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"Wages of Sin is Death", a Bad Translation

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posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 01:47 AM
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I decided to start a thread on this because of the importance of this topic.
Does "wages" mean a currency of 'divine retribution'?
No, it doesn't.
It seems that a lot of Christians have a salvation theology that is centered on an understanding of this particular little phrase, without actually understanding where it comes from or why Paul (if they even know that much) wrote it or what he meant by it.

Here are the 4 verses in the Bible that use the Greek word that is translated as "wages" in that partial phrase that I am quoting in the thread title.

Luke 3:14 • ὀψωνίοις • N-DPN • Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely–be content with your pay.” (2011 NIV)

Romans 6:23 • ὀψώνια • N-NPN • For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (2011 NIV)

23 τὰ γὰρ ὀψώνια τῆς ἁμαρτίας θάνατος, τὸ δὲ χάρισμα τοῦ θεοῦ ζωὴ αἰώνιος ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν. (The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition)

1 Corinthians 9:7 • ὀψωνίοις • N-DPN • Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk?

2 Corinthians 11:8 • ὀψώνιον • N-ASN • I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you. (2011 NIV)

This particular word does not come up in the Septuagint, which is the Greek language version of the Old Testament.
edit on 8-12-2013 by jmdewey60 because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 01:51 AM
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The definition of wage is this:

a fixed regular payment, typically paid on a daily or weekly basis, made by an employer to an employee, esp. to a manual or unskilled worker.

So a type of payment made by the employer. The wages or payment of doing sin is death, so if you sin you die.



posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 02:03 AM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 


I don't know anyone that doesn't understand what this verse means. I have never heard anyone but you equate "wage" with "divine retribution" currency.

And no where do you actually even say what it DOES mean in your whole post, I kept looking for you to explain what it means and you don't. Not that it's needed, it's pretty obvious.



posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 02:04 AM
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reply to post by 3NL1GHT3N3D1
 

So a type of payment made by the employer.
You are probably getting that definition from a normal English dictionary.
I am questioning if that particular English word is really the best translation of that verse in Romans.

The wages or payment of doing sin is death, so if you sin you die.
So can you explain how death can be a living? A wage is your living. If death is your payment that you live on, then it wouldn't be a wage.



posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 02:18 AM
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reply to post by OccamsRazor04
 

I don't know anyone that doesn't understand what this verse means.
I don't know anyone who can explain it.
I hear people say it, but they do that as if it was a stand-alone cosmic truth, and people are supposed to just understand what it means without it ever having to be said.

I have never heard anyone but you equate "wage" with "divine retribution" currency.
on the web site that currently comes up on Google as the "Bible Hub", you find this entry on the lexicon page for this particular Greek word,

3800 (opsōnion) is used figuratively for the eternal compensation (divine recompense) of the unrighteous, in keeping with their earthly deeds (Ro 6:23).
biblehub.com...
I added my own word, "currency", in an attempt at understanding how people would actually try to articulate this concept.

And no where do you actually even say what it DOES mean in your whole post, I kept looking for you to explain what it means and you don't. Not that it's needed, it's pretty obvious.
I quoted four verses that use this particular Greek word, as a clue to how it is normally used.
My point is that people normally try to make it out that what Paul is describing in Romans 6:23 is a sort of accumulation of sin debt that has to be payed off somehow by your dying, or hell, or whatever.



posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 02:20 AM
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jmdewey60
reply to post by 3NL1GHT3N3D1
 

So a type of payment made by the employer.
You are probably getting that definition from a normal English dictionary.
I am questioning if that particular English word is really the best translation of that verse in Romans.

The wages or payment of doing sin is death, so if you sin you die.
So can you explain how death can be a living? A wage is your living. If death is your payment that you live on, then it wouldn't be a wage.


The only one confused on definitions is you. A "living" has nothing to with living, it's an income sufficient to provide for basic needs, and is usually used to refer to what line of work a person is in. Now why you bring in "a living" is beyond me, as the verse states wage, as in payment. The payment for sin is death. It's very clear and easy to understand.
edit on 8-12-2013 by OccamsRazor04 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 02:27 AM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 


Your source says diving recompense, not divine retribution. Recompense is compensation.

