Re: Romans 4:17

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sat Nov 04 1995 - 06:28:47 EST

At 10:53 PM 11/3/95, wrote:
>In reply to some questions about Romans 4:17, you indicated that faith
>is "trust in God to keep his promises." Please note Romans 4:13 which
>mentions the term H EPAGGELIA. I have read that this word carries with
>it the idea of unconditional promise, i.e., the one making the promise
>does not demand that some requirement be fulfilled by the one to whom
>the promise is announced. Do you have any insight into such an
>understanding of this term? And, if this should be a somewhat characteristic
>of the term in the contemporary historical period, does it appear to have
>this representative use in the chapter under discussion?
>I raise this question, because, if this is the case, it seems to me that
>it strengthens the correctives being attempted by many
>theologians today where legalistic tendencies have come
>close to robbing the faith of its transcendent qualities. Therefore, we are
>led back to your powerful observation that the thrust of Paul's words
>is not about the nature of faith but the nature of God. (That statement has
>really been very helpful.)

I respond, perhaps too quickly, to say that I don't have the resources
ready to hand to answer that particular question. Offhand it strikes me as
loading the word EPAGGELIA with a burden of technical legal meaning which
it cannot bear unless the evidence of secular legal texts shows such a
meaning unambiguously. I don't have the lexical resources with me at home,
but I'll try to check as soon as I can.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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