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Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by ReformedBaptist, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. ReformedBaptist

    ReformedBaptist Well-Known Member

    Aug 7, 2007
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    In my on-going study of textual critical issues, the following has been bothering me. The Critical Text (CT) has "only begotten God" while the Traditional Text (TR) has "only begotten Son"

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

    No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. ESV

    Note: Why does the ESV drop the word begotten?

    No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. KJV

    Now, I understand why the difference exists. The CT has the Greek word for God, not Son. The TR has the Greek word for Son.

    Aside from all the KJV/MVs debates, I would hope I am not the only one bothered by this. I am especially bothered by this becaue I have been taught that no important doctrine is affected by the textual variants.

    Well, this is clearly a textual variant. The CT has "God" and the TR has "Son" THey are different words. But does this difference constitute a substantial difference in theology?

    What does an "only begotten God" mean/imply? Is there an essential difference between reading this as the only begotten Son, or the only begotten God?
  2. jbh28

    jbh28 Active Member

    Mar 14, 2008
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    They are both referencing Jesus Christ the Son of God who is the second person of the Trinity. One calls the second person of the trinity "God" here and is a reference to the deity of Christ. Some have misused the verse to try to teach 2 gods, but it is clear from Scripture that there is only one God(Deuteronomy 6:4, Romans 3:30) so that cannot be an interpretation of the passage. It can only mean a reference to the second person of the trinity.

    As far as the "begotten" word, there is debate over the correct translation of the Greek term monogenēs.
  3. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Mar 4, 2011
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    As someone who believes in the doctrine of the Trinity, I do not see any theological difference. And so if the best evidence is that the original inspired word was God and not son, that is how the translation should read.

    And yes, translations like the NIV render monogenes as "one of a kind" rather than begotten. So the NIV reads No one has ever seen God but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made Him known.