NIV Romans 1:

11I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.

It sounds like he's saying that he has no specific agenda, he just hopes to be a blessing. However, in the rest of the passage he is crystal clear that he intends to bring to them the gospel of the the grace of God:

NIV Romans 1:

13I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,d that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

14I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.

16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,e just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”f

Was Paul being "delicate" with the Romans by playing down that his intention was to bring an unashamed proclamation of Christ's saving death and resurrection which had caused so much upheaval and contention everywhere?

I find that hard to accept since Paul is nothing if he isn't quite bold and blunt.

Is being mistranslated? Might it ought to read "a specific spiritual gift"?


In order to facilitate investigation I'm reproducing the entry for the word from BDAG. I've highlighted the gamma section which BDAG associates with the Romans 1:11 usage:

τὶς, τὶ, gen. τινός, dat. τινί, acc. τινά, τὶ(Hom.+) enclitic, indefinite pronoun (W-S.§26, 1–4; B-D-F §301 al.; Rob. 741–44)
① a ref. to someone or someth.indefinite, anyone, anything; someone, something; many a one/thing, a certain one
ⓐ subst.
α. τὶς, τινές
א . someone, anyone, somebody Mt 12:29,47; Mk 8:4; 9:30; 11:16; Lk 8:46; 9:57; 13:6,23; J 2:25; 6:46; Ac 5:25; 17:25; Ro 5:7ab; 1 Cor 15:35; 2 Cor 11:20 (five times); Hb 3:4; Js 2:18; 2 Pt 2:19 al. Pl. τινές some, a number of (people—supplied as in Appian, Hann. 47 §203 λαβών τινας=he received some, i.e.people; TestAbr B 14 p. 118, 20 [Stone p. 84]; TestJob 9:8; Just., A I, 28, 2) Lk 13:1; Ac 15:1; Gal 2:12; 2 Th 3:11; anyone 2 Pt 3:9b(TestAbr B 12 p. 116, 24 [Stone p. 80] εἶδεν … τινὰς ἀπερχομένους εἰς ἔρημον τόπον).—In contrast to a majority made evident by the context some of those present (Appian, Bell. Civ. 1, 26 §119 ἔφερόν τινες) Mk 14:65; J 13:29a; of all (under consideration) 1 Cor 8:7; 9:22. ἀνατρέπουσιν τήν τινων πίστιν 2 Tim 2:18; AcPlCor 1:2.—W. partitive gen.(Diod S 2, 24, 4; Plut., Mor. 189a τῶν ἐχθρῶν τις; Epict. 2, 14, 1 τὶς τῶν Ῥωμαϊκῶν; TestReub 4:2 τινὶ τῶν ἀδελφῶν; Ar. 12, 7 τινὲς … αὐτῶν; Just., A I, 27, 3; Tat. 36, 2) τὶς τῶν Φαρισαίων (some) one of the Pharisees, a Pharisee Lk 7:36. Cp. 11:45; Ac 5:15. τὶς ὑμῶν 1 Cor 6:1. Pl. τινὲς τῶν γραμματέωνsome (of the) scribes Mt 9:3. Cp. 12:38; 28:11; Mk 7:1f; 12:13; Lk 6:2; Ac 10:23; 12:1; 17:18a, 28; 1 Cor 10:7–10 al.—Also τὶς ἐκ (Plut., Galba 1065 [27, 2]; Appian, Bell. Civ. 3, 84 §343 τὶς ἐκ τῆς βουλῆς) τὶς ἐξ ὑμῶνJs 2:16; Hb 3:13; GJs 24:2. Pl. τινὲς ἐξ αὐτῶν(Jos., Bell. 1, 311; Just., D. 85, 1 τινὲς ἐξ ὑμῶν) Lk 11:15. Cp. J 6:64; 7:25, 44; 9:16; 11:37, 46; Ac 15:24.—τὶς ἐν ὑμῖν any one among you, any of you Js 5:13a, 14, 19. ἐν ὑμῖν τινες 1 Cor 15:12.—ταῦτά τινες ἦτεsome of you were that sort of people 6:11(οὗτος 1bζ). τινές described by a rel. clause (Dionysius Com. [IV b.c.] 11 εἰσίν τινες νῦν, οὓς … ) Mk 9:1. τὶς in 14:47 is prob. not original (PDickerson, JBL 116, ’97, 302).
