Sense: humankind (sin) ⇔ flesh
n. — humanity especially understood according to their physical nature (which is often understood as the seat of sin and rebellion to God).
because by the works of the Law no flesh [σάρξ] will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.
Romans 3:20 (NASB)
Despite its consistent use in a variety of theological discussions, major translations of Romans 3:20 vary significantly on the Greek phrase οὐ σάρξ:
- NASB: “no flesh”
- NIV: “no one”
- NRSV, ESV: “no human being”
The problem is how to render the metaphor of “flesh.” The NASB renders the metaphor directly, whereas the NIV, NRSV, and ESV abandon the metaphorical term and try to render the thought behind the metaphor. By using the term “flesh,” Paul referred to all of humanity. But what if the metaphor plays a significant role in how we understand the meaning? Because it is not a translation, the Bible Sense Lexicon can capture what each of these translations struggle with—namely, that Paul used a metaphor to express the concept of “humanity.” The lexicon shows this by using the label “humankind (sin) ⇔ flesh” along with a definition. How can this help? Assume, for example, that someone is reading the NIV or NRSV and sees “one” or “human being.” With the reverse interlinear tool open in Logos and the sense line turned on, the reader might also notice the label “humankind (sin) ⇔ flesh.” This indicates that it would be a good time to pause and see what is going on.
What is the Bible Sense Lexicon?
Sense of the Day is based on content from Logos’ Bible Sense Lexicon, which organizes biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words by meaning based on a variety of semantic relationships. Sense of the Day provides examples of senses in context, along with insight into their application for theology and interpretation.
The Bible Sense Lexicon is a Logos dataset available in Logos 5 Gold and higher base packages. If you’re enrolled in the Logos Academic Discount Program, you can also find the Bible Sense Lexicon in the Biblical Languages base package. Take your studies even further by exploring semantic domains, engaging the biblical text like never before.
Learn more about the Bible Sense Lexicon.