JOHN 1:18

KJB – “No man hath seen God at any time; THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”

NASB 1962 to 1995 editions –  “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 2020 edition has now changed its text once again after some 10 different editions.  It now reads: ?No one has seen God at any time; GOD THE ONLY SON,  who is in the arms of the Father, He has explained Him.?  – NO Greek text reads this way. 

ESV – “No one has every seen God; THE ONLY GOD, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”

NIV 1973 edition – “No man has ever seen God, but GOD THE ONLY SON, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.  

NIV 1984 edition – “No one has ever seen God, but GOD THE ONE AND ONLY, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.”

NIV 2011 edition – “No one has ever seen God, but THE ONE AND ONLY SON, WHO IS HIMSELF GOD and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.”

The reading followed by the NASB 1995 edition teaches that there are TWO Gods. Count ’em. There is the unseen God and then there is the only begotten God who declares the invisible God no one has seen.  


The new NASB 2020 now reads like the NIV 1973 edition, which they have twice since then rejected, and there is NO Greek text that reads “God the only Son.”


The ESV is utter confusion and contradiction. There we have the unseen God, and then there is the only God, who makes the unseen God known. Hellooo…….Is anybody home in there?


The NIVs have THREE different translations of this one verse, and the modern versions don’t even agree among themselves.


John 1:18 presents us with a classical case of confusion caused by the modern Bible correctors. The phrase in question is “the only begotten Son.” There are two variants here: one with the Greek text and the other with the translation.

The Greek of the Traditional Text reads,  “ὁ μονογενὴς υἱός” (the only begotten Son). This is the reading found in the vast Majority of all remaining Greek manuscripts including A, C correction, E, F, G, H, K, M, S, U, V, X, Gamma, Delta, Theta, Lambda, Pi and Psi. It is also the reading of the Old Latin a, aur, b, c, e, f, ff2, l and q.  The ancient Bible translations like the Syriac Curetonian, Harclean, Palestinian, Armenian, Georgian, Slavonic and Ethiopic.

Many early church writers quote the verse as it stands in the King James Bible including Theodotus, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Hymenaeus, Alexander, Eustathius, Eusebius, Hegemonius, Ambrosiaster, Faustinus, Athanasius, Titus-Bostra, Gregory Nazianzus, Ambrose, Chysostom, Synesius, Jerome, Theodore, Augustine, Proclus, Varimadum, Theodoret, Fulgentius, John-Damascus and Priscillian.


The Greek of the Alexandrian Texts reads, “μονογενὴς θεὸς ὁ” (the only begotten God). This includes an extreme minority number of manuscripts including P66, 75, Sinaitic, Vaticanus and L. Westcott and Hort were the first to adopt this variant reading of “the only begotten GOD” but Tischendorf did not.  He stuck with the Traditional Greek reading of the only begotten SON –  ὁ μονογενὴς υἱὸς ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρός 


 Additionally, the Greek word “monogenes” is no longer looked upon by some as meaning “only begotten” but they tell us it should be translated as “unique” or “one and only.” However there is much disagreement among today’s “scholars” as to which text to adopt and how to translate it. 

Notice the total confusion that exists in the multitude of modern bible versions today.

  1. “The only begotten Son”- King James Bible, Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s Bible 1549, Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587, The Beza N.T. 1599, the Bill Bible 1671, Daniel Mace New Testament 1729, Wesley’s N.T. 1755, Thomas Haweis N.T. 1795, The Thomson Bible 1808, The Revised Translation 1815, Living Oracles 1835, the Pickering N.T. 1840, Webster’s 1833 translation, the Longman Version 1841, the Morgan N.T. 1848, The Hewett N.T. 1850, The Commonly Received Version 1851, the Boothroyd Bible 1853, The Revised N.T. 1862, The American Bible Union N.T. 1865, The Alford N.T. 1870, The Revised English Bible 1877, The Sharpe Bible 1883, The Dillard N.T. 1885, the Revised Version 1881, TheAmerican Standard Version 1901-“No man hath seen God at any time; THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared`him’.”, Darby 1890, Young’s 1898, William Godbey N.T. 1902, The Worrell N.T. 1904, The Clarke N.T. 1913, The New Testament translated from Sinaitic Mss. 1918, Douay 1950, the NKJV 1982, The Recovery N.T. 1985, Third Millennium Bible 1998, Orthodox Jewish Bible 2011, the Jubilee Bible 2010 – “No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.” and the Natural Israelite Bible 2012 – “the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON”


