Romans 4

This is a literal translation of an ancient Greek text. It has also been cross-posted on For more information on how to read this post and what everything means, see the relevant page on that site.

1What therefore do [we] say that Abraham, our forefather according to flesh, has found?indirect statement using accusative + infinitive constructionsome manuscripts: that Abraham, our father according to flesh, has found?; others: [about] Abraham, our forefather according to flesh?; others: [about] Abraham, our father according to flesh? 2For if Abraham out of works was justified [on a particular occasion], [he] has a boast, but not before God. 3For what does the writingi.e., Scripture say? “But Abraham believed God [on a particular occasion] and [it] was calculatedhere, and throughout, (counted) for him unto justice.”here, and throughout, (righteousness)Genesis 15:6; cf. Galatians 3:6; James 2:23 4cf. Romans 11:6But on the other hand, to the [one] working, the pay is not calculated according to grace, but according to debt, 5but to the [one] not working, but rather believing upon the [one] justifying the ungodly, his beliefhere, and throughout, (faith) is calculated unto justice; 6exactly as-περ strengthens καθά, which normally means “just as” David saysPsalm 32:1-2 [about] the blessing of the person to whom God calculates justice separate from works, 7“Blessed [are they] whose lawlessnesses were sent away and whose sins were covered up [on a particular occasion]; 8blessed [is the] man whose sin the lord [absolutely] will not countοὐ μὴ + future indicative is an emphatic denial, so this could also be translated will never count/calculate.” 9[Is] this blessing, therefore, upon [only] the circumcision, or also upon the uncircumcision? For we say, “Belief was calculated for Abraham unto justice.”cf. verse 3 above 10How therefore was it calculated? To [him] being in the circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision but in uncircumcision; 11and he took the mark of circumcision as a seal(sign); lit. signet of the justice of belief, the belief [while] in uncircumcision,cf. Genesis 17:10-11 in order that he may behere and in the next clause, εἰς + accusative + infinitive purpose clause a father of all the [ones] believing through uncircumcision, in order that justice may be calculated [on a particular occasion] for them [also],some manuscripts omit 12and [in order that he may be] a father of the circumcisedlit. circumcision, for the [ones] not [included] out of circumcision only, but also for them being in line with the footsteps of the belief of our father Abraham, [the belief he had while] in uncircumcision.

13For not through [the] law [did] the promiselit. command, summons (as in court) [come] to Abraham or to his seed,cf. Galatians 3:29 that he is the heir of [the] cosmos,cf. Genesis 18:18; 22:17-18 but through [the] justice of belief. 14cf. Galatians 3:18For if the heirs [are heirs] out of [the] law, the belief has been emptied and the promise has been abolished;lit. left unused 15for the law works at(achieves by labor) wrath;lit. impulse but on the other hand,some manuscripts: for where there is not a law, neither [is there] an Romans 3:20; 5:13; 7:8 16On account of this, [justice is] from belief, in order that [it may be]ἴνα + implied subjunctive verb ᾖ purpose clause according to grace, in order that the promise may beεἰς + accusative + infinitive purpose clause steady(firm / sure / certain) for every seed, not only for the [one] from the law, but also for the [one] from [the] belief of Abraham,indeclinable transliteration of Hebrew, so genitive case is assumed; with its placement, it could hypothetically also modify νόμου, the law, and σπέρματι, the seed who is a father of us all,cf. Galatians 3:7 17just as [it] is writtenGenesis 17:5 that “I have put you as a father of many nations,” beforelit. opposite [the one] in whom [he] believed [on a particular occasion], God, the [one] making the dead alive and calling the [things] not being as being;cf. Isaiah 48:13 18who believed beyond hope upon hope in order that he may becomeεἰς + accusative + infinitive purpose clause “a father of many nations” according to the word,lit. the [thing] having been said “Thus will be your seed,”cf. Genesis 15:5 19and not having been weak [on a particular occasion] in belief, [he] consideredsome manuscripts: did not consider his own flesh having [already] been made dead, [since he was] existing about one hundred years,cf. Genesis 17:17 and [he considered] the death of the womb [of] Sarah;like Ἀβραάμ, Σάρρας is an indeclinable transliteration of Hebrew; genitive case is assumed by context 20but [he] did not waverlit. was not thoroughly separated [on any particular occasion] to unbelief unto the promise of God, but [he] was empowered with belief, having given[on a particular occasion] glory to God 21and having been fully satisfied[on a particular occasion] that the [one] powerful to promise is also [powerful] to do.(make / enact) 22Wherefore [also]some manuscripts omit “[it] was calculated for him unto justice.”cf. verse 3 above 23But [it] was not written on his account only, [i.e.,] that [it] was calculated for him, 24but also on our account,cf. Romans 15:4 for whom [it] is destined to be calculated, for the [ones] [of us] believing upon the [one] having roused Jesus our Lord out of [the] dead,cf. I Peter 1:21 25who was handed over [on a particular occasion] on account of our blunders(missteps)cf. Isaiah 53:4-5 and was roused(awoke) [on a particular occasion] on account of our I Corinthians 15:17

