The New International Version (NIV) omits Acts 8:37. That verse in the King James Version reads: “And Phillip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
It is amazing that some are so insistent that this verse, which has been used for hundreds of years, should not be used.
They prefer to ask a person to simply confess Jesus as Lord before baptism. This is based on Romans 10:9 in the NIV.
Is it the same thing for one to confess Christ as Lord as to confess him as the Son of God? It absolutely is not! There are thousands who would readily confess Christ as Lord who would balk like a stubborn mule at confessing that He is the Son of God.
In the Philippines there is a sect called “the Church of Christ 1914.” Strange as it may seem, these people have named their church after Christ but they do not believe that He is really the Son of God. We have asked to no avail why they call their church after one they do not admit is deity. At any rate, they could accept Him as Lord (their superior) but not as God’s Son. That would destroy their doctrine. There are many others also.
When one confesses Christ as the Son of God, that is the ultimate. It includes the idea of His being Lord. It is a greater idea than merely confessing Him as Lord. By the way, look in the NIV at Romans 10:9. It reads,” That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ Now notice the original as it reads in the Nestle Greek text:
“Because if thou confessest with the mouth of thee Lord Jesus, and believest in the heart of thee that God him raised from the dead, thou wilt be saved.” Does that sound the same to you? It certainly doesn’t to me. By the way, the King James is a nearly verbatim quotation of the Greek. I think I’ll just keep using it, thank you very much! Paul evidently did not intend to set forth “the confession verbatim” but rather referred to the fact that one must confess the Lord Jesus. In other words, he identified the one to be confessed. The NIV makes it sound as though that is the actual confession. However, the original shows a different point entirely. It is interesting that Macknight in his commentary says:” …The duty of faith, which we apostles preach as necessary to salvation, is this: ‘.that if thou wilt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus;’ that is, wilt openly confess Jesus to be Lord and Christ. This interpretation the apostle Peter hath taught us, Acts 2:36. “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ,” that is, ruler over all, and the promised Messiah, Psalms 2:2,6.” When I made the good confession over 40 years ago, I said: “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of god.” What did I confess? Did I confess Him as both Lord and Christ? I believe I did.
J.W. McGarvey said of the above confession: “That this confession was the only one required of candidates for immersion by the apostles is universally admitted by those who are competent to judge. It is likewise admitted that they regarded it as a sufficient confession. This fact alone should teach men to be satisfied with it now. He, indeed, who is guided by the Bible alone, can not require of men any other confession than such as he finds authorized by Bible precedents.” (page 103) (Amen!DLK)
Published in The Old Path’s Advocate in November, 1997