Also reading “THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON” are The Word of Yah 1993, Interlinear Greek N.T. 1997 (Larry Pierce), Lawrie Translation 1998, God’s First Truth 1999, Sacred Scriptures Family of Yah 2001, The Tomson N.T. 2002, The Evidence Bible 2003, The Resurrection Life New Testament 2005 (Vince Garcia), The Pickering N.T. 2005, the Bond Slave Version 2009, English Majority Text Version 2009 (Paul Esposito), Online Interlinear 2010 (André de Mol), Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010, The New European Version 2010 – “the only begotten Son”, Holy Scriptures VW Edition 2010, The Far Above All Translation 2011, The Work of God’s Children Illustrated Bible 2011, The Natural Israelite Bible 2012 – “the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON”, the Hebraic Roots Bible 2012, The Modern Literal New Testament 2014 – “the only begotten Son” and The New Matthew Bible 2016.


The Koster Scriptures 1998 says: “No one has ever seen Elohim; the only brought-forth Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He did declare.”


Foreign Language Bibles


Many foreign language Bible read “the only begotten SON” including the Anglo-Saxon Gospels Corpus Christi Manuscript 140 circa 1000 A.D. and the Hatton Mss. 38 from 1200 A.D. Even though we can hardly read this predecessor to the English language, yet we can clearly make out the word SON – “bute se akennede SUNE”,  the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras 1569, Cipriano de Valera 1602, the Reina Valera 1909-2011 – “A Dios nadie le vió jamás: el unigénito Hijo, que está en el seno del Padre, él le declaró.”


The  Italian Diodati 1602, Rivudeta 1927 and La Nuova Diodati 1991 – “Nessuno ha mai visto Dio; l’unigenito Figlio”, Luther’s German Bible 1545 and German Schlachter 2000 – “der eingeborene Sohn”, French Martin 1744, Louis Segond 1910, Ostervald 1996 – ” le Fils unique,”, the Portuguese A Biblia Sagrada and O Livro 2000 “O Filho unigénito”, the Afrikaans Bible 1953 – ” die eniggebore Seun”, the Russian Synodal Version 1876 “Единородный Сын” = “the only begotten SON”, the Dutch Staten Vertaling Bible “de eniggeboren Zoon”, the Hungarian Karoli “az egyszülött Fiú”, 

the Modern Greek Bible – “Ουδεις ειδε ποτε τον Θεον· ο μονογενης Υιος, ο ων εις τον κολπον του Πατρος, εκεινος εφανερωσεν αυτον.” 

and the Modern Hebrew Bible -“את האלהים לא ראה איש מעולם הבן היחיד אשר בחיק האב הוא הודיע׃”


Even the Revised Version 1881 and American Standard Version 1901, which introduced thousands of radical changes in the New Testament based on the Alexandrian texts, did not follow Sinaiticus/Vaticanus here but stuck with the Traditional Text. The NASB was the first major and widely accepted version to appear on the scene that the false reading of “the only begotten God” was introduced.

  1. “The only begotten God” NASB, Jehovah Witness New World Translation 2013 – “No man has seen God at any time, the only begotten god, who is at the Father’s side, he has explained him.”
  2. “God the only Son” NIV 1973
  3. “God the One and Only” NIV 1984 with a footnote “or only begotten”
  4. “but the one and only Son, who is himself God”  TNIV 2001, NIV 2011 with footnote “some manuscripts – but the only Son”.

The 1974 and 1977 NIV’s read, “No MAN has ever seen God, but God the only [Son], who is at the Father’s side, has made him known”. The 1984 NIV edition reads, “No ONE has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.”

