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The name Jesus evokes divinity, sacrifice, and redemption. But what does it sound like in the Hawaiian language? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the origins, meanings, and pronunciations of Jesus’ name translated into native Hawaiian.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: In Hawaiian, the name Jesus is most commonly translated as ‘Iesu’ or ‘Iesū’. It is pronounced similar to the English pronunciation, with a ‘y’ sound instead of the English ‘j’ sound.

The Origins and Meanings of the Name Jesus

Have you ever wondered about the origins and meanings of the name Jesus? In this article, we will explore the fascinating history behind this beloved name and its variations across different languages and cultures. Let’s dive in!

The Hebrew Origin of the Name Yeshua

The name Jesus, as we know it today, finds its roots in the Hebrew name Yeshua. In Hebrew, Yeshua means “salvation” or “Yahweh is salvation.” This name has deep religious significance and is mentioned numerous times in the Bible. It is believed to have been a common name during the time of Jesus Christ.

Yeshua was transliterated into Greek as Iesous when the New Testament was written. This transformation occurred because the Greek language lacks certain sounds present in Hebrew. The Greek form Iesous eventually made its way into English as Jesus, becoming the widely recognized name we use today.

The Greek Form Iesous That Entered English

When the New Testament was translated from Greek into English, the Greek form Iesous was anglicized to become Jesus. This anglicization process involved adapting the pronunciation and spelling to fit the English language. It is important to note that the English name Jesus retains the essential meaning of Yeshua, which is “salvation.”

The name Jesus holds tremendous significance in Christianity, representing the central figure of the religion, Jesus Christ. It is a name revered and worshipped by millions of people around the world.

Iesu as the Hawaiian Form of Jesus

Did you know that even in the Hawaiian language, there is a unique form of the name Jesus? In Hawaiian, the name Jesus is commonly referred to as Iesu. The pronunciation and spelling differ from the English version but still carry the same meaning and reverence.

Throughout the centuries, the name Jesus has transcended language and cultural barriers, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of believers worldwide. It is a name that symbolizes hope, love, and salvation.

For more information on the origins and meanings of the name Jesus, you can visit Bible Study Tools, a comprehensive online resource for biblical studies.

Pronouncing Jesus in Hawaiian

When it comes to pronouncing Jesus in Hawaiian, it is important to understand the unique spelling and pronunciation of the name in the Hawaiian language. In Hawaiian, Jesus is spelled as ‘Iesu’ and is pronounced as “ee-eh-soo”.

The ‘Iesu’ Spelling and Pronunciation

The spelling of Jesus in Hawaiian, ‘Iesu’, reflects the phonetic sounds of the Hawaiian language. The “ie” is pronounced as “ee”, similar to the “ee” sound in the English word “bee”. The “s” is pronounced as “eh”, similar to the “eh” sound in the English word “bed”. The “u” at the end is pronounced as “oo”, similar to the “oo” sound in the English word “soon”. Therefore, the correct pronunciation of Jesus in Hawaiian is “ee-eh-soo”.

Emphasis on Different Syllables in Hawaiian

One interesting aspect of pronouncing Jesus in Hawaiian is the emphasis on different syllables compared to the English pronunciation. In English, the emphasis is usually placed on the first syllable, resulting in the pronunciation of “JEE-zus”. However, in Hawaiian, the emphasis is placed on the second syllable, resulting in the pronunciation of “ee-EH-soo”. This difference in emphasis adds a unique cultural touch to the pronunciation of Jesus in Hawaiian.

Jesus in Hawaiian Song and Chant

The name Jesus holds great significance in Hawaiian songs and chants. In traditional Hawaiian music, Jesus is often referred to as ‘Iesu’, and his name is sung with reverence and respect. Songs and chants that mention Jesus in Hawaiian are often performed in religious ceremonies, hula dances, and other cultural events. The beautiful melodies and harmonies of these songs and chants celebrate the spiritual connection between the Hawaiian people and Jesus.

Using the Name Jesus in the Hawaiian Language

The Hawaiian language is rich in culture and history, and it has its own unique way of incorporating foreign words. One such word is “Jesus,” which is translated as “Iesu” in Hawaiian. This article will explore how the name Jesus is used in Hawaiian Bible translations, common Hawaiian phrases and greetings, and in Hawaiian hymns and prayers.

Iesu in Hawaiian Bible Translations

When the Bible was translated into Hawaiian, the name “Jesus” was rendered as “Iesu” to better suit the phonetics of the Hawaiian language. This translation was done with the utmost respect and reverence for the name and its significance in Christianity. Hawaiian Bible translations are widely available and can be a valuable resource for those interested in studying the Christian faith in the Hawaiian context.

Jesus in Common Hawaiian Phrases and Greetings

The name “Iesu” is also incorporated into common Hawaiian phrases and greetings. For example, when saying “Merry Christmas” in Hawaiian, you would say “Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hauʻoli Makahiki Hou,” which includes the phrase “me ka Iesu” meaning “with Jesus.” This highlights the cultural significance of Jesus in Hawaiian celebrations and the importance of his name in their language.

Furthermore, when greeting someone in Hawaiian, you might say “Aloha” which means hello, but you can also say “Aloha Iesu” which means “hello Jesus.” This shows the deep connection between the Hawaiian people and their faith.

