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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Romans 8

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 8

Romans 8:1. After ἰησοῦ Elz. has μὴ κατὰ σάρκα περιπατοῦσιν, ἀλλὰ κατὰ πνεῦμα, which, following Mill, Griesb. and subsequent critics have expunged. The words are wanting either entirely, or at least as to the second half, in a preponderance of codd., VSS., and Fathers, and are an old inapposite gloss from Romans 8:4.

Romans 8:2. με] B F G א, Syr. Tert. Chrys. have σε, which Tisch. 8. has adopted. Repetition in copying of the preceding syllable.

Romans 8:11. διὰ τὸ ἐνοικοῦν αὐτοῦ πνεῦμα] So Griesb., Matth., Scholz, Fritzsche, Lachm. and Tisch. 7., following Erasmus, Mill, and Bengel. The Recepta, again adopted by Tisch. 8., is διὰ τοῦ ἐνοικοῦντος αὐτοῦ πνεύματος. The witnesses (for an accurate examination of which see Reiche, Commentar. crit. I. p. 54 ff.) are so divided, that there is on neither side a decisive preponderance, although, besides A and C, א also supports the genitive. The thought of itself, also, equally admits either reading. A decision between them can only be arrived at through the circumstance that the passage came to be discussed in the Macedonian controversy, wherein the Macedonians accused the orthodox of having falsified the ancient codices, when the latter appealed to the Recepta and asserted that it stood in all the ancient codd. See Maxim. Dial c. Maced. 3. in Athanas. Opp. II. p. 452. This charge, though retorted by the orthodox on the Macedonians, is worthy of credit, because διὰ τὸ κ. τ. λ. already predominates in Origen and the oldest VSS. (also Syr. Vulg.); consequently that assertion of the orthodox appears erroneous. The Recepta, indeed, is found in Clem. Strom. III. p. 344, Commel. 545. Pott.; but this single trace of its high antiquity loses its weight in opposition to the here specially important VSS. and Origen (also Tert. and Iren.), and in the face of these bears the suspicion of orthodox alteration having been wrought on the text of Clement. It is possible, however, that even long previous to the Macedonian controversy the questions and disputes respecting the Holy Spirit may have occasioned now and again the changing of διὰ τὸ κ. τ. λ. into διὰ τοῦ κ. τ. λ. At all events, the dogmatic interest attached to both readings is too great and too well attested to admit of διὰ τοῦ κ. τ. λ. being referred, with Bengel and Fritzsche, to a mere error in copying. In the controversy the genitive only (as introducing a relation different from that obtaining with the previous abstracts διʼ ἁμαρτίαν and διὰ δικαιοσύνην) must have been welcome to the orthodox in defending the personality of the πνεῦμα. Among modern commentators, Rückert, Reiche, Philippi, van Hengel, and Hofmann have declared for the accusative; whilst de Wette, Krehl, Tholuck, and also Ewald, adopt the genitive.

Romans 8:13. τοῦ σώμ.] D E F G, Vulg. It. Or. (who, however, gives both readings) al. read τῆς σαρκός, which Griesb. recommended. An interpretation in the sense of the preceding.

Romans 8:14. εἰσιν υἱοὶ θεοῦ] Since among the uncials A C D E א read υἱοὶ θεοῦ εἰς., while B F G have υἱοὶ εἰσιν θεοῦ (so Lachm. and Tisch.), we must regard the Recepta as at all events too weakly attested. The preference belongs, however, to υἱοὶ εἰσιν θεοῦ, because the omitted εἰσίν (it is absent also in the Sahid.) would be more easily inserted again at the beginning or end than in the middle.

Romans 8:23. καὶ αὐτοὶ τήν ἀπ. τ. πν. ἔχ. κ. ἡμεῖς αὐτοί] So Elz. The variations are very numerous. The readings to be taken into account, besides the Recepta, are—(1) καὶ αὐτοὶ τ. ἀπαρχ. τοῦ πνεύμ. ἔχ. καὶ αὐτοί: so B, Meth. Tisch. 7.;—(2) κ. ἡμεῖς αὐτοὶ τ. ἀπαρχ. τ πν. ἔχ. αὐτοί: so D F G, Ambros. Fritzsche;—(3) κ. αὐτοὶ τ. ἀπ. τ. πν. ἔχ. [ ἡμεῖς] καὶ αὐτοί: so Lachm. and, without bracketing ἡμεῖς, Tisch. 8., following A C א, min. Copt. Dam. The first of the three seems to have been the original reading; ἡμεῖς is an addition by way of gloss, which was written, in some cases, immediately beside the first καὶ αὐτοί (thus arose the reading of Fritzsche), and in some cases only beside the second, thus producing the reading of A C א, as well as the Recepta. With the reading of Fritzsche the second καί disappeared, because, after the insertion of ἡμεῖς had taken place in the first part, the subsequent καὶ αὐτοί was no longer taken analeptically, and therefore καί was found to be merely confusing. The reading αὐτοὶ οἱ τ. ἀπ. τ. πν. ἔχ. κ. ἡμεῖς αὐτοί has so exceedingly weak attestation, that on that very ground it ought (against Bengel and Rinck) to be rejected.

υἱοθεσίαν] wanting in D F G, codd. of It. Ambrosiaster. But how easily it came to be omitted, when the υἱοθεσία was viewed as something already possessed!

Romans 8:24. τί καί] B** E F G, Syr. Vulg. codd. of It. and some Fathers have only τί. So Lachm. But the very absence of need for the καί occasioned its omission.

Romans 8:26. τῇ ἀσθ.] Approved by Griesb., adopted also by Lachm. and Tisch. But Elz. and Scholz have ταῖς ἀσθενείαις, against decisive testimony. The sing is also supported by τῆς δεήσεως in F G, which is an explanatory addition to τῇ ἀσθεν. Comp. Ambros.: “infirmitatem nostrae orationis.” The plural was substituted for the collective singular.

The reading προσευξώμεθα (Griesb. and others have προσευξόμεθα) is decisively attested.

After ὑπερεντυγχ. Elz. and Scholz have ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν, which, following A B D F G א* al. Arm. and Fathers, Lachm. and Tisch. have expunged. A defining addition.

Romans 8:28. After συνεργεῖ Lachm. reads θεός, in accordance with A B, Or. It was readily believed that, on account of Romans 8:27; Romans 8:29, πάντα must be understood as accusative and God as subject.

Romans 8:34. μᾶλλον δὲ καί] Lachm. and Tisch. 8. have only μᾶλλ. δὲ, in accordance with A B C א, min. VSS. and Fathers. But between δε and εγ. the seemingly unmeaning καί was easily overlooked and omitted.

The omission of the second καί (behind the first ὅς) is less strongly attested by A C א, and may be sufficiently explained by non-attention to the emphasis of the thrice-used word.

Romans 8:36. ἓνεκα] According to A B D F G L א 17. al. ἕνεκεν is, with Griesb., Lachm., Tisch., and Scholz, to be substituted. See LXX. Ps. 43:24.

Romans 8:37. τοῦ ἀγαπ.] D E F G, VSS. and Fathers read τὸν ἀγαπήσαντα, which has against it the Oriental witnesses, and seems to be an alteration in accordance with an erroneous exposition of τ. ἀγαπ. τ. χριστοῦ in Romans 8:35 (see the exegetical remarks on that passage).

Romans 8:38. οὔτε ἐνεστ. οὔτε μέλλ., οὔτε δυνάμεις] So also Griesb., Lachm., Tisch., and Scholz. But Elz. has οὔτε δυνάμ., οὔτε ἐνεστ. οὔτε μελλ. Against greatly preponderating evidence. A transposition, because δυν. seemed to belong to the category of ἀρχαί. The evidence in favour of οὔτε δυνάμ., moreover, is so decisive and so unanimous, that it cannot, with Fritzsche, be regarded as an addition from 1 Peter 3:22, 1 Corinthians 15:24, or Ephesians 1:21. Tholuck, Philippi, and Ewald reject these words. But their various position in different witnesses is quite explained by supposing that their place behind μελλ., as well as their general isolation, were regarded as surprising and confusing.

Chap. 8. Happy condition of man in Christ.

The certainty of salvation, which is represented in chap. Romans 5:1 f. as the effect of justification by faith, appears here as brought about through the moral freedom attained in Christ. We see from this, that Paul conceived of faith not otherwise than as producing this freedom; so that faith is not only that which appropriates the atonement, but also the continuous subjective source and motive power of the divine life up to the final attainment of bliss. See Luther’s Preface, also his utterances quoted by Ritschl, Rechtfert u. Versöhnung, I. p. 142 ff., 180 f.


Verse 1

Romans 8:1. ἄρα] draws an inference from the immediately preceding αὐτὸς ἐγώ.… ἁμαρτίας. If I, for my own person, left to myself, am subject indeed with the reason to the law of God, but with the flesh to the law of sin, then it follows that now, after Christ (as deliverer from the law of sin, ver 2) has interposed, there is no condemnation, etc. This inference, and not that one must be in Christ, in order to get rid of every condemnation (Hofmann), is indicated by γὰρ in Romans 8:2 as a matter of fact that has become historical. It is arbitrary to seek a connection with anything more remotely preceding (Hofmann, Koppe, Fritzsche, Philippi, and Bisping, with εὐχαριστῶ.… ἡμῶν in Romans 7:25; according to Bengel, Knapp, and Winzer, with Romans 7:6); but to suppose in ἄρα “a forestalling of the following γὰρ” (Tholuck), is linguistically just as mistaken as in the case of διό in Romans 2:1. Moreover, the emphasis is not upon νῦν, but on the prefixed οὐδέν: no condemnation therefore, none is now applicable, after that αὐτὸς ἐγώ κ. τ. λ. has been changed through Christ, etc. This applies against Philippi’s objection, that, according to our conception of the connection, νῦν should have been placed at the beginning. But the objection, that Paul must have continued with δέ instead of ἄρα, is removed by the observation that in the αὐτὸς ἐγώ, properly understood, really lies the very premiss of the altered relation.

νῦν] temporally, in contrast to the former state of the case. Comp. Romans 7:6. Philippi erroneously holds ἄρα νῦν as equivalent to ἄρα οὖν—which it never is—being forced thereto by the theory that the regenerate person is the subject of discussion in chap. Romans 7:14 ff. Hofmann’s view, however, that νῦν contrasts the present with the future αἰών (even now, during the life in the flesh), is also incorrect. Nothing in the context suggests it, and it must have been expressed in some such way as by ἤδη, or by a defining addition.

οὐδὲν κατάκριμα] sc. ἐστι: no sentence of condemnation (Romans 8:16), whereby God might deny them eternal life, affects them. The reason see in Romans 8:2.

τοῖς ἐν χ. .] i.e. to those in whose case Christ is the element, in which they are (live and move). The same in substance, but different in the form of the conception, is πνεῦμα χριστοῦ ἔχειν and χριστὸς ἐν ὑμῖν in Romans 8:9-10.


Verses 1-11

Romans 8:1-11. Accordingly, the Christian is aloof from all condemnation, because he is free from the law of sin—a result which the Mosaic law could not accomplish, but which God has accomplished through Christ. Yet he must live according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh; for the latter works death, but the former life.


