"Faith Alone" in Romans 3:
28 JST

Professor S. Kent Brown was one of my principal mentors when I was an undergraduate at BYU in the early 1980s. I took a number of classes from him and then worked as his teaching assistant for almost two years. Over the ensuing more than a quarter century I have followed his scholarship with great interest. His work is consistently crafted with care, reason, and thoughtful inquiry and is a worthy model for any young scholar to emulate. The most enjoyable academic experience of my life was the semester I studied Coptic with Professor Brown on a noncredit basis. The class met on Wednesday evenings in the Richards Building, and I would often bring my baby daughter, who would sleep in a corner as a small group of us sat around a desk plumbing the depths of this Christian-era form of the Egyptian language. It was not a language I needed for my particular course of study; for me the class required self-motivation and was an exercise in learning for its own sake, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was my opinion then, and remains so today, that S. Kent Brown was and is among the very finest professors to ever set foot on the Provo campus, and I am pleased to add this small offering to the Festschrift in his honor.

The word solifidianism, sometimes spelled solafidianism, was a neologism coined in the early seventeenth century to refer to the doctrine or tenet of justification “by faith alone” (sola fide),1 one of the “five solas” 2 or Latin slogans that emerged as a description of the basic theological insights of the Protestant Reformation.

For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, salvation as a theological technical term may have different meanings, depending on whether we mean to emphasize that from which we are saved (death and hell) or that to which we are saved (heaven). In the former sense, Mormons are almost universalists, since as a result of the grace of Jesus Christ all will be resurrected and all but a very few will inherit a kingdom of glory in the eternities. For most Christians, being saved from death and hell and being saved to heaven are the same thing (since heaven is a single place and condition), but since Mormons accept a variegated heaven, the second sense of salvation for them differs from the first. In this second, more common sense, salvation usually refers in Mormon discourse to being exalted in the highest heaven, the celestial kingdom. In this sense, Mormon theology is clearly synergistic (from the Greek preposition syn “with” + the noun erga “works”), where deeds (such as salvific ordinances) work together with faith in Jesus Christ to effect salvation. In this, the Mormon conception of salvation is like that of Roman Catholics or the Orthodox traditions, which are also synergistic. In contrast, it is unlike that of most Protestants, who view the Mormon concept of salvation in the former sense as too broad and in the latter sense as too narrow. Mormon theology clearly rejects solifidianism, which has historically been a point of significant contention with Protestant critics of the Church of Jesus Christ.3

With that background, let us turn our attention to the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) of Romans 3:28.4 The table below gives first the King James Version (KJV) of Romans 3:27–31 (to provide a little context), then only those verses of the JST (as printed in the 1944 Inspired Version edition published by the then Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, now Community of Christ) that vary from the KJV (with the revisions marked), and finally the same passage in the New Revised Standard Version, the most recent scholarly translation in the KJV tradition:

Romans 3:27–31


27. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith.
28. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith alone without the deeds of the law. For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law.
29. Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,
30. Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Seeing it is one God, which shall that God willa justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.
31. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.


a. This revision would appear to be a simplifying paraphrase meant to avoid the awkwardness of the KJV. Note how the NRSV greatly improves upon the strained KJV construction.


A few verses earlier the JST makes a change similar to that in verse 28: “Therefore5 being justified freely only by his grace 6 through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24 JST).

Below I give the Greek text of verse 28 together with my own translation:


logizometha gar dikaiousthai pistei anthrōpon chōris ergōn nomou For we are of the opinion that a person is acquitted b by faith independently of deeds required by the Law [Torah].


b. In the sense of being pronounced righteous by God. I have used acquitted in order to avoid the theological baggage that comes with the more traditional justified.


The standard critical edition of the Greek New Testament 7 reports only three small textual variations in this verse. (1) The most significant of these is whether the conjunction near the beginning of the verse should be gar “for” or oun “therefore” (the evidence favors the former).8 (2) Some manuscripts spell logizometha as logizōmetha (with an omega in lieu of an omicron), thus putting that verb in the subjunctive mood, and (3) a few manuscripts in lieu of pistei anthrōpon (“a person by faith”) have anthrōpon dia pisteōs (“a person through faith”). As one can see, there is no manuscript support for a Greek word corresponding to the English alone added by the JST. Had the word alone been specifically and literally in the Greek text, presumably we would find some sort of textual evidence for the presence of monon (the neuter of the adjective monos used as an adverb), as in James 2:24, kai ouk ek pisteōs monon “and not by faith viewed in isolation” [KJV “and not by faith only”].9

When evaluating a JST textual emendation such as this, we of course should not limit ourselves to considering only possible textual restorations. The revisions of the JST have great value apart from only that one possibility. The types of changes we find in the JST may include the following: (1) restorations of original text, (2) text paralleling nonoriginal ancient textual variants, (3) alternate translations without positing any change in underlying text, (4) historical corrections of incorrect text, (5) harmonizations of biblical text with other biblical text or with revealed doctrine, and (6) midrashic commentary (much like the targumim and the genres of “rewritten Bible” and pesharim attested among the Dead Sea Scrolls).10 Perhaps the best single explanation of this diversity in JST readings was offered long ago by Richard Lloyd Anderson:

In no case did Joseph Smith work with any original language to reach these results. In fact, Greek variant readings simply do not exist for most changes made, whether here or elsewhere in the Inspired Version. Such evidence proves that Joseph Smith worked on the level of meaning and doctrinal harmonization, not narrow textual precision. This is the most dramatic example of the Prophet presenting historical material with long explanations that go far beyond any original writing. This suggests that the Prophet used his basic document—in this case the King James Version—as a point of departure instead of a translation guide. Thus his sweeping changes are only loosely tied to the written record that stimulated the new information. The result is content oriented. One may label this as “translation” only in the broadest sense, for his consistent amplifications imply that the Prophet felt that expansion of a document was the best way to get at meaning. If unconventional as history, the procedure may be a doctrinal gain if distinguished from normal translation procedure, for paraphrase and restatement are probably the best way to communicate without ambiguity. The result may be the paradox of having less literally the words of Bible personalities while possessing more clearly the meanings that their words sought to convey. Thus Joseph Smith’s revisions can best be judged on a conceptual, but not a verbal level.11

So if the addition of alone does not reflect a textual restoration, how should we characterize it? Why did Joseph add that word to the text, and what nuance did he seek to convey by the emendation? The possible key to providing an answer to these questions is to be found in the German translation of the New Testament by Martin Luther (1483–1546) and his subsequent writings.

