The Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal, only begotten Son of God.
We cannot wrap our minds around the mystery of the Holy Trinity, but the Sacred Scriptures, as found in the King James Bible, reveal that Jesus Christ is the eternal, only begotten son of God. He was the only begotten Son BEFORE His incarnation. I John 4:9 says, "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." Christ was the only begotten Son BEFORE He was set into the world. He did not become the only begotten Son at His incarnation.In John 10:36, our Saviour asks, “Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?”
As the Son of God He appeared in the fiery furnace along with the three Hebrew believers in the days of Daniel. In Daniel 3:25 king Nebuchadnezzar says: "Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." Some object to the phrase "like the Son of God", and tell us this was not the Son. However, we see a similar phrase used in Daniel 7:13 "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one LIKE the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven..."
and in Revelation 1:13 where the apostle John is shown a vision of the ascended and glorified Lord of glory, and he says: "And being turned I saw...in the midst of the seven candlesticks one LIKE UNTO the Son of man." Was this indeed the Son of man and the Son of God? Of course it was.
The book of Proverbs makes mention of the pre-incarnate Son in 30:4. "Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?"
More Biblical Evidence Showing That Christ Was the Son of God Even Prior to Bethlehem:
The Bible clearly teaches that it was “the Son” who created all things, thus strongly implying that Christ was the Son of God at the time of creation.
The great creation passages of Scripture affirm that as the Son He created all things. In Colossians 1:12 - 17 we read: "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear SON: In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by Him (the Son) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: And He (the Son) is before all things, and by Him all things consist."
Again in Hebrews 1:1-2 we read: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His SON, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by Whom (the Son) also He made the worlds..."
It was by the Son of God that all things were created; thus He was the Son of God before His incarnation.
There are many passages which speak of the Father SENDING the Son into the world. All these verses suggest that Christ existed as the Son prior to His incarnation. 1 John 4:10,14: "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and SENT HIS SON to be the propitiation for our sins." "And we have seen and do testify that the Father SENT THE SON to be the Saviour of the world.".
Galatians 4:4 "But when the fulness of the time was come, God SENT FORTH HIS SON, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law." God's Son was sent into this world, and made of a woman. This is when He became the God - man, and took on human nature in order to be our kinsman redeemer, but the incarnation is not when He was made the Son of God. He always was the Son of God.
The parable of the vineyard owner (Mark 12:1-12) points to Christ as being the Son prior to His coming into the world. In the parable, the son of the vineyard owner was the son long before he was sent on his mission.
John 3:16 tells us that God gave His only begotten Son, implying that Christ was God's Son before He was given. God the Father did not give One who would become His Son, but He gave One who already was His Son.
Notice carefully what the Lord says in John 16:28. "I am COME FORTH FROM THE FATHER, and am come into the world; again, I leave the world, and go to the Father." He first "came forth from the Father" and then He came into the world. God was His Father BEFORE He came into this world.
Then in John 17:5 the Lord again says: "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee (the Father) BEFORE THE WORLD WAS." These verses clearly imply that Christ was the Son of the Father before He came into this world.
Romans 1:1-3 tell us of the gospel of God, which he promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures "Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was MADE of the seed of David ACCORDING TO THE FLESH."
Again, this speaks of the incarnation of the eternal Son of God as a man to become our kinsman redeemer, but He was the Son of God before His incarnation.
Those who deny the eternal Sonship of the Lord Jesus Christ will often refer to Luke 1:31-35. Here the angel Gabriel is sent to the virgin Mary with these words: "And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and SHALL BE CALLED the Son of the Highest: (Notice it does not say "He shall BECOME the Son of the Highest) and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of HIS FATHER DAVID. (David was His father only in the human sense, not in regard to His eternal Sonship)....The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore that holy thing which shall be born of thee SHALL BE CALLED the Son of God."
Again, the text does not says "shall BECOME the Son of God", but "shall be CALLED the Son of God."
