Which modern Catholic Bible has the only *begotten* Son?


I’ve checked NJ and RSV, and some more, and nope, John 1:14 and 3:16 have the ‘only son’ only. Theological arguments aside, I do need a version that does have the ‘begotten’ for some parallel analysis with non-English translations. Is there anything newer that Dhouay-Rheims which still has it? Alternatively ‘unique’ or ‘one and only’, though the very point is for the expression to be stronger than the plain ‘only’. Can’t really use Dhouay because of certain oddities in there.




Let me throw in some Douay-Rheim approval before I move onto the main topic “Moreover, the same Holy Council (Trent) . . . ordains and declares that the old Latin Vulgate Edition, which, in use for so many hundred years, has been approved by the Church, be in public lectures, disputatious, sermons and expositions held as authentic, and so no one dare or presume under any pretext whatsoever to reject it.” (Fourth Session, April 8, 1546). As Pope Pius XII stated in his 1943 encyclical letter Divino Afflante Spiritu, this means the Vulgate is “free from any error whatsoever in matters of faith and morals.” (The Vulgate is the DOuay-Rheims)

Moving onwards. I would advise to use BibleGateway or BibleHub to find translation you are looking for.


The RSV Second Catholic edition inserts the word “begotten” in the original RSV rendering of John 3:16.

Overall, this is an excellent revision of the RSV and is probably the best Catholic Bible you can get these days.




IMO, the 1941 Confraternity New Testament is one of the top three English Language renderings. 100% faithful to Catholicism. The parallel commentary at the link is also very useful.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that those who believe in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting.

A sister site offers the excellent Rev. George Leo Haydock Commentary, which follows the Douay-Rheims and is also a very useful reference.


Thank you, hadn’t managed to catch that.

Overall, this is an excellent revision of the RSV and is probably the best Catholic Bible you can get these days.

Good to know!


Yeah, been there, just don’t know the status of some of those.


I went to the Bible Hub link that Deacon Jeff so kindly provided. Among the ones that use “begotten” besides the DR are the KJV, NASB, and two “literal” translations, the Berean Literal Bible and Young’s Literal Translation.

So what gives? Is “literal” in the original Greek and dropped by some translations, or what…? :confused:


The word in question is “monogene”, lit. one-generated. This translates into Latin as “unigenitum”, which goes into English as only-begotten.

Because the word “son” (huios) is already in the passage, combining “begotten” and “son” may sound redundant to some, so translators have an editorial decision to make. Reasoning perhaps that the word “son” already carries the force of being begotten, they could simply have dropped “begotten” as redundant, leaving “only son.”

Others could simply have retained “begotten” due to its common use in the liturgy and tradition.

Both renderings have justification and neither one nor the other is heretical. I personally prefer “only-begotten” due to its longstanding use.




Or, because monogenos can also be interpreted as ‘one of a kind’ or ‘unique’ (mono- + genos, cf. ‘genus’ - yes, that word used in biology), hence ‘only’.


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