Thursday, November 19, 2015

Is the King James Rendering of Romans 8:1 Spurious?

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit," (Rom. 8:1).

Many scholars today argue that the phrase 'who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit' should not be in Romans 8:1 because it is not found in the "oldest manuscripts".  The oldest manuscripts usually refer to Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, which are the bases for the 19th century modern critical scholars who want to change and overthrow the Traditional Text of the New Testament.  If you want to read more of my post on the Traditional Text, please see the labels 'King James' and/or 'Traditional Text' on my blog.

Textual criticism of the Christian Bible is not a new concept.  The Modern Critical Text proponents of the 21st century are not the first ones to realize that there are textual variants, but they are more apt to disregard the preservation of God's Word in light of their own human knowledge.  Robert Haldane wrote his Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans in 1835.  Here is what he has to say about the phrase 'who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit' in Romans 8:1 (p. 314):

"Who walk not after (according to) the flesh, but after (according to) the Spirit.--These words not being found in all the manuscripts, are considered by some spurious.  But they connect perfectly well with the preceding clause of the verse, as characterizing those who are in Christ Jesus.  In no respect, however, do they assign the cause of exemption from condemnation to them who are in Christ.  The Apostle does not say, because they do not walk, but who walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  There is an essential difference between asserting the character of those who are freed from condemnation, and declaring the cause of their being delivered from it.  These words refer to the proof of our justification, which proceeds from the efficacy of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, who applies the merit of the blood of Jesus and imparts a new and eternal life, opposed to sin and corruption, which the Scriptures call death in sin, for the minding of the flesh is death, but the minding of the Spirit is life.  In this way, then, we may be assured that we are in Christ Jesus, and that there is no condemnation to us, if we experience the effects of His Spirit in our hearts causing us to walk in holiness.  For the life which Jesus Christ has merited for us on the cross, consists not only in the remission of sins, which is a removal of what is evil, but also in the communication of what is good, namely, in our bearing the image of God.  The same words as in the clause before us occur again in verse 4th, in which their genuineness is not disputed, where their full import shall be considered."

Mr. Haldane completely and succinctly reconciles the phrase with what the Apostle Paul has previously said and reminds us that the same phrase will be used in verse 4 of the same chapter.  Instead of trying to rip this phrase out of the Bible, he persuasively argues for its preservation.  If we only had more men like Mr. Haldane in today's world of Christian scholarship; men that lift up the Word of God, rather than tear it down.

"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit," (Rom. 8:2-4).