Updated: Apr 28
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We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
This is the optional New Testament reading for Pentecost Sunday, Year B, according to the lectionary of the Episcopal Church. It will be read aloud if the mandatory Acts 2 reading is chosen over the possibility of Ezekiel 37, as the First Lesson. In that case, the Acts will present this verse: “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.” A selection from Psalm 104 will then follow, where David sang, “You give it to them; they gather it; you open your hand, and they are filled with good things.” This reading from Romans will then precede a Gospel of John reading, where Jesus is shown to say, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears.”
In 2018, I wrote and posted about this reading. The same words were interpreted then, so the same interpretation holds true today still. I welcome you to read that commentary here: Romans 8:22-27 – Groaning in labor pains. Still, every time Scripture is pondered deeply, new revelations rise to be seen. It is from that new view that I will again interpret this reading of Paul’s words.
I will add to the above statement that the interpretation I presented in 2018 went fairly close to what the New Revised Standard Version translation shows [that read aloud]. It is from that acceptance of standard transformation of divine text into somewhat understandable English that I now veer away from. All of the Epistle selections were written by Saints, which means their souls had married Yahweh, becoming His submissive wives, who then gave birth [rebirth or resurrection] to His Son Jesus within their bodies of flesh. As divine persons, they all wrote in the divine language of Yahweh, which can only be understood when Jesus has been reborn within. This is the truth of "speaking in tongues," which Acts 2:3-4 tells. Therefore, this interpretation takes a fresh look at what was truly written and brings forth the amazing depth that is contained in Paul's words [spoken to him by God], which are not discernable in the NRSV presentation.
In this selection, verse 22 begins with the capitalized Greek word “Oidamen,” which is rooted in the verb “eidó,” meaning “be aware, behold, consider, perceive” (Strong’s Definition), adding in application “I know, remember, appreciate.” (Strong’s Usage) The form written is the first person plural active indicative, which is “used only in certain past tenses; properly, to see (literally or figuratively); by implication, (in the perfect tense only) to know.” This means the plural number is the reason for capitalization, as the plural simply means many have been elevated divinely to a state of knowledge, which can only be known through accessing the Godhead or the Christ Mind. Without seeing this written through capitalization, one misses the divinity of verse 22 saying, “Knowledge is ours indeed because all this creature laments jointly kai suffering in painful and laborious efforts together until of this just now.”
The NRSV translation makes it seem that “the Creation” is an event that has long “been groaning in labor pains” to give birth to something that Paul says “now” has come. While that is true, to some degree, it misses the mark by translating “ktisis” as “creation.” The same word can mean "creature." It should be read as that, as man is little more than a "creature," like a lost sheep.
The context missing is Paul having written that same word three times prior, once each in in verses 19, 20, and 21. In verse 21 Paul wrote, “the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” [NRSV] This makes it easier to see “the creation” as a “self” [meaning “soul”] that is in “bondage” relative to mortality [“decay”], as a child seeking to be “of God.” This says, “Knowledge coming from God is what all mortals are born without; and, it is the commonality of lament and suffering that drives one to seek Yahweh.”
The NRSV then translates verse 23 as saying, “and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.” This is where confusion is added to confusion, leading readers of all the Epistles to be continuously dumbfounded and lost. The implication here in this verse says “the creation,” when that is not written in the text. It is an addition by paraphrase, based on a misguided assumption that a word written prior must now be added, when it is not [I call that 'playing god']. In reality this verse is complex and must be broken into segments and carefully contemplated.
The whole of verse 23 has this Greek text: “ou monon de , alla kai autoi , tēn aparchēn tou Pneumatos echontes , hēmeis kai autoi en heautois stenazomen , huiothesian apekdechomenoi , tēn apolytrōsin sōmatos hēmōn .” This is six segments of words and each must be understood separately, before one can jump to another. The marks of separation cannot be erased and the words cannot be rearranged or mixed as one sees fit. The separation of segments are God-given, which means they cannot be combined in paraphrase, without weakening the truth, or even destroying it. This means each segment will be discerned separately now.
