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Bible Commentaries
Romans 8

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Verses 1-99



8:1-4. The result of Christ’s interposition is to dethrone Sin from its tyranny in the human heart, and to instal in its stead the Spirit of Christ. Thus what the Law of Moses tried to do but failed, the Incarnation has accomplished.

1This being so, no verdict of ‘Guilty’ goes forth any longer against the Christian. He lives in closest union with Christ. 2The Spirit of Christ, the medium of that union, with all its life-giving energies, enters and issues its laws from his heart, dispossessing the old usurper Sin, putting an end to its authority and to the fatal results which it brought with it. 3For where the old system failed, the new system has succeeded. The Law of Moses could not get rid of Sin. The weak place in its action was that our poor human nature was constantly tempted and fell. But now God Himself has interposed by sending the Son of His love to take upon Him that same human nature with all its attributes except sin: in that nature He died to free us from sin: and this Death of His carried with it a verdict of condemnation against Sin and of acquittal for its victims; 4so that from henceforth what the Law lays down as right might be fulfilled by us who regulate our lives not according to the appetites and passions of sense, but at the dictates of the Spirit.

1 ff. This chapter is, as we have seen, an expansion of χάρις τῷ Θεῷ διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν in the last verse of ch. 7. It describes the innermost circle of the Christian Life from its beginning to its end—that life of which the Apostle speaks elsewhere (Colossians 3:3) as ‘hid with Christ in God.’ It works gradually up through the calm exposition and pastoral entreaty of vv. 1-17 to the more impassioned outlook and deeper introspection of vv. 18-30, and thence to the magnificent climax of vv. 31-39.

There is evidence that Marcion retained vv. 1-11 of this chapter, probably with no very noticeable variation from the text which has come down to us (we do not know which of the two competing readings he had in ver. 10). Tertullian leaps from 8:11 to 10:2, implying that much was cut out, but we cannot determine how much.

1. κατάκριμα. One of the formulae of Justification: κατάκρισις and κατάκριμα are correlative to δικαίωσις, δικαίωμα; both sets of phrases being properly forensic. Here, however, the phrase τοῖς ἐν Χ. Ἰ. which follows shows that the initial stage in the Christian career, which is in the strictest sense the stage of Justification, has been left behind and the further stage of union with Christ has succeeded to it. In this stage too there is the same freedom from condemnation, secured by a process which is explained more fully in ver. 3 (cf. 6:7-10). The κατάκρισις which used to fall upon the sinner now falls upon his oppressor Sin.

μὴ κατὰ σάρκα περιπατοῦσιν,�

A most accomplished scholar, the late Mr. James Riddell, in his ‘Digest of Platonic Idioms’ (The Apology of Plato, Oxford, 1877, p. 122), lays down two propositions about constructions like this: ‘(i) These Noun-Phrases and Neuter-Pronouns are Accusatives. The prevalence of the Neuter Gender makes this difficult to prove; but such instances as are decisive afford an analogy for the rest: Theaet. 153 C ἐπὶ τούτοις τὸν κολοφῶνα,�2 Corinthians 6:13 τὴν δὲ αὐτὴν�Romans 12:1, appears to be refuted by τὸν κολοφῶνα in Theaet. above. Win. Gr. § 32:7, p. 290 E. T. while recognizing the accus. use (§ lix.9, p. 669 E. T.), seems to prefer to take τὸ�

(2) Is τὸ�

An induction from the use of LXX and N. T. would seem to show that�Luke 18:27 we have τὰ�

ἐν ᾧ: not ‘because’ (Fri. Win. Mey. Alf.), but ‘in which’ or ‘wherein,’ defining the point in which the impossibility (inability) of the Law consisted. For ἠσθένει διὰ τῆς σαρκός comp. 7:22, 23. The Law points the way to what is right, but frail humanity is tempted and falls, and so the Law’s good counsels come to nothing.

τὸν ἑαυτοῦ υἱόν. The emphatic ἑαυτοῦ brings out the community of nature between the Father and the Son: cf. τοῦ ἰδίου υἱοῦ ver. 32; τοῦ υἱοῦ τῆς�Colossians 1:13.

ἐν ὁμοιώματι σαρκὸς ἁμαρτίας: the flesh of Christ is ‘like’ ours inasmuch as it is flesh; ‘like,’ and only ‘like,’ because it is not sinful: ostendit nos quidem habere carnem peccati, Filium vero Dei similitudinem habuisse carnis peccati, non carnem peccati (Orig.-lat.).

Pfleiderer and Holsten contend that even the flesh of Christ was ‘sinful flesh,’ i.e. capable of sinning; but they are decisively refuted by Gif. p. 165. Neither the Greek nor the argument requires that the flesh of Christ shall be regarded as sinful flesh, though it is His Flesh—His Incarnation—which brought Him into contact with Sin.

καὶ περὶ ἁμαρτίας This phrase is constantly used in the O.T. for the ‘sin-offering’; so ‘more than fifty times in the Book of Leviticus alone’ (Va.); and it is taken in this sense here by Orig.-lat. Quod hostia pro peccato factus est Christus, et oblatus sit pro purgatione peccatorum, omnes Scripturae testantur … Per hanc ergo hostiam carnis suae, quae dicitur pro peccato, damnavit peccatum in carne, &c. The ritual of the sin-offering is fully set forth in Lev_4. The most characteristic feature in it is the sprinkling with blood of the horns of the altar of incense. Its object was to make atonement especially for sins of ignorance. It was no doubt typical of the Sacrifice of Christ. Still we need not suppose the phrase περὶ ἁμαρτ. here specially limited to the sense of ‘sin-offering.’ It includes every sense in which the Incarnation and Death of Christ had relation to, and had it for their object to remove, human sin.

κατέκρινε τὴν ἁμαρτίαν ἐν τῇ σαρκί. The key to this difficult clause is supplied by ch. 6:7-10. By the Death of Christ upon the Cross, a death endured in His human nature, He once and for ever broke off all contact with Sin, which could only touch Him through that nature. Henceforth Sin can lay no claim against Him. Neither can it lay any claim against the believer; for the believer also has died with Christ. Henceforth when Sin comes to prosecute its claim, it is cast in its suit and its former victim is acquitted. The one culminating and decisive act by which this state of things was brought about is the Death of Christ, to which all the subsequent immunity of Christians is to be referred.

The parallel passage, 6:6-11, shows that this summary condemnation of Sin takes place in the Death of Christ, and not in His Life; so that κατέκρινε cannot be adequately explained either by the proof which Christ’s Incarnation gave that human nature might be sinless, or by the contrast of His sinlessness with man’s sin. In Matthew 12:41, Matthew 12:42 (‘the men of Nineveh shall rise up in the judgement with this generation, and shall condemn it,’&c.) κατακρίνειν has this sense of ‘condemn by contrast,’ but there is a greater fulness of meaning here.

The ancients rather miss the mark in their comments on this passage. Thus Orig.-lat. damnavit peccatum, hoc est, fugavit peccatum et abstulit (comp. T. K. Abbott, ‘effectually condemned so as to expel’): but it does not appear how this was done. The commoner view is based on Chrys., who claims for the incarnate Christ a threefold victory over Sin, as not yielding to it, as overcoming it (in a forensic sense), and convicting it of injustice in handing over to death His own sinless body as if it were sinful. Similarly Euthym.-Zig. and others in part. Cyr.-Alex. explains the victory of Christ over Sin as passing over to the Christian through the indwelling of the Holy Ghost and the Eucharist (διὰ τῆς μυστικῆς εὐλογίας). This is at least right in so far as it lays stress on the identification of the Christian with Christ. But the victory over sin does not rest on the mere fact of sinlessness, but on the absolute severance from sin involved in the Death upon the Cross and the Resurrection.

ἐν τῇ σαρκί goes with κατέκρινε. The Death of Christ has the efficacy which it has because it is the death of His Flesh: by means of death He broke for ever the power of Sin upon Him (6:10; Hebrews 7:16; Hebrews 10:10; 1 Peter 3:18); but through the mystical union with Him the death of His Flesh means the death of ours (Lips.).

4. τὸ δικαίωμα: ‘the justifying,’ Wic., ‘the justification,’ Rhem. after Vulg. iustificatio; Tyn. is better, ‘the rightewesnes requyred of (i.e. by) the lawe.’ We have already seen that the proper sense of δικαίωμα is ‘that which is laid down as right,’ ‘that which has the force of right’: hence it = here the statutes of the Law, as righteous statutes. Comp. on 1:32; 2:26.

It is not clear how Chrys. ( = Euthym.-Zig.) gets for δικαίωμα the sense τὸ τέλος, ὁ σκοπός, τὸ κατόρθωμα.

τοῖς μὴ κατὰ σάρκα περιπατοῦσιν: ‘those who walk by the rule of the flesh,’ whose guiding principle is the flesh (and its gratification). The antithesis of Flesh and Spirit is the subject of the next section.


8:5-11. Compare the two states. The life of self-indulgence involves the breach of God’s law, hostility to Him, and death. Submission to the Spirit brings with it true life and the sense of reconciliation. You therefore, if you are sincere Christians, have in the presence of the Spirit a sure pledge of immortality.

5These two modes of life are directly opposed to one another. If any man gives way to the gratifications of sense, then these and nothing else occupy his thoughts and determine the bent of his character. And on the other hand, those who let the Holy Spirit guide them fix their thoughts and affections on things spiritual. 6They are opposed in their nature; they are opposed also in their consequences. For the consequence of having one’s bent towards the things of the flesh is death—both of soul and body, both here and hereafter. Just as to surrender one’s thoughts and motives to the Spirit brings with it a quickened vitality through the whole man, and a tranquillizing sense of reconciliation with God.

7The gratifying of the flesh can lead only to death, because it implies hostility to God. It is impossible for one who indulges the flesh at the same time to obey the law of God. 8And those who are under the influence of the flesh cannot please God. 9But you, as Christians, are no longer under the influence of the flesh. You are rather under that of the Spirit, if the Spirit of God (which, be it remembered, is the medium of personal contact with God and Christ) is really in abiding communion with you. 10But if Christ, through His Spirit, thus keeps touch with your souls, then mark how glorious is your condition. Your body it is true is doomed to death, because it is tainted with sin; but your spirit—the highest part of you—has life infused into it because of its new state of righteousness to which life is so nearly allied. 11In possessing the Spirit you have a guarantee of future resurrection. It links you to Him whom God raised from the dead. And so even these perishable human bodies of yours, though they die first, God will restore to life, through the operation of (or, having regard to) that Holy Spirit by whom they are animated.

