Re: Romans 3:29-31

From: Mike Adams (
Date: Mon Oct 02 1995 - 11:45:09 EDT

Your questions are very provocative this time, so I will venture to
throw in my comments. Keep in mind I am no scholar, but am a true
hacker in Greek, so take my comments merely as opionion. I hope,
however, that they provide some valuable insight.

>2) v. 30, 31 -- Is there any technical difference in the use of the
>prepositions EK and DIA? What's the diffrence between "from" or "out
of" and
Not a whole lot. It has beeb suggested that the wording was chosen
primary for variation, to avoid redundancy.
However, if you would like to distinguish, I do not think it a strech
to note the difference between source and means. For the circumcised,
who have the foundation of the law and "oracles of God", the real
source of justification is not the law, but rather faith. (This is
clealy the theme here, and it is further stressed in chapter four in
the discussion of Abraham.) As for the uncircumcised, who have no other
foundation than the testimony creation and conscience, their means of
justification is also faith.

>3) v. 30, 31 -- Does PISTEWS translate into "human faith" or "God's
>reliability?" Strictly from the word usage and meaning is there any
way to
>tell the difference? Does "faith" here indicate "God's
trustworthiness" to

Faith is faith. Context is the only way to determine whether in one
case it speaks of God's faithfulness or man's.

Ultimately God is the source of man's faith. Indeed how can someone
believe what he has not perceived? And how can one perceive the things
of God unless they are by some means revealed? But in this instance, as
I believe is most instances in the New Testament, the focus is on man's
faith, his response to accept, believe, and his commitment to act
faithfully upon his understanding of that which is revealed to him
concerning God and Christ.

>4) v. 31 -- Is there any way from the Greek construction to determine
>whether Paul means by NOMON "the law of Moses" or "moral law?" These
are two
>distinct possibilities. Which is more likely? Is it the ten
>which are rendered ineffective or is it the "moral law" which is
> Does moral law transcend the law of Moses and thus carry a higher
> Or neither?

Law is law. Here the writer appears to focus on the law of Moses. When
we speak of law, moral or Mosaic, there is an understanding we gain
from the rest of scripture that we speak of a code of behavior founded
upon love. #1 love of God. #2. love of neighbor as self. Any code of
ethics, or pattern of behavior based on any other motive is in fact
lawlessness. Again, if love of God is the first and only foundation to
fulfilling law, then quite obviously, one cannot fulfill law, Mosaic or
moral apart from faith. You cannot love a God you do not believe in, or
that you do not perceive as a good God.

Note that in verse 12 it says: ouk estin ho poiwn Xrhstothta...
No one does good. That word also means mercy or kindness. Is our
"goodness" then measured in terms of mercy and kindness? All of
scripture seems to affirm this. And can we act in true mercy or
kindness unless we believe in higher values than our own... unless we
covet the eternal values over temporal? I think not. Apart from eternal
values, all apparent acts of goodness or kindness must by nature be
performed with some temporal reward in mind, and therefore would
ultimately not be kindness, but glorified selfishness, thus "filthy

Consider someone who drives a car, but has no license. He may obey all
the rules of the road. He may even be more likely to do so for fear of
getting caught. But without the proper authorization, he cannot operate
the vehicle legally. If confronted he may argue, "I obey all the rules,
and pay all the tolls." But ultimately he is aware of his own

>5) Is there a better English word with which to translate DIAKAISEI
>of "make righteous" or "justify?" These technical terms are jargon to
>many people. What words would be better for communication to the

I have no clue! I am equally anxious to hear from the classicists who
have a broader understanding of Greek.

Ellen Adams
Housewife and mom.

P.S. I am getting brave, am I not! I have subscribed to this list a
long time, but have ventured little in the way of "meaty" comments. For
a good reason, too. There are many here far more qualified to speak.
But I really wanted to take a stab at this one. If I deserve a pat on
the back or a slap on the wrist, please let me know.

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