qum’, ‘ephphatha’ (actual Aramaic ‘ethpethach’) and  ‘eli eli’ or ‘eloi eloi lema sabachthani’ (in Mark 5.41, Mark 7.34, Matthew 27.46 and Mark 15.34 respectively). So, we are pretty sure Jesus spoke Aramaic. However, the Aramaic he would have spoken is clearly different from any Aramaic spoken today. We Christians who speak Aramaic like to say that we speak the language of Jesus, but in practice we all speak slightly different varieties of Aramaic to that spoken by Jesus. It is just not quite so glamourous to admit that we speak a language that is as close as you can get to that spoken by Jesus.
  5. No gospels were first written in Aramaic — There are people around (in the Internet sense rather than around universities) who will go to great lengths to prove that some of the New Testament was written in Aramaic, and then later translated into Greek. They are wrong. (Hughes G. What is Aramaic and Syriac? 3 September 2012. https://christhum.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/what-is-aramaic-and-syriac/ accessed 09/06/17)

Modern Aramaic was not the language of Jesus.

Consider also the following:

Syriac as common language in Jesus' time

I am reading an ebook titled:  A translation, in English daily used, of the Peshito-Syriac text, and of the received Greek text, of Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, and 1 John:  With an introduction on the Peshito-Syriac text, and the revised Greek text of 1881.  It includes comments that Syriac, not Hebrew, was the day-to-day language of the Israelites in Jesus' time, and that the antiquity of the Peshitta, and the traditions of the Syriac Church, accorded the Peshitta as having been written at least in part by the Apostles or by their disciples, and that the Peshitta is the most reliable account of the NT.  I have studied the Bible for many years and I know of no other mention of Syriac having been the common language among the Israelites in Jesus' time.  Have the concepts in this book fallen out of favor since it was written?

Asked By: 
Don
Syricac is a dialect of Aramaic

Syriac is a dialect of Aramaic, but written in a different alphabet. Rather than being written in the alphabet that was also used for Hebrew, Syriac was written in an alphabet that later evolved into the alphabet of Arabic. (One can search for Syriac on the internet and see that it looks like Arabic.) Aramaic had been an important ancient language since the period of the Babylonian Empire, and was so commonly spoken that Jews in Galilee, such as Jesus and his disciples, spoke Aramaic as their daily language. (Aramaic is very similar to Hebrew, about as close as Spanish and Italian are today.) The Peshitta is an early translation of the Bible into Syriac, and is very valuable for the study of the text of the Bible and of the church in the east, but this version of the Bible is not older than the ancient Greek or Latin versions. Thus it is written in the language that Jesus and his disciples spoke, but the text itself does not have a direct line to them.

Author: Lawrence M. Wills
Syriac = Aramaic

Syriac is another name for Aramaic, which most scholars regard as the common language of Palestinian Jews of Jesus's day. But most scholars also consider the Peshitta to be a translation from the Greek, not an original language work, reflecting the actual words of the apostles. The NT documents look like original Greek compositions, not translations directly from the Aramaic.

Author: Mark L. Strauss

(Massachusetts Bible Society. http://www.massbible.org/exploring-the-bible/ask-a-prof/answers/syriac-common-language-jesus-time accessed 090617

The New Testament was not originally written in Aramaic, and most certainly not in a fourth century written version of it.

But this Aramaic heresy, along with the related 'sacred name' nonsense has came up before. Notice the following from the late Dr. Herman Hoeh, then of the old Radio Church of God:

Proof That Aramaic Is Not Original

   Open your Bibles to Mark 15:34. The English rendering of this verse reads: "And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, 'Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?' which is, being interpreted, 'My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?'"
   Notice this! The last half of verse 34 proves that Mark was writing his gospel account, including these final words of Christ, in a language different from the one in which Jesus spoke! Jesus' own words are quoted from the Aramaic, but TRANSLATED into Greek.
   Now consider the Aramaic Version. If Aramaic were the original language of the New Testament, there would be no reason to insert in the Aramaic Version the words "which is, being interpreted, 'My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?'" because every Aramean would have understood Jesus' words without translation. Yet the Aramaic New Testament repeats the exact Greek original word-for-word! This PROVES Aramaic NOT to have been the original language of the New Testament, but merely a translation from the Greek.
   There are at least a dozen places in the New Testament where Aramaic words are quoted and are TRANSLATED INTO THE GREEK for the Greek-speaking people — and in most cases the Aramaic New Testament retranslates the original Greek word-for-word!
   Another example is John 1:41: "He (Andrew) first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, we have found the Messias, WHICH IS, BEING INTERPRETED, THE CHRIST." The word MESSIAS is a Greek spelling of the Hebrew word MESSIAH, which means "the Anointed." But the Greek-speaking people were not generally acquainted with the meaning of the word Messias; hence John translates it for them into the Greek word CHRISTOS which means "the Anointed One."
   Some sects today claim that we should use only the word "MESSIAH" and never the word "CHRIST." Their assumption is that the word "Christ" comes from the name of the Hindu god Krishna! "Christ" does not come from the name of the Hindu god Krishna! CHRISTOS is a common Greek word which means "to anoint."
   The New Testament was inspired to read that Jesus IS "the Christ." Even the enemies of the early true Church called the disciples "Christians" (Acts 11:26). The disciples would not have been called "Christians" in the city of Antioch if they had not been followers of CHRIST! They would have been called the "Messians!" Now turn to I Peter 4:14: "If ye be reproached for the name of Christ (CHRISTOS in Greek) happy are ye." The Scripture does not use some unknown Hebrew name; it uses the "NAME OF CHRIST." And now verse 16 — "Yet if any man suffer AS A CHRISTIAN, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on this behalf." The disciples in the New Testament Church could not have suffered as "Christians" unless they were the followers of CHRIST! (Hoeh H. The Unknown God. Plain Truth, October 1965)

Notice Acts 11:26 states that "the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch." Peter called the followers of Jesus "Christian" in 1 Peter 4:16. The term was common enough that King Agrippa, a man who was later overthrown by the Jews, used the term 'Christian' (Acts 26:28).

This is even confirmed in the English translation of in an Aramaic New Testament (Roth, 5th edition):

26 ... From that time the disciples in Antioch were first called Kristianay. (Acts 11:26)

28 ... "Almost you persuade me to become a Kristianay." (Acts 26:28)

16 But if he suffer as a Kristianay, 20 let him not be ashamed; (1 Peter 4:16)

'Christian' is a Greek word. And Peter used it.

The New Testament was not originally written in Aramaic.

The first century Jewish historian Josephus, who would have likely spoke a version of Aramaic, also wrote his historical book(s) in Greek.

It was not uncommon for Jewish teachers to write in Greek.

Exploding the Greek New Testament Myth?

The first booklet I recall seeing challenging the idea that the New Testament was written in Greek was titled Exploding the Greek New Testament Myth. Someone gave me a copy in the 1970s along with one or more other related pamphlets.

While I do not recall much of the details, I did recall explaining to the person who provided those that they was not persuasive and overlooked obvious issues (like when the New Testament quoted Aramaic and then translated it into Greek).

The pamphlets tried to indicate that the term Jesus was not an original term, but got adopted at a relatively late date.

Now, there is some accuracy there, but it is not quite the way that the "sacred name" people tend to portray it. Basically, they say that the name of the son of God was some version of Joshua, like Yeshua or Y'shua or Yashua.

Yet, not only does the Greek New Testament never use that term for our Savior, nor do any known early church writings.

