Jesus? Yeshua? Yahushua? Which is the ‘real’ pronunciation?

From my ministry in Central America, I understand how names change from language to language: the English form of my name “Gary Shogren” is difficult for the Spanish-speaker – the “a” and the “e” don’t have exact counterparts in Spanish; nor does “sh”. I say my name one way if I’m speaking English and another way if Spanish. Not even my mother would recognize my name in the Spanish version! Nevertheless, when my students call me “GAH-ree CHOH-grain” with a foreign accent, I take no offense: I’m still me, the same identity and the same name, with a pronunciation adapted to the relevant language.

A second illustration is from Judges 12:5-6: the judge Jephthah and the men of Gilead defeated the tribe of Ephraim and slaughtered the survivors. In order to distinguish who was who,

the Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan against the Ephraimites. And when any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, “Let me go over,” the men of Gilead said to him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” When he said, “No,” they said to him, “Then say Shibboleth” [שׁבלת; note – Shibboleth probably means “running water”], and he said, “Sibboleth” [סבלת], for he could not pronounce it right. Then they seized him and slaughtered him at the fords of the Jordan.

So, everyone said the same word, but some pronounced it with the letter שׁ (the Hebrew letter shin) and others ס (samech). Say ‘samech’ and you will die!

And the lethal result?

At that time 42,000 of the Ephraimites fell.

There is a dangerous idea today that won’t result merely in the death of thousands of Ephraimites; no, the consequences are infinitely more grave. They teach that if you do not pronounce the name of the Lord with an “sh” sound but with the “s” sound, you insult the blessed name of our savior. They say: Yeshua or Yahushua or Yahshua are acceptable, but Jesus (or Jesús in Spanish) – this is evil or even the sign of your apostasy. These wolves try to rob millions and millions of believers of their confidence in the gospel, simply because they don’t make an “sh” sound in the name of Jesus. This movement exists around the world; it is particularly plagues Spanish-speaking America. And it is based on faulty data, by people who have little ability or desire to do their own research in the original languages: Preacher A quotes Teacher B, he in turn quotes “Messianic Rabbi” C, and the rabbi quotes some pamphlet he once read. One theory has it that the name Jesus was invented by the Roman Catholic church in a plan to make Jesus less Jewish and more Catholic. Another is that Iēsous really means “Hail, Zeus!” the name of the pagan king of the gods. As with the DaVinci Code, such hypotheses excel in cleverness, but fail to provide any shred of proof.

To give but one example, when Paul/Saul wrote to the Romans, he spoke of “Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 1:4), using the Greek form of the name, that is, “Iēsous” (pronounced yay-SOOS). For a Greek-speaking person, that is “the word of faith that we proclaim; because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 10:8b-9). That’s how the name of Jesus appears in 100% of ancient manuscripts in every single verse. He is never referred to as Yeshua or Yahshua in the books of the New Testament; if those versions of his name appear in a modern “messianic” version, it’s a paraphrase, or, as some say, a “correction” of the original Scriptures.

It’s likely that during his days on earth, people called him Yeshua. But once the gospel started going forth, the apostles used the Greek form when that was appropriate – Iēsous and Yeshua are, after all, the same name, with the same meaning of “he shall save.” And so, when Peter spoke on the Day of Pentecost, he spoke in the current dialect of Greek, koiné, and, according to the firm testimony of Acts 2:22, he spoke about “Jesus (Iēsous) of Nazareth.”


Ah, and speaking of Peter: in Aramaic, his name was Kepha. If you saw “The Passion of the Christ”, that’s what Jesus called him in the garden. But out in the Greek world and you would add a final “s” to his name in order to make it recognizable – hence it was Kephas (in 1 Cor 1:12, 3:22, 9:5, 15:5, Gal 1:18, 2:9, 11, 14) and also in John 1:12. So, in Aramaic there was no final “s”, but in Greek yes. Now – did Peter respond to his name in either form? Or did he turn around and berate people for distorting his real name? Of course he accepted it, as did the many thousands of Jews who operated in both languages. And Sha’ul in Hebrew sounded like Saulos in Greek, but Saul/Paul would have responded to either form.

