John 3:16- Begotten?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by DeclareHim, Feb 21, 2006.

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  1. DeclareHim

    DeclareHim
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    On another thread SFIC stated that the Greek word "μονογενη" is best translated 'begotten' or 'only born'. Others and many scholars I have read suggest the better rendering 'unique'. This is certainly a very divided debate. The following translations read begotten:KJV,Geneva,NASB, Douay-Rheims, NKJV, Amplified, Green's Literal Translation, ASV, Wycliffe 1395, Bishops 1568,Wesley's 1755, and Young's Literal Translation.
     
  2. DeclareHim

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    The only two translations that read 'unique' are the: ISV, and the Amplified places it in the brackets within the text.

    "For this is how God loved the world: He gave his unique Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but have eternal life." ISV

    "For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life." Amplified
     
  3. DeclareHim

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    Translations that read 'one and only' are the following: NIV,HCSB, NCV, and the WEB.
     
  4. jw

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    Sorry, posted my thread on this about the same time you were doing yours. I'll repost mine here and they can close on or the other.

    ....


    I missed out on the off topic debate on the other thread, thought I would post my two cents.

    "only son" or "unique son" is a better translation than "only begotten son". monogene comes from the root words monos - meaning only, and givomai - meaning to become. It does not come from gevvao - which means to beget.

    This is also the meaning BDAG gives for John 3:16
    Further, if you look at passages that use this same word..

    Abraham had more than one son, but Isaac was a unique or special son.

    This idea is also seen in the LXX in the Psalms..

    The word translated "darling" is monogene.
     
  5. DeclareHim

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    No problem! It's good to know that there's interest in discussing this topic. [​IMG] Interesting points. I agree with your conclusion.
     
  6. DeclareHim

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    Translations that read 'only son' are the following: 1525 Tyndale, 1535 Coverdale Bible, BBE, God's Word, RSV,NRSV, New Life Bible, Good News, CEV, ESV,NLT,and the Weymouth NT.
     
  7. TCassidy

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    The idea of "monogenes" has nothing to do with being unique or special. The term refers to he who is begotten by God in a way inconceivable to mere mortals. It speaks of a son given by God for a special task, just as Isaac was the son of the promise, and Jesus was given by God for a special task, the Greater Son of the Promise.
     
  8. Eliyahu

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    This may be another aspect of the questions.
    When did Monogenes happen?
    At the time when Jesus was born out of Mary?
    or before the Creation, before the beginning?
     
  9. Eliyahu

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  10. jw

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    BDAG and Thayer's have it monos + genos (having to do with a class, nation, kind, descendant).

    LS Lexicon has it as monos + ginomai which is the way I had learned it in Greek class.

    I haven't seen any supporting gennao. Which lexicon are you looking in?

    Additionally the usuage of the word in other places in the NT and LXX would suggest it doesn't have anything to do with "begotten" though. Also Friberg, UBS, BDAG, Louw-Nida, and Thayers all read it as unique, special, or only of a single kind.
     
  11. Eliyahu

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    I use Analytical Lexicon by William Mounce.
    But so far, I have not found any Lexicon satisfactory to me because most of them are based on or support Minority Texts and they don't show many words which are not in Minority Texts but in Majority Texts.

    Now
    gennao (γενναω) interpretted as to beget, generate, give birth to, produce.

    genesis (γενεσισ) birth, nativity

    genematos (γενηματοσ): natural produce, fruit, increase.

    Relatively many words are connected with gennao, but the followings are in supportive of your position on ginomai:

    1 Cor 3:18 - γενεσθω
    John 8:33 γενησεσθε
    γενησθε

    If we can interpret it as Mono-become, Mono-existant, Mono-established,
    can we apply the same to the other people who were expressed as mono-genes ( Luke 7:12, 8:42, 9:38)? They are rather easier to be interpretted as Mono-gennethen (begotten)

    This may need some more study in Etymology of Greek, but it seems to be mono-gennao.
     
  12. jw

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    Get BDAG, it's usually looked at as the authority, and is very thorough.

    Also we have to keep in mind etymology doesn't always make the meaning. The Son of God was neither born nor created - He is eternally existent. As seen from the first chapter of John and the usage of eimi as an imperfect. In the begining He was.

    Also look at John 1:14, "And the Word became [ginomai] flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten [monogenes] from the Father, full of grace and truth."
     
  13. Eliyahu

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    At the moment I trust the choice by KJV translators as they had some profound knowledge in languages.
    Birth doesn't mean any fertilization only. It can mean a certain development to expand.
    Jn 1:14 I interpret rather this way:
    Word has come in the form of flesh.
    Word was God, God is a Spirit (Jn 4), flesh profits nothing. God didn't become what is not God.
     
  14. Marcia

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    God the Son added human nature to his deity. He was and always is the Son.

    Doesn't the idea of "begotten" imply that this is the Son coming from God in the sense that Jesus has God's nature? No other "son" of God (such as the angels or the saints, adopted sons of God) have that. So in that sense, "begotten" does mean unique.

