Luke 2
27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;
35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;
37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.
40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
41 ¶ Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.
42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.
43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.
44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.
45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.
46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?
50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.

One of the sorriest attacks against our Lord appears in the second chapter of Luke where Joseph is described as the father of Jesus. This perversion has been dealt with by many commentators in the past so I won’t go into the textual issue in depth. Instead, I will deal with some of the arguments defending the versions that attack the deity of Christ by attempting to imply that Joseph was the father of Jesus in a biological sense. These arguments have become clichés and I see them over and over again ad nauseam.

The first argument is made with fury that the KJV calls Joseph and Mary his parents the same as the modern versions. Yes it does in verses 27 and 41, but so what? I, like so many modern Americans, have a biological father and a stepfather. I call them my parents even though the man that sired me is John Edward Hinton I, not Robert DeStefano. There also are times when I choose to clarify the relationship by saying my mother and stepfather. The parental status is based upon arrangement, not upon begetting. Parents is the proper title for any situation involving stepparents, adopted parents, and foster parents, as much as it for a pair of natural parents. Verse 43 of the KJV clarifies precisely what is meant by parents and the following verses clarify it much further. The translations of verse 43 presented by the NIV, RSV, ASV, etc. fail to clarify what is meant by father and the casual and shallow reader, of which there are many, may easily take a hold of any of the following renderings to argue that Jesus was no more than a man, as so many heretics, New Agers, Muslims and Jews have done in the past.

ASV: and when they had fulfilled the days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and his parents knew it not;

RSV; and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it,

CEV: After Passover his parents left …

NAB: After they had completed its days, as they wree returnig, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it.

NIV: After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home…

NKJV footnote NU And His parents

What makes these versions much worse is the way that they deal with verse 33 where they truly show their cards and actually translate father in place of Joseph.

ASV: And his father and his mother were marvelling at the things which were spoken concerning him;

RSV: And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him;

NIV: The child’s father and mother …

NAB: The child’s father and mother …

The Message: Jesus’ father and mother …

NKJV footnote NU And His father and mother.

The CEV and TEV has parents, which appears to be based on nothing, since not even the Alexandrian manuscripts support this reading.

The Living Bible chose to obscure this verse by referring to Joseph and Mary both by name, which likewise appears to lack any kind of manuscript evidence. Of course, if it there is some obscure manuscript with such a reading, the Living Bible authors would not be likely to be aware of it.

One of the internet’s anti-KJV crusading demoniacs sent a post to a KJV-Only group blustering with multiple exclamation marks that the KJV also called Joseph the father of Jesus in verse 48. As is typical of such critics, his hatred of the Final Authority has affected his reading comprehension skills since it is Mary that called Joseph the father of Jesus in this verse, not the KJV. Jesus clarifies who His Father is in the following verse. Of course, Mary and Joseph both knew who the actual Father of Jesus was; they only needed reminding. This verse appears in the Bible to edify us to this truth. It would be hard to miss the significance of its purpose, but those lacking spiritual discernment will miss it just the same.

After completing most of this article I was presented with the argument that these translations were just as valid as that of the KJV. This was presented in a argument in support of Luther’s translation of these verses, which is as follows:

2:33 Und sein Vater und Mutter wunderten sich des, das von ihm geredet ward.

2:43 Und da die Tage vollendet waren, und sie wieder zu hause gingen, blieb das Kind Jesus zu Jerusalem, und seine Eltern wuften’s nicht.

Note: Eltern is the German word for parents.

Luther clearly used a different text than the KJV translators, and it was suggested that it was nitpicking to argue these differences, as if it did not matter that the nature of God’s Son was called into question in “just” one or two verses. Of course it matters! Luther’s translation can be used to support the heresies of Mormonism, Jehova Witnesses, Arianism, and a huge number of pagan belief systems and it has been used for those purposes. Space does not allow a long discussion of the issue here, but I will point out that Luther was a great inspiration and aid to bringing the Word of God into light for the modern world. He did not, however, produce a perfect Bible by himself. That task required the work of a dedicated committee of great scholars. It is through the lingua franca of English and the KJV that the Bible was spread through the world by the efforts of missionaries like Henry Martyn, William Carey, Robert Morrison, Robert Moffat, and many others. As for Luther himself, he was hardly a great role model as a Christian, in spite of the fact that he was a great opponent of the great whore of Catholicism. He persecuted Baptists, promoted non-scriptural rites, professed to be qualified to correct the Bible, and failed to make a complete separation from the wicked church of his youth.

Furthermore, the German language and the Bible of Luther has had little impact on spreading the Gospel after the death of Luther. This was not the destiny or purpose of Luther’s great, but less than perfect efforts. Today, Germany is a pagan nation where Christianity is almost not existent. Most of what passes as Christian in Germany is sick and powerless at best. The same can be said of modern England, but it was England and America that propelled the missionary movement, and the English language has no competition as the world’s lingua franca. German is a language of scholarship, much of which is atheistic, anti-Christian and false, and of technical journals. It is not a missionary language to any appreciable extent.

One of the lamest attempts to pervert verse 43 that I have found was in my own Large Print Thomas Nelson King James Bible. This is my main Bible that I use and I was disturbed to discover it. This edition has notes marked with a T that clarify, or profess to clarify, the modern meaning of “archaic” words in the KJV. This is not without merit since it is advisable for modern readers to understand that conies are rabbits and a shambles is a marketplace. For this reason I never found these notes objectionable, but then I noticed the note for “Joseph and his mother”. Off to the side was a note that read “parents”. Apparently the Catholics that own Thomas Nelson Publishing are trying to tell us that “Joseph and his mother” are archaic words for parents. Either that or they wish to cast doubt upon the nature of the relationship between Jesus and Joseph. Which seems more likely?

The argument that we will hear most often concerning these verses is the assertion that it does not truly matter if one or two verses obscure the nature of the relationship of Jesus with Joseph when later verses clarify the relationship, as even the modern versions do in verse 49. This might be a valid argument if people knew their Bible as they should, or if the whole chapter was learned by heart by all, but that is not the case. Most people read the Bible in disconnected bits and pieces, and those who memorize verses almost always memorize them out of context and in bite-sized pieces. The author is no exception to this latter practice. Taking these verses out of context in their perverted forms allows for a strong, if not inevitable, opportunity for misinterpretation, or for an intentional one. Insisting that the relationship between Jesus and Joseph be clarified is not nitpicking by any stretch of the imagination. It is shameful that anyone would suggest that it is.

John Hinton, Ph.D.
Bible Restoration Ministry
A ministry seeking the translating and reprinting of KJV equivalent
Bibles in all the languages of the world.