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Bible Commentaries
Romans 5

Vincent's Word StudiesVincent's Studies

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Verse 1

We have [εχομεν] . The true reading is ecwmen let us have; but it is difficult if not impossible to explain it. Godet says : "No exegete has been able satisfactorily to account for this imperative suddenly occurring in the midst of a didactic development." Some explain as a concessive subjunctive, we may have; but the use of this in independent sentences is doubtful. Others give the deliberative sense, shall we have; but this occurs only in doubtful questions, as Romans 6:1. A similar instance is found Hebrews 12:28. "Let us have grace," where the indicative might naturally be expected. 32 Compare also the disputed reading, let us bear, 1 Corinthians 14:49, and see note there.

Peace [ειρηνην] . Not contentment, satisfaction, quiet, see Philippians 4:7; but the state of reconciliation as opposed to enmity (ver. 10).

With God [προς] . See on with God, John 1:1.

Verse 2

Access [προσαγωγην] . Used only by Paul. Compare Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 3:12. Lit., the act of bringing to. Hence some insist on the transitive sense, introduction. Compare 1 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 2:13. The transitive sense predominates in classical Greek, but there are undoubted instances of the intransitive sense in later Greek, and some illustrations are cited from Xenophon, though their meaning is disputed. 33 Into this grace. Grace is conceived as a field into which we are brought. Compare Galatians 1:6; Galatians 5:4; 1 Peter 5:12. The; state of justification which is preeminently a matter of grace.

In hope [επ ελπιδι] . Lit., on the ground of hope.

Verse 3

Tribulations. Sharp contrast of glory and tribulation. Tribulations has the article; the tribulations attaching to the condition of believers. Rev., our tribulations.

Patience [υπομονην] . See on 2 Peter 1:6; James 5:7.

Verse 4

Experience [δοκιμην] . Wrong. The word means either the process of trial, proving, as 2 Corinthians 8:2, or the result of trial, approvedness, Philippians 2:22. Here it can only be the latter : tried integrity, a state of mind which has stood the test. The process has already been expressed by tribulation. Rev. renders probation, which might be defended on the ground of English classical usage. Thus Shakespeare :

" And of the truth herein This present object made probation.

"Hamlet," 1, 1 Jeremy Taylor : "When by miracle God dispensed great gifts to the laity, He gave probation that He intended that all should prophecy and preach." But probation has come to be understood, almost universally, of the process of trial. The more accurate rendering is proof or approval.

Verse 5

Maketh not ashamed [ου καταισχυνει] . Mostly in Paul; elsewhere only in Luke 13:17; 1 Peter 2:6; 1 Peter 3:16. Rev., putteth not to shame, thus giving better the strong sense of the word, to disgrace or dishonor.

Is shed abroad [εκκεχυται] . Rev. renders the perfect tense; hath been shed abroad. Lit., poured out. Compare Titus 3:6; Acts 2:33; Acts 10:45. See on Jude 1:11.

Verse 6

For the ungodly [υπερ ασεβων] . It is much disputed whether uJper on behalf of, is ever equivalent to ajnti instead of. The classical writers furnish instances where the meanings seem to be interchanged. Thus Xenophon : "Seuthes asked, Wouldst thou, Episthenes, die for this one [υπερ τουτου] ?" Seuthes asked the boy if he should smite him (Episthenes) instead of him [αντ εκεινου] . So Irenaeus : "Christ gave His life for [υπερ] our lives, and His flesh for (anti) our flesh." Plato, "Gorgias," 515, "If you will not answer for yourself, I must answer for you [υπερ σου] ." In the New Testament Philippians 1:13 is cited; uJper sou, A. V., in thy stead; Rev., in thy behalf. So 1 Corinthians 14:29, "baptized for the dead [υπερ των νεκρων] ." The meaning of this passage, however, is so uncertain that it cannot fairly be cited in evidence. The preposition may have a local meaning, over the dead. 34 None of these passages can be regarded as decisive. The most that can be said is that uJper borders on the meaning of ajnti. Instead of is urged largely on dogmatic grounds. In the great majority of passages the sense is clearly for the sake of, on behalf of. The true explanation seems to be that, in the passages principally in question, those, namely, relating to Christ 's death, as here, Galatians 3:13; Romans 14:15; 1 Peter 3:18, uJper characterizes the more indefinite and general proposition - Christ died on behalf of - leaving the peculiar sense of in behalf of undetermined, and to be settled by other passages. The meaning instead of may be included in it, but only inferentially. 35 Godet says : "The preposition can signify only in behalf of. It refers to the end, not at all to the mode of the work of redemption." Ungodly. The radical idea of the word is, want of reverence or of piety.

