- Christogenea Internet Radio
The Epistles of Paul - Romans, Part 1 (with a discussion of the history and purpose of the Christogenea New Testament), Christogenea Internet Radio 03-28-2014
Beginning a presentation on the epistles of Paul, I am going to first reiterate a lengthy explanation of some of the basic principles and methods which I have sincerely attempted to adhere to since I began my theological journey nearly 18 years ago. Even though this marks the mid-point of the New Testament Commentary which I hope to complete here on these Friday evenings, which I had begun in early 2011 with the Gospel of Matthew, a translation of Paul is where I actually began the work which had eventually become the Christogenea New Testament, about 15 years ago.
The translations found in the Christogenea New Testament began as an endeavor to present the letters of Paul in a manner as true to the common usage of the Greek language as was possible for me, in concert with a full consideration of the entire Biblical context and the history of the people of the Book, and in English as plainly and as clearly as my ability afforded. The translations are not expected to be perfect. The Greek manuscripts themselves are far from ideal, and for that reason alone no New Testament translation can achieve perfection. They reflect my best effort, based upon not only the resources that I have used, but also upon a full acceptance of the historicity of the Old Testament and the validity of the prophets, selected extra-Biblical writings, and ancient history as recorded by the various branches of our race: for history certainly does not conflict with the Bible, once its peoples are properly identified and its context properly understood.
Paul spoke and wrote in plain and simple language, which is evident from his own statements, for instance at 1 Corinthians 1:17 and 14:9.
1 Corinthians 1: “17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.”
1 Corinthians 14: “9 So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.”
However Judaized Christians, among whom were indeed the King James translators, assigning meanings to words which were not understood in such ways among the original speakers of Koine Greek, indeed seek to make the cross of Christ of no effect, and therefore they do imagine Paul to have been speaking into the air. Therefore care has been taken here not to apply any special meaning to any Greek word, but to render all of them as they may have been understood by the common people Paul had written to.
If any of the language of the Christogenea New Testament sounds like the King James Version, that is only because no English reader who ever read the King James Version, along with a plethora of 19th century writers and translators who were also affected by its language, can avoid being influenced by it. While the King James Version is not an ideal Bible translation, it is nevertheless a marvellous work of early modern English which has had a profound influence on our culture. The Christogenea New Testament translation is organic. It was translated from my own reading of the Greek without any middlemen, except for a usually critical inspection of the lexicons employed: primarily the Liddell & Scott Greek-English Lexicon, while Thayer and Strong were also frequently consulted. Also often consulted was the usage of many Greek words in the Septuagint.
In order for a translation to be completely understandable, renderings of many Greek words must be discussed in notes, especially where there are important differences in comparison to the King James and other popular versions. Therefore, giving these presentations we attempt to present explanations which accomplish the following: a) to show many of the differences among the various ancient manuscripts, where those differences are significant in context and in translation, b) to explain reasons for many of the departures from the King James Version, where it is determined to be warranted, and c) to provide alternate translations of the text where the Greek may be interpreted in different ways, when necessary and practicable. In addition to these things, of course, we attempt to make every comment possible in order that the truth of Christian Israel Identity and the general beliefs which that label should represent are made manifest. There is no true Christianity without a true understanding of Christian Identity, and that can only be acquired through a sound knowledge of ancient history.
For the following have I received much criticism, however in many of my methods I refuse to bow to critics, because I believe that I have a greater reasoning than my critics. Identity Christians are the only true Restoration and Revisionist theologians, and we should therefore be complete in our methods. Therefore, unabashedly, when translating the New Testament I have made every attempt to restore in a dignified manner the Hebrew appellation for our Father and Creator, Yahweh, just as those translators of the past, who without any shame or remorse on their part, when making the Septuagint, the Vulgate, and the King James Version, along with most subsequent translations, have followed the Jews by distorting that name, and by substituting mere titles in its place.
People tell me “But the apostles used those titles”, and that is certainly apparent, from the oldest Greek manuscripts which we have, and from the oldest manuscripts of the early Christian writers. Indeed, the historian Flavius Josephus, in the second book of his Antiquities of the Judaeans at line 276 (2.12.4), while discussing Moses and the incident at the burning bush stated that “Whereupon God declared to him his holy name, which had never been revealed to men before; concerning which it is not lawful for me to say any more.” Therefore it is evident that the religious leaders of Judea had banned the use of the Name of Yahweh before the time of Josephus. In turn, Christ told the apostles that “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: 3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not” (Matthew 23:2-3). So the reasons why the apostles did not use the Name of Yahweh may be evident, because the religious leaders of Judaea had forbidden it.