Some believe that Jesus, at least sometimes, MUST have spoken Greek. Notice the following:

In John 21:15-17 a conversation takes place between Jesus and Peter, which involves the interplay of three pairs of near-synonymous Greek terms: ... These pairs cannot be reproduced in Aramaic or Hebrew. Similarly, the wordplay ... in Matthew 16:18 is lost in Aramaic or Hebrew. Should these be explained by the creativity of the Evangelists, or are these the actual words of Jesus?

Porter suggests Mark 7:24-30 records another situation in which Jesus spoke Greek. Jesus is in the region of Tyre and speaks with a Gentile woman. ...and Mark’s reference to her as “Greek” emphasizes that s he spoke Greek (since she was Syrophoenician she was not ethnically Greek).3 There is no mention of an i nterpreter, so Jesus likely spoke to her in Greek. ...

Porter suggests Matt 8 5-13 = Luke 7:2-10 as another example when Jesus would have spoken Greek (“Use of Greek”). This is the account of Jesus healing the servant of a centurion, who was presumably a Greek-speaker. Some sch ola rs believe that Jesus did not ac tual ly speak to the centur ion. Luke records that som e Jewish elders came and spoke on his behalf , although Matthew has the centurion himself speaking with Jesus. Since this passage is disputed, discussion of i t has been left to this note. The present writer thinks both accounts are correct and that Jesus spoke to bo h the Jewish elders and later the man him self, probably in Greek. (Tresham A. THE LANGUAGES SPOKEN BY JESUS. TMSJ 20/1 (Spring 2009) 71- 94)

The above citation has many other examples and includes Greek words that did not copy, hence my use of "..." Here is a link to that paper https://www.tms.edu//nas/content/live/tmsbones/m/tmsj20e.pdf (accessed 09/06/17).

The Letter of the Romans to the Corinthians (A.D. 95-97), also so-called as 1 Clement, uses the Greek term Ίησοû for the Son of God, which is normally rendered 'Jesus' in English (Holmes M. The Apostolic Fathers: The Greek Texts and English Translations. Baker Books, 1999, pp. 28-29). Technically, the transliteration would be Ieesoú (Interlinear Transliterated Bible. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.). It does not sound anything like 'Yeshua.'

What is believed to be the old preserved Ancient Christian sermon (c. A.D. 120-140) outside the Bible (sometimes referred to as 2 Clement) also uses Ίησοû for the Son of God. The same is true for the letters of Ignatius (c. A.D. 107-117), Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians (c. A.D. 110-137), and The Martyrdom of Polycarp (c. A.D. 156-167) all use a version of Ίησοû for the Son of God.

Hence, that was not a novel idea that came centuries after Jesus was on the Earth.

The Didache (c. AD 50-150), also so-called as The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, uses the Greek term Κυρíου, which is commonly translated as "Lord" referring to our Savior (Holmes, pp. 250-251). It never uses any version of the term Joshua.

Furthermore, Church of God Bishop/Pastor Melito of Sardis orginally wrote in Greek:

Melito's paschal homily must be originally Greek: anyone who knows Greek can see that. ( Zuntz G. Melito: Syriac? Vigiliae Christianae Vol. 6, No. 4, Dec., 1952, pp. 193-201)

Although some have thought that perhaps some of his original writings were in Syriac/Aramaic, that has not been shown to be the case. Yet, even if he did sometimes write in Syriac, that was not only the case--it has been established that he wrote in Greek. In his perhaps most known writing-- Melito's Homily on the Passover -- it was written in Greek. Melito did not use 'sacred names' either. He used Ἰησοῦν for Jesus ( verse 10), κυρίου for Lord (e.g. verse 3), and Θεού for God (e.g verse 5) (ΜΕΛΙΤΩΝΟΣ ΠΕΡΙ ΠΑΣΧΑ http://khazarzar.skeptik.net/books/melitog.htm accessed 12/12/17).

Exploding the Greek New Testament Myth did not like the term Lord as I seem to recall, indicating that it was only a pagan title.

The Use of 'Lord'

It is claimed that the term Κυρíου, meaning Lord, is "a title for Zeus" (Rausch Qadim, p. 19), hence should not be used. That term is found 751 times in the Greek New Testament, known as the Textus Receptus and 717 times in the Nestle-Aland manuscripts.

But was this considered a pagan term by the Jews?

No.

They stopped using the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) out loud and mainly in writing centuries before Jesus came.

Notice what the Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906 teaches:

There is no instance of it, however, in Canticles, Ecclesiastes, or Esther; and in Daniel it occurs 7 times (in ch. ix.)—a fact which in itself shows the late date of these books, whose authors lived at a period when the use of the Tetragrammaton was already avoided, its utterance having become restricted both in the reading of the Bible and still more in colloquial speech. For it was substituted Adonai; and the fact that this name is found 315 times in combination with "Yhwh" and 134 times alone shows that the custom of reading the Tetragrammaton as if written "Adonai" began at a time when the text of the Biblical books was not yet scrupulously protected from minor additions. This assumption explains most of the occurrences of "Adonai" before "Yhwh"; i.e., the former word indicated the pronunciation of the latter. At the time of the Chronicler this pronunciation was so generally accepted that he never wrote the name "Adonai." About 300 B.C., therefore, the word "Yhwh" was not pronounced in its original form. For several reasons Jacob ("Im Namen Gottes," p. 167) assigns the "disuse of the word 'Yhwh' and the substitution of 'Adonai' to the later decades of the Babylonian exile."

Reason for Disuse.

The avoidance of the original name of God both in speech and, to a certain extent, in the Bible was due, according to Geiger ("Urschrift," p. 262), to a reverence which shrank from the utterance of the Sublime Name; and it may well be that such a reluctance first arose in a foreign, and hence in an "unclean" land, very possibly, therefore, in Babylonia. According to Dalman (l.c. pp. 66 et seq.), the Rabbis forbade the utterance of the Tetragrammaton, to guard against desecration of the Sacred Name; but such an ordinance could not have been effectual unless it had met with popular approval. The reasons assigned by Lagarde ("Psalterium Hicronymi," p. 155) and Halévy ("Recherches Bibliques," i. 65 et seq.) are untenable, and are refuted by Jacob (l.c. pp. 172, 174), who believes that the Divine Name was not pronounced lest it should be desecrated by the heathen. The true name of God was uttered only during worship in the Temple, in which the people were alone; and in the course of the services on the Day of Atonement the high priest pronounced the Sacred Name ten times (Tosef., Yoma, ii. 2; Yoma 39b). This was done as late as the last years of the Temple (Yer. Yoma 40a, 67). If such was the purpose, the means were ineffectual, since the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton was known not only in Jewish, but also in non-Jewish circles centuries after the destruction of the Temple, as is clear from the interdictions against uttering it (Sanh. x. 1; Tosef., Sanh. xii. 9; Sifre Zuṭa, in Yalḳ., Gen. 711; 'Ab. Zarah 18a; Midr. Teh. to Ps. xci., end). Raba, a Babylonian amora who flourished about 350, wished to make the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton known publicly (Ḳid. 71b); and a contemporary Palestinian scholar states that the Samaritans uttered it in taking oaths (Yer. Sanh. 28b). The members of the Babylonian academy probably knew the pronunciation as late as 1000 C. E. (Blau, l.c. pp. 132 et seq., 138 et seq.). The physicians, who were half magicians, made special efforts to learn this name, which was believed to possess marvelous powers (of healing, etc.; Yer. Yoma 40a, below). (Tetragrammaton)

The word Adonai means Lord.

