Exposition Of 2 Cor. 5:14 -- By: W. S. C. Otis

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 027:107 (Jul 1870)
Article: Exposition Of 2 Cor. 5:14
Author: W. S. C. Otis


Exposition Of 2 Cor. 5:141

W. S. C. Otis

Do any of the translations of the New Testament correctly render the last clause of this verse, and is its meaning understood? A suggestion which calls in question the critical judgment of the great number of distinguished scholars who have taken part in translating the New Testament, and of the still greater number who have written commentaries thereon, may savor of egotism; still, the admitted grammatical and logical difficulties which surround all translations and explanations of this verse render the question a legitimate and proper one for examination. Notwithstanding a majority of the most distinguished modern commentators omit the conditional conjuction εἰ, if, which introduces the hypothetical period, we have, beyond all reasonable doubt, in the received text of the Greek Testament, the very words used by the Apostle Paul; and the question is: Do these translations convey the same meaning as Paul’s words? If they do, then these translations are correct; if they do not, then these translations are erroneous, no matter when made, by whom made, or how generally received. The question is not a doctrinal one, but purely a question of interpretation, to be determined in the same manner as the disputed meaning of a statute, contract, or business letter which is made the subject of judicial investigation; that is, by the meaning of the individual words used by Paul, and by the requirements of the whole context or connection in which these words stand.

It is conceded, at the very outset of this investigation, that all translators have rendered the clause substantially in the

same manner, and that all commentators have accepted their translations as substantially correct; and that this weight of authority can be overcome only by the clearest grammatical and logical reasons against the correctness of the received versions. To treat the question fairly, it seems necessary to set forth these translations, and the explanations of the leading commentators thereon in their own language respectively, point out their errors, and then submit a better translation. Success in this matter is to be measured, not simply by pointing out the difficulties of the received translations, but by substituting a better translation in their place.

The verse, in the received text of the Greek Testament, reads as follows:

῾Η γὰρ ἀγάπη τοῦ Χριστοῦ συνέχει ἡμᾶς, κρίναντας τοῦτο, ὅτι εἰ εἶς ὑπὲ...

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