Luther began translating the New Testament into German in 1521 during the time he was sequestered at the Wartburg Castle; he published it in September 1522, six months after his return to Wittenberg. In 1534 he and six other collaborators would publish a complete German translation of the Bible, and he continued to refine the translation for the balance of his life. Other German translations of the Bible had previously appeared, but they were slavish renderings of the Latin Vulgate. Luther’s fresh and literate translation of the New Testament was the first to actually render the Greek text into German; he used Erasmus’s second edition of the Greek New Testament published in 1519 (which laid the foundation for what would eventually become known as the Textus Receptus).

In his initial 1522 publication, Luther rendered Romans 3:28 as follows: So halten wyrs nu, das der mensch gerechtfertiget werde, on zu thun der werck des gesetzes, alleyn durch den glawben (“Now we hold that Man is perfected/finished/justified, without doing the work of the law, alone [alleyn] through faith”). Luther’s Aus der Bibel, published in 1546 just before his death, renders the verse as follows: So halten wir es nu, Das der Mensch gerecht werde, on des Gesetzes werck, alleine durch den Glauben (“Now we hold that Man becomes just without the work of the law, alone [alleine] through faith”). This rendering also uses the word alone (in this version spelled alleine).12

The first question raised by this similar use of the word alone is whether Joseph borrowed it from Luther (directly or indirectly) or whether Joseph’s usage is independent of Luther’s. A direct borrowing is quite unlikely, given that the source would have been written in German. We know that late in his life Joseph studied German with Alexander Neibaur and did some reading in Luther’s translation (which he viewed quite favorably), as recounted in the Thomas Bullock report of the King Follett Discourse (7 April 1844): “I have been readg. the Germ: I find it to be the most correct that I have found & it corresponds the nearest to the revns. that I have given the last 16 yrs.” 13 But Joseph’s emendation was made on Folio 4 of New Testament Manuscript 2, which would have been dictated some time during the first six months or so of 1832 (from January/February 1832 to between 20 and 31 July 1832), which was long before Joseph had gained the capacity to read any German.14

Some sort of indirect borrowing is more likely, if difficult to establish. The parallel between the JST and Luther is even closer than would be suggested by the 1944 Inspired Version’s “justified by faith alone,” because the insertion point for the word alone in the Joseph Smith marked Bible suggests that he intended the revision to read rather “justified alone by faith,” which is an exact English parallel to Luther’s German.15 The debate over Luther’s translation was, however, mostly limited to Lutherans and Catholics—high church traditions to which Joseph had had little exposure by this time—and most of the debate had taken place long before in Latin and German. None of the sources I have checked that would have been most readily available to Joseph during this time period make any reference to this translation. So while it remains possible that Joseph got the idea to insert the word alone at this specific point in Romans 3:28 from some secondary English source that was available to him, as of yet such a source has not been identified and the revision appears to have been made independently.16

Although we have no explanation from Joseph as to why he added the word alone to Romans 3:28, we do have a lengthy letter from Martin Luther himself largely devoted to his rationale for making the same change to the text: his Sendbrief vom Dolmetschen17 (“An Open Letter on Translating”), which he sent on 12 September 1530 to his good friend Wenceslaus Link, who forwarded it three days later (with his own brief introduction) to be published by the Nürnberg printer Johan Petrius. (This letter is referenced herein as the Open Letter.) The Open Letter and subsequent reactions to it may offer us some insight into the reasons behind Joseph’s emendation of this particular text.

In 1530, Charles V, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, called together the princes of his German territories in a Diet at Augsburg to seek unity among them in fending off the attacks of Turkish armies in eastern Austria. He called upon the Lutheran nobility to explain their religious convictions, with the hope that the controversy swirling around the challenge of the Reformation might be resolved. To that end, Philip Melanchthon, a close friend of Luther and a professor of New Testament at Wittenberg University, was called upon to draft what would become known as the Augsburg Confession. Luther was residing at Coburg Castle (which he dubbed “the Wilderness”), where he remained from 23 April to 4 October 1530, yet four days’ journey away from the Diet (as he remained under the ban of the Empire and was not welcome at the official meeting in Augsburg).

Anxious about the outcome of the Diet, Luther kept busy in the Wilderness. His principal activity during this time was to be translation. As he wrote Melanchthon on the day of his arrival, “Out of this Sinai we shall make a Zion and build three tabernacles: One to the Psalter, one to the Prophets, and one to Aesop.” 18 He began by translating the Prophets, finishing Jeremiah, portions of Ezekiel, and the Minor Prophets while at the castle. Near the end of his stay, he chose to write the Open Letter largely to address criticism he had received for his translation of Romans 3:28. In form it is a response to an inquiry from a friend identified as “N.,” although this may simply have been a literary invention.

The tone of the Open Letter, especially its beginning, is angry, sarcastic, and defensive. For instance, Luther repeatedly uses some form of the word Esel “donkey” as a pejorative for his religious opponents. There is, however, a certain historical context that helps to explain his pique. Duke George of Saxony had prohibited the circulation of Luther’s translation in his territory and commissioned Jerome Emser (1478–1527) to prepare a new one. Rather than crafting a completely new translation, however, Emser merely adapted the Luther translation, providing a more traditional introduction and glosses for controversial passages (derived from the Vulgate and the late medieval German Bible). This was presented as a “correction” of Luther’s errors, but Luther rightly saw it as plagiarism on a massive scale, and he was furious over it. In the Open Letter Luther refuses to call Emser by name, referring to him only obliquely as “that scribbler from Dresden.” Luther gamely laughed at the irony of prohibiting his New Testament when it was published under his name, but making it required reading when it was published under the name of another.

Luther begins his response to criticisms of his translation by asserting that the papists cannot translate, as they do not know German well enough to do so. He did the best that he could, and no one is compelled to read it. Any other translator is free to try to do better. He observes that Jerome went through the same thing when he prepared the Vulgate. When you do something publicly, you open yourself to ample criticism. People are quick to criticize, even when they do not have the capacity to do better themselves. Luther then offers his first formal response to the question raised, as follows: “If your papist wishes to make a great fuss about the word sola (alone), say this to him: ‘Dr. Martin Luther will have it so, and he says that a papist and donkey are the same thing.’ Sic volo, sic iubeo, sit pro ratione voluntas.” 19 This of course was not a serious response, but simply his opening salvo for rhetorical effect.

