that form of doctrine which was delivered "you". KJV

KJV. The form of doctrine was delivered.

New American Standard Bible. "you were committed".

Christian Standard Bible. "you were handed over".

Douay-Rheims Bible. "you have been delivered".

Why is the KJV different:

1.Translators make mistakes.

2.The Greek is not clear.

3.The translators had a bias.

4.Another reason?

  • Interesting question +1 and answered below.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 11, 2020 at 17:26
  • 1
    The Greek here reads something like in the you-being-delivered type of-faith, and the logical question naturally arising for the potential translator(s), is whether they are being delivered with the faith, or unto the faith ? If the former, then that's just as saying that the faith has been given unto them (see Jude 1:3), which is roughly the opposite direction as the one resulting from choosing the latter option, where they are being handed over unto the faith, rather than the other way around.
    – Lucian
    Aug 12, 2020 at 1:30
  • 1
    The main reason many translators opt for the latter is most likely because Paul would have otherwise used it-being-delivered instead of you-being-delivered; nevertheless, this would also have required the presence of an extra pronoun, which Paul otherwise avoids within the same passage, by placing verbs in the appropriate person-and-number, without explicitly mentioning the afferent personal pronoun, since, in Greek and many languages other than English, verb endings carry such grammatical information.
    – Lucian
    Aug 12, 2020 at 2:05

2 Answers 2


The Greek seems abundantly clear to me :

Literally :

... but ye obeyed out of (ek) the heart unto (eis) that ye were delivered - a form of doctrine.

ητε δουλοι της αμαρτιας υπηκουσατε δε εκ καρδιας εις ον παρεδοθητε τυπον διδαχης

Romans 6:17 [TR undisputed]

The logic of the sentence is 'out of the heart' 'unto the doctrine'. The matter of 'delivery' is how the doctrine was administered to them.

I cannot see how anyone could misunderstand this but some translators seem to have done so.

παρεδοθητε is second person, plural, aorist 1, indicative passive (1). 'You were delivered'.

But the subject of 'you were delivered' comes after the verb : 'the form of doctrine'.

I think it is the Greek word order that has tripped up some English translators. But I see the KJV to be correct - in logic and in translation.

But, at the end of the day, it does not make a difference big enough to argue over. The doctrine of Christ is delivered to the church. And the doctrine of Christ delivers the church.

However, there is a difference in emphasis. 'The form of doctrine delivered you' agrees with the sentiment expressed by Jude -

... that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints

Jude 3 [KJV]

If anyone can prove the grammar to be otherwise, that is to say that in Romans 6:17 it truly should read 'the form of doctrine into which ye have been delivered' (D-R), which sounds exceeding strange to my own ears, then, if the KJV translators are truly incorrect, it may have been Jude 3 which they had in the back of their mind.

(1) Bagster's Analytical Greek Lexicon p 307.

  • @ Nigel literal "ye were slaves" verse 17. It would be normal I suppose, for a slave to be delivered when transferred from one owner to the next.
    – C. Stroud
    Aug 11, 2020 at 20:02

Let me try to answer the OP's concern from a different angle.

All 28 versions at https://biblehub.com/romans/6-17.htm agree on the following:

  1. The Romans were once slave to sin.
  2. Paul and the apostles showed them the teachings of Jesus.
  3. Now they obeyed this new teaching.

No problem. The problem is the Greek word παρεδόθητε, or rather how different versions translate this word in its passive form.

HELPS Word-studies:

3860 paradídōmi (from 3844 /pará, "from close-beside" and 1325 /dídōmi, "give") – properly, to give (turn) over; "hand over from," i.e. to deliver over with a sense of close (personal) involvement.

The idea is that Paul et al closely and lovingly delivered the teachings of Jesus to the Romans so much so that they wholeheartedly committed to the new teachings.

I think this is one verse where formal equivalence translation is not as good as dynamic equivalence.

King James Bible

But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

New Living Translation:

Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you.

Hope this help.

  • Cambridge commentary says "the form of doctrine into which you were delivered", is correct. It argues that the Christian has been taken, by Divine mercy, from the hands of one Master to be put into the hands of another.
    – C. Stroud
    Aug 12, 2020 at 9:59

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