Word Study – First part of Romans 3:25

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Van, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. Van

    Van
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    25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; (NASB)

    First I base my efforts on understanding a verse or passage based on the NASB version because many commentators believe it does a pretty good job of presenting what the underlying language said based on the grammar and word meanings. My study efforts thus far have brought me to the conclusion that there is still plenty of room for improvement.

    Now if we look at an online Greek Interlinear (Scripture 4 All), and rearrange the words to match NASB sequence, we see the following:

    Hon.....ho..theos....proetheto.............hilasterion.........en...autou
    Whom the God.... put forward as a propitiatory shelter... in of Him

    hairmati dia pisteos.
    blood through faith.


    So the first question that pops up is: Is there any difference in meaning from “propitiatory shelter in His blood through faith” and “propitiatory shelter through faith in His blood?”

    I think not, so I think the second choice says the same thing in a less wooden style.

    In summary, I understand Romans 3:25 to read: whom God put forward as a propitiatory shelter through faith in His blood. This demonstrates the use of word meaning to word meaning translation, yet allows those meanings to be arranged for greatest clarity in English.

    Now this sentence contains several words where word study might enlighten our understanding of what is being said: (1) proetheto; (2) hilasterion; (3) hairmati; and (4) pisteos.

    I hope to present each of these studies in subsequent posts.
     
    #1 Van, Aug 20, 2011
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  2. Dr. Bob

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  3. Van

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    Protithemi

    This Greek word appears in three verses, Romans 1:13, Romans 3:25 and Ephesians 1:9. When we look at a lexicon we see from among many possible meanings, three which seem to fit these verses:

    1) to propose to oneself (Romans 1:9)

    2) to expose to view (Romans 3:25)

    3) purposed or determined (Ephesians 1:9)

    So using three different English words to translate the three meanings of protithemi would seem warranted.

    And if we look at several translations, we find the word translated as (1) presented; (2) put forward; (3) displayed; (4) set forth; (5) planned; (6) intended and (7) purposed.

    However, the root meaning of "set before" might allow "put forward" to be used in all three verses. In any event, "put forward" is consistent with the core meaning of the word and fits nicely into the context of Romans 3:25.
     
    #3 Van, Aug 20, 2011
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  4. Van

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    Hilasterion

    Before we even think about studying hilasterion and the related words hilaskomai and hilasmos, we must address the three cornerstone words of salvation, propitiation, the means of salvation, redemption, the act of salvation, and reconciliation, the result of salvation. Our word study below enters into the arena of the means of salvation, which is Jesus Christ.

    Hilasterion

    Our best understanding is that hilasterion referred to the lid of the ark of the covenant, which was sprinkled with blood, and thus referred to as the mercy seat. Articles on its meaning are filled with classic words like expiation, atonement, and propitiation, all of which convey almost nothing to the modern reader. In a nutshell, under the Old Covenant, the blood of animals was sprinkled on the hilasterion on the day of atonement to provide temporary reconciliation with God and avoidance of the wages of sin. Under the New Covenant, Jesus, covered with His precious blood, has become our "hilasterion" (and our blood sin offering) as the means of everlasting reconciliation with God and avoidance of the wages of sin.

    Three related Greek words (Hilasterion and Hilasmos-nouns and Hilaskomai -verb) appear 6 times in the New Testament, Romans 3:25, Hebrews 9:5 ; 1 John 2:2, 1 John 4:10, Luke 18:13, and Hebrews 2:17. If we look at several translations we find the words translated as (1) propitiatory sacrifice; (2) propitiation; (3) mercy seat; (4) atonement and (5) atoning sacrifice for the nouns; with the verb being translated as (1) have mercy; (2) be merciful; (3) turn your wrath; and (4) make propitiation.

    In short the verb refers to the act of having mercy and the noun to the means of having mercy. Therefore hilasterion should be understood as the means of obtaining mercy , i.e the propitiatory shelter.
     
  5. Deacon

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    RE: Protithemi

    To Van:

    Protithemi” used three times in the NT and it has three different meanings???
    However do we determine a word’s meaning Van?

    Rob
     
  6. Van

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    Hi Deacon, as indicated above, (1) for the word in the verse under study, find the underlying Greek word. (2) Find all the verses where the Greek word appears in scripture.
    (3) Look at lexicons and commentaries on the word to arrive at a set of meanings others have said apply to the word. (4) Look at how the word is used in the context of all the passages it appears in, or at least several by each different author if the word appears in a great number of verses. (5) Look at how the verse has been translated by modern translators, (I use the NIV, NASB, ESV, HCSB and NKJV) and "determine" the word's meaning. For Romans 3:25 I came to the conclusion "put forward" best fit the context of the verse and reflected the core meaning of the word. (Which happened to be the same conclusion as the ESV scholars in this case.)

