by A.E. Knoch

THE gracious providence of God has seldom been more signally evident than in the discovery of the Sinaitic manuscript by Constantine Tischendorf about the middle of the last century. The story how he found some of its leaves in a waste basket, and how he tried nearly ten years later to recover the rest of it but failed, and how he finally stumbled on it six years later, is full of interest. The eagerness with which scholars have heralded its readings and incorporated them into their texts gave promise of a speedy realization of the fruits of this great find.

But the results, so far, have hardly come up to our expectations. They have lacked the vital touch, they have failed to add living energy to the body of revelation. Like every gift from above, however, the failure is found in its use rather than in the gift itself. There is one reading found in this manuscript which, in itself, ought to make us profoundly thankful to God for its recovery in these last degenerate days. It alone contains the answer to the heart breaking cry of the miserable man in the seventh of Romans. So far as we are aware, this has never been made known. The reason for this lies in the fact that the printed editions issued by Tischendorf did not follow the manuscript, but were "edited." Sometimes he included the corrections in his text, yet he often omitted them. What we need is the whole manuscript, corrections and all. This will be given in the CONCORDANT VERSION.

Salvation, in all of its aspects, is of God. Deliverance, past, present and future is through His grace. Why is justification by faith? That it may accord with grace (Rom.4:16). And He who spares not His own Son, but gives Him up for us all, how shall He not, together with Him, also, grace us with all things (Rom.8:32)? Indeed, it is God's purpose, in the oncoming eons, to display to the celestial spheres the transcendent riches of His grace by his kindness to us in Christ Jesus (Eph.2:6,7)

Being, then, the objects of His grace in the past, and the exponents of its overwhelming redundancy in the future, the question arises, why have we so meager an enjoyment of it in the present? Is it withheld in the interim? Are we indeed "in the seventh of Romans" now? Shall we go about bemoaning our own misery? It is a sad fact that there are many whose experience has never led them beyond the wretchedness detailed in this chapter. If there is a way out they have not found it. And the significant fact remains that in our Bibles the vital question at the close of the seventh of Romans is unanswered. "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death" (Rom.7:25 RV)? There is no reply. We are left in the dark!

It is evident that the Adversary has done his utmost to adulterate and destroy the grace of God. Witness his attacks on justification by faith as recorded in the Galatian epistle. Our blessed expectation was also made a matter of works, so the apostle reminds the Thessalonian saints that future salvation is also founded on grace. It is because Christ died that we shall live together with Him, whether we watch or are drowsy (1 Thess.5: 10). Here the translators have allowed themselves to become adversaries of grace (perhaps through inadvertence) for they render the word watch by wake, and drowsy by sleep. There is no reference to death. In a similar way, we believe, the vital word of the seventh of Romans, which is the answer to its appeal and the stepping stone into the eighth chapter, has been taken from us. This word is Grace.

The seventh of Romans is one of the most unsatisfactory passages in our Bibles. Some declare boldly that it is the experience of the believer. And, as to fact, they are right! Are not the great majority of the saints in this slough where they do what they condemn? Are not many having their divine aspirations dampened by their inability to carry out the desires of the spirit which has been given them? Some have emerged with a shout of victory, but even they are not at all clear how the victory was won, and hardly know how to impart the permanent blessing to others.

As the CONCORDANT VERSION is the only translation (so far as we are aware) that has seized this precious gem and set it in its place, we take the following from the unpublished manuscript.

"A wretched man am I! What will rescue me out of this body of death? Grace! Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord."

GRACE! This is the key to deliverance from the law and from self and from sin! It is not struggling: it is standing still to see the salvation of God. It is not fighting the flesh, but, putting it in the place of death, finding ourselves alive beyond its sphere in resurrection. Those who enter into conflict with the flesh will not find victory but defeat. In Romans we die to sin, to the law, and seek deliverance from the body of death. Nothing will avail us but the undiluted, unadulterated grace of God.

Grace is the door that leads us out of Romans seven into Romans eight. It ushers us out of misery into the realm of pure delight. It transfers us from unsatisfactory, distressing self- inspection, where we are harassed with doubts and condemned by ourselves, into that marvelous realm which greets us in the opening of the eighth chapter. "Nothing, consequently, is condemnation now..." Instead of continual condemnation grace absolutely defies all condemnation. Even where sin abounds, grace superabounds, so that sin itself is submerged in the redundancy and superfluity of grace.

