46 Angelic Proclamation; Luke 2:14

46 Angelic Proclamation

The Pulpit at All Angels Church. Photo credit, Flickr

A single letter makes a difference! (Luke 2:14)

Is the form of the Greek word for goodwill or favor eudokia or eudokias ?
Did the angels sing a song proclaiming peace with three strophes? (eudokia)
Did they sing:

Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace,
good will toward men. (MKJV)

Or did the song have two strophes? (eudokias)
Or did they sing:

Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests. (NIV)

(or: …with whom He is well pleased – ASV)

Without the “s”, eudokia is a noun, used adverbial, describing what men receive.
With the “s”, eudokias, genitive form of the noun, used adjectively, defines the relationship of men towards God, who is the subject of the phrase.

Let us look at the textual evidence:
Luke 2:14

Luke 2:14

Variations eudokia, 3-ledig: eudokias, 2-ledig:
Witnesses Greek: Translations Church Fathers Greek Translations Church Fathers
101-200 Diatessaron Ireneus
201-300 Origen Sahidic Origen
301-400 Bohairic Syriac Eusebius, Basilius Cyrel-Jerusalem, Gregorius-Nyssa, Epifanius, Apostoliese Konstitusie Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Washington Goties, Old Latin Cyrel-Jerusalem, Athanasius
401-500 Etiopies, Georgian, Syriac Alexandrinus, Bezae 4 Old Latin Augustine
501-600 Wolfenbüttel 1 Old Latin Pseudo-Athanasius
601-700 Zathynthius Syriac 5 Old Latin
701-800 Regius, Athous Laurae
801-900 Syprius, Sangalensis, Koridethi, 1 Uncial
1001-1600 20 Minuscules Family 1 Family 13 2 Vulgate, Old Latin

According to manuscript evidence, the five oldest Greek manuscripts as well as four of the seven ancient translations up to 500 A.D. all support the double blessing. The oldest witness for a triple blessing, is the Diatessaron of Tatian who created one narrative by combining extracts from all four Gospels. It could be that he omitted the “s” by mistake, exerting influence on many later manuscripts, especially in Syria.
Note that four variations are represented in the manuscripts with a triple blessing.

Apart from evaluating the manuscripts, one should also consider what is typical of the author of the document, the intrinsic criteria. The first chapters of Luke portray a strong Aramaic background. Luke recorded in Greek, what the angels proclaimed in either Hebrew or Aramaic to the shepherds. There are numerous examples of blessings in the Proverbs and Ecclesiastes and other parts in the Old Testament. Most are contained in a double blessing, often the first referring to God, and the second to man. Triple blessings are very rare.

One could ask: Does it influence the message?

In the triple blessing God is first honored.
Then peace is promised on earth
Then a state of good will or tranquility between men is promised.

In the double blessing, God is also honored first.
Then goodwill and tranquility is promised to those on “whom his favor rests.”
Though God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, only those that believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

At once a significant difference is obvious!

Now that we can read the whole history of Jesus in the gospels, we can also see which blessing became reality through the life of Jesus.

Look at the following:
In Luke 12:51-53 Jesus declares: “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
Why this division? Because everyone confronted with Jesus has to make a decision. ”Peace” is not for all on earth, only for those on “whom his favor rests.” Only those who have accepted the redemption God offered to all.

Compare other parts in Luke.
Mary proclaims prophetically in her song (Luke 1:46-55) that God scatters the proud and lifts up the humble.
Simeon proclaimed: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (Lk.2:34-35)
Compare this with the prodigal son who took part in the feast, yet the “good” son stayed outside! (Lk.15:11-31)
Luke stresses the re-instatement of Peter after his fall, while it is ignored by the other Gospels. (Lk.22:31-32)
Peace is not the absence of struggle! Peace is harmony and relationship with God Triune!
Therefore everyone who hears the words of the angelic choir, know that the peace of God is for those in whom God is well pleased. And God delights in us when we accept the redemption that He offers us through the cross and resurrection of His son, Jesus Christ the Lord.

God bless


About Herman of bibledifferences.net

The reasons for the differences between older Bibles like the King James Version and newer Bibles like the New International Version have fascinated me ever since my studies in Theology at the University of Pretoria in the seventies. I have great respect for scribes through the ages as well as Bible translators, so there must be good reasons for the differences. With more than 5600 Greek manuscripts and more than 19000 manuscripts of ancient translations to our disposal, the original autographs of the New Testament can be established without doubt. I investigate the reasons behind the differences and publish the facts in a post on my blogs www.bibledifferences.net (Afrikaans: www.bybelverskille.wordpress.com) to enable my readers to judge for themselves. Personally I love to make an informed decision based of facts. That is why I endeavor to provide that same privilege to the readers of my blogs. Since 1973 I am married to my dear wife and greatest friend, Leah Page, founder director of Act-Up Support (www.actup.co.za) a prayer ministry for families struggling with drug-, occult- and other dependencies. We are blessed with two daughters and two sons, four grand sons and two grand daughters. God is alive and omnipotent! Glory to His Name! Herman Grobler.
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3 Responses to 46 Angelic Proclamation; Luke 2:14

  1. Pingback: 55 Open or closed Canon. | Bible differences

  2. James Ravi says:

    Simple, straight-forward and easy to understand explanation. Thank you. The table is truncated at the right side and I could not read the full table. Can you help me please?

    • James,
      Thank you for pointing out this problem. I was not aware that it proved some problems in certain browsers.
      I had to adapt the table on my Afrikaans blog and translate everything, but the mouseovers are too many at this point. I will do them when I more time, but I hope you will be able to understand enough in the meantime.
      Please inform me whether the table is OK in your browser at this time. Do also point out any spell or other mistakes you notice. (English is not my first language.)
      God bless,
      Herman Grobler,
      Pretoria, South Africa.

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