The KJV "Only Begotten" is inaccurate

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by icthus, Mar 12, 2005.

  1. icthus

    icthus
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    The KJV (and others) have wrongly rendered the Greek adjective, "monogenes" by our English, "Only Begotten", in verses like John 1:14,18; 3:16, 18,etc. This error has given rise to some very heritical teaching on the Person of Jesus Christ, like that which is known as "The Eternal Generation of the Son from the Father". The reading "Only Begotton" has more to do with "theology", that the correct rendering of the Greek. The Greek word "monogenes" is from, "mono", which is "only", and "genos", which is, "kind". Literally the meaning is "one of its kind", or, in the case of Jesus Christ, "unique" The doctrine of the Eternal Generation of Jesus from the Father, has a long history, and can be traced back to the early Church heretic, Origen, who lived in the second century. One of Origen's many heresise, was that the substance of Jesus Christ was "different" to that of the Father, thereby making Jesus a "second god". Origen was condemned for this and other heresies. However, some of the Orthodox party adpoted some of Origen's teachings on the Person of Jesus Christ. Thus, in the famous Nicene Creed, we read: "God of God, Light of Light, Begotten not created, etc". This may "look" as being Biblical, but is you were to study the background of this Creed, you will see that it actually teaches a "Subordination of Person", not "office", of Jesus Christ, to God the Father, thereby making the Father superior in Person, and therefore, in nature, to Jesus as the Son. This "thinking" has now been taught by many in the Church today, and, based on the reading of the KJV's "Only Begotten", has been accepted without any questions asked!

    The Truth sall set us free!
     
  2. robycop3

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    The always-existing Jesus was indeed begotten twice on earth. First, He was conceived in Mary's womb, same as all other people were conceived in their mothers' wombs, the difference being that the HOLY SPIRIT brought about Jesus' conception by His power. When Jesus was resurrected, His Father said, "Today, I have begotten you". This is repeated in various Scriptures, as is the fact that WE are Spiritually begotten & born again by the power & authority of Jesus.

    Though I'm definitely NOT KJVO, I'll defend the KJV when it's right. And rendering "monogenes" as "begotten" in the KJV is certainly not wrong. The Hebrew "yalad", rendered "begotten" in Psalm 2:7, is clear. Don't believe it? Just ask any Jew who knows Hebrew. Surely you can easily find a synagogue in London.
     
  3. rsr

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    I tend to agree with icthus. "One and only" eliminates the confusion with the dreaded "begat" of the OT (which still means what it obviously meant in the KJV OT) and seems theologically more proper.
     
  4. robycop3

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    Actually, it appears BOTH are right. It's another of those cases that, when the KJVOs comment about it, they incorrectly holler the MV renderings take away from Jesus' Deity.
     
  5. Ransom

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    I think a simpler and more likely explanation is simply a linguistic understanding. As ichthus points out, monogenes comes from mono and genos, literally "one of a kind." It was mistakenly thought to be a compound of mono and gennao, "only begotten."

    As James White points out in The Forgotten Trinity, the clue to the proper etymology is in the spelling of the word. If the latter construct were the correct one, it would be spelled with two nu's: monogennes (White, p. 201-02n27).
     
  6. Craigbythesea

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    The Greek word μονογενης is found in the LXX in the following places:

    Judges 11:34. When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, behold, his daughter was coming out to meet him with tambourines and with dancing. Now she was his one and only child; besides her he had no son or daughter.

    Psalms 22:20 20. Deliver my soul from the sword, My only life from the power of the dog.

    Psalms 25:16. Turn to me and be gracious to me, For I am lonely and afflicted.

    Psalms 3517 17. Lord, how long will You look on? Rescue my soul from their ravages, My only life from the lions.

    Wisdom 7:22. for Wisdom, the artificer of all, taught me.
    For in her is a spirit
    intelligent, holy, unique,
    Manifold, subtle, agile,
    clear, unstained, certain,
    Not baneful, loving the good, keen,
    unhampered, beneficent, (NAB)

    Odes 14:13 Oh Lord, the only-begotten Son,
    (The Book of Odes is found in the Codex Alexandrinus but not in the Vaticanus and is not included in the either the Roman Catholic or the Protestant Canon)

    The Greek word μονογενης is found in the New Testament in the following places:

    Luke 7:12. Now as He approached the gate of the city, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd from the city was with her.