    Here is a link to a "How to do a Word Study" article.

    http://www.yoyomaster.com/ministry.file/wordstudy.html
     
    #6 Van, Aug 22, 2011
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  7. Van

    Van
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    Hilasterion and Hilasmos-nouns

    I do not think I addressed adequately the different shade of meaning conveyed by Hilasterion and Hilasmos. As I indicated Hilasterion is best understood as the "propitiatory shelter" i.e the place of obtaining mercy. Hilasmos has more to do with the means of obtaining mercy. If we look at it from the Father's perspective, then the "provider" of that which allows God to "turn His head" and have mercy on a person, as opposed to condemnation, is Jesus Christ, covered in His own blood. If we look at it from our perspective, then Jesus is our provider of God's mercy, through faith in His blood.

    Hence, "whom God put forward as a propitiatory shelter through faith in His blood."
     
    #7 Van, Aug 22, 2011
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  8. Van

    Van
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    In His Blood

    Rather than present a full blown word study of hairmati, because of its many usages and many meanings, both literal and metaphorical, we will narrow our focus to Paul's usage in relation to Christ's sacrifice on the cross.

    If we look at Paul's usage, we find Romans 3:25, Romans 5:9, 1 Corinthians 10:16, 11:25, Ephesians 1:7, 2:13, Colossians 1:14 and 1:20.

    Our first issue is in Paul's use of various Greek prepositions to refer to Christ's "hairmati." The question that arises is: Does the hairmati have its own power to accomplish something, i.e are we justified "by" His blood, or are we justified by God because we are metaphorically "in His blood? I think the second idea is what Paul was presenting. So if "en" should be understood in the normal literal sense of "in" then the idea is that we are "in" the propitiatory shelter provided by Jesus, covered with His blood, hence "in His blood." The phrase then becomes just a more explicit expression of our being spiritually "in Christ."

    Therefore, I come to the conclusion both Romans 5:9 and Ephesians 2:13 would be best translated as "in His blood" or in the blood of Christ.

    Our next issue deals with "through" His blood, see Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14 and 1:20. Here we have the image of separation, with enmity between condemned sinners and a righteous God. How did God make peace? By bridging the gap with Christ's finished work of the cross, hence through the blood. Therefore, Colossians 1:14 puts it all together, in Him we have redemption through His blood.

    The last usage to discuss is found in 1 Corinthians 10:16. where Paul say "of the blood of Christ." Many experts have offered various explanations as to exactly what we are remembering and sharing and participating in when we drink the cup in remembrance of Christ and the New Covenant in His blood. I believe the "communion" is symbolic, with the "cup" (grape juice in our assembly) representing the picture of Jesus, covered in His blood, dying for the whole world to provide our propitiatory shelter.
     
    #8 Van, Aug 22, 2011
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  9. Van

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    Through Faith

    Before we get into a discussion of faith, we must discuss the idea of "through faith." Again, the idea is bridging the gap between two things. Here we enter into the "propitiatory shelter of Christ" through faith "in His Blood." Paul wrote in Romans 5:2 that our faith provides our access to the grace in which we stand. Thus if we are standing "in His blood", then God crediting our faith as righteousness provided our access to the grace "in His blood."

    Now lets turn to five controversial verses, where translations differ significantly from what might be closer to Paul’s intended message. Again, neither the Greek grammar, nor the contexts of these texts are decisive, but both the grammar and the context seems to suggest these alternate renderings of the text.

    Romans 3:22 (NASB) “[the righteousness of God has been manifested] even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;” If we look at the phrase “faith in Jesus Christ” we see in the Greek no connector, no “en” but simply that faith and Jesus and Christ are all in the genitive case. Thus, other translations (YLT and the KJV) render the same construction, “faith of Jesus Christ.” What I suggest is the actual idea Paul had in mind is “Christ’s faithful faith or faithfulness.” Hence, I offer the possible translation, “even the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ’s faithfulness for all those who believe; for there is no distinction.”

    This rendering places more glory upon Jesus Christ, is consistent with the grammar, and does not detract from the idea that our belief in Christ helps to gain access to God’s righteousness which was made available through Christ’s faithfulness, His sinless obedience to God’s will, including laying down His life on the cross.

    In Romans 3:26, the ending of the verse usually reads “…who has faith in Jesus.” Actually the Greek reads “…the one of the faith of Jesus.” So the idea here is to up the ante, and indicate our faith must be “of” the same kind of faithful faith as Jesus displayed. When Paul uses the word “faith” he is referring to faithful faith, the live faith of James and not the dead faith of James.

    Galatians 2:16 (NASB), “nevertheless, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.” Here we see the phrase “in Christ” three times with two of them missing Paul’s idea in my opinion. Here is my alternate rendering: “nevertheless, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law, but through Christ’s faithfulness, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by Christ’s faithfulness, and not by works of the Law, since by the works of the Law, shall no flesh be justified.” I think this was Paul’s actual message.

