Ephesians 5:21 (DRB):

Being subject one to another, in the fear of Christ.

Ephesians 5:21 (KJB):

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

KJV and NKJV, both versions translated "Χριστοῦ" as "God" in Ephesians 5:21. While many other translations translated it as "Christ".

The Arabic version سميث/ڤانديك translated it as "الله", meaning "God", while other Arabic translations translated it as "المسيح", meaning "Christ".

I ask, why KJV translated it as "God"?

Are there any original Greek manuscripts having the word "θεου" meaning "God" in Ephesians 5:21?

2 Answers 2


The Textus Receptus Greek text for Ephesians 5:21 reads :

υποτασσομενοι αλληλοις εν φοβω θεου

The KJV translates this as :

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. [KJV 1769]

See Textus Receptus Bible

The Greek text is disputed in this verse and the Westcott & Hort/Nestle Aland Greek text has Χριστου instead of θεου.

This is a matter of Textual Criticism and there are two opposing schools of thought regarding the amount of confidence and weight to be applied to the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus in the forming of the underlying Greek Text of the scripture.


My USB3 critical apparatus does not even list the variation for "God." The Nestle Aland lists some minor manuscripts that have θεού, see below.

The existence of textual variants is actually a strength and not a weakness in determining the original text. The original text can be very accurately determined by the science of textual criticism.

It's a lot like tracing DNA back to a common ancestor.

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  • I agree with you. From my research, I think Codex Alexandrinus and Vulgate are the most accurate manuscripts. Douay-Rheims Bible is more accurate than KJV.
    – salah
    Commented Feb 6, 2020 at 4:39

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