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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Romans 1

 

 

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Introduction

παύλου ἐπιστολὴ πρὸς ῥωμαίους.

The simplest and most ancient superscription is: πρὸς ῥωμαίους, in A B C א .

CHAPTER 1

Romans 1:1. ἰησοῦ χ.] Tisch., following B, reads χριστοῦ ἰησοῦ against decisive testimony.

In Romans 1:7 ἐν ῥώμῃ, and in Romans 1:15 τοῖς ἐν ῥώμῃ, are wanting in G. Börn.; and on Romans 1:7 the scholiast of cod. 47 remarks: τὸ ἐν ῥώμῃ οὔτε ἐν τῇ ἐξηγήσει, οὔτε ἐν τῷ ῥητῷ μνημονεύει (who? probably the codex, which lay before the copyist). This quite isolated omission is of no critical weight; and is in no case to be explained by the very unnatural conjecture (of Reiche) that Paul in several Epistles (especially in that to the Ephesians) addressed the readers simply as Christians, and that then the place of residence was inserted by the copyists in accordance with the context or with tradition. In Romans 1:7 the omission might be explained by the reading ἐν ἀγάπῃ, which G and a few other authorities give instead of ἀγαπητοῖς; but, since τοῖς ἐν . is wanting in Romans 1:15 also, another unknown reason must have existed for this. Perhaps some church, which received a copy of the Epistle from the Romans for public reading, may have, for their own particular church-use, deleted the extraneous designation of place, and thus individual codices may have passed into circulation without it. Rückert’s conjecture, that Paul himself may have caused copies without the local address to be sent to other churches, assumes a mechanical arrangement in apostolic authorship, of which there is elsewhere no trace, and which seems even opposed by Colossians 4:16.

Romans 1:8. ὑπέρ] A B C D* K, א, min(264), Dam. read περί, which Griesb. has recommended, and Lachm. and Tisch. have adopted: justly, on account of the preponderant attestation, since both prepositions, though ὑπέρ less frequently (Ephesians 1:16; Philippians 1:4), were used for the expression of the thought (in opposition to Fritzsche).

Romans 1:13. The less usual construction τινὰ καρπόν (Elz. κ. τ.) is established by decisive testimony; as also θεὸς γάρ (Elz. . γ. θ.) in Romans 1:19; and δὲ καί (Elz. τὲ καί) in Romans 1:27, although not on equally strong authority.

Instead of οὐ θέλω in Romans 1:13, D* E G, It. and Ambrosiaster read οὐκ οἴομαι. Defended by Rinck. But the very assurance already expressed in Romans 1:10-11 might easily cause the οὐ θέλω to seem unsuitable here, if due account was not taken of the new element in the progress of the discourse contained in προεθέμην.

After εὐαγγ. in Romans 1:16 τοῦ χριστοῦ (Elz.) is omitted on decisive authority; πρῶτον, however, which Lachmann has bracketed, ought not to be rejected on the inadequate adverse testimony of B G, Tert. as it might seem objectionable along with πιστεύοντι (not so in Romans 2:9 f.).

Romans 1:24. The καί is indeed wanting after διό in A B C א, min(265), Vulg. Or. al(266) ; but it was very easily passed over as superfluous; comp Romans 1:26; Romans 2:1. Nevertheless Lachm. and Tisch. (8) have deleted it.

ἐν ἑαυτοῖς] Lachm. and Tisch. read ἐν αὐτοις, following A B C D* א, min(268) But how frequently was the reflexive form neglected by the copyists. It occurred also in Romans 1:27 (B K).

Romans 1:27. ἄῤῥενες] B D* G, 73, Or. Eus. Oec. read ἄρσενες. Adopted by Lachm. Fritzsche and Tisch. (7). Since two different forms cannot be supposed to have been used in the same verse, and in that which follows ἄρσενες ἐν ἄρσεσι is undoubtedly the true reading (only A* א, min(269), and some Fathers reading uniformly ἄῤῥ . ἐν ἄῤῥ.), we must here adopt the form ἄρσενες almost invariably used in the N. T. (only the Apocal. has ἄῤῥ.).

Romans 1:29. πορνείᾳ] wanting after ἀδικ. in A B C K א, min(270), and several vss(271) and Fathers. Deleted by Lachm. Fritzsche, and Tisch., and rightly so; it is an interpolation introduced by those who did not perceive that the naming of this vice was not again appropriate here. It was written in the margin, and introduced at different places (for we find it after πονηρίᾳ also, and even after κακίᾳ), so that it in some instances even supplanted πονηρίᾳ.

The placing of κακίᾳ immediately after ἀδικίᾳ (Lachm. on weak authority), or according to A א, Syr(272), after πονηρίᾳ (Tisch. 8), is explained by the aggregation of terms of a similar kind.

Romans 1:31. After ἀστόργους Elz. and Scholz read ἀσπόνδους, which Mill condemned, and Lachm. and Tisch. have omitted. It is wanting in A B D* E G and א *, Copt. Clar. Germ. Boern. and several Fathers. It is found before ἀστόργ. in 17, 76, Theophyl. Taken from 2 Timothy 3:3.

Romans 1:32. After ἐπιγνόντες, D E Bas. read οὐκ ἐνόησαν, and G, οὐκ ἔγνωσαν. That death is the wages of sin—this Christian doctrinal proposition seemed not at all to correspond with the natural knowledge of the Gentiles.

Instead of αὐτὰ ποιοῦσιν, ἀλλὰ καὶ συνευδοκοῦσι B reads αὐτὰ ποιοῦντες, ἀλλὰ καὶ συνευδοκοῦντες; so Lachm. in margin. This arose from the fact, that εἰσίν was erroneously taken for the chief verb in the sentence; or else it was a consequence of the introduction of οὐκ ἔγνωσαν, which in other witnesses led to the insertion of γάρ or δὲ after οὐ ΄όνον.


Verse 1

Romans 1:1. παῦλος] See on Acts 13:9.

δοῦλοςεὐαγγ. θεοῦ is the exhaustive statement of his official dignity, proceeding from the general to the particular, by which Paul earnestly—as dealing with the Church of the metropolis of the world, which had as yet no personal knowledge of him—opens his Epistle as an official apostolic letter; without, however, having in view therein (as Flatt thinks) opponents and calumniators of his apostleship, for of the doings of such persons in Rome the Epistle itself contains no trace, and, had such existed, he would have set forth his dignity, not only positively, but also at the same time negatively (comp Galatians 1:1).

In the first place Paul describes by δοῦλος . χ. his relation of service to Christ, as his Ruler, whose servant he is, and that in general (comp on Philippians 1:1), just as the Old Testament עבד יהוה expresses the relation of service to Jehovah, without marking off in itself exclusively any definite class, such as the prophetic or the priestly (see Joshua 1:1; Joshua 14:7; Joshua 22:4; Judges 2:8; Psalms 131:3; comp Acts 16:17). This relation of entire dependence (Galatians 1:10; Colossians 4:12) is then specifically and particularly indicated by κλητὸς ἀπόστολος, and for this reason the former δοῦλος . χ. cannot be rendered merely in general Christi cultor (so Fritzsche), which is inadequate also at 1 Corinthians 7:22; Ephesians 6:6. Paul was called to his office, like all the earlier Apostles; he did not arrive at it by his own choice or through accidental circumstances. For the history of this divine calling, accomplished through the exalted Christ Himself, see Acts 9 (Acts 22:26), and the remarks thereon. This κλητός presented itself so naturally to the Apostle as an essential element(276) in the full description of his official position which he meant to give (comp 1 Corinthians 1:1), that the supposition of a side-glance at uncalled teachers (Cameron, Glöckler) seems very arbitrary.

ἀφωρισ΄ένος εἰς εὐαγγ. θεοῦ] characterizes the κλητὸς ἀπόστολος more precisely: set apart (definitely separated from the rest of mankind) for God’s message of salvation, to be its preacher and minister (see on Ephesians 3:7). The article before εὐαγγ. elsewhere invariably given in the N. T., is omitted here, because Paul views the message of God, of which he desires to speak, primarily under its qualitative aspect (comp also van Hengel and Hofmann). Concrete definiteness is only added to it gradually by the further clauses delineating its character. This mode of expression implies a certain festal tone, in harmony with the whole solemn character of the pregnant opening of the Epistle: for a gospel of God, which He promised before, etc. Still we are not to understand, with Th. Schott, a work of proclamation, since εὐαγγ. is not the work of conveying a message, but the message itself. θεοῦ is the genitive subjecti (auctoris), Romans 1:2, not objecti (Chrysostom). See on Mark 1:1. It is God who causes the message of salvation here referred to, which is His λόγος (Acts 10:36), to be proclaimed; comp Romans 15:16; 2 Corinthians 11:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:8-9; 1 Peter 4:17. The destination of Apostle to the Gentiles is involved in ἀφωρ. εἰς εὐ. θ. though not expressed (as Beza and others think). Further, since ἀφωρ. is parallel with the previous κλητός, it is neither to be explained, with Toletus and others, including Olshausen, by Acts 13:2, nor with Reiche, Ewald and van Hengel (following Chrysostom and others) by Galatians 1:15, comp Jeremiah 1:5; but rather by Acts 9:15 ( σκεῦος ἐκλογῆς), comp Acts 26:16 ff. The setting apart took place as a historical fact in and with his calling at Damascus. Entirely different is the mode of presenting the matter in Galatians 1:15, where ἀφορίσας ΄ε ἐκ κοιλ. ΄ητρ as the act of predestination in the counsel of God, is placed before the καλέσας, as the historically accomplished fact. The view of Drusius (de sectis, ii. 2, 6) and Schoettgen (comp Erasmus and Beza), which Dr. Paulus has again adopted, viz. that Paul, in using the word ἀφωρ., alludes to his former Pharisaism (“the true Pharisee in the best sense of the word”), is based on the Peschito translation (see Grotius), but is to be rejected, because the context gives no hint of so peculiar a reference, for which also no parallel can be found in Paul’s other writings.


Verses 1-7

Romans 1:1-7.

The Apostolic salutation.


Verse 2

Romans 1:2. A more precise description of the character of this εὐαγγέλιον θεοῦ, according to its concrete peculiarity, as far as Romans 1:5 inclusive, advancing and rising to a climax under the urgent sense of the sacredness of his office, which the Apostle has frankly to assert and to establish before the church of the metropolis of the world, personally as yet unknown to him.

προεπηγγείλατο κ. τ. λ(283)] How natural that the Apostle with his Old Testament training should, in the light of the New Testament revelation which he had received, first of all glance back at the connection divinely established in the history of salvation between the gospel which he served and ancient prophecy, and should see therein the sacredness of the precious gift entrusted to him! To introduce the idea of an antithetic design (“ut invidiam novitatis depelleret,” Pareus, Estius, Grotius and others, following Chrysostom and Theophylact) is quite arbitrary, looking to the general tenor of Romans 1:1-7. The news of salvation God has previously promised ( προεπηγγείλατο, 2 Corinthians 9:5; Dio Cass. xlii. 32) through His prophets, not merely in so far as these, acting as the organs of God ( αὐτοῦ), foretold the Messianic age, with the dawn of which the εὐαγγέλιον, as the “publicum de Christo exhibito praeconium” (Calovius), would necessarily begin, but they foretold also this praeconium itself, its future proclamation. See Romans 10:18, Romans 15:21; Isaiah 40:1 ff; Isaiah 42:4; Isaiah 52:1 ff.; Zephaniah 3:9; Psalms 19:5; Psalms 68:12; Deuteronomy 18:15; Deuteronomy 18:18. It is the less necessary therefore to refer , with Philippi and Mehring, to the contents of the gospel.

τῶν προφητῶν] is not to be limited, so as either to include merely the prophets proper in the narrower sense of the word, or to go back—according to Acts 3:24, comp Acts 13:20—only as far as Samuel. The following ἐν γραφαῖς ἁγ. suggests, on the contrary, a reference to all who in the O. T. have prophesied the gospel (even Moses, David and others not excluded); comp Hebrews 1:1.

ἐν γραφαῖς ἁγίαις] Not: in the holy Scriptures (so most expositors, even Fritzsche), in which case the article must have been used; but qualitatively: in holy writings. The divine promises of the gospel, given through the prophets of God, are found in such books as, being God’s records for His revelations, are holy writings. Such are the prophetic writings of the O. T.; thus designated so as to lay stress on their qualitative character. In a corresponding manner is the anarthrous γραφῶν προφητικῶν to be understood in Romans 16:26.


Verse 3-4

Romans 1:3-4.(286) We must, with Lachmann and Tischendorf, set aside the view which treats τοῦ γενομένου.… νεκρῶν, and Romans 1:5-6, as parentheses, because we have to deal with intervening clauses which accord with the construction, not with insertions which interrupt it. See Winer, p. 526 [E. T. 707].

περὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ] “Hoc refertur ad illud quod praecessit εὐαγγέλιον; explicatur nempe, de quo agat ille sermo bona nuntians,” Grotius. So, also, Toletus, Cajetanus, Calvin, Justiniani, Bengel, Flatt, Reiche, Köllner, Winzer, Baumgarten-Crusius, Krehl, Umbreit, Th Schott, Hofmann, and others. But it may be objected to this view, on the one hand, that περί is most naturally connected with the nearest suitable word that precedes it; and on the other that, εὐαγγ., frequently as it is used with the genitive of the object, nowhere occurs with περί in the N. T.;(287) and still further, that if this connection be adopted, the important thought in Romans 1:2 appears strangely isolated. Therefore, the connection of περί with προεπηγγ. is to be preferred, with Tholuck, Klee, Rückert, Fritzsche, Reithmayr, Philippi, van Hengel, Ewald, Mehring, and others, following Theodoret; so that the great personal object is introduced, to which the divine previous promise of the gospel referred; consequently, the person concerning whom was this promise of the future message of salvation. God could not (we may remark in opposition to Hofmann’s objection) have previously promised the gospel in any other way at all than by speaking of Christ His Son, who was to come and to be revealed; otherwise his προεπαγγέλλεσθαι εὐαγγέλιον would have had no concrete tenor, and consequently no object.

τοῦ γενο΄ένου down to νεκρῶν describes under a twofold aspect ( κατὰ) the exalted dignity of Him who had just been designated by τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ: (1) κατὰ σάρκα, He entered life as David’s descendant; (2) κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσ., He was powerfully instated as Son of God by His resurrection. Nevertheless υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, in the words περὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ (not αὑτοῦ), is not by any means to be taken in the general, merely historical theocratic sense of Messiah (Winzer, Progr. 1835, p. 5 f.; comp also Holsten, z. Ev. d. Paul. u. Petr. p. 424; and Pfleiderer, l.c(289)), because this is opposed to the constant usage of the Apostle, who never designates Christ as υἱὸς θεοῦ otherwise(290) than from the standpoint of the knowledge which God had given to him by revelation (Galatians 1:16) of the metaphysical Sonship (Romans 8:3; Romans 8:32; Galatians 4:4; Colossians 1:13 ff.; Philippians 2:6 ff. al(291)); and the hypothesis of a modification having taken place in Paul’s view (Usteri, Köllner; see, on the other hand, Rückert) is purely fanciful. Here also the υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ is conceived in the metaphysical sense as He who had proceeded out of the essence of the Father, like Him in substance (not, as Baur thinks, as organ of the Spirit, which is the purer form of human nature itself), and is sent by Him for the accomplishment of the Messianic counsel. But since it was necessary for this accomplishment that He should appear as man, it was necessary for Him,—and these essential modal definitions are now added to the υἱοῦ τοῦ αὐτοῦ,—as a human phenomenon, (1) to be born κατὰ σάρκα, and indeed of the seed of David,(292) and yet (2) to be actually instated κατὰ πνεῦμα, as that which, although from the time of His birth in appearance not different from other men (Philippians 2:7; Galatians 4:4), He really was, namely the Son of God. These two parallel clauses are placed in asyndetic juxtaposition, whereby the second, coming after the first, which is itself of lofty and honourable Messianic significance, is brought out as of still greater importance. See Bernhardy, p. 448; Dissen. a(293). Pind. Exc. II., de Asynd. p. 275. Not perceiving this, Hofmann fails to recognise the contrast here presented between the two aspects of the Son of God, because Paul has not used κατὰ πνεῦμα δε ὁρισθέντος in the second clause.