The Septuagint translation of the Old Testament, which was used mainly by the Hellenistic Jews, uses the word Κυρíου (transliterated as Kurios into English), and not the Tetragrammaton.

That term most certainly was not considered to be pagan.

Furthermore, the Hebrew Old Testament uses the Hebrew term for Lord (a version of Adonai) 324 times according to BibleSoft.

It should also be noted that the apostles often referred to Jesus as 'Lord' (e.g. Matthew 14:28, 17:4, 26:22, etc.). They were not referring to Him as YHVH/YHWH. It is clearly appropriate to use the term 'Lord' in reference to Jesus--His disciples did.

Jesus, Himself, also used a word translated into English as Lord (e.g. Matthew 22:44). This was not considered to be a pagan expression. And we see the word 'Lord' as a translation in many verses in the Peshitta NT as well.

Jesus does not mean Zeus

Notice something from an article titled The True Name:

As stated in Acts 4:12, the name Yahshua, is the only name by which one can find salvation. ... Yahshua: (Yahweh is Salvation), has been substituted by Yeshua, Iesous, Iesus, Jesus and Ea-Zeus (Healing Zeus). http://www.idmr.net/newsarticle_p2.htm retrieved 03/07/19

Actually, Acts 4:12 does not show the name Yahshua. The actual Greek is Ίησοû (see Green J. The Interlinear Bible, 2nd edition. Hendrickson, 1986, p. 844), transliterated as Ieesou. The quote in Acts does not have enough consonants to make the word Yahshua.

Let’s look at Peter’s words:

10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11 This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.' 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:10-12)

One 'sacred name' proponent wrote me claiming to the effect that Peter would not have spoken that in Greek, hence he (Peter) used a version of Yahshua. Presuming that is the case, this shows that GOD DID NOT EXPECT CHRISTIANS TO BE 'SACRED NAME' PEOPLE OR HE WOULD NOT HAVE INSPIRED THE GREEK WRITER, LUKE, TO BE THE ONE TO RECORD THIS IN THE BOOK OF ACTS. Since Luke was a native Greek-speaker who addressed his book to a Greek (Theophilus), obviously God knew what He was doing here. But the 'sacred name' types tend to unwilling to sufficiently consider that.

As far as claims that 'Jesus' is related to the pagan deity Zeus, etc. goes, notice the following, starting with the late Dr. Hoeh and then looking at a 21st century source:

   The English word "Jesus" is an anglicized spelling of the Greek word "Iesous". The Greek word for "Jesus" is but the common Greek name used to translate the Hebrew name "Yahshua". The meaning of the Hebrew word for "Yahshua" is "the Eternal is the Savior." Over 910 places in the New Testament God INSPIRED the New Testament writers to use the Greek word "Iesous" as the personal name of Christ, the Messiah! EITHER YOU WILL HAVE TO ACCEPT THE NAME OF JESUS AS YOUR SAVIOR — OR YOU WILL HAVE TO THROW AWAY THE ENTIRE NEW TESTAMENT!
   But — reason these "Hebrew Name" sects — doesn't the Greek word "Iesous" come from the pagan Greek god "Zeus"? This is absolutely untrue! In fact, the Greek word "Zeus" and the Roman word "Jove" are BOTH ULTIMATELY DERIVED FROM THE HEBREW YHWH — or JHVH. But the Greeks — and other heathen — did not like to retain God in their knowledge. So they took the names of God and attached them to their idols! The ancient Hebrew-speaking people did the same thing by calling their idols EL or ELOHIM, meaning "God" in Hebrew.
   So the name "Jesus" is actually derived from YHWH! (Hoeh, Plain Truth, 1965)

In Greek, the name of "Zeus" is really just "Ze", because the "us" is there for grammar. "Ze" is the root of the name. Thus it would be Zayin, Hey in Hebrew (which, BTW, means "this").  Like every other name in Greek, it's spelling changes with grammar (It might be Zeus, Zeu, etc) depending on whether "Ze" is the subject, object, direct object, etc., of a sentence.   So depending on how it's used in Greek Grammar, for the nominative, genitive, dative, accusative and vocative cases respectively, it becomes...

...Since "Jesus" or "Y'shua" has a name that is most properly rooted as "Ieso" in Greek, not "Iesous". "Iesous" is just a grammatical variant of the root "Ieso". Note that..

So what's similar about these two names? Well, … how they are pronounced in our tongue has some similarities. So silly english speaking people who don't know Greek and are too lazy to do research can come up with some strange ideas on what the Greeks were thinking. But this idea that "Jesus" is rooted in "Zeus" doesn't hold water when you really examine the roots and declensions in Greek from a scholarly manner. It has as much credibility as saying it originated from "Dr. Seuss". (A Greek Analysis of the Name "Iesous" or "Jesus." http://messiahalive.com/Iesus.htm accessed 02/13/18)

The Apostle Peter warned about the following:

14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation — as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. (2 Peter 3:14-16)

Those who insist that Jesus' name is derived from Zeus, etc. are twisting scriptures and essentially are "untaught people" who insist on falsehood.

What about the first letter of our Savior’s name? Notice something from Dictionary.com:

“J” is a bit of a late bloomer; after all, it was the last letter added to the alphabet. It is no coincidence that /i/ and /j/ stand side by side – they actually started out as the same character. The letter /j/ began as a swash, a typographical embellishment for the already existing /i/. With the introduction of lowercase letters to the Roman numeric system, /j/ was commonly used to denote the conclusion of a series of one’s – as in “xiij” for the number 13.

J’s phonetic quest for independence probably began with the sound of the letter /i/. Originally a Phoenician pictogram representing a leg with a hand, and denoting a sound similar to the /y/ in “yes,” /i/ was later adopted by Semitic groups to describe the word “arm” which, in Semitic languages, began with a /j/ – also possessing the same /y/ sound as in “yes.” Both /i/ and /j/ were used interchangeably by scribes to express the sound of both the vowel and the consonant.

It wasn’t until 1524 when Gian Giorgio Trissino, an Italian Renaissance grammarian known as the father of the letter /j/, made a clear distinction between the two sounds. Trissino’s contribution is important because once he distinguished the soft /j/ sound, as in “jam” (probably a loan sound), he was able to identify the Greek “Iesus” a translation of the Hebrew “Yeshua,” as the Modern English “Jesus.” Thus the current phoneme for /j/ was born. The English language is infamous for matching similar phonemes with different letters and /j/ is certainly no exception. In addition to the aforementioned soft /j/ sound, as in “jam,” which is phonetically identical to the soft /g/ as in “general,” the /j/ in Taj Mahal takes on a slight variation of that same sound and is probably the closest to Trissino’s original phonetic interpretation. And coming full circle, the /j/ sound you hear in the word “hallelujah” is pronounced “halleluyah.” (The Man Responsible For The Letter “J.” Dictionary.com http://www.dictionary.com/e/j/ accessed 02/13/18)

So, because of changes in the language, we in English pronounce Jesus differently that Ieesoú or Iaesou. But since God inspired the writers of the New Testament to change 'Joshua' to something they could spell in Greek, it is obvious that God does allow for differences in the pronunciation of the names of diety.

Perhaps I should mention that sounds of letters, as well as spellings, also can change in time. Up until the 18th century, two letter fs--ff-- was apparently pronounced as ss--by the 19th century, English spellings were normally changed to reflect that.

