IS THE LORD JESUS MERELY “THE HOLY ONE OF GOD” IN JOHN 6:69?
by Shawn Brasseaux
John 6:67-69 in our 1611 King James Bible reads: “ Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?  Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.  And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Representative of the modern English translations derived from the Alexandrian or Critical Text of the Greek New Testament, the New International Version reads in John 6:69: “We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” Other popular modern English versions that have that reading are: American Standard Version, Amplified Bible, English Standard Version, Holman Christian Standard Bible, the Message, New American Standard Bible, New International Version, New Living Translation, New Revised Standard Version, among others.
We can offer at least two reasons why it is highly unlikely Peter would have styled Jesus as “the Holy One of God.”
Firstly, it would be incongruent with his other confessions. “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). “And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ” (Mark 8:29). “He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God” (Luke 9:20).
Secondly, “the Holy One of God” was the title that devils or evil spirits gave the Lord so as to disrespect Him. “And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God” (Mark 1:23-24). “And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God” (Luke 4:33-34). That designation lacks the honor He rightly deserves, the worship the crowds of John chapter 6 overwhelmingly refused to give Him but Peter was more than willing to bestow upon Him.
Yet, following a minority of Greek New Testament manuscripts (especially Codices Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, and P75), most modern English versions read “the Holy One of God;” the faulty Greek reading is “su ei ho hagios tou theou.” Contrast this with our Greek Textus Receptus and King James Bible translated from it, reading “su ei ho christos ho huios tou theou tou dzontos” (“the Christ, the Son of the living God”). For anyone with eyes to see, and a heart to believe, there is most certainly a difference between these two readings. Only the King James Bible reading glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ the most. For more information on the dangers of “textual criticism,” see especially our Mark 16:9-20 study linked below.
» Does Mark 16:9-20 belong in the Bible?
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» Which belongs in Romans 8:16 and Romans 8:26 in the King James Bible—“the Spirit itself” or “the Spirit Himself?”
» Why does the King James Bible say, “pisseth against the wall?”
» Why does the King James Bible say “nephews” instead of “grandchildren” in 1 Timothy 5:4?
» Should “church” be changed to “called-out assembly” in Acts 7:38 in the King James Bible?