5. φρονοῦσιν: ‘set their minds, or their hearts upon.’ φρονεῖν denotes the whole action of the φρήν, i.e. of the affections and will as well as of the reason; cf. Matthew 16:23 οὐ φρονεῖς τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ,�Romans 12:16; Philippians 3:19; Colossians 3:2, &c.

6. φρόνημα: the content of φρονεῖν, the general bent of thought and motive. Here, as elsewhere in these chapters, σάρξ is that side of human nature on which it is morally weak, the side on which man’s physical organism leads him into sin.

θάνατος. Not merely is the φρόνημα τῆς σαρκός death in effect, inasmuch as it has death for its goal, but it is also a present death, inasmuch as its present condition contains the seeds which by their own inherent force will develop into the death both of body and soul.

ζωή. In contrast with the state of things just described, where the whole bent of the mind is towards the things of the Spirit, not only is there ‘life’ in the sense that a career so ordered will issue in life; it has already in itself the germs of life. As the Spirit itself is in Its essence living, so does It impart that which must live.

For a striking presentation of the Biblical doctrine of Life see Hort, Hulsean Lectures, pp. 98 ff., 189 ff. The following may be quoted: ‘The sense of life which Israel enjoyed was, however, best expressed in the choice of the name “life” as a designation of that higher communion with God which grew forth in due time as the fruit of obedience and faith. The psalmist or wise man or prophet, whose heart had sought the face of the Lord, was conscious of a second or divine life, of which the first or natural life was at once the image and the foundation; a life not imprisoned in some secret recess of his soul, but filling his whole self, and overflowing upon the earth around him’ (p. 98). Add St. Paul’s doctrine of the indwelling Spirit, and the intensity of his language becomes intelligible.

εἰρήνη = as we have seen not only (i) the state of reconciliation with God, but (ii) the sense of that reconciliation which diffuses a feeling of harmony and tranquillity over the whole man.

7. This verse assigns the reason why the ‘mind of the flesh is death,’ at the same time bringing out the further contrast between the mind of the flesh and that of the Spirit suggested by the description of the latter as not only ‘life’ but ‘peace.’ The mind of the flesh is the opposite of peace; it involves hostility to God, declared by disobedience to His Law. This disobedience is the natural and inevitable consequence of giving way to the flesh.

8. οἱ δέ: not as AV. ‘so then,’ as if it marked a consequence or conclusion from ver. 7, but ‘And’: ver. 8 merely repeats the substance of ver. 7 in a slightly different form, no longer abstract but personal. The way is thus paved for a more direct application to the readers.

9. ἐν σαρκί, … ἐν πνεύματι. Observe how the thought mounts gradually upwards. εἶναι ἐν σαρκί = ‘to be under the domination of [the] flesh’; corresponding to this εἶναι ἐν πνεύματι = ‘to be under the domination of [the] spirit,’ i.e. in the first instance, the human spirit. Just as in the one case the man takes his whole bent and bias from the lower part of his nature, so in the other case he takes it from the highest part of his nature. But that highest part, the πνεῦμα, is what it is by virtue of its affinity to God. It is essentially that part of the man which holds communion with God: so that the Apostle is naturally led to think of the Divine influences which act upon the πνεῦμα. He rises almost imperceptibly through the πνεῦμα of man to the Πνεῦμα of God. From thinking of the way in which the πνεῦμα in its best moods acts upon the character he passes on to that influence from without which keeps it in its best moods. This is what he means when he says εἴπερ Πνεῦμα Θεοῦ οἰκεῖ ἐν ὑμῖν. οἰκεῖν ἐν denotes a settled permanent penetrative influence. Such an influence, from the Spirit of God, St. Paul assumes to be inseparable from the higher life of the Christian.

The way in which έν σαρκί is opposed to ἐν πνεύματι, and further the way in which ἐν πνεύματι passes from the spirit of man to the Spirit of God, shows that we must not press the local significance of the preposition too closely. We must not interpret any of the varied expressions which the Apostle uses in such a sense as to infringe upon the distinctness of the human and Divine personalities. The one thing which is characteristic of personality is distinctness from all other personalities; and this must hold good even of the relation of man to God. The very ease with which St. Paul changes and inverts his metaphors shows that the Divine immanence with him nowhere means Buddhistic or Pantheistic absorption. We must be careful to keep clear of this, but short of it we may use the language of closest intimacy. All that friend can possibly receive from friend we may believe that man is capable of receiving from God. See the note on ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ in 6:11; and for the antithesis of σάρξ and πνεῦμα the small print note on 7:14.

εἰ δέ τις. A characteristic delicacy of expression: when he is speaking on the positive side St. Paul assumes that his readers have the Spirit, but when he is speaking on the negative side he will not say bluntly ‘if you have not the Spirit,’ but he at once throws his sentence into a vague and general force, ‘if any one has not,’ &c.

There are some good remarks on the grammar of the conditional clauses in this verse and in vv. 10, 25, in Burton, M. and T. §§469, 242, 261.

οὐκ ἔστιν αὐτοῦ: he is no true Christian. This amounts to saying that all Christians ‘have the Spirit’ in greater or less degree.

10. εἰ δὲ Χριστός. It will be observed that St. Paul uses the phrases Πνεῦμα Θεοῦ, Πνεῦμα Χριστοῦ, and Χριστός in these two verses as practically interchangeable. On the significance of this in its bearing upon the relation of the Divine Persons see below.

τὸ μὲν σῶμα νεκρὸν διʼ ἁμαρτίαν. St. Paul is putting forward first the negative and then the positive consequences of the indwelling of Christ, or the Spirit of Christ, in the soul. But what is the meaning of ‘the body is dead because of sin?’ Of many ways of taking the words, the most important seem to be these: (i) ‘the body is dead imputative, in baptism (6:2 ff.), as a consequence of sin which made this implication of the body in the Death of Christ necessary’ (Lips.). But in the next verse, to which this clearly points forward, the stress lies not on death imputed but on physical death. (ii) ‘The body is dead mystice, as no longer the instrument of sin (sans énergie productrice des actes charnels), because of sin—to which it led’ (Oltr.). This is open to the same objection as the last, with the addition that it does not give a satisfactory explanation of διʼ ἁμαρτίαν. (iii) It remains to take νεκρόν in the plain sense of ‘physical death,’ and to go back for διʼ ἁμαρτίαν not to 6:2 ff. but to 5:12 ff., so that it would be the sin of Adam and his descendants (Aug. Gif. Go.) perpetuated to the end of time. Oltr. objects that νὲκρόν in this case ought to be θνητόν, but the use of νεκρόν gives a more vivid and pointed contrast to ζωή—‘a dead thing.’

τὸ δὲ πνεῦμα ζωὴ διὰ δικαιοσύνην. Clearly the πνεῦμα here meant is the human πνεῦμα which has the properties of life infused into it by the presence of the Divine πνεῦμα. ζωή is to be taken in a wide sense, but with especial stress on the future eternal life. διὰ δικαιοσύνην is also to be taken in a wide sense: it includes all the senses in which righteousness is brought home to man, first imputed, then imparted, then practised.

11. St. Paul is fond of arguing from the Resurrection of Christ to the resurrection of the Christian (see p. 117 sup.). Christ is the�1 Corinthians 15:20, 1 Corinthians 15:23: the same power which raised Him will raise us (1 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 4:14); Philippians 3:21; 1 Thessalonians 4:14). But nowhere is the argument given in so full and complete a form as here. The link which connects the believer with Christ, and makes him participate in Christ’s resurrection, is the possession of His Spirit (cp. 1 Thessalonians 4:14 τοὺς κοιμηθέντας διὰ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἄξει σὺν αὐτῷ).

διὰ τοῦ ἐνοικοῦντος αὐτοῦ Πνεύματος. The authorities for the two readings, the gen. as above and the acc. διὰ τὸ ἐνοικοῦν αὐτοῦ Πνεῦμα, seem at first sight very evenly divided. For gen. we have a long line of authorities headed by א A C, Clem.-Alex. For acc. we have a still longer line headed by B D, Orig. Iren.-lat.

In fuller detail the evidence is as follows:

διὰ τοῦ ἐνοικοῦντος κ.τ.λ. א A C P2 al., codd. ap. Ps.-Ath. Dial. c. Macedon., Boh. Sah. Harcl. Arm. Aeth., Clem.-Alex. Method. (codd. Graec. locorum ab Epiphanio citatorum) Cyr.-Hieros codd. plur. et ed. Did. 4/5 Bas 4/4 Chrys. ad 1 Corinthians 15:45, Cyr.-Alex. ter, al. plur.

διὰ τὸ ἐνοικοῦν κ.τ.λ. B D E F G K L P &c., codd. ap. Ps.-Ath. Dial. c. Macedon.; Vulg. Pesh. (Sah. codd.); Iren.-lat. Orig. pluries; Method. vers. slav. et codd. Epiphanii 1/3 et ex parte 2/3, Cyr.-Hieros. cod. Did.-lat. semel (interp. Hieron.) Chrys. ad loc. Tert. Hil. al. plur.

When these lists are examined, it will be seen at once that the authorities for the gen. are predominantly Alexandrian, and those for the acc. predominantly Western. The question is how far in each case this main body is reinforced by more independent evidence. From this point of view a somewhat increased importance attaches to Harcl. Arm. Hippol. Cyr.-Hieros. Bas. on the side of the gen. and to B, Orig. on the side of the acc. The testimony of Method. is not quite clear. The first place in which the passage occurs is a quotation from Origen: here the true reading is probably διὰ τὸ ἐνοικοῦν, as elsewhere in that writer. The other two places belong to Methodius himself. Here too the Slavonic version has in both cases acc.; the Greek preserved in Epiphanius has in one instance acc., in the other gen. It is perhaps on the whole probable that Method. himself read acc. and that gen. is due to Epiphanius, who undoubtedly was in the habit of using gen. In balancing the opposed evidence we remember that there is a distinct Western infusion in both B and Orig. in St. Paul’s Epistles, so that the acc. may rest not on the authority of two families of text, but only of one. On the other hand, to Alexandria we must add Palestine, which would count for something, though not very much, as being within the sphere of Alexandrian influence, and Cappadocia, which would count for rather more; but what is of most importance is the attesting of the Alexandrian reading so far West as Hippolytus. Too much importance must not be attached to the assertion of the orthodox controversialist in the Dial. c. Macedonios, that gen. is found in ‘all the ancient copies’; the author of the dialogue allows that the reading is questionable.