More on Sacred Names

Notice something that a 'sacred name' church WAY (Worldwide Assembly of YHWH) taught:

"The appropriate name of the supreme Creator and sustainer of the entire universe is YHWH (Pronounced "YAH-WAY"). The appropriate name of our Savior the Messiah is Yahshua. The scriptures reveal to us the importance of our Creator's name." (WAY home page).

Sacred name groups always claim to know exactly how to pronounce the four Hebrew letters (which in English are approximated as YHWH) which have no vowels. These groups often do not agree with each other. The other group I looked into years ago said the proper pronunciation was Yah-vay. WAY is different from most in that it does not agree within itself on either name. The next statement is one found on WAY's website the same day I copied the previous statement:

"STATEMENT OF BELIEFS
1. APPROPRIATE NAMES The appropriate name of the supreme creator and sustainer of the entire universe is YHWH (Pronounced "YAHWEH"). The appropriate name of our Savior the Messiah is Yahùshua. The scriptures reveal to us the importance of our creator's name." (WAY's statement of beliefs).

It is amazing that WAY, which places so much emphasis on sacred names, cannot agree with itself about how YHWH or the Son's name is to be pronounced. If the exact pronunciation was so important to God, one would conclude that God would have made it clear, or at a minimum, WAY would decided which of the two pronunciations it has for each is correct. It is also amazing that they list this as the first thing they believe--this appears to be a problem with priorities.

It also should be understood that when Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He did NOT use 'sacred names.' Notice what Jesus taught:

9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

14 "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:9-15)

Notice what Jesus said in a prayer after His final Passover on earth:

5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

6 "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. 8 For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. 9 "I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. (John 17:5-12, NKJV)

I revealed Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. (John 17:6a, Berean Literal Bible)

What name to Jesus manifest/reveal to men? FATHER!

Jesus did not come to manifest a name like YHVH/YHWH as that had been known since at least the time of Moses (cf. Exodus 3:14-15).

Furthermore, when Jesus was dying an He prayed, He did NOT refer to His Father as Yahveh or Yahweh:

46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46)

Notice that the biblical translation was that Jesus was calling out to God. And Jesus DID NOT use the "sacred names" that many, like the Worldwide Assembly of YHWH claim Christians should. Jesus NEVER commanded that "sacred names" be used. In the NT, when Jesus is either praying or giving instructions to pray (including in the Aramaic), it is NEVER recorded that He used what are commonly called "sacred names" to address the Father.

Furthermore, notice:

12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. (Revelation 19:12)

Thus, none of the 'sacred name' groups know how to properly pronounce the Saviour's coming name.

Jesus often taught to beware of religious leaders. Notice:

15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:15-20).

False leaders do not produce good fruit.

Let me add that I have NEVER seen a 'sacred name'/ 'NT not written in Greek' group that has been successful in meaningfully fulfilling Matthew 24:14 nor really Matthew 28:19-20.

Even if one or more books of the NT were initially written in Hebrew, as long as one or more were written in Greek, passages such as Matthew 6:9-15 and 27:46 dispel the myth that God expected certain Hebrew words to be used to address Him. Also, there is not evidence that early faithful Christians felt that they had to use Hebrew names for deity. Therefore, those who stick to the 'sacred name' doctrines are not contending earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).

I had a 'sacred name' person tell me that if we use a term like Jesus or God that the Creator will not understand us. When I asked about the variations on YHWH and Yashua, I was told that God did somehow understand them if mispronounced. The sacred name movement has also had the wrong priorities, as well as a misunderstanding of scripture.

As far as mispronunciations, etc. go, the point of communications is to be understood. While the original Hebrew for the name of Jesus was probably apparently a version of the English name Joshua, what was recorded in the Greek NT was not that.

If you transliterate Ίησοû/Ίησοûς, it would be something like Ieesoú or Ieesoús. But because of translations of that, the name commonly became Jesus in English. Since English-speaking people understand Jesus is supposed to be the Son of God, but do not normally understand Ieesoú or Ieesoús, we in the Continuing Church of God will normally use the term Jesus when speaking in the English language. It should be pointed out that there are many words in English that differ from the original. For example, while most English-speaking adults have probably heard of Venice, Italy, many probably do not know that the city's actual name is Venezia--this is also true of many place names in other parts of the world.

We tend use the term Venice, not Venezia, in English to convey that city as that is a term that most would understand. That is also why we tend to use the term Jesus. The point of communication is to be understood.

Here is a bit more about the name Jesus:

When rendering into Greek the name of Moses’ successor, and that of other Old Testament figures bearing the same name, it was almost always spelled out as Iesous.

Why? The answer is twofold: Hebrew and Greek use different alphabets, and they have different rules of grammar. For instance, the first letter of the name Yeshua in Hebrew is the letter yod. As a semi-consonant like the letters waw and he, it can play the role of a consonant or a marker of a vowel, depending on its position in a word. Thus yod is given a "y" sound at the beginning of a word, and an "i" sound when used later in a word. It has no exact equivalent in Greek, but the iota, sounded as "i" regardless of where it is used, is the closest. In the same way, the Hebrew letter shin is sounded as "sh" but has no exact equivalent in Greek, the closest being sigma, sounded as "s."

Why does the Greek form of this name (or for that matter any number of other Old Testament names) end in "s" rather than in "a"? The answer is found in the rules of Greek grammar. In Greek, nouns indicate case, number, and gender by their spelling. This is called declension. Depending on its use as subject or object in a sentence, the same noun has a different ending. Spelling (rather than word order, as in English) indicates how a word functions as a part of speech. Thus, in Greek, Iesous is in the nominative case ("Yeshua"); Iesou is in the genitive case ("of Yeshua"), and so on. The name in the nominative case carries an "s" so that it may be properly declined in the other cases. ...

Why, then, do our English Bibles (such as the King James Version) use Joshua in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament? This occurs because our Old Testament was translated from the Hebrew Masoretic Text, using an approximate English transliteration of the Hebrew letters and vowels. Our New Testament, however, was translated from the Greek, so the transliterated names found there reflect Greek spellings. Thus, where the original Hebrew is Yehoshua, Joshua was used in English translation. Where the original Greek is Iesous (or one of its declined forms), Jesus was used in English translation. Elijah and Hezekiah were used in the English Old Testament and Elias and Ezekias were used in the English New Testament for exactly the same reason. Interestingly, some newer translations have sought to minimize potential confusion by using the same spelling for the same person in both the Old and New Testaments, regardless of how the name was preserved in the Hebrew and Greek texts.

The Letter "J"

Why, then, do English-speakers spell both Joshua and Jesus with a "j" rather than a "y" or an "i"? Where did this originate? Does it represent some sort of sinister plot, as a few assume, or is the explanation far more innocent?

Notice what the Oxford English Dictionary says about the history of the letter "j": This "tenth letter of the alphabet in English and other modern languages is, in its origin, a comparatively late modification of the letter I. In the ancient Roman alphabet, I, besides its vowel value… had the kindred consonantal value of modern English Y… Some time before the 6th century, this y-sound had, by compression in articulation and consequent development of an initial ’stop’, become a consonantal diphthong… In OE, i consonant, so far as it was used, had (as still in all the continental Germanic languages) its Latin value (y)… But the French orthography introduced by the Norman Conquest brought in the Old French value of i consonant = g ’soft’ (dsh); a sound which English has ever since retained in words derived from that source… From the 11th to the 17th c., then, the letter i represented at once the vowel sound of i, and a consonant sound (dsh), far removed from the vowel."