Verse 2

Romans 8:2. For the law of the Spirit leading to life delivered me in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For the right explanation, it is to be observed—(1.) The νόμος τ. ἁμ. κ. τοῦ θαν. necessarily, in view of the connection, receives the definition of its meaning from chap. Romans 7:23; Romans 7:25, as indeed ἠλευθ. answers to the αἰχ΄αλωτίζ. in Romans 8:23. For this very reason neither the moral law (Wolf) nor the Mosaic law (Pareus, de Dieu, Semler, Böhme, Ammon, and Reiche) can be meant; the latter cannot, for the further reason that, after Romans 7:7; Romans 7:12; Romans 7:16, Paul could not thus name the Mosaic νόμος here, as Chrysostom has already urged. It is rather the law in our members, the power of sin in us, which, according to Romans 7:24, comp. Romans 7:10; Romans 7:13, is at the same time the power of (eternal) death ( καὶ τοῦ θανάτου), that is meant. The two are one power, and both genitives are genitives of the subject, so that sin and death are regarded as ruling over the man.—(2.) Since the νόμος τ. ἁμ. κ. τ. θαν. cannot be the Mosaic law, so neither can the contrasted νό΄ος τ. πν. τῆς ζωῆς be the Christian plan of salvation, like νόμος πίστ. in Romans 3:27, but it must be an inward power in the man by which the law of sin and death is rendered powerless. It is not, however, the νόμος τοῦ νοός (which had become strengthened through Christ), as, following older expositors, Morus, Köllner, and Schrader think; because, on the one hand, νοῦς and πνεῦ΄α are specifically different, and if Paul had meant the law of the νοῦς, he must have so designated it, as in Romans 7:23; and, on the other hand, there would result the utterly paradoxical idea, that the law of reason (and not the divine principle of the πνεῦ΄α) makes man morally free. The τὸ πνεῦ΄α τῆς ζωῆς is rather the Holy Spirit, who, working inwardly in the Christian (Romans 8:5), procures to him eternal life (comp. 2 Corinthians 3:6); and νόμος τοῦ πνεύματος τῆς ζωής is the ethically regulative government exercised by the πνεῦμα (not the Spirit Himself, as Theodoret, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Maier, and Th. Schott understand it, but His ruling power).

ἐν χ. .] On account of ver 3, to be connected neither with τῆς ζωῆς (Luther, Beza, and others, including Böhme, Klee, Ewald, and Hofmann), nor with τοῦ πνεύ΄. (Flatt; Tholuck: “the sphere, in which the Spirit of life operates”), nor with νό΄ος (Semler, Reiche), nor with νό΄. τ. πν. τ. ζ. (Calvin, Köllner, Glöckler, Krehl, and others), but with ἠλευθέρωσε. So Theodoret, Erasmus, Melancthon, Vatablus, and others, including Rückert, Olshausen, de Wette, Fritzsche, Reithmayr, Maier, Philippi, and Bisping. In Christ, the law of the Spirit has made us free; for out of Christ this emancipating activity could not occur (comp. John 8:36); but in the fellowship of life with Him, in the being and living in Him (Romans 8:1), the deliverance which has taken place has its causal ground. The view which takes it of the objective basis that is laid down in the appearance and work of Christ, is unsuitable, because the discourse treats of the subjective ethical efficacy of the Spirit, which has the εἶναι ἐν χριστῷ as the necessary correlative.

ἠλευθ.] aorist. For it is a historical act, which resulted from the effusion of the Spirit in the heart. The progressive sanctification is the further development and consequence of this act.


Verse 3

Romans 8:3. An illustration justifying the ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ ἠλευθ. κ. τ. λ., just asserted, by a description of the powerfully effective actual arrangement, which God has made for the accomplishment of what to the law was impossible.

τὸ γὰρ ἀδύνατον τοῦ νόμου is an absolute nominative, prefixing a judgment on the following κατέκρινε κ. τ. λ. “For the impossible thing of the law

God condemned,” etc. That is, God condemned sin in the flesh, which was a thing of impossibility on the part of the law. See Krüger, § 57. 10, 12. Comp. also Hebrews 8:1, and on Luke 21:6; Wisdom of Solomon 16:17; Kühner, II. 1, p. 42. It could only be accusative, if we should assume a general verb (like ἐποίησε) out of what follows, which would, however, be an arbitrary course (in opposition to the view of Erasmus, Luther, and others). The prefixing τ. γ. ἀδύν. τ. ν. has rhetorical emphasis, in contrast with the ἐν χ. . in Romans 8:2. Comp. Dissen, ad Pind. Pyth. iv. 152. On the genitive, comp. Epist. ad Diogn. 9 : τὸ ἀδύνατον τῆς ἡμετέρας φύσεως, what our nature could not do. By a harsh hyperbaton Th. Schott takes a sense out of the passage, which it does not bear: because the impotence of the law became still weaker through the flesh. Erroneous is also Hofmann’s view: “the impotence of the law lay or consisted therein, that it was weak through the flesh.” The abstract sense of “powerlesness,” or incapacity, is not borne by τὸ ἀδύνατον at all; but it indicates that which the subject (here the νόμος) is not in a position for, what is impossible to it. See especially Plat. Hipp. maj. p. 295 E comp. Romans 9:22; Xen. Hist. i. 4. 6 : ἀπὸ τοῦ τῆς πόλεως δυνατοῦ, i.e. from what the city is in a position to tender. Moreover, since the words taken independently, with Hofmann, would only contain a preparatory thought for what follows, Paul would not have had asyndetically θεός, but must have proceeded by a marking of the contrast, consequently with δὲ θεός; so that these words, down to κατὰ πνεῦμα in Romans 8:4, would still have been in connection with γάρ. And even apart from this, the supplying of the substantive verb would at most only have been indicated for the reader in the event of the proposition having been a general one with ἐστί understood, and consequently if ἀσθενεῖ, and not ἠσθένει, were read.

ἐν ἠσθ. διὰ τ. σαρκ.] because it was weak (unable to condemn sin) through the flesh, as is described in chap. 7. On ἐν , comp. 1 Corinthians 4:4; John 16:30; Winer, p. 362 [E. T. 484]. It is our causal in that; διὰ τ. σαρκ. is the cause bringing about the ἠσθένει: through the reacting influence of the flesh, Romans 7:18 ff.

θεὸς τὸν ἑαυτοῦ κ. τ. λ.] God has, by the fact that He sent His own Son in the likeness (see on Romans 1:23) of sinful flesh, and on account of sin, condemned sin in the flesh, that is, “God has deposed sin from its rule in the σάρξ (its previous sphere of power), thereby that He sent His own Son into the world in a phenomenal existence similar to the sinful corporeo-psychical human nature.”

The participle πέ΄ψας is not an act that preceded the κατέκρινε (Hofmann, referring it to the supernatural birth); on the contrary, God has effected the κατάκρισις in and with the having sent the Son. Respecting this use of the aorist participle, comp. on Acts 1:24; Ephesians 1:5; Romans 4:20.

ἑαυτοῦ] strengthens the relation to ἐν ὁ΄. ς. ἁ΄., and so enhances the extraordinary and energetic character of the remedial measure adopted by God. Comp. Romans 8:32. We may add, that in the case of ἑαυτοῦ, as in that of πέ΄ψας (comp. Galatians 4:4) and ἐν ὁ΄. ς. ἁ΄. (comp. Philippians 2:7), the conception of the pre-existence and metaphysical Sonship of Christ is to be recognised (in opposition to Hofmann); so that the previous ΄ορφὴ θεοῦ forms the background, although, in that case, the supernatural generation is by no means a necessary presupposition (comp. on Romans 1:3 f.). See generally, Ernesti, Urspr. d. Sünde, I. p. 235 ff.; Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 317.

ἐν ὁμοιώματι σαρκὸς ἁμαρτίας] in the likeness of sinful flesh; ἁμαρτ. is the genitive of quality, as in Romans 6:6. He might indeed have come ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ, Philippians 2:6. But no: God so sent His own Son, that He appeared in a form of existence which resembled the fleshly human nature affected by sin. The ἐν indicates in what material mode of appearance God caused His sent Son to emerge. He came in flesh (1 John 4:2), and was manifested in flesh (1 Timothy 3:16). Yet He appeared not in sinful flesh, which is otherwise the bodily phenomenal nature of all men. Moreover, His appearance was neither merely bodily, without the ψυχή (Zeller), which, on the contrary, necessarily belongs to the idea of the σάρξ; nor docetic (Krehl; comp. Baur’s Gesch. d. 3. erst. Jahrh. p. 310), which latter error was already advanced by Marcion; but it consisted of the general bodily material of humanity, to which, however, in so far as the latter was of sinful quality, it was not equalized, but—because without that quality—only conformed. Comp. Philippians 2:7; Hebrews 2:14; Hebrews 4:15. The contrast presupposed in the specially chosen expression is not the heavenly spirit-nature of Christ (Pfleiderer)—to which the mere ἐν σαρκί, or ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπου, as in Philippians 2:7, would have corresponded—but rather holy unsinfulness.

The following κ. περὶ ἁμαρτ. adds to the How of the sending ( ἐν ὁμ. σαρκ. ἁμαρτ.) the Wherefore. The emphasis is accordingly on περί: and for sin, on account of sin,—which is to be left in its generality; for the following κατέκρινε κ. τ. λ. brings out something special, which God has done with reference to the ἁμαρτία by the fact that He sent Christ περὶ ἁμαρτίας. We are therefore neither to refer περὶ ἁμαρτ., which affirms by what the sending of the Son was occasioned, exclusively to the expiation (Origen, Calvin, Melancthon, and many others, including Koppe, Böhme, Usteri; comp. Baumgarten-Crusius), in which case θυσίαν (Leviticus 7:37 al.; Psalms 40:6; Hebrews 10:6; Hebrews 10:18) was supplied; nor, with Theophylact, Castalio, and others, also Maier and Bisping, exclusively to the destruction and doing away of sin. It contains rather the whole category of the relations in which the sending of Christ was appointed to stand to human sin, which included therefore its expiation as well as the breaking of its power. The latter, however, is thereupon brought into prominence, out of that general category, by κατέκρινε κ. τ. λ. as the element specially coming into view. Hilgenfeld, in his Zeitschr. 1871, p. 186 f., erroneously, as regards both the language and the thought (since Christ was the real atoning sacrifice, Romans 3:25), makes καὶ περὶ ἁμαρτ., which latter he takes in the sense of sin-offering, also to depend on ἐν ὁμοιώματι.

