5 [a] Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have[b] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Romans 5:1sn Many interpreters see Rom 5:1 as beginning the second major division of the letter.
Romans 5:1tc A number of significant witnesses have the subjunctive ἔχωμεν (echōmen, “let us have”) instead of ἔχομεν (echomen, “we have”) in v. 1. Included in the subjunctive’s support are א* A B* C D K L 33 81 630 1175 1739* pm lat bo. But the indicative is not without its supporters: א1 B2 F G P Ψ 0220vid 104 365 1241 1505 1506 1739c 1881 2464 pm. If the problem were to be solved on an external basis only, the subjunctive would be preferred. Because of this, the “A” rating on behalf of the indicative in the UBS5 appears overly confident. Nevertheless, the indicative is probably correct. First, the earliest witness to Rom 5:1 has the indicative (0220vid, third century). Second, the first set of correctors is sometimes, if not often, of equal importance with the original hand. Hence, א1 might be given equal value with א*. Third, there is a good cross-section of witnesses for the indicative: Alexandrian (in 0220vid, probably א1 1241 1506 1881 al), Western (in F G), and Byzantine (noted in NA28 as pm). Thus, although the external evidence is strongly in favor of the subjunctive, the indicative is represented well enough that its ancestry could easily go back to the autograph. Turning to the internal evidence, the indicative gains much ground. (1) The variant may have been produced via an error of hearing (since omicron and omega were pronounced alike in ancient Greek). This, of course, does not indicate which reading was the initial text—just that an error of hearing may have produced one of them. In light of the indecisiveness of the transcriptional evidence, intrinsic evidence could play a much larger role. This is indeed the case here. (2) The indicative fits well with the overall argument of the book to this point. Up until now, Paul has been establishing the “indicatives of the faith.” There is only one imperative (used rhetorically) and only one hortatory subjunctive (and this in a quotation within a diatribe) up till this point, while from ch. 6 on there are sixty-one imperatives and seven hortatory subjunctives. Clearly, an exhortation would be out of place in ch. 5. (3) Paul presupposes that the audience has peace with God (via reconciliation) in 5:10. This seems to assume the indicative in v. 1. (4) As C. E. B. Cranfield notes, “it would surely be strange for Paul, in such a carefully argued writing as this, to exhort his readers to enjoy or to guard a peace which he has not yet explicitly shown to be possessed by them” (Romans [ICC], 1:257). (5) The notion that εἰρήνην ἔχωμεν (eirēnēn echōmen) can even naturally mean “enjoy peace” is problematic (ExSyn 464), yet those who embrace the subjunctive have to give the verb some such force. Thus, although the external evidence is stronger in support of the subjunctive, the internal evidence points to the indicative. Although a decision is difficult, ἔχομεν appears to be the authentic reading.
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