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Bible Commentaries
Romans 5

Alford's Greek Testament Critical Exegetical CommentaryAlford's Greek Testament Commentary

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Verse 1

1 .] It is impossible to resist the strong manuscript authority for the reading ἔχωμεν in this verse. For indeed this may well be cited as the crucial instance of overpowering diplomatic authority compelling us to adopt a reading against which our subjective feelings rebel. Every internal consideration tends to impugn it. If admitted, the sentence is hortatory. ‘Being then justified by faith , let us have peace with God .’ (This is the only admissible sense of the first person subjunctive in an affirmative sentence like the present. The usage is an elliptical one: ἴωμεν , ‘ that we go ,’ i.e. ‘ it is time ,’ or in an address, ‘ permit , &c. that we go.’ Thus Od. χ . 77, ἐλθωμεν ἀνὰ ἄστυ : Il. χ . 450. ἴδωμ ʼ, ἅτιν ʼ ἔργα τέτυκται . See other examples in Kühner, Gramm. § 463. The deliberative sense, attempted to be given by Dr. Tregelles (see Kitto’s Journal of Bibl. Lit. No. xiv. p. 465 ff.) can only have place in an interrogative or dubitative clause, and every example given by Mr. Green, whom he cites for his supposed sense, as well as by Kühner (§ 464), is of this kind. Besides, to call the sense ‘we ought to have,’ deliberative , seems a misnomer.) But how can man be exhorted to have peace with God? To be reconciled to God, he may, 2 Corinthians 5:20 ; but of this there is no mention here, and having (been allowed to believe in and enjoy) peace with God , depends on, not our reconciliation to Him, not any thing subjective in ourselves, but the objective fact of His reconciliation to us . If, as tome say, ( ἔχωμεν = κατέχωμεν , Hebrews 10:23 , the article would be required before εἰρήνην , and (perhaps) before πρὸς or διὰ . Besides which there are two objections in the form of the sentence to this reading: (1) ἔχ . is coupled by καὶ ( δι ʼ οὗ καί ) to ἐσχήκαμεν , and this connexion necessitates, in my view, that the first verb should assert a fact , as the second undoubtedly does. With the former verb in the subjunctive we should hardly have expected the καί where it is. (2) If ἔχωμεν be hortatory, καυχώμεθα , in Romans 5:2 , must be so likewise: (for if we were exhorted to the lesser degree of confidence, εἰρήνην ἔχειν , such exhortation can hardly be founded on the existence already of the greater degree, καυχᾶσθαι κ . τ . λ .) which, both as to sense and construction, is very improbable. I believe (but see below) an account of the reading may be sought, as in 1 Corinthians 15:49 , in a tendency of those who transcribed some of our MSS. to give such assertions a hortatory , or, where interrogative, a deliberative form : thus we have σωθησώμεθα in some MSS., Romans 5:10 , ζήσωμεν , ch. Romans 6:2 , πιστεύωμεν or πιστεύσωμεν , and συνζήσωμεν , ch. Romans 6:8 , ὑπακούσατε , ch. Romans 6:17 , προσεύξωμαι (bis), 1 Corinthians 14:15 , πείθωμεν , 2 Corinthians 5:11 , πιστεύωμεν , John 4:42 , συνζήσωμεν and συμβασιλεύσωμεν , 2 Timothy 2:11-12 : or perhaps the whole ground of the account to be given of the ω is better shifted to a more general habit of the MSS. (even the greatest and best, see instances in prolegg. to Vol. I. ch. vi. § 1:36, 37) to confound ο and ω : so that in very many cases, such variation can hardly be called a different reading at all.

The whole passage is declaratory of the consequences flowing from justification by faith , and does not exhort, but assert . Nor, would it seem, does the place for exhortation arrive, till these consequences have been in the fullest and freest manner set forth, indeed so fully and freely, that the objection arising from their supposed abuse has first to be answered. Being therefore justified (‘ having been justified :’ it is an act past on the Christian, not like sanctification, an abiding and increasing work) by (as the ground) faith, let us (believers in Christ: I render the existing text ) have peace (‘reconcilement;’ the opposite of ὀργή , see Rom 5:9 ) with (‘in regard of,’ see reff.) God through (by means of) our Lord Jesus Christ . With regard to the nature of this peace (= state of reconciliation , ‘no more condemnation,’ as ch. Rom 8:1 ) see above, on the reading ἔχωμεν .

Verses 1-11


Verses 1-21

Rom 1:18 to Romans 11:36 . ] THE DOCTRINAL EXPOSITION OF THE ABOVE TRUTH: THAT THE GOSPEL IS THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION TO EVERY ONE THAT BELIEVETH. And herein, ch. Rom 1:18 to Romans 3:20 , inasmuch as this power of God consists in the revelation of God’s righteousness in man by faith, and in order to faith the first requisite is the recognition of man’s unworthiness, and incapability to work a righteousness for himself, the Apostle begins by proving that all, Gentiles and Jews, are GUILTY before God, as holding back the truth in unrighteousness. And FIRST, ch. Romans 1:18-32 , OF THE GENTILES.