Throughout the medieval period, the forms of the modern "i" and "j" were used interchangeably, and both forms represented the same letter. How, then, did "i" and "j" come to be considered two distinct letters of the alphabet? "The differentiation was made first in Spanish, where, from the very introduction of printing, we see j used for the consonant, and i only for the vowel… Louis Elzevir, who printed at Leyden 1595–1616, is generally credited with making the modern distinction of u and v, i and j, which was shortly after followed by the introduction of U and J among the capitals by Lazarus Zetmer of Strasburg in 1619" (OED, "J"). The letters "i" and "j" continued for many years to be considered merely different forms of the same letter, so that as late as the early 19th century, dictionaries commonly intermingled the I and J words in one series. (Ogwyn J. What is the Savior's Name. LCN. July/August 2005).

Anyway, the Son of God does understand the word 'Jesus.'

More on sacred names can be found in the article: The Bible, Church History, and Sacred Names. A related sermon is available: Sacred Names: True or False Gospel?

Hebrew

By the time of Jesus, Hebrew was not the language spoken by the common people in Judea. They spoke a form of Aramaic.

While the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, and scholars and some others knew how to read Hebrew, it is not likely that much, if any, of the New Testament was written in Hebrew.

Now there is something that has been called "Q" which has been claimed by some modern scholars to include some facts about, and statements from, Jesus in either Hebrew or Aramaic. Some claim that Matthew and Luke (or Mark) essentially used this to assist them in writing. If such a document existed, it no longer does. All the earliest manuscripts we have of the New Testament are written in the Greek language.

The following is from the Book of Acts:

26: 14 And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' (Acts 26:14)

20: 40 So when he had given him permission, Paul stood on the stairs and motioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great silence, he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, saying,

22:1 "Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now." 2 And when they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they kept all the more silent. (Acts 21:40-22:2, NKJV)

If the Book of Acts was originally written in Hebrew, then there would have been no need to point out something being communicated in the Hebrew language.

Consider also that the the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) have large overlaps in Greek. This would suggest that one or more the gospel writers had access to one of the other gospels in Greek. While that would not preclude one of them being originally in Hebrew/Aramaic, it does show they all cannot have been in Hebrew/Aramaic originally. Consider also that some of the Old Testament scripture quotations in the New Testament are identical to those found in the Greek Septuagint. This would not be the case if they were simply translated from Hebrew or Aramaic.

It could be that the Book of Hebrews was initially written in Hebrew. Eusebius reports the following claim from Clement:

2. He says that the Epistle to the Hebrews is the work of Paul, and that it was written to the Hebrews in the Hebrew language; but that Luke translated it carefully and published it for the Greeks, and hence the same style of expression is found in this epistle and in the Acts. 3. But he says that the words, Paul the Apostle, were probably not prefixed, because, in sending it to the Hebrews, who were prejudiced and suspicious of him, he wisely did not wish to repel them at the very beginning by giving his name.

4. Farther on he says: "But now, as the blessed presbyter said, since the Lord being the apostle of the Almighty, was sent to the Hebrews, Paul, as sent to the Gentiles, on account of his modesty did not subscribe himself an apostle of the Hebrews, through respect for the Lord, and because being a herald and apostle of the Gentiles he wrote to the Hebrews out of his superabundance." (Eusebius. Book 6, Chapter XIV)

If this is accurate, it explains why Hebrews is of a different style than other writings from the Apostle Paul.

Some have claimed that because the New Testament writer often quoted from the Hebrew Masoretic Text, as opposed to the Septuagint (a translation of the Old Testament into Greek), that this proves a Hebrew or Aramaic origin of the New Testament. But, no it does not.

Consider the following an Orthodox Priest:

Already two centuries before the advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Jews living both in Palestine and those scattered throughout the Roman Empire found it necessary to have translations of the Hebrew Old Testament. This was because the Hebrew language, while still used in worship and perhaps in some rural villages, was no longer a widely spoken language. In the synagogues, the Scriptures were still read in the Hebrew original ... (Barriger L. The Septuagint. © 2019 by the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the U.S.A. https://www.acrod.org/readingroom/scripture/septuagint retrieved 03/07/19)

Others agree with that (e.g. What Bible Version Did Jesus Read? https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1999/april26/9t5098.html).

The fact is that the Old Testament scriptures were read in Hebrew at synagogue in Jesus' area, would make the New Testament writers more familiar with those as opposed to the Septuagint. Hence, it is natural that they would have translated from the Hebrew text. Furthermore, there were concerns about issues with the Septuagint during Jesus' time (extra books that the Jews in Jesus area did not use), and that would be another reason that it would not have been frequently quoted in the New Testament.

Greek

The ancient reality was that because of conquests by Alexander the Great and the Greek-educated Romans, Greek was the 'lingua franca' of the ancient Mediterranean region. Greek was known from Spain to the borders of India (though other languages also existed). Greek was the language of scholarship 2,000 years ago. But the New Testament was not written in high or classical Greek, but a common more ordinary form, known as koine Greek.

The bulk of the Apostle Paul's writings went to Greek speaking lands and it would make no sense for him to write the epistles in Hebrew or Aramaic. In order to claim otherwise, one would have to explain why letters sent to congregations in Greece itself (Corinth, Philippi and Thessalonica) or Asia Minor (Colossians, Ephesians and Galatians, as well as the book of Revelation) would have been written in a language that most could not read. Consider that most of the epistles of Paul were addressed to congregations in Greek-speaking Asia Minor. If they had been written in Hebrew, they would have been unintelligible to most of the intended recipients.

As far as Greek goes, even though I am a scholar who has studied koine and modern conversational Greek (and can somewhat read Greek), I do not consider myself at all to be a Greek scholar. That being said, scholars of ancient Greek have consistently concluded that, the literary quality of the Greek of the NT books (including Matthew and Mark) point to Greek being the original and not being a translation.

In the Eastern Roman Empire, Greek, not Latin, dominated. Greek was also the language of the educated in the Western Roman Empire as well.

Since non-literary, simple Greek knowledge or competency in multiple languages was relatively widespread in Jewish Palestine including Galilee, and a Greek-speaking community had already developed in Jerusalem shortly after Easter, one can assume that this linguistic transformation [from "the Aramaic native language of Jesus" to "the Greek Gospels"] began very early. ... [M]issionaries, above all 'Hellenists' driven out of Jerusalem, soon preached their message in the Greek language. We find them in Damascus as early as AD 32 or 33. A certain percentage of Jesus' earliest followers were presumably bilingual and could therefore report, at least in simple Greek, what had been heard and seen. This probably applies to Cephas/Peter, Andrew, Philip or John. Mark, too, who was better educated in Jerusalem than the Galilean fishermen, belonged to this milieu. The great number of phonetically correct Aramaisms and his knowledge of the conditions in Jewish Palestine compel us to assume a Palestinian Jewish-Christian author. Also, the author's Aramaic native language is still discernible in the Marcan style. (Bockmuehl M, Hagner DA. Cambridge University Press, 2005, pp. 89-90)

Asia Minor was part of the Eastern Roman Empire. It makes no sense for the two-thirds of the New Testament written to Gentile churches to be in Aramaic. There are no Aramaic manuscripts of the New Testament that compete with the earliest Greek manuscripts of the New Testament for chronological primacy. The Apostle Paul's ministry was the minister to the Gentiles (Galatians 2:7). Greek was the Gentile language, spoken and understood by many within the confines of the Roman Empire, as the common tongue. Christ said for his followers to "make disciples of all nations" and teach all things He commanded (Matthew 28:19-20). That necessitated using a language people outside of Judea could understand. Back then, it was Greek.

