The Significance of the Name of Christ -- By: Ralph Rogers Hawthorne

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 103:410 (Apr 1946)
Article: The Significance of the Name of Christ
Author: Ralph Rogers Hawthorne


The Significance of the Name of Christ

Ralph Rogers Hawthorne

Word studies in the Old and the New Testament Scriptures are revelatory of the mind of the Spirit, of Him who never utilizes terminology inadvertently but always selects perfect diction for each thought. Charles Hodge states the idea clearly and concisely: “The thoughts are in the words. The two are inseparable. If the words, priest, sacrifice, ransom, expiation, propitiation, purification by blood, and the like, have no divine authority, then the doctrine which they embody has no such authority.”1 Jehovah told the prophet Jeremiah “Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth” (1:9 ).

The relative value of Biblical terms resides (1) in the frequency of their occurrence, (2) in their usage with important personages, (3) in their vital union with various doctrines, and (4) in their uniqueness of expression. Words which occur frequently are made emphatic by this means and their cogent meaning calls for recognition. For example, consider the term righteousness and its adjectival, verbal, and adverbial correlatives found in 51 books of Holy Writ. Scriptural righteousness is linked with the Father, the Son, and the saints.

The Hebrew language contains only one word which is properly translated ‘righteousness’ (cedhek). This one term occurs in its several related forms to supply the adjective, verb, adverb, and nouns which combined constitute the word family involved. The word yāshār, which means ‘right’ or ‘upright,’ is erroneously translated ‘righteous’ in 9 instances (Num 23:10; Job 4:7; 23:7; Ps 107:42; Prov 2:7; 3:32; 14:9; 15:19; 28:10). A similar word, mîshār, occurs in an

adverbial sense in Psalm 67:4. In the Hebrew Testament God expresses His mind on the subject of righteousness in the one term cedhek and its corresponding forms. Only Numbers and the smaller books of Joshua, Ruth, Esther, Song of Solomon, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum, and Haggai fail to utilize the expression.

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