The Third Letter of Ignatius of Antioch, to the Romans

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Chapter One

1 Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Assembly which has received grace through the greatness of the Most High Father; to her who presides in the region of the Romans; to her who is worthy of God; to her who is worthy of life, happiness, praise, and remembrance; to her who is worthy of prosperity, presiding in love; and to her who is perfected in the blameless Torah of the Messiah: 1 wishes of abundant peace.

2 From of old have I prayed to God, that I might be counted worthy to behold your faces which are worthy of God. Now, being bound in Yeshua the Messiah, I hope to meet you and salute you, if it be the will of God that I should be counted worthy to the end. 3 For the beginning is well arranged, that I be counted worthy to endure to the end, so that I may receive my portion through suffering without hindrance. 4 But I am afraid of your love, lest it should injure me. As for you, it is indeed easy for you to do whatever you wish; but as for me, it is difficult for me to be counted worthy of God, if you spare me. 2

5 There is no other time such as this, that I should be counted worthy of God; neither will you, if you are silent, ever be found in a better work than this. If you leave me alone, I will be as a Word from God; 6 but if you love me in this life, I will be only my own voice. You cannot give me anything more precious than this, that I should be sacrificed to God, while the altar is ready. 7 May you be unified in love, and praise God the Father through our Lord, Yeshua the Messiah, because He has deemed an overseer worthy to be God’s, having called him from the east to the west. 8 It is good that I should depart from this world in God, that I may also raise to life in Him.

9 You have envied no one, and you have taught others. 10 Pray for strength to be given to me from within and from without, that I may not only speak, but may also be willing, and that I may not merely be called a Christian, but may also be found to be one. 11 If I am found to be so, may I then be called as such. Then I will be found faithful, when I am no longer seen in the world; 12 for there is nothing that is seen that is good. 13 This work is not a matter of persuasion, but Christianity is a great thing when it is hated by the world.

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Chapter Two

1 I write to all the Assemblies, and declare to all men, that I willingly die for the sake of God, if you do not hinder me. 2 I beseech you not to be compassionate toward me out of season. Permit me to become the prey of the beasts, that by their means I may be counted as worthy of God. 3 I am the wheat of God, and by the teeth of the beasts I will be ground, so that I may be the pure bread of God.

4 Greatly provoke the wild beasts, that they may bring me to my grave, and leave nothing of my body, in order that, when I have fallen asleep, I will not be a burden upon any one. 5 Then I will truthfully be a disciple of Yeshua the Messiah, when the world cannot even see my body. Plead with our Lord on my behalf, that by these means I may be a sacrifice to God.

6 Unlike Peter and Paul, I do not issue orders to you. They are Apostles, but I am one condemned; they are indeed free, but I am a slave, even until now. 7 But if I suffer, I will be a free man in Yeshua the Messiah, and I will rise up from the dead in Him as a free man. Now, being in bonds, I have learned to desire nothing. 8 From Syria, and to Rome, I am cast among wild beasts, by sea and by land, by night and by day, being bound between ten leopards, which are the band of soldiers; even when I do good to them, they repay me with evil all the more. 9 I, however, am all the more instructed by their injurious treatment, but I am not justified on account of this.

10 I rejoice for the beasts which are prepared for me, and I pray that they may be hastily found for me. 11 I will speedily provoke them to devour me, and will not be like other men who are afraid, who will not approach them. Even if they are not be willing to approach me, I will go against them with violence.

12 I know, for myself, what is best for me. Let no one be envious of me for those things which are both seen and unseen, that I should be counted as worthy of Yeshua the Messiah. 13 The fire, the cross, the beasts that are prepared, the cutting off of the limbs, the scattering of the bones, the crushing of the whole body, and the harsh torments of the devil– let all these come upon me, as long as I am counted as worthy of Yeshua the Messiah.

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Chapter Three

1 The pains of the birth have come upon me. 2 My love is crucified, and there is no fire within me for another love. I do not desire the food of corruption, neither the lusts of this world; rather, I seek the bread of God, which is the flesh of Yeshua the Messiah; and I seek His blood, a drink which is incorruptible love.

3 My spirit salutes you, and the love of the Assemblies which received me in the name of Yeshua the Messiah; for those also who were near to my way in the flesh preceded me in every city.

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Chapter Four 3

1 Being about to arrive shortly in Rome, I know many things in God; but I keep myself within measure, so that I may not perish through boasting. 2 I am now required to be all the more reverent, not regarding those who puff me up. Those who say such things to me scourge me; for I desire to suffer, but I do not know if I am worthy.

3 Though zeal is not visible to many, with me it has war. I have need, therefore, of meekness, by which the prince of this world is destroyed. 4 I am able to write to you of heavenly things, but I fear that I may injure you in doing so. 5 Trust me in this: I am cautious, in case you may not be able to receive such knowledge, and you would be perplexed by it.

6 Although I am in bonds, and although I am able to know heavenly things, and although I know the places of angels, and although I know the stations of the powers that are seen and unseen, 7 I am still a disciple on this account, that I am far short of the perfection which is worthy of God. Be perfectly strong in the patience of Yeshua the Messiah, our God.

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End Notes

1 Paul uses this same phrase in Galatians 6:2.

2 Going with the shorter Greek recension. The Syriac literally reads “if you do not spare me”, as does the longer Greek recension. The longer Greek also adds for clarification, “under the pretense of carnal affection.”

3 The text which follows is not found in any version of the Greek manuscripts of Ignatius’ letter to the Romans, but is similar in content to the Greek text of chapters 4-6 of his letter to the Trallians.

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See Also

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