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"Died once for all"

In the following e-mail exchange, the e-mailer's comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.


>Subject: Bible Version Questions

I happened across your site and noticed you had done a lot of research on differing Bible versions. I read your correspondence on these with [Jay] Green, and just purchased and started reading your Bible version book.

I too am struggling to find an accurate version to read that reflects what God wrote. I have looked at numerous versions and verses, and also have the Hebrew Greek Interlinear by Green. I notice some problems that you might shed light on for me.

for in that he died, to the sin he died once, and in that he liveth, he liveth to God;
(Rom 6:10 YLT)

For in that He died, He died to sin once; but in that He lives, He lives to God.
(Rom 6:10 MKJV)

For in that He died, He died to sin once for all; but in that He lives, He lives to God.
(Rom 6:10 LITV)

For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
(Rom 6:10 NASB)

For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
(Rom 6:10 NKJV)

For what [death] He died, He died once for all [time] to sin, but what [life] He lives, He lives to God.
(Rom 6:10 ALT)

A few of these support the correct (my opinion) Calvinist view that Christ died for only those the Father gave Him. The others support the Arminian position that He died for all. To me this seems a critical difference. If it was written "once and for all" that would support the accurate rendering.

I reviewed this with our Pastor who has a PhD in Greek, and teaches Greek as well at Golden Gate Baptist Seminary. He agrees that the Greek does not support "once for all" but rather "died once."

Any comments?

Thank you.
Rocky
1/24/04<

Note: The issue here is the extent of the atonement. Arminians believe Jesus died for all people, while Calvinists believe Jesus only died for the elect. My response has been update for inclusion here:

You quote my ALT [Analytical-Literal Translation] from the First Edition. For the Second Edition, I changed this to:

For what [death] He died, He died once [and] for all [fig., once and never again] to sin, but what [life] He lives, He lives to God.

I am keeping this rendering for the forthcoming ALT3. The reason for the change is the Greek word here clearly means something that is done only once, never to be repeated. In no way can it be taken to mean "once for all people." I even had someone email me saying his pastor was teaching this. That is indefensible for someone who should know Greek. Simply, put, there is no "all" (Greek, pas) in the Greek text. The phrase "once for all" (or however it is translated) comes from one Greek word: ephapax. It means:

adverb; (1) as a numerical time concept at the same time, at once, all together (probably 1C 15.6); (2) as a single occurrence once, one time only (possibly 1C 15.6); (3) as a religious technical term for the uniqueness and singularity of the Christ's death and the resultant redemption once (and) for all (HE 10.10) (Friberg's lexicon, as found on BibleWorkstm for Windowstm).

The following verses from Hebrews use the same word.

26For such a High Priest was fitting for us: holy, innocent, undefiled, having been separated from the sinful and having become higher [than] the heavens, 27who does not have a daily need like the high priests to be first offering up sacrifice on behalf of His own sins then for the [sins] of the people; for this He did once [and] for all [fig., once and never again], having offered up Himself.

11But Christ having appeared [as] High Priest of the good [things] coming, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with human hands (that is, not of this creation), 12and not through [the] blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, entered in once [and] for all [fig., once and never again] into the Holy [Places], having secured eternal redemption.

8[After] saying above, "Sacrifice and offering and in whole-burnt offerings and [sacrifices] concerning sin You did not desire, nor took pleasure in" (which according to the Law are offered), 9then He has said, "Look! I have come to do Your will, O God." He abolishes the first so that He shall establish the second, 10by which will we have been sanctified, the [ones] through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once [and] for all! [fig., once and never again!]

The meaning here is clear. Jesus' death was a one time event, never to be repeated. That is the point of all of these verses. They are not dealing with the extent of the atonement.


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