Verse 2

2. ] Through whom we have also (so διὸ [ καί ], ch. Romans 1:24 ; Romans 4:22 , where καί , if read, serves to shew the coherence and likelihood of that which is asserted, answering almost to our ‘as might be expected’) had our access (the persons spoken of having come to the Father by Christ, see Ephesians 2:18 , the access is treated of as a thing past. τῇ πίστει and ἐν τῇ πίστει appear to have been glosses, explanatory of the method of access. The access would normally take place in baptism) into this grace (namely, the grace of justification, apprehended and held fast subjectively (from what follows); not, τὸ πάντων ἐπιτυχεῖν τῶν διὰ βαπτίσματος ἀγαθῶν (Chrys. al.), which is inconsistent with ἐν ᾗ ἑστήκ .: not, ‘ the Gospel ’ (Fritz.), for the same reason; not, ‘ hope of blessedness ’ (Beza), for that follows : least of all ‘ the grace of the apostolic calling ’ (Semler), which is quite beside the purpose) wherein we Stand (see parallels in reff. 1 and 2 Cor.; i.e. abide accepted and acquitted with God ; see also 1 Corinthians 10:12 , and ch. Rom 11:20 ); and (couple to εἰρήν . ἔχωμεν , not to ἐν ᾖ ἑστήκ .) glory in the hope ( καυχάομαι is found with ἐπί , ἐν , περί , ὑπέρ , and (Thol.) with an acc. of the object. In Heb 3:6 we have τὸ καύχημα τῆς ἐλπίδος ) of the glory of God (of sharing God’s glory by being with Christ in His kingdom, John 17:24 , see reff.).

Verse 3

3. ] And not only so (not only must we triumph in hope, which has regard to the future), but glorying in (not amidst ; the θλ . is the ground of triumph) [ our ] tribulations, knowing (because we know) that tribulation works endurance (supposing, i.e. we remain firm under it), and endurance, approval (of our faith and trust, 2 Corinthians 2:9 ; 2 Corinthians 9:13 ; not, ‘ proof ’ ( δοκιμασία ), as Grot.; nor ‘ experience ,’ as E. V., ‘ δοκιμή est qualitas ejus, qui est δόκιμος .’ Bengel, the result of proof), and approval (fresh) hope; and hope (but for αὕτη ἡ ἐλπ . as Olsh.) shames (us) not (by disappointing us; ‘mocks us not’); because God’s love (not ‘ the love of God ,’ i.e. man’s love for God , as Theodoret, and even Aug [26] , misled by the Latin; see reff., and compare the explicit τὴν ἑαυτοῦ ἀγάπην εἰς ἡμᾶς , which answers to this in Rom 5:8 ) is (has been) poured out (‘ effusa ,’ not ‘ diffusa ’ (Vulg.), which latter word perhaps misled Aug [27] , owing to whose mistake the true interpretation was lost for some centuries, although held by Orig [28] , Chrys., and Ambrose. See Trench on St. Augustine, ch. v. p. 89: i.e. ‘richly imparted’) in our hearts ( ἐν may be taken pregnantly, ἐκκέχ . εἰς καὶ μένει ἐν , or better, denotes the locality where the outpouring takes place, the heart being the seat of our love, and of appreciation and sympathy with God’s love ) by means of the Holy Spirit (who is the Outpourer, John 16:14 ; 1Co 2:9-10 ) which was given to us (Olsh. rightly refers the aorist part. to the Pentecostal effusion of the Holy Spirit).

[26] Augustine, Bp. of Hippo , 395 430

[27] Augustine, Bp. of Hippo , 395 430

[28] Origen, b. 185, d. 254

‘Prima hæc est in hac tractatione Spiritus Sancti mentio. Nimirum ad hunc usque terminum quum perductus est homo, operationem Sp. Sancti notanter denique sentit.’ Bengel.

Verse 6

6. ] The text here is in some confusion, see var. readd. The whole may perhaps have arisen from an ecclesiastical portion having begun χριστὸς ὄντων ἡμῶν ἀσθενῶν ἔτι … When this found its way into the text, ἔτι was repeated. This offended the transcribers: but the first ἔτι could not be erased , because γάρ followed; it may then have been conjecturally emended to εἰ (and γάρ to γέ as in B, or δέ as in L), or εἰς τί , some retaining ἔτι in both places. The place of ἔτι is often, in the case of absolutes, at the beginning of a sentence, with the subject of the senence between it and the word or words to which it applies; so ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος , Matthew 12:46 , ἔτι δέ αὐτοῦ μακρὰν ἀπέχοντος , Luke 15:20 , &c. On reconsideration, however, seeing that if we follow the most ancient MSS., we must either repeat ἔτι , which seems very unlikely to have been originally written, or adopt the reading of B, I have taken the latter alternative. If, that is (on εἴ γε , see note, 2 Corinthians 5:3 , and Eph 3:2 ), Christ when we were yet weak (‘powerless for good;’ or even stronger than that: there seems in this verse to be a tacit reference to Ezekiel 16:0 . See especially Rom 5:7-8 of that chap. in the LXX, σὺ δὲ ἦσθα γυμνὴ καὶ ἀσχημονοῦσα καὶ διῆλθον διὰ σοῦ καὶ ἴδον σε , καὶ ἰδοὺ καιρός σου … καὶ διεπέτασα τὰς πτέρυγάς μου ἐπὶ σέ , καὶ ἐκάλυψα τὴν ἀσχημοσύνην σου , καὶ ὤμοσά σοι · καὶ εἰσῆλθον ἐν διαθήκῃ μετὰ σοῦ , λέγει κύριος ), in due season (i.e. at the appointed time; compare reff. and Galatians 4:4 , and καιρός in the quotation above) Christ died for (‘on behalf of,’ see reff.) ungodly men (not ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν , because the Apostle wishes to bring out fully by this strong antithesis, which he enlarges on in the next verses, the greatness of the divine Love to man).