The apostles John, Peter and Paul, as well as Thomas and many others called the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God, and so do countless numbers of Christians today, but our calling Him the Son of God does not make Him God's eternal Son - No, this is who He is and always was - the eternal, only begotten Son of the living God.
John Gill comments: "and shall be called the Son of the Highest... not by creation, as angels and men, nor by adoption, as saints, nor by office, as magistrates, are called "the children of the Most High", (Psalms 82:6) but by nature, being the eternal Son of God; of the same nature with him, and equal to him: for he was not now to begin to be the Son of God, he was so before, even from all eternity; but the sense is, that he should now be known, owned, and acknowledged to be the Son of God, being as such manifested in human nature, and should be proved to be so by the works he wrought, and declared to be the Son of God with power by his resurrection from the dead."
Perhaps the strongest verse for those who deny the eternal Sonship of the Second Person of the Trinity is 2 Samuel 7:14 where God tells king David that He will raise up his seed after him and "He shall build an house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son."
Notice that the King James Bible does not capitalize either Father or Son.
If this were the only verse in Scripture that addresses the nature of the Son of God, I would have to agree with their point of view. However, it is not, and there are many other Scriptures that teach the eternality of the Son of God. What I believe this verse is speaking of is that God will be his father and he His son by the way He treats with and deals with this future seed of David. As a father He will watch over him and care for him; not that He will become His Father and He His Son.
We see the same thing in Revelation 21:7. Ask those who teach the doctrine of incarnational sonship if they are right now, at this moment, a son of God. They will affirm that they are. But Revelation 21:7 says: "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God and he shall be my son."
Yet we already are the sons of God as numerous passages of Scripture tell us. However this verse seems to be saying that in the future we will eternally enjoy this relationship with God as our Father and we as His sons.
Jesus Christ, as the only begotten Son is one of the Three Persons of the Trinity. He is the eternal Son of the eternal Father. If the Father is eternal, so must be the Son. A human man cannot be a father until he has a son. He is a man, and a husband, but he does not become a father until and at the same time he has a son. The two terms, “father” and “son”, are simultaneous.
The orthodox view of the Person of Jesus Christ is that He is the only begotten Son by eternal generation, eternally proceeding from the Father. He is also eternal God.
I Timothy 3:16 tell us, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness; GOD was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
You cannot prove that God was manifest in the flesh from the Jehovah Witness bible, nor from the NIV, RSV, ESV, NET, or NASB versions using this verse. They say something like “He appeared in a body” - NIV. All of us have appeared in a body too, but we are not God.
See much more on this verse here - 1 Timothy 3:16 "GOD was manifest in the flesh" or the Vatican Versions; "He"?
There are also other verses found in the modern versions that undermine and attack the eternal deity of the only begotten Son of God. Can you prove from the KJB that Jesus Christ had a beginning or an origin? No. Can you prove from the NIV, RSV, ESV, NET version, Holman Standard, or the JW bibles that He had an origin? Yes.
In Micah 5:2, the King James Bible says: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; WHOSE GOINGS FORTH have been from of old, FROM EVERLASTING.”
Other versions that read like the KJB "whose goings forth" are the Revised Version, American Standard Version, the NKJV, Webster's, Third Millenium Bible, NASB, Darby, Spanish, Hebrew-English translations of 1917 and 1936, Coverdale, Bishops', Hebrew Names Version, Bible in Basic English, Young's, the Geneva Bible, and the Catholic Douay.
The NIV says, "whose ORIGINS are from of old, from ANCIENT TIMES." The JW version, and the RSV, ESV, and Holman Standard say, "whose ORIGIN is from early times, from the days of time indefinite (or "origin..from ancient days)."
KJB - Psalm 93:2 Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.
NIV - Psalm 93:2 Your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity.
The NIV says God is everlasting/eternal based upon the Hebrew word for everlasting.
But when the NIV and other MVs gets to Micah 5:2 where the reference is to Jesus Christ then suddenly the Hebrew word for everlasting changes to "ancient of days" or "from ancient times" – Now Jesus is not eternal anymore. Why is God eternal in Psalm 93:2 but Jesus is not eternal in Micah 5:2 according to several modern versions? It is the same Hebrew word.
