The Letter to the Romans
Copyright ©2004, Charles Hess, Lakeside,
In Romans 7, Paul discusses the dominion of the Law.[ 1 ] He uses marriage and
death to illustrate the end of the OT Law and submission the NT Law. He
candidly states that Christians are "delivered from the Law." An "imaginary" Jew
without Christ describes his wretched condition. The Jew finally recognizes the
salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ (see chart ROMANS 7 OUTLINE).
ROMANS 7 OUTLINE
1. The dominion of the Law (Ro 6:1, 2).
2. Marriage illustrates the end of OT Law and
submission the NT (Ro 7:2-4).
3. Christians are "delivered from the Law"
(Ro 7:5, 6).
4. A Jew without Christ describes his wretched
condition (Ro 7:13-24).
5. The Jew finally recognizes the salvation
through the Lord Jesus Christ (Ro 7:25).
DELIVERANCE FROM THE LAW
7:1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law),
that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?
Or do you not know, brethren [know ye not, do you not know, are ye, or
are ye, ignorant, brethren].[ 2 ] Both the educated and uneducated church members
at Rome were aware of marriage laws. Surely everyone understood. If they did
not, they were ignorant in the sense of being uninformed (see notes on Ro 2:4;
For I speak to those who know the law [for I am speaking to men, to them,
knowing law, that know the law].[ 3 ] Several thousand Christians in Rome were
Jews (Ac 2:10; Ro 2:17; 3:19); other thousands were Gentiles (Ro 1:6, 13;
11:13). Many of these had attended synagogue and were familiar with the Law
that was read every Sabbath. Perhaps some were not very familiar with the OT
law but at least they had an awareness of Roman marriage laws. Most everyone
was able to understand Paul's illustrations.
That the law has dominion over a man [how that the law is binding on, hath
dominion over, rules over, has jurisdiction over, a person].[ 4 ] In the previous
chapter, Paul wrote:
For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but
under grace (Ro 6:14).
Paul now expands upon that to show that the Law of Moses is not to have
dominion over Christians (see verses 4, 6). He goes to great lengths to show
Christians are not under it. It must have been difficult for some of the Jewish
Christians to give up their Law.
As long as he lives [only during his life, for so long time as he liveth].[ 5 ]
A WOMAN BOUND BY LAW TO HUSBAND
7:2 For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband
as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her
For the woman who has a husband [thus a, for the, married woman, for the
woman that hath, which hath, an husband].[ 6 ] Some would criticize Paul's
statement. They would exalt man and would have him say the man had a wife.
In the Lord's sight, men are not so highly exalted over women. For example,
Jesus spoke of a woman putting away her husband, a privilege some would reserve
for men only (see Mk 10:12).
Is bound by the law to her husband [is bound by law, to the husband].[ 7 ] In
the OT God is pictured as Israel's husband. Their idolatry was described as
"playing the harlot" (see Jg 1:17; 8:27; 1Ch 5:25; Ps 106:39; Eze 6:9; 16:6-38;
20:30; 23:35; Jer 2:1, 2; 3:14; 31:32; Ho 2:19; 4:12; 5:4; 9:1). However, in the
present verse, the Law is pictured as the first husband. When the Law died on the
cross with Christ people were freed or discharged from it (see Ro 7:6; Col 2:14-16).
As long as he lives [while, so long as, he liveth, is alive].[ 8 ] The marriage bond
lasts only as long as both partners are alive.
FREE TO MARRY AGAIN
1. Death of the woman's husband
a. Released from the law concerning her husband.
b. So she can marry another.
2. Death of Christ
a. Freed from Law of Moses.
b. Christians may be married to another (the risen
3. Made to die to the Law through the body of Christ.
a. Set free from the Law by [entrance into] the body
But if the husband dies [but if her husband die, should die, be dead].[ 9 ] The
husband's death illustrates the death of the OT Law on the cross (Col 2:14-16).
She is released [she is discharged, loosed, clear].[ 10 ] When a husband dies, his
wife is discharged, loosed or released from the law that bound him to her as a
husband. She is free to marry again (but see 1Co 7:39; chart FREE TO MARRY
From the law of her husband [from the law of, concerning, as it relates to
the husband].[ 11 ] People who were under the OT Law are now free from it
because Christ took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross (Col 2:14-16).
FREE FROM LAW IF HUSBAND DIES
7:3 So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be
called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that
she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.
So then if [accordingly, so if].[ 12 ] Paul is showing that a person cannot be
under the law of Christ and the Law of Moses at the same time.
While her husband lives [while the husband is alive, liveth, being alive].[ 13 ]
She marries another man [if she lives with, she be joined to, she be married
to, if she be to, another man].[ 14 ] If while her husband is alive, a woman
marries another man, she commits a sexual sin. That sin is called "adultery."
Versions with, "She consorts with another man"[ 15 ] give the wrong impression.
The context is clearly about a second marriage.
She will be called an adulteress [she is, she shall be, called an adulteress].[ 16 ]
It was God who calls such a woman an adulteress (Le 20:10; Nu 5:11-24).
Speaking of the spiritual adultery of Israel, note that it is the Lord who brings
iniquity to remembrance.[ 17 ] For a discussion on "called Christians" see note on
Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "Because you have made your iniquity
to be remembered, in that your transgressions are uncovered, so that in all
your doings your sins appear-- because you have come to remembrance, you
shall be taken in hand" (Eze 21:24; 29:16; compare Isa 64:9; Jer 14:10; Ho
That no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter,
because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and
testified (1Th 4:6).
Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and
adulterers God will judge (Heb 13:4).
SIDE-STEPPING GOD'S MARRIAGE LAWS
Some people argue that the only marriage law binding on Christians is the law
of the land. If so, why would it be wrong to marry a put-away-fornicator (see Mt
Adultery is said by others to be "covenant-breaking." Is this not just an effort
to loosen up the rules to allow sinful remarriages? Adultery is a sexual act. This
is proven by Jesus statement about lusting and committing adultery in the heart (Mt
5:28). Surely the lustful man has something besides "covenant-breaking" in his
Here is another ridiculous view. It is said that the only sin is impregnating a
woman. Did Jesus say whoever looks on a woman with a view of impregnating
her in his heart has committed adultery in his heart?
Then there are those who say that baptism takes care of all past sins (and it
does), but evidently John the Baptist did not know what some of the modern
"scholars" know. Else he would have told Herod that he should be baptized and
then he could keep his brother Philip's wife. In fact, they say, he should keep her.
Instead, John said, "It is not lawful for you to have her" (Mt 14:4). In the "me
generation" in which we live, men and women who are "lovers of self" (2Ti 3:2).
They seem to be willing to twist the Scriptures "every which way" to justify sin
(see 2Pe 3:16).
But if her husband dies [but if the husband die, should die, be dead].[ 18 ] The
death of the husband is parallel to the death of the Law.[ 19 ] Since the Law was
nailed to the cross, Christians are free from it (see verse 6; compare Col 2:14-16).
She is free from that law [she is free from the law].[ 20 ] Just as a widow is free
to remarry (1Co 7:39), Christians are free from the Law of Moses (see De 21:14).
So that she is no adulteress [and, she is not, so as not to be, an
adulteress].[ 21 ] When a widow remarries, she is no adulteress. However, a
Christian widow is to marry "only in the Lord" (1Co 7:39).
Though she has married another man [if she marries, though she married,
be married to, joined to, though she be to, another man].[ 22 ] "Married" or
"joined to" are legitimate translations here. The paraphrase versions with "If she
lives with another man" (RSV), and "By consorting with another man" (NEB) are
poorly done because they do not consider the context. They absurdly imply that
living with or consorting with another man would constitute adultery but being
unscripturally married to another man would not.
Christians are free from the Law of Moses and married to Christ. In this
striking metaphor, Paul explains the impossibility of Christians being under both
covenants at the same time. They cannot be under both laws simultaneously.
They are not under the Torah, the Pentateuch, the Ten Commandments or any
other part of the OT. This is not to say there are no principles to be learned from
its pages (see Mt 19:8; Ro 15:4; Heb 11; Jas 5:17, 18).
JOINED TO CHRIST TO BEAR FRUIT
7:4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through
the body of Christ, that you may be married to another-- to Him who was
raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.
DEAD TO THE LAW
1. Not under law but under grace (Ro 6:14).
2. Delivered from the Law (Ro 7:6).
3. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made
me free from the law of sin and death (Ro 8:2).
4. For I through the law died to the law that I might live
to God (Ga 2:19).
5. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the
law (Ga 5:18).
Therefore, my brethren [likewise, wherefore, so, so that, my brethren].[ 23 ]
Paul began his marriage illustration beginning with, "Or do you not know,
brethren" (verse 1). He now makes a personal application to the Roman
Christians, especially to those who came out of Judaism. Just as death ends the
obligation of literal marriage, death to the Law makes legally possible and morally
right for Christians to be married to Christ.
You also have become dead to the law [you have died to the law, ye also
were made, are become, have been made, dead to the Law].[ 24 ] Christians are
released from the Law (verse 6). The OT Law is no longer a rule of duty. The
Law of Moses was taken out of the way and nailed to the cross (see notes on Ro
6:3, 4, 8; Eph 2:15; Col 2:14). Albert Barnes understood that "The connection
between us and the law is dissolved" but he made a remarkable error when he
implied that Christians are still under its rule.[ 25 ] W. J. Conybeare explained the
death of Christians to the Law as occurring at baptism.
The death he undergoes at his first entrance into communion with Christ .
. . is both typified and realized when he is buried beneath the baptismal
waters.[ 26 ]
The bond between Paul's readers and the Law had been broken, ended,
dissolved. They "were made to die to the Law." Their obligation to obey the
Mosaic Law had ended.
Through the body of Christ [by the body of the Christ].[ 27 ] Some who
delightfully note that Paul did not say "the Law died" in order that we could be
married to Christ go on to err by saying that since the Law is still alive we are
under it today! Nothing could be farther from the truth. Paul knew personally
that some desired to be under the old Law. That is why he taught so intently
against it (see Ga 4:21). Make no mistake. Christians are dead to it.
OT LAW NO LONGER VALID
In OT days, God was married to Israel (see Jer 31:32; Eze 23). Coffman's
That marriage contract is no longer in force, for God died to Israel in the
person of his Son upon Calvary! This really nullified the relationship
between God and Israel. Thus God is represented as a husband where death
has broken the ties that bound him to the wife Israel, not merely leaving
Israel free to be married unto another (Christ) but also leaving the old ties
(the law of Moses, etc.) without any meaning or validity at all![ 28 ]
BODY OF CHRIST USED FIGURATIVELY FOR BAPTISM
"The body of Christ" is used figuratively[ 29 ] by Paul in this verse. It stands for
entrance by water baptism into the body of Christ which is the church of Christ
(1Co 12:13; Eph 1:22, 23; Col 1:18). Baptism is both "into Christ," and "into
His death" (Ro 6:3-5; Ga 3:27). It was in baptism that Jewish believers were
made to die to the Law.
Wherefore you also, my brethren, were made dead to the Law by [union
with] the body of Christ[ 30 ]
William Barclay understood this truth.
By baptism we share in the death of Christ. That means, that having died,
we are discharged from all obligations and duties to the law, and become
free to marry again. This time we marry, not the law, but Christ.[ 31 ]
MARRIED TO CHRIST
That you may be married to another [that ye should, so that you might,
may, belong to, be joined to, to be to, another].[ 32 ] Christians are joined to the
living Christ. Do they have any responsibilities or obligations in their marriage
to Him? Yes, but none to the Mosaic law. They are dead to that. They are to
obey Christ who is the head of the wife (the church). They are "under law" to
Him (1Co 9:21; compare Ro 7:22; Ga 6:2; Eph 6:6; Col 3:24, 25; 1Pe 2:16).
The Jewish Christians were still married to the works of the Law. Paul was trying
to get his readers to understand that they were dead to that Law-- freed from it and
were now married to the Lord.
To Him who was raised from the dead [to him who has been, even to him
who is, raised, raised up, raised up from among the dead].[ 33 ] Christ is living.
He lives in Christians (Ga 2:20). Christians are alive. They live in Him (1Jo
5:11). This is the abundant life Christ promised (Joh 10:10). It is a life of
encouragement, consolation, joy, fellowship and love (Php 2:1, 2). It is a life of
purposeful obedience (Php 2:12, 13; see Ro 6:3, 11, 13, 22).
That we should bear fruit to God [so that, in order that, we may, might,
bring forth fruit for, unto, God].[ 34 ] The outcome of being married to Christ is
fruit-bearing. This does not mean that godly OT saints bore no fruit of
righteousness (see chart FRUIT-BEARING IN OT).
FRUIT-BEARING IN OT
1. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of
water, that brings forth its fruit in its season
2. They shall still bear fruit in old age (Ps 92:14).
3. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
which spreads out its roots by the river . . . nor will
cease from yielding fruit (Jer 17:8).
4. Your mother was like a vine in your bloodline,
planted by the waters, fruitful and full of branches
because of many waters (Eze 19:10).
5. Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy
Fruit here does not refer to children, or converts, exclusively. Fruit is borne not
for Christ (the husband) but for God. Thus the figure changes from the wife
bearing children (as the fruit). The figure becomes more general and refers to
such as that borne fruit trees or crops producing a harvest. There are many ways
Christians bear fruit (see charts FRUIT-BEARING OF CHRISTIANS A and B;
compare Ac 9:36; 11:29; 19:19; Ro 5:1-5; Php 1:27-29; 2:12, 13; Col 3:12-17;
1Th 1:3, 9, 10; 2Th 1:3-5; 2Pe 1:5-9).
FRUIT-BEARING OF CHRISTIANS (A)
1. Having heard the word with a noble and good heart,
keep it and bear fruit with patience (Lu 8:15).