The first segment literally translates to say, “not alone on top of this.” After ending verse 22 with the change in a “creature” that had been long lamenting and painfully suffering with desire to know how to please Yahweh; that had come … as “now” [from “nyn” not “de”]. This means the change now that differs from the long struggle is one becoming “not alone.” The small Greek word “de” can translate as “now,” but not as an adverb of time. It is a conjunction that says, “on top of, next, after, or indeed now.” (HELPS Word-studies) Therefore, Paul is saying the change in self means companionship of some kind. It is hard to be led to that conclusion by a translation that says, “and not only the creation.” [NRSV]
The second segment is two words divided by the marker word “kai.” The first word, “alla,” has been translated by the NRSV as “but,” when that translation plays no role of fluency [as a conjunction] when placed before another conjunction ["kai," which the NRSV ignores]. Because the prior segment has alluded to more than one [“not alone”], the more viable translation is “on the other hand” or “otherwise,” as “alla” is the neuter plural of “állos,” meaning “other.” That designation, as “on the other hand” is relative to “not alone on top of this” and leads to the important marker word ["kai"] that says “self” must be seen as importantly different, as “ourselves” have changed. The NRSV weak translation – “but we ourselves” – needs to be tossed.
Seeing this state of “self” [which means “soul”] having changed, so a soul is “no” longer “alone,” the third segment of words literally translate to say, “which the beginning of a sacrifice of this Spirit possessing.” Here, the aspect of "first fruits" has been replaced by the root meaning, which is "sacrifice."
Following an important statement about “self” [a soul], it is that “which” is no longer “alone.” The word translated as “first fruits” [“aparchēn”] is said to mean, “the beginning of a sacrifice, i.e. the first fruit” (Strong’s Definition), where the usage is said to be: “the first-fruits, the earliest crop of the year, hence also metaphor, for example, of the earliest converts in a district; there is evidence in favor of rendering in some passages merely by: sacrifice, gift.” (Strong’s Usage) When the simple translation of “sacrifice” is used, the segment says, “which sacrifice of this Spirit possessing,” where it is clear to see Paul saying the lack of understanding [“knowing of God”] is “now” relative to a divine possession [“echontes” meaning “having, holding, possessing”]. Again, the confused translation of the NRSV – “who have the first fruits of the Spirit” – makes no sense, other than to sense something about the Apostles somehow being “first fruits.”
To insert a point here now that is relative to faith, as far as Christianity is concerned, there are many places in Biblical text where demonic possession is presented. Jesus was known to routinely cast out demon spirit that had possessed Jews who needed help casting them out. Jesus sent out intern disciples with the power to cast out some demon spirits in his name. Christians will go to the mat defending Jesus, stating belief that demons spirits do exist. Evil deeds are often blamed on demons within [multiple personality disorder is what it is called these days]. Roman Catholic priests [some] are trained in exorcisms, which is some ritual way of casting out a demon spirit. With all of that faith in Scripture, why does all that disappear when it comes time to admit being filled with a Spirit that makes one Holy and Sacred, Set apart by God? Why is that not the same joining of a soul, with a divine Spirit that equally “possesses” a soul? In this regard, I advise those of true faith to read this Wikipedia article called “Eudaimonia.” This is something that pre-existed Christianity and explains what Paul is saying here.
Seeing divine possession as being what Paul said keeps a “self” [“soul”] “not alone,” the fourth segment of words is another that includes the marker word of importance – “kai.” This literally translates to say, “we kai ourselves with itself compressed internally and unexpressed.” The NRSV has reduced what was written [because that program is blind to divine translation] to simply "groan inwardly."
In this, the pronoun “hēmeis” means “we, us, our,” but all are forms of “being,” as forms of “egó.” The plural has to be seen as applying to each individual “self” [“soul”], while projecting to “selves” as being further in the plural. Thus “we” is for all individually, so one soul becomes “we,” due to possession by the Spirit of Yahweh [holy matrimony]. Because of the marker word "kai" immediately following "we," this word stands alone and must be seen as marked separately from that coming next.
This understanding is then emphasized [“kia” usage] importantly as “ourselves with [or in] itself.” Here, the Greek word “stenazomen” becomes confusing as it typically translates as “groaning” [flashback to “labor pains,” as the same root word is involved here and there]; but the word comes from “stenós,” meaning “compressed, constricted.” Thus, Paul is saying the expanse of God’s knowledge is a strain on a human brain to comprehend; so, it is best to allow its presence to be compressed within one’s being [“eimi”], without expressing its presence.