Daniel Wallace's Net version likewise reads in Micah 5:2 - "As for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, seemingly insignificant among the clans of Judah— from you a king will emerge who will rule over Israel on my behalf, one whose ORIGINS are in the distant past."
Then the good Doktor footnotes - "Hebrew “his goings out.” The term may refer to the ruler’s origins or to his activities."
Why do the NIV, RSV, ESV, Holman Standard, NET, and the JW bibles say “origin” or "origins"? The Son of God did not have a beginning, but He Himself is the beginning, the source of all that exists. Revelation 22:13 tells us, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” Compare these words spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ with those found in Isaiah 44:6, “Thus saith the LORD, the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.”
The JW’s teach that the Son of God is not eternal God, but rather the first created being, that He is less than God the Father. The word of God says, "whose GOINGS FORTH have been from of old, FROM EVERLASTING." Remember, "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world."
The KJB says his goings forth are from everlasting. Yet the NIV, RSV, ESV, NET say his origin is from ancient times. Ancient times may be long, long ago, but it is not the same as everlasting.
The Hebrew word olam can be translated as “ancient” when applied to created things or people as it is in Psalm 22:28, “Remove not the ancient landmark”, or as in Isaiah 44:7, “since I appointed the ancient people”, but when the word is applied to God, it is rendered as “everlasting” as in Psalm 90:2, “from everlasting to everlasting Thou art God.”
The NIV concordance shows that they have translated this word as “everlasting” 60 times, as eternal or eternity 8 times, as “forever” 202 times, but as “from ancient times” only twice - one of them here in Micah 5:2 where they apply it to our Lord and Redeemer!
For much more on this verse see -
Is the Lord Jesus Christ FROM EVERLASTING or did He have ORIGINS? - Micah 5:2
Acts 13:33 "This day have I begotten thee"
There is another phrase. that is “hard to be understood” that has been changed in the NIV, NKJV, RSV, ESV, NET, Holman, and the NASB. It is found in Acts 13:33 where it refers to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The KJB reads, "God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus AGAIN; as it is written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee."
The versions that read as the KJB, “he hath raised up Jesus AGAIN” are Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, Webster’s 1833, the Third Millennium Bible 1998, and the 21st Century KJV 1994. The modern New English Bible and the New Century version both read “raising Jesus from the dead”. The Living Bible says “bringing Jesus back from the dead”, and God’s Word Translation says, “by bringing Jesus back to life.”
It is of great interest to see how many foreign language Bibles render this phrase “he hath raised up Jesus AGAIN”. The Spanish says: “resusitándo a Jesus”, the Latin resuscitans Iesum, the French - en ressuscitant Jesus; the Portuguese- ressuscitando a Jesus, and the Italian has risuscitando Gesu. Thus it is easy to see that they all consider this verse to read as does the KJB. I believe it is referring to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
The modern NKJV, NIV, RSV, ESV, and NASB versions make this verse refer to the incarnation of Jesus, rather than His resurrection by merely saying, “God has raised up Jesus”. They leave out raised up Jesus AGAIN.
Some new version defenders tell us that the word “again” is not in the Greek text. Yet again, I believe this is a false statement. All the versions, frequently translate the verb anistemi as raised up again. For example the NIV renders this word as “rise again” 6 times, “raised to life” once, and “raised from the dead” once. It is frequently used in the phrase that Jesus would be “raised” on the third day. The noun form of this verb is anastasis and is always used in referrence to the resurrection.
What does the phrase, “This day have I begotten thee” mean? Jesus Christ did not become the only begotten Son at His incarnation. This false doctrine is called incarnational sonship. He was the only begotten Son BEFORE His taking on a human body.
The orthodox doctrine that the Lord Jesus Christ was begotten before His incarnation was firmly established in 325 A.D at the council of Nicea when the church was combating the teaching of Arianism. Arianism taught that Christ was a created being; that He had an origen and was inferior to God the Father.
