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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 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 explicitly 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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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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  • Mike, (A.) I agree that the textual presence of "οὐδὲ ὁ Υἱός" ("nor the son"), is justified. It is attested to by the Codex Sinaiticus, and Nestle Aland 28. (B.) However, it is doubtful that this was removed from manuscripts to preserve a doctrine, to preserve the divinity of the Son, as "οὐδεὶς οἶδεν" excludes everyone, "οὐδὲ οἱ ἄγγελοι", excludes even the angels, and without getting into "εἰ μὴ ὁ πατὴρ μόνος", this certainly limits the knowledge to father. -- codexsinaiticus.org/en/… – elika kohen May 28 '15 at 19:31
  • I agree with elika- often times copyists were loathe to remove text (need source, but recall my professors emphasizing this point), but they were not above adding their own clarifications. In that case, it seems to me that it is more likely that "οὐδὲ ὁ Υἱός" was added, perhaps even because early readers had this very same question and some smart copyist decided to add it in for clarification. – Alex Durbin Aug 9 '16 at 15:54
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The KJV is based on a manuscript called "Textus Receptus" or "the Received Text" which dates to 1514 CE (a little less than a hundred years before the publication of the KJV). It featured a good many unique readings that had not appeared in any other prior manuscript and that mostly were modifications to favor a Trinitarian viewpoint:

http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/articles/textual-corruptions-favoring-the-trinitarian-position

It is because of this blatant corruption that no modern translations use that manuscript except for those who are particularly designed to perpetuate and modernize the KJV.

As to Matthew 24:36, the authenticity of "neither the son" (and the fact that Jesus is not omniscient, in his earthly life OR EVEN his ascended life) is corroborated by at least the following verses:

New International Version Mark 13:32 "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

NIV Revelation 1: 1The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He [God] made it known by sending his angel [messenger=Jesus] to his [God's] servant John, 2who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word [message] of [from] God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

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