For the benefit of the person to whom he sent the letter and their own people, however, he turned serious and offered essentially four reasons for his translation. First, he pointed out that his translation had been widely misunderstood as contemplating the Latin sola, an adjective modifying the noun fide “faith.” In fact, however, his translation contemplated the Latin solum or tantum, and the word allein “alone” was an adverb modifying the verb. This is a subtle distinction, but one that his critics had failed to observe in their overly simplistic reading of his text.

Second, Luther argued that the insertion of alone was necessary to reflect accurately Paul’s meaning in a clear and vigorous German. This is a basic principle of translation, that sometimes one must depart from the literal meaning of words in order to clarify the intended sense in the new language. Luther explained that it was the nature of German that when speaking of two things, one of which is affirmed and the other denied, one uses the word allein “only” along with the word nicht “not” or kein “no.” For example, “The farmer brings allein grain and kein money.” To be sure, one could say “The farmer brings grain and kein money,” but adding the word allein makes the force of kein clearer and more complete.

Third, Luther made an argument that the word allein is theologically necessary to show that works of any kind were completely excluded from justification. He tried to make it clear that works are important and he was not objecting to the moral law as such, but works played no role in justification, which in his view was only by faith. (This argument would of course be stoutly rejected by Luther’s Catholic critics.)

Fourth and finally, Luther protests that he is not the only one or the first to juxtapose alone and faith. He asserted that Ambrose, Augustine, and many others had employed similar usage long before his translation of Romans 3:28. So Luther appealed to the precedent of the church fathers. (We shall examine this point further below.)

The Open Letter conveyed Luther’s own defense of his translation, but it did not put a stop to the controversy, which continued to swirl for some time. A dissertation completed almost a century and a half later 20 summarized additional arguments favoring the Luther translation that had been brought forward by Luther apologists:

1. The Vulgate frequently inserts the word only for emphasis, although there is no corresponding word in the original language. For example, consider 1 Samuel 10:19:


      Hebrew       KJV       Vulgate Douay-Rheims (English transla- tion of the Vulgate)
weʾattem hayyom meʾastem ʾeth- ʾeloheykem ʾasher- huʾ moshiyaʿ lakem mikal-raʿotheykem wetsarotheykem And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your ad- versities and your tribulations Vos autem hodie proiecistis Deum vestrum, qui solus salvavit vos de universis malis et tribulationibus vestris But you this day have rejected your God, who only hath saved you out of all your evils and your tribulations


2. In quoting Deuteronomy 6:13 in Matthew 4:10, the Savior used only, even though there was no corresponding word in the Hebrew:


Hebrew (Deuter- onomy 6:13) KJV (Deuter- onomy 6:13) Greek (Matthew 4:10) KJV (Matthew 4:10)
ʾeth-YHWH ʾeloheyka tiyraʾ weʾotho thaʿabod ubishmo tishshabeʿa Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name kurion ton theon sou proskunēses, kai autō monō latreuseis Thou shalt wor- ship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve


3. The Septuagint repeatedly introduces a word for alone/only, even though it is not present in the Hebrew. For example, consider Leviticus 11:36:


Hebrew KJV Septuagint (LXX) Brenton’s Transla- tion of LXX
ʾak maʿyan ubor miqwah-mayim yihyeh tahor wenogeʾa benib- latham yitemaʾ Nevertheless, a fountain or pit, wherein there is plenty of water, shall be clean: but that which toucheth their carcase shall be unclean plēn pēgōn hudatōn kai lakkou kai sunagōgēs hudatos estai katharon ho de haptomenos tōn thnēsimaiōn autōn akathartos estai Only if the water be of fountains of water, or a pool, or confluence of water, it shall be clean; but he that touches their carcases shall be unclean


4. The Peshitta uses the same liberty in Romans 4:5.

5. Even Catholic translations after Luther, such as that of Johann Dietenberger (1534), had used this same liberty, as in Mark 13:32, where Dietenberger added only.

6. In the Nürnberg Bible of 1483 the corresponding passage in Galatians 2:16 is translated “only through faith” (nur durch den Glauben), and the same passage is translated in the Italian Roman Catholic version, published in Venice in 1546, ma solo per la fide di Giesu Christo.

7. Many of the church fathers were accustomed to use the expression by faith only when discussing justification. So were Ambrosiaster and others.

Note that the Luther apologists repeated and stressed the point Luther himself had made, that there was ample precedent among the church fathers for a similar usage juxtaposing in some fashion the words alone and faith. A serious examination of this claim was made by Robert Bellarmine (1542–1621), who was a Jesuit and a cardinal and who would eventually be canonized as a saint in 1930. Bellarmine wrote the massive Disputationes de controversiis christianae fidei, which were first published at Ingolstadt from 1581 to 1593. Bellarmine’s erudite and learned Disputationes represented a major threat to the Reformation, so much so that several universities established professorial chairs for the specific purpose of responding to them. In his De justificatione 1.25, Bellarmine provides a specific catalog of loci among the church fathers where the words alone and faith had indeed been juxtaposed, showing that both Luther and his defenders were correct in their claim that such passages existed. But in each case he went on to demonstrate that the juxtaposition of those words did not necessarily have the solifidian force Luther ascribed to it. Catholics accepted those writings of the church fathers, but understood the “faith” in other senses than did Luther, such as the dogmatic faith of the Catholic Church—and all that that entailed—or what later theologians would call “living faith.”

Largely as a result of Bellarmine’s work, scholarly Catholic objections to Luther’s translation of Romans 3:28 eventually dissipated. Catholic scholars did not really react to Luther’s second defense (that alone was necessary for sense), and they certainly rejected his third defense grounded in theology. But the first defense (that Luther intended alone as an adverb and not as an adjective) helped. Ultimately it was the fourth defense (the precedent of the usage of the church fathers) that was decisive in largely mooting the debate about Luther’s translation of Romans 3:28. (See further appendix B.) The situation was perhaps best captured by a statement attributed to Erasmus: Vox sola, tot clamoribus lapidata hoc seculo in Luthero, reverenter in patribus auditur (“The word alone, which has been received with such a shower of stones when uttered in our times by Luther, is yet reverently listened to when spoken by the Fathers”).21 In a recent review of the matter, the Catholic scholar Joseph Fitzmyer concluded on these grounds that the Luther translation was acceptable and was not “church-divisive.” 22

In summary, we began by positing that the addition of alone to Romans 3:28 JST most likely is to be accounted for not at the textual level of inquiry but at the translational level. We observed that Luther made the same insertion in his translation, but that the German Luther Bibel could not be the direct source for Joseph’s revision. Although there might be an indirect, secondary English source that was available to Joseph in this instance, I have as yet been unable to locate such a source, and so Joseph’s emendation appears to be independent of Luther’s translation. Fortunately for us, Luther’s translation was quite controversial, which resulted in scholarly literature examining it.