Here is part of the well known Nicean Creed.
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made;
I John 4:9, "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." He was the only begotten Son before He was sent into this world.
The NIV teaches heresy with its rendering of Acts 13:33 by saying, "Today I have become your Father." And now the two new versions coming out, the ISV (International Standard Version) and the Southern Baptist Holman Christian Standard also have: "Today I HAVE BECOME YOUR FATHER"!!!
Daniel Wallace, of Dallas Theological Seminary, has his goofy NET bible version on the internet. The NET version says: "13:33 that this promise God has fulfilled to us, their children, by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second psalm, ‘You are my Son; TODAY I HAVE FATHERED YOU."
Then D.Wallace footnotes: " Greek “I have begotten you.” The traditional translation is misleading to the modern English reader because it is no longer in common use. Today one speaks of “fathering” a child in much the same way speakers of English formerly spoke of “begetting a child.”
While Dr. Wallace speaks of updating, or "modernizing" the English language, he utterly fails to see the blatant theological heresy his easy to read version has introduced. This reading of "today I have fathered you" teaches that there was a time when Jesus Christ was not the Son, and God was not His Father. This is the same teaching and reading of the Jehovah Witnesses' bible version.
The verb used here is gennao, to beget or to be born. There is no Greek word here for the NIV's " have become" or " Father" in any Greek text on this earth.
In what sense then can Jesus be said to have been begotten on a certain day? This happened at the resurrection.
Jamieson, Faussett and Brown commentary: this day have I begotten thee-- (Psalms 2:7). Fulfilled at the resurrection of Jesus, whereby the Father "declared," that is, made manifest His divine Sonship, heretofore veiled by His humiliation (Acts 13:33, Romans 1:4). Christ has a fourfold right to the title "Son of God"; (1) By generation, as begotten of God; (2) By commission, as sent by God; (3) By resurrection, as "the first-begotten of the dead" (4) By actual possession, as heir of all . I the Everlasting Father have begotten Thee this day, that is, on this day, the day of Thy being manifested as My Son, "the first-begotten of the dead" (Col. 1:18, Rev. 1:5).The context refers to a definite point of time, namely, that of His having entered on the inheritance (Heb. 1:4)."
B.W. Johnson, People's New Testament: "This day have I begotten thee. What day is referred to in the prophecy? Acts 13:32, 33 answers the question by quoting this very passage and declaring that it was fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ from the dead. He was born from the dead and God, who raised him, thus demonstrated that he was his Son.
The Expositor's Greek Testament: "Today" is evidently intended to mark a special occasion and cannot allude to the eternal generation of the Son. It is not the beginning of life, but the entrance on office that is indicated and it is as King the person addressed is God's Son. Thus Paul applies it to the resurrection of Christ in Acts 13:33.
John Wesley comments on this passage:
"Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee - It is true, he was the Son of God from eternity. As St. Paul elsewhere, declared to be the Son of God with power, by the resurrection from the dead,(Romans 1:4) And it is with peculiar propriety and beauty that God is said to have begotten him, on the day when he raised him from the dead, as he seemed then to be born out of the earth anew."
Dr. Douglas Stauffer, a Baptist pastor and preacher, has written a book called One Book Stands Alone, which is a good defense of the King James Bible. Regarding Acts 13:33 and its meaning, Mr. Stauffer notes on pages 24-25: KJB Acts 13:33 "God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, THIS DAY HAVE I BEGOTTEN THEE.
When the Father said this to the Son, it was not at His birth. It was at His resurrection. He became the "first BEGOTTEN of the dead" Rev.1:5. God did not become the Lord's Father when He was born or Mary or at the resurrection. He is from everlasting, with no beginning. The Son always was...but not so in the NIV.
NIV Acts 13:33 "he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm: "You are my Son; TODAY I HAVE BECOME YOUR FATHER."
