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the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
Romans 8

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New TestamentRobertson's Word Pictures

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Verse 1

Therefore now (αρα νυν). Two particles. Points back to the triumphant note in Romans 7:25 after the preceding despair.

No condemnation (ουδεν κατακριμα). As sinners we deserved condemnation in our unregenerate state in spite of the struggle. But God offers pardon "to those in Christ Jesus (τοις εν Χριστω Ιησου). This is Paul's Gospel. The fire has burned on and around the Cross of Christ. There and there alone is safety. Those in Christ Jesus can lead the consecrated, the crucified, the baptized life.

Verse 2

The law of the Spirit of life (ο νομος του πνευματος της ζωης). The principle or authority exercised by the Holy Spirit which bestows life and which rests "in Christ Jesus."

Made me free (ηλευθερωσεν με). First aorist active indicative of the old verb ελευθεροω for which see Galatians 5:1. Aleph B have σε (thee) instead of με. It matters little. We are pardoned, we are free from the old law of sin and death (Romans 7:7-24), we are able by the help of the Holy Spirit to live the new life in Christ.

Verse 3

That the law could not do (το αδυνατον του νομου). Literally, "the impossibility of the law" as shown in Romans 7:7-24, either nominative absolute or accusative of general reference. No syntactical connection with the rest of the sentence.

In that (εν ω). "Wherein."

It was weak (ησθενε). Imperfect active, continued weak as already shown.

In the likeness of sinful flesh (εν ομοιωματ σαρκος αμαρτιας). For "likeness" see Philippians 2:7, a real man, but more than man for God's "own Son." Two genitives "of flesh of sin" (marked by sin), that is the flesh of man is, but not the flesh of Jesus.

And for sin (κα περ αμαρτιας). Condensed phrase, God sent his Son also concerning sin (our sin).

Condemned sin in the flesh (κατεκρινε την αμαρτιαν εν τη σαρκ). First aorist active indicative of κατακρινω. He condemned the sin of men and the condemnation took place in the flesh of Jesus. If the article την had been repeated before εν τη σαρκ Paul would have affirmed sin in the flesh of Jesus, but he carefully avoided that (Robertson, Grammar, p. 784).

Verse 4

The ordinance of the law (το δικαιωμα του νομου). "The requirement of the law."

Might be fulfilled (ινα πλερωθη). Purpose of the death of Christ by ινα and first aorist passive subjunctive of πληροω. Christ met it all in our stead (Romans 3:21-26).

Not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (μη κατα σαρκα αλλα κατα πνευμα). The two laws of life (κατα σαρκα in Romans 7:7-24, κατα πνευμα Romans 8:1-11). Most likely the Holy Spirit or else the renewed spirit of man.

Verse 5

Do mind (φρονουσιν). Present active indicative of φρονεω, to think, to put the mind (φρην) on. See Matthew 16:23; Romans 12:16. For the contrast between σαρξ and πνευμα, see Galatians 5:16-24.

Verse 6

The mind (το φρονημα). The bent or will of the flesh is death as shown in Romans 7:7-24.

Life (ζωη). In contrast with "death."

Peace (ειρηνη). As seen in Romans 5:1-5.

Verse 7

Is not subject (ουχ υποτασσετα). Present passive indicative of υποτασσω, late verb, military term for subjection to orders. Present tense here means continued insubordination.

Neither indeed can it be (ουδε γαρ δυνατα). "For it is not even able to do otherwise." This helpless state of the unregenerate man Paul has shown above apart from Christ. Hope lies in Christ (Romans 7:25) and the Spirit of life (Romans 8:2).

Verse 8

Cannot please God (θεω αρεσα ου δυναντα). Because of the handicap of the lower self in bondage to sin. This does not mean that the sinner has no responsibility and cannot be saved. He is responsible and can be saved by the change of heart through the Holy Spirit.

Verse 9

Not in the flesh (ουκ εν σαρκ). Not sold under sin (Romans 7:14) any more.

But in the spirit (αλλα εν πνευματ). Probably, "in the Holy Spirit." It is not Pantheism or Buddhism that Paul here teaches, but the mystical union of the believer with Christ in the Holy Spirit.

If so be that (ειπερ). "If as is the fact" (cf. Romans 3:30).

The Spirit of Christ (πνευμα Χριστου). The same as "the Spirit of God" just before. See also Philippians 1:19; 1 Peter 1:11. Incidental argument for the Deity of Christ and probably the meaning of 2 Corinthians 3:18 "the Spirit of the Lord." Condition of first class, assumed as true.

Verse 10

The body is dead (το μεν σωμα νεκρον). Has the seeds of death in it and will die "because of sin."

