Is Jesus' name really Yeshua?

A lot of people, including some Messianic Jews (Jews who believe Jesus is the Messiah), will call Jesus by a different name: Yeshua (Hebrew יֵשׁוּעַ).  They say that Yeshua is the Jewish name that Jesus would have been called by those who knew him.  Some messianics and other groups say that Yeshua is Jesus' real name and that the name "Jesus" is wrong.  Others say it is okay to use either one.  But then again, there are those who say that the word "Jesus" is pagan in origin and should not be used at all.  And if that weren't enough, some say that "Jesus" is derived from "Zeus" and really means "hail Zeus."  With all these possibilities is there a real answer to what was the Messiah's real name?  Yes, there is.  It is found in the New Testament.

The New Testament was written in Greek.  If there were any original documents of the New Testament written in Hebrew, we don't have them.  At best, some theorize that there might have been a gospel or two written in Hebrew.  If that is the case, there is no way to know.  The fact is we don't have any Hebrew manuscripts.  We only have Greek ones from that period of time.

Since what we do have is the Greek Manuscripts, it is from them that we need to find out what the Apostles wrote about Jesus.  In other words, we need to make a case out of what we do have--not what we don't have.

Doing a computer search in the Greek New Testament, the word "Jesus" occurs over 900 times.  Following is a chart that lays this out.

What does the Greek actually say?

The Greek word for Jesus is Iησοῦς.  It is pronounced as "eeaysoos."  When "eeaysoos" was transliterated into the English long ago, it became Jesus--the term we use in English today.

Some say that if we don't pronounce Jesus' name properly (either as Yeshua and or Eeaysoos), then we are in sin and serving a false god; but that accusation cannot be made from scripture.  It is not the pronunciation of a word that makes us Christian or not.  It is receiving the Messiah, God in flesh, by faith that makes us a Christian.  Likewise, must we say "theos" when saying "God" since that is how the word is pronounced in Greek?  Or what about when we call Jesus the "Savior" as in Phil. 3:20, must we pronounce the word as it is in Greek (sotare), or is it okay to use the English word "savior?"

The entire New Testament was written in Greek, and the word Jesus is the word that is used.  It is not the Hebrew  יֵשׁוּעַ which is Yeshua.  So, it is simple.  Jesus is properly called Jesus.

  • "And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins." (Matt. 1:21).
  • "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." (Mark 1:1).
  • "let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead--by this name this man stands here before you in good health. 11 “He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the very corner stone. 12 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:10-12).
  • Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, acalled as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, (Rom. 1:1).
  • "But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone." (Heb. 2:9).
  • "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must shortly take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John," (Rev. 1:1).

As you can see, the New Testament uses "Jesus" as the name and not a Hebrew name.  For people to say that Jesus' real name is Yashua or Yahusha or Yahushua, etc., is just a statement of pushing an agenda and not believing the New Testament text.


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About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.