Re: The word alone in Romans 3:28

From: Ben Crick (
Date: Mon Aug 24 1998 - 18:11:51 EDT

On Mon 24 Aug 98 (02:17:08), wrote:
> While in Bible class on what would be yesterday now, a question was
> raised whether Martin Luther include the word alone in Romans 3:28. It
> seems that he did from a source that I had read. I would like to know
> if there is any justification for including the word alone in Romans
> 3:28. If there is, what would that justification be? Is it based
> primarily on interpretation?

 Dear Martin,

 According to what I have been taught, Martin Luther was reading his Latin
 Bible /Biblia Sacra Vulgata/ when he came across Romans 3:28, "Arbitramur
 enim iustificari hominem per fidem sine operibus legis". The penny suddenly
 dropped, as we say, and he took up his pen and scrawled in large letters
 in the margin of his Bible the words "sola fidei": "by faith alone".

 Unfortunately someone borrowed my copy of Roland Bainton's "Here I Stand"
 (biography of Martin Luther) so I can't check my source for this. No doubt
 someone else can...

 According to the Kirchenkonferenz text "nach der deutschen Uebersetzung
 Dr Martin Luthers", Luther rendered Romans 3:28 into German thus:
 "So halten wir nun dafuer, dasz der Mensch gerecht werde ohne des Gesetzes
 Werke, *allein* durch den Glauben". So it would appear, Luther interpolated
 "allein" (=alone) into the text at this point. But "allein" also means the
 adversative "but"; pointing up the contrast after "ohne des Gesetzes Werke"
 "without the works of the Law", "BUT (allein) through faith (durch den
 Glauben)". This IMHO is a fair representation of LOGIZOMEQA GAR DIKAIOUSQAI

 The word "alone" [MONON] does occur in verse 29, but in a different sentence
 and construction.


 Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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