    This discussion is a little above my head but it's interesting. JW, thanks for your post.
     
  15. Diggin in da Word

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  16. Marcia

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    Yes, Jesus was born when he incarnated but that was not the beginning of his existence as the Son of God. The rest of us are born but exist only from the moment of conception. Jesus always existed as the Son of God and incarnated as a babe when he was born of Mary and the Holy Spirit.

    Being born was the beginning of adding his humanity, but he was always the Son of God. That is what the Trinity is about -- the Father, Son, and the HS -- eternally existing in the Godhead.

    Maybe this is turning into a discussion of the eternal Sonship of Christ?
     
  17. DeclareHim

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    Yes Jesus humanity was born but that moment was not the beginning of His being the Son of God that has always existed. (See John 1:1). In John 3:16 the verse is speaking of Jesus as God's Son whom never had a beginning.
     
  18. Faith alone

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    DeclareHim,

    "Begotten" is an archaic term, not used any more. The idea of the Greek term was already posted by jw. It means "unique" or "only." "One and only" may be a bit strong. It comes from the idea of a first-born child being the unique 1st-born, but it is used to simply refer to the uniqueness,and there is nothing about being born inherent in the term, contrary to popular opinion. I categorized many translations below. You will not find a translation in the last 20 years translating it as "begotten" or "only begotten."

    John 3:16 - "begotten" or "only/unique"?

    ONLY:
    NRSV - "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
    HCSB - "For God loved the world in this way: He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
    NLT - "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
    RSV - For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
    ESV - For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
    TEV (Good News) - For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.
    God's Word - God loved the world this way: He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.
    CEV - God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.
    NLB - For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. Whoever puts his trust in God's Son will not be lost but will have life that lasts forever.
    Tyndale NT (1526) - For God so loveth the worlde yt he hath geven his only sonne that none that beleve in him shuld perisshe: but shuld have everlastinge lyfe.

    Notice that even the Tyndale (and Coverdale) translation in 1526 that the other translationsd are based on which translate it as "begotten" has simply "only." This happened with the Bishop's Bible, which referred to Wycliffe's translation from the Latin Vulgate into English in 1385. (Not the best idea.) Revisions since then of the Tyndale NT type Bibles all had begotten.


    One and only:
    NCV - "God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life.
    WEB - For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
    NIV - "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
    TNIV - "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    Begotten (older translations only):
    KJV - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    NKJV - For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
    ASV (1905) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.


    Only begotten:
    NASB (1977) - "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
    Ampl. - For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.


    The NET Bible has a very good note here regarding Jesus being the "only begotten Son of God":
    Also, a comment by a Wycliffe Bible translator in the BTrans group about MONOGENHS:
    For some reason people seem to think that it has the idea of "birth" in the root meaning - it does not. It has the idea of coming to be. Jesus "became" the only, the one-of-a-kind, unique Son of God at His incarnation. He has always existed as the Son of God. He became the "Son of Man" - a human being - at His incarnation, where he took on humanity.

    Begotten comes from "beget." It is defined as
    1 : to procreate as the father : SIRE
    2 : to produce especially as an effect or outgrowth

    The 2nd definition applies here. But IMO using "begotten" or "only begotten" is a mistake, because people do not know what begotten means - it isn't used anymore. They think it is referring to a father bringing about a birth, and it does not.

    FA
     
  19. Eliyahu

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    I can understand the position of ginomai, but still there are many derivatives related to gennao and I would not escape so quickly from the notion of Begotten.
    The relationship between Father and Son means Birth. We are accustomed only to the birth relationship by fertilization or sexual reproductive process. However we may imagine the process of expansion of Living Truth before the Eternity, before the Creation, where Father and Son were one and everything belonging to Father was inherited to the Son by the Spirit so that Trinity share all the nature and characteristics together in common. Such Process might have been called the Birth.

    Luke 7:12, 8:42, 9:38
    Are they all Unique ?
     
  20. Faith alone

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    MONOGENHS is not related to GENNAO at all. That is a misunderstanding that many have made in articles on this subject. GINOMAI has nothing to do with GENNAO. They are not related terms.

    Well, I don't think the idea of "first-born" is related to actual birth, but to the idea that Jesus, having become a human being (by birth) was the "first-born." As such, He was due the double portion of inheritance. IOW, I don't think it has anything to do with something that happened in time past, but His incarnation.

    Jesus is the unique Son of God. We become sons of God when we are re-born, but Jesus remains the unique Son of God. So yes, Jesus is "unique." The term was not applied to the Father or the Holy Spirit.

    Those texts in Luke do use MONOGENHS. Yes, they are unique. They are the first-born child of their father. Notice that one is a girl. But you bring up an excellent point. MONOGENHS is not some special term used only of Jesus.

    FA

    [ February 23, 2006, 11:52 AM: Message edited by: Faith alone ]
     
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