Luke 2:14 – KJV
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Luke 2:14 – ESV
Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased [or] those whom he favors.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.“
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased or those whom he favors.”
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men or mankind or all people.”
“…peace among those with whom he is pleased or with
those whom He favors.
Pulpit Commentary on Luke 2:14
Good will toward men.
A bare majority of the old authorities read here, “On earth peace among men of good will;” in other words, among men who are the objects of God’s good will and kindness. But the Greek text, good well toward men, from which our Authorized Version; was made, has the support of so many of the older manuscripts and ancient versions, that it is among scholars an open question whether or not the text followed in the Authorized Version should not in this place be adhered to.
The birth of Christ is an event which, above all others, brings glory to God, giving such a display of several of his perfections as had never been made before. … It brings peace on earth, that is, peace to man, peace with God, through the atonement and mediation of Christ; peace of conscience, as the consequence of knowing that we have peace with God, and peace one with another. It displays the good-will, the benevolence, the love of God to man, as no other of his works or dispensations ever did or could do.
John Wesley’s Notes for Luke 2:14
2:14 Glory be to God in the highest; on earth peace; good will toward men
The shouts of the multitude are generally broken into short sentences.
This rejoicing acclamation strongly represents the piety and benevolence of these heavenly spirits.
It is as if they had said, Glory be to God in the highest heavens: let all the angelic legions resound his praises.
For with the Redeemer’s birth, peace, and all kind of happiness, come down to dwell on earth.
Yea, the overflowings of Divine good will and favour are now exercised toward men.
Barnes’ Notes on the Bible ref. Luke 2:14
good will toward men, the gift of the Savior is an expression of
good-will or love to people, and therefore God is to be praised.
Expositor’s Dictionary of Texts
Listen to the angel song. The song consists of three parts:
(1) The object of our Redemption—’glory to God in the highest’.
(2) And they sang also of the result of Redemption—’on earth peace’. This was a new note in the song.
(3) They gave the source of our Redemption—‘goodwill toward men’.
Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible
This passage is not correctly understood as referring to the acceptance of grace. The angels rather speak of it as the source of peace, and thus inform us that peace is a free gift, and flows from the pure mercy of God. If it is thought better to read good-will to men, or towards men.
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Good will towards men] The reading eudokia, ‘goodwill,’ is found in B, but א, A, D read eudokias, and if this be the right reading the meaning is “on earth peace among men of good will”, i. e. those with whom God is well pleased.
Expositor’s Greek Testament reference Luke 2:14
The angels’ song.—If we regard the announcement of the angel to the shepherds as a song, then we may view the gloria in excelsis Deo (Glory be to God on high) as a refrain sung by a celestial choir.
With the reading eudokia, it falls into three:—
- Glory to God in the highest.
- And on earth peace (between man and man).
- Good will (of God) among men.
However, with the reading eudokias, the refrain is two lines:—
- “Glory to God in the highest.”
- “And on earth peace among men, in whom He is well
Context Luke 2:8-14 NIV
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping
watch over their flocks at night.
9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the
Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good
news that will cause great joy for all the people.
11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he
is the Messiah, the Lord.
12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in
cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with
the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace to
those on whom his favor rests.”
Context Luke 2:8-14 KJ21
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the
field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory
of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring
you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior,
who is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the Babe
wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the
heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will
Context – Luke 2:10 KJ21
10 And the angel said unto them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
Context – Luke 2:10 NIV
10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
In Conclusion – CARM.org on Luke 2:14
Both versions of this verse are solid translations of the respective manuscripts on which they are based. So which manuscripts better reflect the original?
Both readings are well attested both in early Greek manuscripts and ancient translations.
Among the Syriac translations, though there are mild variations in exact wording, all basically agree with the traditional reading, as do other ancient translations like the Bohairic Coptic, Armenian, Slavonic, Georgian, and Ethiopic.
On the other hand, the “men with whom He is pleased” reading is supported by all of the earliest sources, such as the original scribes of fourth century, and fifth century, as well as a minority of other later Greek manuscripts.
The traditional “goodwill toward men” reading has more Greek manuscripts (and some of them fairly early), though the “whom he is pleased” reading has all of the earliest Greek manuscripts.
The NIV and others are all based on the same Greek text, and that Greek text appears from all the evidence to be the correct one. God’s peace is not ultimately bestowed on all men but is given specially to those who, by faith alone, receive the finished
work of Christ and are thus recipients of God’s favor and gracious goodwill.