Yet the scribes and the pharisees no longer sit in Moses' seat. Therefore I do not believe that I am bound to obey them, as the apostles once were. From Hosea chapter 2: “16 And it shall be at that day, saith Yahweh, that thou shalt call me Ishi [which can be interpreted as my husband]; and shalt call me no more Baali [which can be interpreted as my lord]. 17 For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name. 18 And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely. 19 And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies. 20 I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know Yahweh. 21 And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith Yahweh, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; 22 And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel. 23 And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.” It is a theological statement, to assert that this time of realization for the children of Israel is at hand, and that they should recognize that this God of the Old Testament is indeed their God. To identify Him explicitly, rather than with the ambiguous terms that have replaced His Holy Name, is to acknowledge the historical facts of Scripture. That is what Identity Christians should be willing to do. [There are many critics who have expressed dislike for my methods. They should not make the error of assuming that I have done anything rashly, or out of emotion.]
When I began translating the epistles of Paul, it was only meant to be a study conducted for my own private purposes, which I shared with a few friends. I never imagined that I was going to translate all of Paul, and then all of the New Testament, or that I would ever publish any part thereof. The world was small to me then. I was in prison, and I was in contact with only a small number of Identity Christians outside of prison. I had scant resources, but attempted to make the most of them. I actually began with a well-worn paperback interlinear New Testament, and only obtained a copy of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th edition (NA27), in January of 2003. I quickly realized that my manuscript of Paul's epistles had to be updated in light of the text provided by that far superior edition of the Greek, and spent much of the rest of that year so engaged.
But initially, I only began translating Paul because the phenomenon of Paul-bashing had become known to me, and I knew that most of the arguments of the Paul-bashers were indeed based on mistranslations and misunderstandings of Paul's epistles, but not on words or the character of the real Paul of Tarsus. I did not really have it in mind to defend Paul from Paul-bashers, but instead to defend my own relatively new-found love of the truth in Christian Identity from Paul-bashers. Most Paul-bashers, I was convinced, were zealous and right-minded to condemn Judaized Christianity, but they were rash and incompetent to accept the idea that its errors were actually supported by Paul. In truth, Paul, refutes both universalism and Judaized Christianity in all of its denominations. This is why, when presenting the Book of Acts here last year, when we encountered those chapters that introduced Paul of Tarsus I had made the comment that we had begun what would ultimately be an 18-month endeavor to defend Paul. That was early last July, so the first 6 or 7 months of that task are already completed. We have about a year left, and perhaps even longer.
The NA27 includes the many variations among the many Greek manuscripts handed down through the centuries, and the many manuscripts and ancient papyri (nearly 100 are cited in the edition) discovered more recently by archaeology, listing many hundreds of these sources and where they are stored today. The volume also includes the Latin, Syriac, and other readings, and those of the so-called “Church Fathers”, wherever it determines that they matter, and it excludes nothing of importance. It is a volume which undergoes great scrutiny, and I have never yet read a damaging criticism concerning it. When I studied it daily preparing my translations, I found it difficult to conceive of a work that would eclipse the NA27 in either comprehension or integrity. It is the many archaeological finds of the 20th century which are primarily responsible for the large number of editions over less than a hundred years.
Now there is already a 28th edition of the Nestle-Aland text which has rather recently become available, and I have been fortunate to obtain two copies of it. It is also available freely on the internet. I would like to find the time to study that and to update anything in my translations which its revelations may require. I pray that I have the opportunity to do that one day soon. I have already perused parts of it and noticed that it corrects a few errors which were in the text or the notes of the NA27, and one in particular which shall compel me to change some of my own notes in Christreich regarding Revelation chapter 20. But the new information does not compel me to change the translation of the particular verse in question.
As for the textual witness to the epistles of Paul. Not all of the many hundreds of ancient Greek manuscripts whose various readings have been attested to by the NA27 have been considered in the translations and notes of the Christogenea New Testament. Rather, only those which are dated to the 6th century and earlier have been considered. Except for those places where we have mentioned the readings of the Majority Text, all later papyri, uncials, and miniscules - in addition to any Latin or Syriac manuscripts, have been ignored except for perhaps a few brief mentions in a few of our notes. Also ignored, for the most part, are the recognized revisions, or corrections which some of the older manuscripts have suffered over the centuries, which are also distinguished by the NA27.
There are eight Great Uncial manuscripts which contain nearly all of the Greek text to Paul's epistles, and which are dated to the 4th through the 6th centuries AD. The most complete of these are the 4th century Codex Sinaiticus, which attests to all 14 epistles of Paul, the 4th century Codex Vaticanus which is missing 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon and perhaps the last third of the epistle to the Hebrews, the 5th century Codex Alexandrinus which is missing most of 2 Corinthians, and the 6th century Codex Claromontanus – a manuscript clearly related to the Codex Bezae – which is wanting small portions of Romans and 1 Corinthians. The other 4 ancient Great Uncials, the 5th century Codices Ephraemi Syri, Freerianus and Vaticanus Graecus 2061 and the 6th century Codex Coislinianus are all wanting more significant portions of Paul's epistles, but are nonetheless important. Additionally, there are 27 other fragments of Great Uncial manuscripts extant which attest to portions of Paul's epistles. Most of these have as little as a verse or two, but some have more. The oldest is evidently from a 3rd century uncial known as the Wyman fragment (0220).