2. By this is My Father glorified, that you bear
much fruit (Joh 15:8).
3. But now having been set free from sin, and having
become slaves of God, you have your fruit to
holiness, and the end, everlasting life (Ro 6:22).
4. Now may He who supplies seed to the sower,
and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed
you have sown and increase the fruits of
your righteousness (2Co 9:10).
FRUIT-BEARING OF CHRISTIANS (B)
1. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, self-control (Ga 5:22, 23).
2. The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness,
righteousness, and truth (Eph 5:9).
3. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness which
are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God
SINFUL PASSIONS BEAR FRUIT FOR DEATH
7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by
the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.
For when we were in the flesh [while we were living in the flesh].[ 35 ] The
word "weak" does not appear in any of my available Greek texts and most
versions omit it. The phrase "when we were in the flesh" has been difficult for
the paraphrasers.[ 36 ] They, along with some commentators, seem to have
forgotten that Paul used the very expression "the flesh" to indicate the Law of
Moses (see note on Ga 3:3). James Coffman hit the nail on the head when he
"In the flesh" refers to the nature of the Mosaic covenant, primarily one of
flesh.[ 37 ]
The Jewish people were "weak" in the sense that they were unable to be saved
by the Law of Moses. Paul suggested as much when he wrote, "But now we have
been delivered from the Law" (verse 6).
Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there
had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would
have been by the law (Ga 3:21).
The sinful passions [our sinful passions, the motions, the passions, of
sins].[ 38 ] Paul speaks of emotions, impulses, propensities and affections that lead
Which were aroused by the law [aroused, which were, through the Law].[ 39 ]
Sinful passions were "mediated by the law and thus made energetic in our
members."[ 40 ] This is not the case with Christians who have the law of Christ
written in their hearts (Jer 31:33).
SINFUL PASSIONS THROUGH THE LAW
1. By the law is the knowledge of sin (Ro 3:20).
2. Because the law brings about wrath; for where
there is no law there is no transgression (Ro 4:15).
3. Moreover the law entered that the offense might
abound (Ro 5:20).
4. For I would not have known covetousness unless
the law had said, "You shall not covet (Ro 7:7).
5. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, de-
ceived me, and by it killed me (Ro 7:11).
Were at work in our members [wrought, worked, did work, in our
members].[ 41 ] Before becoming Christians, affections and emotions worked in
various body members to steal, lie and to commit adultery. In this context, special
reference is made to covetousness (see verses 7, 8; compare Jas 1:15).
To bear fruit to death [to bring forth fruit for, unto, death].[ 42 ] In Romans
6:23, the wages of sin is death. Here the fruit of sin is death.
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death (Pr
The fruit, that is, the product, outcome or end of sins committed by body
members is spiritual and eternal death (see Ro 6:21; 7:4).
RELEASED FROM THE LAW
7:6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we
were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in
the oldness of the letter.
But now.[ 43 ]
We have been delivered from the law [we are discharged, have been
released, are clear, from the Law].[ 44 ] How can anyone read this plain statement
and contend that Christians are still under the OT law?
Having died to what we were held by [dead, that being dead, to that, in that,
wherein, which, in which, we were held, held us captive].[ 45 ] Christ nailed the
Law to the cross (Col 2:14-16). But in the present figure, obligation to obey it
ends when one is baptized into His death (Ro 6:3-5). Jewish Christians, in this
figure, were released from the Law when they were baptized into Christ. Gentiles
were never under the OT Law (see De 5:3). Language could not be plainer.
Christians are not under the Mosaic Law. They are released, discharged and
delivered from it.
SERVING IN NEWNESS OF SPIRIT (A)
1. Died to sin (Ro 6:2).
2. Newness of life (Ro 6:4).
3. Old man crucified (Ro 6:6).
4. Not under law but under grace (Ro 6:14).
5. Slaves of righteousness (Ro 6:18).
6. Free from sin (Ro 6:18, 22).
SERVING IN NEWNESS OF SPIRIT (B)
1. Fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life
2. Gift of God is eternal life (6:23).
3. Have become dead to the Law (7:4).
4. Married to Christ (7:4).
5. Delivered from the Law (7:6).
6. Newness of the spirit (7:6).
So that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit [that we, so that we
might serve in newness of spirit, in the new life of the Spirit].[ 46 ] The Holy
Spirit does not take control of one's life to direct every move. In fact, "spirit"
does not even refer directly to the Holy Spirit. Translators who capitalize "spirit"
have apparently forgotten what Paul taught in chapter 6. We rise from baptism
to walk "in newness of life" (Ro 6:4). Newness of life is equivalent to serving "in
newness of the spirit." Christians are alive in Christ and serve in a new, exciting,
marvelous and extraordinary manner. All faithful, obedient believers serve "in
newness of the spirit." They walk "in the light" and enjoy continual forgiveness
And not in the oldness of the letter [but not under the old written code, and
not in oldness of letter].[ 47 ] The oldness of the letter is simply the Mosaic Law
(see note on For when we were in the flesh at verse 5. Verse 7 also sheds light
on the present verse. No one under the Law enjoyed the blessings of the gospel.
Under the OT Law, people did not receive absolute forgiveness of sins or the
"new and living way" (Heb 10:20). These blessings were only provided to OT
saints through the death Christ Jesus on the cross.
JEW: IS THE LAW SIN?
7:7a What shall we say then? Is the law sin?
What shall we say then? [what then shall we say, what are we to say
then?].[ 48 ] Paul has already taught that Christians are dead to the Law (verse 4).
They are released from the Law and do not serve in oldness of the letter (verse 6).
He now begins to show that the Law was not really worthless or evil. It served
a genuine purpose in God's plan. In presenting these ideas, he describes things
as they were prior to a Jew being converted to Christ.
Is the law sin? [that the law is sin?].[ 49 ] Once again, Paul uses a teaching
technique in which he has a hypothetical person ask a question. This particular
question is pertinent because he has just said sinful passions were aroused by the
Law (verse 5).
PAUL: CERTAINLY NOT!
7b Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except
through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had
said, "You shall not covet."
Certainly not! [by no means, God forbid, let it not be, far be the
thought!].[ 50 ]
THE "I" OF ROMANS 7 (A)
1. All manner of evil desire (7:8).
2. Sin revived and I died (7:9).
3. Sin taking occasion . . . killed me (7:11).
4. Carnal (7:14).
5. Sold under sin (7:14).
THE "I" OF ROMANS 7 (B)
1. Not able to practice what is willed (Ro 7:15-21).
2. Sin dwells in me (Ro 7:17).
3. Captivity (Ro 7:23).
4. Wretched (Ro 7:24).
5. Who shall deliver me out of this body of death?
On the contrary I would not have known sin [yet, but, howbeit, nay, I had
not, should not have, known sin]. [ 51 ] The Law did not create sin. It made it
Except through the Law [if it had not been for, but by, unless by, law, the
law].[ 52 ]
For I would not have known covetousness [I should not have known, for I
had not known, had not had conscience also of, coveting, what it is to covet,
lust].[ 53 ] The same Greek word for "covetousness" has also been translated
"covet" in the present verse, probably by being influenced by the wording of the
Ten Commandments. Paul chose as a particular illustration the very last of the
Unless the law had said, [if the law had not said, except the law had said].[ 54 ]
As a youngster, the Jew was no doubt acquainted with the desire but was not
aware that it was a sin. Finally, he became conscious of what the Law said about
it (see note on verse 9).
You shall not covet [thou shalt not lust].[ 55 ] "You shall not covet" is the tenth
commandment (Ex 20:14, 17; De 5:18, 21; see Ro 13:9).
SIN TAKING OPPORTUNITY BY THE COMMANDMENT
7:8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all
manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead.
But sin, taking opportunity [but sin, finding opportunity, taking occasion,
getting a point of attack].[ 56 ]
By the commandment [in, through, the Law]. [ 57 ]
Produced in me [wrought in me]. [ 58 ]
All manner of evil desire [every, all kinds of, lust, coveting, covetousness,
concupiscence].[ 59 ] In the unconverted state, the person experienced forbidden
desires of all kinds.
For apart from the law sin was dead [apart from, for without, the Law, sin
lies dead, is, was, dead].[ 60 ] "It takes a carpenter's level to make clear how far
from straight a board is."[ 61 ] It took the Law to make lustful desires stand out in
bold relief as sin.
JEW: WAS SPIRITUALLY ALIVE AS A CHILD
7:9-11 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came,
sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I
found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment,
deceived me, and by it killed me.
ARE BABIES BORN IN SIN? (A)
1. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity (Ps 51:5).
[Born in a language [a tongue] but not born speaking
it (Ac 2:8)].
2. The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go
astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies
[If born astray, how can they go astray?].
ARE BABIES BORN IN SIN? (B)
1. Because I knew that you would deal very
treacherously; and you have been called a rebel
[literally, transgressor] from birth [literally, the belly]
2. In this verse, birth [the belly, the womb] is used
figuratively to stand for Egypt out of which Israel
ARE BABIES BORN IN SIN? (C)
1. The person who sins will die. The son will not bear
the punishment for the father's iniquity, nor will the
father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity
2. Unless you are converted and become like children,
you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven
3. Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from
coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to
such as these (Mt 19:14).
I was alive once without the law [for, and, but, I was once alive, then alive,
apart from the Law, without law, once].[ 62 ] When only a boy, before
accountable age, the speaker was alive spiritually. He was not condemned because
of some imaginary "original sin." In fact, as a child, the Lord himself would have
received him: "For of such is the kingdom of God" (Lu 18:16). The length of
time after childhood that he continued in a blameless state is not known. Sooner
or later, he gave in to the sin of covetousness. He may or may not have sinned
on the first day he was accountable (see verses 7, 8; Php 3:6).
But when the commandment came [but after the commandment came, but
the commandment having come].[ 63 ] As a child, our imaginary Jew was unaware
of a personal application of the Law. When he reached the age of accountability,
he became acutely conscious of it. In this sense, the commandment came to him
(see note on verse 8). The Jews considered a child to be accountable from his
thirteenth birthday. His Bar mitzva (son of the divine Law) ceremony initiates him
Sin revived.[ 64 ] The Greek verb bears the connotation of coming to life again.
While the speaker was an innocent child sin had no power over him. It was, so
to speak, dead. However, at the very moment he committed the sin of
covetousness (see verse 7), sin raised up "from the dead" again and slew him
spiritually just as it had done to thousands of others throughout history. Every
time a child reached the age of accountability, sin came to life "again" in order to
kill the spiritual life of that accountable person.
And I died [but I died].[ 65 ] As a young child in a state of innocence, being
spiritually alive, he is not lost. When he reaches the age of accountability and
commits sin, he dies. That is, he becomes lost in sin, away from God and
spiritually dead. It is absolutely amazing how anyone can read this verse and think
babies are born totally depraved! If a person was born totally depraved, how
could he "die" spiritually at some later time? (see charts ARE BABIES BORN IN
SIN? A, B and C).
[7:10] And the commandment [the very commandment].[ 66 ] From verses 7,
8, we infer that Paul alludes primarily to the tenth commandment, "You shall not
covet" (see note on verse 7).
Which was to bring life [which promised life, which was, was ordained, for,
unto, life, that which was meant to be, unto life].[ 67 ] Obedience to the Law was
intended to bring spiritual life.
For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, "The man
who does those things shall live by them" (Ro 10:5; see Le 18:5).
Yet the law is not of faith, but "the man who does them shall live by them"
(Ga 3:12; see Eze 20:11, 13, 21).
DECEITFULNESS OF SIN (A)
(Ro 7:11; Heb 3:13)
1. The command is unreasonable.
2. Punishment not immediate.
3. Sin is fun.
4. Let us not call it "sin."
5. No one will know.
6. Once or twice will do no harm.
7. Everybody else is doing it.
DECEITFULNESS OF SIN (B)
(Ro 7:11; Heb 3:13)
1. Sin brings money, freedom, friends.
2. Worldly friends are interesting.
3. The judgment may never come--everything goes on
as usual, always has.
4. It feels so good--how can it be wrong? (Ro 16:18).
5. The command applies to others, not to me.
6. One cannot really know the truth anyway.
Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for
we are not ignorant of his devices (2Co 2:11).
I found to bring death [proved to be death to me, I found was, this I found,
was found, to be, to me, as to me, itself to be, unto death].[ 68 ] The Greek verb
"I found" expresses surprise. How could this be? Like medicine that is intended
to cure proves to have disastrous side effects, the Law was found to bring spiritual
death instead of life (see note on Ro 8:6).
[7:11] For sin taking occasion [because sin taking opportunity, seizing the
opportunity, found its opportunity, finding occasion].[ 69 ] Notice that it was sin
that operated through the Law, not the Law itself that killed.
By the commandment deceived me [finding opportunity, getting a point of
attack, taking advantage, in, through, the commandment beguiled me].[ 70 ]
Note the appropriate punctuation of the NKJV: "For sin, taking occasion by the
commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me."[ 71 ] By the right use of
punctuation, some versions have properly emphasized that sin did the deceiving,
not the commandment itself.
Satan may use a particular commandment in order to deceive. An example is the
commandment not to eat of the tree in the midst of Eden (Ge 2:17). Eve was
deceived and ate of the forbidden fruit (Ge 3:6). Another example is how Satan
deceived our speaker in connection with the command not to covet. In spite of
that command, he was somehow deceived into sinning. Satan deceives and sin
deceives. God's commandments do not.
JEW: SIN KILLED ME
And by it killed me [and through it slew me, through the Law, and through
it killed me][ 72 ] (see next footnote; refer to verse 24).
