BAR 4:01, Mar 1978
The Name of God in the New Testament
Did the earliest Gospels use Hebrew letters for the Tetragrammaton?
Many early copies of the New Testament abbreviate sacred words (nomina sacra). The earliest of these abbreviations stand for God, Lord, Christ, and Jesus. Abbreviations of these words were formed by writing their first and last letters and placing a line over them. Thus, using English to illustrate, God would appear as G
÷D ÷ and Lord as L ÷D ÷.
The attempt to differentiate and dignify the sacred name of God goes back to pre-Christian times; it was done first by Jews.