κατέκρινε τ. ἁμ.] This condemnation of sin (the latter conceived as principle and power) is that which was impossible on the part of the law, owing to the hindrance of the flesh. It is erroneous, therefore, to take it as: “He exhibited sin as worthy of condemnation” (Erasmus, de Dieu, Eckermann), and: “He punished sin” (Castalio, Pareus, Carpzov, and others, including Koppe, Rückert, Usteri; comp. Olshausen, and Köstlin in the Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theol. 1856, p. 115). Impossible to the law was only such a condemnation of sin, as should depose the latter from the sway which it had hitherto maintained; consequently: He made sin forfeit its dominion. This de facto judicial condemnation (a sense which, though with different modifications in the analysis of the idea conveyed by κατέκρ., is retained by Irenaeus, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Valla, Beza, Piscator, Estius, Bengel, Reiche, Köllner, Winzer, Fritzsche, Baur, Krehl, de Wette, Maier, Umbreit, Ewald, and others) is designated by κατέκρινε, without our modifying its verbal meaning into interfecit (Grotius, Reiche, Glöckler, and others), in connection with which Fritzsche finds this death of the ἁμαρτία presented as mors imaginaria, contained in the physical death of Christ. Various expositors, and even Philippi, mix up the here foreign idea of atonement (“to blot out by atoning”); comp. also Tholuck and Hofmann. The expression κατέκρινε is purposely chosen in reference to κατάκριμα in Romans 8:1, but denotes the actual condemnation, which consisted in the dominion of the ἁμαρτία being done away,—its power was lost, and therewith God’s sentence was pronounced upon it, as it were the staff broken over it. Comp. on John 16:11; and see Hofmann’s Schriftb. II. 1, p. 355, and Th. Schott, p. 286. Yet Hofmann now discovers God’s actual condemnation of sin (“the actual declaration that it is contrary to what is on His part rightful, that it should have man like a bond-serf under its control”) in the emancipation of those who are under sin by bestowal of the Spirit,—a view by which what follows is anticipated, and that which is the divine aim of the κατέκρινε is included in the notion of it.

Observe further the thrice-repeated ἁμαρτία; the last alone, however, which personifies sin as a power, has the article.

ἐν τῇ σαρκί] belongs to κατέκρ., not to τὴυ ἁ΄. (Bengel, Ernesti, Michaelis, Cramer, Rosenmüller, and Hofmann), because it is not said τὴν ἐν τ. ς., and because this more precise definition, to complete the notion of the object, would be self-evident and unimportant. But God condemned sin in the flesh: for, by the fact that God’s own Son (over whom, withal, sin could have no power) appeared in the flesh, and indeed περὶ ἁμαρτίας, sin has lost its dominion in the substantial human nature (hitherto ruled over by it). The Lord’s appearance in flesh, namely, was at once, even in itself, for sin the actual loss of its dominion as a principle; and the aim of that appearance, περὶ ἁμαρτίας, which was attained through the death of Christ, brought upon sin that loss with respect to its totality. Thus, by the two facts, God has actually deprived it of its power in the human σάρξ; and this phenomenal nature of man, therefore, has ceased to be its domain. Hofmann, without reason, objects that τ. ἁ΄αρτ. must in that case have stood before κατέκρινε. The main emphasis, in fact, lies on κατέκρινε τ. ἁ΄αρτ., to which then ἐν τ. σαρκί is added, with the further emphasis of a reference to the causal connection. Many others take ἐυ τ. σαρκί as meaning the body of Christ; holding that in this body put to death sin has been put to death at the same time (Origen, Beza, Grotius, Reiche, Usteri, Olshausen, Maier, Bisping, and others); or that the punishment of sin has been accomplished on His body (Heumann, Michaelis, Koppe, and Flatt). But against this it may be urged, that plainly ἐυ τ. σαρκί corresponds deliberately to the previous διὰ τ. σαρκός; there must have been αὐτοῦ used along with it. Comp. Baur, neutest. Theol. p. 160 f.


Verse 4

Romans 8:4. The purpose which God had in this κατέκρ. τ. ἁμ. ἐν τ. ς. was: in order that (now that the rule of sin which hindered the fulfilment of the law has been done away) the rightful requirement of the law might be fulfilled, etc.

τὸ δικ. τ. νόμου] Quite simply, as in Romans 1:32, Romans 2:26 (comp. also on 16, and Krüger on Thuc. i. 41. 1): what the law has laid down as its rightful demand. The singular comprehends these collective (moral) claims of right as a unity. Others, contrary to the signification of the word, have taken it as justification (Vulg.), understanding thereby sometimes the making righteous as the aim of the law, which desires sinlessness (Chrysostom and his followers, including Theodore of Mopsuestia), sometimes the satisfaction of justice (Rothe; comp. on Romans 5:16). Köllner, following Eckermann, makes it the justifying sentence of the law: “that the utterance of the law, which declares as righteous, and thus not only frees from the punishment of sin, but secures also the reward of righteousness, might be fulfilled on us, if we,” etc. Substantially so ( δικ. = sententia absolutoria), Fritzsche, Philippi, and Ewald (“the verdict of the law, since it has condemnation only for the sinners, and good promises for the remainder, Deuteronomy 28:1-14”). But against this it may be urged, first, that δικαίωμα τ. νόμου, because the genitive is a rule-prescribing subject, cannot, without urgent ground from the context, be taken otherwise than as demand, rightful claim (comp. also Luke 1:6; Hebrews 9:1; Hebrews 9:10; LXX. Numbers 31:21); secondly, that Romans 8:3-4 contain the proof, not for οὐδὲν κατάκριμα in Romans 8:1, but for Romans 8:2, and consequently ἵνα ἡ΄ῖν must be the counterpart of the state of bondage under the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2)—the counterpart, however, not consisting in the freedom from punishment and the certainty of reward, but in the morally free condition in which one does what the law demands, being no longer hampered by the power of sin and death, so that the fulfilment of the δικαίω΄α τοῦ νό΄ου is the antithesis of the ἁ΄αρτία so strongly emphasized previously; thirdly, that τοῖς ΄ὴ πνεῦ΄α is not the condition of justification (that is faith), but of the fulfilment of the law; and finally, that in Romans 8:7, τῷ γὰρ νό΄ῳ τ. θεοῦ οὐχ ὑποτάσσεται, οὐδὲ γὰρ δύναται is manifestly the counterpart of τὸ δικ. τ. νό΄ου πληρωθῇ in Romans 8:3.

πληρωθῇ] as in Matthew 3:15; Acts 14:26; Romans 13:8; Galatians 5:14, al. Those commentators who take δικαίωμα as sententia absolutoria take πληρ. as may be accomplished on us ( ἐν ἡμῖν).

ἐν ἡ΄ῖν] Not: through us, nor yet: in us, which is explained as either: in our life-activity (de Wette), or as referring to the inward fulfilling of the law (Reiche, Klee, and Hofmann), and to the fact that God fulfils it in man (Olshausen; comp. Tholuck); but, as shown by the following τοῖςπεριπατοῦσιν κ. τ. λ.: on us, so that the fulfilling of the law’s demand shall be accomplished and made manifest in the entire walk and conversation of Christians. This by no means conveys the idea of a merely outward action (as Hofmann objects), but includes also the inner morality accordant with the law; comp. Ernesti Ethik d. Ap. P. p. 69 f. Regarding this use of ἐν, see Bernhardy, p. 211 f.; Winer, p. 361 [E. T. 483]. The passive form (not: ἵνα πληρώσωμεν) is in keeping with the conception that here the law, and that so far as it must be fulfilled, stands out in the foreground of the divine purpose. The accomplishment of its moral requirement is supposed to present itself as realized in the Christian, and that ἀδύνατον τοῖ νόμου of Romans 8:3 is assumed to be thereby remedied.

τοῖς ΄ὴ κατὰ σάρκα κ. τ. λ.] quippe qui ambularemus, etc. These words give negatively and positively the specific moral character, which is destined to be found in Christians, so far as the just requirement of the law is fulfilled in them. The μὴ is here, on account of the connection with ἵνα, quite according to rule; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 287 f. In what that fulfilment manifests itself (Hofmann) Paul does not say, but he announces the moral regulative that is to determine the inward and outward life of the subjects. He walks according to the flesh, who obeys the sinful lust dwelling in the σάρξ (Romans 7:18); and he walks according to the Spirit, who follows the guidance, the impelling and regulating power (Romans 8:2), of the Holy Spirit. The one excludes the other, Galatians 5:16. To take πνεῦμα without the article (which, after the nature of a proper noun, it did not at all need), in a subjective sense, as the pneumatic nature of the regenerate man, produced by the Holy Spirit (see esp. Harless on Ephesians 2:22, and van Hengel)—as it is here taken, but independently of the putting the article, by Bengel, Rückert, Philippi, and others, following Chrysostom—is erroneous. See on Galatians 5:16. It never means, not even in contrast to σάρξ, the “renewed spiritual nature of man” (Philippi), but the sanctifying divine principle itself, objectively, and distinct from the human πνεῦμα. The appeal to John 3:6 is erroneous. See on that passage.


Verse 5

Romans 8:5. The apostle regards the description just given, τοῖς μὴ κατὰ σάρκα κ. τ. λ., as too important not to follow it up with a justification corresponding with its antithetical tenor. This he bases on the opposite φρονεῖν of the subjects, according to their opposite moral quality, so that the emphasis lies, not upon ὄντες and φρονοῦσιν (Hofmann, “as the being of the Ego is, so is also its mental tendency”), but, as shown by the antithesis οἱ δὲ κ. τ. λ., simply on κατὰ σάρκα and κ. πνεῦμα. The ὄντες might be entirely omitted; and φρονοῦσιν is the predicate to be affirmed of both parties, according to its different purport in the two cases.

οἱ κατὰ ς. ὄντες] A wider conception (they who are according to the flesh) than οἱ κ. ς. περιπ. The latter is the manifestation in life of the former.

τὰ τῆς ς. φρον.] whose thinking and striving are directed to the interests of the flesh (the article τῆς. ς. makes the σάρξ objective as something independent); so that thus, according to Romans 7:21 ff., the fulfilment of the law is at variance with their efforts. Comp. on φρον., Matthew 16:23; Philippians 3:19; Colossians 3:2; Plat. Rep. p. 505 B 1 Maccabees 10:20.


Verse 6

Romans 8:6. A second γάρ. The former specified the reason (Romans 8:5), this second is explicative (namely); a similar repetition and mutual relation of γάρ being common also in Greek authors. Comp. Romans 11:24; see on Matthew 6:32; Matthew 18:11; and Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 340; Kühner, II. 2, p. 856.

The striving of the flesh, namely (comp. νοῦς τῆς σαρκός in Colossians 2:18), tends to bring man to (eternal) death (through sin), but the striving of the Holy Spirit to conduct him to (eternal) life and blessedness (of the Messianic kingdom). The explanation: the striving … has death as its consequence (Rückert, de Wette, and many others), is right as to fact (comp. Romans 6:21), but fails to bring out the personifying, vivid form of the representation, which, moreover, does not permit us to introduce the analytic reflection, that the enmity against God is the desire of the flesh “of itself,” and that it is death “on account of God” (Hofmann, Schriftbew. I. p. 563). That death is God’s penal decree, is true; but this thought does not belong here, where it is simply the destructive effort of the σάρξ itself that is intended to be conveyed, and that indeed, in accordance with the prevailing concrete mode of description, as a conscious effort, a real φρονεῖν, not as an impulse that makes the Ego its captive (Hofmann), since the same predicate φρόνημα applies to the σάρξ as well as to the πνεῦμα. On εἰρήνη, blessedness, comp. Romans 2:10. Understood in the narrower sense (peace with God), it would yield a hysteronproteron, which Fritzsche actually assumes.


Verse 7

Romans 8:7. διότι] propterea quod, introduces the reason why the striving of the flesh can be nothing else than death, and that of the Spirit nothing else than life and blessedness: for the former is enmity against God, the source of life; comp. James 4:4. The establishment of the second half of Romans 8:6 Paul leaves out for the present, and only introduces it subsequently at Romans 8:10-11, in another connection of ideas.

