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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Romans 5

Verse 1

Being therefore justified by faith (δικαιωθεντες ουν εκ πιστεως). First aorist passive participle of δικαιοω, to set right and expressing antecedent action to the verb εχωμεν. The ουν refers to the preceding conclusive argument (chapters 1 to 4) that this is done by faith.

Let us have peace with God (ειρηνην εχωμεν προς τον θεον). This is the correct text beyond a doubt, the present active subjunctive, not εχομεν (present active indicative) of the Textus Receptus which even the American Standard Bible accepts. It is curious how perverse many real scholars have been on this word and phrase here. Godet, for instance. Vincent says that "it is difficult if not impossible to explain it." One has only to observe the force of the tense to see Paul's meaning clearly. The mode is the volitive subjunctive and the present tense expresses linear action and so does not mean "make peace" as the ingressive aorist subjunctive ειρηνην σχωμεν would mean. A good example of σχωμεν occurs in Matthew 21:38 (σχωμεν την κληρονομιαν αυτου) where it means: "Let us get hold of his inheritance." Here ειρηνην εχωμεν can only mean: "Let us enjoy peace with God" or "Let us retain peace with God." We have in Acts 9:31 ειχεν ειρηνην (imperfect and so linear), the church "enjoyed peace," not "made peace." The preceding justification (δικαιωθεντες) "made peace with God." Observe προς (face to face) with τον θεον and δια (intermediate agent) with του κυριου.

Verse 2

We have had (εσχηκαμεν). Perfect active indicative of εχω (same verb as εχωμεν), still have it.

Our access (τεν προσαγωγην). Old word from προσαγω, to bring to, to introduce. Hence "introduction," "approach." Elsewhere in N.T. only Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 3:12.

Wherein we stand (εν η εστηκαμεν). Perfect active (intransitive) indicative of ιστημ. Grace is here present as a field into which we have been introduced and where we stand and we should enjoy all the privileges of this grace about us.

Let us rejoice (καυχωμεθα). "Let us exult." Present middle subjunctive (volitive) because εχωμεν is accepted as correct. The exhortation is that we keep on enjoying peace with God and keep on exulting in hope of the glory of God.

Verse 3

But let us also rejoice in our tribulations (αλλα κα καυχωμεθα εν ταις θλιψεσιν). Present middle subjunctive of same verb as in verse Romans 5:2. Καυχωμα is more than "rejoice," rather "glory," "exult." These three volitive subjunctives (εχωμεν, καυχωμεθα, twice) hold up the high ideal for the Christian after, and because of, his being set right with God. It is one thing to submit to or endure tribulations without complaint, but it is another to find ground of glorying in the midst of them as Paul exhorts here.

Verse 4

Knowing (ειδοτες). Second perfect participle of ειδον (οιδα), giving the reason for the previous exhortation to glory in tribulations. He gives a linked chain, one linking to the other (tribulation θλιψις, patience υπομονη, experience δοκιμη, hope ελπις) running into verse Romans 5:5. On δοκιμη, see 2 Corinthians 2:9.

Verse 5

Hath been shed abroad (εκκεχυτα). Perfect passive indicative of εκχεω, to pour out. "Has been poured out" in our hearts.

Verse 6

For (ετ γαρ). So most documents, but B reads ε γε which Westcott and Hort use in place of γαρ.

While we were yet weak (οντων ημων ασθενων ετ). Genitive absolute. The second ετ (yet) here probably gave rise to the confusion of text over ετ γαρ above.

In due season (κατα καιρον). Christ came into the world at the proper time, the fulness of the time (Galatians 4:4; Ephesians 1:10; Titus 1:3).

I or the ungodly (υπερ ασεβων). In behalf, instead of. See about υπερ on Galatians 3:13 and also verse Romans 5:7 here.

Verse 7

Scarcely (μολις). Common adverb from μολος, toil. See on Acts 14:18. As between δικαιος, righteous, and αγαθος, good, Lightfoot notes "all the difference in the world" which he shows by quotations from Plato and Christian writers, a difference of sympathy mainly, the δικαιος man being "absolutely without sympathy" while the αγαθος man "is beneficent and kind."

Would even dare (κα τολμα). Present active indicative of τολμαω, to have courage. "Even dares to." Even so in the case of the kindly sympathetic man courage is called for to make the supreme sacrifice.

Perhaps (ταχα). Common adverb (perhaps instrumental case) from ταχυς (swift). Only here in N.T.

