Question:You explain in the question, "What
does the Bible mean when it says Jesus is the only begotten Son?" that
the expression "Son of God" meant that Jesus was and is
God. Then how do you explain "begotten" (Greek gennao)
in the quotations of Psalm 2:7 in Acts 13:33, Hebrews 1:5, 5:5? since
this verse is quoted three times. It must be important.
It is important to note that
the phrase "only begotten" in John 3:16 is not the same Greek
word that appears in Acts 13:3; Hebrews 1:5 or 5:5. The phrase "only
begotten" comes from the Greek word MONOGENES which means that Jesus
is the unique or "one and only" Son. MONOGENES occurs only
five times in the New Testament: John 1:14; 3:16, 18; Hebrews 11:17 and
1 John 4:9. In a question titled "Why
was Jesus called the 'Son of God'?"
we discover that
the phrase "Son of God" is defined by Jesus and it means "God."
When we come to the word "begotten" in Psalm
2:7, we enter into a different arena of meaning. Here is Psalm 2:7,
I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You. Ps. 2:7 (NASB)
As you have indicated, this Old Testament passage is quoted in Acts
13:33; Hebrews 1:5 and 5:5.
The Hebrew for "begotten" is YALAD and the
lexical meaning is "to bear, beget, or bring forth." The three
New Testament passages help us understand how it should be understood
in Psalm 2. For example, in Acts 13:30-34 we read,
But God raised Him from the dead; and for many days
He appeared to those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem,
the very ones who are now His witnesses to the people. And we preach
to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has
fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as
it is also written in the second Psalm, "YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I
HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU"“ As for the fact that He raised Him up
from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: "I
WILL GIVE YOU THE HOLY and SURE blessings OF DAVID."
Here we discover that Psalm 2:7 was a prophecy that Jesus would return
to life. That is, He would be resurrected. He was "begotten" or
was "brought forth" (notice that is an acceptable meaning of
the Hebrew word) from the grave. The root Greek word is GINOMAI and the
tense of the word used here is a perfect active meaning that it is completed
action in the past and had continuing effect to the time Acts 13:33 was
written. That is, Jesus' resurrection was so certain that it was
spoken of as already having occurred. Hebrews 1:5 and 5:5 do not
provide the explanation of Psalm 2:7 that is given in Acts 13:33 but
merely quote Psalm
2:7. Only Acts 13:33 provides the explanation. Also note that GINOMAI is
translated as "begotten" only four times in the New Testament:
Acts 13:33; Philemon 10, Hebrews 1:5 and 5:5. So there are two key
Greek words that are sometimes translated as "begotten" in
the New Testament. This can be confusing, and it is a cause
of error for those in many cults.
Conclusion:In summary, Jesus
is referred to as the "one and only" Son and as the "Son
of God." That is He is our God who was begotten or resurrected
from the grave. God bless.