De Moor IV:3: Greek Names for God: Κύριος/Lord

2. Κύριος/Lord is from the word κῦρος/authority; and it denotes the supreme authority of God, over all things and over the Church. For, this derivation is preferable to that which is derived from κύρω, κυρέω or κυρῶ, which not only is to happen, to occur, but is also the same as εἰμὶ or τυγχάνω, to be, whence with respect to God Κύριος would be ὁ ὢν, the One which is, and would answer in signification to the Name יְהוָה/Jehovah, in the place of which Κύριος/Lord is used in the Septuagint Version and in the New Testament. α. For the word Κύριος/Lord is not a proper name for God, or used only in Sacred things; but it is also used everywhere in human matters and among other Greek Writers, of those that exert authority, from κύρους, supreme authority. β. The Greek word κύρω, in the sense of εἶναι, to be, is much rarer and Poetic, and hardly deserves any consideration, when the use and sense of the name Κύριος/Lord in the Septuagint and in the New Testament is treated, since εἶναι, to be, is never expressed by κύρω among the Hellenists or in the New Testament. γ. The Septuagint also almost always put Κύριος/Lord in the place of אָדוֹן/Adon/Lord, and also in the place of יְהוָה/Jehovah. And so there is to be a resting in the common derivation of the word Κύριος/Lord from κῦρος/authority; and it is to be asserted that the Writers of the New Testament, equally with the Septuagint Translators, making use of that in the place of the Hebrew יְהוָה/Jehovah, the proper sound of which name is not able to be conveyed in an agreeable manner in Greek letters, by a different, exceedingly common Greek name, wished more aptly and manifestly to designate the true God, who was signified among the Hebrews by the Name יְהוָה/Jehovah; either they wished ineptly and ridiculously to set forth that very word, or in the place of it they wished to make use of some Greek interpretation, and that unusual, yet not fully expressing the force of the Hebrew appellation, for example, calling God, τὸν ὄντα, the Being, or in a similar manner: consult our AUTHOR’S Exercitationes Textuales X, Part V, § 20.


Other Names are more rarely attributed to God in the New Testament: Δεσπότης/Despot/Lord, Luke 2:29; Acts 4:24; Jude 4; etc., to denote His highest and ἀνυπεύθυνον/sovereign Dominion; and Δυνάστης/Potentate, to signify His most powerful Authority, 1 Timothy 6:15.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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