THE LAW IS HOLY
7:12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and
Therefore the law is holy [so, so that, even so, wherefore, the Law is, indeed
is, holy].[ 73 ] The Law of Moses was holy as it applied to a young unconverted
And the commandment holy [and the commandment is holy].[ 74 ]
And just [righteous, and righteous].[ 75 ]
And good.[ 76 ] Paul writes to Christians, many of whom came out of Judaism.
They honored the Law of Moses. He does not teach Christians to submit to it as
law in the church age. Could anyone praise it more? (see note on verse 16).
JEW: HAS A GOOD LAW BROUGHT DEATH TO ME?
7:13a Has then what is good become death to me?
Has then what is good? [did that, then, did then that, was then that, then
did that, which is good?].
Become death to me [bring, result in, death, unto me].[ 77 ] It was not the good
Law of God that brought spiritual death. However, it outlined God's will and
stated his wrath against sin. The penalty of sin was death.
PAUL: CERTAINLY NOT!
7:13b Certainly not! [by no means, God forbid, let it not be, may it never be,
far be the thought!][ 78 ] (see note on Ro 3:4).
THE JEW UNDER CONVICTION
7:13c-24 But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me
through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become
exceedingly sinful. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal,
sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will
to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do
what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is
no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me
(that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but
how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do,
I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what
I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 21 I find
then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For
I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another
law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me
into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man
that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
But sin [it was sin].[ 79 ] It was not the Law, but sin itself that reared its ugly
head to bring spiritual death.
That it might appear sin [in order that sin might be shown to be sin, be
revealed as sin].[ 80 ] The Law did not encourage sin. God was not using negative
psychology when he gave it. Not one commandment was given in order to incite
a desire to sin. The Law did, however, clearly define God's will and thereby
removed any doubt about what was sin and what was not (see note on Ro 5:20).
Was producing death in me [working, by working, brought about, death to
me].[ 81 ] It was sin that effected spiritual death while the unconverted Jew was still
young (see note on verse 10).
Through what is good [by that which is good].[ 82 ] There are many good things
that may kill if not used according to directions: automobiles, airplanes, water,
gravity, electricity and medicines, to name a few. The OT Law was good but
violation of it brought spiritual death.
So that sin through the commandment [that, in order that, sin, and, by the
commandment].[ 83 ] Paul uses the term "commandment" six times in six verses.
He refers especially to the tenth commandment, "You shall not covet" (see notes
on verses 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.).
Might become exceedingly sinful [might appear sinful beyond measure, surpassingly, exceeding, sinful].[ 84 ] The Law showed sin to be terrible. In that
sense, sin was made worse because of it.
THE SPIRITUAL OT LAW
1. Given by inspiration of the Spirit.
2. Its teachings reflect God's own character.
3. Based on two great love commandments
4. Addressed to the spiritual part of man
(Ps 119:11, 69).
5. Foreshadowed redemption in Christ.
[7:14] For we know [we know].[ 85 ] Many Jewish traditions were non-spiritual.
Some of the Jews left undone weighty spiritual matters (Mt 23:23; Lu 11:42).
Nevertheless, the Jews thought the Law of God was spiritual. In commenting on
Leviticus 18:5, we have this Jewish question:
Whence is it deduced that even a Gentile who obeys the Torah is the equal
of the High Priest? From the words, "which if a man do he shall live by
them."[ 86 ]
What could be more spiritual than that? (see also chart THE SPIRITUAL OT
That the Law is spiritual.[ 87 ] The Law revealed the great commands of love
to God and neighbor (De 6:5; Mk 12:30; Lu 10:27). Does it surprise you to know
that the OT taught love for enemies?
HEART-RELIGION IN OT (A)
1. Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep
yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have
seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the
days of your life (De 4:9).
2. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps
shall slide (Ps 37:31).
3. I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is
within my heart (Ps 40:8).
4. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart
HEART-RELIGION IN OT (B)
1. I cry out with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD!
2. My heart stands in awe of Your word (Ps 119:161).
3. I will praise You with my whole heart (Ps 138:1).
4. Listen to Me, you who know righteousness,
you people in whose heart is My law (Isa 51:7).
If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give
him water to drink; For so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the
LORD will reward you (Pr 25:21, 22).
Many OT passages teach a religion of the heart (see chart HEART-RELIGION
IN OT). In addition to circumcision being physical, it was also to be of the heart
and ears (see chart SPIRITUAL CIRCUMCISION). Consider the first Psalm that
pronounces a blessing on the man who delights in the law and meditates on it day
and night. One entire Psalm (119) extols the law with its many spiritual
applications. One of the great aspects of the Law's spirituality is its numerous
types and shadows of salvation fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
1. If their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they
accept their guilt (Le 26:41).
2. Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and
be stiff-necked no longer (De 10:16).
3. And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart
and the heart of your descendants, to love the
LORD your God with all your heart and with all
your soul, that you may live (De 30:6).
4. Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away
the foreskins of your hearts (Jer 4:4).
5. All the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the
heart (Jer 9:26; compare Eze 44:7, 9).
But I am carnal [but I am of flesh, fleshly].[ 88 ] Paul chided the immature
Corinthians for being carnal because they had jealousy and strife among them (1Co
3:1-3). Since he wrote that way to Christians, it is unlikely that he was of flesh
and carnal at the same time. The verse evidently describes an unconverted Jew.
WAS PAUL A CARNAL CHRISTIAN?
Was the great apostle Paul a "carnal" Christian? When he wrote the book of
Romans, was he still "sold under sin"? I cannot agree that he was. Certain
scholars suppose that he surely referred to his unconverted state. To the
Thessalonians he wrote:
You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and
blamelessly we behaved ourselves toward you believers (1Th 2:10).
There are three possible interpretations here. (1) Paul was somehow "sold under
sin" at the very time he wrote the Roman letter. (2) He merely described someone
in the unconverted state. (3) The imaginary Jew that Paul used again and again
in the early chapters is now describing his condition. After considering the three
ideas (Paul as a Christian, Paul as an alien sinner, or the unconverted Jew), I have
chosen the latter for reasons given in the various notes. I am certain that Paul, as
a Christian, was not "sold under sin"[ 89 ] but was a servant of righteousness (Ro
6:17). He lived what he taught. He was not living after the flesh but after the
Spirit (Ro 8:4). To the Galatians, he commented on this point, saying:
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh
(Ga 5:16).[ 90 ]
I realize what others say does not make it right, but my interpretation is endorsed
by Clarke, Coffman, Gifford, Macknight, Milligan, Whiteside and early Greek
commentators.[ 91 ] The condition of unconverted Jews is presented by the apostle
in this chapter. He depicts Christians at Rome, not as slaves of sin, but of
righteousness (Ro 6:17, 20). Surely he too was a faithful servant of Christ.
SOLD UNDER SIN
1. Ahab sold himself to do evil and Jezebel his wife
stirred him up (1Ki 21:20, 25).
2. Before the Assyrian captivity, sold themselves to do
evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to
anger (2Ki 17:16, 17).
3. I am carnal, sold under sin (Ro 7:14).
Sold under sin [sold to sin].[ 92 ] When Ahab sold himself to do evil, he was
stirred up by his wife Jezebel. Israel, in the days of King Hoshea and others,
facing Assyrian captivity, "left all the commandments of the Lord" and "sold
themselves to do that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah to provoke him to
anger" (see chart SOLD UNDER SIN; compare Isa 50:1; 52:3).
I DO NOT UNDERSTAND MY ACTIONS
[7:15] For what I am doing I do not understand [I do not understand my
own actions, for that which I do I know not, I allow not, for I do not approve
of what I do].[ 93 ] The Greek describes one who is habitually, earnestly and
thoroughly working out things contrary to the spiritual Law of God. Paul used a
similar word when he said Christians are to KATERGAZESTHE work out their
own salvation with fear and trembling (Php 2:12). They are to be continually,
earnestly and perseveringly working for Christ as they hold fast (Re 3:11), run
with endurance (Heb 12:1), and finish the course (2Ti 4:7; see note on verse 8.
An unconverted Jew was blindly obeying without knowing the outcome. He was
confused and bewildered, not by a lack of understanding of God's will but by what
was going on inside him. The same emotions must have characterized Paul when
he was persecuting Christians. He did not fully discern the essential import of it
all. He said, "I did it ignorantly in unbelief" (1Ti 1:13; compare Lu 23:34; Ac
3:17; 1Co 2:8). He was kicking "against the goads" (Ac 26:14). It was hard for
him to fully comprehend the opposing forces at work within him.
For what I will to do that I do not practice [for I do not do what I want, for
not what I would, that do I practice, for what I would, that do I not, for
rather than that which I wish, I do not own, for not what I will, this I do].[ 94 ]
His practice was altogether different than what he desired. At least intellectually,
the unconverted Jew wished to do good before his conversion to Christ. He had
an inclination to do what was right. Yet he staggered on in the path of sin.
But what I hate that I do [but I do the very thing I hate, I do that which I
hate, but what I hate, this I practice].[ 95 ] What the speaker was doing were not
just isolated acts of sin but of a sinful way of life. This is one reason for thinking
that he speaks of someone in the unconverted state. A strong disapproval is
voiced of the outcome of one's sinful actions as a non-Christian.
AGREEMENT WITH THE LAW
[7:16] If, then, I do what I will not to do [now if I do that which I do not
want, but if what I would not, that I do, but if I do that which I do not want
to do, but if what I do not will, this I practice].[ 96 ] The desire and intent of the
speaker was to do what was right. Yet something inside him won out and he did
I agree with the law that it is good [I consent, agree, to, unto, the Law, that
the law, is good, it is right].[ 97 ] In giving the conclusion of verses 13-15, the
truth of verse 12 is basically restated. The Jew as an alien sinner acknowledged,
recognized and consented to the righteousness and goodness of the Law, including
the Ten Commandments (see verse 7). It is a mistake to assume from his words
here that Christians are under the OT law.
MAN'S TWOFOLD BEING [THE FLESH] (A)
1. Our old man (Ro 6:6).
2. The body of sin (Ro 6:6).
3. No longer I (Ro 7:17).
4. Sin that dwells in me (Ro 7:17).
5. In my flesh nothing good dwells (Ro 7:18).
MAN'S TWOFOLD BEING [THE FLESH] (B)
1. The strong influence of the flesh is called the "law
in my members" (Ro 7:23).
2. This body of death (Ro 7:24).
3. Our outward man (2Co 4:16).
4. For if you live according to the flesh you will die
MAN'S TWOFOLD BEING [THE SPIRIT]
1. But now, it is no longer I who do it (Ro 7:17).
2. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the
evil I will not to do, that I practice (Ro 7:19).
3. For I delight in the law of God according to the
inward man (Ro 7:22).
4. The strong influence of the spirit is "the law of
my mind" (Ro 7:23).
5. I myself serve the law of God (Ro 7:25).
6. If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of
the body, you will live (Ro 8:13).
MAN'S DUAL NATURE
[7:17] But now, it is no longer I who do it [so then, so now, now then, it is
no more, I that do it, I doing it, that do it]. [ 98 ] Man has a dual nature. Here
the speaker distinguishes the "I" from "sin" that indwelt him. In verse 18, he
speaks of the flesh. Elsewhere, he calls it the "outward man" (2Co 4:16). He
does not, however separate himself from the flesh like some Calvinists do, in order
to deny any responsibility for wrong doing (see Ro 8:13).
But sin that dwells in me [but the sin dwelling, which indwells me, which
dwelleth, within me, dwelleth, in me.[ 99 ] The OT presents the idea of "dwelling"
to indicate a strong influence. God dwelling in the midst of His people meant,
among other things that they would not defile His name by worshipping idols.
And He said to me, "Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the
place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children
of Israel forever. No more shall the house of Israel defile My holy name,
they nor their kings, by their harlotry or with the carcasses of their kings on
their high places. 8 When they set their threshold by My threshold, and
their doorpost by My doorpost, with a wall between them and Me, they
defiled My holy name by the abominations which they committed; therefore
I have consumed them in My anger (Eze 43:7, 8; compare 37:26-28; Zec
2:5, 10, 11).
By sin indwelling a person, it is implied that it had a strong, controlling
influence. Note however that there is a difference between the "me" and the
indwelling sin. At the time sin indwelt, he was depraved but not totally depraved.
At least the "I" in him wished to do what was right (verse 18).
IN MY FLESH DWELLS NO GOOD THING
[7:18] For I know that in me [for I know that within me].[ 100 ] Note the
contrast between this and the indwelling Spirit of Christ where Christ is presented
as having the controlling influence (Ro 8:9).
That is, in my flesh.[ 101 ] According to Thayer, "flesh," in this verse, does not
carry any suggestion of depravity (see footnote). Even though Calvinists probably
would disagree, he is right. They sometimes go to Ephesians 2 to shore up their
fragile position on the "sinful nature" of man. Some mistranslations[ 102 ] support
their false doctrine of total depravity by departing from the original meaning of a
Greek word. SARKI flesh does not mean "sinful nature." Neither does the phrase
"TEKNA PHUSEI ORGEES by nature children of wrath imply inherited guilt of
sin (see note on Eph 2:3).
Nothing good dwells [nothing good dwells within me, dwelleth no good thing,
good does not dwell].
For to will is present with me [I can will what is right, I have the will to do
what is good, for to will is there with me].[ 103 ] Man is a creature of choice, of
volition, of will. He is a "free moral agent."
But how to perform what is good [but I cannot do it, but to do that which
is good, but not the power, but to do right].[ 104 ] Although free to choose the
good, he tended to opt for the bad.
I do not find [is not, I find not, for I do not do].[ 105 ] This phrase from the
Received Text appears in the KJV and NKJV but not in most others (see note and
footnote on verse 21).
THE GOOD THAT I WISH I DO NOT DO
7:19 For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that
I do not wish.