The spirit is life (το δε πνευμα ζωη). The redeemed human spirit. He uses ζωη (life) instead of ζωσα (living), "God-begotten, God-sustained life" (Denney), if Christ is in you.

Verse 11

Shall quicken (ζωοποιησε). Future active indicative of ζωοποιεω, late verb from ζωοποιος, making alive. See on 1 Corinthians 15:22.

Through his Spirit (δια του πνευματος). B D L have δια το πνευμα (because of the Spirit). Both ideas are true, though the genitive is slightly more probably correct.

Verse 12

We are debtors (οφειλετα εσμεν). See on Galatians 5:3; Romans 1:14.

Not to the flesh (ου τη σαρκ). Negative ου goes with preceding verb and τη σαρκ, not with the infinitive του ζηιν.

Verse 13

Ye must die (μελλετε αποθνησκειν). Present indicative of μελλω, to be about to do and present active infinitive of αποθνησκω, to die. "Ye are on the point of dying." Eternal death.

By the spirit (πνευματ). Holy Spirit, instrumental case.

Ye shall live (ζησεσθε). Future active indicative of ζαω. Eternal life.

Verse 14

Sons of God (υιο θεου). In the full sense of this term. In verse Romans 8:16 we have τεκνα θεου (children of God). Hence no great distinction can be drawn between υιος and τεκνον. The truth is that υιος is used in various ways in the New Testament. In the highest sense, not true of any one else, Jesus Christ is God's Son (Romans 8:3). But in the widest sense all men are "the offspring" (γενος) of God as shown in Acts 17:28 by Paul. But in the special sense here only those are "sons of God" who are led by the Spirit of God, those born again (the second birth) both Jews and Gentiles, "the sons of Abraham" (υιο Αβρααμ, Galatians 3:7), the children of faith.

Verse 15

The spirit of adoption (πνευμα υιοθεσιας). See on this term υιοθεσια, Galatians 4:5. Both Jews and Gentiles receive this "adoption" into the family of God with all its privileges. " Whereby we cry, Abba, Father " (εν η κραζομεν Αββα ο πατηρ). See Galatians 4:6 for discussion of this double use of Father as the child's privilege.

Verse 16

The Spirit himself (αυτο το πνευμα). The grammatical gender of πνευμα is neuter as here, but the Greek used also the natural gender as we do exclusively as in John 16:13 εκεινος (masculine

he ), το πνευμα (neuter). See also John 16:26 (ο--εκεινος). It is a grave mistake to use the neuter "it" or "itself" when referring to the Holy Spirit.

Beareth witness with our spirit (συμμαρτυρε τω πνευματ ημων). See on Romans 2:15 for this verb with associative instrumental case. See 1 John 5:10 for this double witness.

Verse 17

Joint-heirs with Christ (συνκληρονομο Χριστου). A late rare double compound, in Philo, an Ephesian inscription of the imperial period (Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, p. 92), papyri of the Byzantine period. See Romans 8:29 for this idea expanded. Paul is fond of compounds of συν, three in this verse (συνκληρονομοι, συνπασχωμεν, συνδοξασθωμεν). The last (first aorist passive subjunctive of συνδοξαζω with ινα (purpose), late and rare, here only in N.T.

Verse 18

To us-ward (εις ημας). We shall be included in the radiance of the coming glory which will put in the shadow the present sufferings. Precisely the same idiom here with μελλουσαν δοξαν (aorist passive infinitive of αποκαλυφθηνα) occurs in Galatians 3:23 with μελλουσαν πιστιν, which see.

Verse 19

The earnest expectation of creation (η αποκαραδοκια της κτισεως). This substantive has so far been found nowhere save here and Philippians 1:20, though the verb αποκαραδοκεω is common in Polybius and Plutarch. Milligan (Vocabulary) thinks that Paul may have made the substantive from the verb. It is a double compound (απο, off from, καρα, head, δοκεω, Ionic verb, to watch), hence to watch eagerly with outstretched head.

Waiteth for (απεκδεχετα). See on 1 Corinthians 1:7; Galatians 5:5 for this rare word (possibly formed by Paul, Milligan). "To wait it out" (Thayer).

The revealing of the sons of God (την αποκαλυψιν των υιων του θεου). Cf. 1 John 3:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Colossians 3:4. This mystical sympathy of physical nature with the work of grace is beyond the comprehension of most of us. But who can disprove it?

Verse 20

Was subjected (υπεταγη). Second aorist passive indicative of υπατασσω (cf. verse Romans 8:7).

To vanity (τη ματαιοτητ). Dative case. Rare and late word, common in LXX. From ματαιος, empty, vain. Ephesians 4:17; 2 Peter 2:18.

Not of its own will (ουχ εκουσα). Common adjective, in N.T. only here and 1 Corinthians 9:27. It was due to the effect of man's sin.