    Luke 8:42. for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying. But as He went, the crowds were pressing against Him.

    Luke 9:38. And a man from the crowd shouted, saying, "Teacher, I beg You to look at my son, for he is my only boy,

    John 1:14. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

    John 1:18. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

    John 3:16. "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.

    John 3:18. "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

    Heb. 11:17. By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son;

    1 John 4:9. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.

    Friedrich Büchsel contributed the article on this word found Kittel (vol. IV, pp. 737 – 741 and he writes in section B. The Use in the New Testament, “It means “only-begotten.”

    (All Scriptures are from the NASB, 1995, unless otherwise noted.)

    [​IMG]
     
  7. rsr

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    The verse in Hebrews shows why "unique" or "one of a kind" is better than "only begotten."

    Abraham certainly had another son, Ishmael, but Ishmael was not the son of the promise. Isaac was, in that sense, "unique," not "only begotten."
     
  8. icthus

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    The reference from Psalms, This day I have begotton thee" (KJV), has nothing to do with the Resurrection of Jesus, but rather to His Incarnation.

    For our English "Only Begotten", the Greek would have to be, "monogennetos", and the Latin would have been "Unigenitus". It must be noted here, that the idea of "begetting" as the English in the KJV has it, is due to the rendering of "monogenes" by the Latin "Unigenitus" by the Latin scholar of the Vulgate, Jerome. The correct Latin word for the Greek, "monogenes" would be, "unicus". It was the theology of the day that determined the meaning of "monogenes", and not what the word actually means. The Church in the fourth century was dealing with the heresy of Arius, who taught that Jesus Christ was the first to be created! In response we have the phrase in the Nicene Creed, "begotten (monogenes) not created", a theological twist to the word! It is interesting that the Old Latin version, before Jerome's, has in places like John 1:14,18; 3:16, etc, "unicus", and Jerome changed them to, "Unigenitus"! The KJV followed the Latin here, and therefore has misrepresented what the Greek actually says!
     
  9. Craigbythesea

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    Compare:

    Gen. 22:2. He said, "Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you." NASB

    The issue here is highly complex. For excellent discussions on the translation issues here, see the commentaries on the Gospel of John at John 1:14,

    Archibald J. H. Bernard, Gopspel According to St. John
    Raymond E. Brown, The Gopspel According to John, I-XII
    Leon Morris, The Gopspel According to John
    Rudolf Schnackenburg, The Gopspel According to St. John

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Craigbythesea

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    Although much of your data here is accurate, your premise is faulty. Jesus was NOT a Greek, and probably taught in Aramaic. Therefore, to look to the Hellenistic origin and uses of the word μονογενης is absurd. Instead, one must go to the Hebrew text of the Old Testament where we find a word that can mean both “unique, only-begotten” and “beloved” and study how this word was interpreted and translated in the Septuagint. When we do that, we find that this Hebrew word is sometimes translated using the Greek word μονογενης, and at other times it is translated using the Greek word αγαπητος.

    To say that “The KJV followed the Latin here, and therefore has misrepresented what the Greek actually says!” misrepresents the facts. We do not know why Jerome used the Latin word "Unigenitus" in the place of "unicus." He may have done so for theological reasons or he may have done so based on a careful assessment of the relevant Hebrew texts. But, of course, Jerome’s reason has nothing at all to do with the proper translation of μονογενης into English. When we look at the literature on the Gospel According to John, we find that there are top notch language scholars on both sides of this highly complex issue and we need to be a bit more humble than to say that the KJV “misrepresented what the Greek actually says!”

    [​IMG]
     
  11. icthus

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    The Greek word, "monogenes" is used nine times in the New Testament (Luke 7.12;8.42;9.38; John 1.14,18; 3.16,18; Hebrews 11.17, and 1 John 4.9. The passagse in Luke render it in to English by "only". In the passages in John (Gospel & Epistle), they are "only begotten", as is the place in Hebrews. The question you have to ask, is, why when it is used for Jesus, it takes on the meaning "begotten" (leaving aside the passage in Hebrews)? I am not aware of the Greek "genos", ever taking the meaning, "beget". I see it used from the time of Homer, with uses, "race, stock, family, source, origin, offspring, child, date of birth, etc". But never to do with "begetting"! The best choice of word to use with "monos", would be, "child", = "only child", in the "unique" sense, where Jesus is the only "Son of God the Father"

