Why does the KJV use "made flesh" in John 1:14 when other translations use "became flesh?"

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(KJV)John 1:14

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 1:14 (NASB)

[14]And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14 (NKJV)

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth

John 1:14 (HCSB)

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth

John 1:14(ASV)

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Why is the KJV different from other translations

55 Comments

  • Reply February 3, 2017

    Paul Hughes

    EGENETO, the Aorist Tense of GINOMAI, can mean “was,” “came,” “became,” “happened,” or in dozens of cases, “made,” depending on the context. But often it amounts to a “judgment call” on the part of the translator. The KJV also translates “made” in Mt 4:3 and 9:16, to name just 2 of dozens of examples. In John, EGENETO appears 2 times in 1:3 and again in 1:10, all of which could also be well translated, “became.” EGENETO is Active or Middle Voice, which could suggest a sort of spontaneous “becoming” rather than a Passive “being made.” The latter, were a Passive sense meant to be emphasized, would likely use a Passive form of POIEO, the usual word for “make.”

    But the choice is some translations might come down to theology, as there was a longstanding debate from early times over whether Christ was “created” before the worlds (as in Arianism), “ingenerate” (uncreated) like God the Father (as in Monism), “generated” from the Father before the worlds, “eternally generated” (as in Origen), or “generated,” as in “born” at the time of the Incarnation — with other variations.

    • Reply December 5, 2018

      Don Smith

      You missed Luke 3:2 in which egeneto is translated “came to.”
      “The word of God came to John the Baptist and he preached the good news.” The beginning of John 1:14 is the same and I see no reason to use the word “made” or “became” in John 1:14 unless the translator has a reason for the Logos of YHWH to become flesh.

      “flesh” is another issue. Why would the word become the flesh of Jesus and why would anyone want to believe it did when Jesus always spoke against the flesh. For example:
      “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you–they are full of the Spirit and life.” John 6:63.

      The Greek word “sarx” most often does mean flesh, but the word flesh can refer to a type such as “human flesh.” Another word used to translate “sarx” is humanity.

      The word did not become flesh in the sense that people have been interpreting John 1:14.

      The word came to humanity and dwelt within us…..This is the correct translation that fits with Luke 3:2. This is also confirmed by the fact that John 1:14 is the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 18:18.
      “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him.” Deuteronomy 18:18

      Notice the OT never states that God would make His word become flesh, but rather, he will put his words into his prophet. John 1:14 has been deliberately translated to imply that the word of God (His divine plan, spoken word, thoughts, etc.) became the person of Jesus in order to make Jesus become the God and word of John 1:1. This is pagan mysticism.

      The word came to humanity and dwelt within us, and we beheld its glory, glory like as the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

      God is Light. His Gospel is Light. Jesus brought the Light of God (the good news message from his Father) to humanity. The Gospel enlightens all who hear it and believe. The Gospel made Jesus and his disciples “the light of the world.”

      “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) Jesus is called the “Light of the World” because he brought the Gospel to the inhabitants of the world. This is a title for Jesus. It does not mean Jesus is the literal light of the world because God is the true light (1 John 1:5) and Jesus called his followers “the light unto the world.” Matthew 5:14
      The light is the Gospel. Jesus and his followers reveal the Gospel to the world. In that sense Jesus and his followers are the “light of the world.” Those who believe the Gospel are enlightened and receive eternal life.

      We are told: “YHWH is light,” (1 John 1:5);
      Paul states: “For YHWH, who said, Let light shine out of darkness,’ made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of His glory displayed in the face of Messiah.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)

      “YHWH is light,” and His light shown through Jesus the Messiah and made him “the light of the world.” Jesus called his followers “the light of the world.

      The word in John 1:1 is the Gospel.
      The beginning in John 1:1 is the beginning of the preaching of the Gospel.

  • Reply December 6, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Brody Pope Why “MADE FLESH” Instead of “BECAME FLESH?” Ricky Grimsley

  • Reply December 6, 2017

    Ricky Grimsley

    I dont know the translators motivation but i know the bibke also says this. Hebrews 10:5 KJVS
    [5] Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:

  • Reply December 6, 2017

    Street Preacherz

    If it’s made flesh you have a maker which is God. Meaning I think Jesus didn’t do it of his own will. Became flesh. How far off???

  • Reply December 6, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    are you saying Jesus was a made man?

  • Reply December 7, 2017

    Christopher Noel Boggess

    Hope that helps

  • Reply December 7, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    to wax? Christopher Noel Boggess

  • Reply December 7, 2017

    James Hail

    Might it be more appropriate to state “cause to be flesh?” This helps us understand that Jesus “became” a human “being” with no change in or of His Spirit. Just me waxing ?

