Request an Exam Copy

Miracles Do Happen - Mondays with Mounce

Who Condemns? (Romans 8:34)

There is a peculiar change in the 2011 NIV. The 1984 says, “Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” The 2011 edition begins the verse, “Who then is the one who condemns? No one.” Where does the “no one” come from? Not the Greek.

I have not come across many places like this in the NIV where a whole phrase is added without any Greek warrant, but as always, there must be a reason.

As written, Paul’s question is open-ended and rhetorically powerful. There is no question that Paul expects the reader to answer, “no one.” Let’s follow the flow of thought, starting three verses earlier.

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies” (8:31–33).

God is for us. He gave his Son. He justifies us. There is no one who can counter who He is and what He has done.

In the two verses following ours, Paul continues with the rhetorical question, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” Notice that in v 37, almost all translations translate the initial ἀλλ᾽ in v 37 as “No,” answering the question. But why then add “no one” in v 34 (as does the NLT)?

Note that it does not change the meaning of the Greek in the least. It clearly is the answer that Paul is expecting on the lips of his readers, and one that he makes explicit in v 37. I can only assume that the committee was concerned that the open-ended question might be confusing. Perhaps someone who read “Who then is the one who condemns?” and assume that there is in fact someone who can condemn. Translation committees are notoriously paranoid about miscommunication. These are the words of God, and we never want our choice of words to give people the wrong impression.

Thankfully, there is no one. (1) Christ Jesus died, and our sin is forgiven. (2) Jesus was raised to life, proving his victory. (3) He is at the right hand of God, the hand of power. (4) Jesus is also interceding for us. There is no one who can condemn us, and no one who can separate us from his love.

No one!

Photo by Matt Duncan on

Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar William D. Mounce
Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar is the standard textbook for beginning Greek language students in colleges and seminaries. It offers a clear, understandable, i...
Hardcover, Printed Caseside
Not Available Request an Exam Copy
Basics of Biblical Greek 1 Instructor: Dr. William D. Mounce
Part of a two-course series, Basics of Biblical Greek 1 will introduce you to the vocabulary and grammar of New Testament Greek, so you can begin studying the New Testament in its original language.
Course Details
  • 16 Units

  • 8 hours of video

  • Self-paced

  • Beginner

View Course
“You are the one Israel praises” (Psalm 22:3–5): The Artful Hebrew Bible
“You are the one Israel praises” (Psalm 22:3–5): The Artful Hebrew Bible In the previous post we introduced three basic principles of studying Hebrew poetry: poetic lines, parallelism, and rhyt...
Your form could not be submitted. Please check errors and resubmit.

Thank you!
Sign up complete.

Subscribe to the Blog Get expert commentary on biblical languages, fresh explorations in theology, hand-picked book excerpts, author videos, and info on limited-time sales.
By submitting your email address, you understand that you will receive email communications from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (501 Nelson Place, Nashville, TN 37214 USA) providing information about products and services of HCCP and its affiliates. You may unsubscribe from these email communications at any time. If you have any questions, please review our Privacy Policy or email us at This form is protected by reCAPTCHA.