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This question has been separated from this one at the request of Jon Ericson. (Thanks again for the edit.)

When one looks at different translations of Matthew 24:36, one finds that the KJV mentions does not mention that the Son does not know the day and hour:

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. (KJV)

Whereas some other English translations say that the Son does not know, such as:

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (NIV)

What should the correct translation be in this case?

Thank you very much.

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2 Answers 2

The cause of the differences in this case is that not all manuscripts have 'the Son' in them and the KJV was using one of those.  Sometimes differences in manuscripts are simply a copyist mistake based on the similarity of given Hebrew or Greek words, but that does not seem to be the case here.  What we have here in my view is a typical well-intentioned yet foolish mistake in trying to protect the divinity of Christ.

I imagine the foolish copyist thought Jesus must know everything since He was God, so the words were erased. Bruce Metzger's Textual Commentary1 supports this assessment:

The omission of the words because of the doctrinal difficulty they present is more probable than their addition by assimilation to [the parallel passage in] Mk 13.32.

This omission is foolish, however, because on many occasions the human nature of Christ did not know many things, while we know that his divine nature always knows all.  His human nature is not omnipresent either, nor is it immutable, for it grew and changed. In any case even removing the words still includes Jesus as not knowing the hour because no man knows the hour and Jesus was not only God but also a man.

In other words, the KJV is not correct in this instance and the majority of other translations have probably relied on more accurate manuscripts.  However whenever a difference exists there will remain some debate. Luckily there are not enough differences among manuscripts to alter the understanding that we are able to obtain from them all. It is always this kind of minor stuff that can be explained better from other passages.


1. Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. New York: United Bible Societies, 1994, 51-52.

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1Tim.2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the 'man' Christ Jesus.

Num.23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

Acts1:4 And being assembled together with them, He(Jesus) commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the 'Father' has put in His 'own' authority.

Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

1Jn.4:12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

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Abe - you cited several verses, and we are familiar with them, but how do you tie them together? For example, when the woman with the blood hemorrhage touched the cloak of Jesus and was healed (Matt 9:20-22). He sensed that power had left his body, but he stated that he did not know who touched him. How could that passage help us to understand the question raised by the OP concerning Matt 24:36? Help us to glean some insights from your own personal journey through the Scriptures! –  Joseph 11 hours ago

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