Changes in the Bible
It is easy to find many passages in the Bible where Jesus is called Son of God. One is also able to find a few passages where Jesus calls himself the Son of God, or where he calls God his father. However, a careful study of the Bible reveals that this is the result of changes in the Bible. Jesus never claimed that he is the Son of God.
Each time an older manuscript of the Bible is discovered, many changes are required in the Bible to bring it in line with the ancient manuscripts. Mark 1:1 reads as follows:
“The beginning of the Gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.b” (Mark 1:1, New International Version).
At the end of that verse, there is a small letter directing us to look at the footnote at the bottom of the page. There we find that some manuscripts do not have “the Son of God.” And those were ancient, reliable manuscripts. The evidence was so compelling that the editors of one Bible just simply removed the title Son of God from the verse altogether. Thus in the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures the verse reads:
“The beginning of the good news about Jesus Christ” (Mark 1:1).
The title ‘Son of God’ is no longer in that verse.
Another such change had to be made in the Acts of the Apostles 8:37 in every honest translation of the Bible prepared in this century. Evidence from old manuscripts demanded that the verse be removed from all present Bibles. If you go to your New International Version Bible and look for Acts 8:37 you will not find it in the text. You will find verse number 36, and then verse 38, but not 37. If you wish to know what verse 37 used to say, you need to check the footnote at the bottom of the page. This verse used to contain a confession that Jesus is the Son of God. It had to be removed because its absence from the most ancient manuscripts meant that someone added it to the later manuscripts.
Some changes become evident just by comparing one Gospel with another in the present Bibles. You can do this investigation yourself. One example of this is the centurion’s confession that Jesus is the Son of God as reported in Mark’s Gospel as follows:
“Truly this man was the Son of God” (Mark 15:39).
The same confession of the same centurion at the same scene, at the very moment, is reported in Luke also. But in Luke the Centurion is reported as saying:
“Certainly this man was innocent” (Luke 23:47).
In Luke the title Son of God is missing. Mark and Luke cannot both be right here. The confession is reported incorrectly in at least one Gospel.
In the next part we will look at other such changes, especially in the Gospel of Matthew.