What about Judea/Palestine? Consider the following:

No less than 1,600 Jewish epitaphs—funerary inscriptions—are extant from ancient Palestine and the Diaspora dating to the Hellenistic and Roman-Byzantine periods (300 B.C.E.–500 C.E.a). ...

One of the most surprising facts about these funerary inscriptions is that most of them are in Greek—approximately 70 percent; about 12 percent are in Latin, and only 18 percent are in Hebrew or Aramaic.

These figures are even more instructive if we break them down between Palestine and the Diaspora. Naturally in Palestine we would expect more Hebrew and Aramaic and less Greek. This is true but not to any great extent. Even in Palestine approximately two-thirds of these inscriptions are in Greek.

Apparently for a great part of the Jewish population the daily language was Greek, even in Palestine. This is impressive testimony to the impact of Hellenistic culture on Jews in their mother country, to say nothing of the Diaspora.

In Jerusalem itself about 40 percent of the Jewish inscriptions from the first-century period (before 70 C.E.) are in Greek. We may assume that most Jewish Jerusalemites who saw the inscriptions in situ were able to read them. (Jewish Funerary Inscriptions—Most Are in Greek, Pieter W. van der Horst, BAR 18:05, Sep-Oct 1992. http://cojs.org/jewish_funerary_inscriptions-most_are_in_greek-_pieter_w-_van_der_horst-_bar_18-05-_sep-oct_1992/ accessed 12/07/17)

Those who claim that the New Testament had originally been written in Hebrew or Aramaic, overlook many things. For example, there would have been no need for the writers of the New Testament to have to explain interpret the meaning of certain Hebrew or Aramaic words.

Yet, in the Gospel accounts we see that they contain several such necessary.

Consider the following example:

35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. 36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God!" 37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, "What do you seek?" They said to Him, "Rabbi" (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), "where are You staying?" 39 He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour). 40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, "You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas" (which is translated, A Stone). (John 1:35-42)

In the above example, “Rabbi” and “Messiah” are Hebrew terms, and “Cephas” is Aramaic. If John had written this in Hebrew or Aramaic, these explanatory words would not have needed to be translated and explained in Greek for Greek-speaking readers. Other examples also exist (e.g. John 9:27). Furthermore, the written Greek New Testament does specifically also refer to to some spoken Aramaic (Matthew 27:46), hence this distinguishment, too, would have been unnecessary, if the NT had been written in Aramaic.

Fred Coulter explains about John 1:

“Rabbi” is an English transliteration of the Greek Ραββι, which is a transliteration of the Hebrew iÁbr which means “Lord” or “Master.” The Greek didaskale (“teacher”) is a paraphrase of the Greek Rabbi. John interprets this term for the sake of his Greek readers who were not familiar with the Hebrew “Rabbi,” and therefore would not have understood the Greek transliteration Ραββι. “Messiah” is a transliteration of the Greek Messian (Μ∈σσιαν), which is a Hellenized transliteration of the Hebrew Meshiach . The Hellenized Jews, to whom John was writing, were not acquainted with this Hebrew term. Thus, John translated it into the Greek word Christos (“the Christ”) which means “the Anointed One.”

If John had written in Hebrew to a Hebrew-speaking people, it would make no sense to translate these words into Greek. “Cephas” is Aramaic for “little stone” or “pebble.” John felt it necessary to translate this word for the Hellenized Jews, who were no more familiar with Aramaic than with Hebrew. Numerous other examples can be found in the Gospels, such as “Siloam” being interpreted as “sent” (John 9:7)—and in Matthew, where the name “Emmanuel” is a transliteration of the Greek Εµµανουηλ, which is in turn a transliteration of the Hebrew (Matt. 1:23). The fact that these Hebrew terms had to be interpreted illustrates that John and Matthew were writing in Greek to a Greek-speaking audience. ...

Further evidence that Matthew wrote in Greek to a people who spoke Greek, and not in Hebrew, is furnished by two grammatical structures unique to the Greek: the articular infinitive and the genitive absolute. Neither of these grammatical structures has a comparable structure in Hebrew—but represent a higher quality of formal Greek. Numerous examples of Matthew’s use of these two grammatical structures demonstrate his mastery of literary Greek. His usage of the articular infinitive, in particular, illustrates the fact that Matthew not only grew up speaking Greek but that he also had formal training in Greek rhetoric. (Coulter F. A Faithful Version. Appendix D, p. 1257)

Aramaic New Testaments from antiquity are all believed to be translations made a couple centuries or so after the New Testament was written in Greek--except by those who hold to the Aramaic NT myth.

As far as New Testament writers go, realize that Greek was the language of the educated and understood by leaders throughout the entire Roman Empire.

Enough so, that Pilate had an inscription above Jesus written in Hebrew/Aramaic, Latin (for some soldiers), and Greek (Luke 23:38; John 19:20). He also had his wine certification ring written in Greek, which would have made no sense if the Jews of Jesus' time did not understand at least some Greek.

The returning Jewish diaspora from Greek-speaking areas brought the language with them to Jerusalem. Many of them came from areas once conquered by Alexander the Great. It has been claimed that as much as 20% of the Jewish population in Jerusalem spoke Greek.

There is evidence in the Bible that Jesus and others understood Greek. Consider the following with Pilate speaking Greek:

1 When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death. 2 And when they had bound Him, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor. (Matthew 27:1-2)

11 Now Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked Him, saying, "Are You the King of the Jews?"

Jesus said to him, "It is as you say." 12 And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing.

13 Then Pilate said to Him, "Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?" 14 But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly. (Matthew 27:11-14)

How can we know that Pilate was speaking Greek?

Well, since he was a Roman official, his first language would have been Latin. Yet, the people mentioned in this verse, (Jesus, the chief priests, the elders, and any Jews listening in) would not have understood Latin. Pilate obviously wasn’t speaking Latin. Hebrew and Aramaic are not languages that someone like Pilate would have likely been able to speak--and this is less likely in a legal setting. "Greek, then, is the most likely candidate for the language he spoke in this speech to the non-Roman audience" (What Language Did Jesus Speak? Zondervan Academic, September 7th, 2016. https://zondervanacademic.com/blog/what-language-did-jesus-speak/ accessed 12/13/17).

Notice also the following:

A bronze ring--that was recently cleaned and photographed with a special camera--was discovered to have the name of Pilate written on it. That is, the same Pontius Pilate who sentenced Jesus Christ to death by crucifixion.

This ring has engraved on it a wine krater-jar and the name "Pilatou" in Greek, which translates as "belonging to Pilate." Since the name Pilate was not a common Roman name and since Pilate is known to have once been the governor of Judaea, this ring almost certainly belonged to him. In addition, bronze rings of this type were worn by members of the Roman Equites (Cavalry) class, to which Pontius Pilate is known to have belonged.

This bronze ring was excavated about 50 years ago at Herodium by a team of archeologists led by Gideon Forster from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Herodium is located only a few miles from both Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Herod the Great built Herodium not only as a fortified pleasure place but also as his burial site. ...

Pilate's name is written in Greek and not Latin. This indicates that Greek was used in Judaea as the official language of government at the time of Christ. This in turn suggests that when Pontius Pilate and Christ were talking, as is related in the Gospels, they were conversing in Greek. Incidentally, earlier the coins of Herod the Great had "belonging to King Herod" written on them in Greek, and Herod also probably spoke Greek.

