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In Romans 8:19-21, we read about creation waiting for things to be restored because it was subjected to "frustration."

NIV:

19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

KJV:

19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

In my mind, the "in hope" part makes more sense in terms of creation waiting in hope for the "children of God to be revealed" and not that it was "subjected to frustration in hope" As a result, this verse makes the most sense to me when most of verse 20 is set off as a parenthetical expression:

For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed , ( for the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it), in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

This ties the first and last phrase together:

For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

My question:

My question is in regards to how punctuation is chosen. My understanding is that there is no punctuation in any of the source material. How do we know or not know that the period at the end of verse 19 was intended? How do we know that most of verse 20 wasn't a parenthetical?

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    Hi pbarney, welcome to BH.SE! Please do take the Site Tour to understand more about the scope of the site and how it may differ from other SE's you're familiar with. This is a great first question. +1 – Steve Taylor Aug 13 '20 at 14:24
  • That’s a rather long parenthetical though. – Bill Aug 14 '20 at 23:08
  • @Bill, true, but the again, it is Paul we're talking about who was the master of the run-on sentence. – pbarney Aug 15 '20 at 17:09
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There is no punctuation in the original manuscripts. Punctuations are added by the English translators according to the English language syntax rules. Parentheses are added according to interpretations of the translators. Paragraphs are also introduced by translators. Even chapter and verse divisions are not in the original manuscripts.

The notion of a sentence is the same in Hebrew, Greek, and English. It is a complete utterance that can stand by itself. Even without the formal period punctuation, there are clues suggesting the end of a sentential thought.

https://bible.org/article/kigar-and-wawkai-are-often-markers-and-not-words-be-translated:

The New Testament use of γαρ “is in accord with that of the classic [Greek] period.”

The Greek word γὰρ works often like the punctuation period.

Romans 8:19 For [γὰρ] the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For [γὰρ] the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that h the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

How do we know or not know that the period at the end of verse 19 was intended?

The presence of γὰρ is a rather strong indication in this case according to the usual Greek translation practice.

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