We described Luther’s Open Letter, in which he defended his translation, as well as subsequent scholarship on the question. Joseph’s theology was not solifidian, and so, much like Luther’s Catholic opponents, he could not have been influenced by something like Luther’s third, theologically based argument. Luther’s fourth argument of patristic precedent, which is the one that finally carried the day with scholarly Catholics, is one that would have had no influence on the unschooled Joseph, who had no access to the writings of the church fathers and could not have read them in their Greek and Latin publications even if he had. But the Catholic acquiescence on this point teaches us that we too do not need to read the juxtaposition of faith and alone in Romans 3:28 JST in a solifidian sense, as Joseph certainly did not intend those words to be taken in such a way.23 Luther’s first argument, that he intended an adverb and not an adjective, is one that is matched by Joseph, as the insertion point in his marked Bible makes it clear that alone in Romans 3:28 JST was intended to be an adverb, not an adjective.

The major insight from the intellectual history regarding Luther’s translation that we can apply to a better understanding of this JST revision is Luther’s second defense, that the addition of alone was necessary for sense so as to represent Paul’s meaning in clear and vigorous language. As we have seen, using alone/only in such a way is actually a translator’s device attested elsewhere for providing a sense of emphasis in the target language of the translation. As well articulated by Morison, “The word does not modify in the least the doctrinal idea of the Apostle. It simply gives a little more edge or emphasis to it,—emphasis that was doubtless in thorough accordance with the thought and feeling of the inspired writer.” 24

This JST revision certainly benefits from the Luther precedent, which helps to establish its bona fides as a (periphrastic) translation. Further, the literature concerning Luther’s translation helps us to understand and appreciate how the word alone was meant to function in the JST. But in a way, the JST returns the favor. I get the impression that people tended not to take Luther’s second defense very seriously, at least at first, because they assumed that his real reason for adding the word was his third defense grounded in his theological commitments. It seems to me that Romans 3:28 JST is about as strong a demonstration as any Luther apologist could hope for that Luther’s second defense had genuine merit. This is because Joseph’s theology was not solifidian, so he certainly was not attempting to press a solifidian agenda with that revision. This is made clear by numerous revisions in the JST New Testament, including Romans; one illustration from Romans 4:16 JST should suffice to establish this point:

Therefore it is ye are justified of faith, that it might be by and works, through grace, to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that them only which is who are of the law, but to that them also which is who are of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.

The JST revision of Romans 3:28 only works if it is understood as being made for sense, emphasis, and clarity. Luther was not translating for the elite, but rather he was attempting to make his language clear, as he writes in his Open Letter, “for the mother in the home, the children in the street, the common man in the marketplace.” Joseph Smith was of humble origins and was just such a common man. And to his eye and ear, apparently quite independently of Luther, the word alone was necessary in this verse for it to ring right in his native tongue (in Joseph’s case, English).25

In conclusion, the effect of Joseph’s insertion of alone in Romans 3:28 JST is, I believe, well captured by this text from a popular Bible commentary on that verse:

 There is no problem in adding the word “alone” to the word “faith”—a tradition that goes way back beyond Luther, at least to Aquinas—as long as we recognize what it means: not that a person is “converted” by faith alone without moral effort. . . , nor that God’s grace is always prior to human response . . . but that the badge that enables all alike to stand on the same, flat ground at the foot of the cross, is faith.26

Kevin L. Barney is a partner in Kutak Rock LLP.

Appendix A

Relevant Extracts from Luther’s Open Letter



Ich hab ewer schrifft empfangen mit den zwo Questen odder fragen / darin ihr meines berichts begert. Erstlich / Warümb ich zun Römern am dritten Capitel die wort S. Pauli / Arbitramur hominem iustificari ex fide absque operibus legis / also verdeudscht habe. Wir halte / das der mensch gerecht werde on des gesetzs werck / allein durch den glauben Und zeigt darneben an / wie die Papisten sich über die massen unnütz machen / weil im Text Pauli nicht stehet das wort / Sola (allein) Und sey solcher zusatz von mir nicht zu leiden / inn Gottes worten etc. I received your letter with the two questions,c or inquiries, requesting my response. In the first place, you ask why in translating the words of Paul in the 3rd chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, Arbitramur hominem iustificari ex fide absque operibus legis,d I rendered them, “We hold that a man is justified without the works of the law, by faith alone,” and you also tell me that the papists are causing a great fuss because Paul’s text does not contain the word sola (alone), and that my addition to the words of God is not to be tolerated.


c. The second question was whether the departed saints intercede for us, which Luther addresses briefly at the end of the Open Letter, and which is beyond the scope of this essay.

d. A Latin rendering of Romans 3:28, which matches precisely neither the Vulgate, which reads arbitramur enim iustificari hominem per fidem sine operibus legis, nor Erasmus’s Latin version, which reads arbitramur igitur fide iustificari hominem absque operibus legis. See Heinz Bluhm, Luther Translator of Paul: Studies in Romans and Galatians (New York: Lang, 1984), 106.

[Seven paragraphs, to the effect that Papists can’t translate into German; he’s not forcing anyone to read his translation; they can do their own; Jerome was criticized, too; the scribbler from Dresden and his prince; put his translation side by side against his and see for yourself how the scribbler plagiarized.]


Und das ich widder zur sachen kome / Wenn ewer Papist sich viel unnŸtze machen wil mit dem wort (Sola / Allein) so sagt ihm flugs also / Doctor Martinus Luther wils also haben / und spricht / Papist und Esel sey ein ding / Sic volo / sic iubeo / sit pro ratione voluntas. Denn wir wöllen nicht der Papisten schuler noch iünger / sondern ihre meister und richter sein / Wöllen auch ein mal stoltzieren un po- chen mit den Esels köpffen / Und wie Paulus widder seine tollen heiligen sich rhümet / so wil ich mich auch wider diese meine Esel rhümen / Sie sind Doctores? Ich auch. Sie sind gelert? Ich auch. Sie sind Prediger? Ich auch. Sie sind Theologi? Ich auch. Sie sind Disputatores? Ich auch. Sie sind Philosophi? Ich auch. Sie sind Dialectici? Ich auch. Sie sind Legenten? Ich auch. Sie schreiben bücher? Ich auch. But I will return to the subject at hand. If your papist wishes to make a great fuss about the word sola (alone), say this to him: “Dr. Martin Luther will have it so, and he says that a papist and a donkey are the same thing.” Sic volo, sic iubeo, sit pro ratione voluntas. For we are not going to be students and disciples of the papists. Rather, we will become their teachers and judges. For once, we also are going to be proud and brag, with these block- heads; and just as Paul brags against his mad raving saints, I will brag against these donkeys of mine! Are they doctors? So am I. Are they scholars? So am I. Are they preachers? So am I. Are they theologians? So am I. Are they debaters? So am I. Are they philosophers? So am I. Are they logicians? So am I. Do they lecture? So do I. Do they write books? So do I.


