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What is the meaning of "this day have *I* begotten thee" in Acts 13:33?

Michael Hardt

And *we* declare unto you the glad tidings of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this to us their children, having raised up Jesus; as it is also written in the second psalm, *Thou* art my Son: this day have *I* begotten thee." (Acts 13:32.33)

What does this verse mean, and what light does it shed on the meaning of Psalm 2:7? Here are some helpful comments.



LM Grant, Comments on Acts

The expression "Thou art my Son" is that which has been true of Him from eternity past. His being begotten "this day" refers to the day of His incarnation in Manhood. He is God's Son: He did not become Son, but is now the Son incarnate.


F B Hole, Commentary on the Book of Acts

The word, "again," should not occur in the middle of verse 33: that verse refers to our Lord's coming into the world, according to the second Psalm .  


C E Stuart, Tracings from the Acts of the Apostles

"We declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto our [rather than, us their] children, in that He has raised up [not, again] Jesus." Of the Lord's incarnation he here speaks , not of His resurrection. This the Scripture quoted - the second Psalm - makes plain: "Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee." Now all had an interest, if they only knew it, in the incarnation. But more, the Lord was risen, as Paul had already declared.  


William Kelly, Introductory Lectures

I therefore believe that resurrection is not meant in the earlier text at all, but raising up Jesus as the Messiah, as it is also written in the second Psalm: "Thou art my Son: this day have I begotten thee."  


W. Kelly, An Exposition of the Acts of the Apostles

Here the apostle goes over the all-important points doctrinally. The coming of Christ was the accomplishment of the promise to the fathers their children had now the glad tidings of it in His person here below. The raising up of Jesus in verse 33 does not therefore go beyond the Child thus born, the Son thus given. And with this agrees Psalm 2: 7, which refers not to His resurrection from the dead, as many have supposed, but to His birth , as the words simply express it, so that a further or mystic meaning here is not only uncalled for but mistaken. He, the Messiah, born of woman, born under law, was the object, accomplisher, and heir of the promises. For, how many soever be the promises of God, in Him is the yea (2 Cor. 1: 20). So to the Romans (Rom. 1: 2, 3) the apostle describes himself as separated unto God's gospel (which, he adds parenthetically, He had before promised through His prophets in holy scriptures) concerning His Son come of David's seed according to flesh, just as it is treated here …

Indeed it is surprising that any intelligent and careful reader ever understood the passage otherwise. For it is as certain as it is plain that, to God's raising up the Messiah according to promise and the prophecy of the second psalm , verse 34 appends as another and still more momentous truth that God raised Him up 'from the dead'. […]

Psalm 2: 7 is quoted then for Christ as Son of God in this world. It is neither His eternal Sonship, as some of the earlier Christian writers conceived, nor His resurrection , as the misapprehension of Acts 13: 33 was used to teach. His birth in time as Messiah is the point, 'Thou art My Son: this day have I begotten Thee.'


J N Darby, Meditations on the Acts of the Apostles

But they of Jerusalem had accomplished all that the prophets had spoken, knowing neither the Saviour nor the voice of the prophets, which, in crucifying Jesus, they had fulfilled. But God had raised Him from the dead, and He had been seen for many days by those who had accompanied Him from Galilee. Thus was the promise in   Psalm 2   of the coming of the Son of God, the King of Israel, accomplished .


J N Darby, Synopsis (Psalm 2)

But more is then brought out. This King, who is He? Jehovah has said to Him, "Thou art my Son: this day have I begotten thee." It is One who begotten on what can be called "to-day," that is, begotten in time is owned Son by Jehovah. It is not then here the blessed and most precious truth of eternal sonship with the Father, though it is not to be dissociated from it, as if it could be without it, but One who-the Anointed Man, and that holy thing born into this world with the title, by His birth there also, of Son of God is owned such of Jehovah. Thus, Paul tells us, this raising up Jesus (not raising up again) is the accomplishing the promises made to the fathers, quoting the psalm in confirmation. He quotes another passage for His resurrection and incorruptibility. Thus we have Christ born into the earth, owned Son of God by Jehovah.


Christian Briam, The Book of Acts

“And *we* declare unto you the glad tidings of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this to us their children, having raised up Jesus; as it is also written in the second psalm, *Thou* art my Son: this day have *I* begotten thee. (13:32, 33 ; Ps. 2:7).

If we look at each passage in the Book of Acts where it is a question of this [Greek] word ‘raise up' we will immediately see clearly that, through this term, the simple birth of the person in question is alluded (or referred) to (… see ch. 3:22; 3:26; 7:27).

