One’s understanding of Christ’s divinity is a matter of faith. The question we might ask ourselves individually is, if I had only heard the scripture from one of the manuscripts, would faith still lead me to accept the divinity of Christ? The answer should be yes, or there are issues more significant than biblical manuscripts that demand our immediate attention.
I’ve checked different bibles and cannot find one that says “today I have begotten thee.”
For study I use the NASB and the KJV and Young’s Literal Translation which is directly from the Greek.
Here is Young’s:
"and the Holy Spirit came down in a bodily appearance, as if a dove, upon Him, and a voice came out of heaven, saying, “Thou art My Son – the Beloved, in Thee I did delight.”
I’d say that “TODAY I have begotten thee” would not be theologically correct.
It’s important to know the meaning of “begotten” which in Greek is monogenes.
This might be helpful:
So what does monogenes mean? According to the Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (BAGD, 3rd Edition), monogenes has two primary definitions. The first definition is “pertaining to being the only one of its kind within a specific relationship.” This is its meaning in Hebrews 11:17 when the writer refers to Isaac as Abraham’s “only begotten son” (KJV). Abraham had more than one son, but Isaac was the only son he had by Sarah and the only son of the covenant. Therefore, it is the uniqueness of Isaac among the other sons that allows for the use of monogenes in that context.
The second definition is “pertaining to being the only one of its kind or class, unique in kind.” This is the meaning that is implied in John 3:16 (see also John 1:14, 18; 3:18; 1 John 4:9). John was primarily concerned with demonstrating that Jesus is the Son of God (John 20:31), and he uses monogenes to highlight Jesus as uniquely God’s Son—sharing the same divine nature as God—as opposed to believers who are God’s sons and daughters by adoption (Ephesians 1:5). Jesus is God’s “one and only” Son.
The bottom line is that terms such as “Father” and “Son,” descriptive of God and Jesus, are human terms that help us understand the relationship between the different Persons of the Trinity. If you can understand the relationship between a human father and a human son, then you can understand, in part, the relationship between the First and Second Persons of the Trinity. The analogy breaks down if you try to take it too far and teach, as some Christian cults (such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses), that Jesus was literally “begotten” as in “produced” or “created” by God the Father.
According to the Greek text, Luke doesn’t use the phrase “today I have begotten you” in his gospel. “With thee I am well pleased” is the correct translation of the Greek.
However, Luke does use “today I have begotten you” in the book of Acts when he quotes Psalm 2:7.
Acts 13:33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee.’
In most manuscripts, the Greek does say “with you I am well pleased” - in agreement with the other two synoptic gospels. However, there are manuscripts of Luke which read “today I have begotten you” instead, which makes God’s declaration a more overt quotation of the Scripture (Psalm 2:7).
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.
You will break them with a rod of iron;
you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
In fact, while the “I have begotten you” reading is in the minority now (the manuscripts containing the “I am pleased with you” reading outnumber it), up to the 6th century the reading was more widely attested. It actually seems that this reading fell out of favor because while it is a more overt scriptural quotation, it can be used as a proof-text for Adoptionism, the idea that Jesus was merely adopted by God as His Son.
I find the above rather disturbing.
Does this mean we adjust scripture to make it fit what we believe to be true?
The word Begotten causes problems anyway. Unless you think of it as unique, the only one. But that could apply to the “Son” too.
What do you mean it was “more overt”? (not hidden?) But then you say it was changed. What could be more hidden than that?
Well, we aren’t really 100% sure which of the two readings is the original (i.e. the one Luke actually wrote); you really have two possibilities here:
(1) Luke really wrote “I am well-pleased” (in agreement with Matthew and Mark) and the “begotten” reading is the secondary one. In other words, some copyist/s turned God’s saying into a more obvious quotation from Psalm 2.
(2) Luke really wrote “I have begotten you,” but later copyists substituted “well-pleased” instead, either for the sake of harmonization (to conform Luke with the other two synoptics) or force of habit (since “well-pleased” is the reading found in Matthew and Mark anyway) or because the “begotten” reading was felt to have the potential of being misused for Adoptionism.
You shouldn’t be surprised here; both are something that are known to happen in the transmission process from time to time. That’s why there are manuscripts which say Jesus “moved with compassion” on the leper who came to Him, and a few manuscripts which say that He was “moved with anger” instead. That’s also why later manuscripts of Luke give Matthew’s version of the Lord’s prayer (“Our Father who art in heaven …”) instead of the more concise version (“Father, hallowed be your name …”) found in earlier manuscripts.
St. Augustine was one of the ancient authors who we know know the variant. He observes that by his time at least the reading “is said not to be found in the more ancient Greek codices, yet if it can be established by any copies worthy of credit, what results but that we suppose both voices to have been heard from heaven, in one or other verbal order?” In other words, in his idea, maybe God said both.
I should add: the word for “begotten” here is the verb gegennēka: egō sēmeron gegennēka se / ego hodie genui te “today I have fathered you.” It’s not exactly the same word as monogenēs (which is an adjective BTW).
Okay. One author might see something differently than another. Some will call this discrepancies in scripture - when actually they prove scripture! That each person wrote what they witnessed - it’s actually comforting to me.
Even John 21:18 might have been added after the original was written for who knows what reason, and at least one other verse which I can’t think of right now. But to purposefully do this is not the same.
However, it doesn’t change the message. Begotten is used even in the Creed (I think all of them). The only word that would bother me here is : TODAY I have begotten.