Jaquob, the half-brother of our Lord, used the Greek form Iēsous in his epistle.

Matthew 1:16 - the Lord has a very Jewish name, "Iēsous the Christos"
Matthew 1:16 – the Lord has a very Jewish name, “Iēsous the Christos”

The Greek form Iēsous was a very popular name in the first century, but only among the Jews; the pagans never used it, since for them it was a Jewish name! I have personally used the TLG databank and run an exhaustive search in all ancient Greek literature, from the very earliest to the year AD 400. The first appearance of the name is from the 3rd century BC, in the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint), to translate the Hebrew name for Joshua (see Exod 17:9) and a few other people with that name. Later on it’s found in the books by contemporaries of the apostles: Philo (always referring to the same Joshua son of Nun) and Josephus (speaking of Joshua, also of other people from more recent Jewish history). There is a Jewish Christian man in Col 4:11 whose had a Jewish and a Latin name: Jesus Justus. Of the 12,000 plus references to the name Iēsous throughout 12 centuries, there is not one single reference to a Greek, Roman or other pagan person with the name Iēsous!

Yes, many Messianic Jews and some gentile Christians call the Lord, Yeshua; that’s great, so long as they don’t claim that only their pronunciation is legitimate or even that its use brings them closer to God. Others preach about Jesús (hay-SOOS) to Spanish-speakers, and Jesus to English audiences. In Italy, it’s Gesú. In Turkey, İsa. The Chinese confess their faith in ye su. And do you know what? The Lord is not confused; he is powerful and wise enough to recognize his name and hear his people, despite the thousands of accents and alphabets around the world.

As a side note, I notice that in the gospels, the crowds acclaim Jesus with ωσαννά (hoh-sah-NAH), the Greek form of the Aramaic הושׁע נא or possibly the Hebrew הושׁיעה נא (both meaning something like, “Save, please!” and pronounced like hoh-shah-NAH). So, the middle syllable is SAH in the Greek and SHAH in Aramaic or Hebrew. But does that really change the meaning? Is the Aramaic form worship, and the Greek form an insult? Nonsense! The meaning is the same either way.

Is anyone accused of apostasy or spiritual inferiority because they say “s” instead of “sh” when they call upon the name of their Lord? Let them stand tall and denounce this vile accusation!

“Jesus? Yeshua? Yahushua? Which is the ‘real’ pronunciation?” By Gary Shogren, PhD in New Testament Exegesis, professor Seminario ESEPA, San José, Costa Rica

21 thoughts on “Jesus? Yeshua? Yahushua? Which is the ‘real’ pronunciation?

  1. Shaul said: “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (Galatians 5:9). What did he mean? He also said: “Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” 1 Corinthians 5:8

    So, let’s look at Christianity on the whole. Most of Christianity does not believe in keeping the Law of YaHuWaH. The following are some examples: We are commanded in the Torah to remember the Sabbath Day (which is the 7th day of the week, commonly called saturday). Christianity, keeps the 1st day of the week (commonly called sunday).

    We are commanded to keep the Feast Days found in Leviticus 23. Christianity instead keeps pagan feast days such as christmas and easter.

    We are commanded to keep the dietary food laws as found in Leviticus chapter 11.

    The preceding is just a small sample.

    Now, there are Christian denominations that keep some of the Law, but none of them believe in keeping all of the law (that includes using the correct name of the Heavenly Father and his son). If you use the incorrect name, that is allowing little leaven, as sin, to leaven the whole lump.

