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David's Commentaries

Romans 8:28 ‘And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good.’

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Romans 8:28 ‘And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good.’

    In the ‘Authorized Version,’ the ‘A. D. 1611,’ best known as the King James Version, this passage from Romans 8:28 has been rendered, as follows:

        And we know that all things work together for good. 

This is, of course, not a complete sentence in any translation of which we are aware. But that fact has never prevented any from quoting it as though it were a completed statement, and of course, featuring it as one of the most popular, we suspect, refrigerator magnets in use. In its full form, that is, a completed verse, it is set forth, again, to use the King James Version, in the expression which follows:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Does this not, at the very least, suggest the possible relative importance of the phrases employed by the translators? Does it not imply greater importance to those things that are primary, that is, put first? Does it not evoke the thought, or idea, that many may likely embrace the concept of ‘all things working for good’ as having greater importance in our lives, than ‘those that love God?’ We may commend one poster, that included the entire verse of Romans 8:28, while at the same time, having to denigrate the extreme emphasis upon the idea of all things working together for the individual’s good, while the concept of loving God being relatively minor, as we may witness in the illustration given here below:

 

And we know that to them that love God

All things work together for good

To them that are called according to his purpose.

 

Would it not have been more even-handed, may we say, to have emphasized loving God, as we suggest below?  

 

And we know that to them that love God

all things work together for good

To them that are called according to his purpose.

 

This is such a wonderful passage in God’s Word. It would be such a shame to permit it to be, in any way, materialized. Why not leave such materialization the ‘health and wealth’ folk? Instead of the ‘name it and claim it’ people, we ought to be happy to utter the Name of God and claim sincere love for Him who is absolutely good in all His ways; joining ourselves with those in the minority that have rendered the verse otherwise than the A. D. 1611 and the many translators that have followed that course; And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Of course, it is true to say, And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, but still, is it not far better to put our love for our God in the forefront?

After all, just what is the greatest commandment, according to the answer given by Christ to the lawyer that asked Him, saying, Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? Did Jesus not answer his question immediately, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the great and first commandment—Matthew 22:35-38. We utter these words almost casually, but do we understand what is intended by loving God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind? These are from the words of that ‘man of God,’ Moses, recorded for us in Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah: and thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. What do these things imply, that is, what is it to love with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our might? Matthew Henry is helpful in his comments upon this passage. He has written for us;

    “We are also commanded to love God with all our heart, and soul, and might; that is, we must love Him, [1] With a sincere love; not in word and tongue only, saying we love Him when our hearts are not with Him, but inwardly, and in truth, solacing ourselves in Him. [2] With a strong love; the heart must be carried out towards Him with great ardor and fervency of affection. [3] With a superlative love; we must love God above any creature whatsoever, and love nothing besides Him but what we love for Him and in subordination to Him. [4] With an intelligent love. To love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, we must know Him, and therefore love Him as those that see good cause to love Him. [5] With an entire love; He is one, and therefore our hearts must be united in this love, and the whole stream of our affections must run towards Him. O that this love of God may be shed abroad in our hearts”—Matthew Henry.

Some there are in our own personal history who have uttered frequently something of a paraphrase of Paul’s thought, and saying in ignorance, “Everything happens for the best!” But, may we rather be enabled by the grace of our God to answer, with Peter, the question put to him by Jesus, after His post-resurrection appearance unto His disciples, which was put by the Savior to Peter, no less than three times. This extremely important subject of interrogation, Lovest thou me? Let us answer, with the old fisherman, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. And may our hearts be grieved, as was Peter’s when Jesus asked him the third time, Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? We are informed, that, Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? May our hearts be grieved, I say, and respond, as it were, to our hearts, Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee.

David Farmer, elder—Fellowship Bible Church

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