"When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth" (Proverbs 8:24-25).
It is unfortunate that many modern Bible translations (RSV, NIV, NEB, and others) dilute such key verses as John 3:16 by changing "only begotten Son" to merely "only son." This makes the Bible contradict itself, for Jesus was not the only Son of God. Adam is called "the son of God" (Luke 3:38), angels are called "sons of God" (Job 1:6), and, in fact, all believing Christians are called "sons of God" (John 1:12).
But Jesus was the only begotten Son of God! The Greek word is monogenes, clearly meaning "only generated" or "only begotten." The word is used only six times in the New Testament (John 1:14; 1:18; 3:16; 3:18; Hebrews 11:17; I John 4:9). Five of these refer to Jesus. One refers to Isaac as Abraham's only begotten son (Hebrews 11:17), indicating him as a type of Christ. The first (John 1:14) is a favorite Christmas verse telling us that the eternal "Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us . . . the glory as of the only begotten of the Father." The last (I John 4:9) is also a beloved Christmas verse, reminding us that "God sent His only begotten Son into the world." This verse tells us also that He was God's only begotten Son before He came into the world.
But just when was He begotten of the Father?
Our text for the day, speaking of the divine wisdom, tells us that He was "brought forth" before there were any hills or mountains or depths or fountains. In fact, He says, "The LORD possessed me in the beginning of His way. . . . I was set up from everlasting" (Proverbs 8:22-23).
No wonder the old theologians spoke of Him as the eternally begotten Son. And it was this Son whom the Father gave, that we might have everlasting life! HMM