    Yahushua the Messiah said: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:17-20 (NIV)

    1. Dear Richard, thanks for the comment.

      I find it interesting, however, that you do not believe people are not right with God unless they use the name YaHuWaH. Where do you find this name or this commandment, exactly, in the Hebrew? There is zero evidence that that is the pronunciation of the divine name in Hebrew, the form was created only a few centuries ago; and zero evidence that the name of the Lord is Yahushua – Yahushua is a made-up modern form, which can be found in not one ancient manuscript. Can you show me the biblical text that says we are in wickedness if we do not use the form Yahushua or YaHuWaH. The idea that Christmas, for example, was a pagan feast day is a secular myth to discredit the Bible, there is no evidence that it started that way.

      You aren’t kidding that there are many many laws, 613 according to RamBam (I just reading his Sefer Hamitzvot). Everyone talks about food laws or holy days, nevertheless: are you saved on the basis of not mixing two fabrics together? Do you sacrifice a lamb on Pessach? Do you wear the tzitzit (“knotted fringes”)? Maybe you do, but if no, then I suspect that your observance too has been compromised! Thanks, Gary

      1. Gary, I am not saying saying that the pronunciation of the tetragramaton is definately YaHuWaH. The tetragramaton is the four Hebrew letters that make the Set Apart Name YHWH (יהוה). For a study on the pronunciation of the tetragramaton go to:
        Do We Really Know the Pronunciation? It is located at:

        Concerning the pronunciation of the Messiah, I believe that it is the same as Joshua the son of Nun. It is spelled in Herbrew (יהושע). It literally means, “YHWH is salvation”.

        Concerning Christmas as being celebration, I will first quote from the scriptures: “Hear ye the word which YHWH speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: Thus saith YHWH, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.”
        Jeremiah 10:1-5

        And from the book entitled, “Come out of her my people” by Chris Koster: The fact of the pagan origin of the festival of Christmas on the 25th December, namely, as birthday of the Sun deity, is admitted by all scholars. The Messiah could not have been born in mid-winter,
        25th December, as the shepherds were out in the fields, watching over their flock by night — Luke
        2:8. In Israel no one would permit their flock out on a winter night. The date of our Messiah’s birth
        has been calculated to be in fall. In any case, we are not commanded to remember the day of His
        birth, rather, to remember the day of His death.

        1. Hi Richard, and thank you.

          The book by Chris Koster repeats two myths that have circulated for years by people who have not done their own research. And frankly, anyone who subtitles his book “This may be the most important thing you will ever read” is giving me red flags already! But let’s look at the data.

          He states: “The fact of the pagan origin of the festival of Christmas on the 25th December, namely, as birthday of the Sun deity, is admitted by all scholars.” Well – I am a scholar (this is not a boast but simply what I do – and the material on my blog reflects my own research, when relevant, from the original languages) and I do not admit that the 25th of December is the birthday of the Sun deity, and I don’t know another NT scholar who does. These sort of myths, supposedly “admitted by all scholars” along with the idea that Constantine invented Christmas or Sunday worship, are passed along by the National Geographic channel but are pop history, not serious information. The date of Dec 25 was calculated by church fathers in the 2nd century, with nothing to do with pagan festivals; they calculated it on the basis of their belief that the world was created on March 25, and therefore that Jesus was conceived on that date and, unlikely enough, born precisely 9 months later. And so Koster is mistaken. It is also an error that Jews do not put sheep in the field in December. In Bethlehem in December you will need to take a light jacket; this is not northern Europe. I know of no evidence that forbids or even discourages grazing in December.

          I have done my own independent research on this, reading the historical texts and other resources. I may be wrong in my conclusions, of course, but it won’t be for lack of investigation. And while I certainly cannot affirm that Jesus was born on Dec 25, I can tell you that the arguments against this date simply do not hold up. or

          The Jews as well created holidays that have no basis in the Torah – Rosh Hashanah, Hannukah, Purim – and in my opinion they are perfectly free to do so.

