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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: Why Was Jesus Called Lord?

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Don Stewart

The gospels record people addressing Jesus as, "Lord." This is a translation of the Greek word, kurios. What does it mean when they used this title?

Yahweh Or Jehovah Is Translated As Lord In New Testament

Whenever God's name, "Jehovah" or "Yahweh," is given in the New Testament, it is rendered by the Greek word kurios. Sometimes this refers to the name of God.

That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,'[kurios] and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved (Romans 10:9,10).

In this instance, Paul calls Jesus "Lord" or "Yahweh." This is a reference to His Deity.

Does Not Always Mean Deity

While the Greek word kurios is used to translate the divine name of God, Jehovah or Yahweh, this is not always the case. The word can also mean a polite title like, "Sir."

For example, when a woman in Samaria addressed Jesus she used the same word kurios. However in this context it is translated, "Sir."

"Sir [kurios]," the woman said, "You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? (John 4:11).

They Are Not Necessarily Recognizing His Deity

The fact that Jesus is addressed as Lord does not necessarily mean that people acknowledged his Deity. The Greek word for Lord, kurios, can be used for God's name - Jehovah or Yahweh. However kurios can also be merely a polite way of addressing someone. For example, there are people apart from Jesus who are addressed as kurios in the New Testament.


In a number of places in the New Testament Jesus is called "Lord." The word translated Lord is from the Greek word kurios. At times it is merely a polite form of address. However at other times it is a translation of the divine name for God - Yahweh or Jehovah. The context must determine which is so.

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