Verse 7

7. ] The greatness of this Love, of Christ’s death on behalf of the impious, is brought out by shewing that there is none such among men , nay that such a self-sacrifice, not unexampled where a good man, one loving his fellow-men and loved by them, is to be rescued, is hardly found to occur on behalf of the pious and just. For hardly will any one die on behalf of a just man (masc., not neuter, ‘for justice’ or ‘righteousness sake,’ as Jer [29] , Erasm., Luth., al.: for the matter in hand is Christ’s death on behalf of persons ) for (this second ‘for’ is exceptive, and answers to ‘but I do not press this without exception,’ understood) on behalf of the good man (the art. as pointing him out generally, as in the expression, ‘the fool,’ ‘the wise man,’ ‘the righteous,’ ‘the wicked’) perhaps ( τάχα opens a possibility which μόλις closes) one doth even dare (i.e. is even found to venture; the pres. implies habituality it may occur here and there) to die .

[29] Jerome , fl. 378 420

The distinction here made between δίκαιος and ἀγαθός , is also found in Cicero, de Of. Romans 3:15 , ‘Si vir bonus is est qui prodest quibus potest, nocet nemini, recte justum virum, bonum non facile reperiemus.’ (But some edd. read ‘istum virum bonum.’)

The interpretation which makes δίκαιος and ἀγαθός refer to the same man, and the second clause = ‘I do not say that such a thing may not sometimes occur,’ is very vapid, and loses sight of the antithesis between δἰκαιος , and ἄδικος (= ἀσεβής = ἁμαρτωλός ).

Verse 8

8. ] But (as distinguished from human examples) He (i.e. God. The omission of ὁ θεός , which critical principles render necessary, is in keeping with the perfectly general way in which the contrast is put, merely with τίς , not ἀνθρώπων τίς . The subject is supplied from ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ θεοῦ Rom 5:5 ) gives proof of (‘establishes’ (reff.); not ‘commends’) His own love ( own , as distinguished from that of men in Rom 5:7 ) towards us, in that while we were yet (as opposed to νῦν in the next verse) sinners (= ἀσθενῶν = ἀσεβῶν [ Rom 5:6 ], and opposed to δίκαιος and ἀγαθός , Rom 5:7 ) Christ died for us.

Verses 9-11

9 11 .] The Apostle further shews the blessed fruits of justification , viz. salvation , both from wrath , and with life . The argument proceeds from the beginning of the chapter: but the connexion , as so frequent with St. Paul, is immediately with the parenthetical sentences just preceding. Much more then (if He died for us when sinners , a fortiori will He save us now that we are righteous by virtue of that His death) having been now justified by His blood (see remarks on ch. Rom 4:25 ) we shall be saved by Him from the wrath ( to come , or of which we know : force of the art.).

Verse 10

10. ] The same is substantiated in another form: ‘we were enemies (see below) when He died and reconciled us: much more now that we have been reconciled, and He lives, shall we by His life be saved.’ For if, being enemies ( ἐχθροί may either be active, as Colossians 1:21 , ‘ haters of God ;’ so ἐχθρά , ch. Romans 8:7 ; Ephesians 2:15 ; or passive, as ch. Romans 11:28 , ‘ hated by God .’ But here the latter meaning alone can apply, for the Apostle is speaking of the Death of Christ and its effects as applied to all time, not merely to those believers who then lived: and those unborn at the death of Christ could not have been ἐχθροί in the active sense), we were reconciled ( καταλλάσσεσθαί τινι also may be taken of giving up anger against any one , see ref. 1 Cor., and Jos. Antt. vi. 7. 4, οὐ γὰρ ἑώρα τὸν θεὸν διαλλαττόμενον , or of being received into favour by any one , see 1 Kings 29:4, ἐν τίνι διαλλαγήσεται οὗτος τῷ κυρίῳ αὐτοῦ ; and Jos. Antt. v. 2. 8, διαλυσάμενος τὰς μέμψεις , καταλλάττεται πρὸς αὐτήν , the latter of which meanings, were received into favour with God , must for the reason above given be here adopted) to God by means of the death of His Son (this great fact is further explained and insisted on, in the rest of the chapter), much more, having been reconciled (but here comes in the assumption that the corresponding subjective part of reconciliation has been accomplished, viz. justification by faith: compare 2 Corinthians 5:19-20 , θεὸς ἦν ἐν χριστῷ κόσμον καταλλάσσων ἑαυτῷ … δεόμεθα ὑπὲρ χριστοῦ , καταλλάγητε τῷ θεῷ . Both these, the objective reception into God’s favour by the death of Christ, and the subjective appropriation, by faith, of that reception, are included), we shall be saved by means of His Life (not here that which he now does on our behalf, but simply the fact of His Life , so much enlarged on in ch. 6: and our sharing in it).

Verse 11

11. ] A further step still not only has the reconciled man confidence that he shall escape God’s wrath, but triumphant confidence, joyful hope in God. But ( aber ) not only so, but ( sondern ) glorying in God (particip. not as the finite verb, but in every case either the consequence of an anacoluthon, or finding its justification in the construction: so here “not only shall we be saved,” but that in a triumphant manner and frame of mind. See Winer, edn. 6, § 45. 6 [a] ) through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now (not in contrast with the future glory, ‘ even now ,’ as Thol., for that would be more plainly expressed, but as in Rom 5:9 ) received (our) reconciliation (to God [not as in E. V. “ the atonement ,” at least in the common theological acceptance of the term: for that is not here treated of, but our reconcilement to God]).