Romans 3

This is a literal translation of an ancient Greek text. It has also been cross-posted on For more information on how to read this post and what everything means, see the relevant page on that site.

1What therefore is the more [thing]i.e., the benefit of [being] Jewish, or what is the advantage of circumcision? 2Much according to every way. [For]The presence or position of this word is disputed. first, on the one hand, that they were entrustedlit. they were believed in [on a particular occasion] with the oracles of Deuteronomy 4:7-8; Psalm 103:7; 147:19-20; Romans 9:4 3For what [then]? If some [men] disbelieved,(had no faith) will their disbelief(lack of faith) nullify the belief(faith); as above and throughout below, “belief” and “faith” are interchangeable, though they have different connotations in English; literally (in terms of structure), the text is closer to “belief,” but has the implications of theological “faith” in God?cf. Romans 9:6; 11:29; II Timothy 2:13 4Would that it not come to behere and throughout, lit. become; but on the other hand let God come to be true, and on the other hand [let] every person [come to be] a liarcf. Psalm 116:11, just as it has been writtenPsalm 51:4, “In order that you may be justifiedpurpose clause of ὅπως + subjunctive mood + ἄν in your words and [in order that] you may prevail(be victorious)purpose clause of ὅπως + future indicative in [the time] that you are judgedverbal noun of accusative + infinitive indirect statement construction.” 5But if on the other hand our injustice(unrighteousness) combines with [the] justicehere and throughout, (righteousness); in general, where I have rendered “just” or “justice” (or their converses), you may infer the Christian concept of “righteous” or “righteousness” (or their converses) of God, what shall [we] say? God, the [one] inflictinglit. bringing upon wrath [is] not unjust, [is he]?construction expects negative response I am speaking(I speak) according to man. 6Would that it not come to be; otherwise, how will God judge the cosmos? 7But on the other hand,some manuscripts: for; others omit if the truth of God aboundedlit. outnumbered in falsehood unto his glory, whylit. what still am I also judged as an erroneous [man](a sinner)? 8[Why] not both just as [we] are blasphemed and just as some [men] assert that we say,accusative + infinitive indirect statement “We did the bad [things] in order that the good [things] may come”?singular verb with neuter plural subject; common constructioncf. Romans 6:1 Of whomi.e., the slanderers and blasphemers the judgmentlit. decision; (condemnation) is legitimate.

