Author Topic: Reformation Joys  (Read 621 times)

jebutler

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Re: Reformation Joys
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2020, 04:42:10 PM »
Preached Romans 3, "Our Propitiation." Interesting, both NKJV and ESV retained "propitiation" rather than opt for a more modern translation.

How many lay people do you think understood the meaning of the word "propitiation" before your sermon?

Don't know about Ed's people, but several of mine--mostly older folks who grew up with King James—understand the term. I'm personally not hip on the term, but the ESV uses it, so I'm kinda stuck with it. I've usually joked about it, "I'm sure you Boston folks use that word every day, but growing up in Kansas City, I'm not real familiar with it. So, for those of us who don't know what it means, let me explain..."

I point out that every field has jargon. This is theological jargon.


I note that Lowe & Nida's Greek Lexicon state that "propitiation" is an inaccurate translation of ἱλαστήριον. I quote:

the means by which sins are forgiventhe means of forgiveness, expiation. Though some traditional translations render ἱλαστήριον as propitiation, this involves a wrong interpretation of the term in question. Propitiation is essentially a process by which one does a favor to a person in order to make him or her favorably disposed, but in the NT God is never the object of propitiation since he is already on the side of people. ἱλασμός and ἱλαστήριον denote the means of forgiveness and not propitiation. 40.12

The fact that you can find a lexicon that argues in favor of "the means of forgiveness, expiation” doesn’t mean anything. The argument of how one should translate hilasmos (and its cognates) is a long one. You can find lexicons, and commentators, who argue that propitiation is the best term and you can find others who argue that expiation is the best term. You can find lexicons and commentators that reject both terms and prefer something else (e.g. atonement).

I personally think it's both. I think Paul (and John) are using the two Yom Kippur goats as their picture. One of those goats was sacrificed (propitiation). The other had the sins confessed and was released into the desert picturing the removal of sin (expiation).
« Last Edit: October 28, 2020, 05:32:08 PM by jebutler »
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Reformation Joys
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2020, 07:54:16 PM »

What do you make of Lowe & Nida's argument that "propitiation" is an improper translation of ἱλαστήριον in Romans 3:25? I also note that neither the NKJV nor ESV use "propitiation" in the other occurrence of the Greek word in Hebrews 9:5.

I had occasion to look at Hebrews 9:5 today where translators use "mercy seat" rather than propitiation. They choose mercy seat, I think, because the term here describes a place rather than what happens (atonement) at that place. The NKJV and ESV are following KJV in this decision.


The problem, as I see it, and as I think Lowe & Nida present it, is that "to propitiate" means, "win or regain the favor of (a god, spirit, or person by doing something that pleases them)." (New Oxford American Dictionary)


It would normally be a (sinful) person (or nation) doing something to please a god so that one isn't punished for those sins. The problem in Romans is that God is providing the means to "win or regain [his own] favor." If God is a gracious God, why does he have to be propitiated or "bought off" to gain his mercy?


In addition, the word refers to the means of (or place of) getting atonement - not the atonement itself.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Steven W Bohler

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Re: Reformation Joys
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2020, 09:13:45 PM »

What do you make of Lowe & Nida's argument that "propitiation" is an improper translation of ἱλαστήριον in Romans 3:25? I also note that neither the NKJV nor ESV use "propitiation" in the other occurrence of the Greek word in Hebrews 9:5.

I had occasion to look at Hebrews 9:5 today where translators use "mercy seat" rather than propitiation. They choose mercy seat, I think, because the term here describes a place rather than what happens (atonement) at that place. The NKJV and ESV are following KJV in this decision.


The problem, as I see it, and as I think Lowe & Nida present it, is that "to propitiate" means, "win or regain the favor of (a god, spirit, or person by doing something that pleases them)." (New Oxford American Dictionary)


It would normally be a (sinful) person (or nation) doing something to please a god so that one isn't punished for those sins. The problem in Romans is that God is providing the means to "win or regain [his own] favor." If God is a gracious God, why does he have to be propitiated or "bought off" to gain his mercy?


In addition, the word refers to the means of (or place of) getting atonement - not the atonement itself.

Are you a teacher of Israel and do not know this?  God is just, and that requires payment for sin -- He cannot just sweep sin under the rug, or pretend that it didn't happen, or wink at it.  But God is also love, and so He takes the punishment for us.  Finally, God is merciful and gracious, and so gives us this forgiveness not based on what we do, but by faith in that work of Christ for us and made ours by the working of the Holy Spirit in Word and Sacrament.

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Reformation Joys
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2020, 09:53:09 PM »
So here is a score card on the term.

In the Old Testament the:
Propitiator=high priest
Place of propitiation=mercy seat
Means of propitiation=sacrifice
Propitiation itself=??

Now, in the New Testament, Jesus is the high priest and the sacrifice. His role in the sacrifice is both active and passive. What then shall we say propitiation is?
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Reformation Joys
« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2020, 11:10:13 PM »
So here is a score card on the term.

In the Old Testament the:
Propitiator=high priest
Place of propitiation=mercy seat
Means of propitiation=sacrifice
Propitiation itself=??

Now, in the New Testament, Jesus is the high priest and the sacrifice. His role in the sacrifice is both active and passive. What then shall we say propitiation is?

I don't believe that there was a high priest when the Mercy Seat was constructed.

What about the book of Jonah? There was no sacrifice. There was no priests. Repentance was sufficient for God to change his mind about destroying the city. The incident between Jonah and the plant indicates that God did it because of his own care for the people of the city.


The CEB (my preferred translation nowadays) presents Romans 3:15 this way:


Through his faithfulness, God displayed Jesus as the place of sacrifice where mercy is found by means of his blood. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness in passing over sins that happened before, …


This keeps ἱλαστήριον as a place of mercy, as it is in Hebrews 9:5; and throughout the OT as "the mercy seat" - a place.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2020, 11:12:41 PM by Brian Stoffregen »
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]