Romans 3:25 “the REMISSION of sins that are past”


 “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25


What is your Final Authority? Do you believe the promises of God to give us a Book containing all His inspired and inerrant words, or do you believe, as most Christians today, that there is no inerrant Bible in any language? Is your Final Authority the King James Holy Bible, or is it A Lexicon, another commentator or your own understanding?


There are many today who heap fulsome praise on that old Book telling us how wonderful it is, but then they add that its “archaic” language needs to be updated, and various “errors” and “mistranslations” corrected. Most Updaters and Bible Correctors will start out with a list that includes such words as “letteth”, “conversation”, and “prevent”, but soon reveal their desire to be their own Final Authority (and your’s as well) when they come right out and tell us the King James translators dropped the ball when translating several Greek or Hebrew words like “brass”, “unicorns”, “Easter”, “damnation”, or the  example we will look at in this little study, “for the REMISSION of sins” (Romans 3:25)


One such Christian brother who “prefers” the King James Bible over the modern versions, yet apparently does not consider it to be the inerrant words of God, wrote to me with this example of “error” and difficulty in the old Book.

He writes: Hello, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for THE REMISSION of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” Romans 3:23-26 (King James Bible)


He then includes a reference to a certain Greek Lexicon by Thayer – “paresis, Thayer Definition:1) passing over, letting pass, neglecting, disregarding.”


Then he asks: “How would you have translated the word remission in the Romans passage? This is the only time the word paresis is translated into the English word remission. I am not a Greek scholar or anything like that, but it seems to me that remission is a different word than what Paul actually used.


 “Passing over” and “release from bondage” are two different things. There is remission of sins for the child of God. But is this what Paul meant here in this sentence? It’s translational “errors” like this one that those who do not trust the KJV point out to us who do. Is it not to our advantage to be aware and ready with a solid and TRUE answer?” – Chris


Notice first that brother Chris got the idea that the King James Bible is in error because he saw another definition of the word in a lexicon. Aren’t people funny? Lexicons, commentaries and scholars are not inspired and they frequently disagree with one another, yet instead of believing The Bible, this brother has lost his faith in an inerrant Book by believing what some guy wrote in a lexicon.


Also, regarding Chris’ statement: “This is the only time the word paresis is translated into the English word remission.” – it should be noted that this is the only time this particular Greek word is found in the entire New Testament.  He seems to be implying that it is found in other places and translated differently than “remission”. It isn’t.


Brother Chris did not provide us with all that is found in Thayer’s lexicon, and why Thayer, (who himself denied the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ), thought that “HAD PASSED OVER the sins that were previously committed” was the correct way to translate this passage.


Thayer actually goes on to say: “passing over, neglecting, disregarding – because God had patiently let pass the sins committed previously to the expiatory death of Christ, i.e. HAD TOLERATED, HAD NOT PUNISHED, and so man’s conception of his holiness was in danger of becoming dim, if not extinct.” (Caps are mine)


Is what Thayer thought about God having neglected, tolerated, and not punished sins Biblically correct? Definitely not, as we shall soon see.


Lexicons and commentaries are not the inspired words of God. Only the King James Bible is the inerrant word of God. Most lexicons are written by men who do not believe any Bible is the inspired and inerrant word of God, and they often employ pagan and secular usages in defining Biblical words. They also happen to frequently disagree with each other.


Chris mentioned Thayer’s lexicon, but according to other lexicons, a legitimate meaning of the word paresis is “REMISSION” of sins.


Liddell and Scott’s huge Greek-English lexicon, on page 1337 says of the word paresis – ” 1. a letting go, a dismissal, a release; 2. a slackening of strength; 3. “REMISSION of debts”, and then it specifically lists Romans 3:35 as a reference.


In Moulton and Milligan’s The Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament, under the word paresis listed on page 493, they give three citations from early Greek writers where the meaning of this word is “the REMISSION, or forgiving of a debt”.


Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament – “For the remission of sins. Margin, Passing over. The word here used (paresin) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means passing by, as not noticing; and hence FORGIVING. A similar idea occurs in Micah 7:18: “Who is a God like unto thee, that passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance?” IN ROMANS IT MEANS FOR THE PARDONING, OR IN ORDER TO PARDON PAST TRANSGRESSION.” (Caps are mine)


