Romans 4:7-8

Date: Thu Oct 12 1995 - 00:01:21 EDT

Suggested translation:

7) Blessed (happy) are those whose lawless deeds were forgiven and whose
sins were covered over.

8) Blessed is the man whose sin the lord himself might not place to one's

NOTE: I have AFEThHSAN as aorist passive indicative.

COMMENT: Ernest Campbell, Romans, vol 1, p.132, indicates that the passive
voice here makes it clear that a group of people "did nothing" to obtain the
state of blessedness. I am still never sure how to translate that word

I do not understand why the passive voice would necessarily indicate they
"did nothing." I realize the passive voice would normally indicate that the
subject is acted upon. However, does this fact always render the subjective
inactive? If I say, "I was cured by the doctor," could not that also assume
that I took the medicine prescribed by the doctor? Then, would there not be
some sense in which I "did something" to bring about my healing?

  DIKAIOSUNHN. But isn't EPISTEUSEN "doing something?" Here the verb is
"active." I understand the active voice to mean the subject is acting rather
than being acted upon. Why not the passive voice in some form here if faith
or belief is something which must always be considered a gift from God?


NOTE: I understand vv. 7-8 to be quotes from the LXX though I have not
checked to see if they have been paraphrased. Campbell also makes the
somewhat interesting statement that exact quoting for Paul is not so
important as is the conveying of the meaning of the quote. He seems to feel
that even the exact meaning may not be so important at times as is the
"(Spirit's) use of the OT passage to make Paul's point." But that's for
another time!!!
James Clardy

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