κατὰ σάρκα] in respect of flesh; for the Son of God had a fleshly mode of being on earth, since His concrete manifestation was that of a materially human person. Comp Romans 9:5; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 3:18; Philippians 2:7; Romans 5:15; 1 Corinthians 15:21; 1 Timothy 2:5. To the σάρξ belonged in the case of Christ also, as in that of all men, the ψυχή as the principle of the animal life of man; but this sensuous side of His nature was not, as in all other men, the seat and organ of sin. He was not σαρκικός (Romans 7:14), and ψυχικός (1 Corinthians 2:14), in the ethical sense, like all ordinary men, although, in virtue of that sensuous nature, he was capable of being tempted (Hebrews 2:18; Hebrews 4:15). Although in this way His body was a σῶ΄α τῆς σαρκός (Colossians 1:22), yet He did not appear ἐν σαρκὶ ἁ΄αρτίας, but ἐν ὁ΄οιώ΄ατι σαρκὸς ἁ΄αρτίας (Romans 8:2). With reference to His fleshly nature, therefore, i.e. in so far as He was a materially-human phenomenon, He was born ( γενομένου, comp Galatians 4:4), of the seed (as descendant) of David, as was necessarily the case with the Son of God who appeared as the promised Messiah (Jeremiah 23:5; Psalms 132:11; Matthew 22:42; John 7:42; Acts 13:23; 2 Timothy 2:8). In this expression the ἐκ σπέρματος δαυΐδ is to be understood of the male line of descent going back to David (comp Acts 2:30, ἐκ καρποῦ τῆς ὀσφύος), as even the genealogical tables in Matthew and Luke give the descent of Joseph from David, not that of Mary;(297) and Jesus Himself, in John 5:27 (see on that passage), calls Himself, in contradistinction to His Sonship of God, son of a man, in which case the correlate idea on which it is founded can only be that of fatherhood. It is, therefore, the more erroneous to refer ἐκ σπ. δαυ. to Mary (“ex semine David, i.e. ex virgine Maria,” Melancthon; comp also Philippi), especially since Paul nowhere (not even in Romans 8:3, Galatians 4:4) indicates the view of a supernatural generation of the bodily nature of Jesus (Usteri, Lehrbegr. p. 328; Rich. Schmidt, Paulin. Christol. p. 140 ff.; Pfleiderer, l.c(299)), even apart from the fact that the Davidic descent of the mother of Jesus can by no means be established from the N. T. It is the more unjustifiable, to pronounce the metaphysical divine Sonship without virgin birth as something inconceivable(300) (Philippi).

There now follows the other, second mode in which the Son of God who has appeared on earth is to be contemplated, viz. with reference to the spirit of holiness, which was in Him. The parallelism between κατὰ σάρκα and κατὰ πνεῦ΄α ἁγ., apparent even in the position of the two elements, forbids us to understand κατὰ πν. ἁγιωσ. as denoting the presupposition and regulative cause of the state of glorious power ascribed to the Son of God (Hofmann). In that case Paul must have used another preposition, conveying the idea on account of, perhaps διά with the accusative (comp the διό, Philippians 2:9), in order to express the thought which Hofmann has discovered, namely, that the holiness of His spirit, and therefore of His life, was to make His divine Sonship a state of glorious power. Regarding the view taken of ἐν δυνάμει in connection with this, see the sequel. ἁγιωσύνη, in Paul’s writings as well as in the Sept. (in Greek authors and in the other writings of the N. T. it does not occur), invariably means holiness (2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; Psalms 96:6; Psalms 97:12; Psalms 144:5), not sanctification (as rendered by the Vulgate, Erasmus, Castalio, and many others, including Glöckler and Schrader). So also in 2 Maccabees 3:12. The genitive is the gen. qualitatis (Hermann, a(302) Viger. pp. 887, 891; Kühner, II. 1, p. 226), and contains the specific character of the πνεῦ΄α. This πνεῦ΄α ἁγιωσ. is, in contradistinction to the σάρξ, the other side of the being of the Son of God on earth; and, just as the σάρξ was the outward element perceptible by the senses, so is the πνεῦ΄α the inward mental element, the substratum of His νοῦς (1 Corinthians 2:16), the principle and the power of His INNER life, the intellectual and moral “Ego” which receives the communication of the divine—in short, the ἔσω ἄνθρωπος of Christ. His πνεῦ΄α also was human (Matthew 27:50; John 11:33; John 19:30)—altogether He was an entire man, and the Apollinarian conception is without support in the N. T. teaching—but it was the seat of the divine nature belonging to His person; not excluding the specialty of the latter (in opposition to Beyschlag, Christol. pp. 212, 231), but being rather that which contained the metaphysical υἱότης θεοῦ, or—according to the Johannine type of doctrine—the seat and the organ of the λόγος, which became flesh in the human person of Jesus, as also of the fulness of the Holy Spirit which bore sway in Him (John 3:34; Acts 1:2; 2 Corinthians 3:17). Consequently the πνεῦ΄α of Christ, although human (comp Pfleiderer), was exalted above all other human spirits, because essentially filled with God, and thereby holy, sinless, and full of divine unpolluted life, as was no other human πνεῦμα; and for this reason His unique quality is characterized by the distinguishing designation πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης, i.e. spirit full of holiness. This purposely-chosen expression, which is not to be abated to the studium sanctitatis (van Hengel), must, seeing that the text sets forth the two sides of the personal nature of Christ, absolutely preclude our understanding it to refer to the πνεῦμα ἅγιον,(304) the third person of the divine Trinity, which is not meant either in 1 Timothy 3:16, or in Hebrews 9:14. Nevertheless, the majority of commentators, since Chrysostom, have so explained it; some of them taking it to mean: “secundum Sp. S. ei divinitus concessum” (Fritzsche; comp Beza, Calixtus, Wolf, Koppe, Tholuck, and others);(306) some referring it to the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit (Theodoret), or to the bestowal of the Spirit which took place through Christ (Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Luther, Estius, Böhme, and others). Since the contrast between σάρξ and πνεῦ΄α is not that between the human and the divine, but that between the bodily and the mental in human nature, we must also reject the interpretation which refers the words to the divine nature (Melancthon, Calovius, Bengel, and many others); in which case some take ἁγιωσύνη as equivalent to θεότης (Winzer); others adduce in explanation of πνεῦ΄α the here irrelevant πνεῦ΄α θεός, John 4:24 (Beza, Winzer, Olshausen, Maier, Philippi); others take the expression as substantially equivalent to the Johannine λόγος (Rückert; comp Reiche, “the principle of His higher essence”), and thus have not avoided an Apollinarian conception. The correct interpretation is substantially given by Köllner, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Ewald (also in his Jahrb. 1849, p. 93), and Mehring. Comp Hofmann (“spirit which supposes, wherever it is, a condition of holiness”), and also Lechler, apost. u. nachapost. Zeitalt. p. 49, who nevertheless understands the divine nature of Christ as also included.(309)

ὁρισθέντος] The translation of the Vulgate, qui praedestinatus est, based on the too weakly attested reading προορισθέντος (a mistaken gloss), drew forth from old writers (see in Estius) forced explanations, which are now properly forgotten. ὁρίζειν, however, with the double accusative, means to designate a person for something, to nominate, to instate (Acts 10:42; comp Meleager in the Anthol. xii. 158, 7 : σὲ θεὸν ὥρισε δαίμων), nor is the meaning different here.(311) For although Christ was already the Son of God before the creation of the world, and as such was sent (Romans 8:3; Galatians 4:4), nevertheless there was needed a fact, by means of which He should receive, after the humiliation that began with His birth (Philippians 2:7 f.), instating into the rank and dignity of His divine Sonship; whereby also, as its necessary consequence with a view to the knowledge and conviction of men, He was legitimately established as the Son. The fact which constituted instatement was the resurrection, as the transition to His δόξα; comp on Acts 13:33; and ἐποίησε in Acts 2:36. Inaccurate, because it confounds that consequence with the thing itself, is the gloss of Chrysostom: δειχθέντος, ἀποφανθέντος, κριθέντος; and that of Luther: “shewn.” Umbreit’s rendering is erroneous: “separated,” namely from all men.

ἐν δυνάμει] Not: through omnipotence (Umbreit), but: mightily (Luther), forcibly; for this installation of the Son of God as Son of God was a work of divine power, which (see what follows) was accomplished by means of the resurrection from the dead. Thus commanding power, divinely-energetic and effectual, forms the characteristic quality, in which the ὁρισμός took place. On ἐν, as paraphrase of the adverb (Colossians 1:29; 2 Thessalonians 1:11), see Bernhardy, p. 209. ἐν δυν. is not, with Melancthon, Schoettgen, Pareus, Sebastian Schmid, and others, including Paulus, Baumgarten-Crusius, Philippi, Mehring, Holsten, Hofmann, and Pfleiderer, to be connected with υἱοῦ θεοῦ (as the mightily powerful Son of God); for it was here of importance to dwell, not on a special predicate of the Son of God,(313) but, in contradistinction to the ἐκ σπερ΄. δαυ. κατὰ σάρκα, upon the divine Sonship in itself; of which Sonship He was indeed the hereditary possessor, but yet needed, in order to become instated in it with glorious power, resurrection from the dead. Thus, however, ἐν δυνάμει, even when rightly connected with ὁρισθ., is not, with Chrysostom and Theophylact, to be taken as “per virtutem, i. e. per signa et prodigia” (Calovius, comp Grotius); nor with Fritzsche: vi ei datâ; for Paul himself defines the how of the mighty ὁρισμός by: ἐξ ἀναστ. νεκρῶν. This, namely, was the causal fact, by virtue of which that ὁρισμός was accomplished; for by the resurrection of Christ, God, who raised Him up (comp 2 Corinthians 13:4), accomplished in point of fact His instating declaration: Thou art my Son, this day, etc., Acts 13:33. Paul might accordingly have written διά, but ἐκ is more expressive of the thought that Christ in virtue of the resurrection, etc. On ἐκ, used of causal issuing forth, see Buttmann’s neut. Gr. p. 281; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 550 f. The temporal explanation, since or after (Theodoret, Erasmus, Luther, Toletus, and others, including Reithmayr; comp Flatt, Umbreit, and Mehring), is to be rejected, because the raising up of Jesus from the dead was itself the great divine act, which, completed through the majesty of the Father (Romans 6:4), powerfully instated the Son in the Son’s position and dignities; hence it was also the basis of the apostolic preaching, Acts 1:22; Acts 2:24 ff; Acts 13:30; Acts 17:31 f., Acts 26:23; Romans 4:24; 1 Corinthians 15:3 ff. We are not to take the expression ἐξ ἀναστ. νεκρ., as is often done, for ἐξ ἀναστ. ἐκ νεκρ., the second ἐκ being omitted for the sake of euphony: but it must be viewed as a general designation of the category ( νεκρῶν, see on Matthew 2:20): through resurrection of the dead, of which category the personal rising of the dead Jesus was the concrete case in point. Comp Acts 17:32. So, also, de Wette, Hofmann; comp Philippi, who however, following Erasmus and Bengel, introduces also the idea, foreign to this passage, that our resurrection is involved in that of Christ.

The following ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ is in apposition to τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ in Romans 5:3; not necessary in itself, but in keeping with the fulness of expression throughout this opening portion of the Epistle, which exhibits a character of majesty particularly in Romans 1:3-4.

Observe, further, that the exhibition of the holy and exalted nature of Christ in our passage serves to express the high dignity of the apostolic office. Of diversities in faith and doctrine in Rome regarding the person of Christ there is not a trace in the whole Epistle.(319)


Verse 5

Romans 1:5. To the general τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν, which designates Christ as the Lord of Christians in general, Paul now adds the special relation in which he himself stands to this common κύριος. He entertained too lively a consciousness of the bliss and dignity of that relationship, not to set it forth once more (comp Romans 1:1) in this overflowing salutation; this time, however, with closer reference to the readers, in accordance with his definite character as Apostle of the Gentiles.

Romans 1:5-6 are not to be enclosed in a parenthesis; and only a comma should be placed after Romans 1:6.

διʼ οὗ] through whom, denotes nothing else than the medium; nowhere, not even in Galatians 1:1, the causa principalis. The view of the Apostle is, as Origen rightly perceived, that he had received grace and apostleship through the mediation of Christ, through whom God called him at Damascus. Regarding Galatians 1:1, see on that passage.

ἐλάβομεν] He means himself alone, especially since in the address he specifies no joint author of the letter; not however—as Reiche, following Estius and many others, thinks—using the plural out of modesty (in the solemnity of an official epistolary greeting?), but rather (comp Romans 3:9) in accordance with the custom, very common among Greek authors, of speaking of themselves in the plural of category (Krüger, § 61, 2; Kühner, a(322) Xen. Mem. i. 2, 46). This is, no doubt, to be traced back to the conception “I and my equals;” but this original conception was in course of use entirely lost. The opinion, therefore, that Paul here includes along with himself the other apostles (Bengel, van Hengel) is to be all the more rejected as unsuitable, since the subsequent ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς ἔθνεσιν points to Paul himself alone as the Apostle of the Gentiles. To understand Paul’s official assistants as included (Hofmann) is forbidden by the subsequent ἀποστολήν, which does not mean mission in general, but, as invariably in the N. T., specially apostleship.

χάριν κ. ἀποστολὴν] grace (generally) and (in particular) apostleship. χάριν is to be understood, not merely of pardoning grace (Augustine, Calvin, Calovius, Reiche, Tholuck, Olshausen, and others), or of the extraordinary apostolic gifts of grace (Theodoret, Luther, and others, including Flatt and Mehring); for such special references must be demanded by the context; but on the contrary generally of the entire divine grace, of which Paul was made partaker through Christ, when he was arrested by Him at Damascus in his career which was hateful to God (Philippians 3:12; 1 Corinthians 15:10), converted, enlightened (Galatians 1:16), and transferred into the communion of God’s beloved ones and saints. The special object (Galatians 1:16) and at the same time the highest evidence of this χάρις which he had received, was his reception of the ἀποστολή,(323) and that for the Gentile world. Others find here a ἓν διά δυοῖν (Chrysostom, Beza, Piscator, Grotius, Glass, Rich. Simon, Wetstein, Semler, Koppe, Böhme, Fritzsche, Philippi, and others): χάριν ἀποστολῆς. This might certainly be justified in linguistic usage by the explicative καί (Fritzsche, a(324) Matth. p. 856; Nägelsbach, z. Ilias, iii. 100); but it arbitrarily converts two elements, which taken separately yield a highly appropriate sense, into one, and fails to recognise—what is involved in the union of the general and the particular—the fulness and force of the discourse moving the grateful heart. This remark applies also against Hofmann, according to whom the Apostle terms one and the same vocation “a grace and a mission;” in which view ἀποστ. is erroneously rendered (see above), and in consequence thereof εἰς ὑπακ. π. is then joined merely to χάρ. κ. ἀπ., and not also to ἐλάβ.

εἰς ὑπακ. πίστ.] Object of the ἐλάβ. χάρ. κ. ἀποστ.: in order that obedience of faith may be produced, i.e. in order that people may subject themselves to the faith, in order that they may become believing. Comp Romans 16:26; Acts 6:7; 2 Corinthians 10:5 f.; 2 Thessalonians 1:8. To take πίστις for doctrina fidei (Beza, Toletus, Estius, Bengel, Heumann, Cramer, Rosenmüller, Matt, Fritzsche, Tholuck, and others), is altogether contrary to the linguistic usage of the N. T., in which πίστις is always subjective faith, although often, as in the present instance, conceived of objectively, as a power. Comp Romans 16:20; Galatians 1:23. The activity of faith in producing works (Reithmayr), however, is not contained in the expression. The πίστις is, according to Paul, the conviction and confidence (assensus and fiducia) regarding Jesus Christ, as the only and perfect Mediator of the divine grace, and of eternal life, through His work of atonement. Faith alone (to the exclusion of works) is the causa apprehendens of the salvation promised and obtained through Christ; but, because it transfers us into living and devoted fellowship with Him, altogether of a moral character, it becomes the subjective moral power of the new life regenerated through the power of the Holy Spirit—of the life in Christ, which, however, is the necessary consequence, and never the ground of justification. See Luther’s Preface.

The genitive πίστεως, in accordance with the analogy of the expressions kindred in meaning ὑπακοὴ τοῦ χριστοῦ in 2 Corinthians 10:5, and ὑπακ. τῆς ἀληθείας in 1 Peter 1:22, necessarily presents itself (comp Acts 6:7; Romans 10:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; also 2 Corinthians 9:13) as denoting that to which the obedience is rendered; not (Grotius, following Beza) the causa efficiens: “ut Deo obediatur per fidem,” in which explanation, besides, the “Deo” is arbitrarily introduced.(328) Hofmann is also wrong in taking the genitive πίστεως as epexegetical (an obedience consisting in faith).

ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς ἔθνεσιν] is to be joined with εἰς ὑπακ. πίστεως, beside which it stands; the ἔθνη, however, are not all nations generally, inclusive of the Jews (so most expositors, including Rückert, Reiche, Köllner, Fritzsche, Baur), but, in accordance with the historical destination of the Apostle (Galatians 1:16; Acts 9:15; Acts 26:17 f.), and in consequence of the repeated prominence of his calling as Gentile Apostle in our letter (Romans 1:13; Romans 11:13; Romans 15:16), all Gentile nations, to which also the Romans belonged (Beza, Tholuck, Philippi, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, van Hengel, Ewald, Hofmann and others); and these regarded not from a geographical point of view (Mangold, p. 76), but from a popular one, as גוים ; which precludes us from thinking—not as to a section, but at any rate as to the mass, of the Roman congregation—that it was Jewish-Christian. This his apostolic calling for the Gentiles is meant by Paul in all passages where he describes the ἔθνη as the object of his labours (Galatians 1:16; Galatians 2:2; Galatians 2:8-9; Ephesians 3:1; Ephesians 3:8; Colossians 1:27; 1 Thessalonians 2:16).

ὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνό΄. αὐτοῦ] belongs, in the most natural connection, not to ἐλάβ.… ἀποστ. (Rückert) or to διʼ οὔ.… ἔθνεσιν (de Wette, Mehring, Hofmann), but to εἰς ὑπακοὴν.… ἔθνεσιν; “in order to produce obedience to the faith among all Gentile nations for the sake of (for the glorifying of, comp Acts 5:41; Philippians 2:13) His name.” Acts 9:15; Acts 15:26; Acts 21:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:12, serve to illustrate the matter referred to. The idea of wishing to exclude the glorifying of his own name (Hofmann) is not for a moment to be imputed to the Apostle. He would have needed a very special motive for doing so.


Verse 6

Romans 1:6. Application of the contents of Romans 1:5 to the relation in which the Apostle stood to his readers, whereby he indicates how he is officially entitled to address them also, teaching, exhorting, and so forth

ἐν οἷς ἐστε καὶ ὑμεῖς κλητοὶ . χ.] To be written thus, without a comma after ὑμεῖς, with Heumann, Lachmann, Tischendorf, de Wette, Hofmann, and Bisping: among whom also are ye called (ones) of Jesus Christ. Among the Gentile nations the Roman Christians were, like other Gentile-Christian churches, called of the Lord; amidst the Gentile world, nationally belonging to it (in opposition to Mangold’s mere geographical interpretation), they also shared this high distinction. The reference of the καὶ to Paul (Th. Schott), and consequently the interpretation: as I, so also ye, is erroneous, because the Apostle has asserted concerning himself something far higher than the mere Christian calling. The common interpretation of κλητοὶ . χ. as an address (so too Rückert, Fritzsche, Philippi, van Hengel, Mehring) makes the ἐν οἶς ἐστε κ. ὑμ. quite a meaningless assertion; for Bengel’s suggestion for meeting the difficulty, that ἐν οἶς has the implied meaning: among which converted nations, is purely arbitrary.

Since the calling (to the Messianic salvation; see on Galatians 1:6; also 1 Corinthians 7:17) is invariably ascribed by Paul to God (Romans 8:30, Romans 9:24; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 7:15; 1 Corinthians 7:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:14; comp Usteri, p. 281; Weiss, bibl. Theol. § 127; what Schmidt urges in opposition, in Rudelbach’s Zeitschr. 1849, II. p. 188 ff. is untenable) we must explain it, hot as: called by Christ (Luther, Rückert, Mehring, Hofmann, and others), but as: called (by God) who belong to Christ (so Erasmus, Beza, Estius, and most modern commentators, also Winer, p. 183). The genitive is possessive, just as in the analogous τοὺς ἐκλεκτοὺς αὐτοῦ in Matthew 24:31. With the substantive nature of κλητός (comp Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 147) the genitive by no means admits merely the interpretation which points to the calling subject, as in 2 Samuel 15:11; 1 Kings 1:41; 1 Kings 1:49; Zephaniah 1:7; but admits of very different references, as e.g. in Homer, Od. xvii. 386, κλητοί γε βροτῶν are not those called by mortals, but those who are called among mortals (genitive totius).


Verse 7

Romans 1:7. Now for the first time, brought by Romans 1:6 nearer to his readers, Paul passes from the throng of the great intervening thoughts, Romans 1:2 ff., in which he has given full and conscious expression to the nature and the dignity of his calling, to the formal address and to the apostolic salutation.

πᾶσι κ. τ. λ(332)] directs the letter to all beloved of God who are in Rome, etc., and therefore to the collective Roman Christian church, Philippians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1),(333) but not, as Tholuck thinks (comp Turretin, Wolf, and Böhme), at the same time also to those foreign Christians who were accidentally staying in Rome, for against this view Romans 1:8, in which ὑπὲρ πάντων ὑ΄ῶν can only refer to the Romans, is decisive. The πᾶσι would be self-obvious and might have been dispensed with, but in this Epistle, just because it is so detailed and is addressed to a great church still far away from the Apostle, πᾶσι carries with it a certain diplomatic character. Similarly, though from other grounds, Philippians 1:1.

ἀγαπητ. θεοῦ, κλητοῖς ἁγίοις] Characteristic special analysis of the idea “Christians” in accordance with the high privileges of their Christian condition. For, as reconciled with God through Christ, they are beloved of God (Romans 5:5 ff., Romans 8:39; Colossians 3:12); and, as those who through the divine calling to the Messianic salvation have become separated from the κόσμος and consecrated to God, because members of the new covenant of grace, they are called saints; comp 1 Corinthians 1:2. This saintship is produced through the justification of the called (Romans 8:30), and their accompanying subjection to the influence of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 1:30). De Wette erroneously interprets: “those who are called to be saints.” So also Baumgarten-Crusius. The calling always refers to the salvation of the Messiah’s kingdom. But that the ἁγιότης is to be understood in that Christian theocratic sense after the analogy of the Old Testament קדושׁ, and not of individual moral holiness (Pareus, Toletus, Estius, Grotius, Flatt, Glöckler, de Wette, and others), is plain from the very fact, that all Christians as Christians are ἅγιοι .

χάρις.… εἰρήνη] See Otto, in the Jahrb. f. d. Theol. 1867, p. 678 ff. χάρις is the disposition, the subjective feeling in God and Christ, which the Apostle wishes to be entertained towards and shown to his readers; εἰρήνη is the actual result, which is produced through the manifestation of the χάρις: grace and salvation ( שָׁלוֹס ), the latter in every aspect in which it presents itself as the Christian issue of the χάρις. Comp Melancthon. The specifically Christian element in this salutation(337) lies in ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς.… χριστοῦ. Comp 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1 f.; 1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4; Philemon 1:3. The special rendering of εἰρήνη, peace, which, following Chrysostom and Jerome, the majority, including Reiche, Olshausen, Tholuck, Philippi, Umbreit and others retain (the higher peace which is given, not by the world, but by the consciousness of divine grace and love, see especially Umbreit, p. 190 ff.), must be abandoned, because χάρις καὶ εἰρήνη represent the general epistolary χαίρειν (Acts 15:23; James 1:1), and thus the generality of the salutation is expressed in a way characteristically Christian.

πατήρ ἡμῶν means God, in so far as we, as Christians, are His children through the υἱοθεσία (see on Galatians 4:5; Romans 8:15).

καὶ κυρίου] i.e. καὶ ἀπὸ κυρίου, not, as Glöckler, following Erasmus, takes it, “and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” for against this view stands the decisive fact that God is never called our and Christ’s Father; see also Titus 1:4; 2 Timothy 1:2. The formal equalisation of God and Christ cannot be certainly used as a proof (as Philippi and Mehring contend) of the divine nature of Christ—which, however, is otherwise firmly enough maintained by Paul—since the different predicates πατρός and κυρίου imply the different conceptions of the causa principalis and medians. For this purpose different prepositions were not required; comp on Galatians 1:1.


Verse 8

Romans 1:8. πρῶτον μὲν] To that, which Paul desires first of all to write, there was meant to be subjoined something further, possibly by ἔπειτα δέ. But, amidst the ideas that now crowd upon him, he abandons this design, and thus the μέν remains alone. Comp Romans 3:2; and on Acts 1:1; 1 Corinthians 11:18; Schaefer, a(341) Dem. IV. p. 142; Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 410.

τῷ θεῷ μου] οὗ εἰμὶ, καὶ λατρεύω, Acts 27:23; comp 1 Corinthians 1:4; Philippians 1:3; Philippians 4:19; Philemon 1:4.

διὰ ἰηροῦ χριστοῦ] These words—to be connected with εὐχαριστῶ, not with μου, as Koppe and Glöckler think, against which Romans 7:25 and Colossians 3:17 are clearly decisive—contain the mediation, through which the εὐχαριστῶ takes place. The Apostle gives thanks not on his own part and independently of Christ, not διʼ ἑαυτοῦ, but is conscious of his thanksgiving being conveyed through Jesus Christ, as one who is present to his grateful thoughts; in so far, namely, as that for which he thanks God is vividly perceived and felt by him to have been brought about through Christ. Comp on Colossians 3:17; Ephesians 5:20. Thus Christ is the mediating causal agent of the thanksgiving. To regard Him as its mediating presenter (Origen, Theophylact, Bengel, and others, including Hofmann) cannot be justified from Paul’s other writings, nor even by Hebrews 13:15. Theodore of Mopsuestia well observes: τοῦ χριστοῦ ταύτης ἡμῖν τῆς εὐχαριστίας τὴν αἰτίαν παρασχομένου.

πίστις ὑμῶν] quite simply: your faith (on Christ); the praiseworthy character of the πίστις is only set forth by the context ( καταγγέλλ. ἐν ὅλῳ τ. κ.) afterwards. Everywhere one hears your faith openly spoken of. Comp Romans 16:19. Observe how this flattering expression of the Apostle and the thanksgiving coupled with it, as also the στηριχθῆναι κ. τ. λ(345), in Romans 1:11-12, point to the church not as Jewish-Christian but as Pauline. Mangold’s reference to Philippians 1:15-18, in opposition to this inference, leaves out of view the quite different personal situation under which the latter was written. Comp on Philippians 1:18, note.

ἐν ὅλῳ τ. κόσμῳ] a popular hyperbole, but how accordant with the position of the church in that city, towards which the eyes of the whole world were turned! Comp 1 Thessalonians 1:8. It is, moreover, obvious of itself, that the subjects of the καταγγέλλειν are the believers. As to the unbelievers, see Acts 28:22.


Verses 8-15

Romans 1:8-15. First of all the Apostle now—as under various forms in all his epistles, with the exception of that to the Galatians (also not in 1 Timothy and Titus)—expresses with thanksgiving towards God his pious joy at the faith of his readers; and then assures them of his longing to be with them and to labour among them personally. The thanksgiving is short, for it relates to a church not only personally unknown to him, but also far removed from the sphere of labour which he had hitherto occupied; but the expression of it is in accordance with the position of the church in the metropolis of the world.


Verse 9

Romans 1:9. γάρ] The pith of the following proof of the assurance conveyed in Romans 1:8 lies in ἀδιαλείπτως, not in the desire to come to Rome, which is not subjoined till Romans 1:10 (Th. Schott). The interest felt by the Apostle in the Romans, which was so vivid that he unceasingly remembered them, etc., had even now urged him to his εὐχαριστῶ τῷ θεῷ κ. τ. λ(348)

μάρτυς.… θεὸς] The asseveration in the form of an oath (comp 2 Corinthians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 11:31; Philippians 1:8) is intended solemnly to strengthen the impression of what he has to say; viewed with reference to the circumstance which might readily excite surprise, that he, the Apostle of the Gentiles, had never yet laboured in the church—which nevertheless was Pauline—of the capital of the Gentile world. See Romans 1:10-13. The hypothesis of “iniquos rumores,” that had reached his ears from Rome (van Hengel), is unnecessary and unsupported by any trace in the letter.

λατρεύω κ. τ. λ(350)] added to strengthen the asseveration with respect to its sacred conscientiousness: to whom I render holy service in my spirit, i.e. in my moral self-consciousness, which is the living inner sphere of that service.(351) This ἐν τῷ πν. μου, on which lies the practical stress of the relative clause, excludes indeed all λατρεύειν of a merely external kind, exercising itself in works, or even impure; but is not intended to suggest a definite contrast to this, which would here be without due motive. It is rather the involuntary expression of the profoundly vivid feeling of inward experience. The Apostle knows and feels that the depths of his innermost life are pervaded by his λατρεύειν. Comp λατρεύω.… ἐν καθαρᾷ συνειδήσει, in 2 Timothy 1:3; also Hebrews 12:28. τὸ πνεῦ΄α ΄ου cannot be the Holy Spirit (Theodoret),(353) but Paul bore the witness of that Spirit in his own spirit (Romans 8:16; Romans 9:1.).

ἐν τῷ εὐαγγ. τ. υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ] in the gospel of His Son, which I preach, defend, etc. That is the great sphere to which He is called in the service of God, in the consciousness of which he is impelled by an inward necessity to devote to his readers that fervent sympathy of which he assures them. Grotius and Reiche think there is an implied contrast to the λατρεία ἐν τῷ νόμῳ, which however is quite foreign to the connection. Can we think of a side-glance at the Jewish style of teaching—when the discourse breathes only love and warmth of affection?

ὡς ἀδιαλ.] ὡς does not stand for ὅτι (as following the Vulgate, the majority, including Fritzsche, think), but expresses the manner (the degree). God is my witness, how unceasingly, etc. Comp Philippians 1:8; 2 Corinthians 7:15; 1 Thessalonians 2:10; Acts 10:28; Calvin; Philippi; van Hengel; see also Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 1000. The idea of modality must be everywhere retained, where ὡς takes the place of ὅτι. See the passages in Heindorf, a(355) Plat. Hipp. maj. p. 281, Jacobs. a(356) Ach. Tat. p. 566.

μν. ὑμ. ποιοῦμ.] make mention of you, viz. in my prayers. See Romans 1:10. Comp Ephesians 1:16; Philippians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:2.


Verse 10

Romans 1:10. πάντοτεδεόμενος] annexes to ὡς ἀδιαλ. the more precise definition: in that (so that) I always (each time) in my prayers request. ἐπί, which is to be referred to the idea of definition of time (Bernhardy p. 246), indicates the form of action which takes place. Comp 1 Thessalonians 1:2; Ephesians 1:16; Philemon 1:4; Winer, p. 352 [E. T. 470].

εἴπως ἤδη ποτέ] if perhaps at length on some occasion. For examples of ἥδη, already (Baeumlein, Part. p. 138 ff.), which, comparing another time with the present, conveys by the reference to something long hoped for but delayed the idea at length, see Hartung, Partikel. I. p. 238; Klotz, a(359) Devar. p. 607; comp Philippians 4:10, and the passages in Kypke. Th. Schott incorrectly renders πάντοτε, under all circumstances, which it never means, and ἥδη πότε as if it were ἤδη νῦν or ἄρτι. The mode of expression by εἴπως implies somewhat of modest fear, arising from the thought of possible hindrances.(361)

εὐοδωθήσομαι] I shall have the good fortune. The active εὐοδοῦν is seldom used in its proper signification, to lead well, expeditum iter praebere, as in Soph. O. C. 1437; Theophr. de caus. pl. v. 6, 7; LXX. Genesis 24:27; Genesis 24:48; the passive, however, never means via recta incedere, expeditum iter habere, but invariably (even in Proverbs 17:8) metaphorically: prospero successu gaudere. See Herod. vi. 73; 1 Corinthians 16:2; 3 John 1:2; LXX. 2 Chronicles 13:12; Psalms 1:3, and frequently; Sirach 11:16; Sirach 41:1; Tobit 4:19; Tobit 5:16; Test. XII. Patr. p. 684. Therefore the explanation of a prosperous journey, which besides amounts only to an accessory modal idea (Beza, Estius, Wolf, and many others following the Vulgate and Oecumenius; including van Hengel and Hofmann), must be rejected, and not combined with ours (Umbreit).

ἐν τῷ θελ. τ. θεοῦ] in virtue of the will of God; on this will the ευοδωθ. causally depend.


Verse 11

Romans 1:11. ἐπιποθῶ] not valde cupio, but denoting the direction of the longing. Comp on 2 Corinthians 5:2; Philippians 1:8.

χάρισμα πνευματικόν] Paul calls that, which he intends to communicate to the Romans through his longed-for personal presence among them ( ἰδεῖν; comp Acts 19:21; Acts 28:20) a spiritual gift of grace; because in his apprehension all such instruction, comfort, joy, strengthening, etc., as are produced by means of his labours, are regarded not as procured by his own human individuality, but as a result which the πνεῦμα ἅγιον works by means of him—the gracious working of the Spirit, whose organ he is. While it was highly arbitrary in Toletus, Bengel, Michaelis and others to refer the expression to the apostolic miraculous gifts—against which the εὐαγγελίσασθαι in Romans 1:15 is conclusive—it was a very gratuitous weakening of its force to explain it (as is done by Morus, Rosenmüller, Köllner, Maier, Th. Schott) as a gift referring to the (human) spirit; “a gift for the inner life,” Hofmann. In such an interpretation the specifically Christian point of view (1 Corinthians 12:4; comp εὐλογία πνευματική, Ephesians 1:3) is left out of account; besides, πνευματικόν would imply nothing characteristic in that case; for that Paul did not desire to communicate any gifts of another sort, e.g. external, would be taken for granted.

