God bless you mightily in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Welcome to this online biblical study of the New Testament uses of the English word lord, its Greek counterpart kurios, and the Aramaic facsimile, marya’.
Predominantly, the King James Version of the Old Testament translates three different Hebrew words as lord; however, it does so with a careful use of upper case letters to let the reader know which word is in the original texts. When the King James Version translates the Hebrew word for Jehovah as lord, it uses LORD in all capitals. When the King James Version translates the a special Hebrew word for supreme lord, adownai, as lord, it uses Lord with only the “L” in the upper case. Lastly, when the King James Versions translation of the general Hebrew word for lord, adown, as lord, it does so without any use a capital letter at all.
In the New Testament Greek there is, basically, only one Greek word translated lord. This is the Greek word kurios. The King James Version translated this as either Lord, lord, or sir. (There are only four verses where the KJV translated kurios as LORD: Matthew 22:44, Mark 12:36, Luke 20:42, Acts 2:34).
This information begs certain further questions:
- If there is only one word in the Greek texts for Lord, how does the student of God’s Word know when kurios stands for God’s Old Testament title as the God of Covenant and when kurios is that part of the Messiah’s title that attributes to him his dominion as Lord of Lords and King of Kings?
- Since God is not the author of confusion (I Corinthians 14:33), how did it come to pass that there are fewer words in the language of the New Testament Greek for Lord than there were in Hebrew?
The first of these questions is answered by the careful verse by verse examination found on this website. However, in a number of places, despite every effort, two possible translations remain.
The horizontal links will take you to a verse-by-verse investigation of lord, kurios, Jehovah, and marya'. The vertical links (on the left side of the page) will take you to the documentation of each of the Old and New Testament phrases discussed in the verse by verse study. These links also lead to articles discussing the Hebrew words for lord, adwon and adownai and the Aramaic New Testament word marya'.
The answer to the second question is, currently, lost in the mists of time. Some recent breakthroughs are noteworthy, and there are some extraordinarily important archeological avenues the church ought to earnestly pursue. For more information on these things, please see: "For Further Study."
The painstaking care with which the translators of the King James Version rendered these ancient Hebrew and Greek words is only one indication of the importance of this topic. Over the last two millennia, there have been others who have undertaken this study of LORD and the Lord. However, because of the size and scope of research involved, doing much more than simply publishing the research conclusions must have been all but impossible. The plan of this site is to present the background of each conclusion drawn concerning the meaning of the Greek word kurios.
Since the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed, and since the Old Testament contains the foreshadowing and types concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, a great deal of detail about the Old Testament uses of lord (adown or adownai in Hebrew) and LORD (Jehovah in Hebrew) is documented herein. The unique uses and phrases found in the Old Testament, in turn, shed light on the New Testament uses. For more information on this subject please see “Why this Site.”
This site is interactive in that it recognizes the ideas of others who also want to study this field. Be sure to submit your own comments and biblical research ideas on this topic at the “Feedback” page. For additional information about biblical research materials from this author follow the “About the Author” link.