Luke 2:33, 43 “JOSEPH and his mother marvelled” or “HIS FATHER and his mother marveled”?
In the true Bible God never refers to Joseph as “the father” of Jesus, and this is simply because when God became a man in the incarnation, the baby Jesus was born of the virgin Mary and His Father was God, not Joseph. Pretty simple truth, but even this truth is being messed with in many inferior bible versions.
In Luke 2:33 of the King James Bible we read - “And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.”
Yet in such versions as the ESV, NIV, NASB, NET, Holman, all Catholic versions and the Jehovah Witness New World Translation we read: “And HIS FATHER and his mother marveled at what was said about him.”
This is a textual difference that definitely affects the theological meaning and significance regarding the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ and His nature as the Son of God and Son of man.
And again in Luke 2:43 in the KJB we read: “And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and JOSEPH AND HIS MOTHER knew not of it.”
Yet in versions like the ESV, NIV, NASV, NET, Holman, the Catholic versions and the Jehovah Witness NWT we read: “…the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, and HIS PARENTS did not know it.”
The reading found in the King James Bible in Luke 2:33 - “Joseph and his mother” - is that of the Majority of all Greek manuscripts including A, E, G, H, K, M, S, U, Y, X, Xi, Gamma, Delta, Theta, Lambda, Pi, Psi and Omega.
It is also the reading of the Old Latin copies a, aur, b, beta, c, e, f, ff2, g1, l and q.
Likewise it is the reading found in the Syriac Peshitta, Harclean, some Coptic Boharic versions and the Gothic ancient translations.
Whereas the reading of “his FATHER and mother” is that of Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, D, L and W, and the Latin Vulgate. Obviously God did NOT inspire both divergent readings in the same place. One is right and the other is not right. But in these days of Laodicean lukewarmness, apathy and indifference, in which the majority of professing Christians no longer believe that ANY Bible in ANY language is the complete and infallible words of God, 100% true and without error, few seem to care or be concerned about it.
The same holds true for the reading in Luke 2:43. Is it “JOSEPH AND HIS MOTHER knew not of it.” or “his PARENTS did not know it.”?
Again, the reading found in the KJB is that of the majority of all manuscripts, the Old Latin, and the Syriac Peshitta, Harclean, Gothic and Ethiopic ancient versions. Whereas “his PARENTS” is that of Sinaiticus, Vaticanus and a handful of others.
I primarily wish to deal with Luke 2:33 “Joseph and his mother” vs “his father and his mother”. I will get to the issue of “his parents” and what this word means in the latter part.
Agreeing with the King James Bible in Luke 2:33 - “JOSEPH and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.” are the Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1582 - “And Ioseph and his mother marueiled at those things”, The Beza New Testament 1599, The Bill Bible 1671, Mace N.T. 1729, John Wesley’s Translation 1755, Worsley Version 1770, Thomas Haweis N.T. 1795, The Revised Translation 1815, Webster’s translation 1833, the Living Oracles 1835, The Morgan N.T. 1848, Etheridge Bible 1849, Murdock Translation 1852 and Lamsa’s 1933 translations of the Syriac - “And JOSEPH and his mother marvelled”, The Boothroyd Bible 1853, Julia Smith Translation 1855, The Revised N.T. 1862, Young’s literal 1898, NKJV 1982, KJV 21st Century 1994, Third Millennium Bible 1998, The Lawrie N.T. 1998, The Tomson N.T. 2002, Apostolic Bible Polyglot Greek 2003, Robinson-Pierpoint Byzantine Greek N.T., A Conservative Version Interlinear 2005, The Pickering N.T. 2005, The Resurrection Life N.T. 2005, Complete Apostle’s Bible 2005, English Jubilee Bible 2010, the Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010, Holy Scriptures VW Edition 2010 by Paul Becker, the Online Interlinear André de Mol 2010, The Aramaic N.T. 2011, World English Bible 2012, The Bond Slave Version 2012, the 2012 Natural Israelite Bible - “Joseph and his mother were marveling”, The Hebrew Names Version 2014 - "And Yosef and his mother...", The Modern Literal N.T. 2014 and The Modern English Version 2014.