On the whole the preponderance seems to be slightly on the side of the gen., but neither reading can be ignored. Intrinsically the one reading is not clearly preferable to the other. St. Paul might have used equally well either form of expression. It is however hardly adequate to say with Dr. Vaughan that if we read the acc. the reference is ‘to the ennobling and consecrating effect of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the human body.’ The prominent idea is rather that the Holy Spirit is Itself essentially a Spirit of Life, and therefore it is natural that where It is life should be. The gen. brings out rather more the direct and personal agency of the Holy Spirit, which of course commended the reading to the supporters of orthodox doctrine in the Macedonian controversy.

The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit

The doctrine of the Spirit of God or the Holy Spirit is taken over from the O.T., where we have it conspicuously in relation to Creation (Genesis 1:2), in relation to Prophecy (1 Samuel 10:10; 1 Samuel 11:6; 1 Samuel 19:20, 1 Samuel 19:23, &c.), and in relation to the religious life of the individual (Psalms 51:11) and of the nation (Isaiah 63:10 f.). It was understood that the Messiah had a plenary endowment of this Spirit (Isaiah 11:2). And accordingly in the N.T. the Gospels unanimously record the visible, if symbolical, manifestation of this endowment (Mark 1:10; John 1:32). And it is an expression of the same truth when in this passage and elsewhere St. Paul speaks of the Spirit of Christ convertibly with Christ Himself. Just as there are many passages in which he uses precisely the same language of the Spirit of God and of God Himself, so also there are many others in which he uses the same language of the Spirit of Christ and of Christ Himself. Thus the ‘demonstration of the Spirit’ is a demonstration also of the ‘power of God’ (1 Corinthians 2:4, 1 Corinthians 2:5); the working of the Spirit is a working of God Himself (1 Corinthians 12:11 compared with ver. 6) and of Christ (Ephesians 4:11 compared with 1 Corinthians 12:28, 1 Corinthians 12:4). To be ‘Christ’s’ is the same thing as to ‘live in the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:22 ff.). Nay, in one place Christ is expressly identified with ‘the Spirit’: ‘the Lord is the Spirit’ (2 Corinthians 3:17): a passage which has a seemingly remarkable parallel in Ignat. Ad Magn. xv ἔρρωσθε ὲν ὁμονοίᾳ Θεοῦ, κεκτημένοι�John 14:16-23).

This is the first point which must be borne clearly in mind: in their relation to the human soul the Father and the Son act through and are represented by the Holy Spirit. And yet the Spirit is not merged either in the Father or in the Son. This is the complementary truth. Along with the language of identity there is other language which implies distinction.

It is not only that the Spirit of God is related to God in the same sort of way in which the spirit of man is related to the man. In this very chapter the Holy Spirit is represented as standing over against the Father and pleading with Him (Romans 8:26 f.), and a number of other actions which we should call ‘personal’ are ascribed to Him—‘dwelling’ (vv. 9, 11), ‘leading’ (ver. 14), ‘witnessing’ (ver. 16), ‘assisting’ (ver. 26). In the last verse of 2 Corinthians St. Paul distinctly co-ordinates the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son. And even where St. John speaks of the Son as coming again in the Spirit, it is not as the same but as ‘other’; ‘another Paraclete will He give you’ (St. John 14:16). The language of identity is only partial, and is confined within strict limits. Nowhere does St. Paul give the name of ‘Spirit’ to Him who died upon the Cross, and rose again, and will return once more to judgement. There is a method running through the language of both Apostles.

The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is really an extension, a natural if not necessary consequence, of the doctrine of the Incarnation. As soon as it came to be clearly realized that the Son of God had walked the earth as an individual man among men it was inevitable that there should be recognized a distinction, and such a distinction as in human language could only be described as ‘personal’ in the Godhead. But if there was a twofold distinction, then it was wholly in accordance with the body of ideas derived from the O.T. to say also a threefold distinction.

It is interesting to observe that in the presentation of this last step in the doctrine there is a difference between St. Paul and St. John corresponding to a difference in the experience of the two Apostles. In both cases it is this actual experience which gives the standpoint from which they write. St. John, who had heard and seen and handled the Word of Life, who had stood beneath the cross and looked into the empty tomb, when he thinks of the coming of the Paraclete naturally thinks of Him as ‘another Paraclete.’ St. Paul, who had not had the same privileges, but who was conscious that from the moment of his vision upon the road to Damascus a new force had entered into his soul, as naturally connects the force and the vision, and sees in what he feels to be the work of the Spirit the work also of the exalted Son. To St. John the first visible Paraclete and the second invisible could not but be different; to St. Paul the invisible influence which wrought so powerfully in him seemed to stream directly from the presence of Him whom he had heard from heaven call him by his name.


8:12-17. Live then as men bound for such a destiny, ascetics as to your worldly life, heirs of immortality. The Spirit implanted and confirms in you the consciousness of your inheritance. It tells you that you are in a special sense sons of God, and that you must some day share the glory to which Christ, your Elder Brother, has gone.

12 Such a destiny has its obligations. To the flesh you owe nothing. 13 If you live as it would have you, you must inevitably die. But if by the help of the Spirit you sternly put an end to the licence of the flesh, then in the fullest sense you will live.

14 Why so? Why that necessary consequence? The link is here. All who follow the leading of God’s Spirit are certainly by that very fact special objects of His favour. They do indeed enjoy the highest title and the highest privileges. They are His sons.

15 When you were first baptized, and the communication of the Holy Spirit sealed your admission into the Christian fold, the energies which He imparted were surely not those of a slave. You had not once more to tremble under the lash of the Law. No: He gave you rather the proud inspiring consciousness of men admitted into His family, adopted as His sons. And the consciousness of that relation unlocks our lips in tender filial appeal to God as our Father. 16 Two voices are distinctly heard: one we know to be that of the Holy Spirit; the other is the voice of our own consciousness. And both bear witness to the same fact that we are children of God. 17 But to be a child implies something more. The child will one day inherit his father’s possessions. So the Christian will one day enter upon that glorious inheritance which his Heavenly Father has in store for him and on which Christ as his Elder Brother has already entered. Only, be it remembered, that in order to share in the glory, it is necessary first to share in the sufferings which lead to it.

12. Lipsius would unite vv. 12, 13 closely with the foregoing; and no doubt it is true that these verses only contain the conclusion of the previous paragraph thrown into a hortatory form. Still it is usual to mark this transition to exhortation by a new paragraph (as at 6:12); and although a new idea (that of heirship) is introduced at ver. 14, that idea is only subordinate to the main argument, the assurance which the Spirit gives of future life. See also the note on οὖν in 10:14.

13. πνεύματι. The antithesis to σάρξ seems to show that this is still, as in vv. 4, 5, 9, the human πνεῦμα, but it is the human πνεῦμα in direct contact with the Divine.

τὰς πράξεις: of wicked doings, as in Luke 23:51.

14. The phrases which occur in this section, Πνεύματι Θεοῦ ἄγονται, τὸ Πνεῦμα συμμαρτυρεῖ τῷ πνεύματι ἡμῶν, are clear proof that the other group of phrases ἐν πνεύματι εἶναι, or τὸ Πνεῦμα οἰκεῖ (ἐνοικεῖ) ἐν ἡμῖν are not intended in any way to impair the essential distinctness and independence of the human personality. There is no such Divine ‘immanence’ as would obliterate this. The analogy to be kept in view is the personal influence of one human being upon another. We know to what heights this may rise. The Divine influence may be still more subtle and penetrative, but it is not different in kind.

υἱοὶ Θεοῦ. The difference between υἱός and τέκνον appears to be that whereas τέκνον denotes the natural relationship of child to parent, υἱός implies, in addition to this, the recognized status and legal privileges reserved for sons. Cf. Westcott on St. John 1:12 and the parallels there noted.

15. πνεῦμα δουλείας. This is another subtle variation in the use of πνεῦμα. From meaning the human spirit under the influence of the Divine Spirit πνεῦμα comes to mean a particular state, habit, or temper of the human spirit, sometimes in itself (πνεῦμα ζηλώσεως Numbers 5:14, Numbers 5:30; πν.�Isaiah 61:3; πν. πορνείας Hosea 4:12), but more often as due to supernatural influence, good or evil (πν. σοφίας κ.τ.λ. Isaiah 11:2; πν. πλανήσεως Isaiah 19:14; πν. κρίσεως Isaiah 28:6; πν. κατανύξεως Isaiah 29:10 ( = Romans 11:8); πν. χάριτος καὶ οἰκτιρμοῦ Zechariah 12:10; πν.�Luke 13:11; πν. δειλίας 2 Timothy 1:7; τὸ πν. τῆς πλάνης 1 John 4:6). So here πν. δουλείας = such a spirit as accompanies a state of slavery, such a servile habit as the human πνεῦμα assumes among slaves. This was not the temper which you had imparted to you at your baptism (ἐλάβετε). The slavery is that of the Law: cf. Galatians 4:6, Galatians 4:7, Galatians 4:24, Galatians 4:5:1.

πάλιν εἰς φόβον: ‘so as to relapse into a state of fear.’ The candidate for baptism did not emerge from the terrors of the Law only to be thrown back into them again.

υἱοθεσίας: a word coined, but rightly coined, from the classical phrase υἱὸς τἰθεσθαι (θετὸς υἱός). It seems however too much to say with Gif. that the coinage was probably due to St. Paul himself. ‘No word is more common in Greek inscriptions of the Hellenistic time: the idea, like the word, is native Greek’ (E. L. Hicks in Studia Biblica, iv. 8). This doubtless points to the quarter from which St. Paul derived the word, as the Jews had not the practice of adoption.

Ἀββᾶ, ὁ πατήρ. The repetition of this word, first in Aramaic and then in Greek, is remarkable and brings home to us the fact that Christianity had its birth in a bilingual people. The same repetition occurs in Mark 14:36 (‘Abba, Father, all things are possible to Thee’) and in Galatians 4:6: it gives a greater intensity of expression, but would only be natural where the speaker was using in both cases his familiar tongue. Lightfoot (Hor. Heb. on Mark 14:36) thinks that in the Gospel the word Ἀββᾶ only was used by our Lord and ὁ Πατήρ added as an interpretation by St. Mark, and that in like manner St. Paul is interpreting for the benefit of his readers. The three passages are however all too emotional for this explanation: interpretation is out of place in a prayer. It seems better to suppose that our Lord Himself, using familiarly both languages, and concentrating into this word of all words such a depth of meaning, found Himself impelled spontaneously to repeat the word, and that some among His disciples caught and transmitted the same habit. It is significant however of the limited extent of strictly Jewish Christianity that we find no other original examples of the use than these three.