But in 2011 the NIV has been revised for THE THIRD TIME and now it reads:  “No ONE has ever seen God, but THE ONE AND ONLY SON, who is HIMSELF GOD AND IS IN CLOSEST RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FATHER,  has made him known.”  

Thus, the NIVs of 1974 and 1977 have been changed from “no man” to “no one”, altered “only” to “One and Only” and omitted [Son].

Then the NIV 2011 further changed “One and Only” to “one and only” and again add “Son”, and the 2011 NIV further changes “who is at the Father’s side” to “who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father”.

(By the way, there is no printed Greek text or manuscript anywhere on this earth that reads the way the “new and improved” NIV 2011 reads.  They just made it up!)

These next three are all related to one another as each is a revision of the last one in line, yet they all three differ from each other. See how consistent modern scholars are.

  1. “the only Son” RSV 1952, Modern English Version 2014. The liberal RSV was the first major English version to translate monogenes as “only” rather than the traditional and more accurate “only begotten”, but yet it retained the word Son rather than God.
  2. “God the only Son” NRSV 1989, Common English Bible 2011 (both Critical text versions) 
  3. “the only God” English Standard Version 2001
  4. “the One and Only Son” – Holman Standard 2009, “the only and unique Son” Complete Jewish Bible 1998.
  5. “God’s only Son” New English Bible 1970, Names of God Bible 2011 and The Voice 2012 – “God, unseen until now, is revealed in the Voice, God?s only Son, straight fromthe Father?s heart.” (All three of these are Critical Text versions) 
  6. “the only conceived Son” World English Bible
  7. The Message 2002 – ” No one has ever seen God, not so much as a glimpse. This one-of-a-kind God-Expression, who exists at the very heart of the Father, has made him plain as day.” A “one of a kind God expression”???
  8. International Standard Version 2014 – No one has ever seen God. The uniquely existing God, who is close to the Father’s side, has revealed him.

Again, we have TWO Gods, and one of them is “the uniquely existing God”!  Is the other one just the garden variety existing God?

Several of these modern versions don’t follow any Greek text at all but combine divergent readings from different texts, such as the NIV 1973, TNIV, NIV 2011 edition, the NRSV, the New English Bible and the Common English Bible of 2011, another modern critical text version – “No one has ever seen God. GOD THE ONLY SON, who is at the Father’s side, has made God know.”

The King James Bible is the correct reading both as to text and meaning. The Alexandrian texts which read “the only begotten GOD, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” teach that there are TWO GODS and one of them is inferior to the other.

Read it any way you wish, but the undeniable fact is you end up with TWO GODS. There is the God whom nobody has seen and then there is the only begotten God who has explained the unseen God.

The only other version I know of that reads this way, besides the NASB 1962-1995 editions, is the Jehovah Witness New World Translation, which says: “the only begotten god who is in the bosom position with the Father is the one that has explained him.”

One of the newest in the long line of bible revisions, the English Standard Version, reads: “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”

This is totally absurd. It teaches not only that there are two Gods, the God nobody has ever seen, and the God who has made the unseen God known; but one of them is God and the other is the ONLY God.

Jesus Christ is by nature very God of very God. John 1 says “the Word was God”. Notice it does not say the Word was THE God. God is triune yet one. If it had said “the Word was THE God” it would be a theological error. All that God is in the three Persons is not limited to the Word, but the Word (Jesus Christ) is by very nature God.

What the ESV teaches is a confusion of the nature of the Trinity. Jesus Christ is not “THE ONLY GOD” who makes known the God no one has seen. Jesus Christ is God by nature, but He is not the Father nor the Holy Ghost.

We now have two more late$t and greate$t ver$ion$ coming on the scene. The ISV or International Standard Version and the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

The ISV reads: ” No one has ever seen God. The UNIQUE God, (Other mss. read Son) who is close to the Father’s side, has revealed him.”

Again, we have two Gods. One nobody has ever seen and then the “unique” God! Does this mean the God no one has seen is just an ordinary, run-of-the- mill, garden variety god, while the other one is totally unique?