This is also the reading of the Greek texts of Stephanus 1550, Beza 1598, Elziver and Scrivener - και ην ιωσηφ και η μητηρ αυτου θαυμαζοντες, as well as that of the Modern Greek Bible and the Modern Hebrew Bible as well - ויוסף ואמו תמהים על הדברים הנאמרים עליו׃ = “And Joseph and his mother were amazed at what was said of him.”
Foreign language Bibles that follow the readings found in the King James Bible of “JOSEPH and his mother marvelled” (Luke 2:33) and “Joseph and his mother knew not” (Luke 2:43) are the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras 1569, Cipriano de Valera 1602, the Reina Valeras 1909 - 2011 - “ José y su madre estaban maravillados”, the German Schlachter Bible 2000, and the German Hoffnung fur Alle Bible 2002 - “Und Joseph und seine Mutter”, the French Martin 1744, French Ostervald 1998 and French Louis Segond 2007 - “Joseph et la mère étaient émerveillés”, the Italian Diodati 1649, La Nuova Diodati 1991 and La Bibbia della Giola 2006 - “ E Giuseppe e la madre del bambino si meravigliavano”, the Portuguese A Biblia Sagrada, Almeida Corregida 1681 and O Livro 2000 - “José e Maria admiravamse”.
Other foreign language Bibles that read like the KJB are the Hungarian Karoli Bible - “József pedig és az õ anyja”, the Russian Synodal Version - “Иосиф же и Матерь Его дивились сказанному о Нем”, the 1998 Tagalog Ang Salita ng Diyos Bible - “Si Jose at ang ina ni Jesus ay namangha “, the Afrikaans Bible 1953 - “En Josef en sy moeder”, the Dutch Staten Vertaling Bible - “En Jozef en Zijn moeder verwonderden”, the Smith & Van Dyke Arabic Bible - وكان يوسف وامه يتعجبان مما قيل فيه., the Czech BKR Bible - “Otec pak a matka jeho divili se těm věcem”, the Albanian Bible - “Dhe Jozefi e nëna e fëmijës mrrekulloheshin”, the Finnish Bible 1776 - “Ja Joseph ja hänen äitinsä ihmettelivät”, the Lithuanian Bible- “Juozapas ir Jėzaus motina”, and the 2014 Romanian Fidela Bible - “Și Iosif şi mama lui s-au minunat.”
Those that read “HIS FATHER and his mother marvelled” are Wycliffe 1395 (from the Latin Vulgate), Tyndale 1534, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s Bible 1549 (Thus we see the need for the purification of previous English bibles), Catholic Douay-Rheims 1582, the Revised Version 1881, ASV 1901, RSV, NRSV, ESV, NIV, NASB, NET, Holman, St. Joseph New American Bible 1970, New Jerusalem bible 1985 and the Jehovah Witness New World Translation.
The point is, God did not inspire both readings. One is the true one and one is not.
The Bible agnostics and those who do not believe in the inerrancy of ANY Bible in ANY language (including those never seen and non-existent originals) try to explain away the significance of these textual and theological differences by telling us - “Yeah, but look at the KJB in verse 2:27 where it says “THE PARENTS brought the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law” and in Luke 2:41 it says “Now HIS PARENTS went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.” ‘See’, they tell us, ‘the KJB calls Joseph and Mary his PARENTS.’
Well, there IS a very legitimate way for God to refer to both Joseph and Mary as Jesus’s parents, but not for God to tell us that Joseph was his father. We will look at the meaning of the word “parents” in a moment.
Another objection the bible agnostics bring up is by pointing to Luke 2:48 where Mary says to Jesus “Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, THY FATHER and I have sought thee sorrowing.”
They tell us - “See, Mary refers to Joseph as Jesus’ father.”
Well, Yes, she does. But not God. And Jesus seems to correct her mistaken view in the very next verse by saying - “How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about MY FATHER’S business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.”
Jesus is emphasizing the fact that His real Father is God, not Joseph. The point is, God never inspired a reading in His Book where HE refers to Joseph as Jesus’ “father”.