    Craigbythesea, I think that you are drawing your conclusions from the wrong "source", as the use of "monogenes" as found in the Old Testament was NOT the reason why the KJV used "Only Begotten" when applied to Jesus Christ. If you would care to invistgate the use of this word, especially in the early Church, you will see that it is more to do with "theology" than its meaning that was the driving force! As my opening remarks show, the reason for my objecting to the use of "Only Begotten" for Jesus Christ, is the fact that many have incorrectly drawn from this the heresy of the Eternal Generation of Jesus from the "being" of the Father, which of course would make Jesus to be subordinate to the Father "as touching His Deity". Can you see my thinking?
     
  12. natters

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    But the problem is then not with the term, but with someone's wrong interpretation of the term. Some people are going to get the wrong interpretation, no matter what terms are used.
     
  13. icthus

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    But the problem is then not with the term, but with someone's wrong interpretation of the term. Some people are going to get the wrong interpretation, no matter what terms are used.

    What exactly is you point here?

    "Monogenes" is not a "term", but a Greek word that is used incorrectly by "Only Begotten". The problem is when someone takes a theological "theory", and then tries to apply it to the meaning of a word in the Bible. This is not interpretation, but misuse of a word, to make it mean something that it simply does not!
     
  14. natters

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    My point, and the term I'm referring to, is that "only begotten" should not be rejected simply because someone somewhere will misinterpret it. I agree that there are more accurate translations of "monogenes", but I think "only begotten" is still perfectly acceptable if rightly understood.
     
  15. Dr. Bob

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    If one uses a term that must be "rightly understood" - that is, unless someone understands its theological meaning, the word is hard to follow - this poses difficulty.

    Our AV has a number of such words that are perfectly legitimate IF "rightly understood". But English is NOT rightly understood by most without deep theological training.

    Ask folks to describe "propitiation" and you'll see another word that might have been fine in 1611 that desperately needs revising today.
     
  16. natters

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    Yes, it may pose difficulty. But sometimes, even simple words and terms are easily misunderstood. [​IMG]
     
  17. Craigbythesea

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    You are merely speculating here, as are many others on the Internet. The reality is that we do not know with any certainty why the translators of the KJV translated "monogenes" as they did. Many translators today translate it just as did the translators of the KJV and they certainly don’t translate it that way based on Jerome’s Latin Vulgate!

    I have, of course, read about this matter and it has no relevance of any kind whatsoever to our discussion. John’s use of the word took place BEFORE processional Trinitarian theology was even invented. Whatever concept John was trying to express using the word "monogenes," his choice of that word was independent of subsequent theologies and heresies.

    We need to translate the Scriptures correctly even if doing so may have some part in causing some people to be confused. The bottom line is the concept that John wished to express in Greek, and Bible scholars do NOT agree on what that concept was. Very much study has gone into this question, and there simply is no consensus of opinion, one way or the other. The evidence from the Old Testament in not conclusive, and neither is the evidence from the New Testament. It is very possible that John used the word "monogenes" differently than did Luke, as has been proposed by some scholars of the Gospel According to John and 1 John, and therefore we cannot look at Luke and say that John did not have the concept of begotten in mind. Nor can we rule out the possibility that Luke had the concept of begotten in mind.

    Have you read the article in Kittel that I referenced? Have you read Rudolf Schnackenburg’s comments on John 1:14 found in volume one, pp. 265-273, in his commentary on the Gospel According to John?

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Plain ol' Ralph

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    Uh, since God is not a "kind", I would have to give honour where honour is due, the KJB translators use of the word "only begotten" best fits the accuracy of the Truth.

    I cannot believe what I read in here sometimes, well, MOST of the time when considering the logic expressed here. [​IMG]
     
  19. Plain ol' Ralph

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    Certainly, and that would then leave confusion as having an open door to continue to confuse, with that type of logic at work, you should resort back to the KJB, coupled with prayer, and of course, genuine salvation does seem to help when discernement is needed. :rolleyes:
     
  20. Scott J

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    Certainly, and that would then leave confusion as having an open door to continue to confuse, with that type of logic at work, you should resort back to the KJB, coupled with prayer, and of course, genuine salvation does seem to help when discernement is needed. :rolleyes: </font>[/QUOTE]I am genuinely saved and absolutely certain that you are devoid of the truth on this subject.
     

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