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And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. [From the so-called "English Standard Version"]

Hello! I am reading the Bible, and I couldn't understand what "he" means in this context; "For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers."

It's confusing to me since if I interpret "he" as "the God", then it doesn't make sense in "he might be the firstborn among many brothers." And if I interpret it as "a person," it still is confusing in "he also predestined to be conformed to ~", since it's not explicitly mentioned if he predestined "himself" or not. (I think the confusion comes from the fact the word "predestined" wasn't used in passive form like in "someone was predestined". So I am not sure who was predestined or who predestined someone.)

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In "He foreknew" and "he predestined" and "His son" the pronoun refers to God (specifically 'God the Father').

In "he might be the firstborn" the pronoun "he" refers to the Son, i.e. 'God the Son' or Jesus.

While this interpretation of the pronouns is understood, and you can look at some of the bible sites online to see this passage translated more clearly. The theology of the passage is very hard as it touches on foreknowledge and free will.

God (the father) has foreknowledge of all things, and those who he knows will be saints (ie the elect), he has predestined to "conform to the image" of Christ (the Son), so that they will be Brothers of Christ.

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  • Thank you for your help! I still can't get the meaning of the part "he has predestined to conform..." Does it mean the God predestined people who will be saints to conform(=having similar quality) to the image of Jesus? Commented Sep 16, 2018 at 6:55
  • That is a question for Christians to answer. It is a question of theology, not English learning. You can ask about what Christians believe on the Christianity stack exchange. You can also ask about the interpretations of the bible on the Biblical Hermentics stack exchange.
    – James K
    Commented Sep 16, 2018 at 20:33

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