Truthfulness and Mercy

From the Differentiator magazine:
Vol. 14 New Series December, 1952 No. 6

Scripture often explains and illuminates Scripture. A case in point is Rom. 15:8-9, which helps to explain Eph. 2:17.

In the latter passage, a good many versions shew the word "peace" only once, although the Greek has it twice. Thus, the British A.V. reads "He came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh." Moffatt is here deficient, while Young is weak—"he did proclaim good news—peace to you—the far-off and the nigh."

If I said, I shall give a hundred dollars to you, and a hundred dollars to your brother, you might naturally ask, Why not say, you will give a hundred dollars to each of us? In other words, why does Paul repeat the word "peace"? The gift to the two parties, the far ones and the near ones, is the same—peace. But for some reason Paul wishes to distinguish the giving.

Let us closely scrutinize the passage in Romans. The British A.V. reads as follows: "Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises (made) unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for (his) mercy." Our objection is to the word "and," which ought to be "yet" (Greek de). The British and the American R.V. are both at fault here, and so are most versions. The Concordant Version correctly has "yet," but most unfortunately mars this by various errors. We quote, "For I am saying that Christ has become the Servant of the Circumcision, for the sake of the truth of God, to confirm the patriarchal promises. Yet the nations are to glorify God for His mercy. . .." The 1944 Concordant Version shews which words are not in the Greek—that, the (three times), are, His. By commencing verse 9 with a new sentence and therefore a new statement, the sense is ruined. The adversative force of the "yet" is not clearly seen. Nor is the correlation of the two infinitives expressed (to confirm; to glorify).

Here is a very literal rendering of the Greek: "For I am terming (legO plus accusative) Christ a servant (literally; deacon) to have become of circumcision on behalf of God's truth, unto the confirming the promises of the fathers, yet the Gentiles on behalf of mercy to glorify God. . . ." I have used the word "term" instead of "say" because we could not say "I am saying Christ to have become a deacon (or servant)." In Luke 18:19 it is best to render "Why are you terming ME good?" Paul, in Rom. 15:8, is describing or terming Christ in unusual language.

Most translators have apparently understood the last part of the statement as though Paul had meant to say, "And that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as well as the Jews." They thought the Gentiles were to share with the Jews in thanking God for one and the very same mercy. But this IS just what Paul did not mean.

Let us quote from Green's "Critical Notes on the New Testament." "The purport of the passage is, that Christ, in his position of a minister or servant in charge with a function, bore the badge of circumcision simply to evince truthfulness on the part of God in giving a covenant of which circumcision why the formal seal, and then realizing its promises in the person of a circumcised minister—not to perpetuate the badge—but that, as regards the Gentiles, glorification accrues from them to God not on the ground of the realization of a covenant, but on the score of free mercy."

Another says, "Peace is for the circumcision—(mark the word, which points more than the word 'Jew' would have done; to the ancient covenant)—in performance of an old promise of God, for the glorification of His Truth; peace is for the Gentiles, uncovenanted, in the splendid exercise of His Mercy."

Meyer explains much on the same lines, "for the sake of the truthfulness of God, in order to justify and to demonstrate it through the realization of the hallowed promise given to the fathers." But in the case of Gentiles, glory accrued to God because of His mercy to them, Meyer also stresses that "to glorify" is parallel to "to confirm," and renders "in order that He might ratify the promises of the fathers, but that the Gentiles, on behalf of mercy, might glorify God." The former statement shews "the proximate design of Christ's having become minister of the circumcised; and the more remote design, which was to be attained through the passing of salvation from the Jews to the Gentiles, consisted in this, that on the other hand the Gentiles should glorify God on account of mercy."

Dewes renders somewhat freely, "Christ, in order that God's Truthfulness might be shewn hath been made a minister of His covenanted people, whereas the Gentiles for His mercy have glorified God."

Reverting now to Eph. 2:17, we can understand clearly why Paul repeats the word peace. The peace was the same for both those near and, those far off. But in the case of the Gentiles, it came through the channel of Divine Mercy. Paul must have had this fact in mind when he wrote to the Ephesians, and indeed, in verse 12 he shews how destitute were the Gentiles of spiritual blessing or of Divine covenants; apart from Christ, and quite without God.