9What therefore? Are [we] in the lead?lit. Do we jut out? Not by any means; for [we] accused beforehand(charged already) [on a particular occasion] both Jews and Greeks all to be under sin,cf. Romans 1:18-2:24; 3:23 10just as it has been written through v12, cf. Psalm 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Ecclesiastes 7:20that “There is not a just [man], not even one, 11there is not [one] understandingThis word is not unambiguous. When it appears without diacritics, as it might have in the oldest texts, it could be from σύνειμι, meaning “to be with, to be acquainted with, to live with, to associate with”; or from σύνειμι, meaning “to go with, to assemble, to gather”; or from συνίζω, meaning “to sit together, to fall together”; or from συνίημι, meaning “to bring together, to perceive, to understand”. With the diacritics used by most editors, it can only mean this last option; this is also the most sensible translation, and it is the one we take. [God], there is not [one] seeking out God. 12All [men] pervertedlit. bended outward [on a particular occasion] [and] at the same time [they] were rendered useless(damaged) [on a particular occasion]; there is not [one] doing goodnesses,(kindnesses) [there is not]some manuscripts include this, others omit; which is correct remains disputed up toin a sense, less than or equal to one. 13Their larynx(throat) [is] a laid-open tomb,lit. funeral-rite they were dealing treacherouslyThis verb is from δολιόω, which is an omicron-contract verb using δόλιος as a stem. Omicron-contracts in general are “factitive,” meaning that doing an omicron-contract verb “makes” the noun or adjective root. Thus, this means, “they were making treacherous [things],” or “they were making treachery.” — The verb is also in the imperfect tense, giving it imperfective aspect, which means that it occurred frequently, habitually, or over time. with their tongues,cf. Psalm 5:9 venom of aspslit. shields; here, this is only the etymological meaning; asps were likely named thus for their appearance [is] under their lips;ὑπό + accusative suggests place to which; thus, this implies a deliberate state, such that venom has been put under their lips, rather than occurring naturally or by accidentcf. Psalm 140:3 14cf. Psalm 10:7whose mouth is full of ruin(curse); lit. prayer and of bitterness, 15through v17, cf. Isaiah 59:7-8; Proverbs 1:16their feet are quicklit. sharp to pour out blood [on a particular occasion], 16[there is] fracture and hardship in their ways,lit. roads 17and a way of peace they do not know.lit. they did not perceive/come to know [on a particular occasion] 18cf. Psalm 36:1There is not a fear of God opposite(before/in front of) their eyes.” 19But [on the other hand] [we] know that as many [things] as the law says, [it] prattles [them] to the [ones] under the law, in order that every mouth may be fenced in(closed) [on a particular occasion] and the whole cosmos may [on a particular occasion] become liable for trial to God;i.e., the injured party, who may take them to trial 20becauselit. through [the following points], that out of works of [the] law, no flesh will belit. every flesh will not be justified face-to-face with him,cf. Psalm 143:2; Galatians 2:16 for through [the] law [there is] recognition(knowledge) of Romans 7:7

21But now [on the other hand], separate from the law, [the] justice of God has been made manifest, having been given as testimony by the law and the prophets,cf. Acts 10:43 22but [on the other hand] [it is the] justice of God through faith in Jesus Christ into allsome manuscripts: upon all; others: into all and upon all the [ones] Romans 1:17; Galatians 2:16 For [there] is not a distinction, 23for all [men] sinned [on a particular occasion] and are behindcf. Romans 3:9 the glory of God, 24being justified as a giftadverbial accusative by his graceinstrumental dativecf. Ephesians 2:8 through the ransoming, the [ransoming] in Christ Jesus;cf. Romans 5:1 25which God set out as propitiatory through [the] faithsome manuscripts: through faith; others: through the faith; others: of faith; others omit in his bloodcf. Ephesians 1:7 unto a demonstration of his justice on account of the dismissal of the failures(faults); like what is rendered “erroneous” in v7, shares a root with ἁμαρτάνω, lit. “to miss the mark,” as with a spear; it was the only Greek word that Jews and Christians could come up with to mean “sin” having come before 26in the forbearancelit. holding-back of God, towards the demonstration of his justice in the now-time, in order that he may be justεἰς + accusative + infinitive purpose clause and [in order that he may be the one] justifying the [one] [who lives] out of faith in Jesus.

27Where therefore [is] the boasting? It was shut out [on a particular occasion]. Through what kind of law? [The law] of works? Not at all,The form οὐχί adds some emphasis, but the sense is basically no; in colloquial vulgarity, we might say, “Hell no!” but through a law of faith. 28cf. Galatians 2:16Forsome manuscripts: therefore [we] calculate that man is justifiedaccusative + infinitive indirect statement by faith separate from works of [the] law. 29cf. Romans 10:12Or [is] the God of the Jews only [of the Jews]? [Is he] not also [the God] of nations?here and immediately following, (peoples) Yes, also of nations, 30if indeed God [is] one [God]cf. Deuteronomy 6:4; Galatians 3:20, who will justify circumcision out of faith and uncircumcision through Romans 4:11-12 31cf. Matthew 5:17; Romans 4:3; 8:4Therefore do [we] leave idle [the] law through faith? Not by any means; but we make [the] law stand(establish/set up [the] law).