[Two paragraphs, to the effect that he can translate, they cannot; let this be the answer to your first question.]


Euch aber und den unsern wil ich anzeigen / warümb ich das wort (Sola) hab wöllen brauchen / Wiewohl Roma. 3. nicht Sola / sondern solum odder tantum von mir gebraucht ist / Also fein sehen die Esel meinen Text an. Aber doch hab ichs sonst anderswo / sola fide gebraucht / und wil auch beide Solum und Sola haben. Ich hab mich des gevlissen im dolmetschen / das ich rein und klar deudsch geben möchte. For you and our people, however, I shall show why I used the [German equivalent of the] word sola—even though in Romans 3 it was not [the equivalent of] sola I used but solum or tantum. That is how closely those donkeys have looked at my text! Nevertheless I have used sola fides elsewhere; I want to use both solum and sola. I have always tried to translate in a pure and clear German.
Also habe ich hie Roma. 3. fast wol gewust / das im Lateinischen und Griechischen Text / das wort (Solum) nicht stehet / und hetten mich solchs die Papisten nicht dürffen leren. War ists / Diese vier buchstaben Sola stehen nicht drinnen / welche buchstaben die Eselsköpff ansehen / wie die kue ein new thor / Sehen aber nicht / das gleichwol die meinung des Texts inn sich hat / und wo mans wil klar und gewaltiglich ver- deudschen / so gehöret es hinein / den ich habe Deudsch / nicht Lateinisch noch Griechisch reden wöllen / da ich deudsch zu reden im dolmetschen furgenomen hatte. Das ist aber die art unser Deud- schen sprache / wen sich ein rede begibt / von zweien dingen  / der man eins bekennet / und das ander verneinet / so braucht man des worts solum (allein) neben dem wort (nicht odder kein) Als wen man sagt / Der Bawr bringt allein korn und kein gelt / Item / ich hab warlich itzt nicht gelt / sondern allein korn / Ich hab allein gessen und noch nicht getruncken / Hastu allein geschrieben und nicht uberlesen? Und der gleichen unzeliche weise inn teglichem brauch.Inn diesen reden allen / obs gleich die Lateinische oder Griechische sprache nicht thut / so thuts doch die Deudsche / und ist ihr art / das sie das wort (Allein) hinzu setzt / auff das / das wort (nicht odder kein) deste völliger und deutlicher sey / Den wiewol ich auch sage / Der Bawer bringt korn und kein gelt / So laut doch das wort (kein gelt) nicht so völlig und deutlich / als wenn ich sage / Der Bawer bringt allein korn und kein gelt / und hilfft hie das wort (Allein) dem wort (kein) so viel / das es eine völlige Deudsche klare rede wird / denn man mus nicht die buchstaben inn der Lateinischen sprachen fragen / wie man sol Deudsch reden / wie diese Esel thun / Sondern man mus die mutter ihm hause / die kinder auff der gassen / den gemeinen man auff dem marckt drümb fragen / und den selbigen auff das maul sehen / wie sie reden / und darnach dolmetschen / so verste- hen sie es denn / und mercken / das man Deudsch mit ihn redet. I know very well that in Ro- mans 3 the word solum is not in the Greek or Latin text—the papists did not have to teach me that. It is fact that the let- ters s-o-l-a are not there. And these blockheads stare at them like cows at a new gate, while at the same time they do not recognize that it conveys the sense of the text—if the transla- tion is to be clear and vigorous [klar und gewaltiglich], it belongs there. I wanted to speak Ger- man, not Latin or Greek, since it was German I had set about to speak in the translation. But it is the nature of our language that in speaking about two things, one which is affirmed, the other denied, we use the word allein [only] along with the word nicht [not] or kein [no]. For example, we say “the farmer brings allein grain and kein money”; or “No, I really have nicht money, but allein grain”; I have allein eaten and nicht yet drunk”; “Did you write it allein and nicht read it over?” There are countless cases like this in daily usage.In all these phrases, this is a German usage, even though it is not the Latin or Greek usage. It is the nature of the German language to add allein in order that nicht or kein may be clearer and more complete. To be sure, I can also say, “The farmer brings grain and kein money,” but the words “kein money” do not sound as full and clear as if I were to say, “the farmer brings allein grain and kein money.” Here the word allein helps the word kein so much that it becomes a completely clear German expression. We do not have to ask the literal Latin how we are to speak German, as these donkeys do. Rather we must ask the mother in the home, the children on the street, the common man in the market- place. We must be guided by their language, by the way they speak, and do our trans- lating accordingly. Then they will understand it and recog- nize that we are speaking Ger- man to them.


[Eight paragraphs going over other examples, such as the abundance of the heart example; the loss of ointment example; the hail Mary example; it would take him a year to explain rationale behind all of his word choices; he had no ulterior motives; the sealed/signified example.]


