November 2, 2023
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28, New International Version
Coming across an article where the author cites a theologian of note who insists most translations get Romans 8:28 wrong, I immediately refused reading it. I had rejected the article out of hand, because so many people consider themselves ordained Cynics who believe their mission in life is attempting to destroy people’s faith in God, Jesus, and the Bible.
Then, I thought for a moment.
Then, I did read the article.
Then, I researched Greek and Hebrew as I usually end up doing.
Finally, I asked my wife, Patty, what the Scripture passage meant, that is, how she had been understanding it and applying it in her Born Again living. She explained that when she read it, to her it meant that we should live not as we used to — living for ourselves — but trying to be like Jesus in considering the needs of others, helping others, and sharing how God loves us all, and how God has intended to change our lives for the better when we, as Born Again Believers, are enabled through God’s Holy Spirit to actually do the work He has planned for us to do.
There was no conflict in her mind. She had kept the verse in the context surrounding it. Yes. It may be an awkward translation of that one sentence, but that does not detract from the whole message. I believe the article I had read is an example of straining out gnats…
As for Patty’s explanation, her response is an illustration of the adage, “It only takes a spark to get a fire going.”
Here is what I think was going on in the article: Many people these days are trying to increase conflict and sow derision and detriment with their fellow Man. There seems to be some sort of cheap thrill some people get by causing fights between others while standing off to exclude themselves from the repercussions and to get a better view from the Peanut Gallery. It’s a bratty kid’s game continuing through adulthood. Immature but consequential.
It’s an example of endless wrestling about words having no particular purpose in mind.
Yes. The author may have innocently gone down the wrong path, trying to correct the misuse of Bible passages, but in whole, his motives don’t really matter.
Yes. Believers sometimes use the wrong Bible passage to explain the Bible to nonbelievers and to one another. However, that doesn’t negate the truth of the principal they are trying to share. They are just citing a wrong verse for the correct Bible precept — a precept which they have learned and have been applying to their own daily living.
Yes. That mistake is unfortunate, but it is more than that. It goes beyond being simply detrimental, because it gives an opening to those who love to sow discord. Mischievous game playing can become very harmful when it spreads malignancy throughout people’s minds. The goal could be to raise doubts on the dependability of the Bible, but if people will realize that they are being played, they will stop giving any credence to such game players. They will turn to God, Jesus, and the Bible to discover the truth for themselves. and they might choose to seek the life God has intended for everyone to have since before the Creation of time.