Verse 8

His own love (την εαυτου αγαπην). See John 3:16 as the best comment here.

While we were yet sinners (ετ αμαρτωλων οντων). Genitive absolute again. Not because we were Jews or Greeks, rich or poor, righteous or good, but plain sinners. Cf. Luke 18:13, the plea of the publican, "μο τω αμαρτωλω."

Verse 9

Much more then (πολλω ουν μαλλον). Argument from the greater to the less. The great thing is the justification in Christ's blood. The final salvation (σωθησομεθα, future passive indicative) is less of a mystery.

Verse 10

We were reconciled to God (κατηλλαγημεν τω θεω). Second aorist passive indicative of καταλλασσω for which great Pauline word see on 2 Corinthians 5:18. The condition is the first class. Paul does not conceive it as his or our task to reconcile God to us. God has attended to that himself (Romans 3:25). We become reconciled to God by means of the death of God's Son. "Much more" again we shall be saved "by his life" (εν τη ζωη αυτου). "In his life," for he does live, "ever living to intercede for them" (Hebrews 7:25).

Verse 11

But also glorying in God (αλλα κα καυχωμενο εν τω θεω). Basis of all the exultation above (verses Romans 5:1-45.5.5).

Through whom we have now received the reconciliation (δ ου νυν την καταλλαγην ελαβομεν). Second aorist active indicative of λαμβανω, looked at as a past realization, "now" (νυν) in contrast with the future consummation and a sure pledge and guarantee of it.

Verse 12

Therefore (δια τουτο). "For this reason." What reason? Probably the argument made in verses Romans 5:1-45.5.11, assuming our justification and urging exultant joy in Christ because of the present reconciliation by Christ's death and the certainty of future final salvation by his life.

As through one man (ωσπερ δι' ενος ανθρωπου). Paul begins a comparison between the effects of Adam's sin and the effects of the redemptive work of Christ, but he does not give the second member of the comparison. Instead of that he discusses some problems about sin and death and starts over again in verse Romans 5:15. The general point is plain that the effects of Adam's sin are transmitted to his descendants, though he does not say how it was done whether by the natural or the federal headship of Adam. It is important to note that Paul does not say that the whole race receives the full benefit of Christ's atoning death, but only those who do. Christ is the head of all believers as Adam is the head of the race. In this sense Adam "is a figure of him that was to come."

Sin entered into the world (η αμαρτια εις τον κοσμον εισηλθεν). Personification of sin and represented as coming from the outside into the world of humanity. Paul does not discuss the origin of evil beyond this fact. There are some today who deny the fact of sin at all and who call it merely "an error of mortal mind" (a notion) while others regard it as merely an animal inheritance devoid of ethical quality.

And so death passed unto all men (κα ουτως εις παντας ανθρωπους διηλθεν). Note use of διερχομα rather than εισερχομα, just before, second aorist active indicative in both instances. By "death" in Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:19 physical death is meant, but in verses Romans 5:17; Romans 5:21 eternal death is Paul's idea and that lurks constantly behind physical death with Paul.

For that all sinned (εφ' ω παντες ημαρτον). Constative (summary) aorist active indicative of αμαρτανω, gathering up in this one tense the history of the race (committed sin). The transmission from Adam became facts of experience. In the old Greek εφ' ω usually meant "on condition that," but "because" in N.T. (Robertson, Grammar, p. 963).

Verse 13

Until the law (αχρ νομου). Until the Mosaic law. Sin was there before the Mosaic law, for the Jews were like Gentiles who had the law of reason and conscience (Romans 2:12-45.2.16), but the coming of the law increased their responsibility and their guilt (Romans 2:9).

Sin is not imputed (αμαρτια δε ουκ ελλογειτα). Present passive indicative of late verb ελλογαω (-εω) from εν and λογος, to put down in the ledger to one's account, examples in inscription and papyri.

When there is no law (μη οντος νομου). Genitive absolute, no law of any kind, he means. There was law before the Mosaic law. But what about infants and idiots in case of death? Do they have responsibility? Surely not. The sinful nature which they inherit is met by Christ's atoning death and grace. No longer do men speak of "elect infants."

Verse 14

Even over them that had not sinned after the likeness of Adam's transgression (κα επ τους μη αμαρτησαντας επ τω ομοιωματ της παραβασεως Αδαμ). Adam violated an express command of God and Moses gave the law of God clearly. And yet sin and death followed all from Adam on till Moses, showing clearly that the sin of Adam brought terrible consequences upon the race. Death has come upon infants and idiots also as a result of sin, but one understands Paul to mean that they are not held responsible by the law of conscience.

