John 5:44 KJB - "How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from GOD ONLY?"
NKJV, NASB, NIV, RSV, ESV, Holman, NET, Jehovah Witness New World Translation - "How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from THE ONLY GOD?"
The Catholic Connection
The previous Douay-Rheims of 1582 and the 1950 Douay Version both read like the KJB with - “How can you believe, who receive glory one from another: and THE GLORY WHICH IS FROM GOD ALONE, you do not seek?”
However the more modern Catholic versions like the St. Joseph New American Bible 1970 and the New Jerusalem bible 1985 read like the NKJV, NIV, ESV, NASB, RSV, NET and Holman. They say - “you look to each other for glory and are not concerned with the glory that comes FROM THE ONE GOD?”
Is the King James Bible really an error as some bible critics claim, or it is absolutely correct? Well, you all know where I stand on this issue - the King James Holy Bible is the infallible words of the living God and the Standard by which all other bible translations are to be measured.
Those I refer to as the Bible Agnostics or Bible Rummagers do not believe that any Bible in any language is or ever was the complete, inspired and infallible words of God. Each one is his own final authority and they will never be happy until each one of them finally gets to make up his own bible version.
It is a bit humorous to see the modern versionists criticize the King James Bible in this passage, when the Greek texts these fellas usually follow, like P 65, P 75 and Vaticanus completely omit the word GOD from their texts. Yet most of them have chosen to go with the traditional text here instead and include the word "God". So much for their following "the oldest and best manuscripts".
They also are apparently unaware that the traditional way to translate this verse has always been the way the King James Bible translators have done it too.
In John 5:44 the Lord Jesus draws a striking contrast between those who receive honour one from another rather than from God only. The King James Bible rightly reads: "How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from GOD ONLY?"
John Calvin translates the verse as it stands in the KJB and comments: "So, then, in order that any man may seek glory from God alone, he must be overwhelmed with shame, and flee to the undeserved mercy of God. ..So far as relates to the present passage, Christ’s meaning is, that there is no other way in which men can be prepared for receiving the doctrine of the Gospel, than by withdrawing all their senses from the world, and turning them to God alone..."
The contrast here is receiving honour from each other or from God alone. This is one perfectly acceptable view of what the passage means and how to translate it and it is the one followed by the King James Bible and many other translations, as we shall see.
The same Greek construction of word order is found in Luke 5:21 where we read: " Who can forgive sins, but GOD ALONE?" and so also read versions like the NKJV, RV, ASV, NASB, NIV, ESV, RSV and Holman. Not one of them has translated the same Greek word order as: "Who can forgive sins but THE ONLY GOD?" The RSV says: "Who can forgive sins but God only?"
The bible agnostics who criticize the King James Bible here are ignoring the whole context of chapter 5 and are ignorant of Greek grammar. Not one time anywhere in this section of Scripture is anyone questioning Monotheism or the belief in One God. It is not even under consideration or doubt. The real issue is whom do men seek to please and receive honor from - from men or from God.
Beginning in verse 30 in John 5, Jesus Christ discusses the number of witnesses that testify to his ministry and authority. He lists the testimony of John the Baptist (vs. 32-35); his works (vs. 36); the Father (vs. 37); the scriptures (vs. 39); and notice in verse 41 where Jesus Christ states exactly where he does not get His honor from - "I receive not honour from men."
"A Grammar of New Testament Greek," by James Hope Moulton, Vol. III-Syntax, by Nigel Turner, pg. 225-226: "There is therefore not surprisingly some confusion of monos with the adv. monon: Mk 6:8- meden ei me rhabdon monon (D monen); Acts 11:19- medeni ei me monon (D monois) Ioudaiois; Heb. 12:26 OT seiso ou monon ten gen, alla kai...; 2 Tim. 4:8; I Jn 5:6- ouk en to hudati monon (B mono). IN JOHN 5:44 MONOU IS BEST TAKEN ADVERBIALLY; NOT FROM HIM WHO ALONE IS GOD, BUT ONLY FROM GOD (Jewish monotheism was unimpeachable; Jesus was referring to their love of human praise), in spite of the word order. Lk 5:21 adv. monos."