Romans 2

This is a literal translation of an ancient Greek text. It has also been cross-posted on For more information on how to read this post and what everything means, see the relevant page on that site.

1Wherefore [thou] are (inexcusable / undefended), O every person who judges(who chooses, who condemns); lit. judging; for in what [thou] judge anotherlit. the different [one], [thou] hand down judgment to(condemn) thyselfcf. Matthew 7:2; Luke 6:37; John 8:7, for [thou] practice the same [things] [which thou judge]lit. judging which. 2But [on the other hand] we know that the judgment of God is according to truthWe can be sure that this judgment is accurate and final–but it is still not our place to pass it. about the ones practicing [things] such as these. 3But [on the other hand] do [thou] consider(calculate) this, O person, the [one] judging the [ones] doing [things] such as these and [himself] doing them, that thou will flee the judgment of God?This is an indirect question, not a deliberative subjunctive. This should not be translated, “should thou flee the judgment of God?” Reader take note: if you can pass judgment on others, how can you think to escape the true judgment of God? Cf. Matthew 18. 4Or do [thou] think little oflit. look down upon the wealth of his goodness and of [his] forbearancelit. holding-back and of [his] long-suffering, not recognizing(not conceptualizing) that the good [thing] of God leads thou into repentance?cf. II Peter 3:15 5But [on the other hand] according to thy hardness and [thy] unrepentant heart, [thou] hoard for thyself wrath in a day of wrath and [in a day] of a revelationlit. an uncovering of [the] righteous judgment of God, 6cf. Psalm 62:12; Proverbs 24:12; Sirach 16:14; Matthew 16:27; John 5:29; II Corinthians 5:10who will restorelit. give up to each according to his deeds; 7to the [ones] seeking according to endurancelit. remaining-behindI.e., without ceasing, always pressing on, heedless of hindrance and undaunted by danger. [the] glory of a good deed and [the] honor [of a good deed] and immortality(incorruption), [he will restore] eternal lifelit. life lasting an age; “agelong = eternal” is idiomatic by this point; there is no “secret meaning” having to do with ages or numerology here; 8[on the other hand] to the [ones] also being disobedient out of selfish ambition to the truth [and rather] being persuaded to injustice, wrath and passion(anger) [will be given]As elsewhere in his writings, Paul “forgets” the structure of his sentence and switches the case of his parallel ideas, here changing to the nominative.. 9Pressure and confinement [will be given] unto every life(spirit) of man, the [one] working at the badcf. II Thessalonians 1:8, both Jewish first and Greekcf. Romans 1:16; 10but glorylit. expectation / notion and honor and peace [will be given] to everyone working at the good, both to Jewish first and to Greek; 11cf. Deuteronomy 10:17; II Chronicles 19:7; Acts 10:34; Galatians 2:6; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:25; I Peter 1:17for [there] is not respect of persons(favoritism) at God’s house.(beside God / next to God) 12For as many as sinned [on a particular occasion] lawlessly, they will also be utterly destroyed lawlessly, and as many as sinned [on a particular occasion] in [the] law, they will be judgedlit. separated through [the] law; 13cf. Matthew 7:21; James 1:22, 25; I John 3:7for the hearers of [the] law [are] not just(righteous) at God’s house,(beside God / next to God) but the doers of [the] law will be justified(pronounced righteous). 14cf. Acts 10:35For whenever peoples,here and below, (nations) the [ones] not having [the] law, do the [things] of the law by nature,instrumental dative these [peoples], not having [the] law, are a law unto themselves; 15whosoever indicates the work of the law [to be] written on their hearts, withgenitive absolute their conscience supporting themhere, αὐτῶν is both a possessive genitive modifying τῆς συνειδήσεως and the gentive object of συμμαρτυρούσης, but only appears once and, [alternating] between one and the other, withgenitive absolute [their] thoughts accusing or else also defending [them], 16on [the] day when God judges the secret [things] of men according to my gospelcf. II Timothy 2:8 through Christ Jesussome manuscripts: Jesus Christ, others: Jesus Christ our Lord.
17But [on the other hand] if thou call [thyself] Jewish and rely upon [the] law and boastlit. speak loudly in God 18and [thou] perceive the will and [thou] approvelit. test the [things] that make a difference,lit. differing / carrying acrosscf. Philippians 1:10 teaching [them] out of the law, 19and [thou] has persuaded thyself to be a guide of [the] blind,cf. Matthew 15:14; Luke 18:9 a light of the [ones] in darkness, an educator of [the] senseless, a teacher of infants, having the form of the knowledge and of the truth in the law;cf. II Timothy 3:15 21cf. Psalm 50:16-21; Matthew 23:3-4[as], therefore, the [one] teaching another, do [thou] not teach thyself? [As] the [one] proclaiming not to steal, do [thou] steal? 22[As] the [one] sayinglit. choosing; again, this is idiomatic long before the time of the New Testament not to commit adultery, do [thou] commit adultery? [As] the [one] feeling sick at(loathing) idols,lit. phantoms do [thou] rob temples?(commit sacrilege) 23[As] the [one] who boastslit. speaks loudly in [the] law, do [thou] through the transgressionlit. deviation of the law dishonor the God [of the law]?Here, τοῦ νόμου modifies both τῆς παραβάσεως and τὸν θεόν, though it only appears once 24For “the name of God, through you, is blasphemed in the nations,”cf. Isaiah 52:5; Ezekiel 36:20 just as [it] is written. 25For [on the one hand] circumcision is a help, ifhere, as immediately following, a present general conditional [thou] practice [the] law; but if, [on the other hand], [thou] are a transgressor of [the] law, thy circumcision becomes uncircumcisionhere and throughout, lit. a Jeremiah 4:4; 9:25 26cf. Galatians 5:6If,future more vivid conditional therefore, the uncircumcisionhere and the subject of v27, metonymy keepslit. guards the righteous acts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted aslit. into circumcision? 27And the uncircumcision from his nature,probably meaning “in the body,” but perhaps also, “from birth” fulfilling the law, will judge thee, the [one] through [the] letter and [the] circumcision [who is a] transgressor of [the] law.some manuscripts pose this verse as a question 28cf. John 7:24; 8:15, 39For it is not the [one] [who is Jewish] in the visible [that] is Jewish, nor is circumcision in the visible [and] in [the] flesh, 29but the [one] [who is Jewish] in secret [is] Jewish, and [the] circumcision of [the] heart [is] in [the] spiritcf. Deuteronomy 30:6; Colossians 2:11 [and] not [in the] letter, in which placelit. where; i.e., the spirit approval [comes] not from men but from I Corinthians 4:5; II Corinthians 10:18

