Re: Re. Is Christ declared to be God in Romans 9:5!

Rod Bias (
Wed, 04 Dec 1996 00:57:36 -0800

Carl W. Conrad wrote:
> However, it appears to me that the UBS4 editor does NOT so understand it
> that way, but rather thus: "Of whom [the Jewish people] are the fathers
> [patriarchs], out of whom [the Jewish people] is the Messiah--so far as his
> physical manifestation is concerned--blessed forever [be] God who is over
> all."

As I recall (I don't have UBS4 at hand, but did check this out
previously.), UBS3 editors (by a 3-2 vote) understood the passage along
the lines you give above. However UBS4 gives the preference to the
punctuatuion which would refer to Christ as God. This was one of the
places where they reversed themselves. Can someone else quote or
condense the footnote? Bruce Metzger (originally in the minority -- now
in the majority) discussed this passage at some length (3+ pages) in _A
Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament_ (UBS3 companion volume).
Metzger quotes Westcott and Hort as supporting the "Christ ... who is
God over all" position in these words: "The juxtapostion of hO CHRISTOS
KATA SARKA and hO WN k.t.l. seems to make a change of subject

> Is it possible to resolve
> this question without bringing one's own theological presuppositions to
> bear upon it? Maybe and maybe not. Certainly I can't decide the issue for
> you. I will say for myself only, however, that it seems to me that the
> sentence reads more comfortably and smoothly with hO WN EPI PANTWN QEOS
> understood as the subject of EULOGHTOS rather than as an appositive to hO

A.T. Robertson's hugh _Grammar_ (p.1108) concludes: "it may be said in
brief that the natural way to take hO WN and THEOS in in apposition to
hO CHRISTOS." See the entire discussion.

Bruce Metzger says: "The interpretation that refers the passage to
Christ suits the structure of the sentence, whereas the interpretation
that takes the words as an asydetic doxology to God the Father is
awkward and unnatural." (p. 521)

Bruce Metzger also refers to Nigel Turner as declaring it to be
gramatically unnatural that a participle agreeing with CHRISTOS "should
first be divorced from it and then given the force of a wish, receiving
a different person as its subject." (Metzger gives _Gramatical Insights
into the New Testament_ (Edinburgh, 1965), page 15 by Nigel Turner.

> So ultimately the choice between the alternatives must fall to the
> prayerful and thoughtful reader of the passage.

Moulton's (4-vol set) _Grammar_ (p. 228) also discusses "Christ ... who
is God over all" and concludes: "It is exegesis rather than grammar
which makes the reference to Christ probable." See the entire
discussion. Moulton refers to Sanday and Headlam p. 235 and following,
("with whom I agree" -- Moulton).

To me, the fact that Hippolytus, Novatian, and Cyprian -- to name a few
who read, wrote, and thought in Koine Greek -- referred specifically to
Romans 9:5 as a prooftext of Christ's deity (generations prior to Nicea)
carries quite a bit of weight. Surely, the people who used the language
day in and day out ought to understand it best. I think I saw a
reference to Romans 9:5 in Irenaeus or Justin ... but my memory may be
playing tricks on me here. (If in Ireaneus, it may have been in a Latin



Rodney L. Bias (602) 438-9202 4648 East Saint Catherine Avenue Phoenix, Arizona 85040-5369 USA