July 13 2014 Epistle lection Romans 8:1ff.; Comments on the Greek text

I have been doing these commentaries on the Greek text of the lectionary as part of my sabbatical discipline.  Now that my sabbatical is finished, I probably will not continue these, at least as regularly.  I hope you have found them helpful.

Ro 8:1 Οὐδὲν ἄρα νῦν κατάκριμα[A] τοῖς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ· [There is] therefore now nothing [by way of] condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.
Ro 8:2 ὁ γὰρ νόμος τοῦ πνεύματος[B] τῆς ζωῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ ἠλευθέρωσέν σε[C] ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμου τῆς ἁμαρτίας καὶ τοῦ θανάτου. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus freed you from the law of sin and of death.
Ro 8:3 τὸ γὰρ ἀδύνατον τοῦ νόμου[D], ἐν ᾧ ἠσθένει διὰ τῆς σαρκός, ὁ θεὸς τὸν ἑαυτοῦ υἱὸν πέμψας ἐν ὁμοιώματι σαρκὸς ἁμαρτίας καὶ περὶ ἁμαρτίας κατέκρινε[E] τὴν ἁμαρτίαν ἐν τῇ σαρκί,[F] For what was impossible from the law, in that it was weakened through the flesh, God [did], having sent his own Son in the likeness of [the] flesh of sin and for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh,
Ro 8:4 ἵνα τὸ δικαίωμα τοῦ νόμου πληρωθῇ ἐν ἡμῖν τοῖς μὴ κατὰ σάρκα περιπατοῦσιν ἀλλὰ κατὰ πνεῦμα·[G] in order that the requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk, not according to flesh, but according to Spirit.
Ro 8:5 οἱ γὰρ κατὰ σάρκα ὄντες τὰ τῆς σαρκὸς φρονοῦσιν, οἱ δὲ κατὰ πνεῦμα τὰ τοῦ πνεύματος.[H] For those who are according to flesh think the things of the flesh, and those who are according to Spirit [think] the things of the Spirit.
Ro 8:6 τὸ γὰρ φρόνημα[I] τῆς σαρκὸς θάνατος, τὸ δὲ φρόνημα τοῦ πνεύματος ζωὴ καὶ εἰρήνη· For the mindset of the flesh [is] death, but the mindset of the Spirit [is] life and peace.
Ro 8:7 διότι τὸ φρόνημα τῆς σαρκὸς ἔχθρα εἰς θεόν,[J] τῷ γὰρ νόμῳ τοῦ θεοῦ οὐχ ὑποτάσσεται, οὐδὲ γὰρ δύναται· Because the mindset of the flesh is hostility toward God; for it does not submit to the law of God—for it is not even able [to do so].
Ro 8:8 οἱ δὲ ἐν σαρκὶ ὄντες θεῷ ἀρέσαι οὐ δύνανται. And those who are in flesh are not able to please God.
Ro 8:9 Ὑμεῖς δὲ οὐκ ἐστὲ ἐν σαρκὶ ἀλλὰ ἐν πνεύματι, εἴπερ πνεῦμα θεοῦ οἰκεῖ ἐν[K] ὑμῖν. εἰ δέ τις πνεῦμα Χριστοῦ οὐκ ἔχει, οὗτος οὐκ ἔστιν αὐτοῦ. But y’all are not in flesh, but in Spirit, if indeed [the][L] Spirit of God dwells in/among y’all.  But if someone does not have [the] Spirit of Christ, this one is not his [i.e. Christ’s].
Ro 8:10 εἰ δὲ Χριστὸς ἐν ὑμῖν[M], τὸ μὲν σῶμα νεκρὸν διὰ ἁμαρτίαν, τὸ δὲ πνεῦμα ζωὴ[N] διὰ δικαιοσύνην. But if Christ [is] in/among y’all, on the one hand, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Ro 8:11 εἰ δὲ τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ ἐγείραντος τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἐκ νεκρῶν οἰκεῖ ἐν ὑμῖν, ὁ ἐγείρας ἐκ νεκρῶν Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν ζῳοποιήσει καὶ τὰ θνητὰ σώματα ὑμῶν διὰ[O] τὸ ἐνοικοῦν αὐτοῦ πνεῦμα ἐν ὑμῖν. But if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from [the] dead dwells in/among y’all, the one who raised Christ Jesus from [the] dead will make alive also the mortal bodies of y’all because of his Spirit indwelling in/among y’all.

