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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Romans 1

Verse 1

To the Romans (προς ωμαιουςpros Rōmaious). This is the title in Aleph A B C, our oldest Greek MSS. for the Epistle. We do not know whether Paul gave any title at all. Later MSS. add other words up to the Textus Receptus: The Epistle of Paul to the Romans. The Epistle is put first in the MSS. because it is the most important of Paul‘s Epistles.

Paul (ΠαυλοςPaulos). Roman name (ΠαυλυςPaulus). See note on Acts 13:9 for the origin of this name by the side of Saul.

Servant (doulos). Bond-slave of Jesus Christ (or Christ Jesus as some MSS. give it and as is the rule in the later Epistles) for the first time in the Epistles in the opening sentence, though the phrase already in Galatians 1:10. Recurs in Philemon 1:1 and desmios (bondsman) in Philemon 1:1.

Called to be an apostle (δουλοςklētos apostolos). An apostle by vocation (Denney) as in 1 Corinthians 1:1. In Galatians 1:1 δεσμιοςklētos is not used, but the rest of the verse has the same idea.

Separated (κλητος αποστολοςaphōrismenos). Perfect passive participle of κλητοςaphorizō for which verb see note on Galatians 1:15. Paul is a spiritual Pharisee (etymologically), separated not to the oral tradition, but to God‘s gospel, a chosen vessel (Acts 9:15). By man also (Acts 13:2). Many of Paul‘s characteristic words like απωρισμενοςeuaggelion have been already discussed in the previous Epistles that will call for little comment from now on.

Verse 2

He promised afore (προεπηγγειλατοproepēggeilato). First aorist middle of προεπαγγελλωproepaggellō for which verb see note on 2 Corinthians 9:5.

By (διαdia). Through, by means of, intermediate agency like Matthew 1:22 which see.

In the holy scriptures (εν γραπαις αγιαιςen graphais hagiais). No article, yet definite. Perhaps the earliest use of the phrase (Sanday and Headlam). Paul definitely finds God‘s gospel in the Holy Scriptures.

Verse 3

Concerning his Son (περι του υιου αυτουperi tou huiou autou). Just as Jesus found himself in the O.T. (Luke 24:27, Luke 24:46). The deity of Christ here stated.

According to the flesh (κατα σαρκαkata sarka). His real humanity alongside of his real deity. For the descent from David see Matthew 1:1, Matthew 1:6, Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:27; John 7:42; Acts 13:23, etc.

Verse 4

Who was declared (του οριστεντοςtou horisthentos). Articular participle (first aorist passive) of οριζωhorizō for which verb see note on Luke 22:22 and note on Acts 2:23. He was the Son of God in his preincarnate state (2 Corinthians 8:9; Philippians 2:6) and still so after his Incarnation (Romans 1:3, “of the seed of David”), but it was the Resurrection of the dead (εχ αναστασεως νεκρωνex anastaseōs nekrōn the general resurrection implied by that of Christ) that definitely marked Jesus off as God‘s Son because of his claims about himself as God‘s Son and his prophecy that he would rise on the third day. This event (cf. 1 Corinthians 15) gave God‘s seal “with power” (εν δυναμειen dunamei), “in power,” declared so in power (2 Corinthians 13:4). The Resurrection of Christ is the miracle of miracles. “The resurrection only declared him to be what he truly was” (Denney).

According to the spirit of holiness (κατα πνευμα αγιωσυνηςkata pneuma hagiōsunēs). Not the Holy Spirit, but a description of Christ ethically as κατα σαρκαkata sarka describes him physically (Denney). αγιωσυνηHagiōsunē is rare (1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 7:1 in N.T.), three times in lxx, each time as the attribute of God. “The πνευμα αγιωσυνηςpneuma hagiōsunēs though not the Divine nature, is that in which the Divinity or Divine Personality Resided” (Sanday and Headlam).

Jesus Christ our Lord (Ιησου Χριστου του κυριου ημωνIēsou Christou tou kuriou hēmōn). These words gather up the total personality of Jesus (his deity and his humanity).

Verse 5

Unto obedience of faith (εις υπακοην πιστεωςeis hupakoēn pisteōs). Subjective genitive as in Romans 16:26, the obedience which springs from faith (the act of assent or surrender).

