Rom 3:28 "Quite Apart" vs "Apart"


I’m hung up on the words in Rom 3:28 “… quite apart …” found in Protestant Bibles compared to just the word “apart” in my RSV-CE Bible:

I’ve been doing some apologetics on Rom 3:28, and we know that Luther added the word “alone” to Rom 3:28. But when I look up that verse in two of my Protestant Bibles (NEB, NIV etc), and maybe it’s a small sample size, I don’t see the word “alone” added. However, I do see the word “quite” [apart] added which is not in my RSV-CE.

As Catholics, when we say that Luther added the word “alone” after “faith” in Rom 3:28 are we saying he literally added the word “alone”? Or are we saying he added the word “quite” which is what I found in two Protestant Bibles, and that means the same as “alone”?


My NASB simply reads “apart” (no “quite”; no “alone”). It seems more like the way the translators felt the Greek word should be translated (could have something to do with the tense of a verb, but I’m not that familiar with the Greek).

I’m not a Lutheran, but it’s my understanding that Martin Luther preached faith alone because there is no other means of salvation found in Scripture (“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Eph 2:8-9). I don’t know that he actually added the word in his translation, but he may have. I’m not aware that it has ever been added to any English translation (I may be wrong, I haven’t read a lot of different translations). I suppose “alone” could be found in the Living Bible, but that’s a paraphrase, not a translation.

Hope this was helpful!


Thanks Cachonga! I think you’re correct. He in fact added it. I just couldn’t find the word “alone” in the current Protestant bibles. I did find a thread that discusses this point

From reading it, he indeed added the Greek word for “alone” but in the newer English translations (at least the two I have), the actual word “alone” does not appear.


All translations include the bias of the translator and/or denomination. Reformation Christians must justify their separation, and so their scriptures must accord with their separation. Thus, we get massaged scriptures. Have a look at how the various disagreeing denominations have interpreted it:

Luther’s concept of justification was to freeze the moment for all time in a snapshot. The problem is that we exist in time. James 2:24 should always and everywhere be placed immediately after Romans 3:28 in apologetic work.

The balance of the NT scriptures demonstrate clearly that more than faith, divorced from both hope and charity, is needed. Hope and charity are the two theological virtues which build on faith, but ML was obsessed with his “solas.”

Honestly, if you have more than one “alone” (fide, scriptura, Cristo, gratia, etc.), are any of them truly alone? It seems nonsensical.


Looking at the Greek text, the word is choris, a preposition that means “without, besides, apart from”. Adding “quite” to “apart from” creates an emphasis that doesn’t exist in the original. It’s not really wrong in the same sense that Luther’s “by faith alone” was wrong, but it’s like saying “very unique”. Something is either unique or not unique; adding “very” is meaningless. Likewise, something is either apart from something else, or it’s not; the “quite” is superflluous.


Hi, Gary!

I’m not sure if I still have the link, but I read through several and one of them stated that Luther did not actually publish a Bible with the term “faith alone” but that he wrote it down on the margins of his study Bible… that others actually took this to mean that it had to be included in their reprinting and the new version took form; Luther also desired to remove 7 books from the Old Testament and at least two or three from the New Testament (Hebrews and James being his biggest targets)… what eventually happened was that he ended up classifying the Old Testament as “include” but “separate;” and (I guess no one followed him on his NT choices, other than the “alone” issue) forgetting about his obsessions with the NT changes.

Regardless of the adding, deleting or omitting the word “alone,” Luther’s theology is based on his understanding, mainly based on his presumption that the Apostle meant to include the term “alone” in Romans 3:28, of faith alone (sola fide); so while the prints of Protestant Bibles may not include the term, their theology is based on the interpretation of faith alone (which branched out to the 3 or 5 solae).

Maran atha!




…I think that we have to look into the context… what was Luther’s main objectives?.. he was not reasoning, as you’ve pointed out, that to be in Christ necessitates all the comprehensive components and not just a singular “faith” or “grace;” his aim was to dismantle the Church… how it could be done (attempted) and the fallacy of massaging his ego did not register in his mind/efforts… he preached against Church hierarchy and rejected one Pope, yet, consequently, created millions, how’s that for nonsensical? :banghead::banghead::banghead:

Maran atha!



Hi, Dave!

…I think it’s their version of ‘alone;’ they make themselves believe that they are not adding to Scriptures because the words seem to be different; in reality, they are simply adhering to their theological slant and conversing in “euphemism:” they reason that they 'are not really adding text but simply making the Word in a more “comprehensive.”

It’s the tree falling in the forest idiocy–‘less man say so, it doesn’t make a sound.’ :bigyikes::bigyikes::bigyikes:

Maran atha!



And, as is another sad fruit of sola scriptura, Paul was speaking specifically of the Mosaic Law in his reference - think Leviticus. The Christian rule, as our Lord elaborated in the Gospels (“You have heard it said… but I tell you”), is a higher standard. You cannot meet a higher standard by disregarding even the lower standard. It is clear that James was refuting early “sola fide” types when he wrote his epistle.


Question for the OP – in what translation[s] did you find “quite apart from”? I did some poking around; it’s not in the KJV, and the only translations that my brief search could find were the 1921 Westminster translation (not exactly one of the commonly found translations) and in William Barclay’s translation that he uses in his Daily Study Bible.


Hi DaveBj. I picked up The New English Bible, with Apocrypha, leather bound, at a Chicago Book sale last summer, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1971. It was a nice edition and couldn’t pass it up. Printed in Great Britain. It was in this translation I found the phrase “justified by faith, quite apart from…” I found this phrase only in the NEB.

To all others that took time to respond, thank you!


Thanks for the explanation!

You would think if Protestants believe in sola fide and follow a doctrine of sola scriptura, they would have included the word “alone” in Rom 3:28 of their English translations. I mean, if you are going so far as to remove entire books from Scripture, what’s the big deal about adding a single word? I’m being “quite” flippant and sarcastic. Couldn’t help it…sorry


Okay, thanks for responding. In my brief search I didn’t get as far as the NEB.



Douay-Rheims Bible:

Rom 3:28

For we account a man to be justified by faith without the works of the law.


Hi, Gary!

…I understand what you’re saying, yet, from their perspective they have done nothing wrong… actually some believe (and may be teaching) that it is the Catholic Church that is wrong by “adding” *those *7 books to the Bible.

…they work from the premise that they are “correct,” ignoring all the factors that demonstrate that they are not.

…in their zealousness to hold to Protestant tenets they reject 1500 years of Church history; they point to factors that took place during the period of the Bible’s Canonicity–yet, only to those factors that “appear” to support their claim; they ignore the existence of the Septuagint (the Hebrew Bible’s Greek translation) which was quoted numerous times in the New Testament (, and, as I’ve come to understand, they cite some Jewish “canon” as their reason/source for the exclusion of the 7 books from the Old Testament–of course they deliberately put aside the fact that Judaism rejects Jesus, as the Messiah, and the New Testament in its entirety…

So, they follow their leader/s, go against 1500 years of Church history, reject the Catholic Canon of Scriptures and side with anti-Christ and anti-New Testament source for authentication of the Protestant canon… but at least no once can accuse them of adding the term/word “alone” to Roman 3:28…

…yeah, quite a puzzling construct… yet, it seems that what it is important to Protestantism is the “feeling” of being “right” as they live up to their inheritance: protestation against the Teachings of the Catholic Church… it’s like the fallacy enjoyed by the Jehovah Witnesses: ‘we are the one true visible church of God because it says so in our title…’ :banghead::banghead::banghead:

Maran atha!



Thanks Angel! :banghead::banghead: my thoughts exactly

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