Thursday, May 31, 2007

Romans 7.25a: 'I give thanks to God ...'

The text of the first few words of Romans 7.25 seems pretty unsettled. It occured to me today during a supervision that there are two other readings with better ancient support than the NA27 reading (XARIS DE TW QEW - the earliest proper manuscript support for this is ninth century!); and that the best attested reading was probably EUXARISTW TW QEW (01; 02; 1739; 1881; Maj. syr.; probably also Marcion). If we accept this reading on the basis of the manuscript support, then there is no interjection in 7.25a; but the EGW continues to speak throughout (indeed perhaps until 8.2). Textual criticism and exegesis are hand-in-glove.

Here is a picture of Sinaiticus (01) for this part of the verse (including the later correction):

Here is a picture of Alexandrinus (02) for this verse:


  1. I understand the textual issue. But on the exegetical one, surely the intention is that "through Jesus Christ our Lord" is the answer to the question in v.24. But in many translations it looks as if this phrase is intended to modify "thanks". I wonder how clear this is in the Greek text? Perhaps it was changed, one way or the other, to clarify this point.

  2. "but the EGW continues to speak throughout (indeed perhaps until 8.2)."

    And (though this section of text is not well served with papyri) there may be more support from antiquity for segmenting the text at 8:3 than for the modern chapter division at 8:1.

  3. Peter Kirk:
    I am sure you are right to observe this factor. If the verb is read (EUXARISTW) then it would seem most obvious to take the DIA clause as relating to the verb-action (as e.g. in Rom 1.8; Col 3.17). If the verb is not read, then it seems possible to take the DIA clause as (in part at least) answering the question of v24.

    Yes, although it is tricky to get info on the manuscript support for the 'segment' numbers in the inner margin of the NA, I would reckon that it is pretty much the mss which maintain the EGW and read ME in 8.2 which then note the change of person in 8.3 as indicative of a major division. The various text-critical decisions are therefore linked and not easily separable.

  4. I think this is nonsense. As a language teacher, the question in verse 24 calls for a SUBJECT. The Greek TIS can call for a personal or a non'personal subject as being the answer to the question. I have thought about this verse for many years. The verb 'to deliver' is not aorist, pointing to some future time when this deliverance will be performed. This would also make a nonsense of chapter 8 and the life in the spirit. It is a continual deliverance that is being referred to, and the question in vs24 calls for A SUBJECT, in this case, the missing subject being looked for and expected in vs25. Paul did not disappoint. He gave us the answer. The answer to the question (who or what) will deliver me is.........THE GRACE OF GOD THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. This reading, to which a minority of manuscripts give testimony, is and can be the only correct one. A presositional phrase 'through our Lord Jesus Christ' cannot be the missing subject, as it is a complementary phrase, describing the agent but not the subject itself. The only answer is the above, and it makes complete sense, as it also gives us the basis for the removal of the condemmnation spoken of in ch8. Grace in the gospels and in Paul's letters is not a weak thing, nor a concept. It is the fountainhead of the power of God to save us. Eph2.8 tells us it IS what saves us. (Close my argument)