The personal God

Instead of using the word "God" we may refer to the same "God" as He. Only persons are legitimately entitled to such pronouns; otherwise the correct pronoun would be "it." Since a dog is not a person (has no self-determination, will, etc.) we normally use "it" to refer to a dog.

Interestingly and most significantly, the word Pneuma in Greek is neuter (it). Pneuma means spirit and is normally, among other things used to refer to the Holy Spirit, a divine Person. When Christ spoke about the Spirit, He rightly broke the grammatical rule of using "it" in reference to the Spirit and used "He" instead.

Most definitely this points us to the logical conclusion that God is a Person, not an immaterial substance.

God has personal characteristics

Grief, anger, jealousy, love and hatred are all attributed to God. A personality involves existence with the capability of self-consciousness and also of self-determination. Now love and hatred are certainly actions done by an intelligent person. In Scripture God is constantly referred to as loving righteousness, hating iniquity, grieving over disobedience, being wrathful at man's sins.

Such actions can be done only by a Person. Self-determination has to do with the ability to look to the future and prepare an intelligent course of action. It also involves the power of choice. A beast has determination, but not self-determination - the power to react according to its free will and thus deciding its own actions.

God must be a person, then, in that he decrees beforehand, makes choices among the children of men (I loved Jacob and hated Esau) and has a fixed plan for the future, throughout eternity.

The God of providence

The personality of God is manifested in the preservation of the Universe. God, through His Son, upholds all things by the Word of his power (Hebrews 1; Colossians 1). He who created and manifested his intelligence and capacity for design, beauty, etc., also maintains the same created order.

By itself the creation would cease to be; it has no power of self-preservation: God is upholding all things, whether visible or invisible. To preserve involves will and intelligent power: therefore God must have personality.

God acts

He is the Benefactor of all life. To do beneficial acts towards others there must be, at least, intellect (to comprehend the situation outside yourself), and volition (to actually take the necessary steps of helping others).

Since God feeds man and beast and maintains all life, then He must be a person. "He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth..." (Psalms 104:14; see the whole psalm which portrays the Lord as the One who created and adapted the earth for the needs of all living creatures (v.10-23), who have dominion over all creation (v.24-32), and is worthy of praise (v.33-35).

Incidentally praise can be given only and logically to a person, in regard of who he is and what he does.

God governs all

He is ruler over the affairs of man. Blind fate and co-incidence and chance are the pagan "gods" that rule and govern. In his depravity, man seeks to dethrone God, and his kingdom is handed over to a non-entity: fate.

The Bible, however, speaks about the King of Kings, who alone hath immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, who governs in such a way that none can stay his hand, or protest, "What doest thou?" To rule over others, you must be endowed with personality, to will, to plan and also to be sensible to the needs of others. Since God is ruler then necessarily He must be a person.

This we confess every time we pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done..."

God is Father

He is the father of His children. A natural father begot us and we related to him in that special connection: a father-son relationship, involving intelligent communication, a give and take relationship, etc.

The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ adopted us believers into his family and are thus privileged to address him "Ababa, Father." A tender and meaningful relationship indeed. When we pray, "Our Father who art in heaven..." we do not pray to an Idea, a Concept, or an abstract form. No! rather we speak and converse with a Person, who knows us and we know him.

If the children are all persons, having will, sensibility, and intellect, then how much more their Father!


I AM or I am that I am. The inner meaning of Yahweh - I am the One who is - emphasised God's dynamic and active self-existence: the immutable God (Exodus 3:13-15; cf. John 8:58 - Christ alluding powerfully to this Name, thus claiming full deity).

By this Name God assures his people of his presence in all trails (Exodus 3:12). This name is connected with the power of God who works for the benefit of his people (redemption) (Exodus 12:12-13), who maintains faithfully his covenant u fulfils all promises, as shown dramatically and confirmed in their emancipation of Israel from Egyptian bondage (Exodus 6:2-6).

Yahweh is the personal name of the God of Israel, as their Saviour. (Exodus 3:13-15; found about 6,823 times in the Old Testament).