In addition to the Great Uncials, the NA27 documents 20 significant ancient papyri fragments which attest to portions of Paul's epistles and which date from circa 200 AD through the 6th century. All but one of these contains all or part of at least several verses. At least 14 of the 20 are considered to be older than 400 AD. The two oldest are both dated to about 200 AD: P32 has all or part of eleven verses in Titus, and P46 attests to very significant portions of 9 of Paul's epistles.
Concerning the contents of the manuscripts included by the NA27 as witnesses to the text, the editor's introduction says that: “It should be understood that in the description of the papyri and other fragments...a verse is counted as present if even a single letter of it has been preserved.” (NA27, Introduction, p. 48.) When considering the many spurious interpolations, this is a good practice testifying not to the content of a verse, but to its existence in the earliest witnesses, yet for this reason many times a manuscript is not discussed in the notes even though it may be counted as having a particular verse, because the verse is illegible or incomplete, and so its reading can not be determined for such consideration. For the purpose of my notes, whenever a particular reading in any ancient manuscript is marked by the NA27 editors as being probable, it is considered valid.
Unlike Paul’s other letters, no ancient papyri have been discovered (before the NA27 was published) which bear witness to 1st or 2nd Timothy. The same holds true for a longer list of ancient papyri employed in the NA28. So here the uncials are relied upon, and although there are several which date to the 4th and 5th centuries, that is rather late considering the age of some of the papyri which we do have. Yet comparing all of the differences among the papyri with the earliest uncials, those uncials as a group have proven themselves to be remarkably reliable witnesses in most respects. Surely the general content of these epistles should be considered to be trustworthy.
All of these manuscripts employed in the translation of the Christogenea New Testament are classified as “consistently cited witnesses of the first order” by the NA27 editors. Later and lesser witnesses have been for the most part ignored in the making of these translations, excepting the Majority Text. In the NA27 that term represents the “Majority text, including the Byzantine Koine text” and it is said that it “indicates readings supported by the majority of all manuscripts, i.e. always including manuscripts of the Koine type in the narrow sense. [The Majority Text] therefore represents the witness of the Koine text type, together with the witness of all consistently cited manuscripts of the second order which agree with it in a given reading. [The Majority Text] has the status of a consistently cited witness of the first order.” (NA27, Introduction, p. 55.) Nearly 900 of these manuscripts are listed under the symbol for the Majority Text in the NA27's first appendix as being “pertinent”, with the inferred inclusion of many others (where it says “et permulti alii”). Most of these manuscripts date to a relatively recent time, since the style of writing known as miniscule did not become extant until after the 9th century AD. The manuscripts of the Majority Text do not always agree, and on these occasions they are virtually always ignored in the notes to my translations, since taken individually the importance of each manuscript is greatly diminished, because they do not have the antiquity of the uncials and papyri which are employed in the notes. The English of the King James Version usually, but not always, agrees with the Majority Text.
It may be evident to some of our more studious listeners, that I have always used the term Alexandrian Tradition to describe the Codices Alexandrinus, Ephraemi Syri, and the other codices which are found to be similar. Yet certain academic sources, and even many of those on the internet such as Wikipedia, use the term Byzantine Text Type to refer to those same codices. Then they use the term Alexandrian Tradition or Alexandrian Text Type to refer to Codices such as the Codices Vaticanus or Sinaiticus and others which are similar to them. This is a quandary which has caused much confusion. The terminology which I am accustomed to using is from the classification of New Testament manuscript text types first conceived and popularized by Westcott and Hort. That is because their classification is much older than that employed by textual critics today, and the resources by which I became familiar to Koine Greek and New Testament manuscripts had followed that older classification. I would, for example, invite readers to see the small Greek grammar handbook entitled Greek Enchiridion, by William G. MacDonald, on page 30 for verification of the Westcott and Hort classification of the major Great Uncial manuscripts. Some have claimed, for the reason that I am accustomed to using the older Westcott and Hort textual groupings, that I followed Westcott and Hort manuscripts preparing my New Testament translation. That claim is utterly ridiculous. In fact, the readings of the so-called higher critics, and the manuscripts of Westcott and Hort, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Alford, Lachmann, Griesbach or any of the other Medieval editors or so-called Higher Critics were never considered for the text of the Christogenea New Testament.
There is one more note I would like to make here, and that is concerning my renderings of proper names. Although this may not appeal to many, I have tried when transliterating names to stay as close as possible to their original Greek spellings, with some exceptions. Examples of those exceptions are that Paul here is Paul, and not Paulos. Jerusalem is likewise not Heirousaluma, as the Greeks had it. Popular Old Testament figures, many whose names may be unrecognizable in their Greek forms, therefore appear here as their names were spelled in the Old Testament of the King James Version. Examples are Moses, Noah, Isaiah, Elijah, and Hagar. Some contemporary terms were also spelled in the popular manner, i.e. Caesar, Pharisee, and Judaea. Otherwise, my transliterations attempted to remain faithful to the Greek.
