Thursday, June 22, 2017

Misquoting the Bible: Romans 8:28

"In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, "FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED." But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:26-39
This verse is frequently ripped out of its context and misapplied by Christians in complete ignorance. It has nothing to do with you losing your job, getting cancer or some other disease, or trying to sell your car or house and somehow everything working out for your own good. This is another of those favourite verses to be used falsely by those false teachers, the prosperity preachers. Romans 8:28 has nothing to do with your present predicament. It has to do with your spiritual and eternal good.

At least one individual suggested that a better translation of this verse would be, "In all things, God works for the good of those who love him," suggesting that whatever your circumstances, good or bad, God is still fighting for you. If this were the case, it sure would fit nicely with verse 31: "If God is for us, who is against us?" However, you would have to rearrange all the words in the original Greek to come up with a translation such as that. None of the literal translations render this verse even remotely in that fashion:
"But we know that all things work together for good those who love God. . ."
—Jay P. Green's The Interlinear Bible

"And we know with an absolute knowledge that for those who are loving God, all things are working together resulting in good. . ."
—Kenneth S. Wuest's The New Testament: An Expanded Translation
Here is the order of the words as they appear in the Greek: "we_know And that to_the_(ones) loving God all_things work_together for good." The underscores link words that are translated from a single word in the Greek.

In Romans, Paul sets forth how Jesus came to rescue both Jews and Gentiles from death, creating in Himself one new body—the church. According to Paul, nothing can thwart God's purposes. "Creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption" (v. 21), and so will we. The happy ending promised in Romans 8:28 is not just any good outcome—such as finding a new job, overcoming some disease, or selling your car or house for more than the asking price—it is the ultimate happy ending; the renewal of all things! "For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body" (vv. 22-23). That is what Romans 8:28 is!