the REMISSION of sins that are past


Not only does the King James Bible translate this word in Romans 3:25 as the “remission” of sins, but so also do Wycliffe 1395,  the Douay-Rheims 1582, The Bill Bible 1671, Whiston’s N.T 1745, Wesley’s N.T.1755, The Worsley N.T. 1770, the Thomas Haweis N.T. 1795, The Thomson Bible 1808, The Revised Translation 1815, The Thomson N.T. 1816, The Wakefield N.T. 1820, The Kneeland N.T. 1823, Webster’s 1833, The New Covenant N.T. 1836, The Pickering N.T. 1840, The Longman Version 1841, The Hussey N.T. 1845, The Hewett N.T. 1850, The Commonly Received Version 1851, The Boothroyd Bible 1853, The Kenrick N.T. 1862, The Revised N.T. 1862, The Dillard N.T. 1885, The Godbey N.T. 1902, Lamsa’s 1936 translation of the Syriac Peshitta, The Word of Yah 1993, the Third Millennium Bible 1998, The Lawrie Translation 1998,  The Evidence Bible 2003, the Bond Slave Version 2009, The Jubilee Bible 2010, The Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010 – “the REMISSION of sins that are past”, The Far Above All Translation 2011, the Work of God’s Children Illustrated Bible 2011 – “for the REMISSION of former sins” and the 2012 Hebraic Roots Bible – “the REMISSION of our sins that are past”



Foreign Language Bibles

Foreign language Bibles that also read “REMISSION of sins” are the French Martin Bible 1744 – “par la REMISSION des péchés précédents”, the Italian Diodati 1649 – “per la remission de’ peccati”, the Spanish Las Sagradas Escrituras of 1569, Cipriano de Valera 1602, Reina Valera 1865, Reina Valera Gómez Bible 2010 and the Spanish Jubilee bible 2000 – “para la REMISION de los pecados pasados”, the Portuguese Las Sagradas Esrituras and the Portuguese Almeida Corrigida 2009 – “pela REMISSAO dos pecados dantes cometidos”


Versions such as Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, Bishops’s Bible 1568, the Beza N.T. 1599 and the Geneva Bible of 1599, Worldwide English N.T. 1998, The Tomson N.T. 2002, New American Bible 2010, The Conservative Bible 2010 all give the same sense to the passage as does the King James Bible by translating this as “for the FORGIVENESS of sins that are past”.


The Modern Greek version agrees with the meaning of the King James Bible and reads “for the FORGIVENESS of sins that are past” – “δια την αφεσιν των προγενομενων αμαρτηματων “


Many Bible commentators tell us that Romans 3:25 refers to THE REMISSION OF SINS that are past, including John Gill, Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, John Wesley, Barnes, and Matthew Henry.


John Gill states: “for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God – by “sins that are past”, are meant, not sins before baptism, nor the sins of a man’s life only, but THE SINS OF OLD TESTAMENT SAINTS, WHO LIVED BEFORE THE INCARNATION OF CHRIST, and the oblation of his sacrifice; and though this is not to be restrained to them only, for Christ’s blood was shed for THE REMISSION OF ALL HIS PEOPLE’S SINS, past, present, and to come; YET THE SINS OF THE SAINTS BEFORE THE COMING OF CHRIST, SEEM TO BE PARTICULARLY DESIGNED.”


The Bible itself is its own best commentary. Hebrews 9:15 reaffirms the truth that the death of Christ was the legal basis for God having forgiven the sins of the Old Testament saints – “And for this cause he (Jesus Christ) is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”


Some modern versions like the NKJV say: “whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God HAD PASSED OVER the sins that were previously committed.”


I believe the NKJV translation, and others of a similar nature – “had passed over” (NKJV, NASB, ESV, Holman), “overlooked” (NEB), “left unpunished” (NIV) miss the meaning of the passage, and create a direct contradiction to the rest of Scripture.


God very definitely FORGAVE sins many times in the Old Testament, and He certainly PUNISHED His people for their sins; but the legal basis for His having forgiven or remitted the sins of His people in the Old Testament times was the future and predicted death of Christ on the cross of Calvary.


He is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). The death of Christ satisfies the legal requirements of His having remitted and forgiven the sins of the O.T. saints. The blood of Christ declares the righteousness of God in forgiving sins, both in Old Testament times and now in the New.


Punishment – “You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therrfore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” Amos 3:2.


“And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins…if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity, Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob” Leviticus 26:18,41.


“And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity” Ezekiel 14:10. “And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this” Ezra 9:13.


See also Jeremiah 11:22; 13:21; 21:14, Hosea 4:9; 12:2; Amos 2:4,6; and Zechariah 9:14.


Forgiveness of sins – “Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” Exodus 34:7


“Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now. And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word.” Numbers 14:19-20


“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered” Psalm 32:1


“But he being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity” Psalm 78:38


“Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin.” Psalm 85:2.


See numerous other verses also, such as 1 Kings 8:30, 34; and Psalm 103:3.



Those versions that tell us God “passed over” the sins of the Old Testament saints and did not punish them or actually forgive them create a very definite contradiction with the rest of the Scripture. God often PUNISHED His people for their sins, and He also certainly FORGAVE them as well.



The King James Bible is right and modern versions are wrong.