In His Name

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Over the years, I have been unclear in my mind about the meaning of one phrase in the Lord’s Prayer. You know how it begins: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. It is the last four words that I want to talk about: hallowed be thy name. I came to wonder if it was somehow connected to the Third Commandment: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain? And why wouldn’t it be?

When I was writing Law and Covenant, it occurred to me that my wife has by covenant taken my name. Therefore, everything she does, she does in my name. As I worked my way around the circle, I came to see the importance of care and respect for what I do or ask, in his name.

This has to be to be a lot more than a matter of how we pronounce his name, or even knowing what his name is. Jesus did not tell us to pray to Jehovah or Yahweh. He gave us permission to address him as Father—Abba, in the vernacular. From this, I began to wonder if the reason for saying hallowed be thy name, was simply an acknowledgment that the name was not spoken here and the reason for it. The statement in the Lord’s Prayer is more than a matter pronouncing the name in Hebrew. I know this, if for no other reason, none of the New Testament writers use the Hebrew names for God—anywhere in the New Testament.

Then there is this: Just as in marriage, we can only carry God’s name if we are in covenant with him. You may call yourself a Christian (and many did in those early days), but if they were not in covenant with him, they did not carry his name. In the same way, merely having a boyfriend does not place you in covenant with him. You don’t carry his name.


Ronald L. Dart

Ronald L. Dart (1934–2016) — People around the world have come to appreciate his easy style, non-combative approach to explaining the Bible, and the personal, almost one-on-one method of explaining what’s going on in the world in the light of the Bible. After retiring from teaching and church administration in 1995 he started Christian Educational Ministries and the Born to Win radio program.

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