  • Reply December 7, 2017

    Brian Roden

    Well, unlike the NET Bible, we don’t have the translators’ notes from the KJV. But I’m wondering is “was made” may have just been a common way Elizabethan era English speakers said “became.” We are dealing with 400 years of evolution of the English language.

  • Reply December 7, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    ἐγένετο (the word TO BE) cannot be translated made It means is/was or became at best. KJV editors made willing mistake based on their theological understanding at the time, as in many other places within KJV Where does one get the NET Bible translators notes Brian Roden? What they have included is a few textual comments here and there at best Great work though

  • Reply December 7, 2017

    James Hail

    γίνομαι is the word used in our reference text. Strong states the meaning as “a come to be.” Thayer defines it as “to become, i.e. to come into existence, begin to be, receive being.”

    I understand this to mean that the physical body came into existence.

  • Reply December 7, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    James which text has it with γίνομαι ? NA/UBS is simply 14 Καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο

    • Reply December 7, 2017

      Brian Roden

      ἐγένετο is the aorist middle indicative of γίνομαι according to Logos software

    • Reply December 7, 2017

      Varnel Watson

      Sure but γίνομαι isnot whats used here or whats translated

    • Reply December 7, 2017

      Brian Roden

      Looking at Erasmus’ Greek NT (which predates the KJV by almost a century) at https://www.originalbibles.com/ on page 222 shows egeneto.
      Maybe instead of a theological understanding, it was their understanding of Greek grammar 400 years ago. Ginomai is what some grammarians call a deponent verb (middle/passive in form, but active in meaning). The KJV translators may have seen it as a passive form, instead of the middle (where the subject does the action to/for itself)

  • Reply December 7, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Brian Roden James Hail I just did a quick old English versions comparison that shows the line from where KJV took “was made”

    Wycliffe And the word was maad man

    Tyndele And the worde was made flesshe

    Matthews And the worde was made flesh

    Geneva And that Word was made flesh

    Websters And the Word was made flesh

    KJV 1611 And the Word was made flesh

    http://textusreceptusbibles.com/Strongs/43001014a

  • Reply December 7, 2017

    Randy Buchanan

    Tried to read the article. This is what came up:

  • Reply December 7, 2017

    Andy Denny

    Why doesn’t the Bible use the word “incarnation”?
    The first official appearance of the word “incarnation” appeared in the Nicene creed.
    It wasn’t the N.T. Writers decision to describe Jesus this way.

  • Reply December 7, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    I think the greek word for incarnation derives from “became in the flesh” σαρκωθέντα in latin is translated incarnatus and it should literally read incarnated BY (via the act) the Holy Spirit referring to the immaculate conception I love this part Ricky Grimsley

    And in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
    the only begotten Son of God,
    begotten from the Father before all ages,

  • Reply December 8, 2017

    Scotty Searan

    The NASB comes out in 1963 and the KJV has errors, we can no longer use Strongs Concordance as a way to understand Greek, because they overlooked some manuscripts or somebody found a different manuscript with some words that are different.
    Oh my make you wonder if any translation can be trusted

  • Reply December 8, 2017

    Scotty Searan

    I understand the KJV and I can’t understand the newer versions.

  • Reply December 8, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Good observations Scotty Searan Even NASB is outdated. NET is a good replacement. I still prefer old Darby And NLT is no Bible at all

  • Reply December 8, 2017

    Christopher Noel Boggess

    What do you think of mlt version

  • Reply December 8, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    MLT or MLV – they both claim to be literal

  • Reply December 8, 2017

    Christopher Noel Boggess

    I just got my mlt few months ago i still like kjv over it

  • Reply December 8, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    Have you tried the MLV?

  • Reply December 8, 2017

    Christopher Noel Boggess

    I got the hb mlv

  • Reply December 8, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    what do you think about it?

  • Reply December 8, 2017

    Christopher Noel Boggess

    Its only nt though

  • Reply December 8, 2017

    Christopher Noel Boggess

    It’s ok but some things are better old school

  • Reply December 8, 2017

    Varnel Watson

    start a new MLV thread – let’s see what they fixed and what is better

  • Reply December 8, 2017

    Christopher Noel Boggess

    Ok brother

  • Reply December 8, 2017

    Diana Kay Miller Sheek

    I believe it is because as part of the Trinity of God, Jesus was made flesh because God remained in heaven and Jesus walked among us and had to be what we are.

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