Origins of “God”

The use of the word “God” to describe the Mighty One of Israel is not used in the oldest copies of the Bible that we have.  The oldest bible that does use a word similar to “God” to describe YHWH comes from the 6th century.

Bishop Ulfilas, a Catholic leader, was trying to convert a group of indigenous “wild” people called the “Goths” to Catholicism. These people existed on the outskirts of the Roman Empire, in what is now Bulgaria, Romania and the Ukraine.  They had no written language, so Ulfilas created an alphabet for them and translated many scriptures into the Gothic language.

A common term that the Goths had to describe deities was “guth,” a word meaning “the one called upon,” or “the invoked one.”  Instead of translating the word “El (Hebrew)” and “Theos (Greek)” into Gothic words that meant “the Mighty One” or “the Strong One,” Ulfilas chose to use the word “guth.”  The problem?  They don’t mean the same thing!

So over time, “guth” turns into the German “gott” which turns into the Anglish (English) “God.”  The word that English speakers use to describe YHWH, “God”, means “the one called upon.”

YHWH told us how he wants to be described!  He is not God – “the one called upon!”   He is El/Elohim – “the Mighty One!”

Next Article:  Even older origins