The Lord Jesus Christ did not become THE SON of God at any time during His earthly life or ministry. (Psalm 2:12) The Lord Jesus Christ (God the Son) can be found throughout the Old Testament. Numerous appearances are revealed prior to His being born of Mary. A great passage in proof of this truth is located in the book of Daniel when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are thrown into the fiery furnace. Notice who else shows up... the ETERNAL Son of God." (End of comments by Dr. Douglas Stauffer)
The Son of God refers to Himself in Revelation 1:5 as, "the firstbegotten from the dead", and in Colossians 1:18 He is referred to as "the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he might have the preeminence."
I believe the NKJV, RSV, ESV, and the NASB are wrong by applying Acts 13:33 to Christ's incarnation instead of His resurrection, and the NIV, ISV, and Holman Standard along with the NWT, are heretical by teaching Christ was not the Son, nor God His Father before a certain day.
I hope this little study has been helpful to you and that we all will appreciate and love the Person of our Blessed Redeemer more for His amazing grace to us unworthy sinners. May our attitude towards His true words as found in the KJB be as that of king David- “Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.” Psalm 119:128.
Part Two - "the only begotten Son" or "the one and only Son"?
There are some today who argue about the meaning of the phrase "only begotten Son" and tell us that the King James Bible translators got it all wrong and it really should read something like "the one and only Son" or "the unique Son".
Let's look at the Greek text for the first part of John 3:16 "God so loved the world that he gave his ONLY BEGOTTEN Son". In Greek this looks like - Οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον, ὥστε τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ τὸν μονογενῆ ἔδωκεν. The word in question is μονογενῆ
According to numerous Greek-English lexicons the meaning in reference to the Son of God is "only begotten". It is so translated by a multitude of English Bible versions. It also appears that some of the more modern lexicons are changing the meaning of the word from what others in the past have said about the meaning of this word is, particularly in reference to the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ.
I have a hard copy of Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon, 17th edition, dated 1887. On page 451 it tells us that the word has one primary meaning and one secondary meaning. The first meaning listed under the word monogenes is "ONLY BEGOTTEN". The second meaning is "born from one and the same mother". Those are the only definitions it gives.
I also have a modern Greek-English Dictionary. It is not a Bible reference book in any way; it is just a secular dictionary called Divry's Modern English-Greek and Greek-English Desk Dictionary by D.C. Divry, Inc. Publishers, New York, 1974. If you look up the Greek word monogenes on page 594 is has only one definition listed - ONLY BEGOTTEN.
I also have Gerhard Kittel's massive work, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. In volume IV on pages 737 through page 741 it discusses the meanings of the word monogenes. It says on page 739 - "In the New Testament monogenes occurs only in Luke, John and Hebrews. It means "ONLY-BEGOTTEN".
On page 741 he says: "In John 1:14,18; 3:16,18; 1 John 4:19 monogenes denotes more than the uniqueness or incomparability of Jesus. In all these verses He is expressly called the Son, and He is regarded as such in John 1:14. In John monogenes denotes the origin of Jesus. He is monogenes as THE ONLY BEGOTTEN." (caps are mine).
Likewise Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words discusses the meaning of monogenes on page 822. He says: "It is translated "only begotten". We can only rightly understand the term "only begotten" when used of the Son, in the sense of unoriginated relationship. The "begetting" is not an event of time, however remote, but a fact irrespective of time. The Christ did not become, but necessarily and eternally is the Son. He, a Person, possesses every attribute of pure Godhood."
Vine also continues: "In John 1:18 the clause "the Only Begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father," expresses both His eternal union with the Father in the Godhead and the ineffable intimacy and love between them, the Son sharing all the Father's counsels and enjoying all His affections."
Now let's compare some English Bible versions through the centuries. We will be looking at John 3:16
Wycliffe 1395 - "For God louede so the world, that he yaf his `oon bigetun sone"
Tyndale 1525 - John 1:18 - "No ma hath sene God at eny tyme. The only begotte sonne which is in ye bosome of ye father he hath declared him." See also 1 John 4:9 and John 1:14 - "the glory of it as the glory of the only begotten sonne of ye father"
Coverdale 1535 - John 1:18 - "No man hath sene God at eny tyme. The onely begotte sonne which is in the bosome of the father, he hath declared the same vnto vs." See also 1 John 4:9 and John 1:14 - "glory as of the onely begotte sonne of the father, full of grace and trueth."