Most of the sentiments expressed here to this point were first written in 2004 or 2005, when I completed and had copyright a manuscript entitled The Letters of Paul, which for a variety of reasons was never published. Of course, they are just as valid today or I would not have offered them here. They represent only a portion of the methods and reasoning behind my work, however I hope that they shed some light on making it somewhat more understandable. For a further discussion of those methods, I would refer those interested to a paper I wrote in 2009 entitled On Biblical Exegesis. With this, we shall now turn our attention to the epistles of Paul of Tarsus, beginning with his epistle to the Romans.
Although it appears first in the popular ordering of Paul's epistles which is found in most New Testament editions, Romans was certainly not the first epistle which Paul had written: for that distinction, among those epistles which we have, would belong to 1 Thessalonians. Rather, Romans was the 8th of Paul's 14 surviving epistles, and we gave an exposition which detailed when each of them were written at the close of our 34-part presentation of the Book of Acts. Romans was the last epistle which Paul wrote as a free man, and of his 14 epistles the 6 which remain were written while he was in bonds.
The epistle to the Romans was written from the Troad, circa 57 AD, during Paul's stay there which is described at the beginning of Acts chapter 20. This is evident from both the lists of men who were with Paul provided in Acts 20 and Romans 16, and also from Paul's comments concerning his ministry and his plans to visit Rome which were discussed in Romans chapter 15: “22 On which account I also had often been hindered in coming to you. 23 But now, no longer having a place in these regions, and having a longing to come to you for many years, 24 perhaps as I journey into Spain; therefore I expect to be passing across to see you, and by you to be escorted there, if however of you first I am somewhat satisfied. 25 But now I travel to Jerusalem, in service to the saints; 26 they of Makedonia and Achaia had been glad to make a certain contribution for the needy of the saints who are in Jerusalem. 27 Indeed they were well pleased and their debtors they are; for if the Nations share with them in the things of the Spirit, then they are obliged to minister to them in the things of the flesh. 28 Now this being accomplished, and this profit having been assured to them, I will depart by you towards Spain.”
Furthermore, in that same place in Romans 15, Paul explains that he is on his way to Judaea: “30 Moreover, I entreat you, brethren, through our Prince, Yahshua Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, to assist me in prayers to Yahweh on my behalf; 31 in order that I am delivered from those of disobedience in Judaea; and that my service that is to Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints; 32 that with joy I am coming to you through the will of Yahweh, that I may have rest with you.” Paul later says in the account of his defense before Felix, recorded in the Book of Acts in chapter 24 that “17 Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings.” It is clear that the alms and offerings of Acts 24:17 are the same as the service to the saints which Paul was about to deliver to Jerusalem which he mentioned at Romans 15:31. This clearly establishes that Paul was about to bring to Jerusalem that collection for the saints of Judaea described in 2 Corinthians chapter 8 (an epistle which was written about a year earlier than Romans was written), and therefore Romans was written as Paul was about to go to Judaea.
Corroborating this is Acts chapter 20, verse 4, where wee see that the men who are listed by Luke as being with Paul are “Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.” Then in Acts 20, verses 5 and 6 we read: “5 These going before tarried for us at Troas. 6 And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.” Luke had not been mentioned as being with Paul since they parted ways in Acts chapter 16 after Paul's release from prison in Philippi. Comparing this list in Acts 20, where the “we” in verse 6 includes Luke himself, to that in Romans chapter 16 where Paul lists the greetings of the men who were with him, we see Luke, Timothy and Sosipater (Sopater), Gaius, and the other unnamed men whom Paul must have intended to describe by the words “the whole assembly” in Romans 16:21-23. Paul's ministry among the Greeks being completed, where he professes in Romans 15 that he no longer had a place in those regions, this stay in the Troad just before his journey to Jerusalem is the only possible opportunity for the writing of this letter, where Luke and Timothy were both with him, as well as the others. It is also evident from the epistle to the Romans, that he had not been to Rome before he wrote it, but that he hoped to visit soon.
Although it was not written first, perhaps it is fitting that the epistle to the Romans have the first place among Paul's epistles, since it is such a full, but by no means complete, exposition of the apostle's teachings. The epistle which we know as 1 Corinthians comes close, and discusses many of the same themes, however we also esteem that it is appropriately given the second place. Perhaps this is Providential. As we get into the actual text of Romans, we shall indeed see things which the King James translators and those who created the popular order of Paul's epistles could by no means have understood.