Romans 1

This is a literal translation of an ancient Greek text. It has also been cross-posted on For more information on how to read this post and what everything means, see the relevant page on that site.

1Paul, a slave of Christ Jesussome manuscripts: Jesus Christ, a called(invited) apostle having been set apart into [the] gospel of Godcf. Acts 9:15; 13:2; Galatians 1:15, 2cf. Romans 16:25-26; Titus 1:2whoi.e., God promised before[of his own free will] implied by verb in many cases through his prophets in holy writings 3about his son, the one having been born out of a seed of Davidcf. Matthew 22:42; II Timothy 2:8 according to fleshcf. Romans 9:5, 4the one having been (ordained / determined / separated / demarcated) [as] a son of God in power according to a spirit of holiness out of a resurrection of [the] deadcf. Acts 13:33, Jesus Christ our lord, 5cf. Acts 26:16-18; Romans 15:18; Galatians 2:7, 9through whom we took(seized) grace and a send-off(apostleship) into obedience of faith in all the company [called] by the holy name, 6in which [company] you also are called bylit. of Jesus Christ, 7to all the [ones] being in Romeomitted in a few manuscripts beloved bylit. of God, called holycf. I Corinthians 1:2; II Corinthians 1:1, grace to you and peace from God your father and [from] [the] lord Jesus Christcf. Numbers 6:25-26; I Corinthians 1:3; II Corinthians 1:2.

8First, on the one hand, [I] am thankful to my God through Jesus Christ about all of you that your faith is being (proclaimed / declared / recounted) in all the world(the whole world). 9For God is my witnesscf. Philippians 1:8; I Thessalonians 2:5, 10, whomi.e., God [I] serve in my spirit(breath) in the gospel of his son, how incessantly [I] make (remembrance / mention / commemoration) of youcf. Ephesians 1:16, 10andadverbial ἐπί, lit. as well always [that God is] lacking not at all in my prayers, [and that] [now is the time]lit. already sometime; cf. Liddell-Scott-Jones definition II of ἤδη [I] will succeedlit. have a prosperous journey or be helped en route in the will of God to come to youcf. Acts 19:21; Romans 15:23, 32. 11 For [I] desire besides to see you, in order that [I] may give some share of spiritual grace to you toward your being supportedlit. affixed [on a particular occasion], 12and this [action] is to be exhorted together in you through the in-each-other faith, both yours and mine. 13And [I] am not willingsome manuscripts: [we] are not willing; others: [I] do not (intend / think) to ignore you, brothers, because [I] often set out [on particular occasions] to come to you, and [I] was prevented(hindered) [on particular occasions] even up to nowlit. hitherto, in order that [I] may have [on a particular occasion] some fruitcf. John 15:16 also in you just aslit. both in you and just as in the remaining company. 14[I] am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise [men] and to unthinkinglit. thoughtless [men], 15 thus [it is] an eager [thing] forlit. concerning me to preach the gospel to you also, the ones in Romeomitted in a few manuscripts.

16For [I] am not ashamed at the gospelcf. Psalm 119:46; Mark 8:38, for [the] power of God is forlit. into salvation for everyone who believeslit. believingcf. I Corinthians 1:18, 24, both Jewish first and Greekcf. Acts 13:46. 17For [the] righteousness of God in him is made known(uncovered) out of faith into faithcf. Romans 3:21-22, just as it is writteni.e., in Habakkuk 2:4, “But the righteous [man] out of faithalmost definitely modifies both δίκαιος and ζήσεται will Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38

18For the wrath of God is made known(uncovered) from [the] sky(heaven) upon every impiety and injustice of mencf. Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:6, those [men] (holding fast / occupying / detaining) the truth in injusticecf. II Thessalonians 2:12, 19cf. Acts 14:15-17; 17:24-28because the knowable [thing] of God is visible in them; for God made it visible(revealed it) to them. 20For the unseen ideas(thoughts about) of him are perceived from [the] founding of [the] cosmos [in] the works [in the cosmos]interpolation; implied; which others of God’s works would Paul be referring to?, and his eternal power and divinitycf. Job 12:7-9; Psalm 19:1, so that they are (inexcusable / undefended)lit. unapologized-for, 21because knowing God, [they] did not [on any particular occasion] honorlit. think of [God] as God or give thanks, but [they] brought [him] to naught in their calculations and their witless heart was darkened(blinded)cp. verb ἐματαιώθησαν to Jeremiah 23:16; cf. Ephesians 4:17-18. 22cf. Jeremiah 10:14; I Corinthians 1:20Claiming to belit. saying [that they] are wise, [they] were made fools 23cf. Deuteronomy 4:15-19; Psalm 106:20and [they] exchangedhere, and repeated numerously after, lit. altered the glorylit. expectation / notion of the indestructible(incorruptible) God in [the] likeness of [the] image of destructible(corruptible)This kind of parallelism is common in Biblical texts. Also consider Genesis 1; this passage indicates a reversal of God’s creation of Man. man and of flyingnote the progression from the “image of man” to weaker and weaker animals, which are more and more associated with the devil [animals] and of four-footed [animals] and of beasts [that creep]cp. ἑρπετῶν with herpetology, i.e., the study of reptiles.