The expression τιχάρ. is modest ( μετριάζοντος, Oecumenius). Note also the arrangement by which the words are made to stand apart, and this delicate τι, the substantial χάρισμα, and the qualifying πνευματικόν, are brought into the more special prominence.(365)

εἰς τὸ στηρ. ὑμᾶς] Object of the intended communication of such a gift; that ye may be established, namely, in the Christian character and life. See Romans 1:12; comp Acts 16:5; Romans 16:25; 1 Thessalonians 3:2. The στηρίξαι is conceived as being divinely wrought by means of the Spirit, hence the passive expression; it was to be accomplished however, as Paul hoped, through him as the instrument of the Spirit. Mangold, p. 82, has, without any ground in the text, assumed that this establishment has reference to “their abandoning their Jewish-Christian scruples regarding the mission to the Gentiles,” whereas Romans 1:12 rather testifies to the Pauline Christianity of the Romans. This remark applies also against Sabatier, p. 166, who understands “une conception de l’évangile de Jésus plus large et plus spirituelle.”


Verse 12

Romans 1:12. τοῦτο δέ ἐστι] This, however, which I have just designated as my longing (namely, ἰδεῖν ὑμᾶς, ἵναστηριχθ. ὑμᾶς) means, thereby I intend to say nothing else than, etc. By this modifying explanation, subjoined with humility, and expressed in a delicate complimentary manner (Erasmus puts the matter too strongly, “pia vafrities et sancta adulatio”), Paul guards himself, in presence of a church to which he was still a stranger, from the possible appearance of presumption and of forming too low an estimate of the Christian standpoint of his readers.(367)

συ΄παρακληθῆναι] must be understood not, with the Peschito, Vulgate, Valla, Erasmus, Luther, Piscator, de Dieu, and many others, including Koppe and Ewald, in the sense of comfort or of refreshment (Castalio, Grotius, Cramer, Rosenmüller, Böhme)—which it would be necessary that the context should call for, as in 1 Thessalonians 3:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:17, but which it here forbids by the general ἰδεῖν ὑμᾶς, ἱνα κ. τ. λ(368)—but in the quite general sense of Christian encouragement and quickening. The συμ.—however is not to be explained by ὑμᾶς καὶ ἐμαυτόν; on the contrary, the ἐν ὑμῖν renders it necessary that Paul alone should be conceived as the subject of συμπαρακληθῆναι. He desires to be quickened among the Romans ( ἐν ὑμῖν) at the same time with them, and this by the faith common to both, theirs and his, which should mutually act and react in the way of the Christian sympathy that is based on specific harmony of faith. That the readers are not the subject of the συμπαρακλ. (Fritzsche, van Hengel) is certain from ἐν ὑμῖν, which, if it meant in animis vestris (van Hengel), would be a perfectly superfluous addition.

The compound συμπαρακλ. occurs only here in the N. T., and is not found in the LXX. or Apocr.; but see Plat. Rep. p. 555 A and Polyb. v. 83, 3.

ἐν ἀλλήλοις πίστις, more significant of the hearty character of the faith than ἀλλήλων πίστις, is the faith of both viewed in its mutual identity, so that the faith which lives in the one lives also in the other.

ὑμῶν τε καὶ ἐμοῦ] placed in this order with delicate tact.


Verse 13

Romans 1:13. My longing towards you has often awakened in me the purpose of coming to you, in order also among you etc. Paul might have placed a καί before προεθ., but was not obliged to do so (in opposition to Hofmann’s objection); and he has not put it, because he did not think of it. The discourse proceeds from the desire (Romans 1:11) to the purpose, which is coming nearer to realisation. Hence it is the less necessary to transfer the weight of the thought in Romans 1:13 to the clause expressive of purpose (Mangold).

οὐ θέλω δὲ ὑμ. ἀγν.] The Apostle lays stress on this communication. Comp on Romans 11:25. The δὲ is the simple μεταβατικόν.

καὶ ἐκωλ. ἄχρι τοῦ δεῦρο] is a parenthesis separated from the structure of the sentence, so that ἵνα attaches itself to προεθ. ἐλθ. πρ. ὑμ. The καὶ, however, is not to be taken as adversative, as Köllner still thinks (see, in opposition to this, Fritzsche), but as the simple and marking the sequence of thought, which here (comp John 17:10) intervenes parenthetically. For the view which makes it still dependent on ὅτι, so that it introduces the second part of what the readers are to know (Hofmann), is precluded by the following clause of purpose, which can only apply to that resolution so often formed.

δεῦρο] used only here in the N. T. as a particle of time, but more frequently in Plato and later authors; see Wetstein. That by which Paul had been hitherto hindered, may be seen in Romans 15:22; consequently it was neither by the devil (1 Thessalonians 2:18) nor by the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:6 f.). Grotius aptly observes (comp Romans 15:22): “Magis urgebat necessitas locorum, in quibus Christus erat ignotus.”

ἵνα τινὰ καρπὸν κ. τ. λ(372)] is entirely parallel in sense with ἵνα τι ΄εταδῶ κ. τ. λ(373) in Romans 1:11, and it is a gratuitous refining on the figurative καρπόν to find specially indicated here the conversion of unbelievers beyond the range which the church had hitherto embraced (Hofmann); comp also Th. Schott, and even Mangold, who takes the Apostle as announcing his desire to take in hand the Gentile mission also among his readers, so that the καρπός would be Gentiles to be converted. No; by καρπόν Paul, with a complimentary egotism flattering to the readers, describes that which his personal labours among the Romans would have effected—consequently what had been said without metaphor in Romans 1:11—according to a current figure (John 4:36; John 15:16; Philippians 1:22; Colossians 1:6), as harvest-fruit which he would have had among them, and which as the produce of his labour would have been his (ideal) possession among them. But in this view the literal sense of ἔχειν (comp Romans 6:21 f.) is not even to be altered by taking it as consequi (Wolf, Kypke, Koppe, Köllner, Tholuck, and others). To postpone the having the fruit, however, till the last day (Mehring) is quite alien to the context.

καθὼς καὶ ἐν τοῖς λοιπ. ἔθν.] as also among the remaining nations, i.e. Gentiles (see on Romans 1:5), namely, I have fruit. In the animation and fulness of his thought Paul has inserted twice the καὶ of comparison, inasmuch as there was present to his mind the twofold conception: (1) “among you also,(376) as among;” and (2) “among you, as also among.” So frequently in Greek authors. See Baeumlein, Partikell. p. 153; Stallbaum, a(377) Plat. Gorg. p. 457 E Winer, p. 409 [E. T. 547]. There is therefore no grammatical reason for commencing the new sentence with καθώς (Mehring), nor is it in accordance with the repetition of the ἐν.


Verse 14-15

Romans 1:14-15. Fuller explanation regarding the previous ἵνα τινὰ καρπ. σχῶ καὶ ἐν ὑμῖν, καθὼς καὶ ἐν τ. λοιπ. ἔθνεσιν.

Respecting βάρ βαροῖ ( ὄνομα τὸ οὐχ ἑλληνικόν, Ammonius), which, according to Greek feeling and usage, denotes generally all non-Greeks (Plat. Polit. p. 262 D)—all who were strangers to Greek nationality and language—see Dougt. Anal. II. p. 100 f.; Hermann, Staatsalterth. § 6, 1. How common it was to designate all nations by thus dividing them into ἑλλ. κ. βάρβ., see in Wetstein and Kypke, with examples from Philo in Loesner, p. 243. Of course the Hellenes included the Jews also among the βάρβαροι (a view which is attributed even to Philo, but without sufficient ground), while the Jews in their turn applied this designation to the Hellenes. See Grimm on 2 Maccabees 2:21, p. 61. Now it may be asked: did Paul include the Romans among the ἕλληνες or among the βάρβαροι? The latter view is maintained by Reiche and Köllner, following older writers; the former is held by Ambrosiaster, Estius, Kypke, and others, and the former alone would be consistent with that delicacy which must be presumed on the Apostle’s part, as in fact, since Hellenic culture had become prevalent in Rome, especially since the time of Augustus, the Roman community was regarded from the Roman point of view as separated from the barbaria, and only nations like the Germans, Scythians, etc., were reckoned to belong to the latter. Comp Cicero, de fin. ii. 15, “non solum Graecia et Italia, sed etiam omnis barbaria. But the following σοφοῖς τε καὶ ἀνοήτοις, as also the circumstance that the Romans, although they separated themselves from the barbarians (Greek authors included them among these, Polyb. v. 104, 1, ix. 37, 5, Krebs and Kypke in loc(379)), are nowhere reckoned among the Hellenes or designated as such, make it evident that the above question is to be entirely excluded here, and that Paul’s object is merely to set forth generally his obligation as Apostle of the Gentiles in its universality. This he does in the form of a twofold division, according to nationality, and according to condition of culture, so that the thought which he would express is: I am in duty bound to all Gentiles, without distinction of their nationality or of their culture; therefore I am ready, to you also etc.

ὀφειλέτης] Paul regards the divine obligation of office, received through Christ (Romans 1:5), as the undertaking of a debt, which he has to discharge by preaching the Gospel among all Gentile nations. Comp , in reference to this subject, Acts 26:17 f.; Galatians 2:7; 1 Corinthians 9:16.

οὕτω] so, that is, in accordance with this relation, by which I am in duty bound to the ἕλλησι τ. κ. βαρβ., to the σοφ. τ. κ. ἀνοήτ. It does not refer to καθώς, Romans 1:13, which is dependent on the preceding καὶ ἐν ὑμῖν, but gathers up in itself the import of ἕλλησι.… εἰμι: so then, ita, sic igitur. See Hermann, a(381) Luc. de hist. conscr. p. 161; Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 307. Bengel well says: “est quasi ephiphonema et illatio a toto ad partem insignem.”

The οὕτω τὸ κατʼ ἐμὲ πρόθυμον (sc(382) ἐστί) is to be translated: accordingly, the inclination on my part [lit. the on-my-part inclination] is, so that τὸ belongs to πρόθυμον, though the expression τὸ κατʼ ἐμὲ πρόθυμον is not substantially different from the simple τὸ πρόθυμον μου, but only more significantly indicative of the idea that Paul on his part was willing, etc. Comp on Ephesians 1:15. He says therefore: in this state of the case the inclination which exists on his side is, to preach to the Romans also. At the same time κατʼ ἐμὲ is purposely chosen out of a feeling of dependence on a higher Will (Romans 1:10), rather than the simple τὸ πρόθυμον μου, instead of which τὸ ἐμοῦ πρόθυμον would come nearer to the expression by κατʼ ἐμέ. On the substantival πρόθυμον, in the sense of προθυμία, comp 3 Maccabees 5:26; Plat. Leg. ix. p. 859 B Eur. Med. 178; Thuc. iii. 82, 8; Herodian, vii. 3, 15. The above connection of τὸ.… πρόθυμον is adopted by Seb. Schmid, Kypke, Reiche, Fritzsche, Philippi, van Hengel, Mehring, and others. So also Th. Schott, who however takes οὕτω in a predicative sense; as does likewise Hofmann: Thus the case stands as to the fact and manner of the inclination on my part. This however is the less appropriate, because Romans 1:14 contains, not the mode, but the regulative basis of the προθυμία of Romans 1:15. If τὸ κατʼ ἐμέ be taken by itself, and not along with πρόθυμον, there would result the meaning: there is, so far as I am concerned, an inclination; comp de Wette. But, however correct in linguistic usage might be τὸ κατʼ ἐμέ (see Schaefer, a(386) Bos. Ell. p. 278; Matthiae, p. 734), which would here yield the sense pro mea virili, as in Dem. 1210, 20, the πρόθυμον without a verb would stand abruptly and awkwardly, because not the mere copula ἐστί, but ἐστί in the sense of πάρεστι, adest, would require to be supplied. Beza, Grotius, Bengel, Tholuck, Rückert, Köllner, Baumgarten-Crusius, take τὸ κατʼ ἐμέ as a periphrasis for ἐγώ, so that πρόθυμον must be taken as the predicate (I on my part am disposed). Without sanction from the usus loquendi; what is cited by Köllner from Vigerus, p. 7 f., and by Tholuck, is of a wholly different kind. The Greek would express this meaning by τὸ γʼ ἐμὸν πρόθυμον (Stallbaum, a(387) Plat. Rep. p. 533 A).

καὶ ὑμῖν] as also included in that general obligation of mine; and not: although ye belong to the σοφοί (Bengel, Philippi), which the text does not suggest. But τοῖς ἐν ῥώμῃ is added with emphasis, since Rome (“caput et theatrum orbis terrarum,” Bengel) could least of all be exempted from the task assigned to the Apostle of the Gentiles. Hofmann erroneously holds (comp Mangold, p. 84) that Paul addresses the readers by ὑμῖν, not in their character as Christians, but as Romans, and that εὐαγγελίσασθαι means the preaching to those still unconverted; comp Th. Schott, p. 91. No, he addresses the Christian church in Rome, to which he has not yet preached, but wishes to preach, the tidings of salvation, which they have up to the present time received from others. As in every verse, from the 6th to the 13th, so also here the ὑμεῖς can only be the κλητοὶ . χ., Romans 1:6 f., in Rome. See besides, against Mangold, Beyschlag in the Stud. u. Krit. 1867, p. 642 f.


Verse 16

Romans 1:16. γὰρ] Paul confirms negatively his προθυμία.… εὐαγγελίσασθαι, for which he had previously assigned a positive motive.

οὐ γὰρ ἐπαισχ. τ. εὐαγγ.] Written, no doubt, with a recollection of what he had experienced in other highly civilized cities (Athens, Corinth, Ephesus), as well as, generally, in reference to the contents of the Gospel as a preaching of the cross (1 Corinthians 1:18).(390) Hence the negative form of the expression, as in contrast with the feeling of shame which that experience might have produced in him, as if the Gospel were something worthless, through which one could gain no honour and could only draw on himself contempt, mockery, etc. Comp 2 Timothy 1:12.

ἐπαισχύνο΄αι (Plat. Soph. p. 247, D 2 Timothy 1:8), and αἰσχύνομαι, with accusative of the object; see Kühner, II. i. p. 255 f.; Bernhardy, p. 113.

δύνα΄ις γὰρ θεοῦ ἐστιν] Ground of the οὐκ ἐπαισχ. τ. εὐαγγ. Power of God (genitive of the subject) is the Gospel, in so far as God works by means of the message of salvation. By awaking repentance, faith, comfort, love, peace, joy, courage in life and death, hope, etc., the Gospel manifests itself as power, as a mighty potency, and that of God, whose revelation and work the Gospel is (hence τὸ εὐαγγ. τοῦ θεοῦ, Romans 15:16; 2 Corinthians 11:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:2). Comp 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 1:24. The expression asserts more than that the Gospel is “a powerful means in the hand of God” (Rückert), and is based on the fact that it is the living self-manifestation and effluence of God, as ῥῆ΄α θεοῦ (Ephesians 6:17). Paul knew how to honour highly the message of salvation which it was his office to convey, and he was not ashamed of it. Here also, as in Romans 1:1; Romans 1:9, τὸ εὐαγγ. is not the work or business of conveying the message (Th. Schott), but the message itself.

εἰς σωτηρίαν] Working of this power of God: unto salvation, consequently with saving power. And what salvation is here meant, was understood by the reader; for σωτηρία and σώζεσθαι are the standing expressions for the eternal salvation in the Messianic kingdom (comp ζήσεται, Romans 1:17), the opposite of ἀπώλεια (Philippians 1:28; comp θάνατος, 2 Corinthians 2:16). Comp generally, James 1:21, τὸν λόγον τὸν δυνά΄ενον σῶσαι τὰς ψυχὰς ὑ΄ῶν. As to how the Gospel works salvation, see Romans 1:17.

παντὶ τῷ πιστεύοντι] shows to whom the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Faith is the condition on the part of man, without which the Gospel cannot be to him effectually that power; for in the unbeliever the causa apprehendens of its efficacy is wanting. Comp Romans 1:17. Melancthon aptly says: “Non enim ita intelligatur haec efficacia, ut si de calefactione loqueremur: ignis est efficax in stramine, etiamsi stramen nihil agit.”

παντί gives emphatic prominence to the universality, which is subsequently indicated in detail. Comp Romans 3:22.

ἰουδαίῳ τε πρῶτον κ. ἕλληνι] τε.… καὶ denotes the equality of what is added. See Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 99; Baeumlein, Part. p. 225. πρῶτον expresses the priority; but not merely in regard to the divinely appointed order of succession, in accordance with which the preaching of the Messiah was to begin with the Jews and thence extend to the Gentiles, as Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Grotius, and many others, including Olshausen, van Hengel and Th. Schott, have understood it; but in reference to the first claim on the Messianic salvation in accordance with the promise, which was in fact the ground of that external order of succession in the communication of the Gospel. So Erasmus, Calovius, and others, including Reiche, Tholuck, Rückert, Fritzsche, de Wette, Philippi, Ewald, Hofmann. That this is the Pauline view of the relation is plain from Romans 3:1 f.; Romans 9:1 ff.; Romans 11:16 ff.; Romans 15:9; comp John 4:22; Matthew 15:24; Acts 13:46. The Jews are the υἱοὶ τῆς βασιλ., Matthew 8:12.