The Roman people were, for the most part, descendants of those Trojans who had settled in Italy after the fall of Troy. A fantastic account of the story is told in the famous poem by Virgil, the Aeneid. Many may dismiss this as legend, however it is indeed historical, and it is an account which has been transmitted consistently from the time of the writings of the earliest Greek and Roman poets and historians, beginning with the epic poets of the 7th century BC. In turn, there is the truth of the origins of the original Trojans which is not so obvious in our histories. It can be established in Scripture and mythology, however, that the Trojans themselves were of the stock of the Israelites who left Egypt. However the fact that certain Israelites departed from Egypt apart from Moses, and leaving by sea had established cities in what was later Greece and Anatolia, is corroborated in the Greek classics. These things are discussed at length in an essay available at Christogenea.org entitled Classical Records of Trojan-Roman-Judah. On the other hand, it can be established that the Corinthians, who were Dorian Greeks, originated from later migrations of Israelites into what is now Greece. This is discussed in another essay available at Christogenea.org, Classical Records of the Dorian & Danaan Israelite-Greeks. All of these assertions are confirmed by the epistles of Paul, and we shall of course make the appropriate observations as we examine the text to those epistles. There is little doubt to us, that Paul of Tarsus was the first teacher of what we today refer to as Christian Israel Identity, and only because that is the only true and legitimate Christianity, in spite of the fact that it has been misunderstood for two thousand years.
With this, we shall commence with the text to Romans chapter 1.
1 Paul, bondman of Yahshua Christ, a called ambassador, set apart for the good message of Yahweh,
A bondman, or δοῦλος (Strong's # 1401), is properly an involuntary servant or slave, and originally referred to a born bondman or slave (Liddell & Scott). As Paul attested in Galatians 1:15, he believed that the purpose of his life was determined before he was born. Being a bondman of Christ, however, was not a reference to being a prisoner for Christ, which happened after Romans was written. For that, Paul called himself a prisoner, or δέσμος (Strong's # 1198) in his epistles to the Hebrews, Ephesians, Philemon and in his second epistle to Timothy, which were all written after his arrest in Jerusalem.
2 which He previously announced through His prophets in the sacred writings,
By the term sacred writings, Paul intends to convey the concept of Scripture as canon, as opposed to writings which are not sacred. The word rendered sacred is ἅγιος (Strong's # 40), which describes something set apart for the purposes of God.
3 concerning His Son, who came forth from the offspring of David down through the flesh,
The Greek word γενομένου is a form of the verb γίνομαι and may have been rendered “having been born of”. It is “which was made” in the King James Version. Often in the Christogenea New Testament there is the phrase “down through”, which is from the preposition κατά (Strong's # 2596). The King James Version often renders it as “according to”, having “according to the flesh” here. The word κατά is a preposition which literally means down. Today the Judaized Christians, taking certain scriptures out of context, often express disdain for things which are “according to the flesh”, as if the promises of God to Abraham's seed – which are his physical offspring – have somehow been nullified. Therefore our rendering is an attempt to emphasize the literal meaning of the phrase, to better express the intent of the original Greek in order to show that the power of God is manifest in the fulfillment of His promises, and not in spite of them.
The King James Versions has the words “Jesus Christ” in this verse, which are found in none of the ancient manuscripts.
4 who has been distinguished as a Son of Yahweh by ability in accordance with a spirit of sanctity, by a raising of the dead; Yahshua Christ our Prince;
The critics of Paul of Tarsus love to accuse him for his words here, since Christ was clearly born the Son of God according to those same prophets to whom Paul refers. This is because the King James Version translates this verse to read “And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead”, as if Paul was claiming that Christ was only the Son of God because he was resurrected.
One Paul-basher, the Graber fellow, said “Here Paul tells us that Jesus was not the Son of God untill [sic] he qualified himself by the spirit of holiness, and after His resurrection. Matthew tells us that Jesus was born the son of God, by the virgin Mary, who do you believe, Matthew or Paul?” Graber would have a point, but only if Paul actually said what Graber thought that Paul said. This is a classic example of the fact that Paul of Tarsus, or any of the original writers of Scripture, cannot be blamed for the errors of the later translators.
Admittedly, Romans 1:4 is a difficult verse to translate. The passage may have been rendered to say in part “who has been distinguished as [or who has been determined to be] a Son of Yahweh by the ability, through a spirit of sanctity, of a raising of the dead”. However the Greek verb ὁρίζω (horizō, Strong's # 3724) may by no means be translated as declare, as the King James Version has done here. The word basically and most literally means “to divide or separate from, as a boundary”, and among other uses it may mean “to determine … [or] define” (Liddell & Scott). Paul is indicating that the resurrection of Christ made the assertion that Christ is a Son of Yahweh an indisputable fact, or in other words, He was a Son of God, and his resurrection distinguishes that assertion as fact. Therefore the resurrection of Christ did not make Christ a son of God, as one may be mislead by the King James translation of this passage. Rather, Christ was indeed born a son of God, and the resurrection was the foremost event which Paul uses to present the sonship of Christ from God as a fact to the Romans. It also must be noted, that Paul did not use the definite article, “the”, which the King James and other versions add to the text of this passage.