All sorts of remedies have been suggested to cure the wretched man but none of them compare with this divine prescription. The eighth chapter is based on this reply and cannot be comprehended apart from it. The wretched man is continually condemned by an inward weakness and waywardness with which he has no sympathy. Grace steps in, and, as a consequence, nothing is condemnation to those in Christ Jesus, for the spirit's law of life in Christ Jesus frees us from the law of sin and death. God's grace-gift is eonian life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom.6:23). The life abides on the same terms on which it was received-- nothing down, nothing forever.

But some will ask, how do we know that such is the true reading? What right have we to add to the Bible? This opens up a most interesting and profitable line of evidence which is of tremendous importance to all who value God's truth today. The word which we have added to the seventh of Romans is a correction found in the Codex Sinaiticus, one of the most ancient copies of the Greek scriptures in our possession. Its discovery by Tischendorf reads like a successful hunt for buried treasure, with gold enough for us all.

The three most ancient manuscripts which have come down to us vary considerably in regard to the matter of corrections. Alexandrinus and Vaticanus are quite free from changes, but Sinaiticus is full of them. At first sight the presence of so many corrections lowers our confidence in the text, and it certainly seems just to say that the original scribe was not as careful as his compeers. A closer study of the corrections, however, has convinced us that this manuscript, as corrected, is probably the most valuable witness which God has providentially preserved for us.

In collating the text for the CONCORDANT VERSION, which is founded on the three most ancient witnesses, the question arose whether to follow the primary text of Sinaiticus, as is usually done, or to give the correctors the preference. Many of the corrections seem to have been made almost as soon as the vellum was written, hence, they are practically as ancient as the underlying text. An extended comparison with the companion texts developed the fact that the corrector's readings are often sustained by the best evidence especially Codex Vaticanus. Tischendorf at one time thought that the scribe who wrote Vaticanus corrected Sinaiticus, because the readings so often agreed and the handwriting seemed the same. There are, however, sufficient points of difference to make them independent witnesses. It is possible that both Vaticanus and the first corrector of Sinaiticus had copies which were taken from one ancient manuscript in some cases. The result of a comparison with other manuscripts gives the correctors of Sinaiticus a higher place than the basic text. The later corrector seems, indeed, to have been more than a mere corrector. He was an editor of the ancient text, endeavoring not merely to correct the mechanical slips of the scribe, but to conform the text to the best ancient evidence. It is supposed that this editorial work was done at Caesarea by comparison with Pamphilius' manuscript which in turn had been compared with Origen's Hexapla. If this be true, it is of the utmost importance that we recognize it and accord their readings the place they deserve.

The readings of Sinaiticus are of two classes. First there are the corrections made at the time the manuscript was written or soon afterwards. These are sometimes called the A or B readings. They are shown in the CONCORDANT VERSION as s*. The second class of corrections are editorial in nature and were made some centuries later. They are sometimes called the C readings. The CONCORDANT superlinear gives them as s2, s3, s4, and s5. A very few alterations were made much later and are known as F readings (s6).

It is important to note that the early corrections, like the addition to Romans seven which we are studying, were subjected to the scrutiny of the later editors. Thus they are not only the deliberate additions of the early scribe, but are confirmed by the later editorial revision.

Another point is of principal importance. Many of the mistakes in the ancient manuscript are omissions. Only those actually engaged in transcribing will realize how easy it is to leave out a few words or a line. A compositor on the CONCORDANT VERSION recently skipped from one line of his copy to the next, because the same word occurred in each. The principle hitherto followed that the ancient scribes were anxious to add to the text and thus gave rise to spurious additions must be abandoned. Just as an ancient sculpture does not gain, but rather loses in the course of time, and must be restored, so with the writing which is copied many times. There can be no doubt that the scribe of Sinaiticus skipped many words which were restored by the corrector. The Alexandrian manuscript has thus lost quite a few whole sentences and almost always the reason is apparent from the text itself.

As the corrector of Sinaiticus restores many omissions, in which it is supported by the other manuscripts, the question arises whether it may not be the sole remaining source of some readings which have fallen out of all the other manuscripts? This can be determined only by internal evidence. As the particular passage in which we are interested, Romans 7:25, is in this class, we shall enlarge on this point and leave it to our readers' candid judgment. We feel sure all who investigate will come to the conclusion that, in the providence of God, the corrector, and later editor, of Sinaiticus have preserved for us the true reading in this notable text, and that grace (which has been largely absent from the lives of God's saints as well from this passage) may now be restored to its place in the seventh of Romans and in our hearts and lives.