For the good that I will to do I do not do [for I do not do the good I want,
the good I wish, for the good which I would, I do not].[ 106 ] In climbing the
ladder of righteousness, the unconverted person keeps sliding backward (see verse
But the evil I will not to do, that I practice [but the evil I do not want, which
I would not, is what I do, that I do, but I do the evil I do not want].[ 107 ] This
does not describe Paul as a Christian because:
No one who is born of God makes a practice of sinning, because he is born
of God" (1Jo 3:9 Williams; compare 1Th 2:10).
It depicts a person during his unconverted state. That person desperately needs
"the power of God to salvation" (Ro 1:16).
[7:20] Now if I do what I will not to do [but if what I would not, but the evil
I do not will, but if I do that which I do not want, but if what I do not will,
I do not want to do, that I would not, that I do, for I do not practice the good
that I will; this I practice].[ 108 ] The person under consideration does wrong
when he really wants to do right.
It is no longer I who do it [it is no more I that do it, I doing it].[ 109 ] The
inner being desired to do right but something inside overcame that desire so that
he sinned. Notice he was able to distinguish between the "I" and the agent of
wrong inside him. He termed that agent "sin that dwells in me."
1. Rebellion=as witchcraft (1Sa 15:23).
2. Stubbornness=as iniquity and idolatry (1Sa 15:23).
3. Lustful look=adultery (Mt 5:28).
4. Hypocrisy=full of dead men's bones (Mt 23:29).
5. Covetousness=idolatry (Eph 5:5; Col 3:5).
6. Unbelief=departing from the living God (Heb 3:12).
7. Hatred=murder (1Jo 3:15).
But sin that dwells in me [but the sin which dwelleth within me].[ 110 ] Why
do the unconverted make no headway in righteousness? Why had he allowed sin
to control his decisions? He answers: because sin dwells within (see note on verse
17). Although primarily speaking of the unconverted, a Christian should never
allow his thoughts to dwell on sinful fantasies or actions. To do so is but to invite
sin to indwell the mind. Mental indulgence may lead a Christian to actual sinful
deeds, but is also wrong in itself. "Sin that dwells in me" is not being blamed.
The Law was simply incapable of forgiving. When one sinned he or she was
under sin. The mortal body with its lusts made living a sinless life nearly
impossible. Thus the Law became a yoke, a burden. Jewish Christians are being
admonished to quit holding to its works.[ 111 ]
[7:21] I find then a law [so I find it to be a law, I find then the law, the Law
upon me].[ 112 ]
I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do
good (Ro 7:21 NASB).
The NASB is usually accurate in translation but, in this instance, apparently, it
has followed the definition by Arndt and Ginrich (see footnote).[ 113 ] Why change
"law" to "principle" or "influence"? Is the verse in Greek too hard to understand?
Is it necessary to "doctor" the original language in order to make the English fit
a preconceived idea? Never.
Look at the footnote in the ASV: "Or in regard of the law." This is the Law of
Moses. The wording is in line with the contrast in verses 11, 12.
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin (Ro
The commandment that was to life he found to be to death (verse 10). Why?
The key thought is "me" (see verse 11). The Law was good. It was "to me" [to
the speaker] that evil was present. It was not the fault of the Law that he sinned
but rather his own weakness (see verse 23).
That evil is present with me [that evil lies close at hand, that with me evil is
there].[ 114 ] The will to do good is also PARAKEITAI present, at hand (verse
18). There was no absolute forgiveness by the Mosaic sacrifices (Heb 10:4). Not
only was evil present in the sense of its abiding guilt but in the desire of the heart
and in practice. The speaker approved of the Law, but "evil" present within him
hindered the carrying out of his righteous intentions.
The one who wills to do good [that when I want to, to me who would, when
I would, who will to, practice what is, right].[ 115 ] The Bible does not teach
total depravity.[ 116 ] Many Baptists and others hold to that doctrine.[ 117 ] To be
consistent, those who hold the false doctrine are forced to accept:
The absolute necessity of the Spirit's work in faith and salvation . . . .
effected in a manner above our comprehension by the Holy Spirit[ 118 ]
If a sinner is born totally depraved, he is not capable of doing anything good, so
the denominational argument goes. He cannot even believe or repent. How then
can anyone be saved? According to the theory, only by the direct work of God
upon the heart can anyone do anything good. Without the direct operation of the
Holy Spirit one cannot even believe or repent. Then without the direct work of
the Spirit, no one could ever be saved. Think about that for a moment. Who
would be responsible for the eternal damnation of every sinner? God Himself!
Can you accept that? I cannot. But such is the position of our Calvinistic
The doctrine of total depravity carries with it several erroneous thoughts. Here
are answers to some of them. (1) Forgiveness does not take place in the heart of
the sinner, but in the mind of God. (2) The Bible nowhere teaches Holy Spirit
baptism washes away sins of the recipient of it. (3) It has been demonstrated over
and over that acquired characteristics are not inherited (see Eze 18:20). (4)
Calvinism is consistent but consistently wrong.
Of course, sinners may hear, believe and obey the gospel. Since this is true, the
concept of the direct operation of the Holy Spirit in conversion of sinners is not
necessary besides being false.
I DELIGHT IN THE LAW OF GOD IN INNER MAN
[7:22] For I delight in the law of God [for I joyfully concur with the law of
God].[ 119 ] Why was the Mosaic Law called the Law of God? Because it was
revealed by Him for man's obedience. It also depicts the Divine character. Is it
possible for an alien sinner to delight in God's Law? The answer is in the
The spiritual nature of the unconverted Jew concurred, approved and delighted
in God's Law. Even he praised the goodness of it. Although the present context
is about the Law of Moses, keep in mind that the law of God for Christians is "the
law of Christ" (1Co 9:21).
According to the inward man [in my inmost self, after the inner person, in
the inner man].[ 120 ] Spiritually and even intellectually, the alien sinner, approved
the Law and would have kept its every precept were it not for the conflict of the
flesh (see verses 19, 20; 2Co 4:16; Eph 3:16; contrast with the new man in Eph
4:24; Col 3:10).
[7:23] But I see.[ 121 ] The speaker was an introspective person. He understood
and categorized his inner thoughts and feelings.
Another law in my members [in my members another law, a different law,
in the members of my body].[ 122 ] The law of sin was "a different law" (see
verse 25). The speaker wanted to obey the Law of God but there was something
else within him that demanded obedience. He acquiesced and committed sin.
Although there may be exceptions, unsaved men and women generally give in to
the evil. Christians are servants of righteousness and do the right (Ro 6:17, 18;
compare Ga 4:17). There are also exceptions to this (see 1Jo 1:8-10).
Warring against [at war, which wars, waging war, with, against, in
opposition to].[ 123 ] The "different law," here is called "sin." It is a strong and
mighty warrior in the battle for men's souls.
The law of my mind.[ 124 ] Many Jews approved "things that are excellent" (see
Ro 2:17, 18). Some Gentiles gave approval to the goodness of the Law (Ro 2:14,
15). Approval and consent to its goodness were not enough. The speaker's clear
understanding of this point made him "zero in" on the condemnation of both Jew
and Gentile sinners.
PRISONER OF THE LAW OF SIN
1. Sin dwells in me (Ro 7:17, 20).
2. In my flesh nothing good dwells (Ro 7:18).
3. Evil is present in me (Ro 7:21).
4. Another law in my members, warring against the law
of my mind (Ro 7:23).
5. With the flesh, [serve] the law of sin (Ro 7:25).
And bringing me into captivity [making me, and making me, captive, a
prisoner].[ 125 ] These are not occasional lapses but becoming a captive to sin,
becoming its prisoner, its slave (see note on verse 25).
To the law of sin [under the law of sin, of the power of sin].[ 126 ] The "law
of sin" is the same as the "different law" that struggles within the mind (see note
on verse 25; Eph 6:10-17).
Which is in my members [which dwells, which exists, that is, in my
members].[ 127 ] Note that the person (the "I") is a struggler against the evil at
work in the body members. The fact that there is a struggle going on shows that
unregenerate man is not totally depraved.
MISERABLE WITHOUT CHRIST
[7:24] O wretched man that I am! [wretched man, miserable person, that
I am!].[ 128 ] The unconverted person under the Law had constant warfare with sin
It made him toil-worn, tired and exhausted. Like a totally fatigued and battle-weary soldier, he was longing for a truce, for rest, for peace, for home.
All accountable and informed people out of Christ are miserable and wretched.
So are lukewarm church members and all backsliders. The tragedy is that many
are unaware of their sad condition (Re 3:17). If they realize their miserable state,
understand the truth and desire salvation and righteousness, they have taken a step
in the right direction. However, desire alone is not all it takes to be saved.
Neither is belief alone sufficient. Salvation is through faith in Christ but it is also
through the "obedience of faith" (see Ro 1:5; 6:3, 4, 17, 18; 10:16; 16:26; Heb
Who will deliver me? [who shall, who is there to, rescue me?].[ 129 ] This is
an agonizing cry of helplessness! If a method, a lecture or a law could have saved
him, Paul would have responded to it in a minute. Realizing the futility of
philosophy, all human plans and the Mosaic Law, the lost man cries out for a
Deliverer! "Who shall deliver me?" This despairing plea is not that of a faithful
Christian[ 130 ] but of a hopeless sinner.
DELIVERANCE THROUGH CHRIST
1. Peace with God (Ro 5:1).
2. Reconciliation (Ro 5:11).
3. Grace (Ro 5:21).
4. Free from sin (Ro 6:18).
5. Eternal life (Ro 6:23).
From this body of death [out of the body, from the body, of this death]. [ 131 ]
Bodily lusts lead to sin and death (see notes on Jas 1:14, 15). In this way, body
members through which sin works lead to spiritual death. Adam Clarke presented
a grotesque illustration.
There seems to be here an allusion to an ancient custom of certain tyrants,
who bound a dead body to a living man, and obliged him to carry it about
till the contagion from the putrid mass took away his life![ 132 ]
Was there any human way to become free from "this body of death"? There was
no earthly hope at all. However, the chains may be cut by faith in Christ (Ro
1:16, 17; 5:1; 10, 9, 10) and by obedience to the gospel (Ro 1:5; 6:3, 4, 17, 18;
10:16; 16:26). They are removed by the grace, power and merits of Jesus Christ.
TWO KINDS OF SERVICE [OF SIN] (A)
1. Slaves of sin (Ro 6:17).
2. Sinful passions aroused by the law at work in our
members (Ro 7:5).
3. The flesh dominated the mind (Ro 7:15-20).
4. With the flesh serving the law of sin (Ro 7:25).
DELIVERANCE THROUGH CHRIST!
7:25 I thank God-- through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind
I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! [but thanks, thanks be, to God
through Jesus Christ our Lord!].[ 133 ] The question is answered. "Who will
deliver me?" It is God who delivers through Christ. This is the kind of worship
[PROSKUNEOO] in which one falls on his face and praises God in great emotion.
What a magnificent word of praise and thanks! It is gratitude from the very core
of the inner being. He could be free! Free from sin! Free from the Law of
Moses! Free from the "other law" warring against him! Free from the awful,
putrid "this body of death"! Free from the curse of hell! Thanks be to God! (see
TWO KINDS OF SERVICE [OF GOD] (B)
1. Now a servant of God (Ro 1:9).
2. With the mind (inner man) serve the law of God.
3. Inner man dominating the flesh (Ga 4:17).
4. I discipline my body and bring it into subjection
(1Co 9:27; Ro 8:13).
5. Do you not know that to whom you present
yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves
whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or
of obedience leading to righteousness? (Ro 6:16).
So then, with the mind [therefore, with my mind].[ 134 ]
I myself [I of myself].[ 135 ] Some understand "I myself" to mean Saul of Tarsus
in the unconverted state without Christ. They would have him say that without
Christ a person might serve the Law of God with the mind but be hopelessly lost
as a servant of sin due to the flesh. Others disregard this entirely and claim that
"faith only" saves even a person who continues to live a worldly life.[ 136 ] Some
scholars exhibit bias here as if to have the great Apostle still serving sin. Shame
Inasmuch as punctuation marks were not used in early Greek NT manuscripts,
some have proposed that Paul may be asking a rhetorical question. He has just
spoken of being delivered from "this body of death." Surely, he is not going back
to its enslavement. According to this view, the question is:
Do I then as a slave serve the law of God, and with the flesh the law of
sin?[ 137 ]
The answer is no! Not as a Christian.
Serve the law of God [indeed, serve the law of God, God's law].[ 138 ]
But with the flesh [but with my flesh, but the flesh].[ 139 ] Creeds have
perpetuated many an error on this subject. Some of them have unfortunately found
their way into modern paraphrase versions of the Bible.[ 140 ] Elderships who
approve such "Bibles" for congregational use are making a tragic mistake. They
should not be surprised when their members embrace Calvinism and other errors
and even drift into the denominations that teach the same errors.
The law of sin [I serve sin's law].[ 141 ] If there remains in the minds of my
readers any difficulty with Paul's teaching in this chapter, I believe it will be
cleared up in chapter 8 (see note above on I myself; verses 1-4, 23).
By summary, the imaginary Jew has described the miserable conflict of one out
of Christ, the inner struggle with sin and the futility of the Law of Moses to save.
The chapter closed with a recognition of the marvelous deliverance through Christ.
[ 1 ]The basic text in this chapter is the NKJV. Scripture taken from the New King James Version.
Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Alternate phrases in brackets are from ASV, Darby, ESB, KJV and RSV and occasionally another
version. Greek transliteration approximates the BibleSoft method.
[ 2 ]EE AGNOEITE, ADELPHOI, or are ye ignorant, brothers (Marshall 622); AGNOEITE is second
person plural, present active indicative of AGNOEOO (Han 304); know not [brethren] (Vine 576); not
to know, be ignorant (Arndt 11; Thayer 8); or are you ignorant, brethren? (Lenski 440); do you not
know, brothers? (Williams).
