In Romans 1:7, "called to be saints" or "invited, holy"?

How do I work out the meaning of a Greek text? How can I best understand the forms and vocabulary in this particular text?
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Bill Ross
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Joined: August 12th, 2012, 6:26 pm

Re: In Romans 1:7, "called to be saints" or "invited, holy"?

Post by Bill Ross » March 23rd, 2019, 12:56 pm

Okay, I see, there is no allusion to Isaiah.

But what about the original question:

These are typical translations:

"called saints"
"called [to be] saints"

What about this?:

"[to the] invited, holy [ones]"?


My thought is that "called to be saints" sounds like a task set before them. "Called saints" sounds like they were saints before they were invited. Neither of those make sense to me.

Paul is writing (among other things) to assure the Ephesians that though they are gentiles they are not second class. They are there because they were invited by God (as we see in the parables of Jesus).

"[to the] invited holy [ones]" has the same problem as "called saints" - it sounds like they were holy in advance.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: In Romans 1:7, "called to be saints" or "invited, holy"?

Post by Jonathan Robie » March 23rd, 2019, 1:47 pm

I think it would be helpful if you tried to ask focused questions about specific Greek words or grammatical constructs, leaving out theological concerns. Context is always important, of course. But the focus on B-Greek has to be learning Greek, not answering theological questions in texts beyond your ability to read - that's not what the beginner's forum is for.

Here's the text:
πᾶσιν τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν Ῥώμῃ ἀγαπητοῖς θεοῦ, κλητοῖς ἁγίοις
Whatever Paul's purpose was, he is writing to those in Rome who are ἀγαπητοῖς θεοῦ, κλητοῖς ἁγίοις. If I were in your shoes, I would start by using a lexicon to read the definition and see other ways this same word is used. For instance:
Matthew 22:14 wrote:πολλοὶ γάρ εἰσιν κλητοί, ὀλίγοι δὲ ἐκλεκτοί.
That is also translated 'called' in many translations. NIV uses 'invited' here. Regardless, I don't think it implies they were holy in advance.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;

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