The Great Bible (Cranmer) 1540 -"For God so loue þe worlde, that, he gaue is only begotten sonne,"
Bishops' Bible 1568 - "For God so loued the worlde, that he gaue his only begotten sonne"
The Geneva Bible 1587 - "For God so loued the worlde, that hee hath giuen his onely begotten Sonne"
The Douay-Rheims 1610 - "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son"
King James Bible 1611 - "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son"
Whiston's Primitive New Testament 1745- "his only begotten Son"
John Wesley's translation 1755 - "he gave his only begotten Son"
Living Oracles 1835- "his own begotten Son"
Darby 1890 - "his only-begotten Son"
The Revised English Bible 1881 - "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son"
The ASV of 1901 - "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son"
Young's literal 1898 - "that His Son -- the only begotten -- He gave"
Lamsa's 1933 translation of the Syriac Peshitta - "that he even gave his only begotten Son"
NKJV 1982 - "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son"
NASB 1995 - "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son"
Knox Bible 2012 -"God so loved the world, that he gave up his only-begotten Son"
Other Bible translations that say "his ONLY BEGOTTEN SON" are The Beza N.T. 1599, The Alford N.T. 1870, Godby N.T. 1902, The Clarke N.T. 1913, The Word of Yah Bible 1993, The Third Millennium Bible 1998, The Yah Sacred Scriptures 2001, The Tomson N.T. 2002, The Pickering N.T. 2005, The Revised Geneva Bible 2005, The Resurrection Life N.T. 2005, The Mebust Bible 2007, The Public Domain Version 2009, The Hebrew Transliteration Scripture 2010, The Jubilee Bible 2010, The New European Version 2010, The Scripture 4 All Translation (interlinear) 2010, The Aramaic New Testament 2011, The Work of God's Children Bible 2011, The Bond Slave Version 2012, The Revised Douay-Rheims Bible 2012, The Berean Literal Bible, The Biblos Bible 2013, The English Majority Text N.T. 2013, The Far Above All Translation 2014, The Modern English Version 2014, and The Modern Literal New Testament 2014.
But we begin to see a change in many of today's versions
The first major modern English Bible version that began to change the phrase "the only begotten Son" to "the only Son" was the liberal RSV which reads- "For God so loved the world that he gave his ONLY Son"
The printed Greek Lexicons also began to change. I have a hard copy of what they label as "A Greek-English Lexicon compiled by Liddell and Scott" dated 1968 and it now lists under the meaning of monogenes "the only member of a kind; unique." But Liddell and Scott were not alive in 1968 and their Greek Lexicon written in 1887 when they WERE alive says that monogenes means "ONLY BEGOTTEN". So who is changing the Lexicon that now bears their names? It certainly was NOT Liddell and Scott!
Holman Standard 2003 - "For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son"
The NIV 2011 - "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son"
ESV 2003-2011 - "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son"
The ISV - "For this is how God loved the world: He gave his unique Son"
The Catholic bible Versions
What is of interest is to see how the Catholic bible versions have been changing over the centuries. The Douay Rheims of 1610 and the Catholic Douay of 1950 both read "God so loved the word that he gave his ONLY BEGOTTEN SON".
But the 1970 St. Joseph New American bible and the 1985 New Jerusalem bible both read like so many other modern versions - "God so loved the world that he gave HIS ONLY SON"
Jesus Christ is NOT God's ONLY Son. There are the "sons of God" in the book of Job who are angels of God - See Job 1:6; 2:1 and 38:7. And the believing people of God in both the Old and New Testaments are also called the sons of God. As far as being "unique", or "one of a kind", God has made every individual who has ever lived on the face of this earth "unique" and one of a kind. No two of us are exactly alike in our mental, physical or spiritual makeup.