The ἔχθρα εἰς θεόν has its ground assigned by τῷ γ. νόμῳ τ. θ. οὐχ ὑποτάσσεται, of which τὸ φρόνημα τῆς σαρκός is still the subject (not σάρξ, as Hofmann quite arbitrarily supposes); and the inward cause of this reality based on experience is afterwards specified by οὐδὲ γὰρ δύναται (for it is not even possible for it).

δύναται] namely, according to its unholy nature, which maintains an antagonistic attitude to the will of God. This does not exclude the possibility of conversion (comp. Chrysostom), after which, however, the σάρξ with its φρόνημα is ethically dead (Galatians 5:24). Comp. Romans 6:6 ff.


Verse 8

Romans 8:8. δέ] is not put for οὖν (Beza, Calvin, Koppe, and others; comp. also Rückert and Reiche), but is the simple μεταβατικόν (autem), which, after the auxiliary clauses τῷ γ. νόμῳδύναται, leads over to a relation corresponding to the main proposition τὸ φρ. τ. σάρκ. ἔχθρα εἰς θεόν, and referring to the persons in the concrete. The propriety of this connection will at once be manifest if τῷ γ. νόμῳδύναται be read more rapidly (like a parenthesis). According to Hofmann, the progress of thought is now supposed to advance from the condemnation of sin to the freedom from death. But such a scheme corresponds neither with the preceding, in which sin and death were grouped together (Romans 8:2; Romans 8:6), nor with what follows, where in the first instance there is no mention of death, and it is only in Romans 8:10 f. that the special point is advanced of the raising from the dead.

ἐν σαρκί] is in substance the same as κατὰ σάρκα in Romans 8:5; but the form of the conception is: those who are in the flesh as the ethical life-element, in which they subsist, and which is the opposite of the εἶναι ἐν πνεύματι in Romans 8:9, and ἐν χριστῷ in Romans 8:1. Comp. on Romans 7:5. The one excludes the other, and the former, as antagonistic to God, makes the ἀρέσαι θεῷ (comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:15; 1 Thessalonians 4:1) an impossibility.


Verse 9

Romans 8:9. Antithetic (ye on the other hand) application of Romans 8:8 to the readers.

εἴπερ] To take this word as quandoquidem, with Chrysostom and others, including Olshausen, is not indeed contrary to linguistic usage, since, like εἰ in the sense of ἐπεί (Dissen, ad Dem. de cor. p. 195), εἴπερ also is used in the sense of ἐπείπερ (see Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. vi. 1. 26). But in the present instance the context does not afford the smallest ground for this view; on the contrary, the conditional signification: if certainly, if otherwise (see Klotz, ad Devar. p. 528; Baeuml. Partik. p. 202), is perfectly suitable, and with it the following antithetic εἰ δέ corresponds. It conveys an indirect incitement to self-examination. We may add that Paul might also have written εἴγε without changing the sense (in opposition to Hermann’s canon, ad Viger. p. 834). See on 2 Corinthians 5:3; Galatians 3:4; Ephesians 3:2.

οἰκεῖ ἐν ὑμῖν] That is, has the seat of His presence and activity in you. The point of the expression is not the constantly abiding (“stabile domicilium,” Fritzsche and others; also Hofmann); in that case it would have needed a more precise definition (see, on the contrary, the simple οὐκ ἔχει that follows). Respecting the matter itself and the conception, see 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:17; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Timothy 1:14; John 14:23. Comp. also Ev. Thom. 10 : πνεῦμα θεοῦ ἐνοικεῖ ἐν τῷ παιδίῳ τούτῳ. See passages from Rabbinic writers on the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in man, quoted by Schoettgen, p. 527; Eisenmenger, entdecktes Judenthum, I. p. 268. The ἐν πνεύματι, which is not to be taken as “in the spiritual nature” (Philippi), and the πν. θεοῦ οἰκεῖ ἐν ὑμῖν said with a significant more precise definition of πνεῦμα, stand towards one another in an essential mutual relation. The former is conditioned by the latter; for if the Spirit of God do not dwell in the man, He cannot be the determining element in which the latter lives. Compare the Johannine: “ye in me, and I in you.” According to Hofmann, the relation consists in the Spirit being on the one hand, “as active life-ground,” the absolutely inward, and on the other “as active ground of all life,” that which embraces all living. This, however, is a deviation from the specific strict sense of the πνεῦμα, which, in accordance with the context, can only be that Holy Spirit who is given to believers; and the concrete conception of the apostle receives the stamp of an abstraction.

εἰ δέ τις πνεῦμα χριστοῦ κ. τ. λ.] Antithesis of εἴπερὑμῖν, rendering very apparent the necessity of that assumption. “If, on the other hand, any one have not the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him,” is not in communion of life with Christ, is not a true Christian; for αὐτοῦ refers to Christ, not to God (van Hengel). Moreover, it is not the non-Christians, but the seeming-Christians (comp. 1 John 4:13), who are characterized as those who have not the Spirit.

πνεῦμα χριστοῦ] (comp. Philippians 1:19; 1 Peter 1:11) is none other than the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of God. He is so called because the exalted Christ really communicates Himself to His own in and with the Paraclete (John 14), so that the Spirit is the living principle and the organ of the proper presence of Christ and of His life in them. Comp. on 2 Corinthians 3:16; Galatians 2:20; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 1:27; Acts 16:7. That this, and not perchance the endowment of Christ with the Spirit (Fritzsche), is the view here taken, is clearly proved by the following εἰ δὲ χριστὸς ἐν ὑμῖν. Comp. Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 346. The designation of the Holy Spirit by πν. χριστοῦ is purposely selected in order to render very conspicuous the truth of the οὐκ ἔστιν αὐτοῦ. Köllner wrongly lays down a distinction between the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ; making the former the highest πνεῦμα, the source and perfection of all πνεῦμα, and the latter the higher God-resembling mind that was manifested in Christ. But a distinction between them is not required by Romans 8:10-11 (see on that passage), and is decisively forbidden by Galatians 4:6, compared with Romans 8:14-16. We cannot even say, therefore, with Umbreit: “the Spirit of Christ is the medium, through which man obtains the Spirit of God;” nor, with van Hengel, who compares Luke 9:55 : “si vero quis Spiritum, qui Christi est, cum eo non habet communem,” with which Paul would here be aiming at the (alleged) Judaism of the Romans.


Verse 10

Romans 8:10. The contrast to the foregoing. “Whosoever has not the Spirit of Christ, is not His; if, on the other hand; Christ (i.e. πνεῦμα χριστοῦ, see on Romans 8:9) is in you,” then ye enjoy the following blissful consequences:—(1) Although the body is the prey of death on account of sin, nevertheless the Spirit is life on account of righteousness, Romans 8:10. (2) And even the mortal body shall be revivified by Him who raised up Christ from the dead, because Christ’s Spirit dwelleth in you, Romans 8:11.

Romans 8:10-11 have been rightly interpreted as referring to life and death in the proper (physical) sense by Augustine (de. pecc. merit. et rem. i. 7), Calvin, Beza, Calovius, Bengel, Michaelis, Tholuck, Klee, Flatt, Rückert, Reiche, Glöckler, Usteri, Fritzsche, Maier, Weiss l.c. p. 372, and others. For, first, on account of the apostle’s doctrine regarding the connection between sin and death (Romans 5:12) with which his readers were acquainted, he could not expect his τ. σῶμα νεκρ. διʼ ἁμ. to be understood in any other sense; secondly, the parallel between the raising up of Christ from death, which was in fact bodily death, and the quickening of the mortal bodies does not permit any other view, since ζωοπ. stands without any definition whatever altering or modifying the proper sense; and lastly, the proper sense is in its bearing quite in harmony with the theme of Romans 8:2 (which is discussed in Romans 8:3-11): for the life of the Spirit unaffected by physical death (Romans 8:10), and the final revivification also of the body (Romans 8:11), just constitute the highest consummation, and as it were the triumph, of the deliverance from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2). These grounds, collectively, tell at the same time against the divergent explanations: (1) that in Romans 8:10-11 it is spiritual death and life that are spoken of; so Erasmus, Piscator, Locke, Heumann, Ch. Schmidt, Stolz, Böhme, Benecke, Köllner, Schrader, Stengel, Krehl, and van Hengel. (2) That Romans 8:10 is to be taken in the spiritual, but Romans 8:11 in the proper sense; so Origen, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Grotius, Koppe, Olshausen, Reithmayr, and others; de Wette unites the moral and physical sense in both verses, comp. also Nielsen and Umbreit; see the particulars below.

νεκρόν] With this corresponds the θνητά in Romans 8:11. It conveys, however, the idea “conditioni mortis obnoxium” (Augustine) more forcibly, and so as vividly to realize the certain result—he is dead!—a prolepsis of the final fate, which cannot now be altered or avoided. Well is it said by Bengel: “magni vi; morti adjudicatum deditumque.” Our body is a corpse! Analogous is the ἐγὼ δὲ ἀπέθανον in Romans 7:10, though in that passage not used in the sense of physical death; comp. Revelation 3:1; also ἔ΄ψυχον νεκρόν, Soph. Ant. 1167; Epict. fr. 176: ψυχάριον εἶ βαστάζον νεκρόν. The commentators who do not explain it of physical death are at variance. And how surprising the diversity! Some take νεκρ. as a favourable predicate, embracing the new birth = θανατωθὲν τῇ ἁ΄αρτίᾳ (so with linguistic inaccuracy even on account of διʼ ἁ΄., Origen, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Theophylact, and with various modifications, also Erasmus, Raphel, Grotius, Locke, Heumann, Böhme, Baumgarten-Crusius, Reithmayr, and Märcker; comp. van Hengel, “mortui instar ad inertiam redactum”). Others take it as: miserable by reason of sin (Michaelis, Koppe, Köllner), comp. de Wette: “Even in the redeemed there still remains the sinful inclination as source of the death, which expresses its power;” Krehl as: “morally dead;” Olshausen: “not in the glory of its original destiny;” Tholuck: in the sense of Romans 7:10 f., but also “including in itself the elements of moral life-disturbance and of misery.” Since, however, it is the body that is just spoken of, and since διʼ ἁμαρτίαν could only bring up the recollection of the proposition in Romans 5:12, every view, which does not understand it of bodily death, is contrary to the context and far-fetched, especially since θνητά in Romans 8:11 corresponds to it.

διʼ ἁ΄αρτίαν] The ground: on account of sin, in consequence of sin (Kühner, II. 1, p. 419), which is more precisely known from Romans 5:12. Death, which has arisen and become general through the entrance of sin into the world, can be averted in no case, not even in that of the regenerate man. Hence, even in his case, the body is νεκρόν διʼ ἁμαρτίαν. But how completely different is it in his case with the spirit! τὸ πνεῦμα, namely, in contrast to the σῶ΄α, is necessarily not the transcendent (Holsten) or the Holy Spirit (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Calvin, Grotius, and others); nor yet, as Hofmann turns the conception, the spirit which we now have when Christ is in us and His righteousness is ours; but simply our human spirit, i.e. the substratum of the personal self-consciousness, and as such the principle of the higher cognitive and moral activity of life as directed towards God, different from the ψυχή, which is to be regarded as the potentiality of the human natural life. The faculty of the πνεῦ΄α is the νοῦς (Romans 7:25), and its subject the moral Ego (Romans 7:15 ff.). That the spirit of those who are here spoken of is filled with the Holy Spirit, is in itself a correct inference from the presupposition εἰ χριστὸς ἐν ὑ΄ῖν, but is not implied in the word τὸ πνεῦμα, as if this meant (Theodoret and de Wette) the human spirit pervaded by the Divine Spirit, the pneumatic essence of the regenerate man. That is never the case; comp: on Romans 8:16.

