From: Micheal Palmer (
Date: Thu Feb 27 1997 - 14:34:51 EST

At 1:03 PM -0500 2/26/97, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>Roma 1:17 (GNT) dikaiosunh gar qeou en autw apokaluptetai ek pistews eis
>pistin, kaqws gegraptai: ho de dikaios ek pistews zhsetai.
>What a curious phrase! What does this "ek X+gen eis X+acc" mean? It seems
>parallel to 2 Cor 2:16, which I don't understand either:
>2Cor 2:16 (GNT) ois men osmh ek qanatou eis qanaton, ois de osmh ek zwhs eis
>zwhn. kai pros tauta tis ikanos;


I like to translate these phrases treating EK as "on the basis of" or
something similar (a notion which it has in MANY contexts) and EIS as an
indicator of goal, "to bring about X", a sense which it has in a number of
contexts in Paul (See for example Romans 1:5 EIS UPAKOHN PISTEWS = to bring
about the obedience of faith).

This reading renders the relevant part of Romans 1:17 as follows:

        For in it the righteousness of God is revealed on the basis of
faith to
        bring about faith. . .

Paul's point would be that it is only through faith that we can see that
God is righteous (or that righteousness comes from God), yet at the same
time, it is this same recognition which inspires or brings about faith--a
rather profound paradox which seems to me to be central to much of Paul's

The same reading renders 2Cor 2:15-16 as:

        For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being
save and
        among those who are perishing; to the one a fragrance of death to
        about death, to the other a fragrance of life to bring about life.

The point would be that we are the representation of Jesus death to those
who do not believe, and this focus on death brings about their own death
since it prevents them from believing. On the other hand, we are the
representatives of the resurrected Christ to those who do believe. Hence
their belief is enhanced by our witness to the LIFE of Jesus, and their own
life is the result.

Again, the reading results in a sharp paradox, but Paul does not shy away
from such things.

Micheal W. Palmer
Religion & Philosophy
Meredith College

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