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Text:Luke 2: 8 -14 (YTL)

"And there were shepherds in the same region, lodging in the field, and keeping the night-watches over their flock, 9 and lo, a messenger of the Lord stood over them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they feared a great fear. 10 And the messenger said to them, Fear not, for lo, I bring you good news of great joy, that shall be to all the people -- 11 because there was born to you to-day a Saviour -- who is Christ the Lord -- in the city of David, 12 and this [is] to you the sign: Ye shall find a babe wrapped up, lying in the manger.' 13 And suddenly there came with the messenger a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 14 Glory in the highest to God, and upon earth peace, among men -- good will.'

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  • The basic meaning of eudokia is approval or acceptance, something or someone that God considers to be good. It is often connected to the will of God. So the people of acceptance here must be those who accept the good news of peace and do what God wants, that is, believe in Jesus (as did the shepherds and magi, but not Herod). It is not limited to Jews nor does it include every person on earth. Dec 26 '21 at 8:56
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There is a significant textual variant here upon which the edited version of the GNT disagree.

  • NA28, UBS5, W&H, etc have, εἰρήνη ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκίας = peace on/among people of good will, ie, peace and good will toward people on whom God's favor rests
  • Byzantine text, TR, Orthodox Text have, εἰρήνη ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκία = peace on/among people of good will, ie, peace and good will toward people.

The difference between these two is the final"ς" in the former text. See the comment below from Ellicott which summarizes the difference in meaning.

On earth peace, good will toward men.—The better MSS. give, “on earth peace among men of good will”—i.e., among men who are the objects of the good will, the approval and love of God. The other construction, “Peace to men of peace,” which the Christian Year has made familiar, is hardly consistent with the general usage of the New Testament as to the word rendered “good will.” The construction is the same as in “His dear Son,” literally, the Son of His Love, in Colossians 1:13. The word is one which both our Lord (Matthew 11:25; Luke 10:21) and St. Paul use of the divine will in its aspect of benevolence, and the corresponding verb appears, as uttered by the divine voice, at the Baptism and Transfiguration (Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5). The words stand in the Greek, as in the English, without a verb, and may therefore be understood either as a proclamation or a prayer. The “peace on earth” has not unfrequently been connected, as in Milton’s Ode on the Nativity, with the fact that the Roman empire was then at peace, and the gates of the Temple of Janus closed because there was no need for the power of the god to go forth in defence of its armies. It is obvious, however, that the “peace” of the angels’ hymn is something far higher than any “such as the world giveth”—peace between man and God, and therefore peace within the souls of all who are thus reconciled. We may see a reference to the thought, possibly even to the words of the angelic song, in St. Paul’s way of speaking of Christ as being Himself “our peace (Ephesians 2:14).

The Cambridge commentary makes this even clearer

  1. Good will (of God) among men. ἐν ὑψίστοις, in the highest places, proper abode of Him who is repeatedly in these early chapters called “the Highest”. The thought in 1 echoes a sentiment in the Psalter of Solomon (Luke 18:11), μέγας ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν καὶ ἔνδοξος ἐν ὑψίστοις.—εὐδοκίας is a gen. of quality, limiting ἀνθρώποις = those men who are the objects of the Divine εὐδοκία. They may or may not be all men, but the intention is not to assert that God’s good pleasure rests on all. J. Weiss in Meyer says = τοῖς ἐκλεκτοῖς.

There is nothing here to suggest that the "men/people" is confined to Jews as opposed to those who enjoy God's favor generally.

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  • +1 covers the issues related to the question.
    – Perry Webb
    Dec 26 '21 at 0:01

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