5 through whom we receive favor and a message for compliance of faith by all of the Nations, in behalf of His Name,
The reading of ἀποστολή (Strong's # 651), which is apostleship in the King James Version, is a message here. In the profane writers, the word is literally a sending off or away, or a dispatching (Liddell & Scott). An ἀπόστολος, or apostle, is literally a messenger or an ambassador or envoy (Liddell & Scott). This interpretation of ἀποστολή as a message here is supported by the rendering of this word in Brenton’s Septuagint at Psalms 77(78):49. We also see this word translated as message in the Christogenea New Testament at 1 Corinthians 9:2 and Galatians 2:8. The King James Version always has apostleship for this word, which appears in one other place, at Acts 1:25, where we have ambassadorship.
A belief in Christ requires a turn to obedience in Christ by Christians, which is required of Christians by Christ. From Matthew 4:17: “17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
6 among whom also are you, called of Yahshua Christ: 7 to all those in Rome who are beloved of Yahweh, called saints: favor to you and peace from Yahweh our Father and Prince Yahshua Christ.
The word for called in verse 7 is not a verb, as the King James Version seems to suggest. Rather it is an adjective, which modifying a noun typically describes an existing condition! In hindsight, chosen or elect may have been better alternatives than called, because they may be more explicit. Here the word agrees in case and therefore modifies the noun which is translated saints. The construction at verse 1, where Paul is a “called ambassador”, is similar.
From Isaiah chapter 54, where Yahweh is addressing the children of Israel: “5 For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. 6 For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. 7 For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. 8 In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.”
From the blessing of Moses, Deuteronomy chapter 33: “2 And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them. 3 Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words.”
From the prayer of Hannah, 1 Samuel chapter 2: “9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.”
The prophets defined the saints of God as the children of Israel, and the prophets defined the called of God as the children of Israel. Paul, reiterating these things from “the holy writings”, is certainly not attempting to redefine them. To the contrary, Paul said in Hebrews chapter 13: “7 Remember your leaders, those who speak to you the Word of Yahweh [by which he must mean the Old Testament]; of whom, closely observing the discharge of their conduct, you imitate that faith. 8 Yahshua Christ: the same yesterday, and today, and for the ages.”
Because “thy Maker is thine husband, Yahweh of hosts”, according to Isaiah, and because Paul espoused the assemblies of God to Christ, as he professed in 2 Corinthians chapter 11, the phrases “Yahweh our Father and Prince Yahshua Christ” must be an example of a Hebrew parallelism, where the same entity is described consecutively in different ways, which is originally a feature of the Hebrew language that is found throughout both Old Testaments and New.
8 Firstly, indeed I thank my God through Yahshua Christ for the sake of all of you, that your faith is proclaimed in the whole cosmos.
The word κόσμος (2889) was only transliterated here. While we have often translated the word as society, and while we will fully explain our reasons for that at an opportune time (as we have already done so in a paper at Christogenea.org entitled What is the World?), we believe that there are certain contexts where the intended reference seems to transcend the mere idea of society, and when we encountered those occasions, we have either left the word as it is transliterated here, or rendered it as order, which is its primary meaning.
The Codex Sinaiticus (א) wants the words “through Yahshua Christ”, however the same expression is repeated at Romans 7:25 where except for some slight differences they appear in all of the manuscripts. Paul, offering thanks to Yahweh God through Christ, is exhibiting his assertion that Yahshua Christ fulfills His role as our mediator to Yahweh our God. As Paul described Christ in his epistle to the Hebrews, he also professed to Timothy that “there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). Many may wonder how this could be, since Yahshua Christ is indeed Yahweh in the flesh, the incarnation of God on earth. Yet where Paul says that “in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily”, where Godhead means Divinity, we must understand that all of the majesty which is Yahweh God is much greater than the body of a man, and therefore cannot be contained solely in the body of a man. Yet Yahweh God has chosen to represent Himself to men as a man, which is Yahshua Christ. Therefore Yahshua Christ is God, and Yahshua Christ is mediator between God and man. This is a metaphysical puzzle which has forever been difficult for men to grasp, since men can only define God in human terms. Those who do not understand insist that Christ is a distinct person from Yahweh the Father, but those who know can comprehend Him as just one aspect of Yahweh the Father.
9 For my witness is Yahweh, whom I serve in my Spirit with the good message of His Son, how incessantly I do make mention of you, 10 at all times making supplication at my prayers, if possible now at last I will be successful by the will of Yahweh to come to you.
Paul's words here inform us that he had not yet been to Rome, which is also evident in all of the accounts of his travels which are provided in the Book of Acts.
11 For I desire to see you, that I impart a spiritual gift to you, for you to be made steadfast, 12 that is, being summoned together with you, through trust in one another, both yours and mine.