But by reason of him (αλλα δια τον). Because of God.

In hope that (εφ' ελπιδ οτ). Note the form ελπιδ rather than the usual ελπιδ and so εφ'. Hοτ can be causal "because" instead of declarative "that."

Verse 21

The creation itself (αυτη η κτισις). It is the hope of creation, not of the Creator. Nature "possesses in the feeling of her unmerited suffering a sort of presentiment of her future deliverance" (Godet).

Verse 22

Groaneth and travaileth in pain (συνστεναζε κα συνωδινε). Two more compounds with συν. Both rare and both here alone in N.T. Nature is pictured in the pangs of childbirth.

Verse 23

The first fruits (την απαρχην). Old and common metaphor.

Of the Spirit (του πνευματος). The genitive of apposition. The Holy Spirit came on the great Pentecost and his blessings continue as seen in the "gifts" in Romans 8:1, in the moral and spiritual gifts of Galatians 5:22. And greater ones are to come (1 Corinthians 15:44).

Even we ourselves (κα αυτο). He repeats for emphasis. We have our "groaning" (στεναζομεν) as well as nature.

Waiting for (απεκδεχομενο). The same verb used of nature in verse Romans 8:19.

Our adoption (υιοθεσιαν). Our full "adoption" (see verse Romans 8:15), "the redemption of our body" (την απολυτρωσιν του σωματος ημων). That is to come also. Then we shall have complete redemption of both soul and body.

Verse 24

For by hope were we saved (τη γαρ ελπιδ εσωθημεν). First aorist passive indicative of σωζω. The case of ελπιδ is not certain, the form being the same for locative, instrumental and dative. Curiously enough either makes good sense in this context: "We were saved in hope, by hope, for hope" (of the redemption of the body).

Verse 25

With patience (δι' υπομονης). Paul repeats the verb απεκδεχομα of verse Romans 8:23.

Verse 26

Helpeth our infirmity (συναντιλαμβανετα τη ασθενεια ημων). Present middle indicative of συναντιλαμβανομα, late and striking double compound (Diodorus, LXX, Josephus, frequent in inscriptions, Deissmann, Light, etc., p. 87), to lend a hand together with, at the same time with one. Only twice in N.T., here and Luke 10:40 in Martha's plea for Mary's help. Here beautifully Paul pictures the Holy Spirit taking hold at our side at the very time of our weakness (associative instrumental case) and before too late.

How to pray (το τ προσευξωμεθα). Articular clause object of οιδαμεν (we know) and indirect question with the deliberative aorist middle subjunctive προσευξωμεθα, retained in the indirect question.

As we ought (καθο δε). "As it is necessary." How true this is of all of us in our praying.

Maketh intercession (υπερεντυγχανε). Present active indicative of late double compound, found only here and in later ecclesiastical writers, but εντυγχανω occurs in verse Romans 8:27 (a common verb). It is a picturesque word of rescue by one who "happens on" (εντυγχανε) one who is in trouble and "in his behalf" (υπερ) pleads "with unuttered groanings" (instrumental case) or with "sighs that baffle words" (Denney). This is work of our Helper, the Spirit himself.

Verse 27

He that searcheth (ο εραυνων). God (1 Samuel 16:7).

According to the will of God (κατα θεον). See 2 Corinthians 7:9-11 for this phrase κατα θεον (according to God). The Holy Spirit is the "other Paraclete" (John 14:16) who pleads God's cause with us as Christ is our Paraclete with the Father (1 John 2:1). But more is true as here, for the Holy Spirit interprets our prayers to God and "makes intercession for us in accord with God's will."

Verse 28

All things work together (παντα συνεργε). A B have ο θεος as the subject of συνεργε (old verb, see on 1 Corinthians 16:16; 2 Corinthians 6:1). That is the idea anyhow. It is God who makes "all things work together" in our lives "for good" (εις αγαθον), ultimate good.

According to his purpose (κατα προθεσιν). Old word, seen already in Acts 27:13 and for "shewbread" in Matthew 12:4. The verb προτιθημ Paul uses in Romans 3:24 for God's purpose. Paul accepts fully human free agency but behind it all and through it all runs God's sovereignty as here and on its gracious side (Romans 9:11; Romans 3:11; 2 Timothy 1:9).

Verse 29

Foreknew (προεγνω). Second aorist active indicative of προγινωσκω, old verb as in Acts 26:5. See Psalms 1:6 (LXX) and Matthew 7:23. This fore-knowledge and choice is placed in eternity in Ephesians 1:4.

He foreordained (προωρισεν). First aorist active indicative of προοριζω, late verb to appoint beforehand as in Acts 4:28; 1 Corinthians 2:7. Another compound with προ- (for eternity).