Verse 6

Called to be Jesus Christ‘s (κλητοι Ιησου Χριστουklētoi Iēsou Christou). Predicate genitive after κλητοιklētoi (verbal adjective from καλεωkaleō to call), though it is possible to consider it the ablative case, “called of (or from) Jesus Christ.”

Verse 7

In Rome (εν ωμηιen Rōmēi). One late uncial (G of tenth century) and a cursive omit these words here and one or two other late MSS. omit εν ωμηιen Rōmēi in Romans 1:15. This possibly proves the Epistle was circulated as a circular to a limited extent, but the evidence is late and slight and by no means shows that this was the case in the first century. It is not comparable with the absence of εν Επεσωιen Ephesōi in Ephesians 1:1 from Aleph and B (the two oldest and best MSS.).

Beloved of God (αγαπητοις τεουagapētois theou). Ablative case of τεουtheou after the verbal adjective like διδακτοι τεουdidaktoi theou (taught of God) in John 6:45 (Robertson, Grammar, p. 516).

From God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (απο τεου πατρος ημων και κυριου Ιησου Χριστουapo theou patros hēmōn kai kuriou Iēsou Christou). “St. Paul, if not formally enunciating a doctrine of the Divinity of Christ, held a view which cannot really be distinguished from it” (Sanday and Headlam). Paul‘s theology is clearly seen in the terms used in Romans 1:1-7.

Verse 8

First (πρωτον μενprōton men). Adverb in the accusative case, but no επειτα δεepeita de (in the next place) as in Hebrews 7:2 or επειταepeita as in James 3:17 follows. The rush of thoughts crowds out the balanced phraseology as in Romans 3:2; 1 Corinthians 11:18.

Through (διαdia). As the mediator or medium of thanksgiving as in Romans 7:25.

For (περιperi). Concerning, about.

That (οτιhoti). Or because. Either declarative or causal οτιhoti makes sense here.

Your faith (η πιστις υμωνhē pistis humōn). “Your Christianity” (Sanday and Headlam).

Is proclaimed (καταγγελλεταιkataggelletai). Present passive indicative of καταγγελλωkataggellō to announce (αγγελλωaggellō) up and down (καταkata). See also αναγγελλωanaggellō to bring back news (John 5:15), απαγγελλωapaggellō to announce from one as the source (Matthew 2:8), προκαταγγελλωprokataggellō to announce far and wide beforehand (Acts 3:18).

Throughout all the world (εν ολωι τωι κοσμωιen holōi tōi kosmōi). Natural hyperbole as in Colossians 1:6; Acts 17:6. But widely known because the church was in the central city of the empire.

Verse 9

I serve (λατρευωlatreuō). Old verb from λατρονlatron hire, and λατριςlatris hireling, so to serve for hire, then to serve in general gods or men, whether sacred services (Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 10:2) or spiritual service as here. Cf. Romans 12:1; Philippians 3:3.

Unceasingly (αδιαλειπτωςadialeiptōs). Late adverb for which see note on 1 Thessalonians 1:3. Also see 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:17, only other N.T. examples.

Always (παντοτεpantote). One might think that Paul prayed for no others, but he uses both adverbs in 1 Thessalonians 1:2. He seems to have had prayer lists. He never omitted the Romans.

Verse 10

If by any means now at length (ει πως ηδη ποτεei pōs ēdē pote). A condition of the first class in the form of an indirect question (aim) or elliptical condition like Acts 27:12 (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1024). Note the four particles together to express Paul‘s feelings of emotion that now at length somehow it may really come true.

I may be prospered (ευοδωτησομαιeuodōthēsomai). First future passive indicative of ευοδοωeuodoō for which verb see note on 1 Corinthians 16:2.

By the will of God (εν τωι τεληματι του τεουen tōi thelēmati tou theou). Paul‘s way lay “in” God‘s will.

Verse 11

Impart (μεταδωmetadō). Second aorist active subjunctive of μεταδιδωμιmetadidōmi to share with one. See Luke 3:11; 1 Thessalonians 2:8.

To the end ye may be established (εις το στηριχτηναι υμαςeis to stērichthēnai humas). Final clause (common in Paul) with εις τοeis to and the first aorist passive infinitive of στηριζωstērizō for which verb see Luke 22:32; 1 Thessalonians 3:3, 1 Thessalonians 3:13.

