The Text of Rom. 11:31 -- By: Robert W. Miller

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 23:3 (Summer 2006)
Article: The Text of Rom. 11:31
Author: Robert W. Miller

The Text of Rom. 11:31

Robert W. Miller

M.Div. Student
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina 27587


The text of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans presents many issues to the textual critic. Some of the most debated have involved the length and address of the original letter, the doxology found in 16:25–27, and the original placement of the concluding benediction at either 16:20b, 16:24, or 16:28.1 This paper does not seek to tackle any of these macro-issues in the Book of Romans; instead, it seeks to evaluate an important, but often neglected, unit of textual variation found in Rom. 11:31 with the goal of presenting the reading of the original text.2 This variant involves the omission of “now” (νυ̑ν) or “later” (ὕστερον) in the concluding ἵνα clause of verse 31, “In order that they also might receive mercy” (ἵνα καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐλεηθω̑σιν). In the present paper it will be argued that the omission is indeed the original reading by weighing both the external and internal evidence.

When looking at the majority of translations and text-critical scholarship, the commonly accepted νυ̑ν seems tentative at best with practically no one accepting the originality of ὕστερον. Of the translations surveyed, many contained “now” in their text (ASV, ESV, HCSB, NASB, NIV, NRSV), others (ISV, NJB, NLT, NKJV, KJV, RSV) omitted it. Yet, it should come as no surprise that the KJV tradition omits the νυ̑ν in contradiction to those previously mentioned, knowing that it is based upon the Textus Receptus and not a modern critical edition of the Greek New Testament. What is interesting is that the NRSV decided to add “now” in contrast to the previous omission in its predecessor, the RSV.

The fourth edition of the UBS Greek New Testament included a νυ̑ν in their text, but they placed it in brackets and gave it a “C” rating, signifying that their conclusion is doubtful.3 In their own words, a “C” rating indicates the accepted reading “may be regarded as part of the text, but that in the present state of New...

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