Translation Differences


Let me just say that I love your site. I am a repeat visitor and your last response to my question helped out a lot and I appreciate it.

My new question is this, why in certain Bible versions (i.e. NIV, KJV, etc) is there a footnote with a reference that a particular word is written or phrased differently in other manuscripts? Like for example in the NIV version there is a footnote for John 1:18, that reads: Some manuscripts but the only (or only begotten) Son. Why is this so, I thought all the Bible manuscripts where all the same just translated into English, various languages and versions. Can you please explain this?


There are many ancient manuscripts, over 5000 source documents of the New Testament of various sizes. There is over 90% percent agreement among these fragments, proving the New Testament’s authenticity far beyond that of any other ancient book, and certainly beyond any reasonable doubt. Translators usually give the highest credibility to the oldest and most reliable manuscripts, but in some cases, there are differences of opinion among scholars as to which is more accurate. In those cases, good study Bibles will include the alternate translations in their footnotes. Think of this as a minority opinion from the group of scholars who worked on the translation.