Verse 7

Righteous - good [δικαιου - αγαθου] . The distinction is : dikaiov is simply right or just; doing all that law or justice requires; ajgaqov is benevolent, kind, generous. The righteous man does what he ought, and gives to every one his due. The good man "does as much as ever he can, and proves his moral quality by promoting the wellbeing of him with whom he has to do." 'Agaqov always includes a corresponding beneficent relation of the subject of it to another subject; an establishment of a communion and exchange of life; while dikaiov only expresses a relation to the purely objective dikh right. Bengel says : "dikaiov, indefinitely, implies an innocent man; oJ ajgaqov one perfect in all that piety demands; excellent, honorable, princely, blessed; for example, the father of his country."

Therefore, according to Paul, though one would hardly die for the merely upright or strictly just man who commands respect, he might possibly die for the noble, beneficent man, who calls out affection. The article is omitted with righteous, and supplied with good - the good man, pointing to such a case as a rare and special exception.

Verse 8

Commendeth. See on 3 5. Note the present tense. God continuously establishes His love in that the death of Christ remains as its most striking manifestation.

His love [εαυτου] . Rev., more literally, His own. Not in contrast with human love, but as demonstrated by Christ 's act of love.

Verse 9

Wrath [της οργης] . Rev., better, "the wrath of God." the article specifying. See on ch. Romans 12:19.

Verse 10

Enemies [εχθροι] . The word may be used either in an active sense, hating God, or passively, hated of God. The context favors the latter sense; not, however, with the conventional meaning of hated, denoting the revengeful, passionate feeling of human enmity, but simply the essential antagonism of the divine nature to sin. Neither the active nor the passive meaning needs to be pressed. The term represents the mutual estrangement and opposition which must accompany sin on man's part, and which requires reconciliation.

We were reconciled to God [καταλλαγημεν τω θεω] . The verb means primarily to exchange; and hence to change the relation of hostile parties into a relation of peace; to reconcile. It is used of both mutual and one - sided enmity. In the former case, the context must show on which side is the active enmity.

In the Christian sense, the change in the relation of God and man effected through Christ. This involves,

1. A movement of God toward man with a view to break down man's hostility, to commend God 's love and holiness to him, and to convince him of the enormity and the consequence of sin. It is God who initiates this movement in the person and work of Jesus Christ. See vers. 6, 8; 2 Corinthians 5:18, 2 Corinthians 5:19; Ephesians 1:6; 1 John 4:19. Hence the passive form of the verb here : we were made subjects of God 's reconciling act.

2. A corresponding movement on man's part toward God; yielding to the appeal of Christ 's self - sacrificing love, laying aside his enmity, renouncing his sin, and turning to God in faith and obedience.

3. A consequent change of character in man; the covering, forgiving, cleansing of his sin; a thorough revolution in all his dispositions and principles.

4. A corresponding change of relation on God 's part, that being removed which alone rendered Him hostile to man, so that God can now receive Him into fellowship and let loose upon him all His fatherly love and grace, 1 John 1:3, 1 John 1:7. Thus there is complete reconciliation. See, further, on ch. 3 25, 26.

Verse 11

We also joy [και καυχωμενοι] . Lit., but also glorying. The participle corresponds with that in ver. 10, being reconciled. We shall be saved, not only as being reconciled, but as also rejoicing; the certainty of the salvation being based, not only upon the reconciliation, but also upon the corresponding joy.

We have now received the atonement [νυν την καταλλαγην ελαβομεν] . Now, in contrast with future glory.

Atonement, Rev., properly, reconciliation, the noun being etymologically akin to the verb to reconcile. Atonement at the time of the A. V. signified reconciliation, at - one - ment, the making two estranged parties at one. So Shakespeare :

"He and Aufidius can no more atone Than violenist contrarieties." " Coriolanus, " 4, 6.

Fuller : "His first essay succeeded so well, Moses would adventure on a second design to atone two Israelites at variance." The word at present carries the idea of satisfaction rather than of reconciliation, and is therefore inappropriate here. The article points to the reconciliation in ver. 10. See on ch. Romans 3:24-26.

Verse 12

Wherefore as. As [ωσπερ] begins the first member of a comparison. The second member is not expressed, but is checked by the illustration introduced in vers. 13, 14, and the apostle, in his flow of thought, drops the construction with which he started, and brings in the main tenor of what is wanting by "Adam who is the type," etc. (ver. 14).

Entered into. As a principle till then external to the world.

Passed upon [διηλθεν εφ] . Lit., came throughout upon. The preposition dia denotes spreading, propagation, as eijv into denoted entrance.

For that [εφ ω] On the ground of the fact that.

Verse 13

Until the law. In the period between Adam and Moses.

Is not imputed [ουκ ελλογειται] . Put to account so as to bring penalty. From logov an account or reckoning. Only here and Philippians 1:18.

Figure [τυπος] . See on 1 Peter 5:3.

Verse 15

Of one [του ενος] . Rev., correctly, the one - Adam. So the many. Much more. Some explain of the quality of the cause and effect : that as the fall of Adam caused vast evil, the work of the far greater Christ shall much more cause great results of good. This is true; but the argument seems to turn rather on the question of certainty. "The character of God is such, from a christian point of view, that the comparison gives a much more certain basis for belief, in what is gained through the second Adam, than in the certainties of sin and death through the first Adam" (Schaff and Riddle).