[ 3 ]GINOOSKOUSIN GAR NOMON LALOO, for to [ones] knowing law I speak (Marshall 622);
GINOOSKOUSIN is the present active participle, dative plural masculine of GINOOSKOO; LALOO
is first person singular, present active indicative of LALEOO (Han 304); [ASV margin "law"], of law
in general (Vine 643); understand, comprehend, know the law (Arndt 161); for I am speaking to you
as understanding law (Lenski 440); for I speak to those who are acquainted with the law (Williams);
any law, law in general (Littrell).
[ 4 ]HOTI HO NOMOS KURIEUEI TOU ANTHROOPOU, that the law lords it over the man
(Marshall 622); KURIEUEI is third person singular, present active indicative of KURIEUOO (Han
304); the dominion of law of men (Vine 325); be lord or master, rule, lord it [over], control, of the law
(Arndt 458); be lord of, rule over, have dominion over; of things and forces, the same as exercise
influence upon, have power over (Thayer 365); of the fact that the law lords it over the man (Lenski
440); that the law can press its claim over a man (Williams).
[ 5 ]EPH' HOSON CHRONON ZEE, over such time [as] he lives (Marshall 622); ZEE is third
person singular, present active indicative of ZAOO (Han 304); how much, so much, is used after the
preposition EPI [EPH'], and as an adjective qualifying CHRONOS, signifying "for so long time" (Vine
683; Arndt 888); for so long time as, so long as (Thayer 673); only for so long a time as there is life
(Lenski 440); only so long as he lives (Williams).
[ 6 ]HEE GAR HUPANDROS GUNEE, for the married woman (Marshall 622; Lenski 440); literally
under or subject to a husband (Vincent 3.73); literally "under [that is, subject to] a man," married, and
therefore, according to Roman law under the legal authority of the husband (Vine 570); under the power
of or subject to a man, the married woman (Arndt 837); under, that is, subject to a man, married
(Thayer 638); for a married woman (Williams).
[ 7 ]TOO ANDRI DEDETAI NOMOO, to the husband has been bound by law (Marshall 622); of
binding by law and duty, with dative of the person to someone, of a wife to her husband (Arndt 178);
bound to one, of a wife (Thayer 131); stands bound to husband by law (Lenski 440); is bound by law
to her husband (Williams).
[ 8 ]TOO ZOONTI, living=while the husband lives (Marshall 622); ZOONTI is the present active
participle, dative singular masculine of ZAOO (Han 304); the living (Lenski 440); while he lives
[ 9 ]EAN DE APOTHANEE HO ANEER, but if dies the husband (Marshall 622); APOTHANEE
is third person singular, second aorist active subjunctive of APOTHNEESKOO (Han 304); literally dies
off or out, of natural death (Vine 300; Arndt 91); of natural death of men (Thayer 61); but if the
husband dies (Lenski 440); but if her husband dies (Williams).
[ 10 ]KATEERGEETAI, she has been discharged (Marshall 622); third person singular, perfect
passive indicative of KATARGEOO (Han 304); literally, she has brought to nought as respects of the
law of the husband (Vincent 3.73); the meaning is that the death of a woman's first husband makes void
her status as a wife in the eyes of the Law; she is therefore discharged from the prohibition against
remarrying; the prohibition is rendered ineffective in her case (Vine 307); released from association
with someone or something have nothing more to do with, of a woman upon the death of her husband
(Arndt 417); severed from, separated from, discharged from, loosed from TOU NOMOU [the law]
(Thayer 336); she stands discharged (Lenski 440); she is freed (Williams).
[ 11 ]APO TOU NOMOU TOU ANDROS, from the law of the husband (Marshall 622); her legal
connection with him. She dies to that law with the husband's death (Vincent 3.73); might refer to
Roman law; more likely the Mosaic law is meant; of an individual stipulation of the law; the law
insofar as it concerns the husband (Arndt 542); [from] the law enacted respecting the husband, that is,
binding the wife to her husband (Thayer 428); from the law regarding the husband (Lenski 441); from
the marriage bond [literally, from the law of the husband] (Williams).
[ 12 ]ARA OUN, therefore (Marshall 622); so then (Thayer 71); so that (Conybeare 559); so then
(Lenski 441); so (Williams).
[ 13 ]ZOONTOS TOU ANDROS, living the husband (Marshall 622); ZOONTOS is the present active
participle, genitive singular masculine or neuter of ZAOO (Han 304); of physical life in contrast to
death (Arndt 336); lives, is among the living, is alive [not lifeless, not dead] (Thayer 269); while the
husband lives (Lenski 441); while her husband is living (Williams).
[ 14 ]EAN GENETAI ANDRI HETEROO, if she becomes husband to a different (Marshall 622);
GENETAI is third person singular, second aorist middle subjunctive of GINOMAI (Han 304); becomes
[here, to become another man's] (Vine 717); with dative of the person, belong to someone, of a woman
(Arndt 160); become a man's wife (Thayer 116); if she becomes joined to another husband (Lenski
441); if she marries another man (Williams).
[ 15 ]NEB.
[ 16 ]MOICHALIS CHREEMATISEI, an adulteress she will be called (Marshall 622);
CHREEMATISEI is third person singular, future active indicative of CHREEMATIZOO (Han 304);
occasionally means to be called or named, Acts 11:26 [of the name "Christians"] and Ro 7:3, the only
places where it has this meaning (Vine 25, 156); bear a name, be called or named [an adulteress] (Arndt
526, 885); [shall] receive a name or title, be called [an adulteress] (Thayer 416, 671); she will be held
an adulteress (Lenski 441); she is called an adulteress (Williams); called [from CHREMATIZOO a
divine call, warning, calling]. In all the other passages where this word is used it indicates that God
is doing the calling or warning "By faith Noah, being warned of God ..." (Heb 11:7); "Being warned
of God ..." (Mt 2:12); "Disciples divinely called Christians . . ." (Ac 11:26). In this passage God calls
her an adulteress (Littrell).
[ 17 ]This point is important in understanding that God called the disciples Christians first at Antioch
(see note on Ac 11:16).
[ 18 ]EAN DE APOTHANEE HO ANEER, but if dies the husband (Marshall 622); APOTHANEE
is third person singular, second aorist active subjunctive of APOUNEESKOO (Han 304); of natural
death (Arndt 91); die off or out, so as to be no more, of the natural death of men (Thayer 61); but if
her husband dies (Lenski 441).
[ 19 ]I am indebted to James Burton Coffman for the idea that God died on the cross in the person of
Jesus Christ. Regardless of the interpretation of Paul's figure, the conclusion must be the same.
Christians are not under the OT Law (see note below under OLD LAW NO LONGER VALID).
[ 20 ]ELEUTHERA ESTIN APO TOU NOMOU, free she is from the law (Marshall 622); ESTIN
is third person singular, present active indicative of EIMI (Han 304); of freedom from restraint and
obligation in general (Vine 460); no longer bound by the law which joined her to her husband (Arndt
250); free from, that is, no longer under obligation to, so that one may now do what was formerly
forbidden by the person or thing to which he was bound (Thayer 204); she is free from this law (Lenski
441); she is free from that marriage bond [Greek, from the (that) law] (Williams).
[ 21 ]TOU MEE EINAI AUTEEN MOICHALIDA, not to be=so that she is not an adulteress
(Marshall 622); EINAI is the present active infinitive of EIMI (Han 304); [no] adulteress, in the natural
sense (Vine 25); [no] adulteress, literally (Arndt 526; Thayer 416); so that she is not an adulteress
(Lenski 441); so that she will not be an adulteress (Williams).
[ 22 ]GENOMENEEN ANDRI HETEROO, having become husband to a different (Marshall 622);
GENOMENEEN is the second aorist passive participle, accusative singular feminine of GINOMAI (Han
304); with dative of the person, belong to someone, of a woman (Arndt 160); with the dative, become
a man's wife (Thayer 116); on being joined to another husband (Lenski 441); though later married to
another man (Williams).
[ 23 ]HOOSTE, ADELPHOI MOI, so, brothers of me (Marshall 622); so then, therefore, wherefore,
fellow-believers, united [to Paul] by the bond of affection (Thayer 11, 683); for this reason, therefore,
so, followed by the indicative (Arndt 889); here HOOSTE is simply HOOS plus TE, "and so" and not
"wherefore"; and so, my brethren (Lenski 447, 448); so, my brothers (Williams).
[ 24 ]KAI HUMEIS ETHANATOOTHEETE TOO NOMOO, also ye were put to death to the law
(Marshall 622); ETHANATOOTHEETE is second person plural, first aorist passive indicative of
THANATOOO (Han 304); more accurately, ye were made dead, put to death (Vincent 3.74); passive
with the dative of the thing, by death to be liberated from the bond of [the law], [literally to be made
dead in relation to] (Thayer 283); of the death which the believer dies through mystic unity with the
body of the crucified Christ to TOO NOMOO [the law], [dative of advantage] (Arndt 351); also you
on your part were rendered dead to the law (Lenski 447); you too [in the body of Christ] have ended
your relation to the law (Williams).
[ 25 ]It is obvious that Albert Barnes (4.154) grossly erred when he said, "He does not say that we
are dead to it or released from it as a rule of duty."
[ 26 ]Conybeare 589.
[ 27 ]DIA TOU SOOMATOS TOU CHRISTOU, through the body of Christ (Marshall 622; Lenski
447); of the death which the believer dies through mystic unity with the body of the crucified Christ
to TOO NOMOO [the law], [dative of advantage] (Arndt 351); in the body of Christ (Williams).
[ 28 ]Coffman 252.
[ 29 ]Metonymy of the adjunct.
[ 30 ]Conybeare 559.
[ 31 ]Barclay 95.
[ 32 ]EIS TO GENESTHAI HUMAS HETEROO, for the to become=that ye might belong you to a
different (Marshall 622); GENESTHAI is the second aorist passive infinitive of GINOMAI (Han 304);
become another man's (Vine 717); become a man's wife (Thayer 116); so that you were joined to
another (Lenski 447); that you may be married to another husband (Williams).
[ 33 ]TOO EK NEKROON EGERTHENTI, to the [one] from [the] dead having been raised (Marshall
622); EGERTHENTI is the first aorist passive participle, dative singular masculine of EGEIROO (Han
304); of the resurrection of Christ (Vine 917); aroused from the sleep of death, recalled the dead to life,
from the company of the dead (Thayer 165); an important addition, because it refers to the newness of
life which issues from the rising with Christ (Vincent 3.74); to him who was raised from the dead
(Lenski 448; Williams).
[ 34 ]HINA KARPOPHORESOOMEN TOO THEOO, in order that we may bear fruit to God
(Marshall 622); KARPOPHORESOOMEN is first person plural, first aorist active subjunctive of
KARPOPHOREOO (Han 304); [dative commodi] to one who reaps the fruit, that is, fruit acceptable
to [God] (Thayer 326); the figure of marriage is continued, but the reference is not to be pressed
(Vincent 3.74); the fruit of faith, yields fruit in [or to] our Lord Jesus Christ (Arndt 405); in order that
we may bear fruit for God (Lenski 448); in order that we might bear fruit for God (Williams).
[ 35 ]HOTE GAR EEMEN EN TEE SARKI, when for we were in the flesh (Marshall 622; Lenski
448); EEMEN is first person plural, imperfect active indicative of EIMI (Han 304); for when we were
in the flesh; the unregenerate state of men (Vine 438); in an unregenerate [and sinful] state (Arndt 744);
Paul uses the expression [SARKI flesh] with designed ambiguity in order to involve also the ethical
sense, `to be in the power of the flesh,' to be prompted and governed by the flesh (Thayer 570). .
[ 36 ]Calvinistic bias again shows in the NIV: "For when we were controlled by our sinful nature."
The NEB is similar with, "while we lived on the level of our lower nature."
[ 37 ]Coffman 255.
[ 38 ]TA PATHEEMATA TOON HAMARTIOON, the passions of sins (Marshall 622); [motions in
the KJV is used in the sense of emotions, impulses], nearly synonymous with PATHOS passion [from
PHATHEIN to suffer], a feeling which the mind undergoes, a passion, desire, sinful passions: which
lead to sins (Vincent 3.77); sufferings or passive emotions (Vine 838); [the] sinful passions (Arndt 602);
of an inward state, an affection, passions . . . that lead to sins (Thayer 472); the passions of the sins
(Lenski 448); the sinful passions (Williams); see the word PATHEEMASIN translated "affections" in
[ 39 ]TA DIA TOU NOMOU, through the law (Marshall 622); with the definite article, the Mosaic
law (Vine 644); of the Mosaic law, and referring, according to the context, either to the volume of the
law or to its contents (Thayer 427 ); of the law which Moses received from God (Arndt 542); those
stirred up by means of the law (Lenski 448); by the law (Williams).
[ 40 ]"Mediated" is used in the sense of indirect causation (Lenski 453).
[ 41 ]ENEERGEITO EN TOIS MELESIN HEEMOON, operated in the members of us (Marshall
622); ENEERGEITO is third person singular, imperfect middle indicative of ENERGEOO (Han 304);
literally, worked in [EN in, ERGON work] (Vine 1244); display one's activity, show one's self
operative; [ENEERGEITO] followed by EN with dative of the thing, where (Thayer 215); [the
passions] were at work in our members (Arndt 265); continued to be active in our members (Lenski
448); were operating in the parts of our bodies (Williams).
[ 42 ]EIS TO KARPOPHOREESAI TOO THANATOO, for the to bear fruit to death (Marshall 622);
KARPOPHOREESAI is the first aorist active infinitive of KARPOPHOREOO (Han 304; evil fruit
"unto death," of activities from a state of alienation from God (Vine 404); to produce works rewarded
with death (Thayer 326); to bear fruit for the death (Lenski 448); to make us bear fruit that leads to
[ 43 ]NUNI DE, but now (Marshall 622; Lenski 448; Williams).
