Romans 4:17

From: Carlton L. Winbery (
Date: Sun Nov 05 1995 - 02:57:44 EST

Carl Conrad wrote in response to James Clardy:
>>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 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.

I submit that there is a secular use of this word in Acts 23:21. NUN EISIN
your _consent_." It would be difficult to read into this use any idea of
conditions for fullfilment. The Tribune did not do what they anticipated
that he would do nor did he give them his "promise" (consent). EPAGGELIA
has the range of meaning in the NT from "promise" to "agreement" or
"consent." The degree to which one expects the fullfilment of the promise
depends upon confidence in the one making the promise. It seems to me that
the point James makes (the idea of unconditional promise) cannot be
answered by the meaning of this word but is a matter of Soteriology.

Carlton Winbery
Prof. Religion
LA College,
Pineville, La
fax 318 442 4996

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