Verse 12

That is (τουτο δε εστινtouto de estin). “An explanatory correction” (Denney). The δεde should not be ignored. Instead of saying that he had a spiritual gift for them, he wishes to add that they also have one for him.

That I with you may be comforted (συνπαρακλητηναι εν υμινsunparaklēthēnai en humin). “My being comforted in you (εν υμινen humin) together (συνsuṅ) with you,” a mutual blessing to each party (you and me).

Verse 13

Oftentimes I purposed (πολλακις προετεμηνpollakis proethemēn). Second aorist middle of προτιτημιprotithēmi old verb to place, to propose to oneself, in N.T. only here, Romans 3:25; Ephesians 1:9. See note on Acts 19:21 for this purpose.

And was hindered (και εκωλυτηνkai ekōluthēn). “But was hindered,” adversative use of καιkai

That I might have some fruit (ινα τινα καρπον σχωhina tina karpon schō). Second aorist (ingressive), active of εχωechō to have, and here means “might get (ingressive aorist) some fruit.”

Verse 14

On debtor (οπειλετηςopheiletēs) see note on Galatians 5:3.

Both to Greeks and to Barbarians (ελλησιν τε και βαρβαροιςHellēsin te kai barbarois). The whole human race from the Greek point of view, Jews coming under βαρβαροιςbarbarois On this word see note on Acts 28:2, Acts 28:4; note on 1 Corinthians 14:11; and note on Colossians 3:11 (only N.T. instances). The Greeks called all others barbarians and the Jews termed all others Gentiles. Did Paul consider the Romans as Greeks? They had absorbed the Greek language and culture.

Verse 15

So as much as in me is I am ready (ουτω το κατ εμε προτυμονhoutō to kat' eme prothumon). Literally, “Thus the according to me affair is ready” (προτυμοςprothumos old adjective, προ τυμοςproεχ υμωνthumos). It is an awkward idiom like to τα κατ εμεex humōn in Romans 12:18. The plural ta kat' eme we find in Philemon 1:12; Colossians 4:7; Ephesians 6:21.

Verse 16

It is the power of God (δυναμις τεου εστινdunamis theou estin). This Paul knew by much experience. He had seen the dynamite of God at work.

To the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Ιουδαιωι τε πρωτον και ελληνιIoudaiōi te prōton kai Hellēni). Jesus had taught this (John 4:22; John 10:16; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8). The Jew is first in privilege and in penalty (Romans 2:9.). It is not certain that πρωτονprōton is genuine, but it is in Romans 2:9.

Verse 17

For therein (γαρ εν αυτωιgar en autōi). In the gospel (Romans 1:16) of which Paul is not ashamed.

A righteousness of God (δικαιοσυνη τεουdikaiosunē theou). Subjective genitive, “a God kind of righteousness,” one that each must have and can obtain in no other way save “from faith unto faith” (εκ πιστεως εις πιστινek pisteōs eis pistin), faith the starting point and faith the goal (Lightfoot).

Is revealed (αποκαλυπτεταιapokaluptetai). It is a revelation from God, this God kind of righteousness, that man unaided could never have conceived or still less attained. In these words we have Paul‘s statement in his own way of the theme of the Epistle, the content of the gospel as Paul understands it. Every word is important: σωτηριανsōtērian (salvation), ευαγγελιονeuaggelion (gospel), αποκαλυπτεταιapokaluptetai (is revealed), δικαιοσυνη τεουdikaiosunē theou (righteousness of God), πιστιςpistis (faith) and πιστευοντιpisteuonti (believing). He grounds his position on Habakkuk 2:4 (quoted also in Galatians 3:11). By “righteousness” we shall see that Paul means both “justification” and “sanctification.” It is important to get a clear idea of Paul‘s use of δικαιοσυνηdikaiosunē here for it controls the thought throughout the Epistle. Jesus set up a higher standard of righteousness (δικαιοσυνηdikaiosunē) in the Sermon on the Mount than the Scribes and Pharisees taught and practised (Matthew 5:20) and proves it in various items. Here Paul claims that in the gospel, taught by Jesus and by himself there is revealed a God kind of righteousness with two ideas in it (the righteousness that God has and that he bestows). It is an old word for quality from δικαιοςdikaios a righteous man, and that from δικηdikē right or justice (called a goddess in Acts 28:4), and that allied with δεικνυμιdeiknumi to show, to point out. Other allied words are δικαιοωdikaioō to declare or make δικαιοςdikaios (Romans 3:24, Romans 3:26), δικαιωμαdikaiōma that which is deemed δικαιοςdikaios (sentence or ordinance as in Romans 1:32; Romans 2:26; Romans 8:4), δικαιωσιςdikaiōsis the act of declaring δικαιοςdikaios (only twice in N.T., Romans 4:25; Romans 5:18). ΔικαιοσυνηDikaiosunē and δικαιοωdikaioō are easy to render into English, though we use justice in distinction from righteousness and sanctification for the result that comes after justification (the setting one right with God). Paul is consistent and usually clear in his use of these great words.