But wait, the the 2009 Holman Christian Standard Bible says: “No one has ever seen God. The only Son– the One who is at the Father’s side– He has revealed Him.”

Hey, this one went back to the reading of “Son” instead of “God”. What gives here? Well, it’s the fickle, shifting sands of modern scholarship.

Those versions that teach that Jesus Christ is the “only Son” or “the one and only Son” are also incorrect in that angels are also called sons of God and so are Adam and all of God’s other children. In either case, the corrupt and confusing readings found in many modern bible versions diminish the glory of the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity is turned on its head.

The Nicene Creed (344 AD) states:

“We believe in one God the Father Almighty, . . . And in His Only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ, who before all ages was begotten from the Father, God from God, Light from Light, by whom all things were made, in heaven and on the earth, visible and invisible . . .” (as cited from Athanasius: De Synodis, II:26).

The Old Latin manuscripts of John 1:18, which translation preceded anything we have in the remaining Greek copies, read: “deum nemo uidit umquam. unigenitus filius. qui est in sinu patris. ipse narrauit.” The word “unigenitus” means, “only begotten, only; of the same parentage.” (Dr. John C. Traupman, Latin Dictionary, 323).


Some early church writers who quote the verse as it stands in the King James Bible


In 202 AD, Irenaeus wrote, “For ‘no man,’ he says, ‘hath seen God at any time,’ unless ‘the only-begotten Son of God, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared [Him].’ For He, the Son who is in His bosom, declares to all the Father who is invisible.”(Against Heresies, 3:11:6)

Archelaus Acts of the Disputation with the Heresiarch Manes: Furthermore, there is but one only inconvertible substance, the divine substance, eternal and invisible, as is known to all, and as is also borne out by this scripture: “No man hath seen God at any time, save the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father.”


Epistle of Ignatius to the Philippians: And there is also one Son, God the Word. For “the only-begotten Son,” saith [the Scripture], “who is in the bosom of the Father.”


Origen Against Celsus Book II: and in these, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.”


Tertullian Against Praxeas: “Well, (I must again ask) what God does he mean? It is of course the Father, with whom was the Word, the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, and has Himself declared Him.



In 324 AD, Alexander of Alexandria wrote: “Moreover, that the Son of God was not produced out of what did not exist, and that there never was a time when He did not exist, is taught expressly by John the Evangelist, who writes this of Him: ‘The only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father.’ The divine teacher, because he intended to show that the Father and the Son are two and inseparable from each other, does in fact specify that He is in the bosom of the Father.” (W.A. Jurgens, The Faith Of The Early Fathers, Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, p. 300)

Ambrose (397 AD) writes: “For this reason also the evangelist says, ‘No one has at any time seen God, except the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has revealed him.’ ‘The bosom of the Father,’ then, is to be understood in a spiritual sense, as a kind of innermost dwelling of the Father’s love and of His nature, in which the Son always dwells. Even so, the Father’s womb is the spiritual womb of an inner sanctuary, from which the Son has proceeded just as from a generative womb.”(The Patrarches, 11:51).

Finally, Augustine (430 AD) wrote: “For Himself hath said: No man hath seen God at any time, but the Only-Begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him. Therefore we know the Father by Him, being they to whom He hath declared Him.”(Homilies On The Gospel According To St. John, XLVII:3)

The point is that most of the early Theologians in the Church not only recognized that monogenes means “only begotten,” and defined it as such, but that the popular reading was “only begotten Son.”

“In the unity of the Godhead there be three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.” Westminster Confession, Chapter III.

In spite of some Greek lexicons, like Thayer’s, which insist the meaning of monogenes is “unique” or “one of a kind”, there are many others like Kittel’s, Liddel and Scott and Vine’s that tell us the Greek word monogenes emphatically means “only begotten” and not “one and only”. It is significant that Thayer did not believe that Jesus Christ was God.