ζωή] i.e. life is his essential element; stronger than ζῇ, the reading of F. G. Vulg. and MSS. of the It. Comp. Romans 7:7. With respect to the spirit of the true Christian, therefore, there can be no mention of death (which would of necessity be eternal death); comp. John 11:26. He is eternally alive, and that διὰ δικαιοσύνην, on account of righteousness; for the eternal ζωή is based on the justification that has taken place for Christ’s sake and is appropriated by faith. Rückert, Reiche, Fritzsche, Philippi (comp. also Hofmann), following the majority of ancient expositors, have properly taken δικαιοσύνην thus in the Pauline-dogmatic sense, seeing that the moral righteousness of life (Erasmus, Grotius, Tholuck, de Wette, Klee, and Maier), because never perfect (1 Corinthians 4:4; Philippians 3:9, al.), can never be ground of the ζωή. If, however, διὰ δικαιοσύνην be rendered: for the sake of righteousness, “in order that the latter may continue and rule” (Ewald, comp. van Hengel), it would yield no contrast answering to the correct interpretation of νεκρὸν διʼ ἁμ. It is moreover to be noted, that as διʼ ἁ΄αρτ. does not refer to one’s own individual sin (on the contrary, see on ἐφʼ πάντες ἥ΄αρτον, Romans 5:12), so neither does διὰ δικαιοσύνην refer to one’s own righteousness.

Observe, further, the fact that, and the mode in which, the δικαιοσύνη may be lost according to our passage, namely, if Christ is not in us,—a condition, by which the moral nature of the δικαιοσύνη is laid down and security is guarded against.


Verse 11

Romans 8:11. According to Romans 8:10, there was still left one power of death, that over the body. Paul now disposes of this also, and hence takes up again, not indeed what had just been inferred (Hofmann, in accordance with his view of τὸ πνεῦμα, Romans 8:10), but the idea conditioning it, εἰ δὲ χ. ἐν ὑμ.; not, however, in this form, but, as required by the tenor of what he intends to couple with it, in the form: εἰ δὲ τ. πν. τοῦ ἐγειρ. . ἐκ νεκρ. οἰκεῖ ἐν ὑμῖν. In substance the two are identical, since the indwelling of the Divine Spirit in us is the spiritual indwelling of Christ Himself in us. See on Romans 8:9.

The δέ, therefore, simply carries on the argument, namely, from the spirit which is ζωή (Romans 8:10), to the quickening that is certain even in the case of the mortal body (for observe the position of the καί). The apostle’s inference is: “The Spirit who dwelleth in you is the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus; consequently God will also, with respect to your bodies, as dwelling-places of His Spirit, do the same as He has done in the case of Christ.” The self-evident presupposition in this inference is, that the Spirit of God dwelt in Jesus during His earthly career (Luke 4:1; Luke 4:14; Luke 4:18; Acts 1:2; John 3:34; John 20:22).

ζωοποιήσει] Not ἐγερεῖ, but the correlate of ζωή, Romans 8:10 (comp. Romans 8:6), and counterpart of νεκρόν and θνητά, is purposely selected. Comp. 1 Corinthians 15:22.

θνητά] What he had previously expressed proleptically by νεκρόν, he here describes according to the reality of the present by θνητά. Observe, moreover, that Paul leaves out of view the fate of those still living at the Parousia. Their change is not included in the expression ζωοποιήσει (Hofmann),—a view which neither the sense of the word (comp. Romans 4:17; 1 Corinthians 15:22; 1 Corinthians 15:36; 1 Peter 3:18; John 5:21) nor the correlation with ἐγείρας permits. But to the readers’ consciousness of faith it was self-evident from the analogy of what is here said to them with reference to the case of their being already dead at the Parousia; 1 Corinthians 15:51; 2 Corinthians 5:2-4; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17.

On the interchange of ἰησοῦν and τὸν χριστόν Bengel rightly remarks: “Appellatio Jesu spectat ad ipsum; Christi refertur ad nos;” for Jesus as Christ is destined to be the archetype for believers even in an eschatological respect.

διὰ τὸ ἐνοικοῦν κ. τ. λ.] on account of His Spirit that dwelleth in you. Observe the emphatic prefixing of the αὐτοῦ relating to God. How could God, the Raiser up of Christ, who was the possessor of His Spirit, leave the bodies of believers, which are the dwelling-places of the same Spirit, without quickening? The more characteristic ἐνοικοῦν (previously it was only οἰκεῖ) is a climax to the representation.

Köllner’s explanation may serve to exemplify the conception of our passage in an ethical sense (Erasmus, Calvin, and many others): “So will He who raised up Jesus from the dead bring to life also your bodies that are still subject to death (sin and misery), that is, ennoble also your sensuous nature and so perfect you entirely.” But even apart from this arbitrary interpretation given to the simple θνητά (which ought rather with van Hengel to be interpreted: “quamquam mortalia ideoque minoris numeri sunt”), how diffuse and verbose would be the whole mode of expressing the simple thought! How utterly out of place this dualism, of the representation, as if the divine work of the moral revivification of the body were something independent, alongside of and subsequent to that of the spirit! See, moreover, generally on Romans 8:10, and the appropriate remarks of Reiche, Commentar crit. I. p. 62 ff. Lastly, according to de Wette’s combination of the two senses—the moral and the physical—the thought is: “This death-overcoming Spirit of God shall destroy more and more the principle of sin and death in your bodies, and instead of it introduce the principle of the life-bringing Spirit into your whole personality, even into the body itself,”—a thought which opens up the prospect of the future resurrection or change of the body. But the resurrection will be participated in by all believers at once, independently of the development noticed in our passage, by which their bodies would have first to be made ripe for it; and even the change of the living at the Parousia is, according to 1 Corinthians 15:51 ff., not a process developed from within outwardly, but a result produced in a twinkling from without (at the sound of the last trumpet),—a result, which cannot be the final consequence of the gradual inward destruction of the principle of sin and death, because in that case all could not participate in it simultaneously, which nevertheless is the case, according to 1 Corinthians 15:51. Notwithstanding, this view, which combines the spiritual and bodily process of glorification, has been again brought forward by Philippi, according to whom what is here meant is the progressive merging of death into life, which can only be accomplished by the progressive merging of sin into the righteousness of life, and of the σῶμα into the πνεῦ΄α (?). The simple explanation of the resurrection of the body is rightly retained by Tholuck, Umbreit, Hofmann, Weiss, and others: whilst Ewald contents himself with the indeterminate double sense of eternal life beginning in the mortal body.


Verse 12

Romans 8:12. ἄρα οὖν] Draws the inference not merely from Romans 8:11, but from the contents closely in substance bound up together of Romans 8:10-11. “Since these blissful consequences are conditioned by the Spirit that dwelleth in us, we are not bound to give service to the flesh.” That has not deserved well of us!

οὐ τῇ σαρκὶζῆν] In the lively progress of his argument, Paul leaves the counterpart, ἀλλὰ τῷ πνεύματι, τοῦ κατὰ πνεῦμα ζῆν, without direct expression; but it results self-evidently for every reader from Romans 8:13.

τοῦ κ. ς. ζῆν] in order to live carnally. This would be the aim of our relation of debt to the flesh, if such a relation existed; we should have the carnal mode of life for our task. Fritzsche thinks that it belongs to ὀφ.: “Sumus debitores non carni obligati, nempe debitores vitae ex carnis cupiditatibus instituendae;” so also Winer, p. 306 [E. T. 410]. But in Galatians 5:3 Paul couples it with the simple infinitive; as in Soph. Aj. 587, Eur. Rhes. 965. Since he here says τοῦ ζῆν, that telic view is all the more to be preferred, by which the contents of the obligation (so Hofmann) is brought out as its destination for us. The idea conveyed by κατὰ σάρκα ζῆν is that of being alive (contrast to dying) according to the rule and standard of σάρξ, so that σάρξ is the regulative principle. The more precise and definite idea: carnal bliss (Hofmann), is not expressed. We should note, moreover, τῇ σαρκὶ with the article (personified), and κατὰ σάρκα without it (qualitative), Romans 8:5.


Verses 12-17

Romans 8:12-17. Accordingly we are bound not to live carnally, for that brings death; whereas the government of the Spirit, on the other hand, brings life, because we, as moved by the Spirit, are children of God, and as such are sure of the future glory.


Verse 13

Romans 8:13. Reason for Romans 8:12—“for so ye would attain the opposite of your destination, as specified in Romans 8:10-11.” The μέλλειν (comp. Romans 4:24) indicates the “certum et constitutum esse secundum vim (divini) fati.” Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 72.

ἀποθνήσκειν] The opposite of the ζωή in Romans 8:10 f.; consequently used of the being transferred into the state of eternal death; and then ζήσεσθε in the sense of eternal life (see Romans 8:17). Comp. Romans 7:10; Romans 7:24, Romans 8:6; Romans 8:10. This dying does not exclude the resurrection of the body (Rückert), but points to the unblissful existence in Hades before (Luke 16:23) and after (comp. Matthew 10:28) the judgment. If it were true that Paul did not believe in a resurrection for unbelievers, he would stand in direct antagonism to John 5:28 f.; Acts 24:15; Matthew 5:29 f., Matthew 10:28; and even 1 Corinthians 15:24 (see on that passage). Here also Philippi combines bodily, spiritual, and eternal death; but see above, on Romans 5:12. And here it may be specially urged against this view, that the dying and living are assigned purely to the region of the future. Oecumenius aptly says: τὸν ἀθάνατον θάνατον ἐν τῇ γεέννῃ.

πνεύματι] i.e. by means of the Holy Spirit, comp. Romans 8:4-6; Romans 8:9, and the following πνεύματι θεοῦ; consequently here also not subjective (Philippi and others: “pneumatic condition of mind”).

τὰς πράξεις τοῦ σώμ.] The practices (tricks, machinations, see on Colossians 3:9; Luke 23:51; Acts 19:18; Dem. 126. 22; Polyb. ii. 7, 8, ii. 9. 2, iv. 8. 3, v. 96. 4; and Sturz, Lex. Xen. III. p. 646) which the body (in accordance with the νόμος ἐν τοῖς μέλεσι, Romans 7:23) desires to carry out. These we make dead ( θανατοῦτε), when the Ego, following the drawing of the Holy Spirit, conquers the lusts that form their basis; so that they do not come to realization, and are reduced to nothing. σῶμα is not used here for σάρξ (Reiche and others); Paul has not become inconsistent with his own use of language (Stirm in Tüb. Zeitschr. 1834, 3, p. 11), but has regarded the (in itself indifferent) σῶμα as the executive organ of the sin, which, dwelling in the σάρξ of the body, rules over the body, and makes it the σῶμα ἁμαρτίας (Romans 6:6), if the Spirit does not obtain the control and make it His organ. The term πράξεις, further used by Paul only in Colossians 3:9 (not ἔργα), is purposely selected to express the evil conception, which Hofmann (“acts”) without any ground calls in question. It is frequently used thus by Greek authors, as also πράγματα.

