It is commonly claimed that when Jesus used the phrase “I am” (ἐγώ εἰμι, ego eimi), he was making a direct reference to the name of God in the Old Testament, YHWH. There is some truth to this, but I want to suggest three important caveats to this claim:
- “I am” (ἐγώ εἰμι), by itself, is not a code for the name of God;
- “I am” is only intended to refer to deity in some of Jesus’ sayings;
- Paying too much attention to the “I am” part of the sentence distracts readers from paying attention to the rest of the sentence.