I am asking this question because it seems to me that Romans 9:5 as per its translation will assert that Christ is indeed God, but the problem I am faced with now is the fact that there seems to be a lot of translations and with every translation a different meaning.

For example in the NIV, it is stated as such, "Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen."

But if you take the RSV, it is stated as such, "… of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed for ever. Amen."

Now if you take a look at the KJV, it is written, " Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen."

The problem I am faced with is that in the NIV it states that the Messiah is God over all, but in the KJV it states that Christ is God blessed i.e., blessed by God forever which totally and wholly redirects the whole meaning of the deity of the Messiah.

So now, I am trying to see which interpretation is more plausible and correct. My best bet is NIV but I am not sure.

Edit: Will this by any means help because it seems to be slightly a bit less ambiguous and support the former version and is very proximal to the Romans 9. Romans 8:9 "You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ."

And what does this edit mean does this actually support Romans 9 and therefore also support Paul's Trinitarian Christology?!

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    Does this answer your question? Romans 9:5 Which translation is the right one?
    – Dottard
    Commented May 3 at 3:35
  • @Dottard Sorry about that this is a duplicate that I asked on Christianity just to cast a wide net so that I can get as many insights and answers as possible!
    – How why e
    Commented May 3 at 3:46

2 Answers 2


Roman 9:5 is considered to be the scripture that A Catholic Dictionary calls

"the strongest statement of Christ's divinity in [the writings of] St. Paul, and, indeed, in the N[ew] T[estament]."

The Jerusalem Bible (Roman Catholic) renders it, like the equally trinitarian KJV, in such a way as to make Christ appear to be God: "Christ who is above all, God for ever blessed! Amen."

And The NIV Study Bible, 1985, in a note for Ro. 9:5, calls it:

"One of the clearest statements of the deity of Jesus Christ found in the entire NT, assuming the accuracy of the translation (see NIV text note)."

However, the trinitarian The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology is forced to acknowledge that even IF such a rendering of the Greek were accurate,

"Christ would not be equated absolutely with God, but only described as being of divine nature, for the word theos has no article. But this ascription of majesty does not occur anywhere else in Paul. The much more probable explanation is that the statement is a DOXOLOGY [praise] DIRECTED TO God." - Vol. 2, p. 80, Zondervan, 1986.

Even the trinitarian United Bible Societies makes the same admission:

"In fact, on the basis of the general tenor of his theology it was considered tantamount to impossible that Paul would have expressed Christ's greatness by calling him 'God blessed for ever'." And, "Nowhere else in his genuine epistles does Paul ever designate ho christos ['the Christ'] as theos ['God' or 'god']." - p. 522, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, United Bible Societies, 1971.

The UBS has therefore punctuated their NT Greek text in such a way as to show the separateness of Christ and God at Ro. 9:5.

And A Catholic Dictionary admits the possibility that the scripture in question is really a doxology directed to God and not to Jesus:

"There is no reason in grammar or in the context which forbids us to translate 'God, who is over all, be blessed for ever, Amen.'"

And this statement is from the very same reference work that calls Ro. 9:5 "the strongest statement of Christ's divinity" in the entire New Testament!

Illustrating the high probability that the last part of Romans 9:5 is directed as a doxology to the Father, not to Jesus, are these translations of Ro. 9:5 found in trinitarian Bibles where the statement in question is a separate thought, a separate sentence which is not directed to Jesus:

The New American Bible (NAB), 1970 ed. -

"Blessed forever be God who is over all! Amen."

The New American Bible (NAB), 1991 ed. -

"God who is over all be blessed forever, Amen."

The New English Bible (NEB) -

"May God, supreme above all, be blessed forever!"

Revised English Bible (REB) -

"May God, supreme above all, be blessed forever!"

The Revised Standard Version (RSV) -

"God who is over all be blessed for ever. Amen."

New Life Version (NLV) -

"May God be honored and thanked forever."

Today's English Version (TEV) -

"May God, who rules over all, be praised forever! Amen."

The Bible, A New Translation, (Mo) by Dr. James Moffatt -

"(Blessed for evermore be the God who is over all! Amen.)"

Easy-to-Read Version (ETRV) -

"May God, who rules over all things, be praised forever"(f.n.)

An American Translation (AT) -

" - God who is over all be blessed for ever!"