[A] Or “Therefore nothing is now condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

[B] Categorizing the genitives is not easy here.  This seems to be a genitive of source, but the next one—the law of sin and death—seems to be a law which results in sin and death.  Of perhaps both are genitives of source:  the law which flows from Christ, and the law which flows from sin and death.  But neither is without its problems.

[C] Some textual uncertainty about whether this should be “you” or “me.” (Note that the “you” here—if that is the reading—is singular. This is the only singular form of “you” in this passage.)

[D] Or “the incapability of the law”

[E] The imperfect and aorist forms are indistinguishable here.

[F] Presumably by putting Jesus to death.

[G] Given the strongly substutionary language here, one might expect “in order that the requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who are joined to Christ,” but the focus on the Spirit instead is noteworthy (though note how this gets fused with union with Christ in verses 9-11 of this passage).

[H] In other words, patterns of thinking follow patterns of being.

[I] Note the semantic link with φρονοῦσιν in the previous verse.  The –μα suffix attached to nouns indicates the concrete results of a verbal action.  So the φρόνημα envisions the concrete results of a way of thinking.

[J] Cf. James 4:4.

[K] I’ve translated “in/among” because either is lexically possible, and I want to push a bit on the tendency to over-individualize this passage.

[L] One could also certainly render this, “if indeed a Spirit from God dwells in/among y’all.”

[M] Note how, in this verse and the one preceding, the text moves from “Spirit” to “Spirit of God,” to “Spirit of Christ” to “Christ,” treating all these terms as, at least in some important sense, referring to the same reality.

[N] Note how the two phrases are not entirely parallel:  the earlier clause uses an adjective (“dead” νεκρὸν) but the second phrase uses a noun (“life” ζωὴ).

[O] There is a noteworthy textual variant here that has to do with whether the object of this preposition is in the accusative case or the genitive case.  This particular text puts it into the accusative case, making the meaning “because of his Spirit dwelling in/among y’all,” but many other manuscripts (and the UBS4) read it in the genitive:  “through his Spirit dwelling in/among y’all.”  Metzger favors the latter reading, pointing to the diversity of textual witnesses that have “through.”

March 23 2014 Epistle Lection Romans 5:1-11; Comments on the Greek Text

March 23 2014 Epistle Lection

Romans 5:1-11; Comments on the Greek Text

Note:  The gospel lection for this week runs a bit long (37 verses), so I’m going to pass on that one for this week.  But here’s the Romans reading.