[ 44 ]KATEERGEETHEEMEN APO TOU NOMOU, we were discharged from the law (Marshall
622); KATEERGEETHEEMEN is first person plural, first aorist passive indicative of KATARGEOO
(Han 304); have been discharged, as the woman, verse 2 (Vincent 3.77); reduced to inactivity . . . with
the believer in relationship to the Law, he has been made dead to the Law as a means of justification
and life. It is not the Law that has died [KJV], but the believer [see the ASV], who has been
discharged through being put to death, as to the old nature, in identification with the Death of Christ,
that he might have life in Christ (Vine 307); released from the law (Arndt 417); we have been
discharged from the law (Lenski 448); we have been freed from our relation to the law (Williams).
[ 45 ]APOTHANONTES EN HOO KATEICHOMETHA, having died [to that] in which we were held
fast (Marshall 622); APOTHANONTES is the second aorist active participle, nominative plural
masculine of APOTHNEESKOO; KATEICHOMETHA is first person plural, first aorist passive
indicative of KATARGEOO (Han 304); literally, held down (Vincent 3.77); of the law as that which
had held in bondage those who through faith in Christ were made dead to it as a means of life (Vine
554); passive, [were] bound by the law, having died to that by which we were bound (Arndt 423);
having died to that in which we were being held fast (Lenski 448); we have ended our relation to that
by which we once were held in bonds (Williams).
[ 46 ]HOOSTE DOULEUEIN [HEEMAS] EN KAINOTEETI PNEUMATOS, so as to serve us in
newness of spirit (Marshall 622, 623); DOULEUEIN is the present active infinitive of DOULOOO
(Han 305); newness of the spirit, said of the believer's manner of serving the Lord (Vine 783);
newness, with the connotation of something extraordinary; Hebraistically, the noun for an adjective,
a new spirit (Arndt 394); so that we slave in newness of spirit (Lenski 448); that we may serve in a new
spiritual way (Williams).
[ 47 ]KAI OU PALAIOTEETI GRAMMATOS, and not [in] oldness of letter (Marshall 622; Lenski
448); [from PALAIOS of long duration, old in years], of "the letter," that is, the law with its rules of
conduct, mere outward conformity (Vine 808); serve the old letter [of the law] (Arndt 606); and not
in the old literalistic way [Greek, in newness of spirit and not in oldness of letter] (Williams).
[ 48 ]TI OUN EROUMEN, what therefore shall we say (Marshall 623); EROUMEN is first person
plural, future active indicative of LEGOO (Han 305); an obsolete verb, future tense (Vine 996); what
shall we say or conclude? what then? (Arndt 226); what shall we say? that is, what reply can we make?
or to what does that bring us? (Thayer 181); what, then, shall we say? (Lenski 458); what are we then
to conclude? (Williams).
[ 49 ]HO NOMOS HAMARTIA, the law sin? (Marshall 623); a principle or source of action, or an
inward element producing acts, [abstract for concrete] (Vine 1045); the law which Moses received from
God (Arndt 542); abstract for the concrete, opposite to HO NOMOS HAGIOS [the law is holy], verse
12 (Thayer 31); the law is it sin? (Lenski 458); is the law sin? (Williams).
[ 50 ]MEE GENOITO, may it not be (Marshall 623); GENOITO is third person singular, second
aorist middle optative of GINOMAI (Han 305); perish the thought! (Lenski 458); of course not!
(Williams); literally may it never be (see note on Ro 3:4).
[ 51 ]ALLA TEEN HAMARTIAN OUK EGNOON, yet sin not I know (Marshall 623); EGNOON
is first person singular, second aorist active indicative of GINOOSKOO (Han 305); howbeit,
nevertheless (Ellicott 4.231); I did not know [sin] (Vincent 3.77); with accusative of the thing, known,
came to know sin, the action itself (Arndt 43, 160); on the contrary, I would not have realized sin
(Lenski 458); yet I should not have learned what sin was (Williams).
[ 52 ]EI MEE DIA NOMOU, except through law (Marshall 623; Lenski 458); except through law;
the law which Moses received from God (Arndt 542); without the article, the Mosaic law (Thayer 427,
428); if it had not been for the law (Williams).
[ 53 ]TEEN TE GAR EPITHUMIAN OUK EEDEIN, also for lust I knew not (Marshall 623);
EEDEIN is first person singular, pluperfect active indicative of OIDA (Han 305); coveting (Vincent
3.78); [EPI upon, THUMOS passion], long for, lust after, covet, is used with the meaning to covet
evilly (Vine 244); [I had not] known, with accusative of the thing, desire for something forbidden
(Arndt 293, 555); specific desire for what is forbidden, lust [Vulgate, CONCUPISCENTA] (Thayer
174, 238); for on the one hand, I would ot know coveting (Lenski 558, 459); for I should not have
known what an evil desire was (Williams).
[ 54 ]EI MEE HO NOMOS ELEGEN, except the law said (Marshall 623); ELEGEN is third person
singular, imperfect active indicative of LEGOO (Han 305); if the law would not say (Lenski 459); if
the law had not said (Williams).
[ 55 ]OUK EPITHUMEESEIS, thou shalt not lust (Marshall 623); EPITHUMEESEIS is second person
singular, future active indicative of EPITHUMEOO (Han 305); you shall not lust; you [singular] shall
not desire that which is forbidden (Harrison 537); satisfy the desire of the body; gambling, drunkenness
and gluttony are called EPITHUMIAI [lusts] (Arndt 293); thou shalt not covet (Lenski 459); you must
not have an evil desire (Williams).
[ 56 ]APHORMEEN DE LABOUSA HEE HAMARTIA, but occasion taking sin (Marshall 623);
LABOUSA is the second active participle, nominative singular feminine of LAMBANOO (Han 305);
properly, a starting point, was used to denote a base of operations in a war; the Law provided sin with
a base of operations for its attack upon the soul (Vine 799); grasping an opportunity (Arndt 127); taking
occasion, finding an incentive (Thayer 90); on the other hand, having received an impetus, the sin
(Lenski 459); sin found its rallying point (Williams).
[ 57 ]DIA TEES ENTOLEES, through the commandment (Marshall 623); [ENTOLEE] denotes an
injunction, charge, precept, commandment. It is the most frequent term, and is used of moral and
religious precepts (Vine 202); to denote the efficient cause, by the law, the commandments of the OT
law; the singular takes in all the commandments of the law (Arndt 180, 269); what God prescribes in
the law of Moses . . . especially of particular precepts of this law as distinguished from HO NOMOS
[the law], their body or sum (Thayer 218); by means of the commandment (Lenski 459); in that
[ 58 ]KATEIRGASATO EN EMOI, wrought in me (Marshall 623); KATEIRGASATO is third person
singular, first aorist middle indicative of KATERGAZOMAI (Han 305); worked out, achieved . . . [the
Law brings men under condemnation and so renders them subject to Divine wrath] (Vine 1244); sin
called forth every desire within man (Arndt 421); brought about, resulted in (Thayer 351); wrought out
in me (Lenski 459); and stirred within me (Williams).
[ 59 ]PASAN EPITHUMIAN, every lust (Marshall 623); coveting (Vincent 3.78); [evil] desire of
every kind (Arndt 631); all manner of coveting (Lenski 459); every sort of evil desire (Williams).
[ 60 ]CHOORIS GAR NOMOU HAMARTIA NEKRA, for without law sin [is] dead (Marshall 623);
sin, which apart from the law cannot produce a sense of guilt (Vine 265); where there is no law sin is
dead, is not perceptible (Arndt 535); destitute of force or power, inactive, inoperative (Thayer 424);
for apart from law sin is dead (Lenski 459); for without law sin is lifeless (Williams).
[ 61 ]Harrison 537.
[ 62 ]EGOO DE EZOON CHOORIS NOMOU POTE, I and was living without law then (Marshall
623); EZOON is first person singular, imperfect active indicative of ZAOO (Han 305); referring to the
time of childlike innocence (Vincent 3.78); the course, conduct and character of men . . . undefined
(Vine 679); imperfect tense, I was once [truly] alive without law [this has been interpreted to mean
when no law existed. Paul is then speaking of a man in paradise before the command of Ge 1:16f; 3:3.
Another interpretation thinks of Paul as referring to the period in his life when he was not conscious
of its existence and significance of the law] (Arndt 336); without recognition of the law (Thayer 270);
now I was alive apart from the law at one time (Lenski 459); I was once alive when I had no
connection with the law (Williams).
[ 63 ]ELTHOUSEES DE TEES ENTOLEES, but coming the commandment=when the command
came (Marshall 623); ELTHOUSEES is the second aorist active participle, genitive singular feminine
of ERCHOMAI (Han 305); the specific injunction, "thou shalt not covet" (Vincent 3.79); when the
commandment came (Arndt 311); became known (Thayer 251); but the commandment having come
(Lenski 459); but when the command came (Williams).
[ 64 ]HEE HAMARTIA ANEZEESEN, sin revived (Marshall 623; Williams); ANEZEESEN is
second person singular, first aorist active indicative of ANAZAOO (Han 305); not came to life, but
lived again (Vincent 3.79); literally, "lived again," that is, it sprang into activity, manifesting the evil
inherent in it; here sin is personified, by way of contrast with man himself (Vine 966); sin came alive
(Arndt 53); came to life again (Ellicott 231); the sin got alive (Lenski 459).
[ 65 ]EGOO DE APETHANON, I and died (Marshall 623; Lenski 459); APETHANON is first person
singular or third person plural, second aorist active indicative of APOTHNEESKOO (Han 305); of
losing the true eternal life; sin revived and I died (Arndt 91); and then I died (Williams).
[ 66 ]KAI ENTOLEE, and the commandment (Marshall 623); this very commandment (Vincent 3.79);
denotes in general, an injunction, charge, precept, commandment. It is the most frequent term, and
is used of moral and religious precepts (Vine 202); of a particular precept of this law as distinguished
from HO NOMOS [the law] (Thayer 218); and the commandment (Lenski 459); and so, in my case,
the command (Williams).
[ 67 ]HEE EIS ZOOEEN, for life (Marshall 623); unto life; the aim of which was life(Vincent 3.79);
like the words of Christ, the divine ENTOLEE [commandment] is also to bring life (Arndt 340); the
one intended for life (Lenski 459); which should have meant life (Williams).
[ 68 ]EURETHEE MOI AUTEE EIS THANATON, was found to me this to the death (Marshall 623);
EURETHEE is third person singular, first aorist passive indicative of EURISKOO (Han 305); was
found to me unto death; literally was found, the surprise at such an unexpected result is expressed by
I found (Vincent 3.79); the commandment as I found by experience, brought death to me;
metaphorically, [unto] the loss of life which alone is worthy of the name, that is, the misery of soul
arising from sin, which begins on earth but lasts and increases after the death of the body (Thayer 262,
283); the commandment proved to be a cause of death for me (Arndt 325); of spiritual death, to which
everyone is subject unless he has been called to the life of grace (Arndt 351); there was found for me
this very one for death (Lenski 459); turned out to mean death (Williams).
[ 69 ]HEE GAR HAMARTIA APHORMEEN LABOUSA, for sin occasion taking (Marshall 623);
LABOUSA is the second aorist active participle, nominative singular feminine of LAMBANOO (Han
305); for sin opportunity taking; sin is viewed as the corrupt source of action as an inward element
using the commandment to produce evil effects; the Law provided sin with a base of operations for its
attack upon the soul (Vine 779, 1116); taking occasion, figuratively, finding opportunity, finding an
incentive (Thayer 90); grasping an opportunity (Arndt 127, 464); for sin, having received an impetus
(Lenski 459); for sin found its rallying point [favorable point of attack] (Williams).
[ 70 ]DIA TEES ENTOLEES EXEEPATEESEN ME, through the commandment deceived me
(Marshall 623); EXEEPATEESEN is third person singular, first aorist active indicative of
EXAPATAOO (Han 305); [EK or EX intensive, APATAOO to beguile, deceive] (Vine 271); deceived
(Thayer 221); denoting the efficient cause, Arndt 180; under the commandment (Macknight 92);
through the commandment, completely deceived me (Lenski 459); in that command and through it
deceived me (Williams).
[ 71 ]See a comparative punctuation in the KJV, NASB and NEB.
[ 72 ]KAI DI' AUTEES APEKTEINEN, and through it killed [me] (Marshall 623); APEKTEINEN
is third person singular, first aorist indicative of APOKTEINOO (Han 305); "slew", metaphorically of
sin, as using the commandment (Vine 1053); metaphorically, inflicted mortal death (Thayer 64; literally
of any way of depriving a person of life, of true spiritual life (Arndt 94); it is well-known to scholars
that the verb AKOTEINEIN signifies not only to slay or kill, but also to make wretched (Clarke 6.85);
and by means of it killed me (Lenski 458); and killed me (Williams).
[ 73 ]HOOSTE HO MEN NOMOS HAGIOS, so the law [is] holy (Marshall 623); that is, containing
nothing exceptionable (Thayer 7); shading over into the meaning holy, equivalent to pure, perfect,
worthy of God, of the divine law (Arndt 9); and so the law at least is holy (Lenski 459); so the law
itself is holy (Williams).
[ 74 ]KAI HEE ENTOLEE HAGIA, and the commandment holy (Marshall 623); holy as God's
revelation of Himself (Vincent 3.79); also the commandment is holy (Lenski 459); and its specific
commands are holy (Williams).