In an exhaustive survey of the various readings occurring in the first epistle to the Corinthians it was found that there are about three dozen places where the later editor of Sinaiticus supplies something absent not only from the first draft of Sinaiticus but from Vaticanus and Alexandrinus as well. We will examine these to see what motive prompted their addition. Did this editor try to force some of his own teachings into the text? Are the additions as good or better than the text without them? Is there any apparent reason why they might have been dropped in the transcription? We have sorted the passages into five classes. The first fourteen additions are all alike in character, in that they make no change in the sense of the passage, but are more precise and accurate--points which are highly commendable in the Scriptures. In each of the subjoined passages the word added by the editor is in italics. It is omitted by the other evidence. The renderings are from the manuscript of the CONCORDANT VERSION as other translations are not sufficiently exact to show some of the distinctions.

1 Cor. 1:20 the wisdom of this world
2:10 through His Spirit
3:12 this foundation
4: 6 not to be disposed above what is written
4: 9 for I suppose that God demonstrates
5: 7 then clean out the old leaven
7:21 and those using this world
9:22 I became to the weak as weak
10:13 To enable you to undergo it
10:23 All is allowed me (twice)
11:26 and drinking this cup
12:12 yet all the members of the one body being many
12:26 or one member is being esteemed
14:26 each of you has a psalm

Try the experiment of going over each of these, leave out the italicized word. The sense remains but its point is blunted. In fact, it is not strictly true that God makes the wisdom of the world stupid. The wisdom of the world to come will be in harmony with His wisdom. It applies only to the wisdom of this world. And God reveals it to us not merely through the spirit, but it is through His spirit. And so, in almost every case there is a distinct gain in accuracy and emphasis. In no case can we charge the editor with the introduction of his own ideas.

We next present a list of fifteen more passages in which the editor of Sinaiticus adds to the sense yet never alters it. In almost every case the addition is not only undoubtedly true, but is demanded by the context. How lacking is the statement "This is My body which is for you," spoken as the Lord is breaking the bread for His disciples! Is it not much more likely that the true reading is "Which is broken for you?" True no bone of Him was broken but not so His body.

The three other additions to this passage all appeal to our spiritual perception of the fitness of things. "Let him be testing himself first," adds point to the exhortation, "He who is eating and drinking unworthily" is surely demanded by the words which follow. Eating and drinking do not in themselves call for judgment. "Not discriminating the body of the Lord" gives definiteness to an otherwise vague expression. So with "Is anyone planting a vineyard and not eating of its fruit?" The planter could hardly eat all of its fruit himself. Rather he ate of it and supplied his household as well. Love never falls is a usage of the word "falls" unknown elsewhere. It is weak. "Love never falls out, or lapses" is eminently fitting.

1 Cor.5: 1 such prostitution which is not being named among the nations
5: 7 Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for our sakes
7: 5 have leisure for fasting and prayer
7:38 giving in marriage (out-marrying)
7:39 A wife is bound by law for
8: 4 that there is no other (different) God except One
9: 7 is any one planting a vineyard and not eating of its fruit
9:10 he who is threshing in expectation of sharing in the expectation
11:24 this is My body which is broken for you
11:28 let him be testing himself first
11:29 for he who is eating and drinking unworthily
11:29 not discriminating the body of the Lord
13: 8 love never lapses (or falls out) for "falls"
16:15 Stephanas and Fortunatus
16:23 fond of the Lord Jesus Christ

That Christ our Passover was sacrificed for our sakes, none will deny, and it is far from trite to introduce it into the apostle's argument. So with the bonds of wedlock. They are legal bonds. It is likely that the sin spoken of in this epistle was committed among the nations though they probably refrained from mentioning it. The addition of Fortunatus' name was done deliberately and must have been based on earlier evidence. So also with the name and title of our Lord. The character of these additions impresses us as genuine attempts to restore the text to its original completeness and vigor.

Our next group of passages is such as only one can appreciate who is acquainted with Greek or has an exact sublinear such as is given in the CONCORDANT VERSION. Greek is very rich in participles and connectives which appear redundant to English ears.

1 Cor. 5:10 And not absolutely, as to the
6:19 from the God
8:11 is being destroyed also
11:34 Now if anyone is hungry
13:11 Yet when I have become a man
14:13 Wherefore let even him who is talking languages
15:38 its own the body

"Yet when I have become a man" shows a disjunctive turn of thought better than if it were omitted. The same is true of "Now if anyone is hungry."