Verse 12

12. ] This verse is one of acknowledged difficulty. The two questions meeting us directly are (1) To what does διὰ τοῦτο refer? (2) ὥσπερ , ‘like as,’ may introduce the first member of a comparison, the second being to be discovered; or may introduce the second, the first having to be discovered. I shall endeavour to answer both questions in connexion. (1) I conceive διὰ τοῦτο to refer to that blessed state of confidence and hope just described: ‘on this account,’ here meaning, ‘quæ cum ita sint:’ ‘this state of things, thus brought about, will justify the following analogy.’ Thus we must take ὥσπερ , either ( α ) as beginning the comparison, and then supply, ‘so by Christ in His Resurrection came justification into the world, and by justification, life;’ or ( β ) as concluding the comparison, and supply before it, ‘it was,’ or ‘Christ wrought.’ This latter method seems to me far the best. For none of the endeavours of Commentators to supply the second limb of the comparison from the following verses have succeeded: and we can hardly suppose such an ellipsis, when the next following comparison ( Rom 5:16 ) is rather a weakening than a strengthening the analogy. We have example of this use of ὥσπερ , in Matthew 25:14 , and of καθώς , Galatians 3:6 .

Consequently (the method of God’s procedure in introducing life by righteousness resembled the introduction of death by sin: ‘it was’) like as by one man (the Apostle regards the man as involving generic succession and transmitting the corrupt seed of sin, not the woman : but when he speaks of the personal share which each had in the transgression, 1 Timothy 2:14 , he says, ‘Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression’) sin (as a POWER ruling over mankind, see ch. Romans 3:9 , and Romans 5:21 , partly as a principle which exists in us all, and developes itself in our conduct, partly as a state in which we are involved; but the idea here must not be confined (Calv.) to original sin , as it reaches much wider, to sin both original and actual: nor to the habit of sinning (as Olsh.): nor is it merely the propensity to sin (as Röthe): nor is sin personified merely as in ch. Romans 7:8 ; Rom 7:11 ) entered into the world (not ‘esse cœpit,’ ‘primum commissa est,’ as Reiche, Fritz., and Meyer: but literally , ‘entered into,’ ‘gained access into,’ the moral world , for sin involves moral responsibility. So Galatians 3:23 , πρὸ τοῦ δὲ ἐθλεῖν τὴν πίστιν , ‘before the faith came in ’), and by means of sin (as the appointed penalty for sin, Genesis 2:17 ; Gen 3:19 ) death (primarily, but not only , physical death: as ἁμαρτία , so θάνατος , is general , including the lesser in the greater, i.e. spiritual and eternal death . See ch. Romans 6:16 ; Romans 6:21 ; Romans 7:10 ; Rom 8:6 ; 2Co 7:10 ), and thus (by this entering in of sin and death; i. e, in fact, by this connexion of sin and death , as appears by ἐφ ʼ ᾧ πάντες ἥμαμτον ) death (whether ὁ θάν . be genuine or not, death is the subject of διῆλθεν ) extended to all men (see reff. De W. well says that πάντ . ἀνθρ . differs from κόσμον , as the concrete part from the abstract whole, and διέρχ . from εἰσέρχεσθαι , as the going from house to house differs from the entering a town.

Obs., that although the subject of διῆλθεν is plainly only death , not sin and death , yet the spreading of sin over all men is taken for granted , partly in the οὕτως , partly in the following clause), because ( ἐφ ʼ ᾧ , lit. of close juxtaposition: and so ‘ on ground of,’ ‘on condition that ,’ which meaning, if rightly applied, suits the case in hand. Life depended on a certain condition, viz. obedience: Death on another, viz. disobedience. Mankind have disobeyed; the condition of Death’s entrance and diffusion has been fulfilled: Death extended to all men, as a consequence of the fact, that, posito, that, = because , all have sinned.

Orig [30] , Aug [31] , Beza, and Estius render it as Vulg., ‘ in quo ’ (Adam): Chrys., Theophyl., Œc [32] , Elsner, ‘ propter quem :’ Grot., ‘ per quem ’) all sinned (see ch. Romans 3:23 : not ‘ were sinful ,’ or ‘ were born in sin ,’ as Calvin would restrict the meaning: sin , as above remarked, is here, throughout, both original and actual : in the seed , as planted in the nature by the sin of our forefather: and in the fruit , as developed by each conscious responsible individual in his own practice. So that Calvin’s argument, ‘hic non agi de actuali peccato, colligere promptum est: quia si reatum quisque sibi arcesseret, quorsum conferret Paulus Adam cum Christo?’ does not apply, and the objection is answered by Paul himself, where he says, distinguishing between the παράπτωμα and the χάρισμα below, Romans 5:15-16 , τὸ δὲ χάρισμα ἐκ πολλῶν παραπτωμάτων εἰς δικαίωμα . The παράπτωμα was not only that of one, the original cause of the entry of sin, but the often repeated sins of individual men: nor, ‘ suffered the punishment of sin ,’ as Grot. and Chrys., θνητοὶ γεγόνασι ).

[30] Origen, b. 185, d. 254

[31] Augustine, Bp. of Hippo , 395 430

[32] Œcumenius of Tricca in Thrace, Cent y . XI.?

Observe how entirely this assertion of the Apostle contradicts the Pelagian or individualistic view of men, that each is a separate creation from God, existing solely on his own exclusive responsibility, and affirms the Augustinian or traducian view, that all are evolved by God’s appointment from an original stock, and though individually responsible, are generically involved in the corruption and condemnation of their original.