Verse 18

For the wrath of God is revealed (αποκαλυπτεται γαρ οργη τεουapokaluptetai gar orgē theou). Note in Romans Paul‘s use of γαρgar now argumentative, now explanatory, now both as here. There is a parallel and antecedent revelation (see Romans 1:17) of God‘s wrath corresponding to the revelation of God‘s righteousness, this an unwritten revelation, but plainly made known. ΟργηOrgē is from οργαωorgaō to teem, to swell. It is the temper of God towards sin, not rage, but the wrath of reason and law (Shedd). The revelation of God‘s righteousness in the gospel was necessary because of the failure of men to attain it without it, for God‘s wrath justly rested upon all both Gentiles (Romans 1:18-32) and Jews (2:1-3:20).

Ungodliness (ασεβειανasebeian). Irreligion, want of reverence toward God, old word (cf. 2 Timothy 2:16).

Unrighteousness (αδικιανadikian). Lack (αa privative and δικηdikē) of right conduct toward men, injustice (Romans 9:14; Luke 18:6). This follows naturally from irreverence. The basis of ethical conduct rests on the nature of God and our attitude toward him, otherwise the law of the jungle (cf. Nietzsche, “might makes right”).

Hold down the truth (την αλητειαν κατεχοντωνtēn alētheian katechontōn). Truth (αλητεια αλητηςalētheiaαalēthēs from λητωa privative and λαντανωlēthō or κατεχωlanthanō to conceal) is out in the open, but wicked men, so to speak, put it in a box and sit on the lid and “hold it down in unrighteousness.” Their evil deeds conceal the open truth of God from men. Cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:6. for this use of katechō to hinder.

Verse 19

Because (διοτιdioti). Gives the reason (δια οτιdiaτο γνωστον του τεουhoti like our “for that”) for the revelation of God‘s wrath.

That which may be known of God (γινωσκωto gnōston tou theou). Verbal adjective from η γνωσιςginōskō either “the known” as elsewhere in N.T. (Acts 1:19; Acts 15:18, etc.) or “the knowable” as usual in ancient Greek, that is “the knowledge” (χρηστονhē gnōsis) of God. See Philippians 3:8. Cf. same use of the verbal αμετατετονchrēston in Romans 2:4, πανερον εν αυτοιςametatheton in Hebrews 6:17.

Manifest in them (ο τεος επανερωσενphaneron en autois). In their hearts and consciences.

God manifested (πανεροωho theos ephanerōsen). First aorist active indicative of phaneroō Not mere tautology. See Romans 2:14-16.

Verse 20

The invisible things of him (τα αορατα αυτουta aorata autou). Another verbal adjective (αa privative and οραωhoraō to see), old word, either unseen or invisible as here and elsewhere in N.T. (Colossians 1:15., etc.). The attributes of God‘s nature defined here as “his everlasting power and divinity” (η τε αιδιος αυτου δυναμις και τειοτηςhē te aidios autou dunamis kai theiotēs). ΑιδιοςAidios is for αειδιοςaeidios from αειaei (always), old word, in N.T. only here and Judges 1:6, common in Philo (ζωη αιδιοςzōē aidios), elsewhere αιωνιοςaiōnios ΤειοτηςTheiotēs is from τειοςtheios (from τεοςtheos) quality of τεοςtheos and corresponds more to Latin divinitas from divus, divine. In Colossians 2:9 Paul uses τεοτηςtheotēs (Latin deitas from deus) deity, both old words and nowhere else in the N.T. ΤεοτηςTheotēs is Divine Personality, τειοτηςtheiotēs Divine Nature and properties (Sanday and Headlam).