          If you read through my article, you will see that I have looked up all 300 of the references to Iesous prior to the New Testament. The Jews themselves invented this form, and it was the equivalent of Yeshua, not Yahoshuah. This is what Matthew confirms in Matt 1:21, that Jesus’ name means “he shall save” not “Yahveh shall save.”

          I concede that we are not commanded to remember Jesus’ birth, although I see no NT commandment to celebrate the date of his death either. My point is that we have liberty to do so.

          You didn’t answer my question about how to obey the Torah. To repeat: do you observe or urge others to observe (I use Maimonides enumeration):

          Negative Mitvot –
          #49 Kill all the descendants of the Canaanites? After all, the geneticists just discovered that their descendants are living in Lebanon
          #42 Not mixing two fabrics together?
          Positive Mitzvot –
          #42 The New Moon feast?
          #55 Do you sacrifice a lamb on Pessach?
          #14 Do you wear the tzitzit (“knotted fringes”)?
          #80 Redeem the first-born child and animal?
          #96 Not touch dead animal carcasses?
          #135 Cease from work every seventh year?
          #141 Forgive everything owed you every sabbatical year?
          #223 Make suspected adulteresses pass through the test of toxic water?
          #216 Marry the widow of your deceased brother?
          And yes:
          #215 Circumcizing sons?

          Blessings! Gary

          1. Gary, concerning the celebration of Christmas, obviously spoken of in Jeremiah 10:1-5, I am convinced and convicted that Christmas is a heathen celebration. You stated, “It is also an error that Jews do not put sheep in the field in December. In Bethlehem in December you will need to take a light jacket; this is not northern Europe. I know of no evidence that forbids or even discourages grazing in December.”
            It isn’t the fact that the sheep were grazing in the winter, it is the fact that the shepherds were abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 
            An example of the heathen/pagan practice is discussed in the study, “Why Santa Claus is so evil”. It is located at:

            You also said, “I concede that we are not commanded to remember Jesus’ birth, although I see no NT commandment to celebrate the date of his death either. My point is that we have liberty to do so.”
            Paul said, “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even the Messiah our passover is sacrificed for us.
            1 Corinthians 5:7

            So, Yahushua is our Passover. We are commanded to observe the Passover yearly. The Passover Lamb was killed and its blood was applied to the Israelite doorposts and lentils, so that when the death angel saw the blood, he would passover and not kill their first born. Yahushua’s blood is now the blood of the lamb.

            Before I answer your question about whether I observe and urge others to observe the Torah (law) of YHWH, let me ask you, do you believe that Jesus came to destroy any part of the law or the prophets?

            There are certain commands that we are still able to observe and there others that cannot, at this time, be observed. One reason some cannot be kept is that there is no Temple of Levitical priesthood at this time. So to answer your specific question…

            Negative Mitvot –
            #49 Kill all the descendants of the Canaanites? After all, the geneticists just discovered that their descendants are living in Lebanon?
            In the first place, I do not live in the promise land (at this time), so that command does not apply to me

            #42 Not mixing two fabrics together?
            Deuteronomy 22:11 Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together.

            I do not wear garments of woolen and linen
            Positive Mitzvot –

            #42 The New Moon feast?
            I observe the new moon, especially the 7th new moon, which is the Feast of Trumpets

            #55 Do you sacrifice a lamb on Pessach?
            Deuteronomy 16:5-6 Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which YHWH thy Elohim giveth thee: 6 But at the place which YHWH thy Elohim shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.

            The Temple was the last place where YHWH has chosen to place his name

            #14 Do you wear the tzitzit (“knotted fringes”)?
            Yes I do

            #80 Redeem the first-born child and animal?
            No Temple. And even if there were, I would not be permited to enter because I am considered a gentile (even though I believe that I am of the 10 lost tribes of Israel.

            #96 Not touch dead animal carcasses?
            That is referring to the carcass of an unclean animal. I do observe this command.