The Christian assemblies, as we see them mentioned variously in Paul's lengthy salutation of Romans chapter 16, must have been established for some time already before this epistle was written. We have established the year 57 AD as the time of writing of this epistle. In Acts chapter 18 we see that “1 After these things [referring to Paul's discourse at the Hill of Ares] departing from Athens he went into Korinth. 2 And finding a certain Judaean named Akulas, of Pontus by birth, recently having come from Italy, and Priskilla his wife, on account of Klaudios ordering all of the Judaeans to depart from Rome, he went with them”. In our presentation of the Book of Acts, we saw that event occurred before 51 AD, and that according to the Roman historian Suetonius we can ascertain that the reason for the expulsion was agitation among the Judaeans in Rome due to divisions caused by the Gospel of Christ. Without a doubt, the Gospel had come to Rome at least 7 years before Paul wrote this epistle, and probably even sooner than that. Nowhere, however, can we determine who it was that first preached Christianity among the Romans, and it was certainly neither Peter nor Paul.
As for the phrase “being summoned together (with you)”, the verb is συμπαρακληθῆναι, an Aorist Passive infinitive of συμπαρακαλέω (Strong's # 4837) which is “to invite together or at the same time” (Liddell & Scott). Thayer's lexicon supports the King James Version translation “that I may be comforted together”, which would surely require a first person form of the verb, and not an infinitive. Another word, συμπαραμυθέομαι, would more precisely mean “to be comforted together”. At 1 Thessalonians 2:11 Paul uses παρακαλέω (3870) and παραμυθέομαι (3888) together, for which the King James Version rendered “exhorted and comforted”.
Paul is telling the Romans in verse 11 that he had something by which to edify them. Then is verse 12 he is assuring them that they have been called together in Christ, he as well as they, and therefore for that reason they should trust one another. Here we must demystify that magic word, faith, a word that has been used to uphold many false ideas by those who would seek to Judaize Christianity or support other common misconceptions concerning Christ. This is because most people are conditioned so that certain words trigger emotional responses that diminish the ability to perceive something rationally.
The Greek word πίστις (Strong's # 4102) is literally “trust...faith... [or] belief” (Liddell & Scott) and it appears approximately 170 times in the letters of Paul. In the Christogenea New Testament it is usually faith, but in certain contexts it is trust, (Romans 1:12 and 17), belief (2 Thessalonians 2:13 and Titus 1:4), assurance (1 Timothy 5:12) or even trustworthiness (Titus 2:10). In the King James Version it is also usually faith, but it is also rendered as belief (2 Thessalonians 2:13), assurance (Acts 17:31), or fidelity (Titus 2:10). The verb, πιστεύω (Strong's # 4100) is usually to believe in the Christogenea New Testament as well as the King James Version, except where the King James has it as to know at Acts 20:18, which is not necessarily improper. Liddell & Scott define the verb πιστεύω as “to trust, [to] trust to or in, put faith in, rely on, believe in”, and the adjective πιστός (4103) as “to be trusted or believed...of persons, faithful, trusty, true” (i.e. 1 Corinthians 4:2, 2 Corinthians 1:18, 1 Timothy 1:15, 3:1). From these definitions it should be apparent that these common Greek words have no special religious signification. These are the usual words which were used to express the ideas of faith, trust or belief, and only the context in which they are used should determine what is the substance that faith, trust or belief represents.
Here in Romans 1:12, the King James translators imagined Paul to be referring to The Faith, which should be perceived as that set of beliefs which Christians should have concerning Christ, redemption, salvation, and whatever other things are necessarily related. However looking at the historical context of Paul's epistle, Paul being a Judaean and many Judaeans having already caused much trouble for the Christians of Rome, as we have seen examining Acts chapter 18 and the Edict of Claudius, and as we may see when considering the words of the historian Tacitus and the persecutions of Christians which continued in the reign of Nero, it is evident that Paul was assuring the Roman Christians that he could be trusted by them, since he was called in the same Christian calling in which they themselves were called. Therefore the subsequent verses of Paul's epistle seek to assure them of that same thing.
13 For I do not wish that you be ignorant, brethren, that often I proposed to come to you, and was hindered until now, in order that I would then have some fruit among you, just as in the other nations.
The Codex Claromontanus (D) opens verse 5 with the words “I do not imagine you to be ignorant”, however the phrase as it appears in the text appears elsewhere, being seen again in Romans and in several of his other epistles. Again Paul affirms that he had not yet preached the Gospel in Rome, although he had long desired to do so. Paul wants fruit among the Romans, as he is running the race which he describes in 1 Corinthians chapter 9, and in Hebrews chapter 12, executing the mission which he was given by God with all possible zeal.
The term “in the other nations” is defined by Paul in Romans chapter 4, and throughout the records of the Book of Acts. Therefore Christians must refrain from defining the term for themselves.
14 To both Greeks and barbarians, to both wise and foolish, I am a debtor: 15 so for this cause then is my eagerness to announce the good message to those of you in Rome.
The use of the word rendered as debtor signifies not that he owes Greeks and barbarians anything, but that he is obligated by his mission in Christ to both Greeks and barbarians, Paul being an apostle to the uncircumcision, as he explains in Galatians chapter 2.
Paul sees the wise and the foolish differently than many of his readers may commonly perceive. In 1 Corinthians chapter 3, in an epistle written several years before this one, Paul said “ 18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. 20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.” Therefore to Paul, the foolish are those who wisely reject worldly wisdom, and seek instead the wisdom of God, as he wrote in the last line of his epistle to the Romans that Christians should discover that “27 Yahweh alone is wise, through Yahshua Christ, to whom is honor for the ages. Truly.”
