Some devout people spell “God” without vowels. They use “G_d” in their letters and articles, seldom explaining why they do so. The practice apparently stems from the practice of some Jews who believe they respect God's name by not writing down the vowels. They think that by this they can avoid defaming his name by saying it dishonorably or by erasing it or destroying the paper it is written on.

            While those who use G_d have good intentions, the practice makes no sense either logically or Scripturally, for these reasons:

1.    The writers are purposely misspelling (and perhaps mispronouncing) the Divine Name. Does it honor someone to misspell or mispronounce his name? Try this with your boss or spouse and see how they react.

2.    If you spell G_d when you use it in a blasphemous way, you are still profaning His name, because it is the name you are using for Him at that time.

3.    The ancient Hebrew text, seen for example in the Dead Sea Scrolls, uses no vowels in the names of God (Yahweh, Elohim, Adonai, etc). However, it does not use vowels in any other names, either. Names such as Ahaz, Jezebel, Satan and Cain are all spelled without vowels just as the Divine Names are. This means that the Hebrew text makes no effort to honor God’s names by deleting vowels.

4.    Modern day Bible translators, both Jew and Christian, use the Hebrew Masoretic text (MT) when translating the Law, Prophets and Writings (the Old Tetament). The MT was written by devout Jewish scribes, yet it uses vowels in all the Divine names.

5.    The Greek New Testament spells out the names for God with all their letters, including all the vowels. It spells God, theos, not th__s; Lord, kurios, not k_r__s; and Jesus esous, not _s__s. The apostles set the example by honoring the name of God by spelling it with vowels (Greek had no capital letters either). This is also true of other ancient translations such as Aramaic and Latin.

6.    G_d is not a whole name. Readers could as easily plug in an “a” to make Gad, (one of the tribes of Israel), or an “i” to make gid (a disease) or an “e” to make GED (general equivalency diploma). It is not possible to spell or pronounce a name without vowels. The MT uses vowels partly to keep readers from confusion if they do not know the language well enough to plug in the right vowels, or if the context is not clear enough to show them which vowels to plug in. 

Spelling G_d without vowels may even dispose someone to making a false show of devotion, much like the Pharisees who Jesus criticized for making their tassels extra long (Matthew 23:5). Using the spelling G_d defies logic and Scriptural practice, and may be just artificial honor.

Dr. John P. Juedes, 2011