O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. ~Psalm 8:1
Studying the different names of Jesus has been incredible, and something I look forward to in my sitting time with Him. There is no book or study I am using and if we were sitting together at coffee, I would encourage you to do the same. I made a list of names for Jesus and the basic scripture references to begin with each day, and every few days I will explore a new name. God is very faithful in teaching us all when we sit with Him and His Word! If you have never just explored a theme or a truth in Scripture independent of an already written Bible study, can I be the one to encourage you to do it? The Holy Spirit, who lives in you as a believer, is our teacher and our helper. He guides us into truth and will help as you walk in the Word. And if the idea of comprising your own list makes you worried or feel inadequate, I will be happy to share a basic list, just email me. (But it is very basic – just names and a passage of scripture, God will lead and teach you the rest!)
So Adonai – Lord God, Mighty King. Adonai in scripture in the Old Testament is written Lord with lower case letters. Have you ever noticed that in Scripture there are sometimes two ways to print Lord? They will write it LORD or Lord. Sometimes you will also see Lord GOD. These different printings signify two different names of God. So in Psalm 8 above, the first LORD is different than the second Lord. I have been studying the second Lord – Adonai.
Adon in Hebrew means master or lord and could refer to a man as lord, or one who rules over another. Adonai is the plural form of Adon. It only refers to God and points to the Trinity in the Old Testament; The ai suffix speaks to His supremacy as Lord, Lord of all. RC Sproul states that this suffix stresses the sovereignty of God as All Ruler. So Adonai means God’s right to rule because of His great might and sovereignty. In worshipping Adonai, I am absolutely recognizing His Master or Ruler position and therefore my position in submission, following His commands and plans.
Often in the Old Testament Adonai is seen with LORD written in all capitals, which is the written English translation for the name for God YHWH. YHWH was God’s chosen name that we first see in the Old Testament when He tells Moses in Exodus 3, “I AM WHO I AM.” So in Psalm 8:1 we see O YHWH, our Adonai or O I AM, our Master, King, Ruler. The positioning of these words is purposeful- God’s chosen name followed by the acknowledgement that He is Lord over all and therefore we are not. We are part of what He rules, his servants. It is a juxtaposition of God’s faithfulness and self existence as YHWH and His absolute sovereignty as Adonai. The Jews would not speak the name YHWH out loud, instead simply reading the passage as Adonai or Jehovah Adonai.
In the New Testament this same meaning is found in the word Kurios in the Greek language. Paul consistently calls Jesus Lord, tying the OT concept of God’s sovereignty and rule to Jesus Christ. Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1) Salvation calls for me to give up all self sufficiency and independence/control and instead to allow Christ to be what He truly is – Lord of my life. Absolute ownership, authority and power have been given to Him; we see that in both Ephesians 1 and Colossians 1. To call Jesus Lord demands the knee of my life bows to His authority and ownership, submitting my will to His plan. The daily working out of His grace in salvation differs from the moment of salvation. Salvation from the condemnation of sin, the guilt and judgment came the moment I believed Jesus Christ was my Savior, my only answer for the sin present in my life (Rom. 10:9). Now salvation is at work in my life. The Holy Spirit is continually working in me as I yield myself to Him, delivering me from the power of sin daily and shaping my heart and will more and more into His image (Phil. 2:12-13). And one day I will rejoice for eternity as I am fully saved, made complete, when I stand before Him and have the awesome privilege of worshiping Him forever. This is the grace of the gospel. Jesus Christ is Lord.