Questions about Bible Misinterpretations: Romans 1:7—Does this verse prove that Jesus is God the Father, as Oneness Pentecostals believe?

 

Misinterpretation: In Romans 1:7 we read the salutation, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (nasb). Oneness Pentecostals argue that the word “and” (Greek kai) in the phrase “God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” should be translated “even.” It should thus read, “God our Father, even the Lord Jesus Christ.” Translated this way, Jesus and the Father are seen to be one and the same person (Graves, 1977, 50–51; cf. Bernard, 1983, 207–11). This means Jesus is the Father.

Correcting the Misinterpretation: While it is true that the Greek word kai can be translated “even” in certain verses, context determines the appropriate translation. Even Oneness Pentecostal scholar Brent Graves admits this (Graves, 52). The fact is, Greek scholars universally agree that in context, kai in Romans 1:7 should be translated “and.” Most occurrences of kai in the New Testament are translated “and,” not “even.” This means that the burden of proof is on Oneness Pentecostals to demonstrate that the word must be translated with its secondary meaning (“even”) and not its primary meaning (“and”) in Romans 1:7.

However kai is translated, the verses immediately prior to and immediately after Romans 1:7 show personal distinction between the Father and Jesus Christ. For example, Jesus is called God’s “Son” in verse 3, and in verse 8 Paul thanks “God through Jesus Christ” for the Roman Christians. It is the uniform testimony of Scripture that Jesus and the Father are distinct persons (within the unity of the one God). See the discussion of Matthew 28:19.[1]


[1] Geisler, N. L., & Rhodes, R. (1997). When cultists ask: a popular handbook on cultic misinterpretations (pp. 207–208). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

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