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A parallel Bible I used this morning from the 1800s notes that the Greek "προέθετο" from Romans 3:25 can be alternatively translated as "foreordained." However, modern parallel and interlinear Bible references don't include this alternative at all and I've had trouble finding more than a handful of websites that mention it.

(KJV) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation...

(ALT) Whom God hath foreordained to be a propitiation...

Is the connotation of "foreordained" no longer considered acceptable for the word or this verse?

Edit: The Parallel Bible (The Authorised Version of 1611 arranged in Parallel Columns with the Revised Version 1885/1881), Oxford University Press, 1886, New Testament pg 181 (Rom 3:25) margin note for set forth from the authorised version: "or foreordained." Margin note for set forth from the revised version: "or purposed."

My question isn't about the grammar, but the continued acceptance of the word "foreordained" as an alternative translation to "set forth."

  • The KJV translation in Romans 3:25 'set forth' does seem to be at variance with 'purposed' in Romans 1:13 and in Ephesians 1:9, the only other two occurrences of προτίθεμαι in scripture Strong 4388 Up-voted +1. – Nigel J Feb 2 '19 at 0:35
  • As asked your question seems to relate to the opinions of unnamed persons rather than the grammar. Can you please make the question about the grammar rather than about opinions. Thanks. – Ruminator Feb 2 '19 at 9:54
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    @Ruminator, I don't know how to do that since the question is about the minority opinion of an English translation from the Greek. However, I did edit the question to include a full citation that sources my question, if it helps. – JBH Feb 2 '19 at 17:11
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The root word here is "protithemi" for which BDAG gives three shades of meaning:

  1. to set something before someone as something to be done, set before someone as a task/duty. This meaning is not used in the NT.
  2. to set forth publicly, display publicly, make available publicly, eg, Rom 3:25.
  3. to have something in mind beforehand, plan, propose, intend; eg, Eph 1:9, Rom 1:13.

Here is a quick potted survey of translations of this word in English versions for the last 500 years:

  • William Tyndale (1526) has "hath made"
  • Geneva Bible (1560) has "set forthe"
  • KJV (1611) has "set forth"
  • KJV (1769) has "set forth"
  • ERV (1901) has "set forth"
  • YLV (1898) has "set forth"
  • ESV has "put forward"
  • NIV has "presented"
  • NASB has "displayed publicly"
  • ASV has "set forth"

The only exceptions to this fairly uniform picture of translation I found was in the 1611 KJV edition where the marginal reference offers "foreordained" as alternative to "set forth". I assume this was a minority view at the time.

In modern English, "foreordained" carries the connotation of "predestinate" (OED). This is different from any of the above meanings, include the authoritative BDAG.

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  • Which changed? Did the definition of "foreordained" change since the mid 1800s? or did the definition of the ancient Greek "protithemi" become more clear since the mid 1800s? As mentioned in my post, this alternative definition came from a mid-1800s parallel bible. – JBH Feb 2 '19 at 7:40
  • I am not sure anything changed. Even the KJV (1611) has "set forth" which is consistent with meaning #2 above. Tyndales's verson (1526) has something similar. That is a fairly consistent meaning over 500 years! What reference are you quoting? – user25930 Feb 2 '19 at 8:18
  • The Parallel Bible (The Authorised Version of 1611 arranged in Parallel Columns with the Revised Version 1885/1881), Oxford University Press, 1886, New Testament pg 181 (Rom 3:25) margin note for set forth from the authorised version: "or foreordained." Margin note for set forth from the revised version: "or purposed." – JBH Feb 2 '19 at 17:07
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    Note that the question of "foreordained" isn't coming from a translation, but a margin note, I assume referring to a minority opinion about the translation. This is why I keep referring to it as an "alternative translation." – JBH Feb 2 '19 at 17:09
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    I'm editing and typesetting a book where the author uses the Parallel Bible margin note reference to make a point. It may not have been supported by the majority in 1886, but it was supported well enough to find its way into a book and thereafter be cited by another. I'm trying to decide whether or not to challenge the author on the issue and thought this site could tell me if something changed to make the margin note reference disappear from modern scholarship, which it appears to have done. – JBH Feb 2 '19 at 21:27

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