Re: God sent his *only son*...
Thu, 1 Aug 1996 12:23:20 -0700 (PDT)

Will Wagers wrote:

According to what I've read, "Only-begotten" (e.g. Jn 1:14) is a mistranslatio

of monogenes, which means "only", "unique".<

It is true that many scholars believe that MONOGENHS just means "unique" in
many or most contexts (e.g. applied to Israel), but it is quite an exaggeration
to call "only-begotten" a mistranslation (I'm not criticizing Will, just the
sources he has read). MONOGENHS can mean (and very well may, in Jn 3:16 and
elsewhere) "only-begotten", as even BAGD indicates. However, I would agree that
such a passage most likely was not written to teach the LOGOS's preexistence,
and in any case would not serve as convincing evidence in a debate.

On a different subject, David Moore has called attention to debate over ECWMEN
in Rom. 5:1. This is a very challenging problem, but it is not as though the
subjunctive were an impossible reading. Paul may very well be exhorting his
readers to in some way make their peace with God, given justification. What
particularly concerns me is the theory that Tertius misunderstood Paul due to
the phonic overlap between omicron and omega, and that the latter sent the
letter on as-was. This looks like a perfectly reasonable explanation, but in
regard to the doctrine of inspiration I think it is very problematic. I usually
find myself among a small minority who would argue for complete inerrancy, but
even if we accept the more popular idea that inspiration guarantees the truth
or validity of the text only, isn't this a situation where the meaning and
point are obscured if there was such a simple error of the ear? Moreover, if
we accept a correction of the text on such grounds, doesn't this suggest ap-
proval of the classical approach to textual criticism, where emandation is
justified whenever we doubt the text on purely internal grounds? (I realize
that this may not be the appropriate forum for such a question, and I will
humbly accept that if someone so advises).

Don Wilkins
UC Riverside