Since the creation of the world (απο κτισεως κοσμουapo ktiseōs kosmou). He means by God and unto God as antecedent to and superior to the world (cf. Colossians 1:15. about Christ).

Are clearly seen (κατοραταιkathoratai). Present passive indicative of κατοραωkathoraō (perfective use of καταkatȧ), old word, only here in N.T., with direct reference to αοραταaorata

Being perceived (νοουμεναnooumena). Present passive participle of νοεωnoeō to use the νουςnous (intellect).

That they may be without excuse (εις το ειναι αυτους αναπολογητουςeis to einai autous anapologētous). More likely, “so that they are without excuse.” The use of εις τοeis to and the infinitive (with accusative of general reference) for result like ωστεhōste is reasonably clear in the N.T. (Moulton, Prolegomena, p. 219; Robertson, Grammar, p. 1003). ΑναπολογητουςAnapologētous is another verbal with ανan from απολογεομαιapologeomai Old word, in N.T. only here and Romans 2:1 (“inexcusable” here).

Verse 21

Because that (διοτιdioti). As in Romans 1:19.

Knowing God (γνοντες τον τεονgnontes ton theon). Second aorist active participle of γινωσκωginōskō to know by personal experience. Definite statement that originally men had some knowledge of God. No people, however degraded, have yet been found without some yearning after a god, a seeking to find the true God and get back to him as Paul said in Athens (Acts 17:27).

Glorified not as God (ουχ ως τεον εδοχασανouch hōs theon edoxasan). They knew more than they did. This is the reason for the condemnation of the heathen (Romans 2:12-16), the failure to do what they know.

Their senseless heart (η ασυνετος αυτων καρδιαhē asunetos autōn kardia). ΚαρδιαKardia is the most comprehensive term for all our faculties whether feeling (Romans 9:2), will (1 Corinthians 4:5), intellect (Romans 10:6). It may be the home of the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) or of evil desires (Romans 1:24). See notes on Mark 7:21. for list of vices that come “out of the heart.” ΑσυνετοςAsunetos is a verbal adjective from συνιημιsuniēmi to put together, and αa privative, unintelligent, not able to put together the manifest evidence about God (Romans 1:20). So darkness settled down on their hearts (εσκοτιστηeskotisthē first aorist ingressive passive of σκοτιζωskotizō to darken).

Verse 22

Professing themselves to be wise (πασκοντες ειναι σοποιphaskontes einai sophoi). ΣοποιSophoi is predicate nominative with ειναιeinai in indirect discourse agreeing with πασκοντεςphaskontes (old verb, from πημιphēmi to say, rare in N.T.) in case and number according to regular Greek idiom (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1038).

Became vain (εματαιωτησανemataiōthēsan). Ingressive first aorist passive indicative of ματαιοωmataioō from ματαιοςmataios (empty). Empty reasonings as often today.

Became fools (εμωραντησανemōranthēsan). Ingressive first aorist passive of μωραινωmōrainō to be a fool, old word from μωροςmōros a fool. An oxymoron or sharp saying, true and one that cuts to the bone.

For the likeness of an image (εν ομοιωματι εικονοςen homoiōmati eikonos). Both words, “a likeness which consists in an image or copy” (Lightfoot). See note on Philippians 2:7 for “likeness of men” and Colossians 1:15 for “image of God.” Paul shows indignant contempt for these grotesque efforts to present pictures of a deity that had been lost (Denney). Why is it that heathen images of gods in the form of men and beasts are so horrible to look upon?

Verse 24

Wherefore (διοdio). Paul‘s inexorable logic. See it also in Romans 1:26 with the same verb and in Romans 1:28 καιkai like “and so.”

God gave them up (παρεδωκεν αυτους ο τεοςparedōken autous ho theos). First aorist active indicative of παραδιδωμιparadidōmi old and common verb to hand over (beside, παραpara) to one‘s power as in Matthew 4:12. These people had already wilfully deserted God who merely left them to their own self-determination and self-destruction, part of the price of man‘s moral freedom. Paul refers to this stage and state of man in Acts 17:30 by “overlooked” (υπεριδωνhuperidōn). The withdrawal of God‘s restraint sent men deeper down. Three times Paul uses παρεδωκενparedōken here (Romans 1:24, Romans 1:26, Romans 1:28), not three stages in the giving over, but a repetition of the same withdrawal. The words sound to us like clods on the coffin as God leaves men to work their own wicked will.

