Maranatha may be the single coolest word in the Bible. It is certainly one of the most theologically significant.
It appears only once in the Bible–in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. What makes it so interesting is that the word is a Greek transliteration of the Aramaic words “Marana tha,” meaning “Our Lord, come!”
Aramaic was the spoken language in Palestine during the time of Jesus. It is the language he and his disciples would have spoken.
Mar- is the Aramaic equivalent of the Greek kyrios, which we translate in English as “Lord.” In the Septaguint (the Greek language version of the Old Testament that was the most commonly used in the first century), the Hebrew name for God (YHWH) is translated “kyrios.”
Paul’s letter to the Corinthians was written about 20 years after the death of Jesus. The use of the expression Marana tha in that letter reveals that within the Aramaic-speaking communities of Jesus-followers, Jesus was already been proclaimed as divine in the years before Paul began writing. If the early Jesus-followers had just believed him to be a prophet or a wise teacher, this saying would not have arisen.
Here’s another cool factoid. The dramatic conclusion to the entire Bible, which appears at the very end of Revelation, “Come, Lord Jesus,” likely derives from the early Aramaic prayer/greeting Marana tha.