January 18, 2023 – Wednesday
Luke 2:14 NIV
14 Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.
Luke 2:14 KJ21
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!
Wednesday evening, I spoke on these two seemingly opposing versions. I clearly favor the KJ version, but use the NIV so I was very curious about the differences.
The first discovery was all the KJ versions of the Bible and maybe ten others had good will toward men. But the NIV, ESV, and all the newest versions of the Bible used to those on whom his favor rests or those with whom he is pleased.
Along the way I discovered the song Gloria in Excelsis Deo comes from the first part of the verse, Glory to God in the highest. The Expositor’s Greek Testament showed the difference in the two versions rested upon one choosing one Greek word over another. The two words are eudokia or eudokias. It added the celestial choir (probably consisting of thousands upon thousands of angels) that the song of this verse would be sung with three lines with eudokia as:
Glory to God in the highest
And on earth peace
Good will toward men
But if sung with the reading eudokias, the refrain becomes two lines.
Glory to God in the highest
And on earth peace to those in whom He is well pleased
Of course, that was a distraction from my goal of finding which of the two versions is correct or most correct, but fascinating nonetheless. Looking at close to two dozen commentaries on Luke with a focus on Luke 2:14, found that some (David Guzik and Chuck Smith for example) did not mention the differences at all. I gave examples from eight, but here I will limit myself to two.
The Pulpit Commentary stated the Greek Text, good will toward men, from which the 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. However, the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges tells us, The reading eudokia, ‘goodwill’, is found in some of the oldest texts, but many more 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.
I concluded with what I found at CARM (Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry). Both versions of this verse are solid translations of the respective manuscripts on which they are based. Both are found in early Greek manuscripts and ancient translations. However, men with whom He is pleased is supported by all of the earliest sources. While goodwill toward men has more Greek manuscripts, the whom He is pleased has all the earliest Greek manuscripts.
Bottom Line: 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. (CARM)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Give us the wisdom to be discerning when looking at different versions of Your word, as we always seek Your will in doing so and not our own. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton