Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Romans & Septuagintal Studies

For the past couple of days I have been struggling with the concept of sin in Romans 7. No exegete can escape the complexity of Paul's argument. Time and time again I wrestled with the Greek text looking at several English translations and penning my notes in Malay with reference to the Indonesian Bible (and occasional reference to the Bahasa Malaysia version). Teaching in a Bahasa-medium College is not easy, no less the distance one travels from the biblical text either in Hebrew or Greek and with my familiarity with the English and Malay mixed together. I am no linguist but I have to contend with these four languages almost daily in my ministry as a Bible teacher.
These couple of weeks have given me ample time to read the Septuagint - large chunks of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Psalms in the Greek. Whenever I sensed something dissimilar to the Hebrew text, I go back to check the Hebrew MT and try to analyse why or for what reasons the LXX (Septuagint) translators were given to translate in one way or another. The more I read the LXX, the more significant differences I find. But back to Romans which Paul had to contend with the place and role of the Law in a believer's life with God. So the apostle with the wisdom of God took upon himself to explain the nature of the Law, sin, the flesh, a connection with deadly consequences because as Paul said, "when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died!" (Romans 7:9).

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