That their bodies should be dishonoured (του ατιμαζεσται τα σωματα αυτωνtou atimazesthai ta sōmata autōn). Contemplated result expressed by τουtou (genitive article) and the passive infinitive ατιμαζεσταιatimazesthai (from ατιμοςatimos αa privative and τιμοςtimos dishonoured) with the accusative of general reference. Christians had a new sense of dignity for the body (1 Thessalonians 4:4; 1 Corinthians 6:13). Heathenism left its stamp on the bodies of men and women.

Verse 25

Exchanged (μετηλλαχανmetēllaxan). First aorist active indicative of μεταλλασσωmetallassō old word for exchanging trade, only here and Romans 1:26 in N.T. What a bargain they made, “the truth of God for (ενen) the (τωιtōi) lie.” “The price of mythology” (Bengel).

Worshipped (εσεβαστησανesebasthēsan). First aorist passive (used transitively) of σεβαζομαιsebazomai old verb, used in late Greek like σεβομαιsebomai to worship.

Rather than the Creator (παρα τον κτισανταpara ton ktisanta). Placed side by side (παραpara the Creator and the creature, κτισιςktisis) they preferred the creature.

Who is blessed forever. Amen (ος εστιν ευλογητοσ Αμηνhos estin eulogētoṡ Amēn). One of Paul‘s doxologies which may come at any moment when he is greatly stirred, as in Romans 9:5. ΕυλογητοςEulogētos is verbal of ευλογεωeulogeō f0).

Verse 26

Unto vile passions (εις πατη ατιμιαςeis pathē atimias). Unto passions of dishonour. ΠατοςPathos old word from πασχωpaschō to experience, originally meant any feeling whether good or bad, but in N.T. always in bad sense as here, 1 Thessalonians 4:5; Colossians 3:5 (only N.T. examples).

That which is against nature (την παρα πυσινtēn para phusin). The degradation of sex is what Paul here notes as one of the results of heathenism (the loss of God in the life of man). They passed by the Creator.

Verse 27

Turned (εχεκαυτησανexekauthēsan). First aorist passive indicative, causative aorist, of εκκαιωekkaiō old verb, to burn out, to set on fire, to inflame with anger or lust. Here only in N.T.

Lust (ορεχειorexei). Only here in N.T.

Unseemliness (ασχημοσυνηνaschēmosunēn). Old word from ασχημονaschēmon (deformed). In N.T. only here and Revelation 16:15.

Recompense (αντιμιστιανantimisthian). See note on 2 Corinthians 6:13 for only other N.T. instance of this late Pauline word, there in good sense, here in bad.

Which was due (hēn edei). Imperfect active for obligation still on them coming down from the past. This debt will be paid in full (apolambanontes pay back as in Luke 6:34, and due as in Luke 23:41). Nature will attend to that in their own bodies and souls.

Verse 28

And even as they refused (και κατως ουκ εδοκιμασανkai kathōs ouk edokimasan). “And even as they rejected” after trial just as δοκιμαζωdokimazō is used of testing coins. They tested God at first and turned aside from him.

Knowledge (επιγνωσειepignōsei). Full knowledge (επιepi additional, γνωσιςgnōsis). They had a dim memory that was a caricature.

Unto a reprobate mind (εις αδοκιμον νουνeis adokimon noun). Play on ουκ εδοκιμασανouk edokimasan They rejected God and God rejected their mental attitude and gave them over (Romans 1:24, Romans 1:26, Romans 1:28). See this adjective already in 1 Corinthians 9:27; 2 Corinthians 13:5-7. Like an old abandoned building, the home of bats and snakes, left “to do those things which are not fitting” (ποιειν τα μη κατηκονταpoiein ta mē kathēkonta), like the night clubs of modern cities, the dives and dens of the underworld, without God and in the darkness of unrestrained animal impulses. This was a technical term with Stoics (2 Maccabees 6:4).

Verse 29

Being called with (πεπληρωμενουςpeplērōmenous). Perfect passive participle of the common verb πληροωplēroō state of completion, “filled to the brim with” four vices in the associative instrumental case (αδικιαιadikiāi unrighteousness as in Romans 1:18, πονηριαιponēriāi active wickedness as in Mark 7:22, πλεονεχιαιpleonexiāi covetousness as in 1 Thessalonians 2:5; Luke 12:15, κακιαιkakiāi maliciousness or inward viciousness of disposition as in 1 Corinthians 5:8). Note asyndeton, no connective in the lists in Romans 1:29-31. Dramatic effect. The order of these words varies in the MSS. and πορνειαιporneiāi fornication, is not genuine here (absent in Aleph A B C).