The fifth segment of words literally translates as, “sonship eagerly awaiting.” The Greek word “huiothesian” is properly translated as “sonship,” meaning placement within a family of means [royalty]. Because of that, the word is often translated as “adoption as a son,” because females would not be adopted, instead married. It is important to realize this male designation of "sonship" means that Yahweh is masculine, as is all of the Spirit realm [that heavenly]. Everything material [in the physical realm] is feminine in essence. Jesus was then the "Son of man" because of the Spirit within him [a Holy creature]. Had Jesus been born into a female body, that body would still be an "adopted son," because Spirit is masculine essence.
The Greek word “apekdechomenoi” translates as “eagerly expecting, looking for, or awaiting,” such that it is patience with desire. Following a segment telling of a compression of Spirit within one’s soul, the adoption is that of Jesus to be resurrected. This says there is more to come, after a soul has married Yahweh’s Spirit. The consummation of that union brings about the son adopted.
Finally, the sixth segment of words literally translates as: “who setting free of this body of us.” Here, the Greek word “apolytrōsin” translates as “redemption,” but the word actually means “a release effected by payment of ransom.” (Strong’s Definition) In that, the word properly translates as “redemption,” with the caveat being: “buying back from, re-purchasing (winning back) what was previously forfeited (lost).” (HELPS Word-studies) This then says the “eagerly awaited” resurrection of Jesus within is the sacrifice one must make in order to be redeemed and earn eternal life for a soul – one released from the bondage of reincarnation. A soul [“self”] is no longer married to a physical body [life after life reincarnations] once Jesus has been resurrected within one’s flesh, one with one’s soul.
Hopefully, the breakdown I have just presented for verse 23 can be seen as very specific and thorough. After reading what the Greek actually means, to then read the above NRSV translation that says, “and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies,” it can then make sense. Still, without that realization of what Paul wrote to the Christians of Rome, one scratches one’s head and asks, “What was the other optional reading in place of Romans 8?”
This reading becomes a sermon in itself, as it perfectly fits [all Epistles do] the theme of Acts 2:1-21, in the sense that “speaking in tongues” is about explaining words written, which even those fluent in Greek could not figure out … completely … as souls alone. Verse 23 is an example that needs to be shouted from the rooftop, explaining what it truly means, so those who are seeking the truth can receive Yahweh’s Spirit and be made Set apart by Yahweh [Holy, Sacred, Saintly].
Verse 24 then literally translates to say: “which indeed confidence we were rescued ; trust on top of this being discerned , not exists expectation ; that indeed perceives why what , he believes ?” That compares to the NRSV above, which translates: “For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen?”
Here, again, the NRSV has created three sentences, when the presence of two semi-colons shows that is possible; but all thoughts are relative to one central theme. The three sentences do not show breaks in the second and third ‘sentences,’ such that they become two segments each, joining everything together as one. That makes it more difficult to see precisely what Paul intended.
In the three ‘sentences’ created by the NRSV, the word hope is repeated [four times]. The Greek words translated as “hope” [or using "hope"] are “elpidi,” “elpis” (twice), and “elpizei.” There, the last word is rooted in “elpizó.” That word means, “to expect, to hope (for)” (Strong’s Definition), with it usage stated to be “I hope, hope for, expect, trust.” The other three Greek words are rooted in “elpis,” which is defined and used as “expectation, hope, trust, confidence.” (Strong’s) Because “hope” is one of those nebulous words that everyone understands, but nobody can accurately define what it means [religiously], I have used the viability of substitution to insert “confidence, trust, expectation, and believes” [“believes” viable according to Wiktionary] into the translations. All can be summed up as relative to “hopes and expectations,” but my translation leads a human brain to better discern the intent.
These five segments, divided into three lines of thought on the same theme, can now be set up in this manner:
[Jesus reborn within one’s body, bringing the promise of redemption …] That presence is “which indeed confidence we were rescued.” In that, the Greek word “esōthēmen” has been translated as “we were rescued,” but it can also state, “we were saved” “we were healed,” or “we were preserved.” Because the presence of Jesus within is known, the element of “hope” is not such an iffy condition, but one of “confidence.”
