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 most accurate (original Greek text), and (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
    Commented Mar 15, 2020 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
    Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 18:33

5 Answers 5


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.

  • Yes. Robert Young agrees with you in his literal translation and our only Master, God, and Lord -- Jesus Christ -- denying,.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 10:10
  • The KJV is among the best translations available in English, even to this present day. However, those who study carefully will see ample evidence of translations in the KJV that favor Trinitarian dogma. A prominent example is found in 1 John 5:7-8, where the KJV includes the Johanine Comma (a virtually undisputed interpolation) and many other versions rightly omit it.
    – Biblasia
    Commented Jun 4, 2023 at 7:10

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).

  • 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
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 10:12
  • 1
    @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
    Commented Mar 16, 2020 at 10:37

The truth is, we have to consider the text. What is being said about Jesus? The Trinitarian favored text says that Jesus is the Only Master and Lord. Yet, it makes no sense to name Jesus both the Superior rank and an inferior rank in the same sentence. To put it in more modern terms, it's like saying the Only King and Prince of ours Jesus Christ. Read Richard C. Trench's commentary that explains the difference between despotes and kyrios. You'll find that a despot has more dominion than a lord.

If Jesus is the only absolute ruling GOD, the Father and His Holy Spirit must be inferior to Jesus.

Yet, the NASB20 says that the One that made all things subject to Jesus is excluded from being subjected to Jesus. Then it goes on to say, that when all things are subjected to Jesus, Jesus will be subject to the One that subjected all to Jesus. That is, the same One that is excluded from being subjected to Jesus is the same One Jesus is subjected to.

1 Corinthians 15:27, 28 NASB20

27 For He has put all things in subjection under his feet. But when He says, "All things are put in subjection," it is clear that this excludes the [Father] who put all things in subjection to Him. 28 When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.

I conclude that the author is not likely to call Jesus both "the Only despotes" and "kyrios" in the same sentence. I seriously doubt that the author would call any individual member of the Trinity the Only despotes. According to the creed, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are 3 separate persons, but all co-equal. The triune god can be the only despotes according to the creed, but not just one member.

It's possible that the later variants were changed to clear up this confusion. Regardless, they believed Jesus is God also. So, I doubt they tampered with scripture to benefit the Arian argument.

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    – agarza
    Commented Jan 7, 2023 at 4:50

Here are additional verses. 2 Peter 1:1-2

…, τοῖς ἰσότιμον ἡμῖν λαχοῦσιν πίστιν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ

…, to the ones of equal value to us the ones having obtained by lot belief in the truth of righteousness

τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ· χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη πληθυνθείη ἐν

of the God of us and savior of us Yeshua Anointed One; grace to you all and peace be multiplied by

3rd Declension Vocative Dual / meaning a pair, 2 separate persons/things

ἐπιγνώσει τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν.

coming to full knowledge both of the God, and of Yeshua the Master of us.

The noun ἐπιγνώσει is in the dual number, meaning what is following are two separate items. And just as in as in Jude 1:4, again a comma after God separating from next statement that is joined by a conjunction. God is master of everything as creator and needs no other title.

2 Peter 2:1

…, οἵτινες παρεισάξουσιν αἱρέσεις ἀπωλείας, καὶ τὸν ἀγοράσαντα αὐτοὺς δεσπότην

…, whom will secretly bring in factions of destructive ways, and the one having bought of them master

ἀρνούμενοι, ἐπάγοντες ἑαυτοῖς ταχινὴν ἀπώλειαν.

denying, the ones bring on themselves swift destruction.

Notice once again 1203 δεσπότην is not capitalized and all of Chapter 2 is about God. God is the buyer, his son is the payment and we are the item bought.

1 Peter 1:2-5

2..., κατὰ πρόγνωσιν Θεοῦ πατρός, ἐν ἁγιασμῷ Πνεύματος, εἰς ὑπακοὴν καὶ

2…, according to foreknowledge of God father, by sanctification of Spirit, into obedience and

ῥαντισμὸν αἵματος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ· χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη πληθυνθείη.

sprinkling of blood of Yeshua Anointed One; grace to you all and peace be multiplied.

3Εὐλογητὸς ὁ Θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ κατὰ

3Blessed the God and father of the Master of us Yeshua Anointed One, the one according to

τὸ πολὺ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος ἀναγεννήσας ἡμᾶς εἰς ἐλπίδα ζῶσαν δι’ ἀναστάσεως

the abundant of him mercy having been born again us into hope living by way of resurrection of

Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐκ νεκρῶν, 4εἰς κληρονομίαν ἄφθαρτον καὶ ἀμίαντον καὶ ἀμάραντον,

Yeshua Anointed One out from dead, 4into inheritance immortal and undefiled and enduring,

τετηρημένην ἐν οὐρανοῖς εἰς ὑμᾶς, 5τοὺς ἐν δυνάμει Θεοῦ φρουρουμένους

of the one reserved within heaven for you all, 5of the ones by power of God the ones being guarded

διὰ πίστεως εἰς σωτηρίαν ἑτοίμην ἀποκαλυφθῆναι ἐν καιρῷ ἐσχάτῳ.

by way of faithfulness unto salvation ready to be revealed at time end.