Full of (μεστουςmestous). Paul changes from participle to adjective. Old adjective, rare in the N.T., like μεστοωmestoō to fill full (only in Acts 2:13 in N.T.), stuffed full of (with genitive). Five substantives in the genitive (πτονουphthonou envy, as in Galatians 5:21, πονουphonou murder, and so a paronomasia or combination with πτονουphthonou of like sounding words, εριδοςeridos strife, as in 2 Corinthians 12:16, κακοητιαςkakoēthias malignity, and here only in N.T. though old word from κακοητηςkakoēthēs and that from κακοςkakos and ητοςēthos a tendency to put a bad construction on things, depravity of heart and malicious disposition.

Verse 30

Paul changes the construction again to twelve substantives and adjectives that give vivid touches to this composite photograph of the God abandoned soul.

Whisperers (πσιτυρισταςpsithuristas). Old word from πσιτυριζωpsithurizō to speak into the ear, to speak secretly, an onomatopoetic word like πσιτυρισμοςpsithurismos (2 Corinthians 12:20) and only here in N.T.

Backbiters (καταλαλουςkatalalous). Found nowhere else except in Hermas, compound like καταλαλεωkatalaleō to talk back (James 4:11), and καταλαλιαkatalalia talking back (2 Corinthians 12:20), talkers back whether secretly or openly.

Hateful to God (τεοστυγειςtheostugeis). Old word from τεοςtheos and στυγεωstugeō All the ancient examples take it in the passive sense and so probably here. So στυγητοςstugētos (Titus 3:13). Vulgate has deo odibiles.

Insolent (υβρισταςhubristas). Old word for agent from υβριζωhubrizō to give insult to, here alone in N.T. save 1 Timothy 1:13.

Haughty (υπερηπανουςhuperēphanous). From υπερhuper and παινομαιphainomai to appear above others, arrogant in thought and conduct, “stuck up.”

Boastful (αλαζοναςalazonas). From αληalē wandering. Empty pretenders, swaggerers, braggarts.

Inventors of evil things (επευρετας κακωνepheuretas kakōn). Inventors of new forms of vice as Nero was. Tacitus (Ann. IV. ii) describes Sejanus as facinorum omnium repertor and Virgil (Aen. ii. 163) scelerum inventor.

Disobedient to parents (γονευσιν απειτειςgoneusin apeitheis). Cf. 1 Timothy 1:9; 2 Timothy 3:2. An ancient and a modern trait.

Verse 31

Without understanding (ασυνετουςasunetous). Same word in Romans 1:21.

Covenant-breakers (ασυντετουςasunthetous). Another paronomasia or pun. ΑA privative and verbal συντετοςsunthetos from συντιτημιsuntithēmi to put together. Old word, common in lxx (Jer 3:7), men “false to their engagements” (Sanday and Headlam), who treat covenants as “a scrap of paper.”

Without natural affection (αστοργουςastorgous). Late word, αa privative and στοργηstorgē love of kindred. In N.T. only here and 2 Timothy 3:3.

Unmerciful (ανελεημοναςaneleēmonas). From αa privative and ελεημωνeleēmōn merciful. Late word, only here in N.T. Some MSS. add ασπονδουςaspondous implacable, from 2 Timothy 3:3. It is a terrible picture of the effects of sin on the lives of men and women. The late Dr. R. H. Graves of Canton, China, said that a Chinaman who got hold of this chapter declared that Paul could not have written it, but only a modern missionary who had been to China. It is drawn to the life because Paul knew Pagan Graeco-Roman civilization.

Verse 32

The ordinance of God (το δικαιωμα του τεουto dikaiōma tou theou). The heathen knows that God condemns such evil practices.

But also consent with them (αλλα και συνευδοκουσινalla kai suneudokousin). Late verb for hearty approval as in Luke 11:48; Acts 8:1; 1 Corinthians 7:12. It is a tragedy of American city government that so many of the officials are proven to be hand in glove with the underworld of law-breakers.

Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Romans 1". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.