In Kittel’s massive work Volume 4 page 741 the writer says: “In John 1:14,18; 3:16,18; 1 John 4:9 monogenes denotes more than the uniqueness or incomparability of Jesus. In all these verses He is expressly called the Son. (notice he does not accept the false reading of ‘God’ in 1:18, and he states this on the previous page). In John monogenes denotes the origin of Jesus as the only begotten.”

Even the modern Greek language dictionary, which has nothing to do with the Bible, says that monogenes means “only begotten”, and not unique. The Greek word for “unique” or “one and only” is a very different and specific word -monadikos – not monogenes.

The translators of the King James Version were not unaware that monogenes can also be translated as “only” for they did so in Luke 7:12; 8:42; and 9:38, all of which refer to an only child and thus they were the only begotten, not an unique child.

Some who criticize the KJB tell us that the word means “unique” and they refer to Hebrews 11:17 where we are told: “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son.”

They point out that Isaac was not the only son of Abraham at the time, but that Ishmael had already been born of Abraham’s union with Hagar.

However a look at the text itself in Genesis 22:2,12 and 16 shows that God referred to Isaac as “thine ONLY son Isaac”. Ishmael is not even taken into consideration by God since he was not the promised seed with whom God made the covenant of grace. As far as God was concerned, there was only one “only begotten son” of Abraham, and he is the spiritual type of the only begotten Son of God who became the lamb that was sacrificed for the sins of God’s people.

The King James Bible is correct as always, and the divergent and contradictory readings in most modern versions are wrong.

NICENE CREED 325 A.D. We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, THE ONLY-BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD, BEGOTTEN OF HIS FATHER BEFORE ALL WORLD, 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;

CHALCEDON CREED 451 A.D. Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, BEGOTTEN OF THE FATHER BEFORE THE AGES.

ATHANASIAN CREED 500 A.D. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone, NOT MADE NOR CREATED BUT BEGOTTEN. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and the Son, not made nor created nor begotten but proceeding. And in this Trinity there is nothing before or after, nothing greater or less, but the whole three Persons are coeternal together and coequal.

The right faith therefore is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man. He is God of the substance of the Father, BEGOTTEN BEFORE THE WORLDS, and He is man of the substance of His mother born in the world; perfect God, perfect man subsisting of a reasoning soul and human flesh; equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, inferior to the Father as touching His Manhood.

The BELGIC CONFESSION 1561 We believe that Jesus Christ, according to his divine nature, is the only Son of God– ETERNALLY BEGOTTEN, NOT MADE NOR CREATED, for then he would be a creature. He is one in essence with the Father; coeternal; the exact image of the person of the Father.

The 39 ARTICLES OF RELIGION 1571 Article II The Son, which is the Word of the Father, BEGOTTEN FROM EVERLASTING OF THE FATHER, the very and eternal God, and of one substance with the Father.

WESTMINSTER CONFESSION 1646 In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost: the Father is of none, neither begotten, nor proceeding; THE SON IS ETERNALLY BEGOTTEN OF THE FATHER; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.

LONDON BAPTIST CONFESSION 1689 In this divine and infinite Being there are three subsistences, the Father, the Word or Son, and Holy Spirit, of one substance, power, and eternity, each having the whole divine essence, yet the essence undivided: the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; THE SON IS ETERNALLY BEGOTTEN OF THE FATHER, the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son.


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

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

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 1870 – “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 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”

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. 



Does monogenes mean “only begotten” or “one of a kind”?


See this recent article from Trinitarian Bible Society that deals with the meaning of monogenes, and whether it means “only begotten” or “one of a kind”.  Lots of good information and examples showing why? only begotten? is the correct meaning of the term.


The article starts on page 11.

Here is a very well done article on John 1:18 and the heretical reading of the NASB, NIV versions done by a man who is not even a KJB onlyist. Tim Warner has written an excellent refutation of the NASB, NIV reading. See it here:


 The Gnostic & Arian Corruption of John 1:18

By Tim Warner.


Excellent long article on John 1:18 by Jesse Boyd here


Good chart  and brief article showing the difference between “The Eternal Sonship and Incarnational Sonship”

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.