16. αὐτὸ τὸ Πνεῦμα: see on ver. 14 above.

συμμαρτυρεῖ: cf. 2:15; 9:2. There the ‘joint-witness’ was the subjective testimony of conscience, confirming the objective testimony of a man’s works or actions; here consciousness is analyzed, and its data are referred partly to the man himself, partly to the Spirit of God moving and prompting him.

17. κληρονόμοι. The idea of a κληρονομία is taken up and developed in N. T. from O. T. and Apocr. (Ecclus, Ps. Sol., 4 Ezr.). It is also prominent in Philo, who devotes a whole treatise to the question Quis rerum divinarum heres sit? (Mang. i. 473 ff.). Meaning originally (i) the simple possession of the Holy Land, it came to mean (ii) its permanent and assured possession (Psa_25[24]:13; 36[37]:9, 11 &c.); hence (iii) specially the secure possession won by the Messiah (Isaiah 60:21; Isaiah 61:7; and so it became (iv) a symbol of all Messianic blessings (Matthew 5:5; Matthew 19:29; Matthew 25:34, &c.). Philo, after his manner, makes the word denote the bliss of the soul when freed from the body.

It is an instance of the unaccountable inequalities of usage that whereas κληρονομεῖν, κληρονομία occur almost innumerable times in LXX, κληρονόμος occurs only five times (once in Symmachus); in N. T. there is much greater equality (κληρονομεῖν eighteen, κληρονομία fourteen, κληρονόμος fifteen).

συγκληρονόμοι. Our Lord had described Himself as ‘the Heir’ in the parable of the Wicked Husbandmen (Matthew 21:38). This would show that the idea of κληρονομία received its full Christian adaptation directly from Him (cf. also Matthew 25:34).

εἴπερ συμπάσχομεν. St. Paul seems here to be reminding his hearers of a current Christian saying: cf. 2 Timothy 2:11 πιστὸς ὁ λόγος, Εἰ γὰρ συναπεθάνομεν καὶ συζήσομεν· εἰ ὑπομένομεν καὶ συμβασιλεύσομεν. This is another instance of the Biblical conception of Christ as the Way (His Life not merely an example for ours, but in its main lines presenting a fixed type or law to which the lives of Christians must conform); cf. p. 196 above, and Dr. Hort’s The Way, the Truth, and the Life there referred to. For εἴπερ see on 3:30.


8:18-25. What though the path to that glory lies through suffering? The suffering and the glory alike are parts of a great cosmical movement, in which the irrational creation joins with man. As it shared the results of his fall, so also will it share in his redemption. Its pangs are pangs of a new birth (vv. 18-22).

Like the mute creation, we Christians too wait painfully for our deliverance. Our attitude is one of hope and not of possession (vv. 23-25).

18 What of that? For the sufferings which we have to undergo in this phase of our career I count not worth a thought in view of that dazzling splendour which will one day break through the clouds and dawn upon us. 19 For the sons of God will stand forth revealed in the glories of their bright inheritance. And for that consummation not they alone but the whole irrational creation both animate and inanimate, waits with eager longing; like spectators straining forward over the ropes to catch the first glimpse of some triumphal pageant.

20 The future and not the present must satisfy its aspirations. For ages ago Creation was condemned to have its energies marred and frustrated. And that by no act of its own: it was God who fixed this doom upon it, but with the hope 21 that as it had been enthralled to death and decay by the Fall of Man so too the Creation shall share in the free and glorious existence of God’s emancipated children. 22 It is like the pangs of a woman in child-birth. This universal frame feels up to this moment the throes of travail—feels them in every part and cries out in its pain. But where there is travail, there must needs also be a birth.

23 Our own experience points to the same conclusion. True that in those workings of the Spirit, the charismata with which we are endowed, we Christians already possess a foretaste of good things to come. But that very foretaste makes us long—anxiously and painfully long—for the final recognition of our Sonship. We desire to see these bodies of ours delivered from the evils that beset them and transfigured into glory.

24 Hope is the Christian’s proper attitude. We were saved indeed, the groundwork of our salvation was laid, when we became Christians. But was that salvation in possession or in prospect? Certainly in prospect. Otherwise there would be no room for hope. For what a man sees already in his hand he does not hope for as if it were future. 25 But in our case we do not see, and we do hope; therefore we also wait for our object with steadfast fortitude.

18. λογίζομαι γάρ. At the end of the last paragraph St. Paul has been led to speak of the exalted privileges of Christians involved in the fact that they are sons of God. The thought of these privileges suddenly recalls to him the contrast of the sufferings through which they are passing. And after his manner he does not let go this idea of ‘suffering’ but works it into his main argument. He first dismisses the thought that the present suffering can be any real counter-weight to the future glory; and then he shows that not only is it not this, but that on the contrary it actually points forward to that glory. It does this on the grandest scale. In fact it is nothing short of an universal law that suffering marks the road to glory. All the suffering, all the imperfection, all the unsatisfied aspiration and longing of which the traces are so abundant in external nature as well as in man, do but point forward to a time when the suffering shall cease, the imperfection be removed and the frustrated aspirations at last crowned and satisfied; and this time coincides with the glorious consummation which awaits the Christian.

True it is that there goes up as it were an universal groan, from creation, from ourselves, from the Holy Spirit who sympathizes with us; but this groaning is but the travail-pangs of the new birth, the entrance upon their glorified condition of the risen sons of God.

λογίζομαι: here in its strict sense, ‘I calculate,’ ‘weigh mentally,’ ‘count up on the one side and on the other.’

ἄξια … πρός. In Plato, Gorg. p. 471 E, we have οὐδενὸς ἄξιός ἐστι πρὸς τὴν�Proverbs 8:11 πᾶν δὲ τίμιον οὐκ ἄξιον αὐτῆς (sc. τῆς σοφίας) ἐστίν, and (2) οὐδενὸς λόγου ἄξια πρὸς τὴν δόξαν: comp. Jeremiah 23:28 τί τὸ ἄχυρον πρὸς τὸν σῖτον;

The thought has a near parallel in 4 Ezra 7:3 ff. Compare (e.g.) the following (vv. 12-17): Et facti sunt introitus huius saeculi angusti et dolentes et laboriosi, pauci autem et mali et periculorum pleni et labore magno opere fulti; nam maioris saeculi introitus spatiosi et securi et facientes immortalitatis fructum. Si ergo non ingredientes ingressi fuerintque vivunt angusta et vana haec, non poterunt recipere quae sunt reposita … iusti autem ferent angusta sperantes spatiosa. Compare also the quotations from the Talmud in Delitzsch ad loc. The question is asked, What is the way to the world to come? And the answer is, Through suffering.

μέλλουσαν: emphatic, ‘is destined to,’ ‘is certain to.’ The position of the word is the same as in Galatians 3:23, and serves to point the contrast to τοῦ νῦν καιροῦ.

δόξαν: the heavenly brightness of Christ’s appearing: see on 3:23.

εἰς ἡμᾶς: to reach and include us in its radiance.

19.�Philippians 1:20 κατὰ τὴν�Psa_37[36]:7, and the subst. frequently in Polyb. and Plutarch (see Grm.-Thay. s. v., and Ell. Lft. on Philippians 1:20). A highly expressive word ‘to strain forward,’ lit. ‘await with outstretched head.’ This sense is still further strengthened by the compound,�

This passage (especially vv. 17, 22) played a considerable part in the system of Basilides, as described in Hippol. Ref. Omn. Hacr. vii. 25-27. τῆς κτίσεως: see on 1:20. Here the sense is given by the context; ἡ κτίσις is set in contrast with the ‘sons of God,’ and from the allusion to the Fall which follows evidently refers to Genesis 3:17, Genesis 3:18 ‘Cursed is the ground for thy sake … thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee.’ The commentators however are not wrong in making the word include here the whole irrational creation. The poetic and penetrating imagination of St. Paul sees in the marks of imperfection on the face of nature, in the signs at once of high capacities and poor achievement, the visible and audible expression of a sense of something wanting which will one day be supplied.

Oltr. and some others argue strenuously, but in vain, for giving to κτίσις, throughout the whole of this passage, the sense not of the world of nature, but of the world of man (similarly Orig.). He tries to get rid of the poetic personification of nature and to dissociate St. Paul from Jewish doctrine as to the origin of death and decay in nature, and as to its removal at the coming of the Messiah. But (i) there is no sufficient warrant for limiting κτίσις to humanity; (ii) it is necessary to deny the sufficiently obvious reference to Genesis 3:17-19 (where, though the ‘ground’ or ‘soil’ only is mentioned, it is the earth’s surface as the seed-plot of life); (iii) the Apostle is rather taken out of the mental surroundings in which he moved than placed in them: see below on ‘The Renovation of Nature.’

The ancients generally take the passage as above (ἡ κτίσις ἡ ἄλογος expressly Euthym.-Zig). Orig.-lat., as expressly, has creaturam utpote rationabilem; but he is quite at fault, making τῇ ματαιότητι = ‘the body.’ Chrys. and Euthym.-Zig. call attention to the personification of Nature, which they compare to that in the Psalms and Prophets, while Diodorus of Tarsus refers the expressions implying life rather to the Powers (δυνάμεις) which preside over inanimate nature and from which it takes its forms. The sense commonly given to ματαιότητι is = φθορά.

τὴν�2 Thessalonians 2:8) and to that of the redeemed who accompany Him: their new existence will not be like the present, but will be in ‘glory’ (δόξα) both reflected and imparted. This revealing of the sons of God will be the signal for the great transformation.

The Jewish writings use similar language. To them also the appearing of the Messiah is an�

20. τῇ … ματαιότητι: ματαιότης ματαιοτήτων is the refrain of the Book of Ecclesiastes (Ecclesiastes 1:2, &c.; cf. Psalms 39:5, Psalms 39:11 [38:6, 12] 144[143]:4): that is μάταιον which is ‘without result’ (μάτην), ‘ineffective,’ ‘which does not reach its end’—the opposite of τέλειος: the word is therefore appropriately used of the disappointing character of present existence, which nowhere reaches the perfection of which it is capable.

ὑπετάγη: by the Divine sentence which followed the Fall (Genesis 3:17-19).

