Saturday Discussion: Luke 2.14

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?

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10 Replies to “Saturday Discussion: Luke 2.14”

  1. Peace on Earth???

    Aren’t humans amazing Animals? They kill wildlife – birds, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice and foxes by the million in order to protect their domestic animals and their feed.

    Then they kill domestic animals by the billion and eat them. This in turn kills people by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative – and fatal – – health conditions like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer.

    So then humans spend billions of dollars torturing and killing millions of more animals to look for cures for these diseases.

    Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals.

    Meanwhile, few people recognize the absurdity of humans, who kill so easily and violently, and once a year send out cards praying for “Peace on Earth.”

    ~Revised Preface to Old MacDonald’s Factory Farm by C. David Coates~

    Check out this informative and inspiring video on why people choose vegan:

    Also see Gary Yourofsky:

    1. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed reading a comment nearly as much… I mean how long did it take for you to make that stuff up!

  2. Hey–I noticed that here you seem to skip right over the N/KJV reading as something you “don’t want people to think is the best comparison,” and in another place I think you referred to the eudwkia reading as part of the “horrendous Textus Receptus.”

    I looked this variants up in Dr. Wieland Wilker’s massive “Textual Commentary” and he (who has no tolerance at all for a TR-preferring or KJV-Onlyist view) thinks that the text here is uncertain and the KJV reading might be right.

    I also frequently use a Greek New Testament of Robinson and Pierpont according to the Byzantine Textform, and they also have the reading that matches the KJV, because it is found in a strong majority of extant Greek manuscripts. If fact, if you’re feeling really open-minded, you might want to check out Robinson “Case for Byzantine Priority” here: (I’ve got the print version, and I’m making a PDF of it which I’ll upload to the net soon). It took me a good while to slog through it and read some other stuff critical of their views to make sure they weren’t pulling wool down over my eyes, but they convinced me.

    Blessings in Christ,


    1. Mitchell, first and foremost, it might help if you read the post.

      As I stated, the question was which was the best comparison. Because the point of comparison was εὐδοκίας, the ‘N/KJV as the best start or comparison here’ Why? Not because the Greek is faulty, but because it is different. Note the word that I used here and there, ‘different.’

      Further, this topic was not about the value of one MSS tradition above another. It was about the translation style of one particular MSS.

      I love the fact that think that I am not ‘open minded’ which you obviously based on reading my post only through your eyes and not for what I was actually saying.

      While the Byzantine Text is important, and I believe a fine example textual preservation, I am not convince either in favor of or against either MSS. I know of Robinson and respect his work as well as have the R-P Greek MSS.

  3. I did read the post.

    As to the “comparison” bit, I’ll try to rephrase what you said back to you to see if I correctly understand what you’re saying. It seems to me, based on your post and the comment, is that you are saying that the NKJV reading cannot be compared as an alternate translation of eudwkias because it comes from a different text. If that’s what you’re saying, we agree. Upon my first reading of the post I was under the impression that you meant by using the phrase “best comparison” was that the KJV translation was not the best. The wording still seems a bit fuzzy to me. Maybe I’m reading it wrong.

    I love the fact that think that I am not ‘open minded’ which you obviously based on reading my post only through your eyes and not for what I was actually saying.

    Ouch! I don’t have any reason to think you’re not open-minded. But I’m guessing your response is to my (unfelicitously) saying:

    If fact, if you’re feeling really open-minded, you might want to check out Robinson “Case for Byzantine Priority” here:

    When I wrote that, the reason I included the phrase “if you’re feeling really open-minded” was because it takes a lot of open-mindedness to spend the time it takes to digest a work like that which bucks the consensus that in many minds is considered completely established. But I had no intention of saying that you are not open-minded. In fact, if I had to guess based on what I’ve read in your posts (and since I don’t know you it would be only a guess), I would have to say you’re more open-minded than most, in that you are willing to discuss all sorts of topics with all sorts of people.

    Peace on the earth and goodwill to you,


    1. Mitchell, I do not believe that the KJV had the best reading. We can discuss this, but the point of the post was only to show that first, if we are to examine a translation, we should all be on the same textual tradition page.

      I generally am willing to discuss things, especially such things as interesting as this. I prefer most Byzantine readings, and would generally tend to go more with this textual tradition based on a variety of reasons, mainly because the Western Tradition was buried under the Latin West, which we know how they felt about the matter.

      As a former KJVO, then TRO, I am well versed in these things, believe it or not, and while I may not hold to those positions any longer, I do prefer the East in matters like this.

  4. Fair enough.

    A former KJVO and TRO? I imagine that would give you a background to be able to look over the multiple sides of textual issues and how they relate to doctrine. Do you have any posts on those sorts of topics? As someone who really likes the KJV for stylistic reasons but has had only casuaI contact with some KJVO folk, I would be very interested to learn what you’ve found along the way.

  5. Thanks for the link–there’s a lot to think about in that category.

    As someone who’s parents and both sets of grandparents met at the same Bible college, I must confess that I do like a friendly Bible debate. However, I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to debate you on this on. I have to agree that for the most part, Textual Variants don’t harm doctrine. In fact, I can’t think of a single variation in the text that would change the basic way I live as a Christian. Although I do have some strong opinions about what the correct text is (and I prefer Byzantine, specifically Robinson-Pierpont and the Greek Orthodox text from, I think, Constantinople in 1904), I have to admit that it’s not as though Textus Receptus or Alexandrian-Text folks are going to arrive at a different Christianity because of their different texts. And I don’t have any particular doctrinal reason to believe that any particular text is providentially preserved–it’s more of just a logic thing for me (that is, either the Byzantine position is the only logical one or I’m missing something, and I very well may be missing something).

    So what I tend to do is just float the Byzantine-priority hypothesis someone’s way (at the very least, it has helped some people know that there’s another idea out there) and then let people sort it out themselves, with as little or as much input as they might want from me.

    Personally, I like the New King James Version, the King James Version, Walter Porter’s Conservative Version, Jerome’s Latin Vulgate, the American Standard Version, Webster’s Bible, the Jewish Publication Society Version of 1917, Young’s Literal Translation, the World English Bible, the English Standard Version, and the Murdock’s translation of the Peschito Aramaic. But best of all the translations, in my subjective opinion, is the Spanish Reina Valera Bible of 1909. There’s some others I look at occasionally, but I don’t like them quite as much.

    Anyhow, I look forward to continue reading, thinking about, and dialoguing about what you have to say.



  6. 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.

    the differnce between these translations (above) and the others (of the style “on whom his favorrest”) is quite important, and is doctrinal.

    The first text send peace to men from the moment they are “of good will” , the others says that will benefice peace only those that Lord God arbitrarily choosed to favour them ! that’s the calvinist doctrine of predestination. The first is the catholic one : goodness saves.

    So it is important to know which is the true meaning of the greek, and which contrived.

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