ב . with suggestion of non-specificity in a context where an entity is specified to some extent τίς a certain pers., etc., of a definite pers. Lk 9:49; 2 Cor 2:5; 10:7; 11:21 (of an opponent as UPZ 146, 2 [II b.c.]; Sallust. 12 p. 24, 20; 24.—Artem. 4, 22 p. 214, 20ff τὶς … οὗ ἐγὼ καίπερ εὖ εἰδὼς τὸ ὄνομα οὐκ ἐπιμνησθήσομαι; Tat. 27, 1 [of Callimachus]). Pl. τινές certain people, etc. (Crates, Ep. 32 [p. 82 Malherbe]; Demosth. 25, 40, Ep. 3, 8; Diod S 15, 18, 1; Appian, Bell. Civ. 5, 112 §470 ‘certain’ people who had conspired to cause trouble; Iambl., Myst. 1, 13 p. 43, 2 P.; Sallust. 4 p. 4, 28) Ro 3:8; 1 Cor 4:18; 15:34; 2 Cor 3:1; 1 Ti 1:3, 19 al.; 2 Pt 3:9a. W. a name added ἦν δέ τις ἀσθενῶν, Λάζαρος there was a man who was ill, named L. J 11:1(begins like a story that originally circulated independently; cp. Alcman 84 Diehl2 ἦσκέ[=ἦν] τις Καφεὺς ἀνάσσων=there was once someone, named Capheus, who ruled). The name is also added in Ac 18:7. W. a subst. ptc.τινές εἰσι οἱ ταράσσοντες Gal 1:7 (cp. Lysias19, 57 εἰσί τινες οἱ προαναλίσκοντες).
ג . For εἷς τις s. εἷς 3c. For εἴ τις s. εἰ 7. ἐάν τις (TestAbr B 13 p. 118, 7 [Stone p. 84]; Just., D. 46, 1 ἐὰν δέ τινε) Mt 21:3a; 24:23; Mk 11:3; Lk 16:30; J 6:51 al.; Ac 13:41(Hab 1:5); 1 Cor 8:10; 10:28; Col 3:13a; 1 Ti 1:8; 2 Ti 2:5; Js 2:14; 1J 2:1, 15; 4:20; Rv 3:20; 22:18f. ἐὰν μή τις if someone … not J 3:3, 5; 15:6; if no one Ac 8:31. τὶς w. a neg.no one, nobody οὐ … τὶς J 10:28. οὐδὲ … τὶςMt 11:27; 12:19. οὔτε … τὶς Ac 28:21. οὐ …ὑπό τινος 1 Cor 6:12. μή τις that no one Mt 24:4; Mk 13:5; Ac 27:42; 1 Cor 1:15; 16:11; 2 Cor 8:20; 11:16a; Eph 2:9; 1 Th 5:15; Hb 4:11 al. πρὸς τὸ μή τινα 1 Th 2:9. ὥστε μὴ …τινά Mt 8:28.
ד . The ptc. that belongs directly w. the indef. pron. is added w. the art. πρός τινας τοὺς πεποιθότας to some who put their trustLk 18:9. Cp. 2 Cor 10:2; Gal 1:7; Col 2:8.But it also stands without the art: τινῶν λεγόντων when some were talking Lk 21:5.Cp. 1 Ti 6:10, 21; Hb 10:28.
ה . corresponding τὶς … ἕτερος δέsomeone … and another 1 Cor 3:4. τινὲς (μὲν) … τινὲς (δέ) Lk 9:7f; Phil 1:15 (τινὲς μὲν …τινὲς δέ as Diod S 12, 41, 6; Ar. 8, 2).
ו . each one καθώς τις ἄξιός ἐστιν κατοικεῖν as each one deserves to dwell Hs 8, 2, 5a. Cp. 8, 4, 2. B-D-F §301, 2.
β. τὶ, τινά
א . something, anything ὁ ἀδελφός σου ἔχει τι κατὰ σοῦ Mt 5:23. Cp. 20:20; Mk 8:23; 9:22; 13:15; Lk 7:40; 11:54; J 13:29a; 1 Cor 10:31 al.—W. partitive gen. (Diod S20, 39, 3 τινὰ τῶν ἀφηρπασμένων=some of what had been seized [by the enemy]; Just., D. 2, 4 τὶ τῶν εἰς εὐδαιμονίαν συντελούντωνsomething that contributes to happiness) τὶ τῶν ὑπαρχόντων Ac 4:32. Cp. Ro 15:18; Eph 5:27. τὶ ἀγαθοῦ Hs 5, 3, 3.
ב . in negative statements not (nor) anything = nothing οὔτε … τὶ Ac 25:8. οὐδὲ … τὶ 1 Ti 6:7 (TestJob 11:12; cp. JosAs 10:20 μηδὲ … τινό).
ג . τινὰ μὲν … τινὰ δέ some … others (w.ref. to πρόβατα and hence neut.) Hs 6, 2, 2.
ד . On εἴ τι s. εἰ 7.
