Questions, Insights, & Responses

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#13 - Correcting the punctuation of Rom 8:20

by Robert Nguyen Cramer

This BibleTexts website administrator has very much enjoyed questions and insights that have been emailed to him ever since this site was launched in September of 1996. On this page I share with BibleTexts browsers a few of the questions, insights, and responses, so that we all can further learn from and with each other.


Question/insight #13: "We have a query. In reading Romans 8:20 we are trying to figure out how to read it from an inspired perspective. Any insights you might have would be appreciated with respect to the last half: 'but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope.' We know God wouldn't subject His creation to futility. Who is the 'him'? Is this perhaps a statement that there is a material seeming creation waiting to be awakened by hope?" (5/11/98)

Response #13:

"In hope" is the beginning of a prepositional clause that continues in Rom 8:21. Unfortunately, the KJV punctuates those verses poorly. The comma should precede "in hope" rather than follow it. This was a case where the KJV translators had the correct Greek text, but they themselves apparently did not understand its meaning. When I read from the KJV, I freely change the punctuation to reflect the originally intended meaning.

The TEV translates these two verses:

The NRSV translates these two verses:

Regarding this passage, the Harper's Bible Commentary (Edited by James Luther Mays, New York: Harper and Row, 1988) writes:

This passage may be better understood in light of 1Co 15:22-24,45-58. S&H 566:1 also sheds some significant light on this, as do S&H 288:31-290:2 and S&H 316:3-7.


Copyright 1996-2002 Robert Nguyen Cramer