[ 75 ]KAI DIKAIA, and just (Marshall 623); [just, righteous] in its requirements, which correspond
to God's holiness (Vincent 3.79); "just", without prejudice or partiality, for example of the judgment
of God (Vine 969); innocent, faultless, guiltless . . . having no fellowship with sin (Thayer 148); [and]
righteous (Arndt 196); and righteous (Lenski 459); right (Williams).
[ 76 ]KAI AGATHEE, and good (Marshall 623; Lenski 459; Williams); good, salutary, because of
its end (Vincent 3.79); a commandment profitable to those who keep it, Ro 7:12, according to a Greek
scholium [comment], equivalent to EIS TO SUMPHERON EISEEGOUMENEE, hence, the question
in verse 13: TO OUN AGATHON EMOI GEGONE THANATOS [did then that which is good become
death unto me] (Thayer 2); fit, capable, useful, of inner worth, especially moral (Arndt 2, 3).
[ 77 ]TO OUN AGATHON EMOI EGENETO THANATOS, the therefore good to me became death?
(Marshall 623); EGENETO is third person singular, second aorist middle indicative of GINOMAI
(Han 305); literally, is it become? equivalent to do I say that it became? (Conybeare 560); [became]
the cause of death (Thayer 116, 283); cause of death (Arndt 351); did the good, then, get to be death
for me? (Lenski 469); did that which is good, then, result in death to me? (Williams); some manuscripts
replace the perfect tense with the aorist.
[ 78 ]MEE GENOITO, may it not be (Marshall 623); GENOITO is third person singular, second
aorist middle optative of GINOMAI (Han 305); literally, "let it not be" (ME negative, GINOMAI to
become]; perish the thought! (Lenski 469); of course not! (Williams).
[ 79 ]ALLA HEE HAMARTIA, but sin; yet sin (Marshall 623); on the contrary, the sin got to be
death for me (Lenski 469); it was sin that did it (Williams).
[ 80 ]HINA PHANEE HAMARTIA, in order that it might appear sin (Marshall 623); PHANEE is
third person singular, second aorist passive subjunctive of PHAINOO (Han 305); that is, "sin became
death to me, that it might be exposed in its heinous character (Vine 1045); in order that it might be
made to appear as sin (Lenski 469); so that it might show itself as sin (Williams).
[ 81 ]MOI KATERGAZOMENEE THANATON, to me working death (Marshall 623);
KATERGAZOMENEE is the present middle participle, nominative singular feminine of
KATERGAZOMAI (Han 305); working out, achieving, effecting by toil [the Law brings men under
condemnation and so renders them subject to Divine wrath] (Vine 1244); bringing about, resulting in
[death to me] (Thayer 339); [by] having done a thing [death] (Thayer 133); by working out death
(Lenski 469); this death stands in the closest relation to sin (Arndt 351); it brought about my death
[ 82 ]DIA TOU AGATHOU, through the good (Marshall 623); by means of the good (Lenski 469);
for by means of that good thing (Williams).
[ 83 ]DIA TEES ENTOLEES, through the commandment (Marshall 623); by means of the
commandment (Lenski 469); so that through the command (Williams).
[ 84 ]HINA GENETAI KATH' HUPERBOLEEN HAMARTOOLOS HEE HAMARTIA, in order that
might become excessively sinful sin (Marshall 623); GENETAI is third person singular, second aorist
middle subjunctive of GINOMAI (Han 305); an adverbial phrase, literally, according to access. The
noun HUPERBOLEE means a casting beyond (Vincent 3.79); that is, through the holiness of the Law,
the true nature of sin was designed to be manifested exceedingly, preeminently, sinful, especially
wicked; HAMARTIA [sin] itself is called HAMARTOOLOS [sinful] (Thayer 31, 640); that sin might
become sinful in the extreme (Arndt 44); in order that the sin might get to be exceedingly sinful (Lenski
469); sin might appear surpassingly sinful (Williams).
[ 85 ]OIDAMEN GAR, for we know (Marshall 624; Williams); OIDAMEN is first person plural,
perfect active indicative of OIDA (Han 305); denoting something generally conceded, for we fully
know, [for we] know well, acknowledge (Thayer 174); frequently used to introduce a well-known fact
that is generally accepted (Arndt 556); for I know (Lenski 474).
[ 86 ]Cohen 62. On the other hand, it must be admitted that some of the Jewish statements have an
entirely different tone. For example, "A Gentile who occupies himself with the study of Torah is
deserving of death; as it is said, `Moses commanded us a Torah, an inheritance for the assembly of
Israel' (De 33:4)--the inheritance is for us, not for them" (Sanhedrin 59a, from Cohen 63).
[ 87 ]HOTI HO NOMOS PNEUMATIKOS ESTIN, that the law spiritual is (Marshall 624); ESTIN
is third person singular, present active indicative of EIMI (Han 305); the expression of the Holy Spirit
(Vincent 3.80); things that have their origin with God, and which, therefore, are in harmony with his
character, as His law is, are "spiritual" (Vine 1077); divinely inspired, and so redolent of the Holy
Spirit . . . opposite to a SARKINOS [fleshly] man (Thayer 523); the law given by God (Arndt 679);
that the law is spiritual (Lenski 474; Williams).
[ 88 ]EGOO DE SARKINOS EIMI, but I fleshly am (Marshall 624); but I am fleshly, carnal; literally,
made of flesh . . . A very strong expression. "This unspiritual, material, phenomenal nature" so
dominates the unrenewed man that he is described as consisting of flesh. Others read SARKIKOS,
having the nature of flesh (Vincent 3.80); given up to the flesh, that is, with almost the same
significance as having the nature of flesh, that is, sensual, controlled by animal appetites, governed by
human nature, instead of by the Spirit of God (Vine 161, 162); [SARKINOS] is used where SARKIKOS
[fleshly, carnal] might be expected [Ro 7:14; 1Co 3:1]. In these passages unless we decide that Paul
used SARKIKOS and SARKINOS indiscriminately, we must suppose that SARKINOS expresses the
idea of SARKIKOS with an emphasis: wholly given up to the flesh, rooted in the flesh as it were
(Thayer 569); fleshly, belonging to the realm of the flesh in so far as it is weak, sinful, and transitory,
carnal [in older usage] (Arndt 743); but I am made of flesh (Lenski 474); but I am made of flesh that
is frail [word emphasizes the frail material of which our lower nature is made] (Williams).
[ 89 ]Arndt 43, 659.
[ 90 ]If aware that Scripture says, "If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves" (1Jo 1:8, 9). On
the other hand, "No one who is born of God practices sin" (1Jo 3:9). Most Christians do not claim
sinless perfection and Paul was no exception. He admitted he had not "already obtained" (Php 3:12).
[ 91 ]McGarvey (355, 356) and Batey (99) side with Augustine that Paul is describing tension in the
heart of Christians. Zerr (36) sees the conflict as being between the inner man and the outer man.
Matthew Henry (1769) sees it both ways and combines the view of Augustine with that of the early
[ 92 ]PEPRAMENOS HUPO TEEN HAMARTIAN, having been sold under sin (Marshall 624);
PEPRAMENOS is the perfect passive participle, nominative singular masculine of PIPRASKOO (Han
304); having been sold under sin; as a slave. The preposition HUPO under, with the accusative,
implies direction; so as to be under the power of (Vincent 3.80); "sold under sin," that is, as fully under
the domination of sin as a slave is under his master; the statement evinces an utter dissatisfaction with
such a condition; it expresses, not the condemnation of the unregenerate state, but the evil of bondage
to a corrupt nature involving the futility of making use of the Law as a means of deliverance (Vine
1014); entirely under the control of, of the love of sinning (Thayer 510); of a man who is sold as a
slave to sin; sold into [sins] service (Arndt 659); sold into the captivity of sin (Conybeare 561); having
been sold under the sin (Lenski 474); sold into slavery to sin (Williams).
[ 93 ]HO GAR KATERGAZOMAI OU GINOOSKOO, for what I work I know not (Marshall 624);
KATERGAZOMAI is first person singular, present middle indicative of KATERGAZOMAI (Han 305);
accomplish, achieve, here used of carrying out another's will; [I do not] recognize, come to know,
perceive (Vincent 3.80); [KATA intensive, ERGAZOMAI to work] (Vine 322); perform, accomplish,
achieve; I do not understand what I am doing, my conduct is inexplicable to me (Thayer 117, 339);
achieve, accomplish, do; what I am doing I really do not know (Arndt 161, 421); for what I am
working out I do not acknowledge (Lenski 474, 475); indeed, I do not understand what I do (Williams);
some scholars (Clarke, Lard, Macknight) explain GINOOSKOO as disapproval.
[ 94 ]OU GAR HO THELOO TOUTO PRASSOO, for not what I wish this I practice (Marshall 624);
PRASSOO is first person singular, present active indicative of PRASSOO (Han 305); do, commit,
Arndt 698; [for not what I] resolve, determine, purpose; [that do I] accomplish, perform (Thayer 285,
535); will, wish, implying volition and purpose, frequently a determination (Vine 291); desire; the daily
doing which issues in accomplishment [KATERGAZOMAI] (Vincent 3.80); for not what I will that do
I practice (Lenski 475); for I do not practice what I want to do (Williams); compare "I consent" (verse
16) and "I delight in" (verse 22).
[ 95 ]ALL' HO MISOO TOUTO POIOO, but what I hate this I do (Marshall 624); MISOO is first
person singular, present active indicative of MISEOO; POIOO is first person singular, present active
indicative of POIEOO (Han 305); the outcome is what I hate; a result (Vincent 3.80); of a right feeling
of aversion from what is evil; said of wrong doing (Vine 528); [but what I] hate, pursue with hatred,
detest; do, perform, of productive action, pointing to an actual result (Thayer 415, 527); what I detest
I do (Arndt 523); but what I hate that I perform (Lenski 475); but I am always doing what I hate
[ 96 ]EI DE HO OU THELOO TOUTO POIOO, if but what I wish not this I do (Marshall 624);
POIOO is first person singular, present active indicative of POIEOO (Han 305); [but if what I] resolve,
determine or purpose [not, that I] do, practice (Thayer 285, 527); but if what I do not will, that I
perform (Lenski 475); but if I am always doing what I do not want to do (Williams).
[ 97 ]SUNPHEEMI TOO NOMOO HOTI KALOS, I agree with the law that [it is] good (Marshall
624); literally, speak together with, concur with, since the law also does not desire what I do (Vincent
3.81); literally, speak with [SUN with, PHEEMI to speak], hence, to express agreement with, is used
of consenting to the Law, agreeing that it is good (Vine 221); consent, confess (Thayer 597); I agree
with the law [and thus bear witness] that it is good (Arndt 780); I consent to the law that it is excellent
(Lenski 475); I agree that the law is right (Williams).
[ 98 ]NUNI DE OUKETI EGOO KATERGAZOMAI AUTO, but now no longer I work it (Marshall
624); KATERGAZOMAI is first person singular, present middle indicative of KATERGAZOMAI (Han
305); it cannot now be said [that it is I that] perform, accomplish, achieve [it] (Thayer 339, 463); no
more, no longer, no further, not temporarily, but logically (Arndt 592); and now it is no more I myself
who do the evil (Conybeare 561); moreover, now no longer do I myself work it out (Lenski 475); now
really it is not I that an doing these things (Williams).
[ 99 ]ALLA HEE ENOIKOUSA EN EMOI HAMARTIA, but the indwelling in me sin (Marshall
624); ENOIKOUSA is the present active participle, nominative singular feminine of ENOIKEOO (Han
305); the indwelling of sin in the believer (Vine 337); metaphorically of sin [which] dwells in [me] and
influences [me] (Thayer 217); lives, indwells, of sin (Arndt 267); but the sin that dwells in me (Lenski
475); but it is sin which has its home within me [present of verb to live in, so to have its home]
[ 100 ]OIDA GAR HOTI OUK OIKEI EN EMOI AGATHON, for I know that not dwells in me [that
which is good] (Marshall 624); OIKEI is third person singular, present active indicative of OIKEOO
(Han 305); dwells not in me the good; of the absence of any good thing in the flesh of the believer
(Vine 337); fixed and operative in one's soul (Thayer 429); for I know that in me dwells no good
(Lenski 481); for I know that nothing good has its home in me (Williams).
[ 101 ]TOUT ESTIN EN TEE SARKI MOU, this is in the flesh of me (Marshall 624); ESTIN is third
person singular, present active indicative of EIMI (Han 304); this is, in my flesh; without any
suggestion of depravity, the sensual nature of man without any suggestion of depravity . . . the animal
nature with cravings which invite to sin (Thayer 570); no good thing [can live] in the SARX [flesh]
(Arndt 744); that is, in my flesh (Lenski 481).
[ 102 ]The NIV is unjustified in rendering SARKI flesh as "sinful nature." The NEB is misleading
with "unspiritual nature." Versions such as these lend support to the false Calvinistic doctrine of total
[ 103 ]TO GAR THELEIN PARAKEITAI MOI, for to wish is present to me (Marshall 624);
THELEIN is the present active infinitive of THELOO; PARAKEITAI is third person singular, present
middle indicative of PARAKEIMAI (Han 305); for to desire is present to me; lies beside, is near
[PARA near, beside, KEIMAI to lie] (Vine 878); is present, at hand (Thayer 483); for to will is present
with me (Lenski 481); I have the will (Williams).
[ 104 ]TO DE KATERGAZESTHAI TO KALON OU, but to work the good not (Marshall 624);
KATERGAZESTHAI is the present middle infinitive of KATERGAZOMAI (Han 305); but to work
out the good; [the] performing, accomplishing, achieving (Thayer 339; Arndt 421); but to work out
the excellent is not (Lenski 481); but not the power to do what is right (Williams).