[Relative to this introduction of “confidence, hope, expectation, trust” …] “trust on top of this being discerned.” Here, the Greek word “de” is translated as “on top of this,” but it can be “moreover, indeed now, or next” [HELPS Word-studies]. I used “on top of this” because the presence of Jesus’ soul supersedes one’s own “self” [“soul”], because it is “not alone.” Jesus’ soul takes the “top” position, as “Lord” of one’s body of flesh. This “possession” is willingly allowed, because of “trust, confidence, hope, and expectation” that the Christ Mind is that then “being discerned.” In that, the Greek word “blepomenē” is the present participle, as “looking, seeing, perceiving, or discerning.” This says one’s human brain is able to “discern” divinely, in a supernatural way, based on the “trust” coming from divine possession.
This then leads to the second part of this second line of thought, which adds: “not exists expectation.” There, the Greek word “estin” is a word translated as “is,” but “is” is a statement of “being” or “existence.” This says the joint possession of one body of flesh by two souls – one dominant, one submissive – says the submissive soul does “not exist” in an outward way as before. The saved soul sets no “expectations,” so it does not pray or hope to be given what it wants [selfishly]. Thus, the whole of ‘sentence’ two is “trust in the Spirit does not come from personal expectations.”
[Relative to the “trust that has divinely come upon one’s soul and body, such that one’s soul has totally bowed down before Yahweh, allowing His Son to guide one’s acts …] “that indeed perceives why what.” In that, the Greek word “blepei” is a repeating of the prior ‘sentence’s’ “blepomenē,” where “discernment” is now translated as “perception.” All is relative to what the Christ Mind runs through a human brain, so the submissive “self” [“soul”] becomes fully aware (“sees”) everything one’s body of flesh is led to do [acts]. As such, the combination of two words saying the same thing [“tis ti” – with both meaning, “who, which, what, why”] means the “self” understands [“perceives”] the answer to all the questions – the “what” and “why.”
This then leads to the addition that is simply one word in Greek – “elpizei.” This is one of the forms of “hope” used, but it is stated in the “third-person singular present active indicative,” which BibleHub translates as “does he hope for.” This one word then leads to a question mark. The question mark implies the whole of verse 24 is a question, which the NRSV translates only the third 'sentence' as: “For who hopes for what is seen?” The question can now be seen as relative to the one word, which demands closer scrutiny into what “elpizei” means. According to Wiktionary, “elpízō” means: “to hope for, to look for, expect.” That site then subdivides those “hopes” and “expectations” as being relative to being “of evils,” “with present infinitive,” and “with dative.” Because the form written is the third person singular present active infinitive, the category “with present infinitive” leads one to see a translation relative to: “to think, deem, suppose, believe.” Therefore, the question, stemming from a Spirit within that “perceives why what” one asks, “what does he believe?” or “why does he believe?” That becomes the question. The question centers on one's faith, more than the casual way people say they "I believe."
This is then explained in verse 25, which the NRSV translates as saying, “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” The literal Greek translation is this: “forasmuch as next , which not we see we expect , on account of patience we eagerly await.”
From a question that asks about the source of one’s beliefs, verse 25 then begins with the scenario that is relative to what comes “next” [from “de”], or “moreover, indeed now, on top of this.” [HELPS Word-studies] Beliefs are not based on hopes for what will come next, based on beliefs memorized or externally held; but rather from a confidence that knows what will come. One knows personally "why" it will come "what" will be a necessary next step. This is “not” a set expectation by “us, ours or we,” which are the submissive souls stepping aside so the soul of Jesus will make us do what it righteous. Having set no such personal expectations, the only expectations are then based on what and why one believes, which is that it will be what it will be. That knowledge creates a sense of excitement [eagerness] that cannot the future be rushed. One is led to “wait and see,” knowing whatever comes it will be what is best.
The Greek word “hypomonēs” is translated as “patience,” but the word equally means, “a remaining behind, a patient enduring” (Strong’s Definition), and “endurance, steadfastness, patient waiting for.” (Strong’s Usage) The intent by Paul says one’s soul has willingly stepped aside [remaining behind] as a statement of faith, so it eagerly awaits what the soul of Jesus within will bring ‘next.”