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Berkhof on the Eternal Generation of the Son
Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, 1949), pp. 93-94.
The eternal generation of the Son. The personal property of the Son is that He is eternally begotten of the Father (briefly called "filiation"), and shares with the father in the spiration of the Spirit. The doctrine of the generation of the Son is suggested by the Biblical representation of the first and second persons of the Trinity as standing in the relation of Father and Son to each other. Not only do the names "Father" and "Son" suggest the generation of the latter by the former, but the Son is also repeatedly called "the only-begotten," John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; Heb. 11:17; 1 John 4:9. Several particulars deserve emphasis in connection with the generation of the Son: (1) It is a necessary act of God. Origen, one of the very first to speak of the generation of the Son, regarded it as an act dependent on the Father's will and therefore free. Others at various times expressed the same opinion. But it was clearly seen by Athanasius and others that a generation dependent on the optional will of the Father would make the existence of the Son contingent and thus rob Him of His deity. Then the Son would not be equal to and homoousios [of the same essence] with the Father, for the Father exists necessarily, and cannot be conceived of as non-existent. The generation of the Son must be regarded as a necessary and perfectly natural act of God. This does not mean that it is not related to the Father's will in any sense of the word. It is an act of the Father's necessary will, which merely means that His concomitant will takes perfect delight in it. (2) It is an eternal act of the Father. This naturally follows from the preceding. If the generation of the Son is a necessary act of the Father, so that it is impossible to conceive of Him as not generating, it naturally shares in the eternity of the Father. This does not mean, however, that it is an act that was completed in the far distant past, but rather that it is a timeless act, the act of an eternal present, an act always continuing and yet ever completed. Its eternity follows not only from the eternity of God, but also from the divine immutability and from the true deity of the Son. In addition to this it can be inferred from all those passages of Scripture which teach either the pre-existence of the Son or His equality with the Father, Mic. 5:2; John 1:14, 18; 3:16; 5:17, 18, 30, 36; Acts 13:33; John 17:5; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:3. The statement of Ps. 2:7, "Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee," is generally quoted to prove the generation of the Son, but, according to some, with rather doubtful propriety, cf. Acts 13:33; Heb. 1:5. They surmise that these words refer to the raising up of Jesus as Messianic King, and to the recognition of Him as Son of God in an official sense, and should probably be linked with the promise found in II Sam. 7:14, just as they are in Heb. 1:5. (3) It is a generation of the personal subsistence rather than of the divine essence of the Son. Some have spoken as if the Father generated the essence of the Son, but this is equivalent to saying that He generated His own essence, for the essence of both the Father and the Son is exactly the same. It is better to say that the Father generates the personal subsistence of the Son, but thereby also communicates to Him the divine essence in its entirety. But in doing this we should guard against the idea that the Father first generated a second person, and then communicated the divine essence to this person, for that would lead to the conclusion that the Son was not generated out of the divine essence, but created out of nothing. In the work of generation there was a communication of essence; it was one indivisible act. And in virtue of this communication the Son also has life in Himself. This is in agreement with the statement of Jesus, "For as the Father hath life in Himself, even so gave He to the Son also to have life in Himself," John 5:26. (4) It is a generation that must be conceived of as spiritual and divine. In opposition to the Arians, who insisted that the generation of the Son necessarily implied separation or division in the divine Being, the Church Fathers stressed the fact that this generation must not be conceived in a physical and creaturely way, but should be regarded as spiritual and divine, excluding all idea of division or change. It brings distinctio and distributio, but no diversitas and divisio in the divine Being. (Bavinck) The most striking analogy of it is found in man's thinking and speaking, and the Bible itself seems to point to this, when it speaks of the Son as the Logos. (5) The following definition may be given of the generation of the Son: It is that eternal and necessary act of the first person in the Trinity, whereby He, within the divine Being, is the ground of a second personal subsistence like HIs own, and puts this second person in possession of the whole divine essence, without any division, alienation, or change.