Conformed to the image (συμμορφους της εικονος). Late adjective from συν and μορφη and so an inward and not merely superficial conformity. Εικων is used of Christ as the very image of the Father (2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15). See Philippians 2:6 for μορφη. Here we have both μορφη and εικων to express the gradual change in us till we acquire the likeness of Christ the Son of God so that we ourselves shall ultimately have the family likeness of sons of God. Glorious destiny.

That he might be (εις το εινα αυτον). Common idiom for purpose.

First born among many brethren (πρωτοτοκον εν πολλοις αδελφοις). Christ is "first born" of all creation (Colossians 1:15), but here he is "first born from the dead" (Colossians 1:18), the Eldest Brother in this family of God's sons, though "Son" in a sense not true of us.

Verse 30

Called (εκαλεσεν)

--Justified (εδικαιωσεν)

--Glorified (εδοξασεν). All first aorist active indicatives of common verbs (καλεω, δικαιοω, δοξαζω). But the glorification is stated as already consummated (constative aorists, all of them), though still in the future in the fullest sense. "The step implied in εδοξασεν is both complete and certain in the Divine counsels" (Sanday and Headlam).

Verse 31

For these things (προς ταυτα). From Romans 8:12 on Paul has made a triumphant presentation of the reasons for the certainty of final sanctification of the sons of God. He has reached the climax with glorification (εδοξασεν in verse Romans 8:30). But Paul lets the objector have his say as he usually does so that in verses Romans 8:31-39 he considers the objections.

If God is for us, who is against us? (ε ο θεος υπερ ημων, τις καθ' ημων?). This condition of the first class carries Paul's challenge to all doubters. There is no one on a par with God. Note the two prepositions in contrast (υπερ, over, κατα, down or against).

Verse 32

He that (ος γε). "Who as much as this" (γε here magnifying the deed, intensive particle).

Spared not (ουκ εφεισατο). First aorist middle of φειδομα, old verb used about the offering of Isaac in Genesis 22:16. See Acts 20:29.

Also with him (κα συν αυτω). The gift of "his own son" is the promise and the pledge of the all things for good of verse Romans 8:28. Christ is all and carries all with him.

Verse 33

Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? (τις εγκαλεσε κατα εκλεκτων θεου?). Future active indicative of εγκαλεω, old verb, to come forward as accuser (forensic term) in case in court, to impeach, as in Acts 19:40; Acts 23:29; Acts 26:2, the only N.T. examples. Satan is the great Accuser of the brethren.

It is God that justifieth (θεος ο δικαιων). God is the Judge who sets us right according to his plan for justification (Romans 3:21-31). The Accuser must face the Judge with his charges.

Verse 34

Shall condemn (κατακρινων). Can be either present active participle (condemns) or the future (shall condemn). It is a bold accuser who can face God with false charges or with true ones for that matter for we have an "Advocate" at God's Court (1 John 2:1), "who is at the right hand of God" (ος εστιν εν δεξια του θεου) "who also maketh intercession for us" (ος κα εντυγχανε υπερ ημων). Our Advocate paid the debt for our sins with his blood. The score is settled. We are free (Romans 8:1).

Verse 35

Shall separate (χωρισε). Future active of old verb χοριζω from adverb χωρις and that from χωρα, space. Can any one put a distance between Christ's love and us (objective genitive)? Can any one lead Christ to cease loving us? Such things do happen between husband and wife, alas. Paul changes the figure from "who" (τις) to "what" (τ). The items mentioned will not make Christ love us less. Paul here glories in tribulations as in Romans 5:3.

Verse 36

Even as it is written (καθως γεγραπτα). He quotes Psalms 44:23.

We are killed (θανατουμεθα). Present passive indicative of θανατοω for which see on Romans 7:4. Same idea of continuous martyrdom in 1 Corinthians 15:31.

As sheep for the slaughter (ως προβατα σφαγης). Objective genitive (σφαγης).

Verse 37

Nay (αλλα). On the contrary, we shall not be separated.

We are more than conquerors (υπερνικωμεν). Late and rare compound. Here only in N.T. "We gain a surpassing victory through the one who loved us."

Verse 38

For I am persuaded (πεπεισμα γαρ). Perfect passive participle of πειθω, "I stand convinced." The items mentioned are those that people dread (life, death, supernatural powers, above, below, any creature to cover any omissions).

Verse 39

To separate us (ημας χωρισα). Aorist active infinitive of χοριζω (same verb as in Romans 8:35). God's love is victor over all possible foes, "God's love that is in Christ Jesus." Paul has reached the mountain top. He has really completed his great argument concerning the God-kind of righteousness save for its bearing on some special problems. The first of these concerns the fact that the Jews (God's chosen people) have so largely rejected the gospel (chapters Romans 8:9-11).

Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Romans 8". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/romans-8.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.
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