Greek is also known to have been spoken in the city of Sepphoris near Nazareth. A first century Jewish tomb recently found near Tiberias has all of the names of those buried in it written in Greek. In other words, Greek was widely spoken in Galilee, and it is likely that Jesus grew up speaking both Palestinian Aramaic and Greek. It should also be remembered that Israel was ruled by Greeks from ca. 332-141 BC. (Pontius Pilate Ring Identified. Artifax, Winter 2019)

Anyway, I viewed a photograph and sketch of that ring and can read the Greek on it myself. Greek was commonly used in Judea.

Consider further that the Apostle Matthew was a tax collector (Matthew 10:3) who would have worked for the Romans, hence he would have known Greek. Mark is believed to have lived in Jerusalem and was much more likely to know Greek better than many others in Judea. Peter, though Galilaean, addressed his first epistle to those living in Greek-speaking areas--furthermore he was able to communicate with the Roman Centurian Cornelius without any recorded language problem (Acts 10)--and as a Roman centurian in that region, Cornelius would have spoken Greek. The Apostle John, another Galilean, is believed to have left Judea in the late A.D. 60s and moved to the Greek-speaking area of Asia Minor. John would have known Greek by the time he wrote his gospel, epistles, and the Book of Revelation, but may have not had perfect knowledge of its written grammar as he aged. Luke seemingly was a Greek.

The Apostle Paul clearly knew Greek:

37 Then as Paul was about to be led into the barracks, he said to the commander, "May I speak to you?"

He replied, "Can you speak Greek? 38 Are you not the Egyptian who some time ago stirred up a rebellion and led the four thousand assassins out into the wilderness?"

39 But Paul said, "I am a Jew from Tarsus, in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city; and I implore you, permit me to speak to the people." (Acts 21:37-39, NKJV)

Greek in the ancient Roman Empire was pretty much akin to English in the world today. It was a language spoken/read by people all over--including many to whom it was not their native language.

While Paul also could speak Hebrew and/or Aramaic (Acts 21:40), he was born in Tarsus--an area that spoke Greek. The fact that the Jews agreed to authorize Saul (before he was called Paul) to travel to get Christians in the eastern part of the Roman Empire (e.g. Acts 9:1-2) supports the view that he was apparently quite fluent in Greek (it would have been more difficult to communicate with most Roman soldiers in Aramaic and even fewer in Hebrew). As the converted Paul, he also travelled with Greeks (cf. Acts 21:28; Galatians 2:3).

Early church writers wrote in Greek.

Furthermore, consider New Testament leaders who took the gospel message to many different peoples whose languages had words for “god” that were often associated with pagan/false gods.

Notice when the Apostle Paul was speaking to those in Athens in Greece, he stated:

22 "Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; 23 for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription:

TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.

Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: 24 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.' (Acts 17:22-29)

Paul was clearly speaking to Greek people and speaking Greek. They would not have an inscription in Athens in Aramaic or Hebrew to a deity that they were worshipping. Thus, Paul clearly was referring to God by the Greek name Theos. Paul obviously did not mind that the Greeks also used theos for pagan gods.

In the New Testament, we see no effort whatever to try to teach people to pronounce the name of the Father and Son in Hebrew/Aramaic, or to specifically translate the meaning of the Hebrew names into native languages. Rather, as Paul's example in scripture demonstrates, they used the existing words in the language the people already had.

One objection to the idea of the New Testament being written in Greek is to claim that the writing style of the Apostle John in letters he wrote before he penned the Book of Revelation are too dissimilar, hence a different language was the original. That is not proof, and as shown earlier, his gospel account supports Greek. A more logical conclusion as to why there were stylistic variations is that John lived the last several decades of his life in Greek speaking Asia Minor and would have ended up with more regular exposure to certain types of Greek grammar, expressions, etc. Plus, that Book was specifically addressed to the seven churches in Asia Minor, all of which would have been using Greek.

Polycarp of Smyrna is one of many who used Greek and the Greek New Testament. For example, when he was quoting from Matthew’s gospel, related to Matthew 26:4,1 he wrote in his Letter to the Philippians (7:2):

το μεν πνύεμα προθυμον η δε ϲαρξ αϲθενηϲ

The Greek “Textus Receptus” has:

το μεν πνύεμα προθυμον η δε ϲαρξ αϲθενηϲ

Polycarp was not quoting Aramaic.

Actually, I checked out a dozen or so citations of the New Testament in Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians and they were identical or 'essentially identical' to the “textus receptus” (by “essentially identical” I mean that the Greek words were the same, but that their endings may have varied for grammatical reasons with the Greek text). Also, a similar situation occurs with Ignatius of Antioch who knew Polycarp. When he quotes part of Matthew 19:31 in chapter 6 of his Letter to the Smyrnaeans, the Greek he used is essentially identical to the Textus Receptus--I also checked out his other citations with the same results.

As far as Polycarp goes, he received the texts from the apostles, like John. Consider the following from Irenaeus:

But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna ... always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic Churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time. (Adversus Haeres. Book III, Chapter 3, Verse 4).

Polycarp was appointed by the apostles and taught what was handed down. He respected and highly quoted scripture.

Furthermore, it also should be mentioned that there is an ancient historical document known as the Harris Fragments (ca. 2nd or 3rd century) that also discusses Polycarp.  Basically, it stresses that Polycarp’s connection with the Apostle John, teaches he was appointed bishop of Smyrna by John, and that he died at martyr’s death at age 104. Here are some translated quotes from the Harris Fragments, with one clarifying addition from me ‘an’ shown in {}:

There remained [---]ter him a disciple[e ---] name was Polycar[p and] he made him bishop over Smyrna ... He was ... {an} old man, being one hundred and f[our] of age.  He continued to walk [i]n the canons which he had learned from his youth from John the a[p]ostle (Weidman, Frederick W.  Polycarp and John: The Harris Fragments and Their Challenge to Literary Traditions.  University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame (IL), 1999, pp. 43-44)

By mentioning the term “canons” (which seems to be in the singular form in the actual Greek--Weidman, oddly displays what appears to be a combination of upper and lower case Greek characters ‘ΚαΝΝωΝ’ as the original source for the translation on p. 25) the Harris Fragments could possibly be suggesting that John passed the knowledge of the proper books of the Bible to Polycarp—and that would seem to be the case. But even if canon(s) meant only the measure of the right way to be a Christian that early, that strongly supports the view that the Apostle John would have passed on his knowledge of the books of the Bible to Polycarp. The canon was known by the Church of God in Asia Minor in the second century--and the New Testament that was received was in Greek. All should realize that to be faithful to apostolic Christianity that they should imitate Polycarp and John as they did Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:1).

There are a total of 27 books in the New Testament. At least 9 books of the New Testament were directly written to the church leaders in Greek-speaking Asia Minor. The ones clearly written to those in Asia Minor include Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Timothy (Timothy was in Ephesus), Philemon (he was in Colossae), 1 Peter, 3 John, and Revelation. According to The Ryrie Study Bible John’s Gospel, 1 Corinthians, 1 & 2 John, and possibly Philippians, were written from Ephesus. Plus, there seem to be more as 2 Peter, and possibly Jude may have also been mainly directed to one or more of the churches in Asia Minor. In addition to these 17, we have to add 2 Corinthians as it was addressed to a Greek congregation, as were 1 & 2 Thessalonians. And then Titus was believed to have been somewhere in Greece and he then went to Crete--which is still part of Greece today.  

