Do we have any idea what hallowed or holiness means?

Gerald R. Baron
12 min readJan 16, 2023
Image: Wikipedia. The Stanley Cup, like most symbols of great athletic achievement may come closer to most to things we consider “hallowed” or set apart. When Jesus taught “hallowed be thy name” can we even come close to understanding what he meant?

The fourth in the series on the Jesus Prayer, also known as the Lord’s Prayer. Was Jesus a political revolutionary, a great moral teacher but purely human, or was he the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity? We are looking at this famous teaching prayer through these three prisms.

After his followers asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, he told them to pray to “Our Father” and designated that God, the object of prayer, was located in a created realm called heaven. He then told his followers to tell this Father-God, that his name was to be hallowed.

Hallowed is simply not a word we use very often in our daily lives. Probably Halloween comes closest, and if anything, that raucous event filled with ghouls, demons and zombies parading as little children is quite opposite of what hallowed in this context means.

But, we will see the problem of understanding what is being taught here runs much deeper than our most common translations using an ancient word. Ancient words used in modern contexts often lose their meaning. But, in this case, we moderns don’t have much of an understanding of what lies beneath any word that might be used for the idea of being hallowed.

What did Jesus say in his own language?

While “hallowed be thy name” is the most common way of expressing the Aramaic Jesus spoke, modern translations use “holy” or “honor.” “Holy be Your Name,” is one common option, other modern versions have “let your Name be honored,” which is a very weak translation that undermines what is meant by Jesus.

To go deeper into what this means, we turn to our guide who explains the Aramaic words that Jesus spoke.

This is what the Aramaic characters look like. They are read right to left, not left to right. It is interesting that the translator uses the word “glorified” but in the more detailed explanation he uses the word “holy.”

If this is correct, then in using the passive form Jesus was teaching his followers to simply acknowledge the fact that the Father’s Name was…

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Gerald R. Baron

Dawdling at the intersection of faith, science, philosophy and theology.