There is currently a discussion going on around the blogosphere started by none other than the good Dr. Jim West. (Doug as entered here, as has Dr. Gayle, who notes Luke’s favorite wordplay). Jim examines Luke 2.14, which is timely this time of year, isn’t?
I’ll start with the New King James Version of the Bible, which is based on the same Greek as the KJV –
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Stephen’s TR (1550 – which is pretty close to the KJV’s Greek) Δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις θεῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς εἰρήνη ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκία.
And the modern versions, along with their Greek MSS –
ESV – “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
NIV -“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
NLT – “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
The NA-27 Greek – δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις θεῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς εἰρήνη ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκίας.
Since Jim mentions the Douay Rheims, I’ve include that and the Latin on which it was based as well as the New American Bible –
DouayRheims – Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will.
Vulgate – Gloria in altissimis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis.
NAB – “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
The question, of course, is which is the best translation. Granted, others have stated the case a bit better – okay, a whole lot better than I – but the thing we don’t want to do is to see the N/KJV as the best start or comparison here. The Greek is different and those provides a different translation.
I like, surprisingly, the New Living Translation’s take which is standard fare for modern translations. On examining the word εὐδοκίας, we find that it was used in the Septuagint in such as way as to support modern version’s translations.
ὅτι σὺ εὐλογήσεις δίκαιον κύριε ὡς ὅπλῳ εὐδοκίας ἐστεφάνωσας ἡμᾶς (Psa 5:13 (v12) LXX)
because you will bless the righteous; O Lord, you crowned us with a shield of favor (NETS)
ἐγὼ δὲ τῇ προσευχῇ μου πρὸς σέ κύριε καιρὸς εὐδοκίας ὁ θεός ἐν τῷ πλήθει τοῦ ἐλέους σου ἐπάκουσόν μου ἐν ἀληθείᾳ τῆς σωτηρίας σου (Psa 68:14 LXX)
But as for me, with my prayer to you, Or Lord! it is a time fo favor, o God, in the abundance of your mercy. Hearken to me with truth of your deliverance. (NETS)
It would seem to me that Luke is saying that the men upon whom God’s Favor/Good Pleasure will have His Peace.
But, what do you expect from a novice?