In Luke 3:23 we read the words of God relating: "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, BEING (AS WAS SUPPOSED) THE SON OF JOSEPH, which was the son of Heli," There is a world of difference between GOD telling us that it "was supposed" that Jesus was the son of Joseph, and GOD allegedly saying that Joseph was "his father". One statement is true; the other is not.
Now, for an explanation about the word “parents”. What does the word mean?
Collins English Dictionary 1. a father or mother 2. a person acting as a father or mother; guardian
Dictionary.Com Parents = a father or a mother; a protector or guardian.
Cambridge Dictionary of American English - Parent - a person who gives birth to OR raises a child.
Oxford Dictionary “to parent” - “to be OR ACT AS a mother or father to someone”
Merriam Webster’s Dictionary 11th edition
Parent - a person who is a father or mother: a person who has a child.
Full Definition of PARENT
a : one that begets or brings forth offspring
b : a person who brings up and cares for another
Wordsmyth English Dictionary
Parent - 1. a father or a mother 2. a guardian or protector
Word Net Parent - A Noun. a father or mother; one who begets or one who gives birth to OR nurtures and raises a child; a relative who plays the role of guardian. Verb - to bring up.
Legal Dictionary. Law.com Dictionary - Parent - the lawful and natural father or mother of a person. The word does not mean grandparent or ancestor, BUT CAN INCLUDE AN ADOPTIVE PARENT AS A REPLACEMENT FOR A NATURAL PARENT.
Legal Dictionary. Lawyers.Com
Parent - 1. a person who begets or brings forth offspring.
2. a person who legally adopts a child
3. a person or entity the owes to a child a legally imposed duty of support
4. a stepparent where designated by statute.
It should be clear that a “parent” is not necessarily the biological father or mother of a child, but can also be the persons who raise, feed, clothe, shelter, discipline and teach them.
In the event of the death of a mother or father and/or the remarriage of one of them to another person, this other husband or wife also becomes the PARENT of the children in this family.
When we read in the Bible “the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children” (2 Cor. 12:14) or “Children, obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right.” (Ephesians 6:1) or “Children, obey your parents in all things” (Colossians 3:20) and of those who in the last days when perilous times will come and men will be “disobedient to parents”, are we to assume that the children of this family can biblically say to the “parent” who is “parenting” them - “Hey, you’re not my father (mother); I don’t have to obey you or do what you tell me to do!”?
No, they are still the child's PARENT. They are the one who is helping to raise, support and teach them till they grow up and are ready to move out on their own.
So when the true Bible says that Joseph and Mary were Jesus’ parents in Luke 2:27 and 41, this is true, even though Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus.
And those versions that tell us that Joseph was THE FATHER of Jesus, are clearly wrong, and the Holy Ghost did NOT inspire that corrupt reading.
The King James Bible is always right. Accept no substitutes.
All of grace, believing the Book.
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Notes from the Internet
See also this well done article on Luke 2:33 by brother Joshua Alvarez
Douglas Stauffer commenting on Luke 2:43:
One Book Stands Alone: Chapter 2
And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned,
the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem;
and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.
It is not necessarily incorrect to say that Joseph and Mary were the parents of the Lord (Luke 2:41). However, it is wrong when God desires to point out that Joseph’s relationship to the Lord differs from Mary’s relationship to Him. (One Book Stands Alone, Douglas Stauffer)
The peculiar wording of Joseph and his mother is sure to stand out as rather odd-sounding to the reader. God wants His word to be especially unique — uniquely God-like! The NIV removes this distinction and changes its impact by replacing the distinctive wording with the vague "his parents."
And Douglas Stauffer commenting on Luke 2:33:
And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things
which were spoken of him.
Joseph was not the father of the virgin born Son of God! However, he was the father of all of Mary's other children(Matthew 13:55). The King James Bible only refers to Joseph as the father of the Lord one time. This happens as Mary rebukes her son for staying behind in the temple conversing with the religious leaders. Mary says, "Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing." How does her Son (THE Son of God) respond?
The Lord Jesus Christ corrects her. Her words were misguided and the Lord corrects her as follows: "How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" (Luke 2:48-49).