Notice there are no commas in verse 3 until after Yeshua's title Χριστοῦ Anointed One. Side note to be anointed, someone else had to do the anointing. Revelation 11:15 gives God title Κυρίου and says the Χριστοῦ is αὐτοῦ of his. Bold text speaks for themselves. God Bless and may he grant to you his spirits of knowledge, wisdom and understanding. See Revelation 4:5; 5:6 and Isaiah 11:1-2

Colossians 1:19 and 2:9 because in to him was approved all the fullness to reside,

2106 εὑδόκησε means approved; 4138 πλήρωμα is to fill up or make full, fullness works for the context of this verse.

because in to him resides all the filling up of the divine nature and perfections bodily,

2320 θεότητος means God or the divine nature and perfections; 4138 πλήρωμα is better translated as filling up either with God or the divine nature and perfections, which are the seven spirits of God.

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    – agarza
    Commented Jun 4, 2023 at 3:21

Jude 1:4 (1 of hundreds of verses) Shows that God and Father are the same person as Yeshua tells us in John 17:3 and Revelation 1:6 and confirms that the Son is the only created spirit in the exact likeness of his father God as in Colossians 1:15 and also a title Yeshua gives himself in Revelation 3:14. I only used 2 each of many verses that show/tell us the same thing.

NOTE: Greek text from Trinitarian Bible Society (TBS), London, England circa 1976 and all translated words used below are exclusively from Strong’s Greek Dictionary.

NOTE: For those with no or limited Ancient Greek understanding, as I was.

  1. Only first word of a paragraph or name/title of persons or places are capitalized.

  2. There are only four punctuation marks.

    A. . is a period, example ἀρνούμενοι. (from below text)

    B. , is a comma, example Θεόν, (from below text)

    C. · at top right corner of the last letter of a word is a semicolon, example Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ· (from end of 2 Peter 1:1)

    D. ; with an empty space before it is a ?, example τἡν ὁδὁν εἰδἐναὶ ; (from end of John 14:5, the way to know?)

    E. NOTE: I have placed all punctuation per the TBS Greek text and only capitalized words that are capitalized in Greek. You will find that most English translations add and remove punctuation which breaks up themes grouped together by the use of semicolons or changes the meaning of what was written when adding commas or periods.

  3. There are no unnecessary words written in Greek, and at most 1 percent or less need the addition of ‘not written’ words to be added for understanding. For those old enough to remember placing ads and being charged by the word. To save money, you only used the minimum amount of words needed to get your meaning clearly across. Writing materials in ancient times were a very expensive and limited commodity and in addition, you usually hired a scribe, someone highly skilled in writing. So every word written is there for a reason to make a clear understanding of the knowledge to be imparted. Remember all scripture was written by the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit.

Jude 1:4 ending


…, καὶ τὸν μόνον δεσπότην Θεόν, καὶ Κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν ἀρνούμενοι.

Smooth breathing marks over vowels ι in 2532 and ο in 3588/5547 separated in text above, treated as if opening single quote marks. I am not able to correct. Without marks they are και/τον/Χριστον

Literal translation:

…, and the only master God, and Master of us Yeshua Anointed One denying.

Puts emphasis on God and Son before verb. Giving a sense that you can believe other persons they would deny but not these two. Notice in Greek text a comma is after God denoting a separation from what follows.

Typical word order translation:

..., and denying the only master God, and Master of us Yeshua Anointed One.

Moving verb ‘denying’ just makes a statement of who they are denying, making them equal to anyone else they deny like a list… you just keep adding names to end of it.

The word 1203 for master means one having absolute authority as Romans 13:1 tells us God is the only authority. Notice it is not capitalized in Greek, because it is not a title but a fact of who God is, master of all he created. NOTE: The Greek word in English letters is despotes from which we get our word despot.

The word 2962 for master means one given limited benevolent authority as Yeshua tells us in John 17:2, which lines up with Romans 13:2. Which is a title/authority given/appointed to him by God over all flesh/created beings, including angels, and why in Greek it is Capitalized.

NOTE: both words above mean, to have ownership/possession of, often, but not always gets mistranslated as Lord which is only a title when master would be more appropriate. Master is the better translation as a master owns, especially when referring to God or Yeshua, but Lord in some cases when only referencing them not as owning us. Check context of the verses, because not all with title Lord own anything. For example God and his son are my masters, but none of the Lords in England have anything to do with or over me.

The word 5547 Christ is misleading as it is only the Greek word in English letters, Christos, without any meaning. The same as if with the word above Despotes, in English is Despot. If without its meaning, sole absolute authority, you would know the word only as a title with no understanding. The word Christos is an adjective meaning ‘anointed’, with oil specifically as regards the anointing of a Jewish High Priest. So as a title which it is, as Yeshua was anointed by God his father as our High Priest to God himself. That is why it is Capitalized in Greek and Anointed One of God would be the better translation or just Anointed One.

A small few of the many scriptures showing Yeshua being appointed/anointed and given authority. Matthew 28:18; Luke 4:8; John 19:11; Acts 9:22; Acts 10:38; Hebrews 1:1-3; Hebrews 3:1-3; Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 5:7-9; Hebrews 7:11-8:2; Revelation 11:15 If he is God, he would have all authority and not need to give himself anything, he already has all authority. In addition, why would he speak a lie, of which it is impossible for God to lie, in John 17:3 while praying, he called his father "the only true God"? If that statement is not true, then he would be a liar and without trust it would invalidate everything he said and taught. When I brought this up with my ex pastor, he said I didn't understand the two Jesus'?! So now is God four persons or three?! Or is he as he told us one. Yeshua cannot be God, as there is only one God and his name is Yehovah.

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