Verse 26 is then translated by the NRSV to say, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.” In reality, the Greek text needs insight to see the capitalization of the first word – “Hōsautōs” – where “Likewise” needs to be read with divine elevation.
The Greek word actually means, “in like manner, likewise, just so.” (Strong’s Usage) A divine elevation means the soul-body divinely possessed now acts “In like manner” to Jesus of Nazareth. This becomes the divinity of faith that being a true Christian is all about. One eagerly awaits what Jesus will do next, because Jesus is acting in one’s body of flesh. This “Likewise” presence is in countless others who have married their souls to Yahweh, so His Son could resurrect within them as well. This divine repetition of being “Just so” is due to [literally] “the Spirit joins to help the weakness of us.” The “weakness of us” is the inability of a soul alone to bring about a righteous state of being, thereby being prone to the failures of sin. The "Spirit" comes from a soul sacrificing itself when it submits to Yahweh in marriage.
The literal words that follow a semi-colon that follows the first segment of words in verse 26 translate as: “that for which we should offer prayers for according as what is proper.” In this segment of words there is no reference to “not,” which the NRSV has pulled forward from the subsequent segment. The weakness of our individual souls is assisted by the presence of the “Spirit” [see Jesus’ references to "the Advocate"], such that one then acts “Likewise” to Jesus and “prays for what is proper” [or “how to pray as we ought”].
The following segment of words is simply translated as “not we know” or "not we are aware of” or “not we remember.” The use of “not” is relative only to what one’s “self” or “soul” knows – which is nothing, as it has become submissive. Jesus prays for us, once his presence is within, because our prayers alone would be useless if dwelled upon by our human brains. Prayers are released once they have been sent and forgotten. When a soul alone prays, it dwells on a need for proof God heard what we want, so much that the prayer is not released; all the while, God knows all needs. Jesus knows how to pray properly.
The segment of words that then follows that admission by Paul that our souls know nothing is where he wrote [literally translated]: “on the other hand self [soul] which Spirit makes petitions.” Here, the use of “auto” [meaning “self; he, she, it; the same”] must be seen as the adjoining “self” [“soul”] that makes one’s own soul be “not alone.” Paul is now explaining that prayers of intercession are only generated by the “Spirit” within one’s “self” [“soul”]. This becomes inaudible and not sensed by physical means. It is how Jesus could do little more than tell people in need of help, "Go. Your faith has made you well.” It was the “Spirit” within Jesus that prayed for others silently.
That is confirmed in the last segment of verse 26, which literally translates to say, “with groanings inexpressible.” Here, the word “stenagmois” relates one back to the “labor pains,” which was the compression inwardly and unexpressed presence of Yahweh’s Spirit – All-Knowing pressed into a brain that knows nothing of value otherwise. Those now are the deep Spiritual feelings for the agonies suffered by others, those of faith. Therefore, miracle healings come without words needing to be uttered. The Greek word “alalētois” translates as “unutterable, that baffles words, unexpressed.” (Strong’s Usage)
Verse 27 is then translated by the NRSV as saying, “And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” That presents a four-piece segmentation of words. In reality, Paul only broke these words into three segments. The literal translation states: “that on top of this searching those inner souls perceives what this thought of the Spirit , because sent down from God , he intercedes for the sake of those set apart by God .”
This says first: The Jesus soul on top of a submissive saved soul is always diligently alert for lost souls seeking to be found and their cries are heard by the Spirit of Yahweh. Second, Paul said: The soul of Jesus inside the flesh of a self-body receives orders, where to go and who to help, sent by the Father; and, as the Son, he goes where sent. Third, Paul wrote: The Jesus soul acts for the sake of those who are seeking to be made holy; and, those made holy by the Spirit go to where that Spirit can be passed on.
As a reading possibility on the Day of Pentecost [Christian style], this reading says Christianity is a ministry of those reborn as Jesus, also the Christ reborn. It is a collection of Saints, none of who claim that title. All souls are submissive to the Will of Yahweh, for the purpose of serving Him as His Son resurrected, for the guarantee of eternal life after the body falls away. This reading from Paul’s letter to the Christians of Rome is an example of speaking in tongues, which a true Christian possesses, as Jesus reborn.