TetragrammatonThe Watchtower insists that we must use the name “Jehovah” in order to have an intimate relationship with God.

It states: “In replacing God’s name with titles, Bible translators make a serious mistake. They make God seem remote and impersonal, whereas the Bible urges humans to cultivate ‘intimacy with Jehovah.’ (Psalms 25:14) Think of an intimate friend of yours. How close would you really be if you never learned your friend’s name? Similarly, when people are kept in ignorance about God’s name, Jehovah, how can they become truly close to God?”[i]

Here’s how to answer them.

If the Witnesses make this argument, ask, “Is use of someone’s personal name the most intimate way to address them? My children never call me [insert your name]. They call me ‘Dad/Mom.’ That is much more personal and intimate than using my name.”

You can follow up with a soundbite question: “In a similar way, isn’t it more intimate to address God as ‘Father’ than as ‘Jehovah’?”

A great way to follow up is to ask, “How did Jesus’ closest friends refer to him?”

Have one of them read John 13:13 aloud. There Jesus said that it was proper for his disciples to address him as “Teacher” and “Lord.” Even his inner circle of disciples—Peter, James, and John—addressed and referred to him in this way. (Matthew 14:28-30; Luke 9:54).

You can summarize your point this way: “If Jesus’ closest friends properly called him by titles of respect like ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’ instead of by his name—Jesus—why is it be wrong to refer to his Father as ‘God’ or ‘Lord’ rather than using the name ‘Jehovah’?”


Your turn:

Have you ever challenged Watchtower teaching that in order to be intimate with God we must call him “Jehovah”? Do you find this approach helpful?

Share your thoughts in the comments.


[i] What Does the Bible Really Teach?, p. 196