Romans 7:21 TWi QELONTI EMOI, TON NOMON

From: Jonathan Robie (jwrobie@mindspring.com)
Date: Wed Feb 19 1997 - 12:56:37 EST


I'm still throwing inkpots at participles, but I've gotten through Romans 7,
and I think I now understand most of it pretty well (thanks for all your
help, folks!). I have one remaining grammatical question, this time on
Romans 7:21:

Romans 7:21 hEURISKW ARA TON NOMON, TWi QELONTI EMOI POIEIN TO KALON, hOTI
EMOI TO KAKON PARAKEITAI

Zerwick translates TWi QELONTI EMOI "when I want". I don't know if I
understand the grammar well enough to follow this. Can I think of this as
"to me, [who is] wanting to do good", or is there something else I should
understand here?

How is this as an idomatically-literal translation: "Now I find this law: to
me, wanting to do good, in me evil is present."

Incidentally, after reading lots of stuff on nouns with and without the
article, I find it amusing that most translations translate this as "a law"
rather than "the law", despite the article:

Roma 7:21 (KJV) I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is
present with me.
Roma 7:21 (LUT) So finde ich mir nun ein Gesetz, der ich will das Gute tun,
da mir das Bse anhangt.
Roma 7:21 (NASB) I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the
one who wishes to do good.

The ASV finds a perfectly good way to translate it with "the law":

Roma 7:21 (ASV) I find then the law, that, to me who would do good, evil is
present.

But is "the law" in ASV really any different from "a law" in KJV? I suspect
that the sense of the Greek may be accurately conveyed by either, and maybe
we shouldn't get too hung up about the English words used to convey
it...opinions?

Jonathan

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