43 The end of Romans; Rom.16:24

43 The end of Romans

The end of the Epistle to the Romans has one obvious difference between the KJV and the NIV. It is the duplication in the KJV of the words “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” both in verse 20 and 24 while verse 24 is wanting in the NIV and other modern versions. Yet when we look at the final chapter as a whole, some interesting possibilities are revealed.

A table showing the manuscript evidence concerning verse 24 is posted at the bottom of this page.

It is interesting to note that this verse is included after verse 27 in one Greek Uncial, six Greek minuscules, three ancient translations as well as one Church Father.

Paul had a definite way to end all his epistles. It is with almost exactly the same blessing, that is the subject of our present discussion.

But the end of Romans shows some remarkable deviances.

In the manuscripts to our avail, the blessing is found in the following places:

Rom 15:33  Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Rom 16:20  … The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Rom 16:24  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Rom 16:27  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

When Paul ends all twelve the other epistles with almost exactly the same words, why would he deviate from his “signature” in this, his sixth epistle?

I propose the following possibility:

Paul probably ended his epistle at first at 15:32, and added his blessing.

Then came along Phoebe, a deacon from Cenchrea, a harbor city very near to Corinth from where Paul was writing this letter. She most probably acted as courier taking the letter to Rome and therefore needed introduction and a word of recommendation. Paul then sends greetings to many people in Rome, some of whom he might have received word via Phoebe. Then he ended his letter at Romans 16:20a, again adding his “signature”.

Since there were a few lines left on the page, Tertius who acted as amanuensis for Paul added his personal greetings. Since it was his own addition, he did not repeat Paul’s “signature” but an attentive scribe immediately missed it, and added it to complete the Epistle.

That is most probably also the reason why it is added to some manuscripts after verse 27.

Let us now pay attention to the doxology found in verses 25-27.

A doxology normally consists of two parts, the first being a statement concerning the directly preceding subject. Rom 16:25-26: “Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him—

The second part is a statement to hail the greatness of God.

Rom 16:27 “… to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen:

Though this is a very typical form of a doxology and corresponds with the doxologies by Paul in Ephesians 3:20-21 and 1Tim. 1:17, this is not the way Paul concludes any of his letters. The way a doxology was composed, would mean that it should be applicable to those to whom Paul was sending his greetings.

Here again we are faced in the manuscripts with some very interesting facts.

Five Uncials and no less than seventeen minuscules, supported by quite a few ancient translations include these words after Romans 14;23. The oldest manuscript we have, Papyrus No. 45 dating from around 200 A.D. has these words after Romans 15:33.

What could we conclude from the fact that a clause is placed at different places in different manuscripts? The only logic answer is that this clause had been a “floating” piece of scripture that accompanied the epistle to Rome from the beginning. Scribes struggled to find the proper place to include this doxology in their copy of the epistle, hence the three possibilities

My conclusion then concerning the end of Romans is twofold.

Paul ended his epistle at Romans 16:20 with his usual “signature-blessing” The repetition of the blessing in verse 24 as an addition by a scribe, following the example in other Pauline epistles.

Secondly the doxology in verses 25-27 is a typical floating statement by Paul of which we cannot be certain of its correct placing in the epistle. Yet, at the end as concluding word to the epistle to Rome, one should apply it to the whole epistle, and not only to the directly preceding matter.

Together with Paul in Rom 11:33 we could proclaim: ” Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!

How Great thou art!

May God bless you!


Romans 16:24

Possibilities: Omitted: Included:
Witness: Greek: Translations: Church Fathers: Greek: Translations: Church Fathers:
101-200 p46
201-300 Sahidic Origen
301-400 ? , B Vulgate, Bohairic Vulgate, Syriac, Gothic
401-500 A, C Ethiopic D Chrysostom, Euthalius, Theodoret
501-600 Old Latin
601-700 p61
701-800 1 Old Latin ? John-Damascus
801-900 Gp 5 Old Latin
901-1000 8 Minuscules 15 Minuscules
1001-1600 2 Old Latin

About Herman of bibledifferences.net

The reasons for the differences between older Bibles like the King James Version and newer Bibles like the New International Version have fascinated me ever since my studies in Theology at the University of Pretoria in the seventies. I have great respect for scribes through the ages as well as Bible translators, so there must be good reasons for the differences. With more than 5600 Greek manuscripts and more than 19000 manuscripts of ancient translations to our disposal, the original autographs of the New Testament can be established without doubt. I investigate the reasons behind the differences and publish the facts in a post on my blogs www.bibledifferences.net (Afrikaans: www.bybelverskille.wordpress.com) to enable my readers to judge for themselves. Personally I love to make an informed decision based of facts. That is why I endeavor to provide that same privilege to the readers of my blogs. Since 1973 I am married to my dear wife and greatest friend, Leah Page, founder director of Act-Up Support (www.actup.co.za) a prayer ministry for families struggling with drug-, occult- and other dependencies. We are blessed with two daughters and two sons, four grand sons and two grand daughters. God is alive and omnipotent! Glory to His Name! Herman Grobler.
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2 Responses to 43 The end of Romans; Rom.16:24

  1. Walt Horning says:

    I have discovered that the differences almost always are exclusively in doctrinal verses, with very few changes in non-doctrinal verses. This means that the differences are not “mistakes” but deliberate changes, per the theory of probability.
    I also have hard evidence that Hort and Westcott Greek New Testament came from the Latin of the Romish church of the 4th century, and not some predecessor Greek text, which means most all modern translations are Catholic, since they use Hort And Westcott extensively.

    • Dear Walt,
      Thank you for this comment touching on two very important aspects concerning the causes for the differences between the KJV and the NIV.
      1. You make the statement that “differences almost always are exclusively in doctrinal verses”. Could you please indicate some of those verses you are referring to. I would like to investigate them.
      2. Concerning the Westcott and Hort Greek New Testament: To my knowledge no recent translation has ever utilised their text as source at all. Present translators use either the Nestle Aland text, or the United Bible Societies Texts. These texts are compiled using the available Greek manuscripts all over the world. If you ever have the opportunity, do take one in hand and see for yourself how it is compiled. Let us look at the UBS-text: Their proposed text is printed in the upper part of the page. At the bottom part they first indicate how strong they consider their choice, A for certain through D meaning that their choice has the same strength as the first variation given. Then the evidence for their choice is given by naming all the Greek manuscripts, then the ancient translations and even the Church Fathers quoting this variation. After that, the most important variation is given with its evidence followed by any other variations. This means that the translator has an immediate oversight on all known evidence concerning that variation! If the translator for what ever reason does not agree with the choice UBS made, he has access to the evidence available all over the world to defend his choice. The New Testament was written in Greek, and not translated from some “Latin of the Romish church of the 4th century.” This also means that modern translations are really not “Catholic” The person telling you such things is either himself confused or lacks insight and evidence.
      The King James Version on the other hand, was translated using the Textus Receptus, a late form of the first printed Greek Text by Desiderius Erasmus. He compiled his own text using no mere than two manuscripts for the different parts of the New Testament. He made some unique alterations himself without any Greek evidence at all. As a devote Roman Catholic he also made some alterations to bring his text to correspond with the Roman Vulgate! So in fact it is the KJV that is influenced by the Roman Catholics with an altered text, and not the NIV! One obvious text is 1 John 5:7-8! (Look it up in the “Scriptures” registry on this blog.)
      God bless,

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