Q&A: Joshua = Jesus?

Joshua = Jesus?

Question

Is Jesus called Joshua anywhere in the Bible?

Answer

The answer is "yes and no." Or, if you prefer, "sort of." That is, in the New Testament "Jesus" is the English translation of the Greek name "Iesous" when "Iesous" refers to the Savior. "Joshua" is a common English translation of "Iesous" when "Iesous" refers to someone other than the Savior (Luke 3:29; Acts 7:45; Heb. 4:8). This use of "Joshua" is a stylistic substitution, probably intended in most translations to prevent confusion between the Savior and the others.

More commonly, "Joshua" is found in the Old Testament as the English translation of the Hebrew name "Yehoshua." In the Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, "Yehoshua" is translated as "Iesous." In Aramaic, the language Jesus probably spoke most often, the name is translated "Yeshua."

So, "Yehosuah," "Iesous," "Yeshua," "Joshua" and "Jesus" are all essentially the same name. "Jesus" is usually preferred in the New Testament because it is a transliteration of the Greek "Iesous." Some people prefer "Yehoshua" or "Joshua" because they believe that it is the true root name prior to its translation into Aramaic and/or Greek. Others prefer "Yeshua" because they believe that is what Jesus was actually called by those who knew him.

Answer by Ra McLaughlin

Ra McLaughlin is Vice President of Finance and Administration at Third Millennium Ministries.