The alternating antithesis is aptly chosen, so that in the two protases living and putting to death, in the apodoses death and life, stand contrasted with one another.


Verse 14

Romans 8:14. Reason assigned for the ζήσεσθε. “For then ye belong, as led by God, to the children of God (for whom the life of the Messianic kingdom is destined, Romans 8:17; Galatians 4:7).” Theodore of Mopsuestia: δῆλον οὖν ὅτι οἱ τοιοῦτοι τὴν μακαρίαν ζωὴν παρὰ τῷ ἑαυτῶν πατρὶ ζήσονται.

ἄγονται] i.e. are determined in the activity of their inward and outward life. Comp. Romans 2:4; Galatians 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:6; Soph. Ant. 620: ὅτῳ φρένας θεὸς ἄγει, Oed. C. 254 (Reisig, Enarr. p. LXI.); Plat. Phaed. p. 94 E: ἄγεσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν τοῦ σώματος παθημάτων. The expression is passive (hence the dative), though without prejudice to the freedom of the human will, as Romans 8:13 proves. “Non est enim coactio, ut voluntas non possit repugnare: trahit Deus, sed volentem trahit,” Melancthon.

υἱοὶ θεοῦ] Thus Paul elevates the hallowed theocratic conception, Romans 9:5, to the purely moral idea, which is realized in the case of those who are led by the Divine Spirit (which is granted only to those who believe in Christ, Galatians 3:26). The οὗτοι is therefore not unemphatic (Hofmann)—which would make it quite superfluous—but has an excluding and contrasting force (these and no others, comp. Galatians 3:7). Next to it υἱοὶ has the stress (hence its position immediately after οὗτοι, see the critical remarks), being conceived already as in contrast to δοῦλοι; see Romans 8:15. The υἱοὶ θεοῦ are those who have been justified by faith, thereby lawfully received by Him into the fellowship of children with a reconciled Father (Romans 8:15), governed by the Holy Spirit given unto them (comp. Galatians 4:6), exalted to the dignity of the relation of brethren to Christ (Romans 8:29), and sure of the eternal glory (of the inheritance). For a view of the relation in question under its various aspects in Paul, John, and the Synoptics, see on John 1:12.


Verse 15

Romans 8:15 assigns the ground for Romans 8:14 in application to the readers. For ye received not, when the Holy Spirit was communicated to you, a spirit of bondage, that is, a spirit such as is the regulating power in the state of slavery. This view of the genitive (Fritzsche, de Wette, Philippi) is required by the contrast; because the υἱοθεσία, when the Spirit is given, is already present, having entered, namely, through faith and justification (Galatians 4:6). Hence it cannot, with others (Köllner, Rückert, Baumgarten-Crusius, Hofmann, Reithmayr, following Theodore of Mopsuestia and others), be taken as the genitive of the effect (who works bondage). This also holds against Lipsius, Rechtfertigungslehre, p. 170.

πάλιν εἰς φόβον] again to fear, conveys the aim of the (denied) ἐλάβ. πν. δουλ., so that πάλιν, as its very position shows, gives a qualification, not of ἐλάβ., but of εἰς φόβ.: “in order that ye should once more (as under the law working wrath) be afraid.”

πνεῦμα υἱοθες.] i.e. a spirit which, in the state of adoption, is the ruling principle. υἱοθεσία is the proper term for adoption ( θέσθαι υἱόν, Plat. Legg. xi. p. 929 C Arr. An. i. 23. 11); see Grotius and Fritzsche, in loc.; Hermann, Privatalterth. § 64. 15; comp. on Galatians 4:5; also Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 340. Therefore not sonship in general (the Patristic υἱότης), as is the view of the majority; it is rightly rendered in the Vulgate: “adoptionis filiorum;” it does not represent believers as children of God by birth, but as those who by God’s grace (Ephesians 1:5-8) have been assumed into the place of children, and as brethren of Christ (Romans 8:29). Those thus adopted receive the Spirit from God, but are not begotten to sonship through the Spirit (Hofmann); comp. Weiss, l.c.

The repetition of ἐλάβετε πνεῦμα has a certain solemnity. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 2:7; Philippians 4:17.

ἐν ] in whom, as in the element that moves our inner life. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 12:3; Ephesians 2:18.

κράζομεν] we cry, the outburst of fervid emotion in prayer. Comp. on Galatians 4:6. The transition to the first person takes place without special intention, under the involuntary pressure of the sense of fellowship.

ἀββᾶ] See on Mark 14:36, and Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. p. 20. From the three passages, Mark, l.c., Galatians 4:6, and our present one, it may be assumed that the address אַבָּא (ܐܟܳܐ) was transferred from the Jewish into the Christian prayers, and in the latter received the consecration of special sanctity through Christ Himself, who as Son thus addressed the Father. This ἀββᾶ gradually assumed the nature of a proper name; and thus it came that the Greek-praying Christians retained the Chaldee word in a vocative sense as a proper name, and further, in the fervour of the feeling of sonship, added along with it the specifically Christian address to the Father, using the appellative πατήρ in the appositional nominative (Kühner, II. 1, p. 42); so that the “Abba, Father,” now became fixed. It has been frequently supposed (and is still by Rückert, Reiche, and Köllner) that Paul added πατήρ by way of explanation. But against this view it may be urged, that in passages so full of feeling as Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6, an interpretation—and that too of a word which, considering the familiarity with Jewish modes of expression in the churches of Rome and Galatia, undoubtedly needed no explanation, and was certainly well known also through the evangelistic tradition as the form of address in prayer that had flowed from the mouth of Jesus—seems unnatural and out of place. Besides, in all three instances, in Mark and Paul, uniformly the mere ἀββᾶ πατήρ is given without any formula of interpretation ( τοῦτʼ ἔστι or the like) being added. Other views—destitute, however, of all proof—are: that the custom which insinuating children have of repeating the father’s name is here imitated (Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret, and Grotius); or that the emphasis affectus (Erasmus) is here expressed (either view would be possible only in the event of the passage standing as ἀββᾶ, ἀββᾶ); or even that it is meant to signify the Fatherhood of God for Jews and Gentiles (Augustine, Anselm, Calvin, Estius, and others). With our view Philippi is substantially agreed. Against the objections of Fritzsche, who regards πατήρ as an explanatory addition grown into a habit, see on Galatians 4:6.

The Father-name of God in the Old Covenant (Exodus 20:2; Isaiah 63:16; Hosea 11:1; Jeremiah 3:19; Jeremiah 31:9) only received the loftiest fulfilment of its meaning in the New Covenant through the υἱοθεσία accomplished in Christ. Comp. Umbreit, p. 287 f.; Schultz, alttest. Theol. II. p. 98.


Verse 16

Romans 8:16. More precise information respecting the preceding ἐν κράζ. ἀββᾶ π.

αὐτὸ τὸ πνεῦμα κ. τ. λ.] Not He, the Spirit (Hofmann, inappropriately comparing Romans 8:21 and 1 Thessalonians 3:11); but, since αὐτός in the casus rectus always means ipse, the context supplying the more special reference of the sense: ipse spiritus, that is, Himself, on His own part, the (received) Spirit testifies with our spirit; He unites His own testimony that we are children of God with the same testimony borne by our spirit, which (1 Corinthians 2:11) is the seat of our self-consciousness.

In συμμαρτ. the συν and its reference to τ. πν. ἡμ. are not to be neglected, any more than in Romans 2:15, Romans 9:1, as the Vulgate, Luther, Grotius, and Fathers, also Koppe, Rückert, Reiche, Köllner, de Wette, and others have done. Paul distinguishes from the subjective self-consciousness: I am the child of God, the therewith accordant testimony of the objective Holy Spirit: thou art the child of God! The latter is the yea to the former; and thus it comes that we cry the Abba ἐν τῷ πνεύματι. Our older theologians (see especially Calovius) have rightly used our passage as a proof of the certitudo gratiae in opposition to the Catholic Church with its mere conjectura moralis. Comp. Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:30; 1 John 3:24; 1 John 4:13. At the same time, it is also a clear dictum probans against all pantheistic confusion of the divine and the human spirit and consciousness, and no less against the assertion that Paul ascribes to man not a human πνεῦμα, but only the divine πνεῦμα become subjective (Baur, Holsten). Against this view, see also Pfleiderer, in Hilgenfeld’s Zeitschr. 1871, p. 162 f., who nevertheless, at p. 177 f., from our passage and chap. 8 generally, attributes to the apostle the doctrine that in the Christian the real divine πνεῦμα has become the proper human one, and vice versa; comp. on Romans 8:26. Against the Fanatics Melancthon truly observes, that the working of the Spirit in the believer begins “praelucente voce evangelii.”

τέκνα] The term children, expressive of greater tenderness, called forth by the increasing fervour of the discourse. Comp. Romans 8:21. The aspect of the legal relation (of the υἱοθεσία) at the same time recedes into the background. Comp. Philippians 2:15.


Verse 17

Romans 8:17. From the truth of the filial relation to God, Paul now passes over by the continuative δέ to the sure blissful consequence of it,—and that indeed in organic reference to the ζήσεσθε promised in Romans 8:13.

From our childship follows necessarily our heirship. Comp. Galatians 4:7. Both are to be left perfectly general, without supplying θεοῦ, since it is only what follows that furnishes the concrete, more precise definition, in which here the general relation is realized.

κληρονόμοι θεοῦ] The inheritance, which God once on a time transfers to His children as their property, is the salvation and glory of the Messianic kingdom. Comp. Romans 4:14. God is, of course, in this case conceived not as a dying testator, but as the living bestower of His goods on His children (Luke 15:12). However, the conclusion (Romans 8:17) forbids us to disregard the idea of inheritance, and to find only that of the receiving possession represented (in opposition to van Hengel).

σύγκληρ. δὲ χριστοῦ] Not something greater than κληρον. θεοῦ, on the contrary in substance the same, but specifically characterized from the standpoint of our fellowship with Christ, whose coheirs we must be as κληρον. θεοῦ, since, having entered into sonship through the υἱοθεσία, we have become Christ’s brethren (Romans 8:29). Moreover, that Paul has here in view, not the analogy of the Hebrew law of inheritance that conferred a man’s intestate heritage only on sons of his body, if there were such, but that of the Roman law (Fritzsche, Tholuck, van Hengel; see more particularly on Galatians 4:7), is the historically necessary supposition, which can least of all seem foreign or inappropriate in an epistle to the Romans.