Alexander Thomson

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Listing of Articles

Who is our God? Chapter 1
Who is our God? Chapter 2
Who is our God? Chapter 3
Who is our God? Chapter 4
Who is our God? Chapter 5
Who is our God? Chapter 6
Who is our God? Chapter 7
Who is our God? Chapter 8
Who is our God? Chapter 9
Who is our God? Chapter 10
Who is our God? Chapter 11
Who is our God? Chapter 12
Who is our God? Chapter 13
Who is our God? Chapter 14
Who is our God? Chapter 15
Who is our God? Chapter 16
Who is our God? Chapter 17
A Female Deity?
Acts 7:15 & 16
All Things
Amos 3:6
An Answer to the Challenge of Hell
Angels & Men One Species?
An Interesting New Version
Are You an Ambassador?
Are You a Pillar?
Are You a Witness for Jehovah?
Are You an Israelite? Chapter 1
Are You an Israelite? Chapter 2
Are You an Israelite? Chapters 3 & 4
A Special Resurrection?
Baptized for the Dead?
"Beloved" or "Loveable"?
Brotherly Love
Book Review
Colossians 1:23
Common or Unclean?
Common Sense
Did Paul Visit Spain?
Did the Lord give up His Flesh?
"Divine" Fire?
Doctoring the Holy Scriptures
Does God know Everything?
Does God will Everything?
Does your Spiritual Life seem Unreal?
Did God hate Esau?
Earth our Future Home?
Emphasis in the Scriptures
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Ephesians 1:23
Erroneous Translations
Gleanings from A.T.
Heaven our Homeland
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How many were Crucified?
In the Christ All Shall Be Made Alive
Is Dust the Serpent's Food?
Is the Devil Impersonal?
Isaiah 26:14,19
James 4:5
Jehovah's Theocratic Organization
Jesus the Saviour
John 19:29
The Kingdom of the Hebrews
Leave it with God
Men or Mortals?
Misplaced Ingenuity
New Light on the Second Death
None Other Things
Objective Value of Prayer
Other or Different
Our Advocate
Paul's Chain
Paul the Sensitive
Paul versus James
Prevailing Prayer
Problems of Translation: I Cor. 7:21
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Psalm 66:18
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
Rogues and Rascals
Rom 9 & 10: Human Freedom & Human Choice
Romans 9:14-24
Romans 9:30 to 10:21
II Corinthians 5:16
II Peter 3:10
Seven Wicked Spirits
Shall We See God?
Sir, We would see Jesus
Should we fear God?
The Bloody Husband
The Cherubim of Glory
The Corinthian Error
The Cunning Manager
The Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah
The Designation of Jesus as "God"
The Disruption Fallacy
The Disruption Fallacy #2
The Eighth of Proverbs
The Eleven "Generations" of Genesis
The Elohim
The Ends of the Eons
The Eternal Saviour-Judge
The Eternity of Hell Torments
The First Christian Convention
The Four Gospels
The Gentiles in Ephesians
The Greek Definite Article
The Hardening of Pharoah's Heart
The Hebrew Conception of Time
The Hebrews Epistle
The Hebrew Terms Rendered 'For Ever'
The Hope of Israel
The Life of Prayer
The Lord Jesus Revealing the Heart of God
The Lord's Relatives
The Lordly Supper
The Meaning of Ta Panta
The Ministry of Women Parts 1 & 2
The Ministry of Women Parts 3 & 4
The "Penalty of Sin"
The Poor in Spirit
The Primeval Laws
The Primeval Laws #2
The Problem of Evil
The Quality of Divine Love
The Rich Man and Lazarus
The Serpent of Genesis 3
The Soul and the Spirit
The Talmud of the Jews Parts 1 & 2
The Talmud of the Jews Parts 3 & 4
The Translation of Acts 28:25
The Trial of the Lord
The Truth of the Bible
The Two Seeds
The Works of Henry Clay Mabie, D.D.
"Three Days and Three Nights"
Translator's Incentive
Truthfulness and Mercy
Try the Spirits
Unto Eternity and Further
We have all been Wrong
What did Peter do?
What does Olethros mean?
What Happened to Jephthah's Daughter?
What is Destruction?
What is the Flesh?
What is the Sin unto Death?
Whence "Eternity"?
Who are the Saints?
Who is Jehovah?
Who Shall Deliver Me?
Why Pray?
Why the "Lake" of Fire?
Will God Punish?
Will the Lord Come for Us?
Will the Man of Lawlessness be Killed?


The Differentiator Revisited 2009