Das sey vom dolmetschen und art der sprachen gesagt / Aber nu hab ich nicht allein der sprachen art vertrawet und gefolget / das ich zun Römer am dritten / Solum (allein) habe hinzu ge- setzt / Sondern der Text und die meinung S. Pauli foddern und erzwingens mit gewalt / Denn er handelt ja daselbs das heubtstück Christlicherl lere / Nemlich / das wir durch den glauben an Chris- tum / on alle werck des gesetzs gerecht werden / und schneidt alle werck so rein abe / das er auch spricht / des gesetzes (das doch Gottes gesetz und wort ist) werck nicht helffen zur gerechtigkeit / Und setzt zum Exempel Abraham / das der selbige sey so gar on werck gerecht worden / das auch das hšhest werck / das dazumal new gepoten ward von Gott / fur und uber allen andern gesetzen und wercken / Nemlich / die be- schneittung / ihm nicht geholffen habe zur gerechtigkeit/ Sondern sey on die beschneittung / und on alle werck gerecht worden / durch den glauben / wie er spricht / Cap. 4. Ist Abraham durch die werck gerecht worden / So mag er sich rhümen / Aber nicht fur Gott / Wo man aber alle werck so rein abschneit / da mus ja die meinung sein / das allein der glaube gerecht mache / Und wer deutlich und d¨rre von solchem abschneiten der werck reden wil / der mus sagen / Al- lein der glaube / und nicht die werck machen uns gerecht / das zwinget die sache selbs / neben der sprachen art. So much for translating and the nature of language. How- ever, I was not depending upon or following the nature of the languages alone when I inserted the word solum in Romans 3. The text itself, and Saint Paul’s meaning, urgently require and demand it. For in that passage he is dealing with the main point of Christian doctrine, namely, that we are justified by faith in Christ without any works of the Law. Paul excludes all works so completely as to say that the works of the Law, though it is God’s law and word, do not aid us in justification. Using Abra- ham as an example, he argues that Abraham was so justified without works that even the highest work, which had been commanded by God, over and above all others, namely circumcision, did not aid him in justification. Rather, Abra- ham was justified without circumcision and without any works, but by faith, as he says in chapter 4: “If Abra- ham were justified by works, he may boast, but not before God.” So, when all works are so completely rejected—which must mean faith alone justi- fies—whoever would speak plainly and clearly about this rejection of works will have to say “Faith alone justifies and not works.” The matter itself and the nature of language requires it.


[Three paragraphs, to the effect that people object that this suggests no need for good works; not just any works but works of the Law; why all this ranting and raving?]


Auch bin ichs nicht allein / noch der erste / der da sagt / Allein der glaube macht gerecht / Es hat fur mir Ambrosius / Augustinus / und viel andere gesagt / Und wer S. Paulum lesen und verstehen sol / der mus wol so sagen / und kan nicht anders / Seine wort sind zu starck / un leiden kein / ja gar kein werck / Ists kein werck / so mus der glaube alleine sein. O, wie solt es so gar eine feine / besserliche / unergerliche lere sein / wenn die leute lernten / das sie nebe dem glauben / auch durch werck from möchten werden / das wer so viel gesagt / das nicht allein Christus tod unser sunde weg neme / sondern unser werck thete auch etwas dazu / Das hiesse Christus tod fein geehret / das unser werck ihm hülffen / und kündten das auch thun das er thut / auff das ihm gleich gut und starck weren / Es ist der Teuffel / der das blut Christi nicht kan ungeschendet lassen. Weil nu die sache im grund selbs foddert / das man sage / Allein der glaub macht gerecht / Und unser deudschen sprachen art / die solchs auch lernt also aus zus- prechen / Habe dazu der Heiligen Veter Exempel / und zwinget auch die fahr der leute / das sie nicht an den wercken han- gen bleiben / den des glaubens feilen / und Christum verlieren / sonderlich zu dieser zeit / da sie so lang her der werck gewonet / un mit macht davon zu reissen sind. Sso ists nicht allein recht / sondern auch hoch von nöten/ das man auffs aller deutlichst und völligst eraus sage / Allein der glaube on werck macht frum / Und rewet mich / das ich nicht auch dazu gesetzt habe / alle und aller / also on alle werck aller gesetz das es vol und rund eraus gesprochen were / darümb sols inn meinem Newen Testa- ment bleiben / und solten alle Papstesel toll und töricht werden / so sollen sie mirs nicht eraus bringen. Das sey itzt davon gnug / Weiter wil ich (so Gott gnade gibt) davon reden im büchlin / De iustificatione. Furthermore, I am not the only one, nor the first, to say that faith alone makes one righ- teous. There was Ambrose, Au- gustine and many others who said it before me. And if a man is going to read and understand St. Paul, he will have to say the same thing, and he can say nothing else. Paul’s words are too strong—they allow no works, none at all! Now if it is not works, it must be faith alone. Oh what a fine, constructive and inoffensive teaching that would be, if men were taught that they can be saved by works as well as by faith. That would be like saying that it is not Christ’s death alone that takes away our sin but that our works have something to do with it. Now that would be a fine way of honoring Christ’s death, saying that it is helped by our works, and that whatever it does our works can also do— which amounts to saying that we are his equal in strength and goodness. This is the very devil’s teaching, for he can- not stop abusing the blood of Christ. Therefore the matter itself, at its very core, requires us to say: “Faith alone justifies.” The nature of the German language also teaches us to say it that way. In addition, I have the precedent of the holy fathers. The dangers confront- ing the people also compel it, for they cannot continue to hang onto works and wander away from faith, losing Christ, especially at this time when they have been so accustomed to works they have to be pulled away from them by force. It is for these reasons that it is not only right but also necessary to say it as plainly and forcefully as pos- sible: “Faith alone saves with- out works!” I am only sorry I did not also add the words alle and aller, and say, “without any works of any laws.” That would have stated it with the most perfect clarity. There- fore, it will remain in the New Testament, and though all the papal donkeys go stark rav- ing mad they shall not take it away. Let this be enough for now. God willing, I shall have more to say about it in the treatise On Justification.e


e. Although there are some extant fragments of it in the form of notes and outlines, this tract was never completed.

[Eleven paragraphs addressing the second question, on whether the departed saints intercede for us.]