As far as Timothy goes, he was born in Asia Minor and was Asia Minor when Paul came:

1 Then he came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek. 2 He was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium. (Acts 16:1-2)

Asia Minor was a Greek area and Paul would have written to Timothy, who moved to Ephesus, in Greek.

Consider also the following that the Apostle Paul wrote:

3 Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. (Galatians 2:3)

4 To Titus, a true son in our common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior. (Titus 1:4)

Titus was Greek. Titus was living in a Greek-speaking area. Paul's letter to Titus was written in Greek!

Let me again mention that Luke address his gospel and the Book of Acts to a Greek named Theophilus.

The Book of James was written to “the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad” (James 1:1).  Some of them were in Asia Minor.  Others according to the historian Josephus were “beyond Euphrates.” It is also likely that some others, were written at least partially from Asia Minor. Acts, for example, specifically has a portion written to Christians in Ephesus.

So we see that 19 to 24 New Testament books were clearly written to or from Greek speaking areas.

This leaves Matthew, Mark, and Hebrews. And the reality is that the earliest documents we have of them, as well as the other books of the New Testament, were all in Greek.

What this clearly shows, is that although there were Christians in various areas, the focus for the New Testament writers were the churches in Asia Minor and other Greek-speaking regions.

And that also included Jews, wherever they were that spoke Greek.

The New Testament is clear that although there were Jews that believed, there were also often Greeks (e.g. Acts 14:1; 17:4,12; 18:4; 19:10; 1 Corinthians 1:24; 12:13).

Summary

The earliest known manuscript of the New Testament--Papyrus 52--is in the Greek language. I have looked at both sides of that document and it is written in Greek (and yes, I can read Greek).

While a version of Aramaic and Hebrew was known by many of the NT writers, the version that the Aramaic text uses dates from after the NT was written.

The Greek NT does not read like a translation. Parts, do however, read like writers whose native language was not Greek, wrote it.

References to the Hebrew language in the Book of Acts essentially to eliminate Hebrew as the original language for that book.

If just one book of the New Testament was originally written in Greek, then the sacred name movement is shown to be false. If God has allowed the name of Himself and His Son to be translated and transliterated in the Bible, then He most certainly did not expect a particular pronunciation of it for Christians.

The way the Aramaic NT translates portions of text which also include a reference Aramaic is another proof that the original NT was not written in Aramaic.

  1. Earliest New Testament manuscripts are in Greek. The Greek Rylands P52 is from 90-125 A.D., with A.D. 100 the apparent date it was written.
  2. An Aramaic New Testament was not around until later centuries--with Syriac dating to the fourth century.
  3. What seems to be the earliest Aramaic manuscript dates from 464 AD (Lasater, p. 199).
  4. Those in Jesus' time did not speak the form of Syriac which the Aramaic translations are predominantly based upon.
  5. Having to repeat certain statements twice in Aramaic, as opposed to Aramaic and the Greek translation, in places like Matthew 27.46 and Mark 15:34 seems to disprove the Aramaic hypothesis. It makes sense to have the Greek translation of Aramaic in a Greek text, but not the other way around.
  6. The author of Rausch Qadim points to his language being “sacred” on page 113. The Bible does not teach that.
  7. The fact of Jesus speaking in Aramaic and Greek not being the native language of most of the NT writers accounts for seemingly unusual translations into Greek—the so-called “bad idiom transfers.”
  8. Scholars of ancient Greek have consistently concluded that, the literary quality of the Greek of the NT books (including Matthew and Mark) point to Greek being the original and not a translation.
  9. The Jews stopped using YHWH centuries before Jesus and switched to using the term Adonai, meaning Lord.
  10. This is also consistent with the Septuagint version of the Old Testament which uses the term Kurios, Lord, in the Greek.
  11. Luke and Paul clearly knew Greek (Acts 21:37-39) and we have reasons to see that other New Testament writers did as well.
  12. The fact is the Greek was the language used in the Eastern Roman Empire. Most of the books of the New Testament were written to those who were Greek-speaking Gentiles. It would not be logical that Aramaic (or Hebrew) would have been used as the original language when Jesus' followers were intended to reach the world (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20).
  13. Nearly all (at least 19 - 24 books) of the books of the New Testament were written to people in predominantly Greek speaking areas.
  14. The vast bulk of post New Testament writings were written in Greek and they quoted the Greek New Testament.

Post New Testament writings deny the validity of the sacred name concept as nearly all are in Greek and sometimes exactly cite the Greek New Testament.

While there may have been notes of various types in Hebrew and/or Aramaic, the New Testament was originally written in Greek (though even if Paul wrote the letter to the Hebrews in Aramaic, he had it translated into Greek for posterity). Do not be one who " loves and practices a lie" (Revelation 22:15) as the sacred name people do.

As far as why this matters, my experience with those who hold to the non-Greek NT view tend to have the wrong focus and the wrong priorities as they end up persuading themself (and by others) that sacred names are more important than doing the work that God wants His church to do in the end time (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20). In Greek or Aramaic, Jesus simply did NOT teach His followers to pray using the name YHWH/YHVH.

To use a twist of an American expression, those who push the Aramaic (or Hebrew) as the original NT miss the forest, in order to think they see real trees.

The Apostle John wrote:

24 Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that He has promised us — eternal life.

26 These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. (1 John 2:24-27)

Part of the purpose of the ministry is to help the brethren not be tossed to and fro and confused by false doctrines (Ephesians 4:11-16).

Those who accept the biblical form of Church governance and have proper love of the truth, even if they are impacted by various arguments, will not be deceived by the sacred name movement.

The Apostle Paul wrote Titus:

8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

9 But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. 10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned. (Titus 3:8-11)

Notice the contrast.

There are the faithful that believe God and are involved in doing and supporting the good works that God wants. Then there are those who are divisive, who engage in foolish and useless disputes.

Sadly, some have concluded that the New Testament was not written in Greek, but instead in some other language in order to justify their contentions about ‘sacred names.’ Those seemingly insist that their unprofitable disputes are more important than supporting a work that is fulfilling Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20.

The lack of fruits of those insisting on their improper contentions should be clear to all. Yet, those who do such things do not properly see their lukewarm work (cf. Revelation 3:14-16), but they need their eyes properly anointed to see and change (cf. Revelation 3:18).

Remember that during this predominantly Laodicean time there are many excuses that are useless.

Believe what the Bible teaches, support God's work, and be careful to maintain good works.

Do not be deceived by those who do not wish to believe that the New Testament was written in Greek.

This does not mean that there are not issues with groups that accept that the NT was written in Greek. But, the Ephesus through Philadelphia eras of the Church of God have accepted that the NT was written in Greek (as also do most Laodicean groups). And if only a couple of New Testament books were written in Greek, this still disproves the need to use 'sacred names.'

Since the 20th century, it has only been Philadelphian portions of the true Christian Church of God have truly led in the fulfillment of Matthew 24:14 (see also The Final Phase of the Work). Other groups are either not Christian or not Philadelphian.

Laodicea means 'people decide' and it is people who have wrongly decided that the NT was not written in Greek. Though most Laodiceans accept the Greek origin of the NT, it seems that some who are Laodicean have a different view. They should change. Or to use Jesus the term recommended to all Laodiceasa, repent (Revelation 3:14-18).

Do not be deceived by those who insist that the New Testament was not written in Greek. They are not only wrong, they simply never have the Philadelphian era fruits.

Here is a link to a related sermon: What language was the New Testament written in?

Thiel B. Was the New Testament Written in Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic? http://www.cogwriter.com/greek-aramaic-hebrew-new-testament.htm 2017/2018/2019 0608