            #135 Cease from work every seventh year?
            The command is directed toward farmers not to sow or harvest

            #141 Forgive everything owed you every sabbatical year?
            I’m not owed anything, but when is the sabbatical year? To my knowledge, it is currently unknown.

            #223 Make suspected adulteresses pass through the test of toxic water?
            I am not a Levitical Priest

            #216 Marry the widow of your deceased brother?
            I believe that the Levirate marriage law still exists

            And yes:
            #215 Circumcizing sons?
            Yes, I believe that we are still commanded to circumcize our sons (in the flesh) on the 8th day
            Ezekiel 44:9
            Thus saith the Sovereign YHWH, “No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel.”

            Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12: And for this cause YHWH shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

            Many scriptural studies can be found at:

          2. Hi Richard, Jeremiah was talking about a ritual of the 7th century, not Christmas! So the word “obviously” seems exaggerated to me.

            You are more Torah observant than I thought, thanks for the information.

            Your quoting of 1 Cor 5:7 begs the question as to whether celebrating the birth of Christ is “leaven”. If it is leaven, surely, we root it out. But the question is whether it is leaven.

            How do you know that you are an Israelite, I wonder? If you mean that you have some Israelite blood in you – and the way that genes get diffused over the generations, I probably have Israelite blood too, and probably close to 100% of the world population. But the Lost Tribes doctrine usually hasn’t counted on any evidence.

            As for the law of Moses, I think I will follow the directions given me by all the apostles whom Christ chose, who tell us “we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God [with circumcision, with Torah observance], but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood.” I know of no website that trumps their authority on the matter. Thanks! Gary

  2. If he had so many name as many as the languages is, then which of it is the name above every name? And whic of it could save us? Acts 4.12.

    1. Hello, I thank you for sharing.

      I think I have demonstrated this point in the article, nevertheless, to summarize: it helps us to think about Jewish background when it comes to this matter. When the Hebrew said, “in the name of…” That signified “in the person of… or “in the power of…”

      But that has nothing to do the pronunciation of the word as such, since the pronunciation changes between languages. For example, if the ambassador of the United States were to say, “thus and such in the name of George Bush” or let’s say Georges Bush in French or even Jorge Bush in Spanish, that would change nothing with regard to the authority of what he says.

      In Acts 4:12, I would imagine that the apostles were speaking in Aramaic, using the Aramaic or Hebrew form of the name, Yeshua – but in no manuscripts is the Aramaic form used. Nevertheless, it is 100% consistent throughout the New Testament the name of the Lord is appropriately represented by Iesous in the Greek. That is the form that Peter used on the day of Pentecost, and the form that the apostle Paul used, for example in Romans 10:9 – “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is the Lord and if you believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” The Greek speaker would use the form of the name Iesous, we ourselves would use a form that is slightly different.

      Nobody who spoke Creek ran the risk of hell, by not pronouncing the letter “shin” or ש, instead of saying it with a letter sigma, σ, which is by tradition in the Greek, Iesous.

      I hope that this is of some help, Gary

  3. We must also take into account when the Most High changed all languages at Babel He knew names referring to Him would be different. Like Gary said, The Almighty knows to whom you are referring to.

  4. It is good to dive deep into this matter and the following website provides information. To investigate both arguments and then being guided by the word making a personal choice. Because no word of man has the ultimate authority.

    1. Dear Doeschka, thanks for writing in. I had to remove the link to the eliyah site, since according to the rules we follow on this blog, we don’t post third-party links.

      In fact, I had already carefully studied your page and found it unconvincing. Yahushua is a pronunciation that is unknown in the original Hebrew, in either Testament or in the Rabbis, and you read the long holem in Yehoshua as if it were a shureq. This is a basic misunderstanding, since we know from the rabbis that it was pronounced with a long “o” sound.

