28 And we know that all things are working-together for good for the ones loving God, the ones being called ones according to His purpose. 29 Because whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be similar-to-the-form of the image of His Son, so that He might be firstborn among many brothers. 30 And whom He predestined, these He also called. And whom He called, these He also declared-righteous. And whom He declared righteous, these He also glorified. (Romans 8 DLNT)

Paul begins verse 28 using the article; then in verse 29 shifts to the pronoun; then in verse 30 he begins the three works of God using the same relative pronoun but the result of a work is described with a demonstrative pronoun. Then the next work again begins with the relative pronoun and its result is described with a demonstrative pronoun:

8:28 τοῖς --> τοῖς
8:29               οὓς
8:30                   οὓς [προώρισεν]  --> τούτους [ἐκάλεσεν]
8:30                   οὓς [ἐκάλεσεν]   --> τούτους [ἐδικαίωσεν]
8:30                   οὓς [ἐδικαίωσεν] --> τούτους [ἐδόξασεν]

Why not simply say whom He predestined, He also called, and whom He called, He declared righteous and whom He declared righteous, He glorified?

Does the manner in which Paul chose to describe the different works suggest not all move from one state to the next or does it show all must move from one state to the next? Does the use of the pronouns mean all five works happen at once or does it describe a process which must proceed in the exact sequence?

What is the significance of the use of different pronouns in verse 30?

  • Are you asking why the relative pronoun is used firstly and then the demonstrative pronoun secondly, on the three occasions in verse 30 ? (Up-voted +1.)
    – Nigel J
    Mar 28, 2021 at 2:19
  • I do not understand what you are asking here. The Greek Paul uses (predictably) is excellent Greek. What is the problem?
    – Dottard
    Mar 28, 2021 at 8:10
  • @Dottard if the demonstrative pronoun was left off isn't the same result described? So is the reason it was added is to indicate not all move from one state to the next or to show all must move from one state to the next? Does the use mean all happen at once or is there a process which then must proceed in the specific sequence? Mar 29, 2021 at 15:00
  • OK - THAT is an excellent question so why not say that in your OP?
    – Dottard
    Mar 29, 2021 at 20:50

2 Answers 2


In 28, the dative articles, tois … tois, are demonstrative adjectives modifying verbal adjectives. They effectively identify “the ones” loving God with “the ones” purposefully called, for whose good God works all things. In 29 Paul looks at the beginning and the end of a deliberate process. The foreknowing, in light of 28 and the “gar” (introducing the explanation for 28), is more than a passive, non-purposed acknowledgement. He uses the one pronoun, hous, to cover both “opening batsmen” in a lovingly-purposed process where God’s sights are set on the ultimate glorification of each person making up “those whom” he foreknew and also predestined. In 30, he inserts two steps between the openers and the goal, the calling of 28 and their justification. This time, each hous (which might be seen as a mixed demonstrative-relative pronoun) is treated to its own straight-demonstrative pronoun (toutous), indicating that there are not merely four groups in this verse (there is no singular pronoun for a group) but that the very same individuals are the beneficiaries of each stage from beginning to end. The repeated refrain is “(Those) whom … these”, and not “Of (those) whom … some (or many)”. Note, too, how, with each pair, the “kai” (“also”) requires that the same people are the objects of the two actions. In the light of prior—and ensuing—discussion of suffering of God’s heirs, the message is that in “all things” God’s purpose that all his sons enter their glorious inheritance will not be thwarted.

As for the word order, compare Ro.8:30 with Jn 15:13: Greater (object modifier) love (object) than this has (verb) no-one (subject). The more common Greek word order, of verb, subject, object, modifier, is juggled so that the object and its modifier receive the emphasis. In Ro. 8:30, the placement of the “(those) who” clause adjacent to the antecedent action provides a defining link to “these”, the plural object of the action in the main clause. Compare also Proverbs 3:12 (LXX): “For whom the Lord loves, he disciplines …” In Ro.8:30, in each of the advancing ‘refrains’, the subordinate clause takes precedence. This, the “hous” clause, is either (a) a “whom” clause, a relative clause directly modifying the object in the main clause, “these” (toutous), or (b) a “those whom” clause, a noun clause in apposition to “these” and containing within it an adjectival “who” clause modifying “those”. Either way, the “hous” clause refers back to the ones who are the object of the antecedent divine action.

For example, in the final step, the climax, the subject of the main-clause verb, “glorified”, is “he”, since the verb is 3rd person singular, while the object of “glorified” is “these” (hence the accusative ending). In the subordinate clause, whether we follow (a) or (b), “hous” takes its case (acc.) from its role as the object of “justified”. Following (b), the understood, but unwritten, “those”, or “the ones”, would also be accusative, taking its case from that of “these”, which it is in apposition to.

There is good reason to opt for (b). Firstly, “the ones whom, … these ones” better matches the “tois …, tois” of v28. Secondly, the Greek “hos” is not necessarily always quite the same as the English “who”. Notice in the Proverbs verse cited above how there is no immediate referent for the relative pronoun, “whom”: “that person” or “the one” is missing from this translation. According to Thayers on “hos” (II,6,a, under Strongs 3739) in some cases, a demonstrative pronoun such as ekeinos or houtos is understood as included in the relative, though unwritten—note the “hois” in Matthew 20:23, the “hō” in Luke 7:43 and 47, the “hon” or the “hou” of Romans 10:14, or the “hōn” in Matthew 6:8 and 15:18.

The same merging of relative and demonstrative takes place in the English “what”—“that one which”, or “that thing that”. We don’t have such a word for “he who” or “that person whom”, but a number of translations of Romans 8:30 compensate for that. Instead of the jarring “whom he …,” many translations supply a referent demonstrative pronoun (“those whom”—ESV), or simply give the demonstrative alone and treat it as a relative (“those”—NIV). This leaves us with, “Those whom he justified, these (the same) he also glorified. It would lose too much, but just to explain the case endings, it could be put this way: He also glorified these (the same--accusative), the ones whom (acc.) he justified.

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    – Dottard
    Mar 28, 2021 at 11:32

"Whom He predestined, He also called." This has a syntax error. Let me rewrite it as follows:

He also called whom he predestined.

The proper English is as follows:

He also called whom that he predestined.

The word "whom" is the object. It does not serve as a relative pronoun in this case. If you want to use it as a relative pronoun, you write as follows:

Whom He predestined was also called by Him.

The Greek grammar governing pronoun objects and relative pronouns are similar. Paul wrote the way that he did to follow the proper Greek grammar.

  • Aren't you saying τούτους should be ignored and the meaning is something like οὓς δὲ προώρισεν καὶ ἐκάλεσεν καὶ οὓς ἐκάλεσεν καὶ ἐδικαίωσεν οὓς δὲ ἐδικαίωσεν καὶ ἐδόξασεν? Mar 29, 2021 at 3:39
  • No. Paul wrote the way that he did to follow the proper Greek grammar.
    – user35953
    Mar 29, 2021 at 13:18
  • I downvoted your answer because I believe it fails to address completely what Paul has written. Can you really stop with "He also called who he predestined...?" Whom He called also begins the next work. Your approach seems to say the entire phrase is simply, "He also called whom He predestined, and declared righteous and glorified." Mar 30, 2021 at 17:27

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