Ro 5:1 Δικαιωθέντες οὖν ἐκ πίστεως εἰρήνην ἔχομεν[A] πρὸς τὸν θεὸν διὰ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, Therefore, having been justified from faith, we have peace toward God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Ro 5:2 δι’ οὗ καὶ τὴν προσαγωγὴν ἐσχήκαμεν[B] τῇ πίστει[C] εἰς τὴν χάριν ταύτην ἐν ᾗ ἑστήκαμεν[D], καὶ καυχώμεθα[E] ἐπ’[F] ἐλπίδι τῆς δόξης τοῦ θεοῦ· through whom we also have obtained access by faith to this grace in which we stand, and we boast on [the] hope of the glory of God.
Ro 5:3 οὐ μόνον δέ, ἀλλὰ καὶ καυχώμεθα[G] ἐν ταῖς θλίψεσιν, εἰδότες ὅτι ἡ θλῖψις ὑπομονὴν[H] κατεργάζεται, And not only [this], but we also boast in distresses, knowing that distress brings about endurance,
Ro 5:4 ἡ δὲ ὑπομονὴ δοκιμήν[I], ἡ δὲ δοκιμὴ ἐλπίδα. and endurance [brings about] character, and character [brings about] hope.
Ro 5:5 ἡ δὲ ἐλπὶς οὐ καταισχύνει· ὅτι ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ θεοῦ[J] ἐκκέχυται ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ἡμῶν διὰ πνεύματος ἁγίου τοῦ δοθέντος ἡμῖν. And hope does not put [us] to shame, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through [the] Holy Spirit given to us.
Ro 5:6 Ἔτι[K] γὰρ Χριστὸς ὄντων ἡμῶν ἀσθενῶν ἔτι κατὰ καιρὸν ὑπὲρ ἀσεβῶν ἀπέθανεν. For while we were still weak, Christ, at the right time, still died on behalf of the ungodly.
Ro 5:7 μόλις γὰρ ὑπὲρ δικαίου τις ἀποθανεῖται· ὑπὲρ γὰρ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ τάχα τις καὶ τολμᾷ ἀποθανεῖν· For scarcely on behalf of a righteous one will someone die; though possibly on behalf of the good [person] one even dares to die,
Ro 5:8 συνίστησιν δὲ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ ἀγάπην εἰς[L] ἡμᾶς ὁ θεὸς ὅτι[M] ἔτι ἁμαρτωλῶν ὄντων ἡμῶν Χριστὸς ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἀπέθανεν. but God demonstrates his own love for us, because while we were still sinners, Christ died on our behalf.
Ro 5:9 πολλῷ οὖν μᾶλλον δικαιωθέντες νῦν ἐν τῷ αἵματι αὐτοῦ σωθησόμεθα δι’ αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τῆς ὀργῆς. So then by how much more, having now been justified in his blood, will we be saved through him from wrath?
Ro 5:10 εἰ γὰρ ἐχθροὶ ὄντες κατηλλάγημεν[N] τῷ θεῷ διὰ τοῦ θανάτου τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ, πολλῷ μᾶλλον καταλλαγέντες σωθησόμεθα ἐν[O] τῇ ζωῇ αὐτοῦ· For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his son, by how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved in his life?
Ro 5:11 οὐ μόνον δέ, ἀλλὰ καὶ καυχώμενοι[P] ἐν τῷ θεῷ διὰ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, δι’ οὗ νῦν τὴν καταλλαγὴν ἐλάβομεν. And not only [this], but [we are] also boasting in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we now [have] received the reconciliation.

[A] Note the textual variants between “let us have” (hortatory subjunctive) and the indicative “we have.”  Although the subjunctive “let us have” has better manuscript attestation, most interpreters think that the indicative “we have” is more likely the original intended reading, since it’s hard to imagine what sort of activity Paul is envisioning beyond what Christ has already accomplished, which might lead to peace with God.

[B] Literally “we are in the present and enduring state of having access.”

[C] Some manuscript uncertainty about whether “by faith” is part of the original.

[D] The perfect of this verb (the form we see here) is equivalent in meaning to the intransitive present tense.

[E] In terms of form this could be either indicative or subjunctive (alpha-contract verb), and this may be part of the reason for the confusion over ἔχομεν/ἔχωμεν above in v. 1 (see note A above), but the indicative seems much more likely in this context.

[F] Perhaps “on the basis of [our] hope . . .”

[G] Same ambiguity between indicative and subjunctive as the previous verse.  Same arguments apply.

[H] Literally “remaining under”

[I] Note BDAG 2 definition:  the experience of going through a test with special ref. to the result, standing a test, character

[J] Could be either objective genitive (our love for God) or subjective genitive (God’s love for us).

[K] Significant textual variants here—pretty tough to sort it all out.

[L] Or “into us.”

[M] Or “in that.”

[N] An unusual aorist passive where the –θη- marker doesn’t fully appear.

[O] There is a debate whether this should be interpreted locatively (“in his life”) or instrumentally (“by his life”).  Either is grammatically possible. (Same issue in the previous verse ἐν τῷ αἵματι αὐτοῦ as well.)

[P] It’s striking how frequently boasting recurs throughout this text.