οὐχ ἑκοῦσα: not through its own fault, but through the fault of man, i. e. the Fall.

διὰ τὸν ὑποτάξαντα: ‘by reason of Him who subjected it,’ i. e. not man in general (Lips.); nor Adam (Chrys. al.); nor the Devil (Go.), but (with most commentators, ancient as well as modern) God, by the sentence pronounced after the Fall. It is no argument against this reference that the use of διά with acc. in such a connexion is rather unusual (so Lips.).

ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι qualifies ὑπετάγη. Creation was made subject to vanity—not simply and absolutely and there an end, but ‘in hope that,’ &c. Whatever the defects and degradation of nature, it was at least left with the hope of rising to the ideal intended for it.

21. ὅτι. The majority of recent commentators make ὅτι (= ‘that’) define the substance of the hope just mentioned, and not (= ‘because’) give a reason for it. The meaning in any case is much the same, but this is the simpler way to arrive at it.

καὶ αὐτὴ ἡ κτίσις: not only Christians but even the mute creation with them.

ἀπὸ τῆς δουλείας τῆς φθορᾶς δουλείας corresponds to ὑπετάγη, the state of subjection or thraldom to dissolution and decay. The opposite to this is the full and free development of all the powers which attends the state of δόξα. ‘Glorious liberty’ is a poor translation and does not express the idea: δόξα, ‘the glorified state,’ is the leading fact, not a subordinate fact, and ἐλευθερία is its characteristic, ‘the liberty of the glory of the children of God.’

22. οἴδαμεν γάρ introduces a fact of common knowledge (though the apprehension of it may not have been so common as he assumes) to which the Apostle appeals.

συστενάζει καὶ συνωδίνει. It seems on the whole best to take the συν- in both instances as = ‘together,’ i.e. in all the parts of which creation is made up (so. Theod.-Mops. expressly: βούλεται δὲ εἰπεῖν ὅτι συμφώνως έπιδείκνυται τοῦτο πᾶσα ἡ κτίσις· ἵνα τὺ παρὰ πάσης τὸ αὐτὸ γένεσθαι ὁμοίως, παιδεύσῃ τούτους τὴν πρὸς ἅπαντας κοινωνίαν αἱρεῖσθαι τῃ τῶν λυπηρῶν καρτερία). Oltr. gets out of it the sense of ‘inwardly’ (= ἐν ἐαυτοῖς), which it will not bear: Fri. Lips. and others, after Euthym.-Zig. make it = ‘with men’ or ‘with the children of God’; but if these had been pointed to, there would not be so clear an opposition as there is at the beginning of the next verse (οὐ μόνον δέ,�1Co_12. &c.), but including also the moral and spiritual gifts which were more permanent (Galatians 5:22 f.). The possession of these gifts served to quicken the sense of the yet greater gifts that were to come. Foremost among them was to be the transforming of the earthly or ‘psychical’ body into a spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:44 ff.). St. Paul calls this a ‘deliverance,’ i. e. a deliverance from the ‘ills that flesh is heir to’: for�

ἔχοντες ἡμεῖς: ἡμεῖς is placed here by א A C 5. 47. 80, also by Tisch. RV. and (in brackets) by WH.

υἱοθεσίαν: see on ver. 15 above. Here υἱοθ. = the manifested, realized, act of adoption—its public promulgation.

24. τῇ γὰρ ἐλπίδι ἐσώθημεν. The older commentators for the most part (not however Luther Beng. Fri.) took the dat. here as dative of the instrument, ‘by hope were we saved.’ Most moderns (including Gif. Go. Oltr. Mou. Lid.) take it as dat. modi, ‘in hope were we saved;’ the main ground being that it is more in accordance with the teaching of St. Paul to say that we were saved by faith, or from another point of view—looking at salvation from the side of God—by grace (both terms are found in Ephesians 2:8) than by hope. This seems preferable. Some have held that Hope is here only an aspect of Faith: and it is quite true that the definition of Faith in Hebrews 11:1 (ἔστι δὲ πίστις ἐλπιζομένων ὑπόστασις, πραγμάτων ἒλεγχος οὐ βλεπομένων), makes it practically equivalent to Hope. But that is just one of the points of distinction between Ep. to Heb. and St. Paul. In Heb. Faith is used somewhat vaguely of belief in God and in the fulfilment of His promises. In St. Paul it is far more often Faith in Christ, the first act of accepting Christianity (see p. 33 above). This belongs essentially to the past, and to the present as growing directly out of the past; but when St. Paul comes to speak of the future he uses another term, ἐλπίς. No doubt when we come to trace this to its origin it has its root in the strong conviction of the Messiahship of Jesus and its consequences; but the two terms are not therefore identical, and it is best to keep them distinct.

Some recent Germans (Holsten, Weiss, Lips.) take the dat. as dativus commodi, ‘for hope were we saved.’ But this is less natural. To obtain this sense we should have to personify Hope more strongly than the context will bear. Besides Hope is an attribute or characteristic of the Christian life, but not its end.

ἐλπὶς δὲ βλεπομένη: ἐλπίς here = ‘the thing hoped for,’ just as κτίσις = ‘the thing created’; a very common usage.

ὃ γὰρ βλέπει, τίς ἐλπίζει; This terse reading is found only in B 47 marg., which adds τὸ παλαιὸν οὕτως ἔχει: it is adopted by RV. text, WH. text. Text. Recept. has [ὅ γὰρ βλέπει τις] τί καὶ [ἐλπίζει], of which τί alone is found in Western authorities (D F G, Vulg. Pesh. al.), and καί alone in א* 47*. Both RV. and WH. give a place in the margin to τί καὶ ἐλπίζει and τίς καὶ ὑπομένει [ὑπομένει with א* A 47 marg.].

25. The point of these two verses is that the attitude of hope, so distinctive of the Christian, implies that there is more in store for him than anything that is his already.

διʼ ὑπομονῆς: constancy and fortitude under persecution, &c., pointing back to the ‘sufferings’ of ver. 18 (cf. on 2:7; 5:4; and for the use of διά 2:27).

The Renovation of Nature

We have already quoted illustrations of St. Paul’s language from some of the Jewish writings which are nearest to his own in point of time. They are only samples of the great mass of Jewish literature. To all of it this idea of a renovation of Nature, the creation of new heavens and a new earth is common, as part of the Messianic expectation which was fulfilled unawares to many of those by whom it was entertained. The days of the Messiah were to be the ‘seasons of refreshing,’ the ‘times of restoration of all things,’ which were to come from the face of the Lord (Acts 3:19, Acts 3:21). The expectation had its roots in the O. T., especially in those chapters of the Second Part of Isaiah in which the approaching Return from Captivity opens up to the prophet such splendid visions for the future. The one section Isaiah 65:17-25 might well be held to warrant most of the statements in the Apocrypha and Talmud.

The idea of the ‘new heavens and new earth’ is based directly upon Isaiah 65:17, and is found clearly stated in the Book of Enoch, xlv. 4f. ‘I will transform the heaven and make it an eternal blessing and light. And I will transform the earth and make it a blessing and cause Mine elect ones to dwell upon it’ (where see Charles’ note). There is also an application of Psalms 114:4, with an added feature which illustrates exactly St. Paul’s�

It is not surprising to find the poetry of the prophetic writings hardened into fact by Jewish literalism; but it is strange when the products of this mode of interpretation are attributed to our Lord Himself on authority no less ancient than that of Papias of Hierapolis, professedly drawing from the tradition of St. John. Yet Irenaeus (Adv. Haer. V. xxxiii. 3) quotes in such terms the following: ‘The days will come, in which vines shall grow, each having ten thousand shoots and on each shoot ten thousand branches, and on each branch again ten thousand twigs, and on each twig ten thousand clusters, and on each cluster ten thousand grapes, and each grape when pressed shall yield five and twenty measures of wine … Likewise also a grain of wheat shall produce ten thousand heads, and every head shall have ten thousand grains, and every grain ten pounds of fine flour, bright and clean; and the other fruits, seeds and the grass shall produce in similar proportions, and all the animals using these fruits which are products of the soil, shall become in their turn peaceable and harmonious.’ It happens that this saying, or at least part of it, is actually extant in Apoc. Bar. xxix. 5 (cf. Orac. Sibyll. iii. 620-623, 744 ff.), so that it clearly comes from some Jewish source. In view of an instance like this it seems possible that even in the N. T. our Lord’s words may have been defined in a sense which was not exactly that originally intended owing to the current expectation which the disciples largely shared.

And yet on the whole, even if this expectation was by the Jews to some extent literalized and materialized, some of its essential features were preserved. Corresponding to the new abode prepared for it there was to be a renewed humanity: and that not only in a physical sense based on Isaiah 35:5 f. (‘Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped,’ &c.), but also in a moral sense; the root of evil was to be plucked out of the hearts of men and a new heart was to be implanted in them: the Spirit of God was to rest upon them (Weber, Altsyn. Theol. p. 382). There was to be no unrighteousness in their midst, for they were all to be holy (Ps. Sol. 17:28 f., 36, &c.). The Messiah was to rule over the nations, but not merely by force; Israel was to be a true light to the Gentiles (Schürer, op. cit. p. 456).

If we compare these Jewish beliefs with what we find here in the Epistle to the Romans there are two ways in which the superiority of the Apostle is most striking. (1) There runs through his words an intense sympathy with nature in and for itself. He is one of those (like St. Francis of Assisi) to whom it is given to read as it were the thoughts of plants and animals. He seems to lay his ear to the earth and the confused murmur which he hears has a meaning for him: it is creation’s yearning for that happier state intended for it and of which it has been defrauded. (2) The main idea is not, as it is so apt to be with the Rabbinical writers, the mere glorification of Israel. By them the Gentiles are differently treated. Sometimes it is their boast that the Holy Land will be reserved exclusively for Israel: ‘the sojourner and the stranger shall dwell with them no more’ (Ps. Sol. 17:31). The only place for the Gentiles is ‘to serve him beneath the yoke’ (ibid. ver. 32). The vision of the Gentiles streaming to Jerusalem as a centre of religion is exceptional, as it must be confessed that it is also in O. T. Prophecy. On the other hand, with St. Paul the movement is truly cosmic. The ‘sons of God’ are not selected for their own sakes alone, but their redemption means the redemption of a world of being besides themselves.


8:26, 27. Meanwhile the Holy Spirit itself assists in our prayers.