It is such a vast meaning that characterises the quotation from Ps. 2 on which Paul builds the fact that Jesus had been raised up in the midst of the people: “*Thou* art my Son: this day have *I* begotten thee. “. Let us note, first of all, that this quotation does not refer to the eternal sonship of the Lord Jesus, but to the truth that it is also as Man, born into this world, that He is Son of God . Apart from Him, nobody born of a woman is Son of God. It is of Him alone that it was said to Mary: “wherefore the holy thing also which shall be born shall be called Son of God” (Luc 1:35).

It is also worth mentioning that verse 7 of Psalm 2 does not only contemplate the incarnation of Jesus but, as the context of Act 13 shows, also looks forward to the establishment of the Son in the messianic dignity that becomes Him.

In Heb. 1:5 this verse of Psalm 2 is also quoted to show that God had exalted the Lord Jesus above the angels – equally because even as Man He is the Son…

All this brings out the depth of the Old Testament quotations Paul uses. We will shortly find further examples.


Samuel Prod'hom (‘SIMPLES ENTRETIENS sur le livre des Actes des Apôtres')

Paul and his companions announced him to the Jews of Antioch : «And *we* declare unto you the glad tidings of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this to us their children, having raised up Jesus; as it is also written in the second psalm, *Thou* art my Son: this day have *I* begotten thee. This passage establishes that Jesus was indeed the Son of God, despite all the contempt that He received, and the hatred that pursued Him up to His death.

W J Hocking*

We pass in the next sentence from eternity to time, for “day” is a measure of time, not of eternity: "this day have I begotten Thee." Now we undoubtedly have the incarnation of the Son of Jehovah. It is the Old Testament description corresponding with the New Testament ones; “The Word became flesh"; the "Son made of a woman" (Note (biblecentre): better: 'come of a woman' (N.Tr.)): "that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." [...] In Jesus, said the apostle, was the fulfillment of the promise: “as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee “(Acts 13:33).

*The Son of His Love", chapter 7 and chapter 8


W H Westcott

The Greek word for "to beget" is often used in the New Testament, especially in Matthew's first chapter; where too we are distinctly told that JESUS, Who is called CHRIST, was born of Mary. Again in the second chapter. it is said JESUS having been born. But such refer evidently and unquestionably to His birth as Babe on earth at Bethlehem.

There are, however, three passages which we require to humbly touch upon; Acts 13:33; Heb. 1:5; Heb. 5:5; each of these being quotations from Psalm 2:7. "Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee."

The term day is a time term. The context of the Psalm itself, and each of the citations thereof in the New Testament by the Holy Spirit through His servants, shew clearly that David in the first instance, and Paul, and the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, in quoting David's Psalm, were referring to His time history, and not at all to His eternal relationship in Deity.

Thus Acts 13:23, 32, 33, show that it is applied by Paul to the subject of God fulfilling His promise in raising up a Saviour to Israel.


F B Hole in "The Declarations of God as to the Person of Christ"

At His Birth

1. "For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee?" (Heb. 1:5).

This is a quotation from Psalm 2 which contemplates the raging and opposition of men which will precede the glorious appearing of the Christ, when He will be set as King upon God's holy hill of Zion. In verse 7 Messiah speaks, declaring the divine decree concerning Himself.

This decree is not only quoted by the Spirit in Hebrews 1:5, as above, but is also quoted in Acts 13:33, when Paul was preaching in the synagogue at Antioch. This latter quotation fixes for us the bearing of the decree. It is connected with the way God took to fulfil the promises made to the fathers, viz, by the raising up of Jesus. (The word "again" should not be in this verse, see R.V. or N.T.)

God had "raised up" many a prophet in bygone days, as Hebrews 1 tells us, but the raising up of Christ was an act distinct from all else. He was born of a woman indeed, but let us never forget that the power of the Holy Ghost was so intimately concerned with His "raising up" that it is written "that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35).

Here is a ray of light concerning His glory. It is as "the Son" - the second Person of the Trinity, as we speak - that God has spoken, revealing Himself to us, but to do it He became Man. But having thus humbled Himself to become the great spokesman of the Godhead there is risk of His own proper glory being obscured, and hence the decree is published, and we are permitted to hear the utterance of God the Father to Him spoken, as it were, at the very moment of His birth. The Man Christ Jesus is the Son of God.


Hamilton Smith in "The Son of God: His Deity, Incarnation, and Manhood "

"Further we have the expression "begotten" used in connection with the Son in Psalm 2 where we read "Thou art my Son this day have I begotten Thee." This passage is quoted in Acts 13:33 , Hebrews 1:5 and Hebrews 5:5. This however presents no difficulty as it plainly refers to Christ as a man, Jehovah's Anointed and Jehovah's King, in connection with this world. The expressions used, "the hill of Zion," "the uttermost parts of the earth," and ''this day," are clearly connected with the earth and time...