We next present two cases in which the particle AN is added by the editor of Sinaiticus. This interesting little word is seldom translated in our versions. It is the sign of indefiniteness, represented by EVER in the sublinear of the CONCORDANT SCRIPTURES. In the Version its presence is usually acknowledged by changing may to should. It is the key to that passage which has caused so much controversy (Matt.24:34): "Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled." All difficulties are removed if we render it concordantly "Verily, I am saying to you, `This generation may by no means pass by till all these things should occur.'" It is not merely subjunctive may, but "may ever," which, in English, is should. Our Lord was careful to qualify His statement which shows that, far from being positive that these things would be fulfilled, He evidently knew they would not. The two passages follow:

1 Cor.11:26 till He should (for may) be coming
11:25 until He should (for may) be placing

Except the strengthening of the word not (9:12), but one passage remains, the only one which seems to mar the text and quarrel with its context. Nevertheless we give it so that all the evidence will be before us and nothing hid.

1 Cor.14:10 not one of them is soundless (for "nothing is soundless")

The apostle seems to be speaking of voices or sounds. To say that no sounds are without sound seems senseless. To say that nothing is without sound is doubtless true though rather trite. Perhaps the root of the difficulty lies in the word "soundless." Our Common Version renders it "without signification," which the Revisers modernize to "without significance." While there is no external evidence for this rendering, it certainly responds to the context, for the apostle has been speaking of a variety of natural sounds, and he is pleading against senseless speaking in the ecclesia. Now if we insert a letter, p, which is the equivalent of our R, and read aphroonos for aphoonos, then the whole difficulty is solved and the corrector of Sinaiticus is right even in this passage. It would then read, "many voices in the world and not one of them is senseless." But there is no documentary evidence for this, so we cannot stake anything on it.

We trust that the proof we have presented will convince all that we are justified in treating the readings of the editor of Sinaiticus with a grave measure of respect. There is not the slightest reason to impugn his motives, for in no case could he gain any doctrinal advantage by his additions. Most of his contributions strengthen or develop the sense already present and are supported by the context. As he very often agrees with the best manuscripts such as Vaticanus or Alexandrinus (where internal evidence is not needed to confirm his changes), we may readily come to the conclusion that the edited Sinaiticus is far superior to its first draft. Furthermore, even when the editor of Sinaiticus seems alone, his additions to the text are of such a solid, unbiased and helpful character, that they demand recognition far beyond what has been accorded them in the past.

When we remember, then, that the word "grace" added in the margin of Romans seven, is not only the correction of the contemporary scribe, but was passed as correct by the later editor, we have ample grounds for including it in the text without appealing to the strong prejudice created by the demands of the context.

Every ancient work of art comes to us mutilated by the hand of time. When we find one in which there was an ancient attempt to restore it to its pristine perfectness we do not rid it of the restorer's work but rather rejoice that one has been before us, and carefully preserve and guard his efforts. So with the Scriptures. The many corrections which seem to deface the Sinaitic text are its greatest glory. Speaking generally, they probably give us the best evidence as to the original scriptures which we possess.

We shall now return to the Seventh of Romans and the reading of which prompted this digression. Without an acquaintance with the facts we have presented we would probably pass over the added word grace, as the answer to that chapter, as it is based almost entirely on this manuscript. It will be of more than ordinary interest to note the various ways in which this text has appeared in Greek manuscripts and other ancient sources as well as modern editors. "I am thanking the God" is the reading of one set of witnesses, which includes Sinaiticus uncorrected, Alexandrinus, two Syriac versions, the Peshitto and the Harkleian, the Gothic version of Ulfilas, and most other Codices. Origen has it so twice out of three instances and Chrysostom quotes it so once. "Thanks (or grace) to the God" is the reading of Vaticanus and is followed by the Coptic Sahidic version, Origen one out of three instances, Methodius, a Bishop of Olympus, and Hieronymus, once out of two occurrences. "Yet thanks (or grace) to the God" is the reading of c2 (Codex Ephraemi), a few other Codices, a few of the Boharic and the Armenian versions, and is so quoted by Cyril of Alexandria. "The grace of God" is found in D (Codex Claromontanus), 32, a twelfth century manuscript in Paris, the latin version, Hieronymus, once in two instances, and Orien's latin in both of its occurrences. Weymouth gives the consensus of modern editors as favoring "Thanks (or grace) to the God," but most of them put "I am thanking," in the margin. Alexander Souter's recent edition reverses this, putting, "I am thanking" in the text, and "Thanks to" in the margin. The CONCORDANT Greek text will combine these readings. Once this is done the solution of the whole matter appears as clear as noonday. Probably a very early scribe, in copying this passage, came to the word grace, XAPIC charis and lifted his eyes from the copy. Then turning to it again, his eyes fell on the same combination of letters XAPIC in "l am thanking," a little further on. In this way, his copy skipped the word grace, for he had lost it in the word "thanking." This shifting from grace to thanks, in English, will be clearer if we explain that thanks, gratitude, grace, rejoice and bounty are all from the same element XAP, in Greek, which means JOY. Sometimes we must translate grace gratitude (1 Cor.10:30). Thanks is WELL-JOY. Surely all who are acquainted with the grace of God can see that there is a much deeper connection than a mere etymological one, for grace is the purest and most inexhaustible source of joy and thanksgiving.

