The Berean Expositor
Volume 34 - Page 18 of 261
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"Guests" or "Strangers"?
What is the true translation of Eph. 2: 12?
pp. 179 - 182
If the reader consults the A.V. or the R.V. of Eph. 2: 12, he will read "strangers from
the covenants of promise". The only alteration that J. N. D. makes in his translation is
to read "strangers to the covenants of promise" instead of "strangers from". Rotherham
reads exactly as the A.V. Weymouth translates the passage:--
"With no share by birth in the covenants which are based on the Promises."
These five versions of the N.T. differ from one another in several particulars, but,
apparently, none of the Editors seem to have felt it necessary to translate xenos by
"guest", in Eph. 2: 12.  The fact that there is this unanimity however, is not proof of
accuracy, and the Berean Expositor would be the last to refuse an examination of any
rendering put forward in good faith. The matter is important, for at least two reasons.
First. Quit apart from its possible bearings upon our own hope or calling, we should
be zealous for the truth, and jealous of the truth, earnestly desiring as near as is humanly
possible, a translation in our own tongue that shall express the meaning of the original.
Secondly. Coming as the word does in a context that deals with the status of the
Gentile before the revelation of the mystery, the whole passage must be coloured by the
translation adopted, and must influence our minds and our teaching concerning the
constitution of the church of the One Body.
The first thing we must do is to note the occurrences of the word in the N.T. The
Greek word under consideration is Xenos, and occurs fourteen times.
Matt. 25: 35, 43.
"I was a stranger."
Matt. 25: 38, 44.
"When saw we Thee a stranger?"
Matt. 27: 7.
"The potter's field, to bury strangers in."
Acts 17: 18.
"A setter forth of strange gods."
Acts 17: 21.
"All the Athenians and strangers which were there."
Rom. 16: 23.
"Gaius mine host."
Eph. 2: 12.
The passage under consideration.
Eph. 2: 19.
This passage also goes with Eph. 2: 12.
Heb. 11: 13.
"Strangers and pilgrims."
Heb. 13: 9.
"Divers and strange doctrines."
I Pet. 4: 12.
"As though some strange thing happened."
III John 5.
"To the brethren, and to strangers."
It is evident that the five references found in Matthew can have no other meaning than
"stranger", a "stranger" can only become a "guest" if he is "taken in", such a meaning is
not resident in the word itself. The "strange" gods of Acts 17: 18, and the "strange
thing" of I Pet. 4: 12, allow of no alteration. The believers mentioned in Heb. 11: 13,