    In Galatians 3:22, we find “promise through faith in Jesus Christ” but would better rendered “promise through Jesus Christ’s faithfulness.

    In Philippians 3:9 we again find “through faith in Christ” but would be better rendered as “through Christ’s faithfulness.
     
    #9 Van, Aug 23, 2011
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  10. Van

    Van
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    Faithful Faith

    The Greek word transliterated “pistis” is usually translated faith, but some translations in some verses translate the same word as “faithfulness.” And in these cases, the context seems decisive to the translators, the attribute in view seems to be continuous adherence to a set of requirements.

    When translators seek to transfer the meanings of a word into a word in another language, a problem arises if the original language being translated has words that sometimes convey an idea that can best be translated as a phrase.

    I think “pistis” is such a word, with the meaning in Greek as intended by Paul, being faithful faith, or a faith from which flows faithfulness. On the other hand, faith can be facts, as is the body of information Christians believe in. Faith can be the act of accepting the facts as truths - to put faith to Christ. And, after one has accepted and trusted in the facts, placed their faith in God and His Christ, the faith becomes the believer’s assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Finally, faith can mean fidelity, how faithfully we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as we walk humbly with our Lord.

    The noun “pistis” appears more than 240 times in the New Testament, with the vast majority of them conveying the idea of “faithful faith” a one time commitment from which flows, with God’s help, faithfulness. However, a number of times, it appears that the resulting attribute (faithfulness) is in view in light of the context. Lets look at some of these examples:

    Matthew 23:23 (ESV) "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” Here we see the on going attribute of tithing contrasted with the on going attributes of justice, mercy, and “faithful faith” or faithfulness.

    Romans 3:3 (NASB), “What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?” Here we see the attribute of some men, unbelief, contrasted with the on going attribute of God’s “faithful faith” or faithfulness.

    Galatians 5:22 (NIV), “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness….” Here we see the on going attribute of “faithful faith” or faithfulness as the fruit of our indwelt Holy Spirit. Hence the on going attribute of faithfulness is sustained, at least in part, by our indwelt Holy Spirit.

    And now with all that as preamble, let me turn to the heart of the matter.

    1 Corinthians 13:2 (NASB), “And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” As we all know, the message of this chapter is that having the attribute of love is greater than anything else we might possess, even the ability to wield God’s power through “faith.” But my purpose here is to explore an ancillary concept, having “all faith” such that we can wield God’s power.

    Many of us have sat through sermons where it was asserted that if we believe enough, if the strength of our faith is strong enough, then whatever we ask will be granted to us. And so, when faced with a dying loved one, we pray, even to tears, and yet our loved one dies. What are we to think? That we did not believe God could heal our loved one? Or that we did not believe strongly enough? That our faith was too little? I believe all of that misses the mark!

    In Matthew 17:20, Jesus says in answer to a question about the seeming lack of power of his disciples to cast out a demon, Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Move from here to there, and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to you.” Jesus repeats this message again in Matthew 21:21-22, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith, and do not doubt, you shall not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, be taken up and cast into the sea, it shall happen. And all the things you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive. Mark 11:23-24 words the same message this way, “Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be taken up and cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, and believes that what he says is going to happen, it shall be granted him. Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted you.” Luke presents yet another version of a similar message in Luke 17:6, “if you have faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and be planted in the sea”; and it would obey you.

    The first question to ask is what attribute does a mustard seed have? It is the smallest in size of the seeds common to the area. But, like all the larger seeds, it follows its programming, its DNA, and replicates its kind. So locked up in a small seed is the power to become like its originator. So rather than thinking of having “all faith” as having a great deal of “wishing power” I think the idea is having the power to become like its originator. So when we are told to have faith as or like a mustard seed, we are told to become as faithful as Christ, in whom we were born again. What is God’s will for the dying person? To call him or her home, or to give more time? When you prayed, did you know God’s will in that specific circumstance? So did you ask for what was in your will, and what you hoped was in God’s will? How did the sinless Christ pray? Your will be done! So we are to ask God for what we want, as long as it seems to us to be in accord with God’s will, but if we claim we know God’s specific plan for the future, without a doubt, we are ignoring that we are not a prophet. Jesus did not impose His will upon the future unless it was in accord with His Father, and if we have faith like a mustard seed, we will follow His example.

    Which is greater, to perform sign and wonder miracles or to present Christ to others - To cast a tree into the sea or to help pull a lost soul from the realm of darkness? To have it your way or become Christ-like?

    Bottom line, I you have the faithful faith of a mustard seed, you will become like Christ, and like Christ, when you ask in the will of the Father, it will be granted unto you. God bless.
     
    #10 Van, Aug 24, 2011
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