ἕλληνι] denotes, in contrast to ἰουδαίῳ, all Non-Jews. Acts 14:1; 1 Corinthians 10:32 al(399)


Verse 16-17

Romans 1:16-17. Transition to the theme ( οὐ γὰρ ἐπαισχ. τ. εὐαγγ.), and the theme itself ( δύναμις.… ζήσεται).


Verse 17


Romans 1:17 illustrates and gives a reason for the foregoing affirmation: δύναμις θεοῦ ἐστιν εἰς σωτ. π. τ. πιστ., which could not be the case, unless δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ κ. τ. λ(400)

The following remarks may serve exegetically to illustrate the idea of δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ, which in the Gospel is revealed from faith:

ἀποκαλύπτεται] is revealed; for previously, and in the absence of the Gospel, the δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ was and is something quite hidden in the counsel of God, the knowledge of which is first given in the Gospel (comp Romans 16:25; Acts 17:30). The prophecies of the Old Testament were only preparatory and promissory (Romans 1:2), and therefore were only the means of introducing the evangelical revelation itself (Romans 16:26). The present is used, because the Gospel is conceived of in its continuous proclamation. Comp the perfect, πεφανέρωται, Romans 3:21, and on the other hand the historical aorist φανερωθέντος in Romans 16:26. Through the ἀποκάλυψις ensues the φανεροῦσθαι, through the revelation the being manifest as object of knowledge.

ἐκ πίστεως εἰς πίστιν] may not be connected with δικαιοσ. (Luther, Hammond, Bengel, Koppe, Rückert, Reiche, Tholuck, Philippi, Mehring, and others), but rather—as the only arrangement which the position of the words admits without arbitrariness—with ἀποκαλύπτεται. So also van Hengel and Hofmann; comp Luke 2:35. The δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ, namely, is revealed in the Gospel ἐκ πίστεως, inasmuch as in the Gospel faith on Christ is made known as the subjective cause from which righteousness comes. Thus the Gospel, as the ῥῆμα τῆς πίστεως (Romans 10:8) and λόγος τῆς καταλλαγῆς (2 Corinthians 5:19), makes the divine righteousness become manifest from faith, which it in fact preaches as that which becomes imputed; for him who does not believe the ἀκοὴ πίστεως (Galatians 3:2), it leaves this δικαιοσύνη to remain a locked-up unrevealed blessing. But it is not merely ἐκ πίστεως, but also εἰς πίστιν; to faith (comp 2 Corinthians 2:16). Inasmuch, namely, as righteousness is revealed in the Gospel from faith, faith is aimed at, i.e. the revelation spoken of proceeds from faith and is designed to produce faith. This sense, equivalent to “ut fides habeatur,” and rightly corresponding alike with the simple words and the context, is adopted by Heumann, Fritzsche, Tholuck, Krehl, Nielsen, and van Hengel. It is not “too meaningless” (de Wette), nor “saying pretty nearly nothing” (Philippi); but is on the contrary emphatically appropriate to the purpose of representing faith as the Fac totum (“prora et puppis,” Bengel, Comp Baur, II. p. 161). See also Hofmann, Schriftbew. I. p. 629 f. comp Romans 6:19; 2 Corinthians 2:16. Therefore εἰς πίστιν is not to be taken as equivalent to εἰς τὸν πιστεύοντα, for the believer (Oecumenius, Seb. Schmid, Morus, Rosenmüller, Rückert, Reiche, de Wette, Olshausen, Reithmayr, Maier, and Philippi), a rendering which should have been precluded by the abstract correlative ἐκ πίστεως. Nor does it mean: for the furtherance and strengthening of faith (Clem. Al. Strom. v. 1, II. p. 644 Pott., Theophylact, Erasmus, Luther, Melancthon, Beza, Cornelius à Lapide, and others, including Köllner; comp Baumgarten-Crusius, Klee, and Stengel); for the thought: “from an ever new, never tiring, endlessly progressive faith” (Ewald; comp Lipsius, Rechtfertigungsl. p. 7, 116, and Umbreit), is here foreign to the connection, which is concerned only with the great fundamental truth in its simplicity; the case is different in 2 Corinthians 3:18. Quite arbitrary, moreover, was the interpretation: “ex fide legis in fidem evangelii” (Tertullian; Comp Origen, Chrysostom, Theodoret: δεῖ γὰρ πιστεῦσαι τοῖς προφήταις, καὶ διʼ ἐκείνων εἰς τὴν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου πίστιν ποδηγηθῆναι, Zeger, and others). Finally, to take πίστιν as faithfulness, and to understand πίστις εἰς πίστιν in the sense of faith in the faithfulness of God (Mehring), is to introduce what is neither in the words nor yet suggested by the context. Ewald in his Jahrb. IX. p. 87 ff., interprets: faith in faith, the reference being to the faith with which man meets the divine faith in his power and his good will (?). But the idea of “faith from beneath on the faith from above,” as well as the notion generally of God believing on men, would be a paradox in the N. T., which no reader could have discovered without more clear and precise indication. After ἐκ πίστ. every one could not but understand εἰς πίστ. also as meaning human faith; and indeed everywhere it is man that believes, not God.

The δέ is, without having any bearing on the matter, adopted along with the other words from the LXX. Comp on Acts 2:17. A contrast to the unrighteous who shall die (Hofmann) is neither here nor in Habakkuk 2:4 implied in the text.


Verse 18

Romans 1:18. This great fundamental proposition of the Gospel, Romans 1:17, is proved ( γὰρ) agreeably to experience, by the fact that, where there is no πίστις, there is also no ἀποκάλυψις of righteousness, but only of the wrath of God. “Horrendum est initium ac fulmen,” Melancthon, 1540.

ἀποκαλύπτεται] Emphatically placed, in harmony with the ἀποκαλ. in Romans 1:17, at the beginning.

ὀργὴ θεοῦ] The antithesis of δικαιοσ. θεοῦ, Romans 1:16. The ὀργὴ of God is not to be explained with several of the Fathers (in Suicer), Erasmus, and many later authorities, as poena divina, which is nothing but a rationalizing interchange of ideas, but rather in the proper literal sense: wrath, an affection of the personal God, having a necessary connection with His love. The wrath of God, the reality of which is indisputable as the very presupposition of the work of atonement, is the love of the holy God (who is neither neutral nor one-sided in His affection) for all that is good in its energy as antagonistic to all that is evil.(421) Even Lactantius has aptly remarked, de ira Dei, v. 9 : “Si Deus non irascitur impiis et injustis, nee pios justosque diligit; in rebus enim diversis aut in utramque partem moveri necesse est, aut in neutram.” See on Matthew 3:7; Ephesians 2:3.

ἀπʼ οὐρανοῦ] is neither to be connected with ὀργὴ θεοῦ, as Beza, Estius, and many others hold, nor with the bare θεοῦ (Mehring), but, as the order of the words and the parallel definition ἐν αὐτῷ in Romans 1:17 require, belongs to ἀποκαλύπτεται; so that heaven, the dwelling-place and throne of God (comp on Matthew 6:9), is designated as the place from which the ἀποκάλυψις of the ὀργὴ θεοῦ issues. “Majestatem irati Dei significat,” Bengel. The revelation of righteousness takes place ἐν εὐαγγελίῳ, Romans 1:17, as something spiritually brought home to the consciousness through the medium of the Gospel; but that of the divine wrath descends from heaven, manifested as a divine matter of fact; by which description, however, the destructive character of this working of divine power is not expressed (Th. Schott), although it is in fact implied in the entire context. But what revelation of divine wrath is meant? Paul himself supplies the information in Romans 1:24 ff., in which is described what God in His sufficiently well-grounded (Romans 1:19-23) wrath did ( παρέδωκεν αὐτούς). God’s wrath therefore is revealed from heaven in this way, that those who are the objects of it are given up by God to terrible retribution in unchastity and all vice. Against this interpretation (comp Mehring), which is adopted also by Tholuck, Weber (vom Zorne Gottes, p. 89), and Th. Schott, it cannot be objected, with Hofmann, that Paul must have written ἀπεκαλύφθη; for he here in fact expresses the general proposition of experience, to which the concrete historical representation subsequently shall correspond; the divine axiom is placed first (present), and then the history of it follows (aorist). Irrelevant is also the objection of Philippi, that ἀποκαλύπτειν always denotes a supernatural revelation. For ἀποκαλύπτειν means to reveal what was previously unknown, what was veiled from our cognition, so that it now becomes manifest; and, in reference to this, it is a matter of indifference whether the revelation takes place in a natural or in a supernatural manner.(424) The mode of revealing is not indicated in the word itself, but in the context; and hence according to the connection it is used also, as here, of a revelation in fact, by which a state of things previously unknown comes to our knowledge (Matthew 10:26; Luke 2:35; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:8). Moreover, even according to our interpretation, a divine revelation is meant, by which there is certainly brought to light a μυστήριον, namely, the connection of the phenomenon with the divine ὀργή. According to others, Paul means the inward revelation of the divine wrath, given by means of reason and conscience (Ambrosiaster, Wolf, and others, including Reiche and Glöckler), in support of which view they appeal to Romans 1:19. But, on the contrary, ἀπʼ οὐρανοῦ requires us to understand an ἀποκαλύψις cognisable by the senses; and Romans 1:19 contains not the mode of the manifestation of wrath, but its moving cause ( διότι). Others hold that the ἀποκαλύψις of the divine wrath has come through the Gospel (“continens minas,” Grotius), and that ἐν αὐτῷ is to be again supplied from Romans 1:17. So Aquinas, Bellarmine, Corn, à Lapide, Estius, Grotius, Heumann, Semler, Morus, Böhme, Benecke, Maier; comp Umbreit, who includes also the Old Testament. It is decisive against this view that ἀπʼ οὐρανοῦ, just because it is parallel to ἐν αὐτῷ in Romans 1:17, lays down a mode of manifestation quite different from ἐν αὐτῷ. Had the latter been again in Paul’s mind here, he would have repeated it with emphasis, as he has repeated the ἀποκαλύπτεται. Others hold that the manifestation of wrath at the general judgment is meant (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Oecumenius, Toletus, Limborch, Koppe, Philippi, Reithmayr, and Ewald). The present, considered in itself, might be chosen in order to express a vivid realisation of the future, or might be accounted for by the ἐν αὐτῷ, which, it is alleged, is to be again mentally supplied (Ewald); but the former explanation is to be rejected on account of the preceding purely present ἀποκαλ. in Romans 1:17; and against the latter may be urged the very fact, that ἐν αὐτῷ is not repeated. Had this been the meaning, moreover, the further course of the exposition must have borne reference to the general judgment, which it by no means does; and therefore this interpretation is opposed to the connection, as well as unwarranted by Romans 2:5 (where the mention of the revelation of judgment belongs to quite a different connection); and not required by the idea of ἀποκαλύπτειν itself, since that idea is adequately met by the divine matter-of-fact revelation of wrath here intended (see above), and besides, the word is repeated intentionally for rhetorical effect. Lastly, while others have contented themselves with leaving the ἀποκαλύψις here in its entire generality (Olshausen, Tholuck; comp Calovius), and thus relieved themselves from giving any explanation of it, the reference to the religion of the O. T. (Bengel and Flatt) seems entirely arbitrary and groundless, and the interpretations which apply it to evils generally affecting the world as an expression of the divine wrath (Hofmann), or to the external and internal distress of the time (Baumgarten-Crusius), are too general and indefinite, and thereby devoid of any concrete import in keeping with the text.

ἐπὶ πᾶσ. ἀσέβ. κ. ἀδικ. ἀνθρ.] contains the hostile direction (comp Dem. 743, 22) of the ἀποκαλύπτεται.… οὐρανοῦ: against every ungodliness and immorality of men, which, etc. ἀσέβεια and ἀδικία (Plat. Prot. p. 323 E Xen. Cyr. viii. 8, 7; Tittmann, Synon. N. T. p. 48) are distinguished as irreligiousness and immorality, so that both describe the improbitas, but under different aspects, in reference to the fear of God and to the standard of morals; hence the former, as involving the idea of impiety, is the stronger expression. Comp Dem. 548, 11 : ἀσέβη΄α, οὐκ ἀδίκη΄α ΄όνον. That the distinction between them is not to be understood, with Köllner, following Theophylact, Grotius, Calovius, Wolf, and many others, as profanitas in Deum and injuria in proximum, is proved by the following ἐν ἀδικία κατεχ.

τῶν τ. ἀλήθ. ἐν ἀδικ. κατεχ.] who keep down the truth through immorality, do not let it develop itself into power and influence on their religious knowledge and their moral condition. The article (quippe qui) introduces that characteristic of the ἀνθρώπων, not yet more precisely defined, which excites the divine wrath. Rightly in the Vulgate: eorum qui. See Winer, p. 127 [E. T. 174]. It may be paraphrased: “of those, I mean, who.” Comp Kühner, a(430) Xen. Anab. ii. 7, 13. Bengel, moreover, aptly remarks: “veritas in mente nititur et urget, sed homo eam impedit.” This is the peculiar, deeply unfortunate, constant self-contradiction of the heathen character. Comp Nägelsbach, Homer. Theol. I. p. 11 ff. On κατέχειν, to hinder, comp 2 Thessalonians 2:6; Luke 4:42; 1 Maccabees 6:27; Plat. Phaed. p. 117 C Soph. El. 754; Pind. Isthm. iii. 2, and Dissen in loc(433) Against the interpretation of Michaelis, Koppe and Baur, who take κατέχειν here as meaning to possess (1 Corinthians 7:30; 2 Corinthians 6:10), “who possess the truth in unrighteousness, who know what God’s will is, and yet sin,” Romans 1:21 is decisive, where the continuous possession of the truth is negatived by ἐματαιώθησαν.… καρδία; wherefore also it cannot he rendered with Melancthon and van Hengel: who hold the truth in the bondage of immorality (Romans 7:6; Genesis 39:20; Genesis 42:19). The ἀλήθεια is correctly interpreted in the sense of divine truth generally; the mode of revelation, in which it is presented to man’s knowledge, is furnished by the context, here, by Romans 1:19 f., as the truth apparent by natural revelation in the works of God; not therefore in the sense of the doctrine of the Gospel, which is hindered in its diffusion by Jews and Gentiles (Ammon, comp Ewald).

ἐν ἀδικία] instrumental. To make it equivalent to ἀδίκως (Reiche, following Theophylact, Beza, Calvin, Piscator, Raphel, and others; comp ἐν δυνά΄ει in Romans 1:4) arbitrarily deprives the representation of an element essential to its fulness and precision, and renders it tame; for it is self-evident that the κατέχειν τ. ἀλ. is unrighteous or sinful, but not so much so that it takes place through sin.

Finally, it is to be noted that Paul, in ἀνθρώπ. (correlative of θεοῦ) τῶν τ. ἀλήθ. ἐν ἀδικ. κατεχ., expresses himself quite generally, making apparent by ἀνθρώπ. the audacity of this God-opposing conduct; but he means the Gentiles, as is indicated even by ἐν ἀδικίᾳ (comp 1 Corinthians 6:1), and as is confirmed beyond doubt by the continuation of the discourse in Romans 1:19 ff. Koppe supposed that Paul meant the Jews especially, but included also the Gentiles; Benecke, that he speaks of the whole human race in general, which view Mehring specially defends. But the peculiar character of what is contained in Romans 1:21-32 shows that the Jews are to be entirely excluded from the description which is carried on to the end of the chapter. It is not till ch. Romans 2:1 that the discourse passes over to them, and makes them suddenly see themselves reflected in the Gentile mirror.


Verses 18-32

Romans 1:18-32. Proof of Romans 1:17 deduced from experience, and that in the first instance with respect to Gentile humanity (the proof in regard to the Jews begins at ch. 2).


Verse 19

Romans 1:19. διότι] propterea quod—only to be separated by a comma from the foregoing—specifies more precisely the causal relation, on account of which the wrath of God comes upon such men, etc. (Romans 1:18). They keep down the truth through immorality; if they did so out of ignorance, they would be excusable: but they do not do so out of ignorance, and therefore God’s wrath is manifested against them. This view of the connection is suggested by the literal meaning of διότι itself, and confirmed by εἰς τὸ εἶναι αὐτοὺς ἀναπολογ. Comp Hofmann. So also Fritzsche, who, however, takes διότι as equivalent to γάρ, as does also Philippi,—a use of it that never occurs, not even in Acts 18:10. This linguistically erroneous interpretation of διότι condemns also the view of Tholuck, Rückert, de Wette, and Reithmayr, who discover here the proof, that the Gentiles keep down the truth by immorality; or (so Th. Schott) that Paul rightly describes them as κατέχοντες κ. τ. λ(438) No; for the very reason that they have the γνωστὸν τοῦ θεοῦ, which renders them inexcusable, does the wrath of God go forth against the κατέχοντες; Romans 1:18.

