Southern Seminary: Is “Allah” God?

One of the questions I frequently encounter by Christians in the West is whether or not the Arabic word Allah can be used to refer to the God of the Bible. Many well-meaning Western Christians have sought to disassociate the God of Islam from the God of Christianity. In doing so they’ve focused their efforts on driving a wedge between the Allah of the Qur’an and the God of the Bible. “The Allah of Islam is not the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” is oftentimes the slogan. While on the face of it this is a true statement, unfortunately, the linguistic question surrounding the use of Allah in Arabic oftentimes gets entangled in the broader theological discussion related to the identity of God in Islam versus Christianity. In order to clarify the issues, it is important to understand something of the history of Arabic-speaking Christianity. Upon doing this, we’ll be better positioned to separate the linguistic question relating to the legitimacy of using Allah to refer to God in Arabic from the theological question pertaining to the nature and character of the word’s referent.

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