King James Version No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. William Tyndale’s 1534 New Testament (Modern Spelling Edition) No man hath seen God at any time.  The only begotten son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

New American Bible (the Catholic bible) No one has ever seen God.  The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him. Revised Standard Version No one has ever seen God:  the only Son,b who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known. New Revised Standard Version No one has ever seen God.  It is God the only Son,e who is close to the Father’s heart,f who has made him known. New International Version No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only,a,b who is at the Father’s side has made him known The Amplified New Testament No man has ever seen God at any time; the only eunique Son, fthe only-begotten God, Who is in the bosom [that is, in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him—He has revealed Him, brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him, and He has made Him known. [Prov. 8:30.] The Adventures in Odyssey Bible (From the International Children’s Bible, New Century Version Distributed by Focus on the Family) No man has ever seen God.  But God the only Son is very close to the Father.n  And the Son has shown us what God is like.

Margin Notes New American Bible 1, 18: The only Son, God: while the vast majority of later textual witnesses have another reading, “the son, the only one” or “the Only Son,” the translation above follows the best and earliest manuscripts, monogenes theos, but takes the first term to mean not just “Only One” but to include a filial relationship with the Father, as at Lk 9, 38 (“only child”) or Heb 11, 17 (“only son”) and as translated at Jn 1, 14. The Logos is thus “only Son” and God but not Father/God.

Margin Notes Revised Standard Version b Other ancient authorities read God

Margin Notes New Revised Standard Version e Other ancient authorities read It is an only Son, God, or It is the only Son f Greek bosom

Margin Notes New International Version a18 or the Only Begotten b18 some manuscripts but the only (or only begotten) Son

Margin Notes The Amplified New Testament e) Moulton and Milligan’s “Vocabulary of the Greek Testament” f) Supported by “a great mass of ancient evidence” (Vincent)

Margin Notes The Adventures in Odyssey Bible n But. . . Father This could be translated, “But the only God is very close to the Father.”  Also, some Greek copies say, “But the only Son is very close to the Father.

Amplified New Testament Preface Notes BRACKETS [ ]: contain justified clarifying words or comments, whether implied or not, which are not actually expressed in the immediate original text.  However, when the identification of a person or thing represented by a pronoun is certain, the noun may be substituted for the pronoun without brackets. ITALICS:  point out certain familiar passages now recognized as not adequately supported by the original manuscripts, or italics may be substituted for brackets.  Also “and,” “or” and other connectives in italics indicate that the portions so connected are to be found in the same original word or expression.

Commentary It is likely that this verse provides one greatest contrasts in verses between the modern versions and the KJV.  If we were to examine the bibles that existed between the Tyndale’s and the King James 1611 we would find that all, including the Douay-Rheims (the Catholic translated version of 1590 designed to compete with the Received Text bibles) read the same: The Douay-Rheims Bible No man hath seen God at any time: the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. The reason for this is the fact that the Douay-Rheims, for all its corruption (it is Jerome’s Latin Vulgate), was taken from the same source text as William Tyndale’s New Testament, and the King James Version and not from the corrupted Gnostic texts. Thus, it is very interesting as to where the modern versions get their reading of this verse.  The modern version’s new readings did not appear in English until after the Hort-Wescott Greek New Testament and the subsequent translation which is the Revised Standard Version.  In the Revised Standard version several changes are evident.  They are: “no man” to “no one”, “only begotten Son” to “the only Son”, and “declared him” to “revealed him”.  In the New Revised Standard Version they went one step further and changed the spiritual context of “who is in the bosom of the Father” to the strictly physical context of “who is close to the Father’s heart,”. All these changes are at a minimum, quite dangerous, but more correctly, for the context of the verse, they are blasphemous.  Let us consider: when the term “no man” is used the context it is clearly referring to mankind.  To now change this to make it “no one” means that the verse becomes all-inclusive.  The use of the word “one” means anyone period, not just man, as there are no qualifiers put on the term.  Fully considered, this must necessarily mean everyone, which creates a contradiction.  By saying “no man” this means those that are only of the race of man, are included.  The Lord Jesus Christ is both God and man.  He is both the Son of God, and the Son of man.  Therefore, he is necessarily excluded from this statement.  By stating “no one,” potentially this means that not even the Son has seen God.  This may not be what they meant, but it can easily be construed from what they wrote.  If someone understands that there is a spiritual world, and that beings live in it as well, those beings would necessarily be included in the description of “one” as well. Additionally, it is evident that there is error in the modern versions in the statement “the only Son.” In the proper text this is “the only begotten Son”, which in the underlying Received Text Greek is “monogenes huios”.  In the underlying Hort-Westcott text of the modern versions it is “monogenes theos” which the translation committees render “the only Son”.  If we read the New American Bible (which is also translated from the Hort-Westcott (now Nestle-Aland text)) margin notes above, it is apparent that they mistranslate in an effort to maintain the principles that are plainly stated in the Scripture: God is not begotten.  The Son is begotten, but not God.  God has always existed and will always exist.  This, of course, matches what is written in Hebrews 1:5, 10:5 and in Philippians 2:7-8.  It is clear that some of the new translations do translate this passage exactly as written.  Most notably the Jehovah’s Witness translation, which is the New World Translation.  This corrupted  text and translation (with additions) can also be seen in the Lockman Foundation’s Amplified Bible as quoted above.  It should be quite clear that translating this passage as “the only begotten God” is blatant blasphemy as it states that God did not exist from the beginning.  This would be consistent with the Gnostic understanding of the scriptures.  The Gnostics held (and hold today) the view that the Son of God had to be the firstborn (the first created creature) because there could be no equality in trinity. It was impossible for the Gnostics to understand how it is possible for three distinct persons could be totally and completely equal. Hence, they altered the Greek text to reflect a purely carnal (and blasphemous) point of view. It is unfortunate that Bible Scholars cannot discern a corrupted text and reject it out of hand. Instead, what we see is a wholesale rush to accept the most corrupted of texts, texts which would have been quickly rejected by virtually everyone 400 years ago – even by the Catholics, as their Douay-Rheims Bible demonstrates.


2 thoughts on “Verse Comparison – John 1:18

  • 12 Jul 2011 at 07:39

    Another major Bible Translation should be noted that they have used the terminology, “The only begotten Son.”
    The NKJV:  “No one has seen God at any time.  The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”
    The Lockman Foundation translates the verse in the NASB Updated version the same way you mention they did in the Amplified, “…only begotten God.”
    I use more than one Translation.  In saying that I use more that one Translation, I find the Translation of this verse to be more offensive than 1 John 5:6-8, and the Translators making a footnote on the last part of Mark 16. I find the way these Bible Translators have translated this verse the way they do to be as disturbing as adding words, such NIV’s “homosexual offender.” God watches, they will be accountable.

  • 12 Jul 2011 at 08:13

    I neglected above to state the specific reason why this translation of John 1:18 has been offensive to me.  The reason can be summed up by the following parts of the original version of The Nicene Creed found in the book, “Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History:”

    “…the only begotten of the Father, that is, of the substance of the Father; God of God, light of light, true God of true God; begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father, by whom all things were made…But the hold catholic and apostolic Church of God anathematizes those who affirm that there was a time when the Son was not, or that he was not before he was begotten, or that he was made of things not existing: or who say that the Son of God was of any other substance or essence, or created, or liable to change or conversion.”

    I come from a different denominational background than Paul, but “orthodox Christianity,” Roman Catholic, Protestants, and Orthodox all agree with The Nicene Creed.  These Translations seem under the anathema of The Nicene Creed, and the way they have translated this verse should be rejected by Christians.

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