Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Peace on Earth

So, in Luke 2 an angel shows up and tells some shepherds about Christ's birth. Then, as if to eliminate any doubt about the magnitude of the angel's announcement, reinforcements show up in verse 14 "praising God and saying..."

Hold it there just a second. Does it actually matter what the angels say? If so, tell me, what did they say?

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

OR...

(2) Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.

Your answer to this question most likely depends on the Bible translation you read. (#1 is the King James Version and #2 is the New American Standard Bible.)

Now, is it just me, or is there a big difference between "good will toward men" and "peace among men with whom He is pleased." The former seems warm and inclusive, just the sort of platitude everyone loves to hear this time of year. The latter seems more exclusive and begs the question, "Is God pleased with me?"

I haven't had a chance to research this further yet. Do any of you know why there is such a significant variation in the translation of this verse?

May God bless you with a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't know the details, but the consensus seems clear.

Luk 2:14

(ASV) Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased.

(CEV) "Praise God in heaven! Peace on earth to everyone who pleases God."

(DRB) Glory to God in the highest: and on earth peace to men of good will.

(ESV) "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"

(GNB) "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom he is pleased!"

(GW) "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those who have his good will!"

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

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

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

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

(MSG) Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

David Wolfe said...

David,

I was watching the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (I know, I know, but when your parents watch eight hours of T.V. a day and you are desperate to spend time with them, you'll watch anything that's not ardently sinful.) Anyway, during the singing, Luke Chapter two was also read, with the broader interpretation(don't know what version) and I had the same question pop into my mind. I find it instructive that (arguably) the two strongest translations, NASB & ESV have the same wording. You are good to bring it up though, lest people think that short of the saving work of Christ there is good will toward men. Scary thought...Merry Christmas to you, Christina and the kids.

Anonymous said...

The Message even got it pretty good. The answer is probably related to which source texts the translators are using.

Sharon said...

At risk of "preaching" to you, Dave, I would suggest the kjv, while likely an inferior translation (based my fluency in the Greek - Ha!) is still a faithful rendering and should be interpreted in light of the whole of scripture, which, even in the kjv, would illuminate an orthodox understanding of the text in question.