τὸ γνωστὸν τοῦ θεοῦ] that which is known concerning God, not: that which is knowable concerning God, a signification which, though adopted by Origen, Theophylact, Oecumenius, Erasmus, Beza, Castalio, Calvin, Piscator, Estius, Grotius, Wolf, Koppe, Rückert, Kollner, Baumgarten-Crusius, Maier, Ewald, Umbreit, Mehring, Hofmann, and others, is never conveyed by γνωστός in the N. T. or in the LXX. and Apocrypha, though it frequently occurs in classic authors (see the passages from Plato quoted by Ast, Lex. I. p. 401; Dorvill. a(439) Charit. p. 502; Hermann, a(440) Soph. Oed. T. 361; comp ἄγνωστος, which in Plato invariably means unknowable). In all the places where it occurs in the Scriptures, as also, though less frequently, in the classics (Xen. Cyr. vi. 3, 4; Arrian. Epict. ii. 20, 4; Aesch. Choeph. 702; Beck, Antiatt. p. 87, 25), it means quod notum est (Vulgate), and is therefore equivalent to γνωτός or γνώριμος, also in Acts 4:16; Sirach 21:7. The opposite: ἄγνωστος, Acts 17:23. Comp Luther, 1545: “das (nicht: dass) man weiss, das (nicht: dass) Gott sei.” That which is known of God excludes that which needed a special revelation to make it known, as in particular the contents of the Gospel; the former is derived from the general revelation of nature. If we should take γνωστόν as knowable, the assertion of the Apostle would he incorrect without some limiting qualification; for the positively revealed belonged to that which was knowable, but not to that which was known of God,(443) into which category it was brought only through special revelation, which it would otherwise not have needed.

ἐν αὐτοῖς] i.e. in their consciousness, ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις αὐτῶν, Romans 2:15. Comp Galatians 1:16. The explanation inter ipsos, which Erasmus and Grotius (both referring it arbitrarily to the Gnosis of the philosophers among the Gentiles), Köllner and Baumgarten-Crusius give, is to be rejected for this reason, that αὐτοῖς ἐφανέρωσε, compared with νοούμενα καθορᾶται, points to a manifestation of the γνωστόν τοῦ θεοῦ which is inward, although conveyed through the revelation of nature.

ἐφανέρωσε] God—and this subject is again named with emphasis—has laid it clearly before them, made it lie openly before their view as an object of knowledge. Comp on the matter itself Acts 14:17; Acts 17:26 f.; 1 Corinthians 1:21.


Verse 20

Romans 1:20 f. τὰ γὰρ ἀόρατα.… θειότης] Giving a reason for, and explaining, the previous θεὸς γὰρ αὐτοῖς ἐφανέρωσε.

τὰ ἀόρατα αὐτοῦ] His invisible things, the manifold invisible attributes, that constitute His nature. Paul himself explains it afterwards by ἀΐδιος αὐτοῦ δύναμις καὶ θειότης; therefore it is not actiones Dei invisibiles (Fritzsche; comp Theodoret).

νοούμενα καθορᾶται] through the works are seen becoming discerned; νοούμενα defines the manner in which the καθορᾶται takes place, otherwise than through the senses (the νοεῖν, ἀλλʼ οὐκ ὄμμασι θεωρεῖν, Plat. Rep. p. 529 B), in so far as it is effected by means of mental discernment, by the agency of intelligent perception. The καθορᾶται forms with ἀόρατα a striking oxymoron, in which the compound selected for that purpose, but not elsewhere occurring in the N. T., heightens still further the idea conveyed by the simple form. Comp Xen. Cyr. iii. 3, 31.: εἰ γὰρ.… ἡμᾶς οἱ πολέμιοι θεάσονται.… πάλιν καθορῶντες ἡμῶν τὸ πλῆθος. Pind. Pyth. ix. 45.: οἶσθα.… εὖ καθορᾷς. On the oxymoron itself, comp Aristotle, de mundo, 6, p. 399, 21. Bekk: ἀθεώρητος ἀπʼ αὐτῶν τῶν ἔρων θεωρεῖται ( θεός).

τοῖς ποιήμασι] embraces all that God as Creator has produced, but does not at the same time include His governing in the world of history, as Schneckenburger thinks, Beitr. p. 102 f.; for מַעַשֱׂה, with which ποίημα corresponds (LXX. Ecclesiastes 3:11; Ecclesiastes 7:13, al(449)), is the formal expression for God’s works of creation; as also Paul himself, in Ephesians 2:10, describes the renewing of man as analogous to creation. It is only of the works of creation that the Apostle could assert what he here says, especially as he adds ἀπὸ κτίσεως κόσμου. Since, moreover, τοῖς ποιή΄ασι, by means of the works, contains the instrumental definition appended to νοούμενα καθορᾶται,(450) ἀπὸ κτίσ. κόσμου cannot be taken in a causal sense (see Winer, p. 348 [E. T. 463]), as the medium cognoscendi (so Luther and many others, including Calovius, Pearson, Homberg, Wolf, Heumann, Morus and Reithmayr), but only in the sense of temporal beginning: since the creation of the world they are so perceived.

τε ἀΐδιος αὐτοῦ δύν. κ. θειότης] A more precise definition of the previous τὰ ἀόρατα αὐτοῦ. ἀΐδιος, everlasting, belongs to both substantives; but καί annexes the general term, the category, of which the δύνα΄ις is a species. See Fritzsche a(451) Matth. p. 786. Its relation to the preceding τέ consists in its completing the climax and cumulation, for which τέ prepares the way. Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 98. Hofmann is unsupported by linguistic usage in inferring from the position of τέ, that ἀΐδιος is not meant to apply also to θειότης. It is just that position that makes ἀΐδιος the common property of both members (see especially Hartung, l.c(452) p. 116 f.), so that, in order to analyse the form of the conception, we may again supply ἀΐδιος αὐτοῦ after καὶ (Stallbaum, a(453) Plat. Crit. p. 43 B.; Schaefer, Poet. gnom. p. 73; Schoemann, a(454) Is. p. 325 f.; also Winer, p. 520 [E. T. 727]). The θειότης is the totality of that which God is as a Being possessed of divine attributes, as θεῖον, the collective sum of the divine realities.(455) This comprehensive sense must by no means be limited. The eternal power—this aspect of His θειότης which comes into prominence at first and before all others—and the divinity of God in its collective aspect, are rationally perceived and discerned by means of His works. Arbitrary is the view of Reiche, who holds that Paul means especially wisdom and goodness, which latter Schneckenburger conceives to be intended; and also that of Hofmann (comparing Acts 17:29; 2 Peter 1:4), that the spiritual nature of the divine being is denoted. We may add that Rückert holds the strange view, that θειότης, which could not properly be predicated of God, is only used here by Paul for want of another expression. It might be and was necessarily said of God, as being the only adequate comprehensive expression for the conception that was to be denoted thereby. For analogous references to the physico-theological knowledge of God, see Wetstein, and Spiess, Logos spermaticos, 1871, p. 212. The suggestion of Philo as the Apostle’s source (Schneckenburger) is out of the question. Observe further how completely, in our passage, the transcendental relation of God to the world—the negation of all identity of the two—lies at the foundation of the Apostle’s view. It does not exclude the immanence of God in the world, but it excludes all pantheism. See the passages from the O. T. discussed in Umbreit.

εἰς τὸ εἶναι αὐτοὺς ἀναπολ.] has its logically correct reference to the immediately preceding τὰ γὰρ ἀόρατα.… θειότης, and therefore the parenthesis, in which Griesbach and others have placed τὰ γὰρ ἀόρ.… θειότης, must be expunged. The εἰς cannot be said of the result, as Luther, and many others, including Reiche, Köllner, de Wette, Rückert, Fritzsche, Reithmayr, Philippi, Ewald, following the Vulgate (ita ut sint inexcusabiles), have understood it; for the view, which takes it of the purpose, is not only required by the prevailing usage of εἰς with the infinitive(456) (see on 2 Corinthians 8:6), but is also more appropriate to the connection, because the καθορᾶται is conceived as a result effected through God’s revelation of Himself (Romans 1:19), and consequently the idea of the divine purpose in εἰς τὸ εἶναι κ. τ. λ(457) is not to be arbitrarily dismissed. Comp Erasmus (“ne quid haberent” etc.), Melancthon (“propter quas causas Deus” etc.), Beza, Calvin (“in hoc ut”), Bengel and others. But Chrysostom, even in his time, expressly opposes this view (comp also Oecumenius), and at a later period it became a subject of contention between the Lutherans and the Reformed, See Calovius. The view, which interprets it of the result, hesitates to admit the conception of a divine decree, under which Paul places the inexcusableness of men; and yet not only may this stand to the perception of God from His works which has existed since the beginning in the relation of result, but, in accordance with the thoroughly Scriptural idea of destiny (comp e.g. Romans 5:20), it must stand to it in the relation of that decree. In this connection, which inserts the results in the divine counsel, the inexcusableness of man appears as telically given with the self-manifestation of God. Romans 1:21, as in general even Romans 1:18, contains the perverse conduct of men manifesting itself in the course of human history, on account of which God, who foresaw it, has in His natural self-manifestation made their inexcusableness His aim. Inexcusable they are intended to be; and that indeed on account of the fact, that, although they had known God (namely from that natural revelation), they have not glorified Him as God.

διότι] as in Romans 1:19, only to be separated by a comma from what precedes: inexcusable on this account, because.

γνόντες] not: cum agnoscere potuissent (Flatt, Nielsen; also as early as Oecumenius); nor yet: although they knew God, so that it would be contemporaneous with οὐχ.… ἐδόξασαν. So Philippi and van Hengel; also Delitzsch, bibl. Psychol, p. 346. They had attained the knowledge from the revelation of nature (for to this, according to Romans 1:19-20, we must refer it, and not, with Rückert, to the history in Genesis of the original revelation), but only actu directo, so far as that same self-manifestation of God had presented itself objectively to their cognition; the actus reflexus remained absent (comp Delitzsch, p. 347), and with them who keep down the truth ἐν ἀδικίᾳ, Romans 1:18, the issue was not to the praise of God, etc.; so that γνόντες is thus previous to the οὐχ.… ἐδόξασαν. Paul sets forth the historical emergence of that for which they were inexcusable. They had known God, and yet it happened that they did not praise Him, etc.

οὐχ ὡς θεὸν ἐδόξασαν ηὐχαρ.] It would have been becoming for them to have rendered to God as such, agreeably to His known nature, praise and thanks; but they did neither the one nor the other. Regarding ὡς in the sense: according to the measure of His divine quality, comp on John 1:14. The praising and thanksgiving exhaust the notion of the adoration, which they should have offered to God.

ἀλλʼ ἐματ. ἐν τοῖς διαλ. αὐτῶν] but they were frustrated in their thoughts (comp 1 Corinthians 3:20), so that the conceptions, ideas, and reflections, which they formed for themselves regarding the Deity, were wholly devoid of any intrinsic value corresponding with the truth. Comp Ephesians 4:17. The ΄αταιότης is a specific attribute of heathenism. Jeremiah 2:5; 2 Kings 17:5; Psalms 94:11. Comp also Acts 14:15; Judith 6:4.

καὶ ἐσκοτίσθη κ. τ. λ(466)] forms a climax to the foregoing. Comp Ephesians 4:18; Ephesians 1:18. Their heart that had been rendered by the ἐματαιώθησαν unintelligent, incapable of discerning the true and right, became dark, completely deprived of the light of the divine ἀλήθεια that had come to them by the revelation of nature. καρδία, like לֵב, denotes the whole internal seat of life, the power which embraces all the activity of reason and will within the personal consciousness. Comp on Ephesians 1:18 ; Delitzsch, p. 250. To take ἀσύνετος here in a proleptic sense (see on Matthew 12:13) is quite inappropriate, because it destroys the climax. Comp moreover on ἀσύνετος, Wisdom of Solomon 11:15; as also on the entire delineation of Gentile immorality, Romans 1:20 ff.; Wisdom 13-15. This passage as a whole, and in its details, presents unmistakeable reminiscences of this section of the book of Wisdom. See Nitzsch in the Deutsch. Zeitschr. 1850, p. 387; Bleek in the Stud. u. Krit. 1853, p. 340 f. Without reason Tholuck argues against this view.


Verse 22-23

Romans 1:22-23. In a false conceit of wisdom (comp 1 Corinthians 1:17 ff.) this took place (viz. what has just been announced in ἐ΄αταιώθησαν.… καρδία), and what a horrible actual result it had!

The construction is independent, no longer hanging on the διότι in Romans 1:21 (Glöckler, Ewald); the further course of the matter if described. While they said that they were wise (comp 1 Corinthians 3:21) they became foolish. Comp Jeremiah 10:24 f. This becoming foolish must be understood as something self-incurred—produced through the conceit of independence—as is required by the description of God’s retribution on them in Romans 1:24; therefore the “dirigente Deo,” which Grotius understands along with it in accordance with 1 Corinthians 1:21, is here foreign to the connection. The explanation of Köllner, Baumgarten-Crusius, and others, including Usteri: “they have shown themselves as fools,” is erroneous, because the aorist passive in Romans 1:21 does not admit of a similar rendering.

For examples of φάσκειν, dictitare, in the sense of unfounded assertion (Acts 24:9; Acts 25:19; Revelation 2:2), see Raphel, Xenoph. and Kypke. Comp Dem. Phil. i. 46, iii. 9; Herodian, iii. 12, 9. Their pretended wisdom was a μάταιος δοξοσοφία, Plat. Soph. p. 231 B. We may add that this definition is not aimed at the Gentile philosophers, who came much later and in fact did not do what is declared in Romans 1:23 (comp Calvin), but generally at the conceit of wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:21), which is necessarily connected with an estrangement from divine truth, and from which therefore idolatry also, with its manifold self-invented shapes, must have proceeded. For heathenism is not the primeval religion, from which man might gradually have risen to the knowledge of the true God, but is, on the contrary, the result of a falling away from the known original revelation of the true God in His works. Instead of the practical recognition and preservation of the truth thus given comes the self-wisdom rendering them foolish, and idolatry in its train.

καὶ ἤλλαξ. κ. τ. λ(475)] and they exchanged the majesty of the imperishable God for a likeness of an image of a perishable man, etc., i.e. instead of making, as they ought to have done, the glory of the eternal God manifested to them in the revelation of nature— כְּבוֹד יְהֹוָה, i.e. His glorious perfection (Romans 1:20 )—the object of their adoration, they chose for that purpose what was shaped like an image of a perishable man, etc.; comp Psalms 106:20; Jeremiah 2:11. The ἐν (comp Sirach 7:18) is instrumental, as is elsewhere the simple dative (Herod vii. 152; Soph. Niob. fr. 400, Dind.): thereby, that they made and adored such an ὁμοίωμα, and on the other hand rejected the glory of God, which they ought to have worshipped. Comp LXX. Ps. l.c(479); ἠλλάξαντο τὴν δόξαν αὐτῶν ἐν ὁμοιώματι μόσχου. On the genitive εἰκόνος comp also 1 Maccabees 3:48; Revelation 9:7; and on ὁμοίωμα itself in the sense of likeness, Romans 5:14, Romans 6:5, Romans 8:3; Philippians 2:7; Sirach 38:28; 2 Kings 16:10; Isaiah 40:18; 1 Samuel 6:5; Plat. Phaedr. p. 250 A Parm. p. 132 D. It is not mere similarity, but conformity with the object of comparison concerned as agreeing therewith in appearance; see also Holsten, z. Ev. des Paul. u. Petr. p. 440; Pfleiderer in Hilgenfeld’s Zeitschr. p. 523 f.

καὶ πετειν. κ. τετραπ. κ. ἑρπ.] No doubt as Paul, in using ἀνθρώπου, thought of the forms of the Hellenic gods, so. in πετειν. κ. τ. λ(481) he had in his mind the Egyptian worship of animals (Ibis, Apis, serpents). Philo, Leg. a(482). Caj. p. 566, 570. For passages from profane authors respecting the folly (at which the φθαρτοῦ here also points) of image-worship, see especially Dougtaeus, Anal. 69, p. 102, Grotius and Wetstein. We may add that, like the previous φθαρτοῦ ἀνθρώπου, the genitives πετεινῶν κ. τ. λ(483) are dependent on εἰκόνος, not on ὁμοιώματι (van Hengel), which is less natural and not required by the singular εἰκόνος, that in fact refers to each particular instance in which a man, birds, etc. were copied for purposes of divine adoration by means of statues and other representations.