ה . εἶναί τι be or amount to someth. Gal 2:6; 1 Cor 3:7. εἰ δοκεῖ τις εἶναί τι μηδὲν ὤνGal 6:3 (s. 2 below and s. W-S. §26, 3).
ⓑ adj.
α. some, any, a certain, though oft.omitted in transl. into Engl.; used with
א . a subst. τὶς: ἱερεύς τις Lk 1:5; 10:31.ἀνήρ (a narrative begins in this way Syntipasp. 16, 4; 30, 3; 46, 16; 57, 1; Just., D. 81, 4 [of John]) Ac 3:2; 8:9a; 14:8. ἄνθρωπος Mt 18:12 (JosAs 28:4). κώμη Lk 17:12 (Just., A I, 34, 2). Cp. 7:2, 41; 18:2; J 4:46; Ac 27:8; Hb 4:7.—τὶ: ὕδωρ Ac 8:36. σκεῦος 10:11.
ב . a proper name (X., Hell. 5, 4, 3; Jos., Ant. 12, 160; Ar. 10, 1 Ἥφαιστόν τινα; Just., A I, 26, 4 Μένανδρον … τινά; Ath. 12, 1 Μίνως τις) Σίμωνά τινα a certain Simon Lk 23:26; Ac 10:5f; Mk 15:21. Σίμων τιςAcPlCor 1:2. Cp. Ac 21:16; 22:12; 25:19b.
ג . an adj. or adjectival pron. μέγας Ac 8:9b. ἕτερός τις vs. 34 (GrBar 6:6; Just., D. 128, 4; Mel., P. 26, 180). τὶς ἕτερος Papias (2, 4). τὶς ἄλλος 1 Cor 1:16; Phil 3:4 (TestAbr B 6 p. 110, 7 [Stone p. 68] ἄλλο τι; TestJob 11:2 ἄλλοι τινές; Just., D. 6, 1 ἄλλο τι). τινὲς ἄλλοι(Diod S 5, 81, 4 ἄλλοι τινὲς [τ. ποιητῶν]; Jos., Ant. 8, 248; Just., D. 84, 4 ἄλλαι τινές) Ac 15:2. τὶ ἀγαθόν Ro 9:11; Hs 2:10. ἀσφαλές τιAc 25:26. Cp. Hb 11:40.—In neg. statements (TestAbr A 8 p. 86, 3 [Stone p. 20]) not any = no Lk 11:36; Js 5:12.
β. serving to moderate or heighten
א . to moderate an expr. that is too definite (Just., D. 48, 1 [λόγος] … παράδοξός τις …δοκεῖ μοι εἶναι [your statement], in my judgment, does not make much sense; Diod S1, 1, 3; Appian, Bell. Civ. 1, 15 §65 οἷά τινες δορυφόροι=as a kind of bodyguard) ἀπαρχήν τινα a kind of first-fruits Js 1:18 (Appian, Bell. Civ. 3, 39 §162 τὶς μετάνοια=something like remorse; 3, 77 §314 συγγνώμη τις=some kind of pardon).—So perh. δύο τινὰς τῶν μαθητῶν several disciples, perhaps two Lk 7:18 (cp. Appian, Bell. Civ. 2, 59 §245 δύο τινάς=a few [ships], about two; Jos., Ant. 16, 274). But the expr. in Ac 23:23 τινὰς δύο τῶν ἑκατονταρχῶν certainly means two, who simply cannot be more closely defined (s. W-S. §26, 1b; Rob. 742; Mlt-Turner 195).
ב . w. adjectives of quality and quantity to heighten the rhetorical emphasis φοβερά τις ἐκδοχὴ κρίσεως Hb 10:27. βραχύ τι (only) a little 2:7, 9 (Ps 8:6).
**γ. of an indefinite quantity that is nevertheless not without importance, some, considerable χρόνον τινά (Diod S 13, 75, 6 μετά τινα χρόνον; Jos., Ant. 8, 398) Ac 18:23; 1 Cor 16:7. Cp. Ro 1:11, 13. μέρος τι 1 Cor 11:18.**
δ. τινές several (Appian, Bell. Civ. 2, 49 §202 ἱππεῖς τινες; Just., D. 50, 2 λόγους τινάς; Ath. 23, 1 τινὰς … ἐνεργείας) ἡμέρας τινάςAc 9:19; 10:48; 15:36. γυναῖκές τινες Lk 8:2.Cp. Ac 15:2; 17:5f al.—On its position in the sentence s. W-S. §26, 4; B-D-F §473, 1; Rob.743.
② a ref. to someone of prominence, a person of importance τὶς εἶναι τις to be a person of importance, to be somebody (Eur., El. 939; Theocr. 11, 79; Herodas 6, 54; Epict. 3, 14, 2, Ench. 13; Lucian, Lexiph. 22, Adv. Indoct. 1; Tat. 16, 2 εἶναί τινες; PGM 13, 288 ἐγώ εἰμί τις) λέγων εἶναί τινα ἑαυτόν claiming to be somebody Ac 5:36; IEph 3:1 (so also τὶ; s. 1aβה above; antonym s.v. οὐδείς 2bβ).—DELG. M-M. EDNT.

