[B-Greek] Hebrews 9:28

George F Somsel gfsomsel at yahoo.com
Fri Oct 2 08:46:04 EDT 2009

I get a bit disconcerted with the emphasis on "how do you translate" when what we should be doing is understanding the Greek of the text.  On the other hand, translations are an encapsulation of someone's or a group's understanding of a text.  I note that you refer to χωρὶς ἁμαρτίας [XWRIS hAMATIAS] as referring to a lack of sin in Christ.  I think that this is a misunderstanding of the intent of the passage and makes for poor theology as well.  If it is only δευτέρου [DEUTEROU], i.e. the second time that he is without sin, what about the first time since this appears to contrast to the first.  This forum is not, however, about theology so I only mention it to note that one can create problems for one's self.  I would recommend the understanding of χωρὶς [XWRIS] here as referencing the second appearance as not having to do with sin rather than not possessing sin.  See Moulton & Milligan _Vocabulary ..._ 

… search for truth, hear truth, 
learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth, 
defend the truth till death.

- Jan Hus

From: Carl Conrad <cwconrad2 at mac.com>
To: B-Greek <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Cc: Leonard Jayawardena <leonardj at live.com>
Sent: Friday, October 2, 2009 2:35:50 AM
Subject: [B-Greek] Hebrews 9:28

Forwarded on behalf of Leonard Jayawardena:


NASB's translation of this verse is typical of the way most  
translations handle this verse: "... so Christ also, having been  
offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for  
salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await  
Him." ("reference to" is in italics.)

Of all the translations I have consulted, only Darby Translation  
renders this verse thus: "... thus the Christ also, having been once  
offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear to those that look for  
him the second time without sin for salvation."

I think Darby translation's rendition of this verse has the following  
points to commend it:

1. CWRIS hAMARTIAS occurs in 4:15 in relation to Christ and there  
clearly refers to the absence of sin in Christ. The use of CWRIS  
elsewhere in Hebrews, too, involves the idea of absence and that is  
the sense of this word in the NT generally when used as a preposition.  
Therefore the usage of this word in the NT would seem require the  
translation in Hebrews 9:28 either that Christ will appear a second  
time without sin or that those who wait for him are without sin when  
he appears to them. Since the former does not arise, the latter seems  
to be the correct translation, i.e., when Christ appears to those who  
eagerly wait for him, they are without sin.

2. That translation dovetails well with what is said in the first part  
of the verse, that Christ was offered once to take away sin. Thus  
Christ having been offerred once to take away the sins of his  
believers, they wait for him without sin--the purpose for Christ being  
offered now achieved--to appear to them.

3. How is the EK DEUTEROU to be understood? Is it possible to  
understand this as modifying AUTON, so that the interpretation is that  
"he will appear to those who are eagerly waiting for him (to come) the  
second time without sin unto salvation"? That is, They wait for him to  
come the second time and they are without sin.  (I take "salvation"  
here as a reference to the resurrection/rapture.)

Why do virtually all the translations translate this verse the way  
they do when there are good reasons for translating it the way it is  
rendered in Darby translation? What is the justification for  
translating CWRIS hAMARTIAS in the verse under discussion as "not to  
bear sin," "without reference to sin," "not to deal with sin," etc.?

Leonard Jayawardena                        
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