Must we pronounce the Savior's name properly to be saved?

by Matt Slick

There is a movement among some groups that say that we must pronounce the name of Jesus in a proper manner or we are sinning.  There are variations in the positions.  Some say Jesus' name must be pronounced properly according to the Greek, while others say it must be pronounced as Yeshua (see article Is Jesus' name really Yeshua?).  Whatever their charge, it doesn't hold any water.

It is not the pronunciation of a word that makes us Christian or not.  It is receiving Jesus, who is God in flesh, by faith that makes us a Christian.  It isn't that the name must be pronounced in a specific way as if that particular pronunciation has some power in it.  Rather, we are saved by faith in Christ's work on the cross, and that cannot be undone by a failure to pronounce Jesus' name properly.

Think about it.  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 word for Christ is pronounced in Greek as 'cristos."  Must we pronounce that properly too in order to be sure we are not accidentally serving a false messiah?  Of course not. 

The truth is no one really knows the exact pronunciation of Jesus according to the Greek.  Greek teachers can only teach their students the pronunciations they have been taught from their teachers.  After hundreds of generations can anyone be absolutely sure of how ancient Greek was pronounced?  I remember back in seminary when a professor talked about this very thing.  He said that no one was absolutely sure how Greek is pronounced.  He said they had a pretty good idea, but no one knew absolutely 100%.  So, if those who say that we must pronounce Christ's name properly are to put their faith in such an idea, then they, by their own admission, should know that they may be mispronouncing the Messiah's true name.

"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).


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