A figure (τυπος). See on Acts 7:43; 1 Thessalonians 1:7; 2 Thessalonians 3:9; 1 Corinthians 10:6 for this word. Adam is a type of Christ in holding a relation to those affected by the headship in each case, but the parallel is not precise as Paul shows.

Verse 15

But not as the trespass (αλλ' ουχ ως). It is more contrast than parallel: "the trespass" (το παραπτωμα, the slip, fall to one side) over against the free gift (το χαρισμα, of grace χαρις).

Much more (πολλω μαλλον). Another a fortiori argument. Why so? As a God of love he delights

much more in showing mercy and pardon than in giving just punishment (Lightfoot). The gift surpasses the sin. It is not necessary to Paul's argument to make "the many" in each case correspond, one relates to Adam, the other to Christ.

Verse 16

Through one that sinned (δι' ενος αμαρτησαντος). "Through one having sinned." That is Adam. Another contrast, difference in source (εκ).

Of one (εξ ενος). Supply παραπτωματος, Adam's one transgression.

Of many trespasses (εκ πολλων παραπτωματων). The gift by Christ grew out of manifold sins by Adam's progeny.

Justification (δικαιωμα). Act of righteousness, result, ordinance (Romans 1:32; Romans 2:26; Romans 8:4), righteous deed (Romans 5:18), verdict as here (acquittal).

Verse 17

Much more (πολλω μαλλον). Argument a fortiori again. Condition of first class assumed to be true. Note balanced words in the contrast (transgression παραπτωματ, grace χαριτος; death θανατος, life ζωη; the one or

Adam του ενος, the one

Jesus Christ ; reign βασιλευω in both).

Verse 18

So then (αρα ουν). Conclusion of the argument. Cf. Romans 7:3; Romans 7:25; Romans 8:12, etc. Paul resumes the parallel between Adam and Christ begun in verse Romans 5:12 and interrupted by explanation (Romans 5:13) and contrast (Romans 5:15-45.5.17).

Through one trespass (δι' ενος παραπτωματος). That of Adam.

Through one act of righteousness (δι' ενος δικαιωματος). That of Christ. The first "unto all men" (εις παντας ανθρωπους) as in verse Romans 5:12, the second as in verse Romans 5:17 "they that receive, etc."

Verse 19

Here again we have "the one" (του ενος) with both Adam and Christ, but "disobedience" (παρακοης, for which see 2 Corinthians 10:6) contrasted with "obedience" (υπακοης), the same verb καθιστημ, old verb, to set down, to render, to constitute (κατεσταθησαν, first aorist passive indicative, κατασταθησοντα, future passive), and "the many" (ο πολλο) in both cases (but with different meaning as with "all men" above).

Verse 20

Came in beside (παρεισηλθεν). Second aorist active indicative of double compound παρεισερχομα, late verb, in N.T. only here and Galatians 2:4 which see. See also εισηλθεν in verse Romans 5:12. The Mosaic law came into this state of things, in between Adam and Christ.

That the trespass might abound (ινα πλεοναση το παραπτωμα). It is usual to explain ινα here as final, as God's ultimate purpose. So Denney who refers to Galatians 3:19; Romans 7:7. But Chrysostom explains ινα here as εκβασις (result). This is a proper use of ινα in the Koine as we have seen. If we take it so here, the meaning is "so that the trespass abounded" (aorist active subjunctive of πλεονασω, late verb, see on 2 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 8:15). This was the actual effect of the Mosaic law for the Jews, the necessary result of all prohibitions.

Did abound more exceedingly (υπερεπερισσευσεν). First aorist active indicative of υπερπερισσευω. Late verb, in N.T. only here and 2 Corinthians 7:4 which see. A strong word. If πλεοναζω is comparative (πλεον) περισσευω is superlative (Lightfoot) and then υπερπερισσευω goes the superlative one better. See υπερπλεοναζω in 1 Timothy 1:14. The flood of grace surpassed the flood of sin, great as that was (and is).

Verse 21

That--even so grace might reign (ινα--ουτος κα η χαρις βασιλευση). Final ινα here, the purpose of God and the goal for us through Christ. Lightfoot notes the force of the aorist indicative (εβασιλευσεν, established its throne) and the aorist subjunctive (βασιλευση, might establish its throne), the ingressive aorist both times. "This full rhetorical close has almost the value of a doxology" (Denney).

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 5". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/romans-5.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.