24cf. Acts 14:16Whereforethe first crime was heresy, paganism, and then later debauchery; cp. to Sodom & Gomorrah, whose first and most significant crime was against hospitality, but they had become just as Paul is describing certain sinners in his day God has given them over in the desires of their hearts into [the] uncleanness of dishonoring their bodies in them, 25whoever exchanged [on a particular occasion] the truth of God in the falsehoodcf. Jeremiah 13:25; 16:19, [they] both worshipedlit. feared and servedlit. were enslaved to the [thing] createdcf. John 8:34; Romans 16 in place of the [one] creating, who is blessed into the ages, amencf. Romans 9:5. 26On account of this, God has given them over into passionslit. happenings of (disgrace / dishonor), for both their females exchanged [on a particular occasion] the natural use into the [use] contrary to nature, 27cf. Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; I Corinthians 6:9and likewise the males, sending away the natural use of(intimacy with) the female, inflamedlit. burned out; the verb later came to mean (re)kindled, since any time a candle burned out, it needed to be relit [themselves] in their longing for each other, males among males, working at the obscenity and the disgrace, [and with] them seizing which, there was need of their wandering(going astray). 28cf. v.25: “worshiped and were enslaved”; here, they set their minds on this path and are now impelled along itAnd just as [they] did not think it fit(refused); lit. did not try to hold God in recognition, God has given them over into a (disreputable / reprobate) mind, [so] to do the [things] not proper, 29[the ones] having been filled with every injustice, wickedness, greediness, badnessmanuscript variations:
* badness, wickedness, greediness
* wickedness, badness
* badness, fornication, greediness
* fornication, greediness, badness
* fornication, wickedness, greediness, badness
* badness, fornication, wickedness, greediness
* wickedness, fornication
* wickedness, greediness
, [the ones] full of ill-will, murder, strife, treacherylit. bait, malignity, slander(falsehood), 30[the ones that are] slanderers, hated of the gods, (insolent / wanton / licentious), arrogantlit. over-bright, braggartslit. vagrants, contrivers of bad things, disobedient to [their] parentslit. fathers, 31witless, faithless, heartlesslit. without natural affection, mercilesssome manuscripts add prior: implacable; 32whoever, observing the ordinances(judgments) of God, [which ordinances state] that the [ones] practicing [things] such as these are deemed worthy of death, not only [whoever] does these [things], but also [whoever] gives their consent to the [ones] practicing [these things].

Improving Habits (Most of the Time)

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday LivesBetter Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The short version: this book has good research and good ideas, but imperfect execution.

I think that a lot of the things Ms Rubin articulates are both informative and useful. Framing the question of habits in terms of identity and personality can be a huge boost in learning how to develop good habits and eliminate bad ones. She also deals extensively with good strategies to improve in this area. There’s even a quiz in the back that can help guide your thinking, so that you know where you fall and figure out which route will be most beneficial to you.

I also think, however, that this book will be most effective for the group Ms Rubin terms “Upholders.” Upholders, in short, are those who set goals for themselves and stick to them without much prompting or questioning. Ms Rubin admits that she herself is an Upholder, and I think that “Tendency” bleeds through the book in more places than she points out. In several places, she sets up a standard of behavior that fits the Upholder mold, but won’t necessarily work for the other Tendencies. In fairness, she often works hard to make sure that all groups are fairly represented–but even so, there are a few sections that fell short.

In fact, much of the book fits Ms Rubin’s style (which makes sense; it’s her book), not only in her Tendency but in the other areas of self-knowledge (detailed in the first section of the book). This is great for anyone who is of a similar style, but can be tiresome for those of us who differ.

I also question the validity of the Four Tendencies framework, in no small part because I’m not a “Questioner” at heart. Forced into a category, I’m probably an “Obliger,” but in the Four Tendencies quiz, I got an almost equal number of affirmed statements in each Tendency (Questioner and Obliger were tied, a little bit ahead of Upholder and Rebel, which were also tied). The other personality traits are set up as dichotomies, which are frequently prone to being incomplete pictures of an issue.

Having said that, I may very well be more than a couple standard deviations from the norm, so perhaps only a few others will have this problem.

The only other thing that bothered me (and it will likely not bother most people) is the agnostic approach Ms Rubin took to her sources. She goes, in short order, from praising the Rule of St. Benedict to praising Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy (a series, if you’re unfamiliar with it, designed explicitly as an atheist response to the Chronicles of Narnia, which ends with the protagonists killing God). Perhaps her broad-spectrum approach, from East Asian religions to Western Catholicism, is a “seeds of truth” mentality at work, but it came across as cafeteria philosophy.

I think this book is worth reading, especially if you struggle with bad habits or want fervently to develop good habits–but as with many books aimed at helping yourself, you need to take the information with a grain of salt. Some things may be helpful as you try to improve your habits–and some things won’t fly. Again, in fairness, Ms Rubin says as much on at least one occasion.

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