Verse 24

Romans 1:24. Wherefore (as a penal retribution for their apostasy) God also gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity. καὶ, also, indicates the giving up as a thing corresponding to the guilt. Comp on Philippians 2:9.

ἐν ταῖς ἐπιθ. τ. κ. αὐτ.] contains that, in which they were involved, i.e. the moral condition in which they were found when they were given up by God to impurity. Comp Romans 1:27; Ephesians 2:3; Bernhardy, p. 209. The instrumental rendering (Erasmus, Er. Schmid, Glöckler and Krehl) is unnecessary, because the immediate literal sense of ἐν is quite sufficient, and the former is less suitable as to sense, since it conveys something which is obvious of itself.

παρέδωκεν] expresses the real active giving up on the part of God. The favourite explanation of it by εἴασε, so often resorted to since Origen and Chrysostom, is nothing but a rationalising gloss at variance with the literal meaning. To the Apostle God is the living God, who does not passively permit the retributive consequences of fidelity or of apostasy—thus, as it were, letting them run their course, as an artificer does with his wheel work—but Himself, everywhere active, pervades and effectively develops the arrangements which He has made. If then God has so arranged that man by apostasy from Him should fall into moral impurity, and that thus sin shall be punished by sin (and this connection of sin with sin is in accordance both with experience and Scripture, Isaiah 6:10; Job 8:4; Psalms 69:28; Psalms 81:13; Mark 4:12), this arrangement can only be carried out in reality through the effective action of its originator; and God Himself must give up the apostates unto impurity, inasmuch as it is by His doing that that moral connection is in point of fact accomplished. Comp Acts 7:42; Romans 9:19; also 2 Thessalonians 2:11 f.; and the rabbinical passages quoted by Schoettgen, especially from Pirke Aboth, c. 4 : “Festina ad praeceptum leve tanquam ad grave, et fuge transgressionem; praeceptum enim trahit praeceptum, et transgressio transgressionem: quia merces praecepti praeceptum est, et transgressionis transgressio.” Consequently, if the understanding of παρέδωκεν in its strictly proper and positive meaning is quite in keeping with the universal agency of God, in His physical and moral government of the world, without, however, making God appear as the author of sin, which, on the contrary, has its root in the ἐπιθυμίαι τ. καρδ., we must reject as insufficient the privative interpretation(487), that became current after Augustine and Oecumenius, which Calovius has adopted in part, and Rückert entirely. Comp Philippi, who thinks of the withdrawal of the Divine Spirit and its results, though in the sense of a positive divine infliction of punishment. This withdrawal, through which man is left in the lurch by God, is the immediate negative precursor of the παρέδωκεν (Sirach 4:19). Reiche thinks that Paul here avails himself, with more or less consciousness of its being erroneous, of the general view of the Jews regarding the origin of the peculiar wickedness of the Gentiles (Psalms 81:13; Proverbs 21:8; Sirach 4:19; Wisdom of Solomon 10:12; Wisdom of Solomon 13:1; Acts 7:42); and that this representation of moral depravity as a divine punishment is to be distinguished from the Christian doctrinal system of the Apostle. But how very inconsistent it is with the character of Paul thus consciously to bring forward what is erroneous, and that too with so solemn a repetition (Romans 1:26; Romans 1:28)! And is it not an arrangement accordant with experience, that apostasy from God is punished by an ever deeper fall into immorality? Can this arrangement, made as it is by God “justo judicio” (Calvin), be carried out otherwise than by God? Analogous are even heathen sayings, such as Aesch. Agam. 764 ff., and the heathen idea of the θεοβλάβεια; comp also Ruhnken, a(490) Vellej. ii. 57, 3. But just as man, while his fidelity is rewarded by God through growth in virtue, remains withal free and does not become a virtuous machine; so also he retains his freedom, while God accomplishes the development of His arrangement, in accordance with which sin is born of sin. He gives himself up (Ephesians 4:19), while he is given up by God to that tragic nexus of moral destiny; and he becomes no machine of sin, but possesses at every moment the capacity of μετάνοια, which the very reaction resulting from the feeling of the most terrible misery of sin—punished through sin—is designed to produce. Therefore, on the one hand, man always remains responsible for his deterioration (Romans 1:32; Romans 2:6; Romans 3:5; Romans 7:14); and, on the other, that punishment of sin, in which the teleological law of the development of evil fulfils itself, includes no contradiction of the holiness of God. For this reason the view of Köllner—that the Apostle’s idea is to be separated from its Jewish and temporal form, and that we must assume as the Christian truth in it, that the apostasy of men from God has brought them into deepest misery, as certainly as the latter is self-inflicted—is a superfluous unexegetical evasion, to which Fritzsche also has recourse.

ἀκαθαρσίαν] spurcitia, impurity, and that lustful (comp Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 4:19; Colossians 3:5), as is plain from the following context; not generally: “all action and conduct dishonouring the creaturely glory of man” (Hofmann). The τοῦ ἀτιμάζεσθαι may be taken either as the genitive of the purpose: that they might be dishonoured (Rückert, Philippi, van Hengel), or as the genitive of more precise definition depending on ἀκαθαρσ. (impurity of the becoming dishonoured, i.e. which consisted therein; so Fritzsche, Winer, Tholuck and de Wette). The latter (see Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 230 f.) is the more probable, partly because the ἀτιμάζεσθαι κ. τ. λ(492) already constitutes the impurity itself, and does not merely attend it as a result; and partly on account of the parallel in Romans 1:28, where ποιεῖν κ. τ. λ(493) is likewise epexegetical. ἀτιμάζεσθαι is not however the middle, whereby the αὐτοπαθές would be expressed, for which there is no empirical usage, but the passive: that their bodies were dishonoured among themselves, mutually. This ἐν ἑαυτοῖς refers to the persons ( αὐτῶν, not to be written αὑτῶν), not asserting that the ἀτιμάζασθαι takes place on themselves, which is in fact already conveyed by τὰ σώματα αὐτῶν,(494) but rather based on the nature of participation in unchastity, according to which they bring one on the other reciprocally the dishonouring of the body. In this personal reciprocity of those who practise unchastity with each other lies the characteristic abominableness of the dishonouring of the body; and this point is designated by ἐν ἑαυτοῖς more expressly, because in contrast to non-participating third persons, than it would have been by ἐν ἀλλήλοις (Kühner, a(495) Xen. Mem. ii. 6, 20).

The vices of unchastity, which moreover are still here referred to quite generally (it is otherwise in Romans 1:26 f.), and not specially as unnatural, according to their disgraceful nature, in whatever forms they may have been practised, are specifically heathen (in fact, even partially belonging to the heathen cultus), as a consequence of apostasy from the true God (comp 1 Thessalonians 4:5). As they again prevail even among Christians, wherever this apostasy spreads through unbelief, they must verify even in Christendom their heathen nature, and, along with the likewise essentially heathen πλεονεξία, pre-eminently exclude from the salvation of the Messiah (Ephesians 5:5 f.; Colossians 3:5; 1 Corinthians 6:9 f.).

With ἀτιμάζ. τ. σώμ. compare the opposite, 1 Thessalonians 4:4, where τὸ ἑαυτοῦ σκεῦος must be explained of the body as the vessel of the Ego proper.


Verse 25

Romans 1:25. οἵτινες μετήλλαξαν κ. τ. λ(497)] as those who exchanged, etc. In this description of the character of those who are given up, attached to Romans 1:24, Paul makes once more apparent the motive which determined God to give them up. The words are a renewed tragic commentary (comp Romans 1:22-23) on the διό, Romans 1:24. On ὅστις, quippe qui, which brings up the class to which one belongs, and thereby includes the specification of the reason, see Hermann, a(499) Soph. Oed. R. 688; Matthiae, p. 1073. Hofmann erroneously makes a relative protasis begin with οἵτινες, with which then διὰ τοῦτο κ. τ. λ(500), Romans 1:26, would be connected by way of apodosis: them, who exchanged etc., God has therefore given up. This would not be inconsistent with αὐτούς in Romans 1:26, which would then be resumptive; but the very praise of God, in which Romans 1:25 terminates, and still more the concluding ἀμήν, which can only indicate the end of the sentence (comp Romans 9:5, Romans 11:36; Galatians 1:5; Ephesians 3:21), ought to have decidedly precluded such a forced intermixture of sentences, which is not to be justified by subtleties.

The compound μετήλλ. (exchanged) is more significant than ἤλλαξαν (changed) in Romans 1:23.

τὴν ἀλήθ. τοῦ θεοῦ] to be taken entirely in harmony with the expression τὴν δόξαν τοῦ θεοῦ in Romans 1:23; therefore τοῦ θεοῦ is to be taken as genitive of the subject: the truth of God, the true divine reality,(502) so as to make it in point of actual meaning, though not in the abstract form of the conception, identical with: “true God” (Luther, and most expositors, including Rückert, de Wette, Tholuck, Fritzsche, Philippi, van Hengel). It is differently rendered by Wolf, whom Köllner follows: the truth revealed to the Gentiles by God. Reiche and Mehring (following Pareus, Camerarius, Estius, Seb. Schmid, and Cramer) take it as the true knowledge of God, so that θεοῦ would be genitive of the object. Compare Piscator, Usteri and Glöckler, who understand by it the original consciousness of God. Opposed to these views is the exact parallel in which Romans 1:25 stands to Romans 1:23, so that τοῦ θεοῦ ought not to be taken without necessity as having a different reference in the two verses. τὴν ἀλήθ. τ. θεοῦ is explained concretely by τὸν κτίσαντα in the second half of the verse.

ἐν τῷ ψεύδει] with the lie; ἐν as in Romans 1:23. By this Paul means, in contrast to τὴν ἀλήθ. τ. θεοῦ (but otherwise than in Romans 3:7), the false gods, which are κατʼ ἑξοχὴν the ψεῦδος in concreto, the negation of the truth of God. Comp on 1 Corinthians 8:4 f., 1 Corinthians 10:20. Grotius has aptly said: “pro Deo vero sumserunt imaginarios.” Comp Isaiah 44:20; Jeremiah 3:10; Jeremiah 13:25; Jeremiah 16:19, al(505); Philo, vit. Mos. p. 678 C, p. 679 A.

καὶ ἐσεβάσθησαν.… κτίσαντα] more precise explanation of the first clause of the verse.

ἐσεβ. κ. ἐλάτρ.] The former is general (coluerunt), the latter took place through sacrifices, and other definite rites and services; hence Paul designates his own specific service of God in Romans 1:8 by λατρεύω. σεβάζομαι, in Homer: to be afraid of (Il. vi. 167, 417), is employed in the later Greek like σέβομαι in the sense to revere, Orph. Arg. 550, Aq. Hos. x. 5. In the N. T. it only occurs here.

τῇ κτίσει] Corresponding with the verb standing next to it, so that the accusative is to be supplied with ἐσεβ. See Matthiae, § 428, 2.

παρὰ τ. κτίσαντα] in the sense of comparison: prae creatore, in which case the context alone decides whether the preference of the one before the other is only relative, or whether it excludes the latter altogether (see on Luke 18:14; and van Hengel on our passage). The second case is that which occurs here, in accordance both with the nature of the case, seeing that the Gentiles did not worship the Creator at all, and with the immediate connection ( μετήλλαξαν.… ἐν τῷ ψεύδει). The sense therefore substantially amounts to praeterito creatore (Hilary), or relicto creatore (Cyprian), i.e. they honoured the creature and not the Creator, whom they ought to have honoured. Theophylact says aptly, with reference to the comparative παρά: ἐκ τῆς συγκρίσεως τὸ ἔγκλημα ἐπαίρων. So in substance also Beza, Estius, and others, including Reiche, Tholuck, Olshausen, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Krehl, Reithmayr, Maier, Philippi, van Hengel. The relative interpretation: more than the Creator (Vulgate, Erasmus, Luther, Castalio, Grotius, Ammon, Rückert, and others), is therefore in point of fact erroneous. The contra creatorem, which Hammond, Koppe, Flatt, Fritzsche and Mehring find here, may likewise be traced to the sense of comparison (see Bernhardy, p. 259; Winer, p. 377 [E. T. 504]; and the passages from Plato in Ast. Lex. III. p. 28), but has against it the fact, that in the whole context Paul presents the matter in the light of a μετάλλαξις, of an exchanging the true for the false, not of hostility to the true. From that point of view the Gentiles have worshipped the creature, and not the Creator. Quite parallel is παρʼ ἐκεῖνον in Luke, Luke 18:14, Lachm.

The doxology: who is praised, בָּרוּךְ, not: celebrandus (comp on Ephesians 1:3 ; 2 Corinthians 11:31; Mark 14:61), for ever! Amen,—is a natural effusion of deeply-moved piety, called forth by the detestable contrast of the Gentile abominations just described, without any further special design (Koppe: “ne ipse in majestatem divinam injurius videri possit;” comp Tholuck).


Verse 26-27

Romans 1:26-27. διὰ τοῦτο] Beginning an independent, sentence (against Hofmann, see on Romans 1:25), refers to the description οἵτινες.… κτίσαντα contained in Romans 1:25. The giving up is set forth once more (comp Romans 1:24, διό) as the punishment of apostasy, and now indeed with such increasing force of delineation, that out of the category which is kept quite general in Romans 1:24 unnatural sensual abominations are specially adduced.

εἰς πάθη ἀτιμίας] Genitive of quality. Comp on πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης in Romans 1:4, and Bornemann, Schol. in Luc. p. 21. Parallel to the passions of a disgraceful character is εἰς ἀκαθαρσίαν in Romans 1:24; comp Colossians 3:5; but the stronger expression here selected prepares the way for the following description of a peculiarly abominable form of vice. Still the unnatural element is not implied in πάθη ἀτιμίας itself (Hofmann: they are a dishonouring, not merely of the body, but of “humanity”), since morally dishonouring passions are the agents, not only in the case of unnatural, but also in that of natural unchastity.

Respecting τὲ γάρ, namque, for.… indeed (Romans 7:7; 2 Corinthians 10:8), see Hermann, a(511) Soph. Trach. 1015; Hartung, I. p. 115; Klotz, a(512) Devar. p. 749 ff.

The expressions θήλειαι and ἄρσενες, their females and their males, not γυναῖκες and ἄνδρες, are chosen because the predominant point of view is simply that of sex; Reiche thinks: out of contempt, because the words would also be used of beasts; but in fact, such unnatural things are foreign to the very beasts. Besides, the words are used even of the gods (Homer, Il. viii. 7, and frequently).

τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν] of their sex, not: of the male, which is unsuitable to the vice indicated. Regarding χρῆσις in the sense of sexual use, see Wetstein and Kypke, also Coray, a(513) Heliodor. Aeg., p. 31.

How very prevalent among the Gentiles (it was found also among the Jews, see Schoettgen, Hor. in loc(514)) was the so-called Lesbian vice, λεσβιάζειν (Lucian, D.Mer. 5. 2), women with women abusing their sex (tribades, in Tertullian frictrices), see Salmasius, foen. Trapez. p. 143 f., 152 f.; and the commentators on Ael. V. H. iii. 12. Comp the ἑταιρίστριαι in Plat. Symp. p. 191 E, and the ασέλγεια τριβακή in Luc. Amor. 28; and see Ruhnken, a(516) Tim. p. 124, and generally Rosenbaum, Gesch. d. Lustseuche im Alterth. ed. 2, 1845.

That ὁμοίως δὲ καί after the preceding τέ makes the latter an anakoluthon, is commonly assumed, but altogether without foundation, because in τὲ γάρ the τέ does not necessarily require any correlative. See Klotz l.c(517) If it were put correlatively, we should have in ὁμοίως δὲ καί the other corresponding member really present (as is actually the case, e.g. in Plat. Symp. p. 186 E), which however would in that case inappropriately stand out with greater emphasis and weight than the former(518) (Stallbaum, a(519) Plat. Polit. p. 270 D, Rep. p. 367 C Dissen, a(520) Pind. Ol. viii. 56; Klausen, a(521) Aesch. Choeph. p. 199). The reading τέ (instead of δέ) in Elz., as well as the entire omission of the particle (C, min(522), Origen, Jerome), is a too hasty emendation.

ἐξεκαύθησαν] Stronger than the simple form. Comp Alciphr. iii. 67; ἐξεκαύθην εἰς ἔρωτα. Such a state is the πυροῦσθαι in 1 Corinthians 7:9. Moreover, Paul represents here not the heat that precedes the act of unchastity, but that which is kindled in the act itself ( κατεργαζόμενοι.… ἀπολαμβάνοντες).

ἄρσενες ἐν ἄρσεσι] whilst they, males on males, performed the (known, from Romans 1:26) unseemliness. On the emphatic juxtaposition of ἄρσ. ἐν ἄρσ. comp generally Lobeck, a(525) Aj. 522, and in particular Porphyr. de abstin. iv. 20; and Wetstein in loc(526) On κατεργαζεσθαι, which is used both of evil (Romans 2:9, Romans 7:9, Romans 15:17 f.) and good (Romans 5:3, Romans 15:18; Philippians 2:12), but which, as distinguished from ἐργάζεσθαι, always expresses the bringing to pass, the accomplishment, comp especially Romans 2:9, and van Hengel thereon; 1 Corinthians 5:3; 2 Corinthians 7:10, and the critical remarks thereon. On ἀσχημ. see Genesis 34:7.