Verses 12-19

12 19. ] The bringing in of RECONCILIATION and LIFE by CHRIST in its analogy to the bringing in of SIN and DEATH by ADAM.

Verses 12-21


Verse 13

13. ] How, consistently with ch. Romans 4:15 , could all men sin, before the law ? This is now explained. For up to (the time of) the law (= ἀπὸ Ἀδ . μέχρι Μωυς . Romans 5:14 ; not ‘ during the time of the law ,’ as Orig [33] , Chrys., τοῦ νόμου δοθέντος , … ἕως ὁ νόμος ἦν , Theodoret, an allowable rendering of the words, but manifestly inconsistent with the sense; nor, ‘ as far as there was law, there was sin ,’ as Dr. Burton, which is both inadmissible from the μέχρι Μωυσέως following, and would not answer to the simple matter of fact, ἦν ἐν κόσμῳ ) there was sin in the world (‘men sinned,’ see Genesis 6:5-13 ; committed actual sin: not, men were accounted sinners because of Adam’s sin; the Apostle reminds us of the historical fact , that there was sin in the world during this period): but sin is not reckoned (as transgression) where the law is not .

[33] Origen, b. 185, d. 254

ἐλλογεῖται has given rise to much dispute. Very many Commentators (Aug [34] , Ambr [35] , Luth., Melanc., Calv., Beza, Rückert, Tholuck, Stuart, al.) explain it of consciousness of sin by the sinner himself , as in ch. Romans 7:7 ; but (1) as De Wette observes, this is not the natural sense of the word, which implies TWO parties, one of whom sets down something to the account of the other (ref.): (2) this interpretation would bring in a new and irrelevant element, for the Apostle is not speaking in this chapter at all of subjective human consciousness , but throughout of objective truths with regard to the divine dealings: and (3) it would be altogether inconsistent with the declarations of ch. Romans 2:15 , where in this sense the ἐλλογισμός of sin by the νόμον μὴ ἔχοντες distinctly asserted.

[34] Augustine, Bp. of Hippo , 395 430

[35] Ambrose, Bp. of Milan , A.D. 374 397

I am persuaded that the right sense of ἐλλ . is, reckoned , ‘ set down as transgression ,’ ‘put in formal account,’ by God . In the case of those who had not the written law, ἁμαρτία is not formally reckoned as παράβασις , set over against the command: but in a certain sense, as distinctly proved ch. Romans 2:9-16 , it is reckoned and they are condemned for it. Nor is there any inconsistency, as Tholuck complains, in this view. Other passages of Paul’s writings support and elucidate it. He states the object of the law to be, ch. Romans 7:13 , ἵνα γένηται καθ ʼ ὑπερβολὴν ἁμαρτωλὸς ἡ ἁμαρτία διὰ τῆς ἐντολῆς . The revelation of the law exaggerated , brought into prominent and formal manifestation, the sinfulness of sin, which was before culpable and punishable , but in a less degree. With this view also agree Acts 17:30 ; ch. Romans 2:12 , ὅσοι ἀνόμως ἥμαρτον , ἀνόμως καὶ ἀπολοῦνται , and Romans 3:25 , in so far as they state an analogous case. The objection to taking οὐκ ἐλλογεῖται relatively, ‘is not fully reckoned ,’ will hardly be urged by those who bear in mind the Apostle’s habit of constantly stating relative truths as positive , omitting the qualifying particles: see e.g. ch. Romans 7:7 , where with ἁμαρτίαν and with οὐκ ᾔδειν both, we must supply qualifications (see notes there).

Verse 14

14. ] But (notwithstanding the last assertion that sin is not fully reckoned where the law is not) death reigned (was a power to which all succumbed) from Adam to Moses ( μέχρι Μωυς . = ἄχρι νόμου above): i.e. although the full ἐλλογισμός of sin did not take place between Adam and Moses, the universality of death is a proof that all sinned , for death is the consequence of sin: in confirmation of Romans 5:12 .

καὶ ἐπὶ τ . μὴ ἁμ . ] even (notwithstanding the different degrees of sin and guilt out of, and under, the law) over those who sinned not according to the similitude (reff.) of the TRANSGRESSION of Adam. (1) ἐπὶ τῷ ὁμ . belongs to ἁμαρτ . and not to ἐβασί λευσεν (as Chrys., Theophyl., Bengel, Elsn., al.), for that would bring in, in the words τοὺς μὴ ἁμαρτήσαντας , an absolute contradiction to ἐφ ʼ ᾧ πάντες ἥμαρτον , by asserting that there were some who did not sin . (2) The emphasis lies on παράβασις , as distinguished from ἁμαρτία . Photius (in De W.), ὁ μὲν ( Ἀδ .) ὡρισμένην κ . νομοθετηθεῖσαν ἐντολὴν παρέβη κ . ἥμαρτεν · οἱ δὲ ἡμάρτανον τὸν αὐτοδίδακτον τῆς φύσεως λόγον ἐνυβρίζοντες . They all sinned: but had not, like Adam, transgressed a positive revealed command. (3) There is no reference here, as some Commentators (Beza, al.) have supposed, to the case of children and idiots , nor (as Grot., Wetst.) to those who lived pious lives . The aim is to prove, that the seed of sin planted in the race by the one man Adam, has sprung up and borne fruit in all, so as to bring them under death; death temporal, and spiritual; of these, some have sinned without the law, i.e. not as Adam did, and as those after Moses did: and though sin is not formally reckoned against them, death, the consequence of sin, reigned, as matter of historical fact, over them also. It is most important to the clear understanding of this weighty passage to bear in mind, that the first member of the comparison, as far as it extends, is this: ‘As by Adam’s transgression, of which we are by descent inheritors, we have become (not by imputation merely, but by propensity) sinners , and have thus incurred death , so &c.’ … (see below).

