SON OR SERVANT?

ACTS 3.26 "God, having raised up His Son Jesus..."

In the Revised Version of 1881 and in many modern versions this is rendered "His servant" or "His Servant", and the name "Jesus" is omitted. The change from "Son" to "servant" does not arise from any variations in the Greek manuscripts, but from differences of opinion regarding the meaning of the Greek, TON PAIDA AUTOU. The omission of "Jesus" does arise from a corresponding variant in the Greek manuscripts, so the grounds for these two significant changes are quite different.

The Greek PAIS occurs in the singular or plural twenty-four times in the New Testament, and in the Authorised Version it is rendered "child" in Matthew 17.18; Luke 2.43; 9.42; Acts 4.27; 4.30. It is

rendered "children" in Matt. 2.16; 21.15; "servant" or "servants" in Matt. 8.6, 13 12.18; 14.2; Luke 1.54; 1.69; 7.7; 15.26 Acts 4.25; "menservants in Luke 12.45; "maiden" in Luke 8.51 "maid" in Luke 8,54; "young man" in Acts 20.12; and "son" in John 4.51; Acts 3.13; 3.26.

The Greek HUIOS occurs more than three hundred and fifty times and is rendered in the English translations as "son" or "child", "sons" or "children", and in Matthew 21.5 "foal". It is true to say that PAIS in Acts 3.26 may be quite correctly rendered son, servant or child, and it would be wrong to assume that the Authorised Version was at fault in rendering it "son" in this verse. The words are all appropriate to the Son of God, and there are prophetic Scriptures in the Old Testament in which the Son is spoken of as the Servant of the LORD.

There are, however, good reasons for retaining "Son" in Acts 3.26, and there are passages in which it is very clear that HUIOS (son) is synonymous with PAIS. In John 4.46 we read of "a certain nobleman, whose son (HUIOS) was sick at Capernaum". In verse 47 the nobleman besought Jesus that He would come down and heal his son (HUIOS). In verse 49 the nobleman said, "Sir, come down ere my child (P~IDION) die", using a diminutive form of PAIS to refer to his son. In verse 50 Jesus says of the same child, "Thy son

(HUIOS) liveth". In verse 51 the bond-servants (DOULOI) of the nobleman met him, and told him, saying, "Thy son (PAIS) liveth". It is quite clear that they were speaking of his son, whom they refer to as PAIS, which in this context cannot mean anything different from HUIOS, son. The person spoken of as PAIS was the son (HUIOS) of the nobleman In Acts 3.26 the one spoken of as PAIS (TON PAIDA AUTOU) is the Son of God, and here PAIS may be regarded as synonymous with HUIOS, and rendered Son or "child", rather than as "servant".

Although the name of Jesus after "his Son" is not found in Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus and a few other ancient copies, it is found in Codex A, Codex P, cursives 1, 13, 31 and many others.

 

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