Re: Rom 1:17

Wagers, Will (
Fri, 31 May 1996 05:00:49 -0500

William Dicks writes on 5/31/96:

> In Rom 1:17 Paul quotes from the OT: "O de dikaios ek pistews dzhsetai".
> Why do almost every translation translate this as "The just/righteous shall
> live by faith" as opposed to "But the just/righteous by faith shall live".
> It changes the meaning completely. The first translation will mean that if
> you are righteous you will live by faith. Whereas, the second will mean that
> if you are righteous by faith, and not another means, you will live.

I'm afraid I don't see any difference between the two English translations,
except, perhaps, a slightly archaic and, to us, more ambiguous manner of
speech in the latter. The REB says, "'Whoever is justified through faith shall
gain life.'" The NJB reads, "_Anyone who is upright through faith will live._"
Try "But the righteous, by faith, shall live".

I haven't tried to look it up, but Paul is probably quoting the LXX rather than
the Old Covenant. In Hk 2:4, "faith" also means "faithfulness": "righteous"
is contrasted with "proud".

If I read your concern rightly, I think you may be placing to much
importance, both on this passage, on the significance of the individual words,
and on the word order of the translation. A lighter reading will be much
less distressing.

Somehow, I don't think this helps.

Will Reality is the best metaphor.