ὅς ἐστιν τύπος τ . μέλλ . ] who is a figure (or type: not thus used by LXX, see Umbreit’s note) of the future (Adam [the second Adam, viz. Christ]). This clause is inserted on the first mention of the name Adam, the one man of whom he has been speaking, to recall the purpose for which he is treating of him, as the figure (ref.) of Christ . τοῦ μέλλ ., not ‘qui futurus erat,’ as Beza [and E. V.], Reiche; but spoken from the Apostle’s present standing, ‘ who is to come .’ The fulfilment of the type will then take place completely, when, as 1 Corinthians 15:22 , ἐν τῷ χριστῷ πάντες ζωοποιηθήσονται . Still less, with Koppe, can ὅς be taken by attr. for ὅ , and τοῦ μέλλοντος be interpreted ‘ of that which is to come ,’ viz. life and salvation: see 1 Corinthians 15:45 .

Many suppose these words ὅς ἐστ . τύπ . τ . μέλλ . to be the apodosis of Romans 5:12 ; but see there.

Verse 15

15. εἰ γὰρ κ . τ . λ .] Distinction the first , in DEGREE: and in the form of a hypothetical inference ‘a minori ad majus.’ For if by the transgression of the one (man) the many (have) died, much more did the grace of God, and the gift abound in (by means of) the grace of the one man Jesus Christ towards the many . (1) The first question regards πολλῷ μᾶλλον . Is it the ‘ a fortiori ’ of logical inference, or is it to be joined with ἐπερίσσευσεν as quantitative, describing the degree of abounding ? Chrys. ( πολλῷ γὰρ τοῦτο εὐλογώτερον ), Grot., Fritz., Thol., adopt the former, and provided only the same thing is said here as in Romans 5:17 , the usage there would decide it to be so: for there it cannot be quantitative. But I believe that not to be so. Here, the question is of abounding , a matter of degree , there, of reigning , a matter of fact . Here ( Rom 5:16 ) the contrast is between the judgment, coming of one sinner, to condemnation, and the free gift, of (see note below) many offences, to justification. So that I think the quantitative sense the better, and join πολλῷ μᾶλλον with ἐπερίσσευσεν , in the sense of much more abundant (rich in diffusion) was the gift , &c. (2) χάρις , not the grace working in men , here, but the grace which is in, and flows from, God . (3) ἐν χάριτι τῇ τοῦ …, not to be joined (Thol.) with ἡ δωρεά , as if it were ἡ ἐνχάρ . (which would be allowable), but with ἐπερίσς . The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (His self-offering love, see 2Co 8:9 ) is the medium by which the free gift is imparted to men. (4) The aorist ἐπερίσς . should here be kept to its indefinite historical sense, and not rendered as a perfect, however true the fact expressed may be: both are treated of here as events , their time of happening and present reference not being regarded.

Verses 15-17

15 17 .] Though Adam and Christ correspond as opposites, yet there is a remarkable difference, which makes the free gift of grace much more eminent than the transgression and its consequences, and enhances the certainty of its end being accomplished . But not (in all points) as the act of transgression (of Adam, as the cause inducing sin and death on his race), so also is the gift of grace (i.e. justification: not a direct contrast, as ὑπακοή in Romans 5:19 ; the Apostle has more in mind here the consequence of the παραπτ ., and to that opposes the χάρισμα . De W.).

Verse 16

16. ] Distinction the second , in KIND. The former difference was quantitative: this is modal. And not as (that which took place) by one that sinned, so is the gift .

It is a question whether any thing, and what, is to be supplied before δι ʼ ἑνὸς ἁμαρτ . Röthe, Meyer, and Tholuck (and so E. V.), would supply nothing, and render, ‘And not as by one having sinned, so is the gift.’ But (De W.) this has against it, (1) that since the γάρ following gives the reason for this sentence, this must contain implicitly all that that next expands in detail; which is not merely the distinction between springing from one man and out of many offences , but much more: and (2) that thus διὰ would = ἐκ or vice versa , whereas διὰ characterizes the bringer in , and ἐκ the occasion . Others have supplied τὸ κρῖμα (Bengel, Köllner): τὸ κατάκριμα (Theophyl., Reiche): ὁ θάνατος εἰσῆλθεν (Grot., Estius, Koppe): but inasmuch as it is purposely left indefinite, to be explained in the next verse, it is better to supply an indefinite phrase which may be thus explained: e.g. το γενόμενον , ‘ that which took place by one ,’ [or ‘( it was ) through one ,’] &c.