Appendix B




Juxtapositions of Faith and Alone in Theological Traditions Predating Luther27




1. Origen, Commentarius in Epistolam ad Romanos, cap 3 f Et dixit (Apostolus) sufficere solius fidei justificationem (“And the apostle says that justification by faith alone is sufficient”)
2. Hilary, Commentarius in Matthaeum 8:6 g et remissum ab eo quod lex laxare non poterat. Fides enim sola justificat. (“and this was forgiven by him [Christ], because the Law could not yield, for faith alone justifies.”)
3. Basil, Homilia de humilitate 20.3 h Haec est perfecta, et integra gloriatio in Deo, quando neque ob justitiam suam quis se jactat: sed novit quidem se ipsum verae justitiae indignum, sola autem fide in Christum justificatum. (“In this is the perfect and complete boasting in God, that no one is extolled on account of his own righteousness, but we know that he, being destitute of real righteousness, is justified by faith only in Christ.”)
4. Ambrosiaster, In Epistolam ad Romanos 3.24 i sola fide justificati sunt dono Dei (“through faith alone they have been justified by a gift from God”)
5. John Chrysostom, Homilia in Epistolam ad Titum 3.3 j Si credis fidei, cur alia infers, quasi fides justificare non sufficiat sola? (“If you believe in faith, why do you add other things, as if faith alone were not sufficient to justify?”)
6. Cyril of Alexandria, In Ioannis Evangelium 10.15.7 k Hominem per solam fidem inhaerere Christo. (“Man clings to Christ by faith alone.”)
7. Bernard, In Canticum sermones 22.8 l solam justificatus per fidem (“is justified by faith alone”)
8. Theophylact, Expositio in Epistolam ad Galatas 3.12–13 m Fides sola habet in se justicandi virtutem (“Faith alone has within itself the power of justifying”)
9. Thomas Aquinas, Expositio in Epistolam 1 ad Timotheum cap. 1, lect. 3 Non est ergo in eis [moralibus et caeremonialibus legis] spes iustificationis, sed in sola fide, Rom. 3.28: “Arbitramur justificari hominem per fidem, sine operibus legis” (“Therefore the hope of justification is not found in them [the moral and ceremonial requirements of the law], but in faith alone, Rom. 3:28: “We consider a human being to be justified by faith, without the works of the law.”)
10. Marius Victorinus, In Epistolam Pauli ad Galatas, ad 2:15–16 Ipsa enim fides sola iustifi- cationem dat—et sancti- ficationem (“For faith itself alone gives justification and sanctification”)
11. Augustine, De fide et operibus 22.40 n Licet recte dici pussit ad solam fidem pertinere dei mandata, si non mortua, sed viva illa intellegatur fides, quae per dilectionem operator (“Although it can be said that God’s commandments pertain to faith alone, if it is not a dead [faith], but rather understood as that live faith, which works through love”)


f.   Cf. PG 14:952.

g.  Cf. PL 9:961.

h.  Cf. PG 31:529C.

i.   Cf. CSEL 81.1.119, 130.

j.   Cf. PG 62:679 (in Latin translation but not in Greek text).

k.  Cf. PG 74:368.

l.   Cf. PL 183:881.

m. Cf. PG 124:988.

n.  Cf. CSEL 41.84–85.


1.    The first occurrence listed in the Oxford English Dictionary is from 1628: “To the conuiction of that lewd slander of solifidianisme,” citing Bp. Hall, Righteous Mammon, 728. The Compact Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1989), 1823.

2.    The other four are sola scriptura (“by scripture alone”), sola gratia (“by grace alone”), solus Christus (“Christ alone”) and soli Deo gloria (“glory to God alone”).

3.    For a brief overview, see Alma P. Burton, “Salvation,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4:1256–57. For the classic expression of salvation in the former sense, see LeGrand Richards, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1950), 262–81. For explicit rejections of solifidianism, see Daniel C. Peterson and Stephen D. Ricks, Offenders for a Word: How Anti-Mormons Play Word Games to Attack Latter-day Saints (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1998), 138–47, and Craig L. Blomberg and Stephen E. Robinson, How Wide the Divide? A Mormon and an Evangelical in Conversation (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1997), 148–49. For a discussion of Mormon soteriology using the vocabulary of the philosophy of religion, see Blake T. Ostler, Exploring Mormon Thought: Of God and Gods (Salt Lake City: Kofford Books, 2008), 321–58.

4.    This particular emendation was not included among the approximately six hundred selections from the JST incorporated in footnotes or the special appendix to the 1979 edition of the Bible published by the Church of Jesus Christ; therefore, many members of the church are unfamiliar with it.

5.    This revision is reminiscent of the variant reading oun at the beginning of verse 28 as discussed below.

6.    Replacing the adverb only for freely is suggestive of a sola gratia concept, or the first sense of salvation in Mormon theology.

7.    Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th ed. (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), 415.

8.    The manuscript attestation of gar is slightly superior to that for oun, and the context favors gar, for verse 28 gives a reason for the argument in verse 27, not a conclusion from it. “Since verse 28 opens a new lesson (for the third Saturday after Pentecost), the Greek lectionaries omit the conjunction altogether,” as there is no need in that context to connect verse 28 with the preceding verse. Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (New York: United Bible Societies, 1975), 509.

9.    Of course, a complete absence of any textual evidence whatsoever is not in and of itself necessarily dispositive, since the reading could have been lost prior to the copying of any extant manuscript. But given that the JST is not a pure textual restoration, we cannot simply assume that any particular textual revision in the JST represents text that was originally present. If one wishes to conjecturally suggest that a particular JST revision reflects original text in the absence of textual evidence, at the very least one should put forward a rationale for either early intentional or accidental omission by scribes. I see no obvious likelihood of an unintentional omission of monon in this passage had it been an original part of the text. Conceivably monon could have been intentionally deleted as a partial harmonization with James (where faith and alone are juxtaposed in a negative sense), but this would be a complete speculation. The more parsimonious explanation is that the presence of alone is to be accounted for at the translational rather than the textual level.

10.   Kevin L. Barney, “Reflections on the Documentary Hypothesis,” Dialogue 33/1 (2000): 76–77, and “Isaiah Interwoven,” FARMS Review 15/1 (2003): 382. This is my adaptation of the seminal formulation in Robert J. Matthews, “A Plainer Translation”: Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible: A History and Commentary (Provo, UT: BYU Press, 1985), 253. Another characterization of the emendations is offered by Philip L. Barlow, Mormons and the Bible: The Place of the Latter-day Saints in American Religion (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 51–56, in which he divides the emendations into six categories: (1) long-revealed additions with little or no biblical parallel, (2) “common sense” changes, (3) interpretive additions, (4) harmonizations, (5) changes otherwise not easily classified, and (6) grammatical improvements, technical clarifications, and modernization of terms (by far the most common type of change).

11.   Richard Lloyd Anderson, “Joseph Smith’s Insights into the Olivet Prophecy: Joseph Smith 1 and Matthew 24,” in Pearl of Great Price Symposium: A Centennial Presentation (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, 1976), 50.

12.   D. Martin Luthers Werke, Kritische Gesamtausgabe (Weimar: Böhlaus, 1883–), Die Deutsche Bibel, 7:38–39 (these two editions are on facing pages, with 1522 on p. 38 and 1546 on p. 39) [the Weimar edition is referenced herein as Werke].

13.   Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, eds., The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph (Provo, UT: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1980), 351.

14.   See Scott H. Faulring, Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts (Provo, UT: BYU Religious Studies Center, 2004), 69. Although Joseph occasionally made revisions to the manuscript during the remainder of his life, these were pinned to the original manuscript. Romans 3:28 was on the original manuscript and was not one of these pinned revisions. For the twenty-three pinned revisions, see p. 73. H. Michael Marquardt has suggested that Romans 7 may have been modified “during February or early March, 1832”; if so, that would be a terminus ad quem for establishing the date of Romans 3 JST. See Ronald V. Huggins, “Joseph Smith’s ‘Inspired Translation’ of Romans 7,” Dialogue 26/4 (1993): 163 n. 8.