26Nor are we alone in our struggles. The Holy Spirit supports our helplessness. Left to ourselves we do not know what prayers to offer or how to offer them. But in those inarticulate groans which rise from the depths of our being, we recognize the voice of none other than the Holy Spirit. He makes intercession; and His intercession is sure to be answered. 27For God Who searches the inmost recesses of the heart can interpret His own Spirit’s meaning. He knows that His own Will regulates Its petitions, and that they are offered for men dedicated to His service.

26. ὡσαύτως. As we groan, so also does the Holy Spirit groan with us, putting a meaning into our aspirations which they would not have of themselves. All alike converges upon that ‘Divine event, to which the whole creation moves.’ This view of the connexion (Go., Weiss, Lips.), which weaves in this verse with the broad course of the Apostle’s argument, seems on the whole better than that which attaches it more closely to the words immediately preceding, ‘as hope sustains us so also does the Spirit sustain us’ (Mey. Oltr. Gif. Va. Mou.).

συναντιλαμβάνεται:�Psa_88[89]:22, and in Luke 10:40.


τὸ γὰρ τί προσευξώμεθα. The art. makes the whole clause object of οἴδαμεν. Gif. notes that this construction is characteristic of St. Paul and St. Luke (in the latter ten times; in the former Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14; Ephesians 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:1). τί προσευξ. is strictly rather, ‘What we ought to pray’ than ‘what we ought to pray for,’ i. e. ‘how we are to word our prayers,’ not ‘what we are to choose as the objects of prayer.’ But as the object determines the nature of the prayer, in the end the meaning is much the same.

καθὸ δεῖ. It is perhaps a refinement to take this as = ‘according to, in proportion to, our need’ (Mey.-W. Gif.); which brings out the proper force of καθό (cf. Baruch 1:6 v. l.) at the cost of putting a sense upon δεῖ which is not found elsewhere in the N. T., where it always denotes obligation or objective necessity. Those of the Fathers who show how they took it make καθὸ δεῖ = τίνα τρόπον δεῖ προσευξ., which also answers well to κατὰ Θεόν in the next verse.

ὑπερεντυγχάνει: ἐντυγχάνω means originally ‘to fall in with,’ and hence ‘to accost with entreaty,’ and so simply ‘to entreat’; in this sense it is not uncommon and occurs twice in this Epistle (8:34; 11:2). The verse contains a statement which the unready of speech may well lay to heart, that all prayer need not be formulated, but that the most inarticulate desires (springing from a right motive) may have a shape and a value given to them beyond anything that is present and definable to the consciousness. This verse and the next go to show that St. Paul regarded the action of the Holy Spirit as personal, and as distinct from the action of the Father. The language of the Creeds aims at taking account of these expressions, which agree fully with the triple formula of 2 Corinthians 13:14; Matthew 28:19. Oltr. however makes τὸ πνεῦμα in both verses = ‘the human spirit,’ against the natural sense of ὑπερεντυγχάνει and ὑπὲρ ἁγίων, which place the object of intercession outside the Spirit itself, and against κατὰ Θεόν, which would be by no means always true of the human spirit.

ὑπερεντυγχάνει is decisively attested (א* A B D F G &c.). Text. Recept. has the easier ἐντυγχάνει ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν.

27. ὅτι. Are we to translate this ‘because’ (Weiss Go. Gif. Va.) or ‘that’ (Mey. Oltr. Lips. Mou.)? Probably the latter; for if we take ὅτι as assigning a reason for οἶδε τί τὸ φρόνημα, the reason would not be adequate: God would still ‘know’ the mind, or intention, of the Spirit even if we could conceive it as not κατὰ Θεόν and not ὑπὲρ ἁγίων. It seems best therefore to make ὅτι describe the nature of the Spirit’s intercession.

κατὰ Θεόν = κατὰ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Θεοῦ: cf. 2 Corinthians 7:9-11.

The Jews had a strong belief in the value of the intercessory prayer of their great saints, such as Moses (Ass. Moys. xi. 11, 17; xii. 6), Jeremiah (Apoc. Bar. 2:2): cf. Weber, p. 287 ff. But they have nothing like the teaching of these verses.


8:28-30. With what a chain of Providential care does God accompany the course of His chosen! In eternity, the plan laid and their part in it foreseen; in time, first their call, then their acquittal, and finally their reception into glory.

28Yet another ground of confidence. The Christian knows that all things (including his sufferings) can have but one result, and that a good one, for those who love God and respond to the call which in the pursuance of His purpose He addresses to them. 29Think what a long perspective of Divine care and protection lies before them! First, in eternity, God marked them for His own, as special objects of His care and instruments of His purpose. Then, in the same eternity, He planned that they should share in the glorified celestial being of the Incarnate Son—in order that He, as Eldest Born, might gather round Him a whole family of the redeemed. 30Then in due course, to those for whom He had in store this destiny He addressed the call to leave their worldly lives and devote themselves to His service. And when they obeyed that call He treated them as righteous men, with their past no longer reckoned against them. And so accounted righteous He let them participate (partially now as they will do more completely hereafter) in His Divine perfection.

28. οἴδαμεν δέ passes on to another ground for looking confidently to the future. The Christian’s career must have a good ending, because at every step in it he is in the hands of God and is carrying out the Divine purpose.

πάντα συνεργεῖ: a small but important group of authorities, A B, Orig. 2/6 or 2/7 (cf. Boh. Sah. Aeth.), adds ὁ Θεός; and the insertion lay so much less near at hand than the omission that it must be allowed to have the greater appearance of originality. With this reading συνεργεῖ must be taken transitively, ‘causes all things to work.’

The Bohairic Version, translated literally and preserving the idioms, is ‘But we know that those who love God, He habitually works with them in every good thing, those whom He has called according to His purpose.’ The Sahidic Version (as edited by Amélineau in Zeitschrift für Aegypt. Sprache, 1887) is in part defective but certainly repeats Θεός: ‘But we know that those who love God, God … them in every good thing,’ &c. From this we gather that the Version of Upper Egypt inserted ὁ Θεός, and that the Version of Lower Egypt omitted it but interpreted συνεργεῖ transitively as if it were present. It would almost seem as if there was an exegetical tradition which took the word in this way. It is true that the extract from Origen’s Commentary in the Philocalia (ed. Robinson, p. 226 ff.) not only distinctly and repeatedly presents the common reading but also in one place (p. 229) clearly has the common interpretation. But Chrysostom (ad loc.) argues at some length as if he were taking συνεργεῖ transitively with ὁ Θεός for subject. Similarly Gennadius (in Cramer’s Catena), also Theodoret and Theodorus Monachus (preserved in the Catena). It would perhaps be too much to claim all these writers as witnesses to the reading συνεργεῖ ὁ Θεός, but they may point to a tradition which had its origin in that reading and survived it. On the other hand it is possible that the reading may have grown out of the interpretation.

For the use of συνεργεῖ there are two rather close parallels in Test. XII Patr.: Issach. 3 ὁ Θεὸς συνεργεῖ τῇ ἁπλότητί μου, and Gad 4 τὸ γὰρ πνεῦμα τοῦ μίσους … συνεργεῖ τῷ Σατανᾷ ἐν πᾶσιν εἰς θάνατον τῶν�

For πρόθεσις see on ch. 9:11 ἡ κατʼ ἐκλογὴν πρόθεσις τοῦ Θεοῦ, which would prove, if proof were needed, that the purpose is that of God and not of man (κατʼ οἰκείαν προαίρεσιν Theoph. and the Greek Fathers generally): comp. also Ephesians 1:11; Ephesians 3:11; 2 Timothy 1:9.

It was one of the misfortunes of Greek theology that it received a bias in the Free-Will controversy from opposition to the Gnostics (cf. p. 269 inf.) which it never afterwards lost, and which seriously prejudiced its exegesis wherever this question was concerned. Thus in the present instance, the great mass of the Greek commentators take κατὰ πρόθεσιν to mean ‘in accordance with the man’s own προαίρεσις or free act of choice’ (see the extracts in Cramer’s Catena ‘e cod. Monac.’; and add Theoph. Oecum. Euthym.-Zig.). The two partial exceptions are, as we might expect, Origen and Cyril of Alexandria, who however both show traces of the influences current in the Eastern Church. Origen also seems inclined to take it of the propositum bonum et bonam voluntatem quam circa Dei cultum gerunt; but he admits the alternative that it may refer to the purpose of God. If so, it refers to this purpose as determined by His foreknowledge of the characters and conduct of men. Cyril of Alexandria asks the question, Whose purpose is intended? and decides that it would not be wrong to answer τήν τε τοῦ κεκληκότος καὶ τὴν ἑαυτῶν. He comes to this decision however rather on dogmatic than on exegetical grounds.

It is equally a straining of the text when Augustine distinguishes two kinds of call, one secundum propositum, the call of the elect, and the other of those who are not elect. Non enim omnes vocati secundum propositum sunt vocati: quoniam multi vocati, pauci electi. Ipsi ergo secundum propositum vocati qui electi ante constitutionem mundi (Cont. duas Epist. Pelag. ii. 10. § 22, cf. Cont. Julian. v. 6, § 14). In the idea of a double call, Augustine seems to have been anticipated by Origen, who however, as we have seen, gives a different sense to κατὰ πρόθεσιν: omnes quidem vocati sunt, non tamen omnes secundum propositum vocati sunt (ed. Lomm. vii. 128).

κλητοῖς: ‘called,’ implying that the call has been obeyed. The κλῆσις is not au salut (Oltr.), at least in the sense of final salvation, but simply to become Christians: see on 1:1.

29. ὅτι: certainly here ‘because,’ assigning a reason for πάντα συνεργεῖ ὁ Θεὸς εἰς�

οὕς προέγνω. The meaning of this phrase must be determined by the Biblical use of the word ‘know,’ which is very marked and clear: e.g. Psalms 1:6 ‘The Lord knoweth (γιγνώσκει) the way of the righteous’; 144 [143], 3. ‘Lord, what is man that Thou takest knowledge of him (ὅτι ἐγνώσθης αὐτῷ LXX)? Or the son of man that Thou makest account of him?’ Hosea 13:5 ‘I did know (ἐποίμαινον) thee in the wilderness.’ Amos 3:2 ‘You only have I known (ἔγνων) of all the families of the earth.’ Matthew 7:23 ‘Then will I profess unto them I never knew (ἔγνων) you,’ &c. In all these places the word means ‘to take note of,’ ‘to fix the regard upon,’ as a preliminary to selection for some especial purpose. The compound προέγνω only throws back this ‘taking note’ from the historic act in time to the eternal counsel which it expresses and executes.