Jehovah-Jireh. The Lord will provide. Significantly spoken after the ram being offered as a burnt-offering instead of Isaac, this combination name proves to be an ineffable comfort to God's people who anticipated the real offering that would expiate their sin. In these last days the church looks back on Calvary and triumphantly confesses, The Lord has indeed provided: He spared not his own Son, but gave him up for us all (Romans 8).

In God is found all provision: since he provided his Son he will not withhold anything good from his people.


Jehovah-Nissi: the Lord is my standard or banner. In our battles with the devil and all adversaries, the people of God rally round about him. His intervention assures us of triumph and victory.

It is not a certain philosophy that holds us together; rather it is the personal and omnipotent God.


Jehovah-Rapha: The Lord our healer. This revelation of God was given in conjunction with his appeal to obey him: "If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight..." (Exodus 15:26) then he will prove to be the Healer. Our moral relationship to God proves his personality: just as we are persons, and have certain obligations towards each other, in a much deeper sense we have been brought in this relationship with the personal God, and this will be our health and well-being.


Jehovah-Shalom: Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord, and called it Jehovah-Shalom (Judges 6:24). This happened after the appearance of the angel of the Lord and his commissioning Gideon to fight the Lord's battles and deliver the land from the Midianites. After having experienced so much heart-ache and a sense of God's abandonment, Gideon is overwhelmed by God's goodness and the remembrance of his covenant.

The Lord indeed brings peace and is peace. Peace is not abstract and impersonal: God is our peace (Ephesians 2:11ff).


Jehovah-Tsidkenu: The Lord our Righteousness. See Jeremiah 33:16; 23:6. One of the most profound and most exhilarating of God's names. Our righteousness is at best filthy rags: we have no righteousness of our own, being fallen in Adam. Our iniquities, like the wind, drive us away. Being a holy and merciful God, who wills, plans and executes his salvation on our behalf, He reveals himself as our righteousness before that actual righteousness appeared concretely in Jesus Christ. He obeyed the Law completely, endured its curse, and became the second Adam, the representative of a new race of people.

Just as in Adam we stand condemned, in union with Jesus Christ we stand righteous, blameless and without reproach: clothed in his righteousness, imputed to our account.


Jehovah-Sabaoth: The Lord of Hosts. Psalms 46:7,11; Malachi 3:17. God, the supreme and most high, is the Commander of the angelic armies (1 Kings 22:19; Luke 2:13; Revelation 19:14) and of the armies of Israel (1 Samuel 17:45).

This title reveals his sovereignty and omnipotence, and was often used by the prophets in times of national crises to remind God's people that God was and still is the Leader and Protector, a personal God who intelligently works and unfolds his plans even though darkness may loom over our heads.


Jehovah-Shammah: The Lord is there. Ezekiel 48:35. From the beginning of the Old Testament God had revealed His intention to be with His people. He walked and spoke with them in the Garden of Eden and dwelled in sanctuaries built in their midst. The promise of a child named Immanuel pointed to a day when God would be "with us" (Isaiah 7:14).

The New Testament ends in much the same way as the Book of Ezekiel ends. John too describes the city of God, and a time when God will live with human beings (Revelation 21:3); he ends with his prayer, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20). Our hope is fulfilled when his promise will be fully and manifestly executed: I shall be their God and they shall be my people: dwelling together. The personal God with his personal children.


Jehovah-Makaddishkim: The Lord who sanctifies you. Spoken in relation to the Sabbath Law. The Sabbath commandment is reiterated and designated as the covenant sight of the Mosaic covenant. To keep God's Sabbath is to keep the covenant since the Sabbath is a sign o the special relationship between God and Israel. A relationship, naturally, has to be maintained between persons: God, on the one hand, and Israel.

To disregard God's Sabbath was to disregard God's purposes for creation through His redemption of Israel. God, according to his eternal decree, calls, justifies, sanctifies, glorifies. Nobody but a Person can do this.