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Romans 8:35 Translation Ambiguity

Discussion in 'Bible Versions & Translations' started by Van, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Mar 4, 2011
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    Romans 8:35 (NASB) Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

    I expect many of us have an opinion of what this verse is saying. However, because it
    contains the ambiguous “love of Christ” the commentators differ greatly as to its intended message.

    Lets consider our options and see what shakes out! “Who,” the first word in our verse, is the choice of almost all translations, however a few, at least two, go with “what.” One translation flips the word order to read, “Can anything.” The proposed possibilities listed in the next sentence are all things, things that happen to us and could conceivably cause us to cease our love for Christ. So lets stick with essentially all the translations, i.e. who, because that allows us to consider our own effort to separate from the love of Christ.

    “Will separate” points to a future separation, thus indicating a current union with the love of Christ. Therefore this verse directly bears on the question of if once you are saved, can anything including anybody, including ourselves, separate us from the love of Christ.

    “From”is the Greek “apo” and means out of and thus points to going out of and therefore overcoming the power of the love of Christ.

    “The love of Christ” again is the way essentially every translation renders the phrase. However, this is an ambiguous rendering because the commentators are split, some saying the idea is Christ’s love for us and the others saying the idea is our love for Christ.
    Because all the words are in the genitive case, the phrase should be understood to refer to Christ’s or God’s love for us. According to a NASB footnote, some early manuscripts have God rather than Christ at the end of this phrase. No matter since Christ Jesus is God. If this view is correct, then this verse asks the rhetorical question “Can we forfeit our salvation? Clearly the Bible has many examples where folks who professed to be saved went out from us because they were not of us, when the afflictions and sufferings that come with serving Christ affected them. So the question is, were those who chose to leave actually saved.

    Here is how Paul answers the question in verse 39 (WEB) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from God’s love, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    #1 Van, Dec 7, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2012