IS JESUS CHRIST GOD
In this part, we will be continuing on the humanity of Jesus Christ. In a previous post we discussed 1 Timothy 3:16 and promised to say more on the scripture. We will be doing so today. This is how it reads in the King James version:
1 Timothy 3:16
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: GOD was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
So, this scripture is therefore mistaken to imply that Jesus Christ is God. Well, let’s see this same scripture in few other versions.
1 Timothy 3:16 (Berean study Bible)
By common confession, the mystery of godliness is great: HE appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was proclaimed among the nations, was believed in throughout the world, was taken up in glory.
And we all agree, our religion contains amazing revelation: HE was revealed in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among Gentiles, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
Bible versions like the Berean study bible, NET version, ASV, BBE, BLB, DRC, ISV, NHEB, etc do not have the word ‘God’ in this scripture. This is simply because the earliest Greek manuscripts (remember the N.T was written in Greek language) from which this scripture was translated into english didn’t carry the word ‘God.’
For those of us who might not understand what manuscripts are, let’s do a quick and simple explanation.
The Bible was written by holy men, inspired by God. These men didn’t have the modern technologies writers have today. They didn’t have modern/technological means for documentation/storage. As a result, these holy men inspired by God wrote the scriptures on papers/scrolls with ink (books like the epistles were then sent to the shepherd of the church it was directed to). By the will of God via the revelations of Christ to these holy men, churches formed their doctrines from these writings/scriptures, for it was/is from God himself. These writings by hand/ink on papers is what is known as a manuscript(s).
As expected, with time, these writings had to be preserved and stored for generations to come. The absence of modern technologies simply meant that they had to be recopied by hand, ink and paper/scrolls, in order for it to be preserved and to be despatched further to other churches. These are also manuscripts (not exactly written BUT re-written by the early believers).
So, all english versions/translations we have today translated from these Greek manuscripts (we are talking about the new testament) and today, there are thousands of the Greek manuscripts of the new testament.
The scriptures are God breathed and are perfect. The Bible writers made no mistake in dishing out the mind of God.
Nevertheless, the ones who recopied made few involuntary mistakes and that’s normal. Try to recopy a page of someone else’s write up. You are likely to make atleast a mistake. Worse still, try to translate something written in your language into English. Few inconsistencies are normal to occur.
The following questions must be in your mind now: How then can we know what the original bible writers meant/wrote? How then can we be sure we know/believe the right thing?
It’s quite simple. Firstly, the most ancient manuscripts are the most reliable. Put the most ancient manuscripts first. Versions translated from the most ancient manuscripts are most reliable.
Secondly, We must know that thousands of manuscripts still exist today (the writings from which translators did their translation). So, when the similarities and dissimilarities of these manuscripts are compared, we then can ascertain what the author meant and what he didn’t mean. For instance, if the word “like” appears in a manuscript and most others bear the word “love,” love is what was written initially. If 3000 manuscripts use “love” in the scripture being considered and 10 use “like”, it becomes clear what was truly said (although the first set of written manuscripts will always be accurate despite this rule; the ones written by the Bible writers themselves).
Finally and most importantly (on the issue of manuscripts), we must recognise the wisdom and power of God in keeping the scriptures until the very end of time. Its authenticity remains maintained by the will of God. That is why such an exegesis as this can be done today. The earliest (accurate) manuscripts are still available to translators.
With these said, let’s go back to 1 timothy 3:16.
As we said earlier, the earliest Greek manuscripts (the N.T was written in Greek language, not English) from which this scripture was translated didn’t carry the word ‘God.’ Always read the “translators notes” when studying your Bible.
The translators of the ASV added the following note, attached to 1 Timothy 3:16: “The word ‘God,’ in place of ‘He’ or ‘who,’ rests on no sufficient ancient evidence. Some ancient authorities read “which.”
Checkout 1 timothy 3:16 in these versions: the Berean study bible, NET version, ASV, BBE, BLB, DRC, ISV, NHEB, etc. They use the words ‘He,’ ‘who,’ and ‘which’ instead of ‘God.’ This is because they translated from ancient manuscripts which carried the Greek word ‘Os’ in this scripture.
God didn’t come as flesh to die. He sent his Son Jesus Christ.
1 John 4:9
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
Thanks for following this series so far. Anticipate our 8th part.
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Agaga Fredrick Abangji is a writer, reporter, content writer, believer in Jesus Christ, and a creator of religious literature. A student of Bingham university – Nasarawa state, studying mass communication.