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God bless you in the name of Jesus Christ who had a Father and a God whom he worshipped and served (Ephesians 1:3).

When the New Testament was first written there were no punctuation marks.  In fact, the words ran together without any separation.  Punctuation and versification entered the Bible at a much later time.

Since punctuation was not in the original texts and has been added by man it must be devoid of the authority ascribed to the original God breathed Word.  Although there are language rules that govern the proper use of punctuation, many times it was used by the translators to promote their theology.  Manipulating punctuation is one way the Word of God can be made to say something that it does not really say.  Many times, the placement of a comma makes the difference between truth and error in the Bible.

You may be familiar with the example in Luke 23:43.

Luke 23:43:
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

This verse was punctuated in this way to promote the theology that when one dies, he goes directly to heaven or hell.  However, the Word talks about death as a state of sleep which one endures until the gathering together or the resurrections (I Thessalonians 14-17).  The comma should properly be placed after the word “today.”  Then it would read:

Luke 23:43:
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee today, thou shalt be with me in paradise.

This makes the Word cohere and fit without contradiction, and it is the proper rendering, the right dividing of this verse.

In the original Word of God there were no periods, no commas, no semi-colons, no colons, no question marks, no quotation marks, no dashes, and no parentheses.  Although modern critical Greek texts may have punctuation, the earlier manuscripts did not.  These have all been added to the text by the best judgment of the translators and those who complied the critical texts.  Although their purpose was to assist the reader to properly understand the scriptures, they may be misleading.  The workman of the Word is responsible to evaluate their use in scripture.

Punctuation has created some difficulties for contemporary scholars since the way a verse is punctuated can have a significant effect on the interpretation of the verse.  Another outstanding example of theological bias creeping into the text is found in Romans 9:5.

Romans 9:5: [KJV]
Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

A literal translation from the Greek reads:

Romans 9:5:  [https://biblehub.com/interlinear/romans/9-5.htm]
whose [are] the patriarchs and from whom [is] Christ according to the flesh being over all God blessed to the ages Amen

If a major stop (period) is placed after “flesh” in Greek texts or “came” in the KJV, then the final section of the verse is a statement about our Father, God.  Moffatt’s translation is, “Blessed for evermore be the God who is over all! Amen.  The RSV reads, “God who is over all be blessed for ever. Amen.”  The NEB says, “May God, supreme above all, be blessed for ever! Amen.”  These phrases all follow a period at the end of the first phrase.

However, if a minor stop (comma) is placed at that point, the final words of the sentence speak of Christ.  The NIV translates the last phrase, “Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.”  The ESV reads, “Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.”  GWT says, “The Messiah is God over everything, forever blessed. Amen.”

Was Christ blessed of God or was Christ God?  You must decide, and don’t let the punctuation fool you.  The Contemporary English Version and the Good News Translation also use full stops.

Romans 9:5: [CEV]
They have those famous ancestors, who were also the ancestors of the Christ.  I pray that God, who rules over all, will be praised forever! Amen.

Romans 9:5: [GNT]
they are descended from the famous Hebrew ancestors; and Christ, as a human being, belongs to their race.  May God, who rules over all, be praised forever! Amen.

Does the punctuation make any difference?  Most scholars believe it does.  Many of the modern translations handle it as a clear-cut statement affirming the deity of Jesus Christ.  He is, in fact, God.  The way a translation handles an ambiguous verse such as this reveals the theological leanings of the translator.

“In the Doctrine of the Trinity, R.S. Franks, a Trinitarian and the Principal Emeritus of Western College

in Bristol writes:
It should be added that Rom. 9:5 cannot be adduced to prove that Paul ever thought of Christ as God.  The state of the case is found in the R.V. margin. . . He [Paul] never leaves the ground of Jewish monotheism.  It has been pointed out that Rom. 9:5 cannot be brought in to question this statement.  On the contrary, God is spoken of by the Apostle as not only the Father, but also the God of our Lord Jesus Christ.”*

When it comes to the use of punctuation, remember, it has been added by man it must be devoid of the authority ascribed to the original God breathed Word.

  *  Quoted from One God & One Lord, Spirit and Truth Fellowship International, p 473-474.