      Besides which, you insist that the first-century believers thought it was imperative to pronounce the name of the Lord as Yahushua, but you offer not one Bible text to demonstrate it. Every text you mention uses the Greek form Ιησους/Iesous, which is the form the apostles freely used from the Day of Pentecost – where the common tongue of the hearers was koine Greek – onward. For example, you quote:

      Acts 9:29 And he spoke boldly in the name of the Master Yahushua

      But in the original the name is Iesous. I am certain you have no other manuscript that has Yahushua.

      Your quote of Celsus has to be taken in context: Celsus would not have known the name Iesous as a Greek word, because it was unknown among the Greeks. Iesous was a distinctively Jewish form of a Hebrew name, and would have sounded foreign to Celsus, despite being written out with Greek letters. Like, let’s take as an example, the name of the singer “Shakira,” which means nothing in English or in Spanish but means “Grateful” in Arabic. Iesous sounded just as foreign to a Greek- or Latin-speaker.

      I would not suggest that this issue is a “personal choice.” Among other things, it rests on the research of people who have dedicated their lives to the study of the ancient tongues, to better understand God’s Word.

      I invite you to study the Hebrew tongue as such. My seminary offers it online, but in Spanish, but there are plenty of other places where you can study it indepth.

      Thanks for writing in! Gary

    1. Hi and thanks for sharing. However, if you want to make a case for Yahushua, you will need to present more evidence for this and not simply assert it.

      He is named “He shall save” according to Matt 1:21, which in the Hebrew or Aramaic is Yeshua (transliterated to Iesous in Greek), not Yahushua (“Yahweh will save”).

      Your comment about the last known alphabet is news to me; can you develop this idea?

  5. Thanks for this post. I have been searching to find the right name after hearing that Jesus is of pagan origin. When I examinedcthe Hebrew name, there is confusion there as well between Yeshua, Yahshua & other variations as well.

    Needless to say, this post has been the most logical of all that I have read.

  6. “Yahushua” is the “light” that shines…

    Thats the vision i had on Oct 27,2012

  7. Me agrada mucho lo que el Pastor Gary Shogren ha escrito. De hecho
    tengo el libro de que es autor D.A. Hayyim y de veras que no es muy
    agradable, y me atrevo a decir que no es legítimo ni inspirado. Es algo que es producto de su propia mente.En la página 22 de su Código Real tiene muchas “perlas”, veamos ésta: “Por otro lado, y más cerca-
    no a nuestros días, la exportación de prototipos misioneros con ojos azules y piel blanca con imposiciones culturales y teológicas norte a –
    mericanas como europeas, ha creado, especialmente en Iberoamérica
    (América Latina) una imagen del Mashiaj más semejante a los nortea-
    mericanos y europeos de clase media alta, que a un artesano judío
    del primer siglo que reclamó ser el Mashiaj, acentuando el distancian-
    ciamiento cultural de los creyentes de sus raíces bíblicas y hebraicas.”
    Hasta aquí la nota. Saquén conclusiones. por favor.

  8. Gary,

    An excellent piece!
    Even in this tiny land of ours,it is hard to understand some in the next county. A different pronunciation almost does sound like another language!
    The damage done by these ‘Sacred Name’ people or ‘Hebrew Roots’ movement is beyond our calculation. It is tantamount somewhat to salvation by works or ‘the law’? It puts people under unnecessary bondage and guilt. It is such a dangerous road for many to follow. Some even get into circumcision, Jewish dietary laws etc.
    Some have even been ‘re-baptised’ because they were baptised under Jesus instead of Yahashua or Yeshua etc. These people can’t agree among themselves how His name was pronounced.
    They ought to spend time studying Acts 2. 8-11!

  9. Amen. Thanks for doing the research to demonstrate the truth!

    When I try to say someone’s name with a foreign accent it makes them feel far away and disconnected from me.
    You’d think there were enough real problems for people to be militant about without inventing more. But the real problems come with more risk than crazy things like this one.
    Love how you bring in Shiboleth; it fits the issue beautifully.

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