Romans 8:28

clayton stirling bartholomew c.s.bartholomew at
Sat Aug 5 12:20:42 EDT 2000

on 08/05/00 12:32 AM, David McKay wrote:

> I have been reading some seemingly novel interpretations of Scripture at
> One of these is that KATA PROQESIN in Romans 8:28 refers to
> the purpose of TOIS AGAPWSIN TON QEON and not to God's purpose, which is the
> sense of all translations of this verse I have ever seen.
> The argument given is that "his" which is supplied in every translation I
> have seen, is not in the Greek.
> How do we know that Paul is referring to God's purpose?


This reading  KATA PROQESIN in Romans 8:28 is not all that novel. Sandy and
Headlam call it the view of "the great mass of the Greek commentators" by
which they mean Patristic commentators. Cranfield lists some of them,
Origen, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius. Sandy and Headlam argue that this
misunderstanding was brought about by a long and bitter theological conflict
with Gnosticism which lead to reactionary aberrations in the Patristic
treatment of "free will." Cranfield points out that Augustine had the
correct reading of KATA PROQESIN but then went on to make a few blunders of
his own in his exegesis of the next verse, particularly his understanding of
PROEGNW as God's foreknowledge of what men will do.

The solution to this question is not to be found in the lexical semantics or
syntax of  Romans 8:28. It will only be found by looking at Paul's argument
in Romans 1-11 and particularly in chapter 8-9. There are some clues to the
solution in the very next verse (Rom. 8:29). Certainly the discussion of
Pharaoh in chapter 9 should shed some light on this.

It is very difficult to get into a detailed discussion of this with out
dragging in the history of dogmatics.


Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

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