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KJV of Jude 1:4 declares that God is the only lord, beside the lord Jesus Christ, i.e: it may means that the only Lord is God the father, beside the lord Jesus Christ.

Like KJV, also, World English Bible and Young's Literal Translation.

Douay-Rheims Bible (DRB), doesn't mention God again, but it is clear that it's like KJV i.e: DRB includes one description to Jesus.

In other translations, they declare that Jesus Christ is both: Master and Lord.

Thus, it's clear that there's difference between the two translations.

Jude 1:4 (KJV):

  1. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jude 1:4 (DRB):

For certain men are secretly entered in, (who were written of long ago unto this judgment,) ungodly men, turning the grace of our Lord God into riotousness, and denying the only sovereign Ruler, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

It's clear that DRB mentioned the word "God" one time only, but it seems like KJV.

Jude 1:4 (ASV):

  1. For there are certain men crept in privily, {cf15i even} they who were of old written of beforehand unto this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Jude 1:4 (GNT):

  1. παρεισέδυσαν γάρ τινες ἄνθρωποι, οἱ πάλαι προγεγραμμένοι εἰς τοῦτο τὸ κρῖμα, ἀσεβεῖς, τὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμῶν χάριτα μετατιθέντες εἰς ἀσέλγειαν καὶ τὸν μόνον δεσπότην καὶ Κύριον ἡμῶν ᾿Ιησοῦν Χριστὸν ἀρνούμενοι.

So, what is the accurate translation of the verse?

  • The issue is not translational but textual critical. Both can be "accurate" and faithful to their text. As for the ASV rendering, it is more a question as to the sense of δεσπότης and κύριος in this context. For the former see 2 Peter 2:1. – user33125 Mar 15 at 18:37
  • If the definitive article is repeated before each main noun, then more objects are referenced. Thus, if the Greek reads the only Despot God and the Lord of ours Jesus Christ, than two Lords are indeed meant; but if it reads the only Despot God and Lord of ours Jesus Christ, then a single person is most likely intended, assuming that the Greek was accurately preserved in the first place. – Lucian Mar 25 at 18:33
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The ASV and the KJV are based on a different set of Greek manuscripts, so this might account for part of the difference. According to the apparatus in the 27th edition of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament there are something like two dozen variants that can be constructed of Jude 4!


The ASV dates back to 1900-1901 and I couldn't find out for sure which Greek text it is based on, but Wikipedia says that it is second only to the NASB in agreement with Nestle-Aland's 28th edition. This text is:

παρεισέδυσαν γάρ τινες ἄνθρωποι, οἱ πάλαι προγεγραμμένοι εἰς τοῦτο τὸ κρίμα, ἀσεβεῖς, τὴν τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν χάριτα μετατιθέντες εἰς ἀσέλγειαν καὶ τὸν μόνον δεσπότην καὶ κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν ἀρνούμενοι.

The King James Version is supposed to have followed closely Scrivener's 1881 Textus Receptus, which reads:

παρεισέδυσαν γάρ τινες ἄνθρωποι, οἱ πάλαι προγεγραμμένοι εἰς τοῦτο τὸ κρίμα, ἀσεβεῖς, τὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμῶν χάριν μετατιθέντες εἰς ἀσέλγειαν, καὶ τὸν μόνον δεσπότην Θεόν, καὶ Κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν ἀρνούμενοι.

The words in bold are those that are different in the two versions.


As we see above, the likely Greek text for the ASV literally reads:

... τὸν μόνον δεσπότην καὶ κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν
... the only master and Lord of us Jesus Christ

On the other hand, the wording in the KJV Textus Receptus seems to have been slightly different:

... τὸν μόνον δεσπότην Θεόν, καὶ Κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν
... the only master God, and Lord of us Jesus Christ

The comparison is a little confusing here because the KJV chose to translate both δεσπότης (despotēs - viz. "despot") and κύριος (kyrios) as "Lord", whereas the ASV rightly (I think) makes a distinction between the two words.


I think this might help explain the differences between the two translations here.

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  • Yes. Robert Young agrees with you in his literal translation and our only Master, God, and Lord -- Jesus Christ -- denying,. – Nigel J Mar 16 at 10:10
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There is a difference in Greek texts at Jude 1:4. The last part of the verse reads one of two ways in the Greek MSS:

  1. καὶ τὸν μόνον Δεσπότην καὶ Κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν ἀρνούμενοι. (and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.) This reading is supported by (dates in brackets): P72(~300), P78(~300), 01(~350), 02(V), 03(IV), 04(V), 33(IX), 81(1044), 307(X), 436(~1200), and many more. This is the text listed in NA28, USB5, W&H, Souter, THGNT, SBL, NIVGNT, etc.
  2. καὶ τὸν μόνον δεσπότην θεὸν καὶ κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν χριστὸν ἀρνούμενοι. (and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.) This reading is supported by (dates in brackets): 044(~900), 018(IX), 019(VIII), 025(IX), 5(XII), 1175(X), 1448(XII), 1611(XII), 1735(X), 2429(X), plus a few more. This is the text adopted by R&P Byzantine text, Majority Text, Textus Receptus, etc.

The NA28 text and UBS5 regard the first variant as almost certainly correct (marked {A}) as the second variant appears to have arisen much later (in the 9th century).

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  • Yet another occasion on which the Westcott & Hort/Nestle Aland text sides with the Unitarians. Not surprisingly, given the Inclinations of Dr Vance and Dr Hort. – Nigel J Mar 16 at 10:12
  • @NigelJ - a particularly odd comment in light of the fact that Wescott, Hort, Aland & Nestle were not Unitarians and quite opposed to it. In any case, the NA28 reading does not support Unitarianism. But, I suppose, nothing will convince devotees of the Byzantine text. – Dottard Mar 16 at 10:37

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