[ 105 ]HEURISKOO OU [Received Text], I find not; with accusative of the thing, [I do not] after
searching find (Thayer 261); HEURISKOO is first person singular, present active indicative of
HEURISKOO (Han 305); these words do not appear in the Nestle and Westcott-Hort texts, is footnoted
in UBS3 and are omitted from most modern versions; compare verse 21.
[ 106 ]OU GAR HO THELOO POIOO AGATHON, for not what I wish I do good (Marshall 624);
POIOO is first person singular, present active indicative of POIEOO (Han 305); [I] will, wish, implying
volition and purpose, frequently a determination (Vine 291); of purpose, resolve, wish, want, be ready
(Arndt 355); resolve, determine, purpose (Thayer 285); for not what good I will do I perform (Lenski
481); indeed I do not do the good things that I want to do (Williams).
[ 107 ]ALLA HO OU THELOO KAKON TOUTO PRASSOO, but what I wish not evil this I practice
(Marshall 624); PRASSOO is first person singular, present active indicative of PRASSOO (Han 305);
generally speaking POIOO [above] denotes an action complete in itself, while PRASSOO denotes a
habit (Vine 322); do, accomplish what is evil, what is contrary to law, crime, sin (Arndt 397, 698);
accomplish, perform (Thayer 535); but what base I do not will, that I perform (Lenski 481); but I do
practice the evil things that I do not want to do (Williams).
[ 108 ]EI DE HO OU THELOO EGOO TOUTO POIOO, but if what wish not I this I do (Marshall
624); POIOO is first person singular, present active indicative of POIEOO (Han 305); but if what I
desire not this I do; that is, follow some method in expressing by deeds the feelings and thoughts of
the mind (Thayer 526); but if what I do not will, that I perform (Lenski 481); but if I do the things that
I do not want to do (Williams).
[ 109 ]OUKETI EGOO KATERGAZOMAI AUTO, no longer I work it (Marshall 624);
KATERGAZOMAI is first person singular, present middle indicative of KATERGAZOMAI (Han 305);
[KATA intensive, ERGAZOMAI to work], I that do (Vine 322; achieve, do, accomplish (Arndt 421);
perform, accomplish, achieve (Thayer 339); no longer am I myself working it out (Lenski 481); it is
really not I that am doing these things (Williams).
[ 110 ]ALLA HEE OIKOUSA EN EMOI HAMARTIA, but the dwelling in me sin (Marshall 624);
OIKOUSA is the present active participle, nominative singular feminine of OIKEOO (Han 305); of the
indwelling of sin (Vine 337); of sin--lives, dwells, has [its] habitation (Arndt 557); of sin--fixed and
operative in one's soul (Thayer 439); but the sin dwelling in me (Lenski 481); but it is sin which has
its home within me (Williams).
[ 111 ]Compare Littrell.
[ 112 ]HEURISKOO ARA TON NOMON, I find then the law (Marshall 624); HEURISKOO is first
person singular, present active indicative of EURISKOO (Han 305); with the article, the law, the law
of moral contradiction (Vincent 3.82); metaphorically, find out by inquiry; or learn, discover, a force
or influence impelling to action (Vine 430, 640); scrutiny, observation, hearing; find out by practice
and experience, that is, see, learn, discover, understand (Thayer 262); I observe a principle (Arndt
542); I find, then, the law (Lenski 483); so I find this law (Williams).
[ 113 ]In my judgment, the following also missed with, "I find then the principle" (NASB), and "I
discover this principle" (NEB).
[ 114 ]TO KAKON PARAKEITAI, the evil is present (Marshall 624); what is [qualities, emotions,
passions, deeds, morally or ethically] evil is near [me] (Vine 380, 878); with dative of person, is ready,
at hand (Arndt 617); present, at hand (Thayer 483); that for me the base is present (Lenski 483); the
wrong is always in the way (Williams).
[ 115 ]TO THELONTI EMOI POIEIN TO KALON, the [one] wishing to me to do the good (Marshall
624); THELONTI is the present active participle, dative singular masculine of THELOO; POIEIN is
the present active infinitive of POIEOO (Han 305); literally to me who would, or to the wishing me
[do the good], thus emphasizing the I characteristic it is to wish, but not to do (Vincent 3.82); usually
expressing desire or design (Vine 1229); as willing [the law] in order to perform the excellent (Lenski
483); when I want to do right (Williams); resolves; see notes on verses 15, 19.
[ 116 ]Total depravity is contained in several creeds. For example: "Whereby man is very far gone
from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always
contrary to the Spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God's wrath and
damnation" (Book of Common Prayer 604).
[ 117 ]Baptist manuals teach that man "being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the
law of God, positively inclined to evil; and therefore under just condemnation, without defense or
excuse" (Hiscox 60; compare Pendleton 46).
[ 118 ]Baptist Manual by Hiscox 57, 58, 63. Nazarenes teach that original sin is eradicated by the
baptism of the Holy Spirit (Manual 27).
[ 119 ]SUNEEDOMAI GAR TOO NOMOO TOU THEOU, for I delight in the law of God (Marshall
624; Lenski 483); SUNEEDOMAI is first person singular, present middle indicative of SUNEEDOMAI
(Han 305); literally I rejoice with, stronger than I consent with [verse 16]. It is the agreement of moral
sympathy (Vincent 3.82); [I] delight with myself inwardly in [the law of God] (Vine 280); I [joyfully]
agree with the law (Arndt 789); rejoice or delight with one's self, or inwardly (Thayer 604); I approve
God's law (Williams).
[ 120 ]KATA TON ESOO ANTHROOPON, according to the inner man (Marshall 624; Lenski 483);
the rational and moral I, the essence of the man which is conscious of itself as an ethical personality
(Vincent 3.82); the inward man (Vine 600); the internal, inner man, that is, the soul, conscience
(Thayer 254); the inner nature (Arndt 314).
[ 121 ]BLEPOO DE, but I see (Marshall 624; Williams); Paul is a spectator of his own personality
(Vincent 3.82); especially stresses the thought of the person who sees (Vine 1009); of mental
perception, discover, find, a law (Arndt 143); discover by use, know by experience (Thayer 103); but
see (Lenski 483).
[ 122 ]HETERON NOMON EN TOIS MELESIN MOU, a different law in the members of me
(Marshall 624); a law different from that of the spirit of life [not ALLOS a law of the same sort] (Vine
52); of a different kind in contrast to the NOUS [mind] dwells EN TOIS MELASIN MOI in my
[physical] members (Arndt 315, 542); another [law], that is, not one of the same nature, form, class,
kind; different (Thayer 254); a different law from that which God has given, that is, the impulse to sin
inherent in human nature, or [the law of sin, genitive of author] (Thayer 427); a different law in my
members (Lenski 483).
[ 123 ]ANTISTRATEUOMENON, warring against (Marshall 624); ANTISTRATEUOMENON is the
present middle participle, accusative singular masculine of ANTISTRATEUOMAI (Han 305); taking
the field against (Vincent 3.82); making war against (Vine 1209); at war with the law of my mind
(Arndt 75); opposing, warring against (Thayer 51); campaigning against (Lenski 483).
[ 124 ]TOO NOMOO TOU NOOS MOU, the law of the mind of me (Marshall 624); NOUS mind,
to throw into sharper relief the function of reflective intelligence which is expressed generally by
KARDIA heart (Vincent 3.82); the new nature which belongs to the believer by reason of the new birth
(Vine 741); he speaks of a principle of action that obligates him to keep the moral law (Arndt 542); the
law of my intellect (Arndt 544); the rule of action prescribed by reason (Thayer 427); the law of my
mind (Lenski 483); operated by my reason (Williams).
[ 125 ]KAI AICHMALOOTIZONTA ME, and taking captive me (Marshall 624, 625);
AICHMALOOTIZONTA is the present active participle, accusative singular masculine of
AICHMALOOTIZOO (Han 305); literally making me a prisoner of war (Vincent 3.83); subjugating,
bringing under control, said of the effect of the Law in one's members in bringing the person into
captivity under the law of sin (Vine 160); of sin regarded as a ruling power . . . at war with the law
of my mind (Arndt 75); subjugating, bringing under control (Thayer 181); and making a war-captive
of me (Lenski 483); which makes me a prisoner (Williams).
[ 126 ]EN TOO NOMOO TEES HAMARTIAS, by the law of sin (Marshall 625); the regime of the
sin-principle. Sin is represented in the NT as an organized economy (Vincent 3.83); [under] the
principle by which sin exerts its influence and power despite the desire to do right (Vine 645); genitive
of author (Thayer 427); to the law of the sin (Lenski 483).
[ 127 ]TOO ONTI EN TOIS MELESIN MOU, the [one] being in the members of me (Marshall 625);
ONTI is the present active participle, dative singular masculine or neuter of EIMI (Han 305); since our
bodies and their members belong to the earth, and are the instruments of sin, they are referred to as
such (Vine 730); literally, of parts of the human body (Arndt 501); members, limbs, properly members
of the human body (Thayer 397); to the one that is in my members (Lenski 483).
[ 128 ]TALAIPOOROS EGOO ANTHROOPOS, wretched I man (Marshall 625); originally, wretched
through the exhaustion of hard labor (Vincent 3.84); distressed, miserable, wretched (Vine 1251);
miserable, wretched, distressed (Arndt 803); enduring toils and troubles; afflicted, wretched (Thayer
614); wretched I! (Lenski 488); wretched man that I am! (Williams).
[ 129 ]TIS ME RHUSETAI, who me will deliver? (Marshall 625); RHUSETAI is third person
singular, future middle indicative of RHUOMAI (Han 305); referring to a personal deliverer (Vincent
3.84); who will set me free from this body of death? (Arndt 737); draw to one's self, rescue, deliver
(Thayer 564); who will rescue me? (Lenski 488); who can save me? (Williams).
[ 130 ]The Christian asks, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" (Ro 8:35).
[ 131 ]EK TOU SOOMATOS TOU THANATOU TOUTOU, from the body of this death (Marshall
625); the body serving as the seat of the death into which the soul is sunk through the power of sin .
. . Meyer paraphrases correctly: "Who shall deliver me out of bondage under the law of sin into moral
freedom, in which my body shall no longer serve as the seat of this shameful death?" (Vincent 3.84);
because it is subject to sin and death, man's mortal body as [a body of flesh] [Col 2:11] is a [body of
sin] [Ro 6:6] or [of death] [Ro 7:24; compare 8:11] (Arndt 799); the body subject to death, given over
to it (Thayer 611); from this body of death (Lenski 488).
[ 132 ]Adam Clarke 6.91; compare Virgil, Aneid 8.485.
[ 133 ]CHARIS [DE] TOO THEOO DIA 'IEESOU CHRISTOU TOU KURIOU HEEMOON, thanks
to God through Jesus Christ the Lord of us (Marshall 625); thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our
Lord; the Received Text has EUCHARISTOO TOO THEOO I thank God; thanks, gratitude (Arndt
878); thanks [for benefits, services, favors] (Thayer 666); I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
(Lenski 488); thank God! it has been done through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Williams).
[ 134 ]TOO NOI, with the mind (Marshall 625); so far as concerns his moral intelligence or reason,
he approves and pays homage to God's law; but, being in bondage to sin, made of flesh, sold under
sin, the flesh carries him its own way and commands his allegiance to the economy of sin (Vincent
3.84); the new nature, which belongs to the believer by reason of the new birth (Vine 741); serve the
law of God with one's intellect (Arndt 544); opposite to HEE SARX [the flesh] (Thayer 429); see note
on verse 23.
[ 135 ]ARA OUN AUTOS EGOO TOO MEN, so then [my]self I with on one hand (Marshall 625);
the man out of Christ (Vincent 3.84); I myself (Vine 769); the man out of Christ, Vincent 3.84; so then
(Thayer 71); [several] take ARA as a question. In addition to its inferential meaning, ARA is employed
in the context of the tentative, the uncertain, the unresolved, the contingent (Arndt 104); accordingly,
then, I myself (Lenski 490).
[ 136 ]In a debate, the famous Baptist, Ben M. Bogard, was asked, in consideration of Galatians 5:19-21, what would happen to a Christian who died drunk. He replied that God would not allow a him to
die drunk. His opponent came back with the rejoinder. "I know how you can live forever. Just get
drunk and stay drunk!"
[ 137 ]Macknight (94) translates this interrogatively. In this manner, the passage contains a strong
denial, that the person after being delivered from the body of this death, any longer serves, as formerly
with the mind only the law of God and with the flesh the law of sin in his members.
[ 138 ]DOULEUOO NOMOO THEOU, serve the law of God (Marshall (625); DOULEUOO is first
person singular, present active indicative of DOULEUOO (Han 305); serve as a DOULOS
[bondservant] the Law of God (Vine 1020); be a slave to the law (Arndt 205); according to the context,
feel myself bound to (Thayer 157); keep slaving for God's law (Lenski 490); I am a slave to the law
of God (Williams).
[ 139 ]TEE DE SARKI, on the other with the flesh (Marshall 625); contrasted with the mind (Vine
438); opposite NOUS [mind] (Arndt 744; Thayer 570); but with the flesh (Lenski 490).
[ 140 ]The NIV has Paul still in his "sinful nature a slave to the law of sin." The NEB is misleading
with "yet in my unspiritual nature" instead of the flesh. The error is in agreement with The Book of
Common Prayer (604): "And this infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated;
whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek, PHRONEEMA SARKOS, (which some do expound the
wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire of the flesh,) is not subject to the Law
[ 141 ]NOMOO HAMARTIAS, [the] law of sin (Marshall 625; Williams); governing principle or
power personified (Vine 1045); genitive of author (Thayer 427); for sin's law (Lenski 490);
Copyright ©2004, Charles Hess, Lakeside, California,
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The basic text, and all quotations not designated otherwise,
are from the New King James Version, copyrighted ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
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Greek transliteration follows the BibleSoft method.
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