τὸ μὲν γὰρ κ . τ . λ .] For the judgment (pronounced by God upon Adam) came of (was by occasion of) one (man having sinned, supply ἁμαρτήσαντος : παραπτώματος would be hardly allowable, and would not help the sense, inasmuch as many sinners , as well as many sins, are implied in πολλ . παραπτ . below), unto condemnation (its result, in his own case and that of his posterity: supply, as in Rom 5:18 is expressed, ( ἐγένετο ) εἰς πάντας ἀνθρώπους ); but the gift of grace was by occasion of many transgressions (where sin abounded, Romans 5:20 , there grace much more abounded: the existence of the law being implied in παραπτ .) unto justification . The only difficulty here is the sense of δικαίωμα . The ordinary meaning of the word is τὸ ἐπανόρθωμα τοῦ ἀδικήματος , ‘the amendment of an evil deed:’ so Aristotle, Eth. Nicom. Romans 5:10 , διαφέρει δὲ τὸ ἀδίκημα καὶ τὸ ἄδικον , καὶ τὸ δικαίωμα καὶ τὸ δίκαιον · ἄδικον μὲν γάρ ἐστι τῇ φύσει ἢ τάξει · τὸ αὐτὸ δὲ τοῦτο ὅταν πραχθῇ , ἀδίκημά ἐστι · πρὶν δὲ πραχθῆναι οὔπω , ἀλλ ʼ ἄδικον . ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ δικαίωμα · καλεῖται δὲ καὶ τὸ κοινὸν μᾶλλον δικαιοπράγημα , δικαίωμα δὲ τὸ ἐπανόρθωμα τοῦ ἀδικήματος . But this, which Aristot. insists on as the proper, but not perhaps usual sense of the word, is not to be pressed in the N. T., and does not, though upheld by Calv., Calov., Wolf, and Röthe, suit the context as contrasted with κατάκριμα . Other renderings are, ‘ an absolutory sentence ’ (Meyer, Fritz., al.): ‘ a righteous act ,’ as in Romans 5:18 ; Bar 2:19 ; ‘ righteousness ,’ as in Revelation 19:8 (where see note): ‘ a righteous cause ,’ or plea (LXX, Jer 11:20 ): ‘ justification ’ (E. V., Luth., De Wette, al.). The first seems to me to be right, as standing most exactly in contrast with κατάκριμα ; the use of the - μα being partly perhaps accounted for by the alliteration of the ending marking more strongly the antithesis. Thus as κατάκριμα is a sentence of condemnation , so δικαίωμα will be a sentence of acquittal . This in fact amounts to justification .

Verse 17

17. ] Distinction the third , also in KIND; that which came in by the one sinner , was the reign of DEATH: that which shall come in by the One, Jesus Christ , will be a reigning in LIFE. For (carrying on the argument from Romans 5:15 , but not so as to make parenthetical (Röthe) Rom 5:16 for δικαιοσύνης presupposes δικαίωμα ) if by the transgression of the one (man; the reading ἐν ( τῷ ) ἑνὶ παραπτώματι goes with ἁμαρτήματος for ἁμαρτήσαντος in Romans 5:16 ; both have evidently been corrections) death reigned by means of the one (man), much more (logical a fortiori ) shall they who receive the abundance of the grace and of the gift of righteousness (Romans 5:15 ; beware of the shallow and weakening notion, that it is “for τῆς δικαιοσύνης δεδωρημένης ”) reign in life (eternal) by means of the one (Man) Jesus Christ .

περισσεία answers to ἐπερίσσευσεν , Romans 5:15 ; τῆς χάριτος , to ἡ χ . τοῦ θεοῦ ; only here, as at ch. Romans 1:5 , the word signifies not only the grace flowing from God, but the same grace implanted and working in man: δωρεᾶς , to δωρεά there, but qualified by τῆ δικαιοσύνης , answering to δικαίωμα in Romans 5:16 .

The present λαμβάνοντες , instead of λαβόντες , is not merely used in a substantive sense, receptores (as Fritz. and Meyer), but signifies that the reception is not one act merely, but a continued process by which the περισσεία is imparted. (So Röthe, De W., Thol.)

ἐν ζωῇ βας . ] “Antithesis to ὁ θάνατος ἐβας . We should expect ἡ ζωὴ βασιλεύσει , but Paul designedly changes the form of expression that he may bring more prominently forward the idea of free personality. ζωή is not only corporeal (the resurrection), but also spiritual and moral, as also in θάνατος we must include διὰ τῆς ἁμαρτίας Romans 5:12 . βασιλεύσουσιν is brought in by the antithesis: but it is elsewhere used (see reff.) to signify the state of blessedness, partly in an objective theocratic import (of the reign of the saints with Christ), partly in a subjective moral one, because reigning is the highest development of freedom, and the highest satisfaction of all desires.” De Wette.

Verse 18

18 .] Recapitulation and co-statement of the parallel and distinctions . Therefore ( ἄρα οὖν , see reff., is placed by Paul at the beginning of a sentence, contrary to classical usage) as by means of one trespass (not, ‘ the transgression of one ,’ as Erasm., Luth., Calv., Koppe, Fritz., Thol. [similarly E. V.], which is contrary to usage, and to Romans 5:17 , where that meaning is expressed by τῷ τοῦ ἑνὸς παραπτώματι . In this summing up, the Apostle puts the antithetical elements as strongly and nakedly as possible in contrast ; and therefore abridges the ‘trespass of one’ and ‘the righteous act of one’ into ‘one trespass’ and ‘one righteous act’) it came upon ( ἐγένετο , indefinite, being supplied) all men unto condemnation, so also by means of one righteous act (the Death of Christ viewed as the acme of His Obedience, see Philippians 2:8 = ἡ ὑπακοὴ τοῦ ἑνός below; not as in Romans 5:16 , nor Righteousness , as Thol., which would not contrast with παραπτ ., a single act ) it came upon all men (in extent of grace, in posse , not in esse as the other) unto justification of (conferring, leading to) life.

