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I was reading BlueLetter Bible and Biblehub, looking at Romans 10:14 in Greek on both sites. Here is the verse in English:

How then are they to call on Him in whom they have not believed? How are they to believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher?

I noticed the sites both list the same word but in different forms for "call upon". Katabiblon, however, lists both forms. Is it that this word is slightly different in various manuscripts, meaning the word has different forms in different manuscripts, or am I missing something? Are the implications of ἐπικαλέσωνται and ἐπικαλέσονται close enough not to alter the meaning of the passage? I know one is in the aorist subjunctive and one is in the future indicative.

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    'Calling on Him' (the first time) is an expression of faith that believes in Him. The second time, belief is a prerequisite, before this calling in faith can be done. And (continuing to work backwards) the apostle points out that they must hear in order to believe, and that requires a preacher. So, the preacher is heard, the hearer believes the gospel preached, leading to calling upon Him. I hope an expert in the nuances of the Greek in that verse can explain the subtleties involved. A good Q!
    – Anne
    Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 17:00
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    επικαλεσονται is present in the Textus Receptus, the text generally used until 1881. ἐπικαλέσωνται, the aorist subjunctive middle, is present in the Critical Text, given by Westcott & Hort, then by Nestle/Aland thereafter. It seems to me that the subjunctive is wholly inappropriate. And, as in every other place where there is dispute, and an inappropriate alteration, I choose the Textus Receptus for this reason. 'How then shall they call . . . . . ?'
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 22, 2023 at 17:51

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There are actually two variations in the Manuscript tradition in Rom 10:14.

Variation 1

ἐπικαλέσωνται ἐπικαλέσονται
Used in UBS5/NA28 and very early MSS Used in Byzantine text and TR, later MSS
Verb Subjunctive Aorist Middle voice Verb Indicative Future middle voice
"Shall (possibly) they call" "will (future) they call"

Conclusion - the difference between the two is scarcely translatable (though difficult to properly render in English). The subjunctive makes more grammatical sense here, but it is not crucial to the overall meaning.

Variation 2

πιστεύσωσιν πιστεύσουσιν
Used in UBS5/NA28 and very early MSS Used in Byzantine text and TR, later MSS
Verb Subjunctive Aorist Active voice Verb Indicative Future Active voice
"Shall (possibly) they believe" "will (future) they believe"

Conclusion - the difference between the two is scarcely translatable (though difficult to properly render in English). The subjunctive makes more grammatical sense here, but it is not crucial to the overall meaning.

Variation 3

ἀκούσωσιν ἀκούσουσιν
Used in UBS5/NA28 and very early MSS Used in Byzantine text and TR, later MSS
Verb Subjunctive Aorist Active voice Verb Indicative Future Active voice
"Shall (possibly) they hear" "will (future) they hear"

Conclusion - the difference between the two is scarcely translatable (though difficult to properly render in English). The subjunctive makes more grammatical sense here, but it is not crucial to the overall meaning.

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  • Thank you from my understanding of your post, the difference is only the possibility of the call being more certain in one form than the other?
    – Kira M
    Commented Jan 24, 2023 at 16:29
  • @KiraM - That is technically true - but practically, there is almost no difference. It is just the subjunctive aorist vs indicative future - both are almost equivalent in this context.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 24, 2023 at 20:46

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