In addition I note that he uses the same word two verses later:

NIV Romans 1:13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a (τινὰ) harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

It seems to me that his usage in verse 13 has the sense of "some" in the sense of "some measure of harvest". In other words, "some" is a quantity rather than a place holder for any kind of gift.

2 Answers 2


"Some spiritual gift" is a good translation. It does seem a little vague but this is not because Paul was being delicate about his intent to proclaim his version of the Gospel. Indeed he makes his intent on this score quite clear almost immediately, as the OP itself makes clear.

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: for Jew first, and then Greek. 17 For in it is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith; as it is written, “The one who is righteous by faith will live.”

The OP suggests: "some" is a quantity rather than a place holder for any kind of gift. That could be. But even if it is a place holder for 'any kind of gift,' this would not mean Paul was "fudging on his agenda."

Paul believed he was God's minister. He felt strongly that God had gifted him spiritually. He wanted to share his spiritual gifts with the Roman congregation, and he had seen many examples of churches being blessed by his ministry. He may not have know exactly how the congregation would be gifted, but he was confident that God would work through him to do so.


The version quoted "some spiritual gift" is an accurate translation of the Greek. Many versions have something very similar, eg, NRSV, ESV, NIV, NASB, etc. Paul's agenda was clear - he wanted to preach the Gospel as pointed out. BUT - the gospel ALWAYS comes with the Holy Spirit to teach of Jesus (John 16:13, 14, see also 1 Cor 1:7). That is, it is impossible to have the Gospel without the Holy Spirit and the gift(s) that He brings. Passages like Rom 12:6–8, 1 Cor 12:4–11, 28, and Eph 4:11 all explain that every converted Christian receives some spiritual gift which varies according to the will of the Holy Spirit. Paul's comment means little more than wanting to ensure that the Romans had the gift of the Spirit and all that come with that gift to better know Jesus.

To be technical, the Greek word translated "some" is "ti" and is (see ANLEX) an adjective, pronominal, indefinite, accusative, neuter, singular whose cognate root is "tis". This latter word means someone or something, anyone or anything. Hence its designation as "enclitic indefinite pronoun".

  • ANLEX = Analytical Lexicon of the New Testament by T Friberg, B Friberg, N F Miller, Trafford publishing, 2005, Canada, etc. Several such books have been published, any of them will provide an almost identical answer. In this context, most understand the abbreviation ANLEX. There is another famous ANLEX for the Hebrew OT by Davidson.
    – user25930
    Sep 5, 2018 at 22:06
  • I wouldn't think that Paul would speak of "imparting" such a gift, as they are distributed by the spirit as God wills. Also, that would be plural; "gifts" since he teaches at length that not all have the same gifts.
    – Ruminator
    Sep 5, 2018 at 22:54
  • The ANLEX entry is for the word (in Greek) "ti" and "tis".
    – user25930
    Sep 6, 2018 at 11:40
  • I cited (quoted in my question) the full entry from BDAG and showed that BDAG indicated that Paul was referring to "quantity" as in "some apples". You "counter" here by appealing to English translations and a source that you do not quote in your answer. You just drop the name as if name-dropping is citing. Show us where "ANLEX" (which doesn't show up in Google so I doubt your assertion that this is a term we should have all recognized) says that the word "means" what you say it "means". You have not made your case.
    – Ruminator
    Sep 9, 2018 at 19:04
  • Unfortunately, your quote from BDAG agrees with the ANLEX. I do not understand your obvious frustration. In any case, if you wish to conduct a debate this is NOT the site - it should be conducted in a debating forum.
    – user25930
    Sep 9, 2018 at 21:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.