15.   See Faulring, Jackson, and Matthews, Original Manuscripts, 482–83.

16.   Huggins, “‘Inspired Translation’ of Romans 7,” 159–82, suggests the following as the most likely possibilities for external works that may have had an influence on JST Romans, given their popularity, accessibility, and for some their grounding in the Methodist and Campbellite traditions: (1) Alexander Campbell, ed., The Sacred Writings of the Apostles and Evangelists of Jesus Christ, Commonly Styled The New Testament. Translated from the Original Greek, by George Campbell, James MacKnight, and Philip Doddridge, Doctors of the Church of Scotland. With Prefaces to the Historical and Epistolary Books; and an Appendix, Containing Critical Notes and Various Translations of Difficult Passages (Buffaloe, VA [now Bethany, WV]: Alexander Campbell, 1826); (2) Adam Clarke, The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The text carefully printed from the most correct copies of the present Authorized Version. Including the marginal readings and parallel texts. With a Commentary and Critical Notes (in six volumes of approximately 1,000 pages each) (New York: Emory and Waugh, 1831); (3) Matthew Henry, A Commentary on the Holy Bible . . . with Practical Remarks and Observations, 6 vols. (London: Ward, Lock, Boden, 1706); or (4) John Wesley, Explanatory Notes upon the New Testament (London: Thomas Cordeux, 1813). None of these sources mentions Luther’s translation of Romans 3:28. Luther’s version with allein is described in Charles Hodge, Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (Philadelphia: Williams and Martien, 1864), 100, the first edition of which was published in Philadelphia in 1835, but that is three years after Joseph dictated Romans 3 JST in 1832. Moses Stuart, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, with a Translation and Various Excursus (Andover: Flagg and Gould, 1832), 172, reflects the following sentence: “Luther translates pistei, ALLEIN durch den Glauben, i.e. by faith only.” This book is an unlikely source for Romans 3:28 JST, given that that verse was dictated early in the year and Stuart suggests a different word (only) and a different insertion point than that followed in the JST. Doubtless there were English sources prior to 1832 that mention Luther’s insertion of allein in his translation, but generally these would have appeared in more technical literature (like Stuart and Hodge). I have not yet found one that would be obviously available to Joseph Smith at that time.

17.   The most relevant extracts from this letter are set forth in appendix A. The German text given in the appendix derives from the Weimar edition (see Werke 30:627–46) with the original spelling restored as reprinted in the edition of Erwin Arndt, Martin Luther. Sendbrief vom Dolmetschen und Summarien über die Psalmen und Ursachen des Dolmetschens. Mit einem Anhang ausgewählter Selbstzeugnisse und übersetzungsproben (Halle/Saale: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1968). The English translation used in this article is that of Michael D. Marlowe (June 2003) posted at http://www.bible-researcher.com/luther01.html (accessed 24 June 2010), which is a revision of both the translation done by Gary Mann for Project Wittenberg and the traditional English translation of Charles M. Jacobs, revised by E. Theodore Bachmann, “On Translating: An Open Letter,” in Luther’s Works: Word and Sacrament, ed. E. Theodore Bachmann (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg, 1960), 35:175–202.

18.   Margaret A. Currie, trans., The Letters of Martin Luther (London: Macmillan, 1908), 208.

19.   Juvenal, Saturae 6.223: “I will it; I command it; my will is reason enough!” In its original context this was part of a diatribe against marriage and women; these are the words spoken by a woman who wants to have one of the slaves crucified for no good reason, against her husband’s protests. Luther liked to use this quotation as a characterization of what he viewed as the capricious, unlimited power of the pope.

20.   Johann Ludwig Schleenaker, “Disputatio Theologico-Apologetica pro genuina B. Lutheri versione: So halten wir es nun daß der Mensch gerecht werde ohne des Gesetzes Werck, allein durch den Glauben, Rom III, 28” (dissertation, University of Strassburg, 1660). My summary of these additional points in favor of the inclusion of alone in Romans 3:28 from the dissertation is based on James Morison, A Critical Exposition of the Third Chapter of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (London: Hamilton, Adams, 1866), 377–81.

21.   Fred Augustus Gottreu Tholuck, Exposition of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans: With Extracts from the Evangelical Works of the Fathers and Reformers (Philadelphia: Sorin and Ball, 1844), 113, attributed this to Erasmus, Ecclesiastes: sive de ratione concionandi 1.3. Morison, Critical Exposition, 379, correctly observes that this citation (which is repeated by various authors in the literature) is mistaken, but wherever Tholuck got the statement it was an accurate assessment of the situation at that time.

22.   Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Romans: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New York: Doubleday, 1983), 362. See also Stanislas Lyonnet, Études sur L’Épître aux Romains (Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1989), 116–21.

23.   For instance, we could read faith here not merely as a passive belief, but in an active sense in which action is implied, perhaps better represented in English with something like faithfulness.

24.   Morison, Critical Exposition, 377–78.

25.   There are two other translations that also use allein/alone in Romans 3:28, in each case in parentheses: Otto Kuss, Der Römerbrief (Regensburg: Verlag Friedrich Pustet, 1963), 174, and Ernst Käsemann, Commentary on Romans, ed. and trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994), 101.

26.   The New Interpreter’s Bible (Nashville: Abingdon, 2002), 10:482.

27.   The first eight illustrations were listed and discussed by Robert Bellarmine (1542–1621), Controversarium de justificatione 1.25, in Decimae quartae controversiae generalis de reparatione gratiae controversia secunda principales de justificatione impii et bonis operibus generatim quinque libris explicata (Paris: Vives, 1870), 6:204–7. (Greek passages are given in Bellarmine’s Latin translation.) Stanislas Lyonnet added item 9 in his Quaestiones in epistolam ad Romanos, prima series, 2nd ed. (Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1962), 114–18. Items 10 and 11 were suggested by Fitzmyer, Romans, 360–61. This list is meant to be illustrative, not exhaustive. In the notes to this appendix, the abbreviation PG stands for J. P. Migne, ed., Patrilogiae Cursus Completus, Series Graeca, published by Migne’s own publishing house in Paris in 166 volumes from 1857 to 1866; PL stands for Migne, ed., Patrilogiae Cursus Completus, Series Latina, published in 217 volumes from 1844 to 1849; and CSEL stands for Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum, a series begun in 1864 with the goal of superseding PL, published by a committee of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.