Verse 19

19. ] For (in explanation of Rom 5:18 ) as by the disobedience of (the) one man the many (= πάντες ἄνθρωποι , but not so expressed here, because in the other limb of the comparison πάντ . ἄνθρ . could not be put, and this is conformed to it: see there) were made (not, ‘ were accounted as ’ (Grot. al.): nor ‘ became by imputation ’ (Beza, Bengel): nor ‘ were proved to be ’ (Koppe, Reiche, Fritz.): see reff.) sinners (not ὑπεύθυνοι κολἀσει , as Chrys., Theophyl.: ‘ actual sinners by practice ,’ is meant, the disobedience of Adam having been the inlet to all this: compare ἐφ ʼ ᾡ πάντες ἥμαρτον Rom 5:12 and the notes, on the kind of sin spoken of in this whole passage, as being both original and actual), so also (after the same manner or analogy likewise) by means of the obedience (unto death, see on last verse) of (the) One (man) shall ( future , because, as in ch. Romans 3:30 , justification, as regards the many, is not yet completed . De W.) the many (= πολλοί , compare Matthew 26:28 ; Mark 10:45 , but thus expressed because πολλοί would not have answered in the other limb of the comparison. In order to make the comparison more strict , the πάντες who have been made sinners are weakened to the indefinite οἱ πολλοί , the πολλοί who shall be made righteous are enlarged to the indefinite οἱ πολλοί . Thus a common term of quantity is found for both , the one extending to its largest numerical interpretation, the other restricted to its smallest ) be made (see above) righteous (not by imputation merely, any more than in the other case: but ‘shall be made really and actually righteous, as completely so as the others were made really and actually sinners.’ When we say that man has no righteousness of his own , we speak of him as out of Christ : but in Christ and united to Him, he is made righteous , not by a fiction, or imputation only of Christ’s righteousness, but by a real and living spiritual union with a righteous Head as a righteous member, righteous by means of , as an effect of, the righteousness of that Head, but not merely righteous by transference of the Righteousness of that Head; just as in his natural state he is united to a sinful head as a sinful member, sinful by means of, as an effect of, the sinfulness of that Head, but not merely by transference of the sinfulness of that Head).

See the whole question respecting πάντες and οἱ πολλοί treated in Tholuck’s Comm. in loc.

Verse 20

20 .] How the law (of Moses) came in, in the divine economy . But (i.e. the two things spoken of Rom 5:19 did not simply and immediately happen) the law (of Moses: not law , in the abstract, nor ‘ the law of nature ,’ as Dr. Peile, nor even the law of God in its general sense, as often in ch. 1 2; but here strictly THE LAW OF MOSES, as necessitated by Rom 5:13-14 in this same argument) came in besides (besides the fact of the many being made sinners, and as a transition point to the other result: formed a third term , besides these two, in the summary of God’s dealings with man: compare προσετέθη , Galatians 3:19 ; not πρὸς καιρὸν ἐδόθη , Theophyl.: not, came in between Christ and Adam (the fact , but not the interpretation ) as Theodoret and Calv.: not = εἰσῆλθεν merely), in order that ( τελικῶς , its design , not merely ἐκβατικῶς , its result, as Chrys., al.; here, and every where else. So of Rom 5:21 ) the trespass ( created by the law; for where no law, no transgression, ch. Romans 4:15 : not merely the knowledge of sin , but actual transgression) might be multiplied (in actual fact : not ‘be abundantly exhibited,’ or any such evasive sense). No possible objection can be taken to this statement by those who view the Law as a preparation for Christ. If it was so, then the effect of the Law, the creating and multiplying transgression, was an end in the divine purposes , to bring out the necessity of One who should deliver from sin and bring in righteousness. “Those who weaken this telic ἵνα into ‘so that,’ in order to guard the Apostle from what seems to them a doctrine unworthy of God, overlook equally his firm standing on the acknowledged ground of historic fact and actuality, as the humility with which here, as ever (ch. Rom 11:33-34 ), he bows before the mystery of the οἰκονομία τοῦ θεοῦ .” Umbreit. But (this terrible end, the multiplying of transgression, was not, however, God’s ultimate end: He had a further and gracious one) where (‘ when ,’ De Wette, after Grot., al.: but Tholuck justly remarks that instances of this meaning of οὗ in prose are wanting. In verse it seems to occur, Eur. Iph. Aul. 96, but even there may be rendered ‘ in the case where ’) sin (the generic of the specific παράπτωμα ) was multiplied , (God’s) grace did beyond measure abound (not ‘ did much more abound ,’ as E. V.: for words compounded with ὑπέρ have a superlative, not a comparative signification, e.g. ref. ὑπερλίαν ὑπερνικάω , ὑπερυψόω κ . τ . λ ., and Paul often uses these compounds. The E. V. has likewise destroyed the force of the comparison by rendering the different words πλεονάζω and περισσεύω both by one word ‘ abound ’).

Verse 21

21 .] The purpose of this abounding of grace: its ultimate prevalence and reign, by means of righteousness, unto life eternal . That, as sin reigned (the historic indefinite past, because the standing-point of the sentence is, the restitution of all things hereafter ) in death ( ἐν , of that in and by which the reign was exercised and shewn: death was the central act of sin’s reign. He does not here say, ‘ death reigned by sin ,’ as in Romans 5:12-14 , because sin and grace are the two points of comparison, and require to be the subjects ), so also grace may reign by means of (not ἐν here, though it might be so, if δικαιος . applied to our being made righteous : but as it applies to the Righteousness of Christ making us righteous, it is διὰ ) righteousness, unto (leading to) life eternal through (by means of) Jesus Christ our Lord (‘Jam ne memoratur quidem Adamus, solius Christi mentio viget.’ Bengel).

Bibliographical Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Romans 5". Alford's Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hac/romans-5.html. 1863-1878.
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