The trinitarian scholar Dr. Goodspeed, translates Romans 9:5 in a non-trinitarian fashion in his An American Translation!

Not only can Romans 9:5 be interpreted as having two different statements about two different subjects (1. Jesus came to earth as an Israelite, and, 2. Bless God who is over all.), but that is almost certainly the meaning intended by Paul (compare Romans 15:5, 6; Romans 16:27; 2 Corinthians 1:3; Galatians 1:3-5; Ephesians 1:3; 1 Timothy 1:16, 17).

Some have, instead, run these two separate statements together in such a way as to give the interpretation that they both refer to the same subject: Jesus.

Romans 9:5 is simply not necessarily a trinitarian statement!

  • Fantastic answer! Can you answer this one for me? hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/q/94266/62615
    – Joshua B
    Commented May 3 at 13:45
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    In keeping with prophetic statements by the apostles (Paul, Peter and John) there has been a departure from the original word of God and a decline into weak translation. This is to be expected and we are not dismayed by it, but stand firm with the Textus Receptus which gives no faint-hearted reading in this place.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 3 at 14:15
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    @NigelJ Would you please care to elaborate? What is your answer to my question. I would highly appreciate any input from you!
    – How why e
    Commented May 3 at 15:00
  • @NigelJ What is the textus Receptus and how have we departured from the original word of God. Are you by any case saying that the original word is clearly trinitarian? Please explain.
    – How why e
    Commented May 3 at 19:43
  • @Howwhye I suggest you read up on the Received Text and the Critical Text and see the differences and how they impinge on the Deity of Christ and the relationship of Father and Son. There is some information on my website.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 4 at 4:35

Of course the original text lacked punctuation and capitalization. Therefore, Paul would compose statements which were recognizable and intelligible without these modern aids.

The relevant text is ὁ ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων θεὸς εὐλογητὸς εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας ἀμήν. The ending εὐλογητὸς εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας ἀμήν reproduces an earlier statement.

τὸν κτίσαντα ὅς ἐστιν εὐλογητὸς εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας ἀμήν (1:25)
ὁ ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων θεὸς  εὐλογητὸς εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας ἀμήν (9:5)

The blessing in the first statement brings to a close Paul's opening argument about the Gospel: because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. After this Paul begins to describe God's response to rejecting the Gospel.

This same pattern begins chapter 9. Verses 1:5 describe Paul's response to Judaism's rejection of the Gospel. After which he begins to explain God's response. In both, Paul indicates the shift in the discussion by inserting the statement of one who is blessed forever. Amen.

Similar to starting a new paragraph, the blessing punctuates a change of direction in the argument.

The One Who Is
In the first praise Paul used ὅς ἐστιν, who is. In the second he used ὁ ὢν, the one being or the one who is. In addition to replacing ὅς ἐστιν with ὁ ὢν the audience will note this is a type of play on the words using ὧν οἱ from the beginning of the phrase: hōn hοἱ became ho ōn.

Romans 9:5

hōn hοἱ patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ
ho ōn God over all blessed forever. Amen.

Obviously Paul did not need to make any changes in the form of the blessing. He could have said τὸν Θεὸν ὅς ἐστιν εὐλογητὸς εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας ἀμήν God who is over all blessed forever! Amen. Had Paul composed the blessing as he did in chapter 1, there would be no question of his meaning.

However, by using the phrase ὁ ὢν Paul invokes the name God gave to Moses:

And God said to Moyses, "I am THE ONE WHO IS." And he said, "Thus shall you say to the sons of Israel, 'THE ONE WHO IS has sent me to you.'" (LXX-Exodus 3:14)
καὶ εἶπεν ὁ θεὸς πρὸς Μωυσῆν ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν καὶ εἶπεν οὕτως ἐρεῗς τοῗς υἱοῗς Ισραηλ ὁ ὢν ἀπέσταλκέν με πρὸς ὑ

The deliberate change to the blessing and the deliberate composition of hōn hοἱ/ho ōn means the proper interpretation of Paul's second blessing is:

the Christ according to the flesh, THE ONE WHO IS God over all. Blessed forever. Amen.

As he does in the first letter to the Corinthians, Paul puts Christ in the Exodus.

1 Corinthians 10

1 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.

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