Allow me to try to simplify it.

You are paid based on your work. That payment, what you heave earned from your works, is your wage.

If you sin, you will be paid with death, that is what you earn.



posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 02:29 AM
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reply to post by OccamsRazor04
 

The only one confused on definitions is you. A "living" has nothing to with living, it's an income sufficient to provide for basic needs, and is usually used to refer to what line of work a person is in. Now why you bring in "a living" is beyond me, as the verse states wage, as in payment. The payment for sin is death. It's very clear and easy to understand.
I don't understand it one single bit.
A wage is what you receive from you employer to live on.
So if you are being paid in death, then how do you live on that?
Or are you saying that everyone is somehow an employer, and that God is our employee, and He wants death as His payment for what He does for us?



posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 02:40 AM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 


Why do you keep adding words to confuse things? Why do you keep talking about living this and live on that.

Wage is payment. Live or die on it, it makes no difference.



posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 02:59 AM
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reply to post by OccamsRazor04
 

Why do you keep adding words to confuse things?
I'm trying to come up with an actual explanation as to how Christians understand the phrase, because I don't think there is one.

Why do you keep talking about living this and live on that.
That is what a wage is. You spend your time working for someone rather than spending your tine foraging on the land, hunting and gathering. So in exchange for that time that you would spend doing that, you get something that will replace the game and roots or whatever, that you need to have to stay alive.

Wage is payment. Live or die on it, it makes no difference.
Do you accept death as a payment where you work?



posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 03:10 AM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 

I take up my largest lexicon (Thayer's) to look for the origin of the Greek word.
What I find is that it is a later Greek word, properly meaning "whatever is bought to be eaten with bread, as fish, flesh and the like".
You could almost translate it as "sandwich filling".
"And as corn, meat, fruits, salt were given to soldiers instead of pay, [the word] came to signify 'a soldier's pay, allowance''"- especially that part of his pay which was given in place of rations.

Two of the exanples you quote, from Luke and 1 Corinthians, specifically relate to soldiers.
In 2 Corinthians, where Paul is talking about his own needs, he is presumably thinking about himself metaphorically as a soldier of Christ.

All this argues in favour of the Romans verse being a metaphorical use of "wages" (which Thayer also supports).
However, the point which Paul is making is that "This is what you get from sin" or "This is the end-result of sin".
In contrast with the end-result of God's gift, namely life.
You could replace "wages" by another word like "consequence", but I don't see that an alternative translation would greatly affect the theology. We are still left with "death" as the end-result of sin.
Unless you can find an alternative translation for the word "death". You could try that route.




edit on 8-12-2013 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 03:12 AM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 


The original Greek translation uses the word opsōnia. Opsōnia means either wages or provisions.

You say it means divine retribution correct? Divine retribution is a supernatural punishment for people. The divine retribution, or the thing that is being provided, a.k.a. wage, is death. The new term you have created for it does not change the meaning of the concept.



posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 03:15 AM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 

As a reply to the question in the OP, I should probably state that there is an explanation for what Paul was talking about but it has nothing to do with how probably most Christians use that little phrase taken out of context to use as a sort of "proof text" to back up a salvation scheme that makes use of the idea of an 'exchange' occurring.

When Paul says "Sin", he doesn't mean a particular wrong act that you did that you will someday have to pay for.
What Paul was doing was using a rhetorical device to make a point, where he is personifying the natural world as a kingdom by the name of Sin.
Then he makes a comparison between that kingdom, and the kingdom of Christ, in other words, the Church of Jesus, which is following him and receiving the spirit of God through him, to live as righteous people.

Following the kingdom of Sin, you receive from it a fixed thing that is given to all of its soldiers as a matter of course, which is death, while having membership in Christ has the offering for those faithful to the end, eternal life.