This interpretation (which is very similar to that of Godet and which approaches, though it is not exactly identical with, that of a number of older commentators, who make προέγνω = praediligere, approbare) has the double advantage of being strictly conformed to Biblical usage and of reading nothing into the word which we are not sure is there. This latter objection applies to most other ways of taking the passage: e.g. to Origen’s, when he makes the foreknowledge a foreknowledge of character and fitness, προανατενίσας οὖν ὁ Θεὸς τῷ εἱρμῷ τῶν ἐσομένων, καὶ κατανοήσας ῥοπὴν τοῦ ἐφʼ ἡμῖν τῶνδέ τινων ἐπὶ εὐσέβειαν καὶ ὁρμὴν ἐπὶ ταύτην μετὰ τὴν ῥοπήν κ.τ.λ. (Philocal. xxv. 2. p. 227, ed. Robinson; the comment ad loc. is rather nearer the mark, cognovisse suos dicitur, hoc est in dilectione habuisse sibique sociasse, but there too is added sciens quales essent). Cyril of Alexandria (and after him Meyer) supplies from what follows προεγνώσθησαν ὡς ἔσονται σύμμορφοι τῆς εἰκόνος τοῦ Υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ, but this belongs properly only to προώρισε. Widest from the mark are those who, like Calvin, look beyond the immediate choice to final salvation: Dei autem praecognitio, cuius hic Paulus meminit, non nuda est praescientia … sed adoptio qua filios suos a reprobis semper discrevit. On the other hand, Gif. keeps closely to the context in explaining, ‘“Foreknew” as the individual objects of His purpose (πρόθεσις) and therefore foreknew as “them that love God.” ’ The only defect in this seems to be that it does not sufficiently take account of the O. T. and N. T. use of γιγνώσκω.

καὶ προώρισε. The Apostle overleaps for the moment intermediate steps and carries the believer onward to the final consummation of God’s purpose in respect to him. This is exactly defined as ‘conformity to the image of His Son.’

συμμόρφους denotes inward and thorough and not merely superficial likeness.

τῆς εἰκόνος. As the Son is the image of the Father (2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15), so the Christian is to reflect the image of His Lord, passing through a gradual assimilation of mind and character to an ultimate assimilation of His δόξα, the absorption of the splendour of His presence.

εἰς τὸ εἶναι αὐτὸν πρωτότοκον ἐν πολλοι1͂ς�Colossians 1:18). This is different from the ‘first-born of all creation’ (Colossians 1:15). πρωτότοκος is a metaphorical expression; the sense of which is determined by the context; in Colossians 1:15 it is relative to creation, here it is relative to the state to which entrance is through the Resurrection (see Lightfoot’s note on the passage in Col.).

30. οὓς δὲ προώρισε κ.τ.λ. Having taken his readers to the end of the scale, the δόξα in which the career of the Christian culminates, the Apostle now goes back and resolves the latter part of the process into its subdivisions, of which the landmarks are ἐκάλεσεν, ἐδικαίωσεν, ἐδόξασε. These are not quite exhaustive: ἡγίασεν might have been inserted after ἐδικαίωσεν; but it is sufficiently implied as a consequence of ἐδικαίωσεν and a necessary condition of ἐδόξασε: in pursuance of the Divine purpose that Christians should be conformed to Christ, the first step is the call; this brings with it, when it is obeyed, the wiping out of past sins, or justification; and from that there is a straight course to the crowning with Divine glory. ἐκάλεσεν and ἐδικαίωσεν are both naturally in the aorist tense as pointing to something finished and therefore past: ἐδόξασεν is not strictly either finished or past, but it is attracted into the same tense as the preceding verbs; an attraction which is further justified by the fact that, though not complete in its historical working out, the step implied in ἐδόξασεν is both complete and certain in the Divine counsels. To God there is neither ‘before nor after.’


8:31-39. With the proofs of God’s love before him the Christian has nothing to fear. God, the Judge, is on his side, and the ascended Christ intercedes for him (vv. 31-34).

The love of God in Christ is so strong that earthly sufferings and persecutions—nay, all forms and phases of being—are powerless to intercept it, or to bar the Christian’s triumph (vv. 35-39).

31 What conclusion are we to draw from this? Surely the strongest possible comfort and encouragement. With God on our side what enemy can we fear? 32 As Abraham spared not Isaac, so He spared not the Son who shared His Godhead, but suffered Him to die for all believers. Is not this a sure proof that along with that one transcendent gift His bounty will provide all that is necessary for our salvation? 33 Where shall accusers be found against those whom God has chosen? When God pronounces righteous, 34 who shall condemn? For us Christ has died; I should say rather rose again; and not only rose but sits enthroned at His Father’s side, and there pleads continually for us. 35 His love is our security. And that love is so strong that nothing on earth can come between us and it. The sea of troubles that a Christian has to face, hardship and persecution of every kind, are powerless against it; 36 though the words of the Psalmist might well be applied to us, in which, speaking of the faithful few in his own generation, he described them as ‘for God’s sake butchered all day long, treated like sheep in the shambles.’ 37 We too are no better than they. And yet, crushed and routed as we may seem, the love of Christ crowns us with surpassing victory. 38 For I am convinced that no form or phase of being, whether abstract or personal; not life or its negation; not any hierarchy of spirits; no dimension of time; no supernatural powers; 39 no dimension of space; no world of being invisible to us now,—will ever come between us and the love which God has brought so near to us in Jesus Messiah our Lord.

32. ὅς γε τοῦ ἰδίου υἱοῦ οὐκ ἐφείσατο. A number of emphatic expressions are crowded together in this sentence: ὅς γε, ‘the same God who’; τοῦ ἰδίου υἱοῦ, ‘His own Son,’ partaker of His own nature; οὐκ ἐφείσατο, the word which is used of the offering of Isaac in Genesis 22:16, and so directly recalls that offering—the greatest sacrifice on record. For the argument comp. v. 6-10.

33-35. The best punctuation of these verses is that which is adopted in RV. text (so also Orig. Chrys. Theodrt. Mey. Ell. Gif. Va. Lid.). There should not be more than a colon between the clauses Θεὸς ὁ δικαιῶν· τίς ὁ κατακρινῶν; God is conceived of as Judge: where He acquits, who can condemn? Ver. 34 is then immediately taken up by ver. 35: Christ proved His love by dying for us; who then shall part us from that love? The Apostle clearly has in his mind Isaiah 50:8, Isaiah 50:9 ‘He is near that justifieth men; who will contend with me? … Behold, the Lord God will help me; who is he that shall condemn me?’ This distinctly favours the view that each affirmation is followed by a question relating to that affirmation. The phrases ὁ κατακρινῶν and ὁ δικαιῶν form a natural antithesis, which it is wrong to break up by putting a full stop between them and taking one with what precedes, the other with what follows.

On the view taken above, Θεὸς ὁ δικαιῶν and Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦς ὁ�

ἐκλεκτῶν. We have already seen (note on 1:1) that with St. Paul κλητοί and ἐκλεκτοί are not opposed to each other (as they are in Matthew 22:14) but are rather to be identified. By reading into κλητοί the implication that the call is accepted, St. Paul shows that the persons of whom this is true are also objects of God’s choice. By both terms St. Paul designates not those who are destined for final salvation, but those who are ‘summoned’ or ‘selected’ for the privilege of serving God and carrying out His will. If their career runs its normal course it must issue in salvation, the ‘glory’ reserved for them; this lies as it were at the end of the avenue; but ἐκλεκτῶν only shows that they are in the right way to reach it. At least no external power can bar them from it; if they lose it, they will do so by their own fault.

κατακρίνων: κατακρινῶν RV. text Mou. This is quite possible, but δικαιῶν suggests the present.

34. Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦς א A C F G L, Vulg. Boh. Arm. Aeth., Orig.-lat. Did. Aug.: Χριστός (om. Ἰησοῦς) B D E K &c., Syrr., Cyr.-Jerus. Chrys. al. Another instance of B in alliance with authorities otherwise Western and Syrian. WH. bracket Ἰης.

ἐγερθεὶς ἐκ νεκρῶν א* A C al. plur., RV. WH.1: om. ἐκ νεκρῶν אc B D E F G K L &c., Ti. WH.2. The group which inserts ἐκ νεκρῶν is practically the same as that which inserts Ἰησοῦς above.

ὅς καί. Stroke follows stroke, each driving home the last. ‘It is Christ who died—nay rather (immo vero) rose from the dead—who (καί should be omitted here) is at the right hand of God—who also intercedes for us.’ It is not a dead Christ on whom we depend, but a living. It is not only a living Christ, but a Christ enthroned, a Christ in power. It is not only a Christ in power, but a Christ of ever-active sympathy, constantly (if we may so speak) at the Father’s ear, and constantly pouring in intercessions for His struggling people on earth. A great text for the value and significance of the Ascension (cf. Swete, Apost. Creed, p. 67 f.).

35.�Exodus 4:6; Bas. 2/6; Hil. 1/2 and some others. RV. WH. note this reading in marg. But of the authorities B Orig.-Lamentations 2:7 read in full�

‘The love of Christ’ is unquestionably ‘the love of Christ for us,’ not our love for Christ: cf. 5:5.

θλῖψις κ.τ.λ. We have here a splendid example of καύχησις ἐν ταῖς θλίψεσιν of which St. Paul wrote in ch. 5:3 ff. The passage shows how he soared away in spirit above those ‘sufferings of this present time’ which men might inflict, but after that had nothing more that they could do. On θλῖψις ἣ στενοχωρία see 2:9; for διωγμός cf. 2 Corinthians 11:23 ff., 2 Corinthians 11:32 f.; 2 Corinthians 12:10, &c.; for λιμὸς ἥ γυμνότης, 1 Corinthians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 11:27; for κίνδυνος 2 Corinthians 11:26; 1 Corinthians 15:30.

36. ὅτι ἕνεκά σου. The quotation is exact from LXX of Psa_64 [63]. 23: ὅτι belongs to it.

ἔνεκεν is decisively attested here: in the Psalm B has ἔνεκα, א A T2 ἔνεκεν where there is a presumption against the reading of B.

θανατούμεθα ὅλην τὴν ἡμέραν: cf. 1 Corinthians 15:31 καθʼ ἡμέρας�

πρόβατα σφαγῆς: sheep destined for slaughter; cf. Zechariah 11:4 τὰ πρόβατα τῆς σφαγῆς (cf. Jeremiah 12:3 πρόβατα εἰς σφαγήν Cod. Marchal. marg.).