συμπάσχ.] Whosoever, for the sake of the gospel, submits to suffering (Matthew 10:38; Matthew 16:24), suffers with Christ; i.e. he has actual share in the suffering endured by Christ (1 Peter 4:13), drinks the same cup that He drank (Matthew 20:22 f.). Comp. on 2 Corinthians 1:5; Philippians 3:10; Colossians 1:24. This fellowship of suffering Paul regards as that which must be presupposed in order to the attainment of glory, of participation in the δόξα of Christ ( εἴπερ, as in Romans 8:9); not indeed as meritum, or pretium vitae aeternae, but as obedientia propter ordinem a Deo sancitum, Melancthon. Comp. 2 Timothy 2:11 f. This conviction developed itself, especially under the external influence of the circumstances of an age fruitful in persecution, just as necessarily and truly out of the inward assurance that in the case of Jesus Himself His suffering, willed by God, and undertaken and borne in obedience to the Father, was the condition of His glory (Luke 24:26; Philippians 2:6 ff., al.), as it in its turn became a rich spring of the enthusiasm for martyrdom. Olshausen (comp. also Philippi) mixes up an element which is here foreign: “participation in the conflict with sin in themselves and in the world.” Even without introducing this element foreign to the word itself, the συμπάσχειν, as the presupposition involved in the joint-heirship, has its universal applicability, based not merely on the general participation of all in the suffering of this time, but especially also on the relation of the children of God to the ungodly world (comp. John 7:7; John 15:18 f., John 17:14).

ἵνα καὶ συνδοξ.] in order to be also glorified with Him; dependent not on συγκληρ. (Tholuck), but on συμπάσχ., the divine final aim of which, known to the sufferer, it subjoins.


Verse 18

Romans 8:18. λογίζομαι] I reckon, as in Romans 3:28; 2 Corinthians 11:5; Philippians 3:13. In the singular we are not to discover a turn given to the argument, as if the apostle found it necessary to justify himself on account of the condition εἴπερ συμπάσχ. (Hofmann). Just as little here as in the case of πέπεισμαι in Romans 8:38. He simply delivers his judgment, which, however, he might have expressed with equal propriety in a form inclusive of others, as subsequently he has written οἴδαμεν (Romans 8:22). Such changing of the person is accidental and without any special design, especially as here he does not say ἐγὼ γὰρ λογίζ., or λογίζομαι γὰρ αὐτὸς ἐγώ, or otherwise give himself prominence. A certain litotes, however, lies (not indeed in the singular, but) in the use of λογίζομαι itself, which really contains an οἶδα and a πέπεισμαι.

οὐκ ἄξια] not of equal importance, not of corresponding weight; they are unimportant. On πρός, in comparison with, in relation to, comp. Plat. Gorg. p. 471 E: οὐδενὸς ἄειός ἐστι πρὸς τὴν ἀλήθειαν, Protag. p. 356 A Winer, p. 378 [E. T. 505]. On οὐκ ἄξιόν ἐστι itself, however, in the sense: non operae pretium est, see Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. vi. 5. 13. Comp. Dem. 300 ult.; Polyb. iv. 20. 2. On the subject-matter, see especially 2 Corinthians 4:17.

τοῦ νῦν καιροῦ] of the present time-period. The νῦν καιρός marks off from the whole αἰὼν οὗτος (see on Matthew 12:32) the period then current, which was to end with the approaching Parousia (assumed as near in Romans 13:11-12, 1 Thessalonians 4:17, 1 Corinthians 7:29, and in the entire N. T.), and was thus the time of the crisis.

μέλλ. δόξ. ἀποκ.] μέλλουσαν (see on Romans 8:13) is, as in Galatians 3:23, prefixed with emphasis, correlative with the foregoing νῦν. Comp. 1 Corinthians 12:22; Plat. Rep. p. 572 B: καὶ πάνυ δοκοῦσιν ἡμῶν ἐνίοις μετρίοις εἶναι. See Stallbaum in loc.

ἀποκαλ.] Namely, at the Parousia, when the δόξα which is now hidden (in heaven, comp. Colossians 3:3 f.; 1 Peter 1:4) is to be revealed.

εἰς ἡμᾶς] on us, so that we are those, upon whom (reaching unto them) the ἀποκάλυψις takes place. Comp. Acts 28:6. The δόξα comes to us, therefore, from without (with Christ descending from heaven; comp. Colossians 3:4; Philippians 3:21; Titus 2:13); but is not conceived as having already begun inwardly and then becoming apparent outwardly (in opposition to Lipsius, Rechtfert. p. 206).


Verses 18-31

Romans 8:18-31. Grounds of encouragement for the συμπάσχειν ἵνα κ. συνδοξ.

Namely, (1) The future glory shall far outweigh the present sufferings, Romans 8:18-25.—(2) The Holy Ghost supports us, Romans 8:26-27.—(3) Generally, all things must serve for good to those who love God, Romans 8:28-31.


Verse 19

Romans 8:19. γάρ] introduces, from the waiting of the creation (to whose groaning that of Christians thereupon joins itself in Romans 8:23) for this glorious consummation, a peculiar confirmation, couched in a poetic strain, of the fact that the ἀποκάλυψις τῆς δόξης is really impending; and thus lends support to the comforting certainty of that future manifestation, that is, to the element involved in the emphatically prefixed μέλλουσαν; comp. Calovius, Fritzsche, de Wette, Krehl, Reithmayr, and Bisping. From Origen and Chrysostom down to Hofmann, there has usually been discovered here a ground assigned for the greatness of the glory. But this is neither consistent with the emphatic prominence of μέλλουσαν, nor with the subsequent ground itself, which proves nothing as to the greatness of the δόξα, but stands to the indubitableness of the latter, otherwise firmly established and presupposed, in the relation of a sympathetic testimony of nature. Least of all can γάρ introduce a ground of the apostle’s belief for his own λογίζομαι κ. τ. λ. (van Hengel). According to Philippi, what is to be established is, that the δόξα is not already present, but only future, which, however, even taking into account human impatience, was quite self-evident. For the nearness of the δόξα (Reiche), just as before it was not expressly announced in the simple ΄έλλουσαν, the sequel affords no proof, since the element of speediness is not expressed.

ἀποκαραδοκία] The verb καραδοκεῖν (Xen. Mem. iii. 5, 6, frequent in Euripides) strictly means: to expect with uplifted head, then to expect generally, to long for (Valck. ad Herod. vii. 168; Loesner, Obss. p. 256 f.); and καραδοκία means expectatio (Proverbs 10:28; Aq. Psalms 38:7). The strengthened (Vigerus, ed. Herm. p. 582; Tittmann, Synon. p. 106 ff.) ἀποκαραδοκεῖν (Joseph. Bell. Jud. iii. 7. 26; Polyb. xvi. 2. 8, xviii. 31. 4, xxii. 19. 3; Aq. Psalms 36:7; Alberti, Gloss, p. 106 ff.) and ἀποκαραδοκία (only elsewhere in Philippians 1:20) is the waiting expectation (not anxious expectation, as Luther has it) that continues on the strain till the goal is attained. See especially Tittmann, l.c.; Fritzsche in Fritzschior. Opuscul. p. 150 ff. Without warrant, Loesner, Krebs, Fischer, de vit. Lex. p. 128 f., and others, including Rückert, Reiche, and van Hengel, have refused to recognise the strengthening element of ἀπό, already pointed out by Chrysostom and Theodore of Mopsuestia, although Paul himself gives prominence to it repeatedly in ἀπεκδέχ. (comp. Romans 8:23; Romans 8:25; 1 Corinthians 1:7; Galatians 5:5; Philippians 3:20).

τῆς κτίσεως] Genitive of the subject. The waiting of the κτίσις is with rhetorical emphasis brought into prominence as something independent. See Winer, p. 221 [E. T. 239]. κτίσις means—(1) actus creationis; so Romans 1:20, corresponding to the classic usage in the sense of establishment (Pind. Ol. 13. 118; comp. 1 Peter 2:13), founding (Polyb., Plut., and others), planting, etc.—(2) The thing created, and that (a) where the context supplies no limitation, quite generally like our creation, Mark 10:6; Mark 13:19; 2 Peter 3:4; Judith 16:14; Wisdom of Solomon 2:6, al.; and (b) where the context does limit it, in a more or less special sense, as in Mark 16:15, Colossians 1:23 (of that portion of the creation, which consists of mankind), Colossians 1:15, Hebrews 4:13 (of every individual creature); comp. Romans 1:25, Romans 8:39; also καινὴ κτίσις in 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15. Since, then, the absolute κτίσις must receive its limitation of sense simply from the connection, the question is, What does the text in our passage exclude from the meaning of τῆς κτίσεως? There are plainly excluded not only the angelic and demoniac kingdom (see Romans 8:20), but also Christians collectively, as is clear from Romans 8:19; Romans 8:21; Romans 8:23, where the Christians are different from the κτίσις, and even opposed to it, so that they cannot be regarded (according to the view of Frommann) as forming a partial conception, embraced also in the κτίσις. But is the non-Christian portion of humanity to be excluded also? If not, it must be meant either along with something else, or else alone. If the former, then Paul, seeing that irrational nature at any rate remains within the compass of the idea, would have included under one notion this nature and the Jewish and heathen worlds, which would be absurd. But if non-Christian humanity alone be meant, then—(1) we should not be able to see why Paul should have chosen the term κτίσις, and not have used the definite expression κόσ΄ος, which is formally employed for that idea elsewhere in his own writings and throughout the N. T. Besides, the absolute κτίσις nowhere in the entire N. T. means non-Christian mankind (in Mark 16:15 and Colossians 1:23, πάσῃ stands along with it); and, indeed, πᾶσα κτίσις (Mark) and πᾶσα κτίσις (Col.) mean nothing else than the whole creation and every creature, and in these cases it is purely the context that shows that created men are meant, while at the same time it is self-evident ex adjuncto (for the discourse concerns the preaching of the gospel to the κτίσις) that Christians are not to be understood. (2) The hostile attitude of the then existing κόσ΄ος towards the Christian body would cause the assertion respecting it of a sympathetic and, as it were, prophetic yearning for the manifestation of the children of God to seem a curious paradox, which, moreover, as a truth, in the case of the Jews and Gentiles, would rest on quite a different foundation, namely, the expectation of the Jewish Messianic kingdom, and on the other hand, the yearning dream of a golden age. (3) Again, the expressions in Romans 8:20 are of such a character, that they in no way make us presuppose in the writer such a conception of humanity subjected through sin to the θάνατος as Paul had, but allow us just to think of the κτίσις as having fallen a prey to the lot of mortality, not by its own free action, but innocently, and by outward necessity; the apostle would not have left the θάνατος unmentioned. (4) Further, the hope of attaining to the freedom of the glory of the children of God (Romans 8:21) was only left to the κόσ΄ος, in so far as it should be converted to Christ; but Romans 8:21, in point of fact, merely asserts that on the entrance of that glory the κτίσις is to be glorified also, without touching, in regard to mankind, on the condition of conversion—which assuredly Paul least of all would have omitted. (5) Finally, Paul expected that, previous to the entrance of the Parousia, the fulness of the Gentiles and all Israel would become christianized (Romans 11:25-26), and had to shape his conception, therefore, in such a way as to make humanity, taken as a whole, belong to the υἱοῖς θεοῦ when the manifestation of the kingdom should appear. And as to that, Romans 8:21 decidedly forbids the connecting of the notion of mankind with κτίσις.

