Here is my ‘little’ study on this verse.
"No man hath seen God at any time; THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him."
John 1:18 presents us with a classical case of confusion caused by the modern Bible correctors. The phrase in question is "the only begotten Son." There are two variants here: one with the Greek text and the other with the translation.
The Greek of the Traditional Text reads, "o monogenes huios" (the only begotten Son). The Greek of the Alexandrian Text reads, "o monogenes theos" (the only begotten God). Additionally, the Greek word "monogenes" is no longer looked upon by some as meaning "only begotten" but is now considered better translated as "unique" or "one and only." However there is much disagreement among today's "scholars" as to which text to adopt and how to translate it.
Notice the total confusion that exists in the multitude of modern bible versions today.
1. "The only begotten Son"- King James Bible, Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, Daniel Mace New Testament 1729, Wesley's N.T. 1755, the Revised Version 1881, American Standard Version 1901, Webster's 1833 translation, Darby 1890, Young's, Douay 1950, Spanish Reina Valera 1909, 1960, 1995, Italian Diodati 1602, Rivudeta 1927, Luther's German Bible 1545, German Schlachter 1951, French Martin 1744, Louis Segond 1910, Ostervald 1996, the NKJV 1982, Third Millenium Bible, and KJV 21.
Even the Revised Version 1881 and American Standard Version1901, which introduced thousands of radical changes in the New Testament based on the Alexandrian texts, did not follow Sinaiticus/Vaticanus here but stuck with the Traditional Text. It wasn't till the NASB appeared on the scene that the false reading of "the only begotten God" was introduced
2. "The only begotten God" NASB
3. "God the only Son" NIV 1973
4. "God the One and Only" NIV 1984 with a footnote "or only begotten"
5. "but the one and only Son, who is himself God" TNIV 2001 with footnote "some manuscripts - but the only Son".
The 1973 and 1977 NIV's read, "No MAN has ever seen God, but God the only [Son], who is at the Father's side, has made him known". The 1978 and 1984 NIV editions now read, "No ONE has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known." Thus, the NIV has been revised and changed " no man" to "no one", altered "only" to "One and Only" and omitted [Son]. Then the TNIV further changes "One and Only" to "one and only" and again adds "Son".
These next three are all related to one another as each is a revision of the last one in line, yet they all three differ from each other. See how consistent modern scholars are.
6. "the only Son" RSV 1952. The liberal RSV was the first major English version to translate monogenes as "only" rather than the traditional and more accurate "only begotten", but yet it retained the word Son rather than God.
7. "God the only Son" NRSV 1989
8. "the only God" English Standard Version 2001
9. "the one and only Son" Hebrew Names Version,
10. "God's only Son" New English Bible 1970
11. "the only conceived Son" World English Bible
12. The Message 2002 - " No one has ever seen God, not so much as a glimpse. This one-of-a-kind God-Expression, who exists at the very heart of the Father, has made him plain as day." A "one of a kind God expression"???
Several of these modern version don't follow any Greek text at all but combine divergent readings from different texts, such as the NIV 1973, TNIV, the NRSV, and the New English Bible.
The King James Bible is the correct reading both as to text and meaning. The Alexandrian texts which read "the only begotten GOD, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him" teach that there are TWO GODS and one of them is inferior to the other. Read it any way you wish, but the undeniable fact is you end up with TWO GODS. There is the God whom nobody has seen and then there is the only begotten God who has explained the unseen God. The only other version I know of that reads this way, besides the NASB, is the Jehovah Witness New World Translation, which says: "the only begotten god who is in the bosom position with the Father is the one that has explained him."