Sometimes there are differences that present as possibly challenging a crucial Biblical truth. Did God create all nations out of one blood, or one man? We should study every difference thoroughly to get to the bottom of the cause for that difference.
KJV: “And He has made all nations of men of one blood to dwell on all the face of the earth, ordaining fore-appointed seasons and boundaries of their dwelling.”
(NIV) “From one man he made every nation of men,that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.”
(RSV) “And he made from one every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation.”
How can that be? There is a huge difference between “one blood” and “one man”. Throughout the Bible “blood” plays an important, if not sometimes crucial role. Just consider all the sacrifices of the Old Testament. In the New Testament all his children are being justified by the “blood of the Lamb”. Even the waters are being turned into blood in Revelation etc. And now suddenly this statement by Paul before the Athenians is altered from “blood” to “man”! Why?
According to the UBS – Text, both versions have equal possibility to represent the original autograph.
Up to the year 500 A.D. “one” is found in 2 Greek manuscripts, 3 Ancient Translations and 2 Church Fathers including Clement who died in 215 A.D.
“One blood” is found in 1 Greek manuscript, 4 Ancient Translations and also 2 Church Fathers, including Irenaeus who died in 202 A.D. Even the use by the Church Fathers proves that both versions had been known almost from the beginning. But only one could render the original, the other being an alteration. But how could we discern the original?
After the year 500 A.D. more of the manuscripts have the version with “one blood”. But greater numbers only proves that that version had been in the hands of those who needed more copies, like the Greek Orthodox Church. It cannot prove which version of 300+ years earlier had been the original, and which the alteration.
Martin Luther who most probably used the Textus Receptus as Source Text, somehow translated “From one He created all nations” which differs from the TR. The Revised Standard Version also translates this way.
Possibly the context could help us to come to a conclusion.
In Genesis 2:7 we do not read about the creation of blood, yet we read about the creation of one man, Adam, of whom all humans descend.
On the other hand the concept of “blood” plays an important, if not crucial role throughout the Bible. In Biblical times the concept of life being rooted in the blood was well established. It is acceptable that a scribe could add “blood” to the sentence to make it read more easily.
Should we be concerned when translators of the Bible choose the version stating that God created all nations from one man instead of one blood?
The problem arises when we load a lot of our own understanding of a simple term out of context into Scripture where it is not appropriate. Paul wanted to emphasize that in the eyes of God all men are equal. His salvation is not for the Jews only, but for every nation, also the Greeks. Of them Paul says that they built ”an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.” Paul’s statement has nothing to do concerning any special application of the word “blood” or “man”. He wanted to proclaim that the gospel is also for the Greeks.
We should always guard against reading more into Scripture than what is really written.
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