The habit of skipping words found between recurring combinations of letters accounts for many of the omissions found in our modern texts. They should be restored. The compositor of the Greek text of the Unveiling had an experience of this kind in setting up the repetition "out of the tribe of...twelve thousand," and, he, like the scribe of Sinaiticus omitted two tribes by skipping, but was able to correct it, as it was in moveable type.

The key to the sixth and seventh chapters of Romans lies in the fact that they are an expansion of the conclusion of the fifth chapter. "For even as through the disobedience of one man the many were constituted sinners, thus also, through the obedience of one, the many shall be constituted just. Yet law crept in that the offense may increase. Yet where sin increases, grace superexceeds, that, even as Sin reigns in death, thus grace, too, may reign, through righteousness, for eonian life, through Jesus Christ our Lord." Then comes that superlative insistence on grace which is rejected by almost everyone today. "What, then, shall we assert? That we may be persisting in sin that grace may increase?" It is evident from this that, even under such a supposition, grace would exceed. Who believes this today?

Next comes the question of sin. We are not satisfied to sin and allow grace to exceed in that way. We desire deliverance from sin. How can it be obtained? In our loose, unscriptural phraseology we talk of victory over sin. Scripture speaks of victory over the world (John 16:33 and 1 John 5:4) and over the wicked one (1 John 2:13). Yet even this is for the Circumcision. It is not ours to wrestle with blood and flesh, but with the sovereignties, with the authorities, with the world mights of this darkness, with the spiritual forces of wickedness among the celestials. Our panoply includes the readiness of the evangel of peace where we have contact with the world. There is no conflict, hence no victory. But, you will say, are we to have no victory over sin? Accurately speaking, No. We are to die to Sin, and this is more like defeat than victory. Ours is to be resurrection life. By death to sin we are justified or acquitted from sin. If we allow ourselves to come under law, as Paul does in the seventh of Romans, we will soon find that ours is far from a victorious life, for the law changes the character of sin into offense. I cannot put my will into practice. I do things that I hate to do. Sin takes control. Law puts Sin in control. "A wretched man am I! What will rescue me out of this body of death? Grace!" Death to Sin and death to Law is the only escape from their clutches. They can never be conquered by us. But if we, through death to them, escape from their jurisdiction, their power over us is gone and we are free.

Law and grace are opposites in their effects. All failures and short-comings as well as flagrant misdeeds are sin. The Law tells me that God is against all such things, but law does not help me to avoid them. Grace tells me that God, in Christ, has fully provided for all, and gives me power over the flesh so that this very body of death must obey my will. The Law said, "Do or be condemned!" but I could not. Grace says, "There is no condemnation possible now whatever you do." And lo! I am endued with power to fulfill the just requirements of the law by ignoring it altogether!

O, the potency of grace! In material things men do not despise God's gifts but grasp them eagerly though thanklessly. The power He has deposited in the coal strata and which flows in the streams is seized by man for his comfort and blessing. The mellifluous influence of the sun furnishes all the physical energy on which our very lives depend. God gives it freely with unstinted measure and we take it because we must. This is but a parable of the spiritual forces which are ours as freely as the sunlight. Occupation with ourselves or our sin is futile. Attempts at self reformation are fallacious. We are not simply forgiven our past sins: we are justified. Those whom He justifies He glorifies also. And in between our justification and glorification, our path is illuminated and resplendent with that supreme expression of God's love, His undiluted, unbounded, transcendent, undeserved, overwhelming grace.

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