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Battle Cry
"Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" Gal. 4:16

Is Jesus "God's Son" or "God's Servant?"

Issue Date: July/August 1999

Do you see a difference between these two Bible versions?

King James Version
Acts 3:25 Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.
Acts 3:26 Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

New King James Version
Acts 3:25 You are the sons of the prophets, and of the covenent which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, 'And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
Acts 3:26 To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning every one of you away from his iniquities.

In the KJV, we find that Jesus is God's Son. In the NKJV, we find that He is God's servant. These are clearly not the same! The Greek word found in the text here is "pais". It can be used in Greek for either "son" or "servant." So which one is correct here?

The solution is simple: look at the context in which it is used. In English, we have many words that can have more than one meaning. If a translator, going from English to another language, came across the word "bear," he would have a choice of meanings. But it wouldn't take rocket science to figure out which one to use.

If the passage described a man with a heavy burden, the translator would understand that the man is going to "bear," or "carry" the burden. If, on the other hand, the passage described a hairy beast climbing a tree, the translator would understand the correct meaning here applies to a forest-dwelling animal that will eat nearly anything it finds. It's not really very hard.

Now look at the Bible passage above. What is being discussed?

  • "children of the prophets"
  • "covenant which God made with our fathers"
  • "in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed."

It's clear, isn't it? The passage is talking about "children," and "fathers" and "seed." The word "pais" means "son." But the New King James translators chose "servant." Why? They were not alone. The New World Translation, created by the Jehovah's Witnesses who deny the deity of Jesus, translated this word "servant" also. So do the NIV, ASV, NASB and other modern Bible translations.

Could it be that these modern translators disagree that "pais" can be translated "son?" No, the NKJV committee translates this very word as "boy," "child" or "son" in Matthew 2:16; 17:18; 21:15; Luke 2:43; 9:42; and John 4:51. Yet they refused to translate the word as "son" in this powerful sermon where Peter presents Jesus as Messiah and Son of God.

One has to ask, why were these translators so determined to deny the deity of Jesus in this passage? Is this a Bible you can trust with your eternal destiny?

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