τὴν ἀντιμισθίαν κ. τ. λ(528)] The aberration, which Paul means, see in Romans 1:21-23; Romans 1:28; it is the aberration from God to idols, not that implied in the sexual perversion of the divine order (Hofmann), which perversion, on the contrary, is brought by διό in Romans 1:24, and by διά τοῦτο in Romans 1:26, under the point of view of penal retribution for the πλάνη. By the recompense for the πλάνη Paul does not at all mean that the men “have that done to them by their fellows, which they themselves do to theirs” (Hofmann), but rather, in harmony with the connection of cause and effect, the abominable unnatural lusts just described, to which God has given up the Gentiles, and thereby, in recompensing godlessness through such wicked excesses (Romans 1:18), revealed His ὀργή. Therefore also ἥν ἐδει is added, namely, in accordance with the necessity of the holy divine order. See Romans 1:24; Romans 1:26; Romans 1:28. On ἀντι΄ισθία comp 2 Corinthians 6:13; Clem. Cor. II. 1. It occurs neither in Greek authors, who have the adjective ἀντί΄ισθος (Aesch. Suppl. 273), nor in the LXX. or Apocrypha.

ἐν ἑαυτοῖς] on themselves mutually ( ἐν ἀλλήλοις), as in Romans 1:24. It enhances the sadness of the description. For a number of passages attesting the prevalence of unchastity between man and man, especially of paederastia among the Gentiles, particularly the Greeks (it was forbidden to the Jews in Leviticus 18:22), see Becker, Charikl. I. p. 346 ff.; Hermann, Privatalterth. § 29; Bernhardy, Griech. Lit. ed. 2, p. 50 ff. Moreover, Bengel aptly observes regarding the whole of this unreserved exposure of Gentile unchastity: “In peccatis arguendis saepe scapha debet scapha dici. Pudorem praeposterum ii fere postulant, qui pudicitia carent.… Gravitas et ardor stili judicialis proprietate verborum non violat verecundiam.” Observe, nevertheless, how the Apostle delineates the female dishonour in less concrete traits than the male. He touches the matter in Romans 1:26 briefly and clearly enough, but with delicate avoidance of detailed description.


Verse 28

Romans 1:28. From the previous exclusive description of the sensual vice of the Gentiles, Paul now proceeds to a summary enumeration of yet other vices to which they had been given up by God in punishment of their apostasy.

καθώς] is not causal, but quemadmodum. The giving them up was something corresponding to their disdainful rejection of the knowledge of God, proportionate as punishment.

οὐκ ἐδοκίμασαν] they deemed God not worth (1 Thessalonians 2:4); οὐ γὰρ ἀγνοίας, ἀλλὰ μελέτης εἶναι φησὶ τὰ τολμήματα, Chrysostom.

ἔχειν ἐν ἐπιγνώσει] Their γνῶναι τὸν θεόν, derived from the revelation of nature (Romans 1:21), ought to have been brought by cultivation to an ἐπιγνῶναι, that is, to a penetrating and living knowledge of God (see on Ephesians 1:17; 1 Corinthians 13:12); thus they would have attained to the having God ἐν ἐπιγνώσει; but they would not, and so became τὰ ἔθνη τὰ μὴ εἰδότα τὸν θεόν, 1 Thessalonians 4:5; Galatians 4:8; Ephesians 2:12; Acts 17:30. On ἔχειν ἐν with an abstract noun, which represents the object as appropriated in the action, so that it is possessed in the latter (here in ἐπιγνῶμναι), comp Locella, a(531) Xen. Eph. p. 255. Similar is ἐν ὀργῇ ἔχειν, and the like, Krüger on Thucyd. ii. 8, 3.

εἰς ἀδόκ. νοῦν] An ingenious paronomasia with οὐκ ἐδοκί΄., to set forth the more prominently the recompense, to which the emphatically repeated θεός also contributes: as they did not esteem God worthy, etc., God gave them up to an unworthy, reprobate νοῦς (the collective power of the mind’s action in theoretic and moral cognition(532)). The rendering judicii expers (Beza, Glöckler and others) is opposed to the genius of the language, even as Bengel turns it, and Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 280, defines it. The ἀδόκιμον of the νοῦς is its blameworthiness according to an objective moral standard, but does not express the mode of thinking which they themselves must condemn among one another (Th. Schott; comp Hofmann), which is neither to be taken by anticipation from Romans 1:32, nor extracted from ΄ὴ.

ποιεῖν τὰ ΄ὴ καθήκοντα] to do what is not becoming, what is not moral. Comp 3 Maccabees 4:16. The Stoical distinction between καθῆκον and κατόρθω΄α Paul has not thought of (as Vitringa conceives). The infinitive is epexegetical: so that they do. The participle with μή indicates the genus of that which is not seemly (Baeumlein, Partik. p. 296); τὰ οὐ καθήκοντα (comp Ephesians 5:4), would be the unseemly. The negative expression is correlate to the ἀδόκιμος νοῦς.


Verses 29-31

Romans 1:29-31. πεπληρωμένους πάσῃ ἀδικίᾳ] a more precise definition of ποιεῖν τὰ μὴ καθήκ.: as those who are full of every unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). This is the general statement, and all the points subsequently introduced are its several species, so that μεστοὺς φθόνου and then ψιθυριστὰς κ. τ. λ(536) are appositions to πεπληρ. π. ἀδικ. Similar catalogues of sins are 2 Corinthians 12:20; Galatians 5:19 ff.; Ephesians 5:3 f.; 1 Timothy 1:9 f.; 2 Timothy 3:2 ff.

πονηρίᾳ.… κακίᾳ] malignity (malice), comp Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:8; Titus 3:3.… vileness (meanness), the latter, in Aristotle and other writers, opposed to ἁρετή, and translated in Cicero, Tusc. iv. 15, 34, by vitiositas. Comp 1 Corinthians 5:8.

φόνου] Conceived here as the thought which has filled the man, the μερμηρίζειν φόνον, Homer, Od. xix. 2, comp Acts 9:1. On the paronomasia with φθόνου comp Galatians 5:21. The latter is just the σημεῖον φύσεως παντάπασι πονηρᾶς, Dem. 499, 21.

κακοηθείας] malicious disposition, whose peculiarity it is ἐπὶ τὸ χεῖρον ὑπολαμβάνειν τὰ πάντα (Aristotle, Rhet. ii. 13). As the context requires a special vice, we may not adopt, with Erasmus, Calvin, and Homberg, the general signification perversitas, corruptio morum (Xen. Cyn. xiii. 16; Dem. 542, 11; Plat. Rep. p. 348 D). See regarding the word generally Homberg, Parerg. p. 196; Kypke, II. p. 155 f.

ψιθυρ.] whisperers, talebearers, consequently secret slanderers (Dem. 1358, 6); but κατάλαλοι, calumniators, detractors generally, not precisely open ones (Theophylact, Köllner, de Wette and others). Comp ψιθυρισμούς τε καὶ καταλαλιάς, Clem. Cor. i. 35. The construction of καταλάλους as an adjective with ψιθυρ. (Hofmann), must be rejected, because none of the other elements has an adjectival definition annexed to it, and because καταλάλ. would not add to the notion of ψιθυρ. anything characteristic in the way of more precise definition. ψιθυρ. would be better fitted to form a limiting definition of καταλ. But in 2 Corinthians 12:20 also, both ideas stand independently side by side.

θεοστυγεῖς] hated by God, Deo odibiles (Vulgate). This passive rendering of the word which belongs especially to the tragedians (Pollux, i. 21), so that it is equivalent to θεῷ ἐχθαιρόμενος (comp Soph. Aj. 458), is clearly attested by the usus loquendi as the only correct one. See Eurip. Troad. 1213, Cycl. 395, 598, Neophr. ap. Stob. serm. 20, p. 172. Comp θεοστύγητος in Aesch. Choeph. 635, Fritzsche in loc(544), and Wetstein. Since no passage whatever supports the active signification, and since even Suidas and Oecumenius clearly betray that they knew the active meaning adopted by them to be a deviation from the usage of the ancient writers,(545) we must reject, with Koppe, Rückert, Fritzsche, de Wette, Philippi, Baumgarten-Crusius, and Hofmann, the interpretation, Dei osores, that has been preferred by the majority since the time of Theodoret.(546) Even the analogous forms that have been appealed to, θεομισής, βροτοστυγής (Aesch. Choeph. 51, Prom. 799), are to be taken as passives, and therefore testify against the active interpretation.(547) Comp θεοβλαβής, stricken of God, Herod. viii. 137, al(549) In particular, θεομισής is quite the same as θεοστυγής, the opposite of θεοφιλής, beloved of God. (See Plat. Rep. p. 612 E, Euth. p. 8 A Dem. 1486, ult.; Arist. Ran. 443.) Comp θεῷ μισητοί, Wisdom of Solomon 14:9; and, as regards the idea, the Homeric ὅς κε θεοῖσιν ἀπέχθηται μακάρεσσιν, Od. κ. 74. The accentuation θεοστύγης, approved of even by Grotius and Beza, to distinguish it from the passive θεοστυγης, is nothing but an ancient (Suidas) unsupported fiction. See Buttmann, II. p. 371, Winer, p. 53 [E. T. 61]. God-hating is expressed by μισόθεος, Lucian, Tim. 35, Aesch. Ag. 1090; comp φιλόθεος, God-loving. The adoption, nevertheless, of the active sense was occasioned by the consideration: “ut in passivo positum dicatur, nulla est ratio, quum P. hic homines ex vitiis evidentibus reos faciat,” Calvin; but even granting a certain unsuitableness in the passive sense, still we should not be justified in giving an explanation contrary to the usus loquendi; we should be obliged to abide by the view that Paul had mixed up a less suitable term among the others. But this objection is diminished, if we take θεοστ., in accordance with the idea of divine holiness, as a characteristic designation of infamous evil-doers in general. So Fritzsche, and also Philippi. Comp Plat. Legg. viii. p. 838 B: θεομισῆ.… καὶ αἰσχρῶν αἴσχιστα. And it vanishes altogether, if, leaving the word in its strict signification, hated of God, we recognise in it a summary judgment of moral indignation respecting all the preceding particulars; so that, looking back on these, it forms a resting point in the disgraceful catalogue, the continuation of which is then carried on by ὑβριστὰς κ. τ. λ(553) According to Hofmann, θεοστυγ. is an adjective qualifying ὑβριστάς. But we do not see why precisely this single point(554) in the entire catalogue, insolence (the notion of which is not to be arbitrarily heightened, so as to make it denote “the man-despiser who treads upon his fellows”), among so many particulars, some of them even worse, should be accompanied by an epithet, and one, too, of so extreme severity.

The continuation begins with a threefold description of self-exaltation, and that in a descending climax. Regarding the distinction between ὑβρισταί, the insolent (qui prae superbia non solum contemnunt alios, sed etiam contumeliose tractant, comp 1 Timothy 1:13), ὑπερήφανοι, the proud (who, proud of real or imaginary advantages, despise others), and ἀλαζόνες (boasters, swaggerers, without exactly intending to despise or insult others with their vainglory), see Tittmann, Synon. N. T. p. 73 f. Comp Grotius and Wetstein; on ἀλαζ. especially Ruhnk. a(557) Tim. p. 28, Ast, a(558) Theophr. Char. 23. If ὑπερηφ. be taken as adjective with the latter (Hofmann), then the vice, which is invariably and intrinsically immoral,(559) would be limited merely to a particular mode of it.

ἐφευρ. κακῶν] devisers (Anacr. xli. 3) of evil things, quite general; not to be limited to things of luxury, with Grotius; nor, with Hofmann, to evils which they desire to do to others. Comp 2 Maccabees 7:31, and the passages from Philo in Loesner; also Tacit. Ann. iv. 11, and Virg. Aen. ii. 161.

ἀσυνέτους] irrational, unreflecting, who, in what they do and leave undone, are not determined by the σύνεσις, by morally intelligent insight. Luther rightly says: “Mr. Unreason going rashly to work [Hans Unvernunft, mit dem Kopfe hindurch].” So also Sirach 15:7. The rendering devoid of conscience (according to Suidas) deviates from the proper signification of the word.

ἀσυνθέτους] makes a paronomasia with the foregoing, and means, not unsociable (Castalio, Tittmann, Ewald, comp Hofmann), for which there is no warrant of usage, but covenant-breakers (Jeremiah 3:8; Jeremiah 3:10 f.; Suidas, Hesychius; see also Dem. 383, 6). On ἀστόργ. (without the natural affection of love) and ἀνελεή΄. (unmerciful), see Tittmann, Synon. p. 69.

The succession of the accumulated particulars is not arranged according to a systematic scheme, and the construction of such a scheme leads to arbitrary definition of the import of individual points; but still their distribution is so far in accordance with approximate categories, that there are presented:—1st, The general heathen vices, πεπληρωμένους.… κακίᾳ; 2nd, dispositions inimical to others, μεστοὺς.… κακοηθείας, and calumniatory speeches, ψιθυρ., καταλάλ.; both series concluding with the general θεοστυγεῖς; then, 3rd, The arrogant character, ὑβριστὰς.… ἀλαζόνας; and finally, 4th, A series of negative particulars (all with a privative), but headed by the positive, general ἐφευρ. κακῶν. This negative series portrays the want of dutiful affection in family life ( γον. ἀπειθ.), of intelligence ( ἀσυνέτ.), fidelity ( ἀσυνθ.), and love ( ἀστόργ. ἀνελ.),—consequently the want of every principle on which moral action is based.


Verse 32

Romans 1:32. οἵτινες] quippe qui, of such a character, that they, cannot be the specification of a reason, as in Romans 1:25, and cannot consequently be intended to repeat once more the laying of the blame on themselves, since Romans 1:32 merely continues the description of the wickedness. It rather serves to introduce the awful completion of this description of vice; and that in such a way, that the Gentile immorality is brought clearly to light as an opposition to knowledge and conscience, and is thereby at the last very evidently shown to be wholly inexcusable (comp Romans 2:1).

τὸ δικαίω΄α τ. θεοῦ] i.e. that which God as Lawgiver and Judge has ordained; what He has determined, and demands, as right. Comp Krüger on Thuc. i. 41, 1; and see on Romans 5:16. Paul means the natural law of the moral consciousness (Romans 2:15), which determines: ὅτι οἱ τὰ τοιαῦτα πράσσοντες κ. τ. λ(564) This ὅτι κ. τ. λ(565) therefore is not to be treated as a parenthesis.

ἐπιγνόντες] although they have discerned (comp on Romans 1:28), not merely γνόντες; but so much the greater is the guilt.

θανάτου] What in the view of the heathen was conceived of as the state of punishment in Hades (comp Philippi and Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 277), which was incurred through vice and crime, Paul designates, in accordance with the truth involved in it (comp Plat. Rep. p. 330 D), from his standpoint as θανάτος, and by this he means eternal death (comp 2 Thessalonians 1:8); not temporal (Bengel, van Hengel, Mehring); or execution (Grotius, Hofmann); also not indefinitely severe punishments,(570) the misery of sin, and so forth (so even Fritzsche and de Wette).

συνευδοκ. τοῖς πράσσ.] they are consenting with them that do them (comp Luke 11:48; Acts 8:1; 1 Corinthians 7:12; 1 Maccabees 1:60; 2 Maccabees 11:24). They not only do those things, but are also in their moral judgment (so wholly antagonistic to conscience has the latter become in the abandonment unto which God has decreed them, Romans 1:28) in agreement with others who so act. Bengel well remarks: “pejus est συνευδοκεῖν; nam qui malum patrat, sua sibi cupiditate abducitur,” etc., and how sharply are we otherwise ourselves accustomed to see and judge the mote in the eye of another! (Matthew 7:3). This climax(572) to the description of immorality, moreover, is neither to be referred with Grotius and Baumgarten-Crusius to the philosophers, who approved of several vices (paederastia, revenge, etc.) or regarded them as adiaphora; nor with Heumann and Ewald to the magistrates, who left many crimes unpunished and even furthered them by their own example; but, in harmony with the quite general delineation of Gentile depravity, to be taken as a general feature marking the latter, which is thus laid bare in the deepest slough of moral perversity.

The πράσσοντες and πράσσουσι are more comprehensive than the simple ποιοῦσιν (do), designating the pursuit of these immoralities as the aim of their activity. See on John 3:20. Comp Romans 2:3; Romans 7:15; Romans 13:4; Dem. de cor. 62: τί προσῆκον ἦν ἑλέσθαι πράττειν κ. ποιεῖν.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Romans 1:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/romans-1.html. 1832.


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