The Latin texts of this verse are marked and characteristic. Tertullian, Scorp. 13 Tua causa mortificamur tota die, deputati sumus ut pecora iugulationis. Cyprian, Test. iii.18 (the true text; cf. Epist. xxxi. 4) Causa tui occidimur tota die, deputati sumus ut oves victimae. Hilary of Poitiers, Tract. in Ps. cxviii. (ed. Zingerle, p. 429) Propter te mortificamur tota die, deputati sumus sicut oves occisionis. Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. II. xxii.2 (Latine; cf. IV. xvi.2) Propter te morte afficimur tota die, aestimati sumus ut oves occisionis. (Similarly Cod. Clarom. Speculum Augustini, codd. ML) Vulgate (Cod. Amiat.) Propter te mortificamur tota die, aestimati sumus ut oves occisionis. Here two types of text stand out clearly: that of Cyprian at one end of the scale, and that of the Vulgate (with which we may group Iren.-lat. Cod. Clarom. and the Speculum) at the other. Hilary stands between, having deputati in common with Cyprian, but on the whole leaning rather to the later group. The most difficult problem is presented by Tertullian, who approaches Cyprian in Tua causa and deputati, and the Vulgate group in mortificamur: in pecora iugulationis he stands alone. This passage might seem to favour the view that in Tertullian we had the primitive text from which all the rest were derived. That hypothesis however would be difficult to maintain systematically; and in any case there must be a large element in Tertullian’s text which is simply individual. The text before us may be said to give a glimpse of the average position of a problem which is still some way from solution.

37. ὑπερνικῶμεν. Tertullian and Cyprian represent this by the coinage supervincimus (Vulg. Cod. Clarom. Hil. superamus); ‘overcome strongly’ Tyn.; ‘are more than conquerors’ Genev., happily adopted in AV.

διὰ τοῦ�

38. οὒτε ἄγγελοι οὔτε�1 Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 1:21Colossians 1:16 (θρόνοι, κυριότητες,�Philippians 2:10 as ἐπουράνιοι, ἐπιγειοι, καταχθόνιοι. It is somewhat noticeable that whereas the terms used are generally abstract, in several places they are made still more abstract by the use of the sing. instead of plur., ὅταν καταργήσῃ πᾶσαν�1 Corinthians 15:24; ὑπεράνω πάσης�Ephesians 1:21; ἡ κεφαλὴ πάσης�Colossians 2:10.

It is also true (as pointed out by Weiss, Bibl. Theol. § 104; Anm. 1. 2) that the leading passages in which St. Paul speaks of angels are those in which his language aims at embracing the whole κόσμος. He is very far from a θρησκεία τῶν�Colossians 2:18). At the same time the parallels which have been given (see also below under δυνάμεις) are enough to show that the Apostle must not be separated from the common beliefs of his countrymen. He held that there was a world of spirits brought into being like the rest of creation by Christ (Colossians 1:16). These spirits are ranged in a certain hierarchy to which the current names are given. They seem to be neither wholly good nor wholly bad, for to them too the Atonement of the Cross extends (Colossians 1:20Colossians 2:15). They too must acknowledge the universal sovereignty of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:24; cf. Ephesians 1:10); and they form part of that kingdom which He hands over to the Father, that ‘God may be all in all’ (1 Corinthians 15:28). On the whole subject see Everling, Die paulinische Angelologie u. Dämonologie, Göttingen, 1888.

For ἄγγελοι the Western text (D E F G, Ambrstr. Aug. Amd.) has ἄγγελος. There is also a tendency in the Western and later authorities to insert οὔτε ἐξουσίαι before or after�

οὔτε δυνάμεις. There is overwhelming authority (א A B C D &c.) for placing these words after οὔτε μέλλοντα. We naturally expect them to be associated with�1 Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 1:21. It is possible that in one of the earliest copies the word may have been accidentally omitted, and then added in the margin and reinserted at the wrong place. We seem to have a like primitive corruption in ch. 4:12 (τοῖς στοιχοῦσιν). But it is perhaps more probable that in the rush of impassioned thought St. Paul inserts the words as they come, and that thus οὔτε δυνάμεις may be slightly belated. It has been suggested that St. Paul takes alternately animate existences and inanimate. When not critically controlled, the order of association is a very subtle thing.

For the word compare ‘the angels of power’ and ‘the other powers on the earth’ in the passage from the Book of Enoch quoted above; also Test. XII Patr. Lev_3 ἐν τῷ τρίτῳ (sc. οὐρανῷ) εἰσὶν αἱ δυνάμεις τῶν παρεμβολῶν, οἱ ταχθέντες εἰς ἡμέραν κρίσεως, ποιῆσαι ἐκδίκησιν ἐν τοῖς πνεύμασι τῆς πλάνης καὶ τοῦ Βελίαρ.

39. οὔτε ὕψωμα οὔτε βάθος. Lips. would give to the whole context a somewhat more limited application than is usually assigned to it. He makes οὔτε ἐνεστ … βάθος all refer to angelic powers: ‘neither now nor at the end of life (when such spirits were thought to be most active) shall the spirits either of the height or from the depth bar our entrance into the next world, where the love of Christ will be still nearer to us.’ This is also the view of Origen (see below). But it is quite in the manner of St. Paul to personify abstractions, and the sense attached to them cannot well be too large: cf. esp. Ephesians 3:18 τί τὸ πλάτος καὶ μῆκος καὶ ὕψος καὶ βάθος, and 2 Corinthians 10:5 πᾶν ὕψωμα ἐπαιρόμενον κατὰ τῆς γνώσεως τοῦ Θεοῦ.

The common patristic explanation of ὕψωμα is ‘things above the heavens,’ and of βάθος, ‘things beneath the earth.’ Theod. Monach. ὕψωμα μὲν τὰ ἄγαν ἐπίδοξα, βάθος δὲ τὰ ἄγαν ἄδοξα. Theodoret βάθος δὲ τὴν γέενναν, ὕψωμα τὴν βασιλείαν. Origen (in Cramer’s Catena) explains ὕψωμα of the ‘spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places’ (Ephesians 6:12), and βάθος of τὰ καταχθόνια. The expanded version of Rufinus approaches still more nearly to the theory of Lipsius: Similiter et altitudo et profundum impugnant nos, sicut et David dicit multi qui debellant me de alto: sine dubio cum a spiritibus nequitiae de caelestibus urgeretur: et sicut iterum dicit: de profundis clamavi ad te, Domine: cum ab his qui in inferno deputati sunt et gehennae spiritibus impugnaretur.

οὔτε τις κτίσις ἑτέρα. The use of ἑτέρα and not ἄλλη seems to favour the view that this means not exactly ‘any other created thing’ but ‘any other kind of creation,’ ‘any other mode of being,’ besides those just enumerated and differing from the familiar world as we see it.

Origen (in Cramer) would like to take the passage in this way. He asks if there may not be another creation besides this visible one, ‘in its nature visible though not as yet seen’—a description which might seem to anticipate the discoveries of the microscope and telescope. Comp. Balfour, Foundations of Belief, p. 71 f. ‘It is impossible therefore to resist the conviction that there must be an indefinite number of aspects of Nature respecting which science never can give us any information, even in our dreams. We must conceive ourselves as feeling our way about this dim corner of the illimitable world, like children in a darkened room, encompassed by we know not what; a little better endowed with the machinery of sensation than the protozoon, yet poorly provided indeed as compared with a being, if such a one could be conceived, whose senses were adequate to the infinite variety of material Nature.’

ἀπὸ τῆς�2 Corinthians 5:14; Ephesians 3:19), but the love of Christ is really a manifestation of the love of God. A striking instance of the way in which the whole Godhead co-operates in this manifestation is ch. 5:5-8: the love of God is poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, because Christ died for us; and God commends His love because Christ died. The same essential significance runs through this section (note esp. vv. 31-35, 39).

A Cod. Alexandrinus

D Cod. Claromontanus

f Latin version of F

Vulg. Vulgate.

Pesh. Peshitto.

Goth. Gothic.

Arm. Armenian.

Bas. Basil.

Chrys. Chrysostom.

אԠCod. Sinaiticus, corrector c

E Cod. Sangermanensis

K Cod. Mosquensis

L Cod. Angelicus

P Cod. Porphyrianus

&c. always qualify the word which precedes, not that which follows:

Gif. Gifford.

אԠCod. Sinaiticus

B Cod. Vaticanus

F Cod. Augiensis

G Cod. Boernerianus

Tert. Tertullian.

codd. codices.

C Cod. Ephraemi Rescriptus

Va. Vaughan.

Mey. Meyer.

Lips. Lipsius.

Fri. Fritzsche (C. F. A.).

* The text is not free from suspicion.

Cyr.-Alex. Cyril of Alexandria.

Alf. Alford.

Orig.-lat. Latin Version of Origen

Euthym.-Zig. Euthymius Zigabenus.

Wic. Wiclif.

Rhem. Rheims (or Douay).

Tyn. Tyndale.

AV. Authorized Version.

Oltr. Oltramare.

Aug. Augustine.

Go. Godet.

Clem.-Alex. Clement of Alexandria.

Orig. Origen.

al. alii, alibi.

Ath. Athanasius.

Boh. Bohairic.

Sah. Sahidic.

Harcl. Harclean.

Aeth. Ethiopic.

Method. Methodius.

plur. plures.

Hippol. Hippolytus.

Grm.-Thay. Grimm-Thayer’s Lexicon.

Ell. Ellicott.

Lft. Lightfoot.

Theod.-Mops. Theodore of Mopsuessia.

Tisch. Tischendorf.

RV. Revised Version.

WH. Westcott and Hort.

Beng. Bengel.

Lid. Liddon.

Mey.-W. Meyer-Weisa.

Theoph. Theophylact.

Oecum. Oecumenius.

Pelag. Pelagius.

Theodrt. Theodoret.

De W. De Wette.

Syrr. Syriac.

Cyr.-Jerus. Cyril of Jerusalem.

om. omittit, omittunt, &c.

Eus. Eusebius.

Genev. Geneva.

Ambrstr. Ambrosiaster.

Bibliographical Information
Driver, S.A., Plummer, A.A., Briggs, C.A. "Commentary on Romans 8". International Critical Commentary NT. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/icc/romans-8.html. 1896-1924.
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