Re: God sent his *only son*...

David L. Moore (
Thu, 01 Aug 1996 22:33:00 -0400 wrote:

>David Moore has called attention to debate over ECWMEN
> in Rom. 5:1. This is a very challenging problem, but it is not as though the
> subjunctive were an impossible reading. Paul may very well be exhorting his
> readers to in some way make their peace with God, given justification. What
> particularly concerns me is the theory that Tertius misunderstood Paul due to
> the phonic overlap between omicron and omega, and that the latter sent the
> letter on as-was. This looks like a perfectly reasonable explanation, but in
> regard to the doctrine of inspiration I think it is very problematic. I usually
> find myself among a small minority who would argue for complete inerrancy, but
> even if we accept the more popular idea that inspiration guarantees the truth
> or validity of the text only, isn't this a situation where the meaning and
> point are obscured if there was such a simple error of the ear? Moreover, if
> we accept a correction of the text on such grounds, doesn't this suggest ap-
> proval of the classical approach to textual criticism, where emandation is
> justified whenever we doubt the text on purely internal grounds?

Certainly any proposed text-critical decision or emendation must be
judged on its own merits.

There is a question here, however, of whether we should see the NT
witnesses as purely written documents or, to some extent, as written testimony
of oral documents. Some of the individual NT books we have may have appeared
initially in written form. Nevertheless, parts of the MS tradition show clear
signs of oral transmission at some point in their history, and in the case of
Romans and certain other of Paul's letters, we know that they were *intially*
transmitted orally.

If we know that there is a 1st-Century homophonic correspondence
between two words, and if we know that somewhere in the early MS tradition the
material of the text was transmitted orally, then the possibility is open that
one word may have been substituted for the other.

In reference to the matter of plenary inspiration, I don't see the
problem Don does. There is a problem only if what Tertius wrote down (if that
is where a variant entered) is valued above what Paul said. Admittedly, it
would be neater to be able to say that the inspiration is in the *writing,*
because that's what we've got. But I believe it is Paul who is the holy man
of God, in this case, being moved by the Holy Spirit.

Most translations go against tremendous MS evidence in Romans 5:1 and
translate ECOMEN rather than ECWMEN (using C for Chi). Even NASB relegates
ECWMEN to a marginal reading and translates ECOMEN as its text. This may be
because ECOMEN appears in the Nestle text from which the NASB was translated.

David L. Moore                             Director
Miami, Florida, USA                        Department of Education                     Southeastern Spanish District            of the Assemblies of God