Verse 16

That sinned [αμαρτησαντος] . The better supported reading. Some MSS. and versions read aJmarthmatov transgression.

Of one. Some explain, one man, from the preceding (one) that sinned. Others, one trespass, from ver. 17.

The judgment [κριμα] . Judicial sentence. Compare 1 Corinthians 6:7; 1 Corinthians 11:29. See on 2 Peter 2:3.

Condemnation [κατακριμα] . See on shall be damned, Mark 16:16. A condemnatory sentence.

Justification [δικαιωμα] . Not the subjective state of justification, but a righteous act or deed. Revelation 19:8; see on ver. 18.

The word is sometimes rendered orinance, Hebrews 9:1, Hebrews 9:10; an appointment of God having the force of law. So Romans 1:32, where Rev. gives ordinance for judgment, and Romans 2:26, ordinances for righteousness.

Verse 17

Reigned. The emphatic point of the comparison. The effect of the second Adam cannot fall behind that of the first. If death reigned, there must be a reign of life.

They which receive [οι λαμβανοντες] . Not believingly accept, but simply the recipients.

Abundance of grace. Note the articles, the abundance of the grace.

Verse 18

The offense of one [ενος παραπτωματος] . Rev., corrects, one trespass.

The righteousness of one [ενος δικαιωματος] . See on ver 16. Rev., correctly, one act of righteousness.

Verse 19

Disobedience [παρακοης] . Only here, 2 Corinthians 10:6; Hebrews 9:2. The kindred verb paralouw to neglect, Rev., refuse, occurs Matthew 18:17. From para aside, amiss, and ajkouw to hear, sometimes with the accompanying sense of heeding, and so nearly = obey. Parakoh is therefore, primarily, a failing to hear or hearing amiss. Bengel remarks that the word very appositely points out the first step in Adam 's fall - carelessness, as the beginning of a city's capture is the remissness of the guards.

Were made [κατεσταθησαν] . See on James 3:6. Used elsewhere by Paul only at Titus 1:5, in the sense of to appoint to office or position. This is its most frequent use in the New Testament. See Matthew 24:25; Acts 6:3; Acts 7:10; Hebrews 5:1, etc. The primary meaning being to set down, it is used in classical Greek of bringing to a place, as a ship to the land, or a man to a place or person; hence to bring before a magistrate (Acts 17:15). From this comes the meaning to set down as, i e., to declare or show to be; or to constitute, make to be. So 2 Peter 1:8; James 4:4; James 3:6. The exact meaning in this passage is disputed. The following are the principal explanations :

1. Set down in a declarative sense; declared to be.

2. Placed in the category of sinners because of a vital connection with the first tranegressor.

3. Became sinners; were made. This last harmonizes with sinned in ver. 12.

The disobedience of Adam is thus declared to have been the occasion of the death of all, because it is the occasion of their sin; but the precise nature of this relation is not explained. 36 Obedience [υπακοης] . Note the play on the words, parakoe, hypokoe, disobedience, obedience. Upakoh obedience, is also derived from ajkouw to hear (see on disobedience) and uJpo beneath, the idea being submission to what one hears.

Verse 20

The law entered [παρεισηλθεν] Rev., literally, came in beside, giving the force of para beside. Very significant. Now that the parallel between Adam and Christ is closed, the question arises as to the position and office of the law. How did it stand related to Adam and Christ ? Paul replies that it came in alongside of the sin. "It was taken up into the divine plan or arrangement, and made an occasion for the abounding of grace in the opening of the new way to justification and life" [δωιγητ] .

Might abound [πλεοναση] . Not primarily of the greater consciousness and acknowledgment of sin, but of the increase of actual transgression. The other thought, however, may be included. See ch. Romans 7:7, Romans 7:8, Romans 7:9, Romans 7:11.

Did much more abound [υπερεπερισσευσεν] . Lit., abounded over and above. Only here and 2 Corinthians 7:4. Compare uJperepleonase abounded exceedingly, 1 Timothy 1:14; uJperperisswv beyond measure, Mark 7:37; uJperauxanei; groweth exceedingly, 2 Thessalonians 1:3.

Verse 21

Unto death [εν τω θανατω] . Wrong. In death, as Rev. As the sphere or dominion of death 's tyranny. Compare ver. 14, "death reigned." Some, however, explain the preposition as instrumental, by death. How much is lost by the inaccurate rendering of the prepositions. Ellicott remarks that there are few points more characteristic of the apostle 's style than his varied but accurate use of prepositions, especially of two or more in the same or in immediately contiguous clauses. See Romans 3:22; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:16.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord. "And now - so this last word seems to say - Adam has passed away; Christ alone remains" (Godet).

Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Romans 5". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/vnt/romans-5.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.
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