16 Truly I am not ashamed of the good message [or gospel, the MT interpolates the words “of the Anointed”, or “of Christ”], for it is the ability of Yahweh to guarantee preservation to all who have trust, both to the Judaean at the beginning, then to the Greek:
The Codex Vaticanus (B) wants the word rendered here “at the beginning”, which may have more simply been rendered as “first”. However the same codex agrees with the other manuscripts where the phrase appears at Romans 2:9 and 2:10.
The statement that the Gospel had to go to the Judaean first, and then to the Greek, seems to be a reference to Zechariah 12:7, where it says that “The LORD also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem do not magnify themselves against Judah.” That prophecy also seems to await another fulfillment. Many of the tribes of the Greeks also descended from the ancient children of Israel, but evidently not from Judah.
By his comparison of Judaean and Greek here, Paul refines for us what he meant in his comparison of Greek and barbarian in verse 14. Barbarians were those people familiar to Greeks but who did not speak Greek, and that would have included Judaeans.
Yet because Paul was obligated to both “Greeks and barbarians”, or because he professed that God could save both Judaeans and Greeks, does not mean that later men could add as they pleased to the list of those for whom Paul intended his ministry. Rather, Paul himself defined the purpose of his ministry in Romans chapter 4, as being for those in whom Abraham believed. Doing so, he made it clear that the faith of Abraham was that many nations would come from his loins, and that these were the nations to whom Paul was bringing the gospel. If you are not of those nations, then you cannot be of the faith of Abraham, because Abraham did not believe in you. Therefore it is not only whether one has faith by which one's character should be judged, but what one has faith in which should be of import to Christians.
17 the righteousness of Yahweh is revealed in them from trust in faith; just as it is written, “But the just will live by faith.”
Here Paul quotes from Habakkuk 2:4. The Septuagint version, to which Paul's citations are usually agreeable, says “the just shall live by my faith.” One of the underlying themes which we hope to illustrate in this presentation of the epistles of Paul, is that when the apostles quoted the Old Testament scripture, it is important for those listening or reading to go back and examine that scripture for the context of the passages being quoted, in order to ascertain the truth of what was being said. As Luke relates of Paul's ministry in Beroia: “that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
Therefore where Paul has quoted Habakkuk to the Romans, not just anyone can pick up the epistle, read it, and imagine that Paul was talking about them, or about anyone else for that matter. Rather, where Paul quoted Habakkuk, Christians are obliged to go back and search the scriptures as the Beroians did, to see what Habakkuk meant by the words which were written. Here we shall do that very thing.
In Habakkuk's prophecy, the Chaldaeans are already risen to world hegemony, so Nineveh must already have been destroyed. The prophet warns of the coming destruction of Jerusalem at the hand of the Chaldaeans, in what is commonly called the Babylonian invasion of Judah, and therefore he is writing concerning the remnant of Judah which was extant between 612 and 586 BC. We will not read all of Habakkuk's words up to the verse in question, but only enough to see the context and what must be meant by the words which Paul quoted:
From Habakkuk chapter 1: “1 The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. 2 O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! 3 Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. 4 Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.”
Therefore we see that in the Judah of Habakkuk's time, the people of Yahweh have ceased to uphold His Law.
Again, from Habakkuk chapter 1: “5 Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. 6 For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs. 7 They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.”
The people have forsaken the law of God, and therefore they would be forced to live under the law of the Chaldaeans.
Again, from Habakkuk chapter 1: “12 Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O LORD, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.”
The Babylonian captivity and everything which results from it are for the correction of Yahweh's people Israel.
Again, from Habakkuk chapter 1, where the prophet depicts the Chaldaeans as having exalted themselves: “ 10 And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it. 11 Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing this his power unto his god.” From this we see who it is that is described in Habakkuk 2:4 as he who is “lifted up”.
Again, from Habakkuk chapter 2, after the prophet inquires of God if there would be any end to the destruction by the Chaldaeans: “2:1 I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.
And once more, from Habakkuk chapter 2 where the prophet records the answer he received: “2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. 4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.”
The Law of God has failed among the people, the people were going into punishment because they forsook their God, this is a judgment ordained for an appointed time, which would result in the correction of Yahweh's people, and “at the end it shall speak”, meaning that His words here would not fail, because the just of His people would live by their faith, and the just were those Israelites who would believe their God! It has nothing to do with anyone else, and only relates to the children of Israel. For the first 7 chapters of Paul's epistle to the Romans, Paul sets out to prove this very thing. We hope to fully elucidate this in our presentation of these chapters in the weeks to come.
From the prayer of Habakkuk in chapter 3 of his prophecy: “13 Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah.”
The people of Yahweh are forever the children of Israel, who are of the seed of Abraham. Only the just among them are those who would live by faith.