In John 5:44 not only does the KJB say: "How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh FROM GOD ONLY?", but so also does the Anglo Saxon Gospels Corpus Christi Manuscript #140 circa 1000 A.D. It is hard to read but you can make out the words "from God only" - "þt wuldor þe is fram gode syluum."
So too do the following Bible translations: Wycliffe 1395 -"ye seken not the glorie that is of God aloone?", Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540 - "& seke not the honoure that commeth of God onely?", Matthew's Bible 1549 - "the honoure that commeth of God onlye?", the Bishops' Bible 1568 - "the honour that commeth of God only?", the Geneva Bible 1587, The Beza N.T. 1599 - "that cometh from God ALONE?", the Bill Bible 1671 - "from God only?", Mace's N.T. 1729, Whiston's Primitive N.T. 1745, John Wesley's translation 1755, the Worsley Version 1770, the Clarke N.T. 1795, Haweis N.T. 1795, The Thomson Bible 1808, The Revised Translation 1815 - "that cometh from God only?", the Kneeland N.T. 1823, the Dickinson N.T. 1833 - "that comes only from God?", Webster's 1833 translation, the Living Oracles 1835 Alexander Campbell, the Pickering N.T. 1840 - "that cometh from God ONLY?", the Longman Version 1841, the Hussey N.T. 1845, the Morgan N.T. 1848 - "and seek not the honor from God ALONE?", the Hewett N.T. 1850, Murdock's Translation 1851, The Commonly Received Version 1851 - "from God ONLY?", the Boothroyd Bible 1853, the Sawyer N.T. 1858, Anderson N.T. 1865 - "that comes from God alone?", the Smith Bible 1876, the Dillard N.T. 1885, Young's "literal" 1898, Darby 1890 - "the glory which comes from God alone?", Lamsa's 1933 translation of the Syriac Peshitta, the Godbey N.T. 1902 - "and do not seek the glory which is with God only?", Worrell's N.T. 1904, the Clarke N.T. 1913, the KJV 21st Century Version 1994, the Third Millennium Bible 1998, the New Living Translation 1998, the Laurie Translation 1998, the English Jubilee Bible of 2010, the Urim-Thummim Version of 2001, the Heritage Bible 2003, the Concordant Version 2006, the Complete Jewish Bible of 1998 - "instead of seeking praise from God only.", the Lawrie Translation 1998 - " and you're not seeking the glory which is from God alone?", God's First Truth Yes Word 1999, The Resurrection Life N.T. 2005 - “you crave the approval of each other instead of the approval of God alone?”, the Bond Slave Version 2009, the Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010 -"the honor that comes from Elohim only?", The Conservative Bible 2010, The Holy Scriptures VW Edition 2010 - "and seek not the glory that comes from God only?", The Work of God's Children's Illustrated Bible 2011, the Concordant Literal Version 2012 - "the glory which is from God alone?", the 2012 Interlinear Hebrew-Greek Scriptures (Mebust)- "and seek not the glory that comes from Elohim only?"
Foreign Language Bibles
Martin Luther's German bible of 1545 and the German Elberfelder both read the same as the King James Bible in John 5:44 - "und die Ehre, die von Gott allein ist, suchet ihr nicht." The French Martin 1744, the French Bovet Bonnet of 1900, the Louis Segond of 1910, the French Ostervald of 1996 and La Bible du Semeur of 1999 all read the same as the KJB with - "la gloire qui vient de Dieu seul?", as does the Italian Diodati of 1649, the Riveduta of 1927, 1997, 2006 and the New Diodati of 1991 - " la gloria che viene da Dio solo?", the Portuguese A Biblia Sagrada em Portugués and the Portuguese Almeida Corrigida E Fiel - "e não buscando a honra que vem só de Deus?", and the Spanish Las Sagradas Escrituras of 1569 as well as the Reina Valera of 1909 and the 2004 Reina Valera Gomez all read as does the King James Bible with: "y no buscáis la gloria que de sólo Dios viene?" = "you do not seek the glory that comes only from God?"
The King James Holy Bible is right, as always, and the bible agnostics are still searching desperately for just one provable error in the greatest Book ever printed and the only one believed by thousands to be the infallible words of God - the Authorized King James Holy Bible.
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