What I believe happens is that people take that one clause of the verse in isolation to create this idea that whenever you sin, you are accumulating a denomination of sin debt that has to be paid off in death.
The next thing that will come up from a person using this sort of rhetoric is the corollary that we cannot satisfy the demands of this debt, so Jesus intervenes in order to pay that debt for us, something, by the way, that the Bible never teaches.


edit on 8-12-2013 by jmdewey60 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 03:22 AM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 


No. Wage is payment. That payment can be drugs. It has nothing to do with living or given something to live on. An addict will work for their next heroin fix which might kill them.

What does me accepting or not accepting death as payment have to do with anything? I wouldn't accept heroin either, some people do. Some people, especially those who wish to die, may except death as payment.



posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 03:29 AM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 

You could replace "wages" by another word like "consequence", but I don't see that an alternative translation would greatly affect the theology.
It depends on what the "theology" is.

You have the right idea, and why I quoted the other verses, that it has a military usage, and where the word gets a lot of its meaning, which is that it is a fixed amount, and is not dependent on a certain work/pay ratio.

I think that it fits the analogy that Paul was making, and that you described (the Greek word, that is).
The problem is the ambiguity of the word "wages" where people today see it as directly related to a specific amount of work.
That makes it too easy to slip into this interpretation that has "sin" meaning a unit of work that has connected with it a specific amount of "wage".
edit on 8-12-2013 by jmdewey60 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 03:29 AM
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jmdewey60
reply to post by jmdewey60
 


What I believe happens is that people take that one clause of the verse in isolation to create this idea that whenever you sin, you are accumulating a denomination of sin debt that has to be paid off in death.

No. That is not what people think. Nor is that what anyone here is telling you. You are the only one talking about sin "currency". No one else is. You either have "sin" on you or you don't, it does not accrue, it's a 0 or 1 situation. Everyone who has ever lived will end up with a 1.


The next thing that will come up from a person using this sort of rhetoric is the corollary that we cannot satisfy the demands of this debt, so Jesus intervenes in order to pay that debt for us, something, by the way, that the Bible never teaches.

Ummm what?
1Cr 15:3
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
1Cr 15:4
that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

Your understanding of scripture is seriously lacking.



posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 03:37 AM
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Simplicity is always best. You're complicating something that isn't.

Wages: This can be a single payment for services rendered, or it can be a regular payment for continuous services rendered. Either way, the meaning doesn't change.

"Sin" is the employer in this verse, and you are the employee. What sin pays you equates to death. Whether it is one lump sum, or stretched out over a period of time. You still die in sins service.
edit on 12/8/2013 by Klassified because: corrections



posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 03:39 AM
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reply to post by 3NL1GHT3N3D1
 

The original Greek translation uses the word opsōnia. Opsōnia means either wages or provisions.
That could be one example of a simple definition.

You say it means divine retribution correct?
I am saying that is how some people understand it, in particular in this one verse in Romans. Of course not in any of the other three verses where it is found.

Divine retribution is a supernatural punishment for people. The divine retribution, or the thing that is being provided, a.k.a. wage, is death. The new term you have created for it does not change the meaning of the concept.
I think that you are assuming certain things that I believe, where what I was describing earlier is how I see this phrase taken out of Romans 6:23 used.



posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 03:41 AM
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reply to post by Klassified
 


I've already told him he keeps adding things that aren't there to confuse it. I believe he is doing it intentionally. I believe he came up with some convoluted meaning of the verse that fits some preconcieved idea he has, and part of that convolution is purposefully confusing the simple and obvious meaning of the verse.



posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 03:44 AM
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reply to post by OccamsRazor04
 

No. Wage is payment. That payment can be drugs. It has nothing to do with living or given something to live on. An addict will work for their next heroin fix which might kill them.

What does me accepting or not accepting death as payment have to do with anything? I wouldn't accept heroin either, some people do. Some people, especially those who wish to die, may except death as payment.
Again, you are talking about the word "wage", which I don't think sufficiently translates the concept Paul was describing when he wrote these verses in Greek.
The connotation of the Greek word to the hearers of Paul's letter would have been of 'a living'.
edit on 8-12-2013 by jmdewey60 because: (no reason given)



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