The Name Jesus in Hawaiian Hymns and Prayers

Hawaiian hymns and prayers often include the name “Iesu” as a way to express devotion and praise. The melodies and lyrics of these hymns reflect the unique beauty and spirituality of the Hawaiian culture. Singing and praying in Hawaiian can be a powerful and uplifting experience for both locals and visitors alike.

One popular Hawaiian hymn that incorporates the name Jesus is “Iesu Me Ke Kanaka Waiwai,” which translates to “Jesus, the Rich Man’s Friend.” This hymn beautifully captures the essence of Jesus’ love and compassion towards all people, regardless of their material wealth.

Jesus as a Hawaiian Name and its Meanings

Iesu as a Given Boy’s Name in Hawaii

In Hawaii, the name Jesus is commonly given as “Iesu” to boys. The name Iesu has deep roots in Hawaiian culture and holds significant meaning for those who bear it. It is a beautiful fusion of the Christian faith and the rich traditions of the Hawaiian people. The name Iesu is not only a reflection of the religious beliefs of the parents but also a way to honor their Hawaiian heritage. It is a unique and meaningful choice for parents who want to give their child a name that represents their faith and cultural background.

The Significance of Names in Hawaiian Culture

Names hold great importance in Hawaiian culture, with each name carrying its own unique meaning and symbolism. In Hawaiian tradition, names are believed to have a direct influence on a person’s character, personality, and destiny. Therefore, choosing a name is a decision that is taken seriously, as it is seen as a way to shape a child’s future. Names are often chosen based on family history, personal experiences, or cultural significance. By giving a child the name Iesu, parents are not only paying homage to their faith but also embracing the values and traditions of Hawaiian culture.

Meanings of the Name Jesus for Hawaiians

The name Jesus, or Iesu, carries deep meanings for Hawaiians that go beyond its religious connotations. For Hawaiians, the name Iesu represents love, compassion, and forgiveness. It is a name that embodies the spirit of aloha, which is central to Hawaiian culture. The name Iesu also symbolizes unity and harmony, as it brings together the teachings of Jesus Christ with the values of the Hawaiian people. It serves as a reminder to live a life of kindness, respect, and humility.

According to Hawaiian tradition, names are not just labels but are imbued with mana, a spiritual energy or power. The name Iesu carries this mana, connecting those who bear it to the divine and to the ancestors who came before them. It is a name that holds great significance and is cherished by those who have it as part of their identity.

The Importance of Jesus in Hawaiian History

Jesus holds a significant place in the history of Hawaii, as the introduction of Christianity to the islands had a profound impact on the cultural, social, and religious landscape. The arrival of Jesus’ teachings not only brought about a transformation in the spiritual beliefs of the Hawaiian people but also played a pivotal role in shaping the future of the islands.

Early Hawaiian Converts to Christianity

During the early 19th century, Hawaiian chiefs and commoners started to embrace Christianity, including the teachings of Jesus. The spread of Christianity was facilitated by the efforts of native Hawaiian converts who played a crucial role in translating the Bible into the Hawaiian language. The newfound faith in Jesus provided a sense of hope, moral guidance, and a framework for ethical living.

Christianity also brought about positive changes in the lives of the Hawaiian people. It introduced them to new concepts such as forgiveness, love, and compassion, which helped to foster a more harmonious and peaceful society. The teachings of Jesus encouraged the Hawaiians to care for one another and to live in unity, promoting a sense of community and cooperation.

The Vital Role of Missionaries from Abroad

The arrival of Christian missionaries from abroad was a significant turning point in the history of Christianity in Hawaii. These missionaries, inspired by their faith in Jesus, played a vital role in spreading the gospel and establishing churches throughout the islands. They dedicated their lives to the Hawaiian people, providing education, healthcare, and social services, all while sharing the message of Jesus’ love and salvation.

The impact of these missionaries extended beyond the spiritual realm. They introduced Western education, writing systems, and agricultural practices, thereby contributing to the overall development of Hawaii. The influence of these early missionaries can still be seen today, as many Hawaiian communities continue to value education, faith, and service to others.

Enduring Christian Traditions in Hawaii

Despite the challenges and changes that Hawaii has experienced over the years, the Christian faith and its traditions have endured. Today, Christianity remains one of the most practiced religions in the islands, with a diverse range of denominations and congregations. The legacy of Jesus’ teachings can be seen in the numerous churches, cathedrals, and religious landmarks that dot the Hawaiian landscape.

Christian holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, hold special significance in Hawaii, with vibrant celebrations and religious events taking place across the islands. The values of love, compassion, and forgiveness, which Jesus emphasized, continue to resonate with the Hawaiian people and are deeply ingrained in their cultural fabric.


In summary, while Jesus’ name originated in Hebrew as Yeshua, the Hawaiian form Iesu has a unique sound and significance. The name entered the islands with early missionaries and Bible translations, leaving a profound impact on Hawaiian spirituality and culture. When pronounced properly in Hawaiian, Iesu reflects important emphases and meanings for those who utter this sacred name in Hawaii’s endemic language.

The long tradition of Jesus and Christianity in the islands has created a rich cultural heritage where faith and native culture intertwine. For Hawaiians past and present, the name of Iesu represents a profound spiritual presence rooted in both ancient prophecy and more recent history.

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