There remains, therefore, as the definition of the notion of κτίσις in accordance with the text: the collective non-rational creation, animate and inanimate, the same which we term in popular usage “all nature” (comp. Wisdom of Solomon 5:18; Wisdom of Solomon 16:24; Wisdom of Solomon 19:6), from which we are accustomed to exclude intelligent beings. In view of the poetically prophetic colouring of the whole passage, the expressions of waiting, sighing, hoping, of bondage and redemption, excite the less surprise, since already in the O. T. instances of a similar prosopopoeia are very common (Deuteronomy 4:34; Psalms 19:2; Psalms 68:17; Psalms 98:8; Psalms 106:11; Isaiah 2:1; Isaiah 14:8; Isaiah 55:12; Ezekiel 31:15; Habakkuk 2:11; Baruch 3:34; Job 12:7-9, al.); and Chrysostom very aptly remarks: ὥστε δὲ ἐμφαντικώτερον γενέσθαι τὸν λόγον, καὶ προσωποποιεῖ τὸν κόσμον ἅπαντα τοῦτον· ἅπερ καὶ οἱ προφῆται ποιοῦσιν, ποταμοὺς κροτοῦντας χερσὶν εἰσάγοντες κ. τ. λ. Comp. Oecumenius and Theophylact. The idea of the glorification of all nature cannot be accounted unpauline, for the simple reason that it is clearly expressed in our passage; and because, moreover, as being connected with the history of the moral development of humanity according to Genesis 3:17 f., and necessarily belonging to the idea of the ἀποκατάστασις πάντων (Matthew 19:28; Acts 3:21; 2 Peter 3:10 ff.; Revelation 21:1), it may be least of all disclaimed in the case of Paul, since it emanates from the prophets of the Old Testament (Isaiah 11:6 ff.; Ezekiel 37; Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66:1; comp. Psalms 102:27; and see Umbreit, p. 291 ff.), and has thence passed over into the Rabbinical system of doctrine. See Eisenmenger, entdeckt. Judenth. II. p. 367 ff., 824 ff.; Schoettgen, Hor. II. pp. 71, 76, 117 ff.; Bertholdt, Christol. p. 214; Corrodi, Chiliasm. I. p. 376 ff.; Ewald, ad Apocal. p. 307 f.; Delitzsch, Erläut. z. s. Hebr. Uebers. p. 87. The above interpretation, therefore, of the κτίσις has been rightly adopted—only that the intelligent creatures have not in all cases been expressly or exclusively separated from it (e.g. Theodoret includes also the ἀόρατα, angels, archangels, etc., as Origen previously, and Erasmus and others subsequently, have also done)—by the majority of expositors, following most of the Fathers (in the first instance Irenaeus, Haer v. 32. 1), by Luther, Erasmus, Beza, Melancthon, Calvin, Cornelius a Lapide, Balduin, Estius, Grotius, Cocceius, Calovius, Calixtus, Seb. Schmid, Wolf, Bengel, and others, including Flatt, Tholuck, Klee, Usteri (in Stud. u. Krit. 1832, p. 835 ff., and Lehrbegr. ed. 4 and 5, pp. 373, 399 ff.), Rückert, Benecke, Schneckenburger, Reiche, Glöckler, de Wette, Neander, Nielsen, Reithmayr, Maier, Philippi, Ewald, Umbreit, Bisping, Lechler, apostol. Zeitalt. p. 143, Delitzsch, Ruprecht in the Stud. u. Krit. 1851, p. 214 ff., Zahn, Mangold, Hofmann, and Engelhardt; comp. also M. Schenkel and Graf. Among these, however, are several who, like Luther, Beza, and also Fritzsche, wish to understand it too narrowly, merely of the inanimate creation,—a limitation not given in the text, and moreover antiprophetic (Tertullian, ad Hermog. 10); while, on the other hand, Köllner, with whom Olshausen agrees, takes it too widely of all created things generally. See, against this, the textual limitation explained above. If, however, in accordance with the above, the removal of intelligent beings from the compass of the κτίσις must be regarded as decided, the decision is fatal to the view of others, who, following the example of Augustine, explain κτίσις as mankind; and that either in the quite comprehensive sense of mankind collectively (in the state of nature), as, following older expositors especially scholastic and Roman Catholic, Döderlein, Gabler, Ammon, Keil (Opusc. p. 207), Grimm (de vi vocabuli κτίς., Lips. 1812), Schulthess (evangel. Belehr. üb. d. Erneuer. d. Nat., Zurich 1833), Geisler (in the Annal. d. ges. Theol. 1835, Jan. p. 51 ff.), Schrader, Krehl, van Hengel, Frommann, and others do; or, with exclusion of the Christians, in the sense of mankind still unconverted, as Augustine himself suggested, by which again, however, many understood specially the unconverted Gentiles (Locke, Lightfoot, Knatchbull, Hammond, Semler, and Nachtigall), and various others the unconverted Jews (Cramer, Böhme, and Gersdorf). Others have even explained it of Christians collectively, as the new creature (Vorstius, Deyling, Nösselt, Socinians and Arminians). And just as little can κτίσις be equivalent to ψυχή (Märcker) or to σάρξ, and be supposed to designate the creaturely element in the regenerate (Weissbach in the Sächs. Stud. I. p. 76 ff., and Zyro in the Stud. u. Krit. 1845, 2, 1851, p. 645 ff.). Compare also, regarding the various expositions, M. Schenkel, p. 9 ff.; and against the view which takes it of mankind, Engelhardt, l.c.

τὴν ἀποκάλ. τ. υἱῶν τ. θεοῦ] The event, the blissful catastrophe, whereby the sons of God become manifest as such (in their δόξα). How exalted the dignity in which they here appear above the κτίσις! Bengel: “ad creaturam ex peccato redundarunt incommoda; ad creaturam ex gloria filiorum Dei redundabit recreatio.” The κτίσις, in virtue of its physical connection with that ἀποκάλυψις, shall be a partaker in the blissful manifestation.


Verse 20-21

Romans 8:20-21. Ground of this longing.

τῇ ματαιότ.] Prefixed with emphasis: vanitati, to nothingness. The substantive (Pollux, vi. 134) is no longer found in Greek authors, but frequently in the LXX. (as in Psalms 39:6). See Schleusner, Thes. III. p. 501. It indicates here the empty (i.e. as having lost its primitive purport, which it had by creation) quality of being, to which the κτίσις was changed from its original perfection.

ὑπετάγη] was subjected, was made subject to, as to a ruling power formerly unknown to it. This historical fact (aorist) took place in consequence of the fall, Genesis 3:17. Comp. Beresh. rabb. f. 2, 3 : “Quamvis creatae fuerint res perfectae, cum primus homo peccaret, corruptae tamen sunt, et ultra non redibunt ad congruum statum suum, donec veniat Pherez, h. e. Messias.” See also Zahn, p. 532. The reference to an original ματαιότης, introduced even by the act of creation (Theodoret, Grotius, Krehl, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, and Köster), is historically inappropriate (Genesis 1:31), and contrary to οὐχ ἑκοῦσα, ἀλλὰ κ. τ. λ., which supposes a previous state not subject to the ματ. Further, since the ὑποτάξας is subsequently mentioned, the interpretation se subjecit (Fritzsche) is thereby excluded.

οὐχ ἑκοῦσα, ἀλλὰ διὰ τ. ὑποτάξ.] This must occasion their expectation all the more; for their subjection is at variance with their original state and the desire of immunity founded thereon, and it took place “invita, et repugnante natura” (Calvin, namely, through the guilt of human sin), on account of the subjector ( διά with the accusative, comp. on John 6:57), that is, because the counsel and will of the subjecting God (the contrast to one’s own non-willingness) had to be thus satisfied. The idea of another than God in τὸν ὑποτάξ. (Knatchbull and Capellus: Adam; Chrysostom, Schneckenburger, Bisping, and Zahn: man; Hammond and others, quoted by Wolf: the devil) is forbidden by the very absence of a defining statement, so that the subject is assumed as well known. According to Genesis 3:17, it was indeed man through whose guilt the subjection ensued; but God was the subjector ( ὑποτάξας).

ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι ὅτι κ. τ. λ.] on hope (Romans 4:18) that, etc., may be joined either with ὑποτάξ. (Origen, Vulgate, Luther, Castalio, Calvin, Piscator, Estius, and others, including Ch. Schmidt and Olshausen) or with ὑπετάγη. The latter conjunction brings out more forcibly the ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι; for this contains a new element by way of motive for the expectation of nature. ἐπί, spe proposita, indicates the condition which was conceded in the ὑπετάγη, as it were, the equivalent provisionally given for it, Acts 2:24; Xen. Mem. ii. 1. 18, and Kühner in loc.; Ast, Lex. Plat. I. p. 767; Bernhardy, p. 250.

ὅτι] that, object of the hope (Philippians 1:20); not nam, as it is taken by most expositors, who join ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι with ὑποτάξ.; among others by Schneckenburger, Beiträg. p. 122, who assigns as his reason, that otherwise the αὐτὴ κτίσις could not be repeated. But that repetition is necessitated by the emphasis of the similarity of the relation, which αὐτὴ κτίσις has over-against the children of God, for which reason Paul did not write ὅτι καὶ ἐλευθερωθήσεται (in opposition to Hofmann’s objection). Besides, the purport of the ἐλπίς had necessarily to be stated, in order to give the ground of the expectation of the κτίσις as directed precisely to the manifestation of the sons of God. The indefinite ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι would supply a motive for its expectation of deliverance in general, but not for its expectation of the glory of the children of God. This applies also against Hofmann, who refers ὅτι κ. τ. λ., as statement of the reason, to the whole preceding sentence, whereby, besides, the awkward idea is suggested, that the subjection took place on account of the deliverance to be accomplished in the future; it had, in fact, an entirely different historical ground, well known from history, and already suggested by the διὰ τὸν ὑποτάξ., namely, the implication of the κτίσις in the entrance of sin among mankind.

καὶ αὐτὴ κτίσις] et ipsa creatura, that is, the creature also on its part, not merely the children of God. There is simply expressed the similarity; not a climax (even), of which the context affords no hint.

τῆς φθορᾶς] Genitive of apposition: from the bondage that consists in corruption. See Romans 8:23. Incorrectly paraphrased by Köllner: “from the corruptible, miserable bondage.” At variance with this is Romans 8:20, according to which τ. φθ. cannot be made an adjective; as is also the sequel, in which τὴν ἐλευθ. corresponds to τῆς δουλείας, and τῆς δόξης τ. τέκν. τ. θεοῦ to the τῆς φθορᾶς. The φθορά (antithesis = ἀφθαρσία, Romans 2:7; 1 Corinthians 15:42-50) is the destruction, that developes itself out of the ματαιότης, the κατάλυσις opposed frequently in Plato and others to the γένεσις (Phaed. p. 95 E Phil. p. 55 A Lucian, A. 19). Comp. on Galatians 6:8. It is not the φθορά in the first instance that makes the state of the κτίσις a state of bondage, as Hofmann apprehends the genitive; but the existing bondage is essentially such, that what is subjected to it is liable to the fate of corruption.

εἰς τ. ἐλευθ.] is the state, to which the κτίσις shall attain by its emancipation. An instance of a genuine Greek pregnant construction. See Fritzsche, ad Marc. p. 322; Winer, p. 577 [E. T. 776].

τῆς δόξης τ. τ. τ. θ.] Likewise genitive of apposition: into the freedom which shall consist in the glory of the children of God, i.e. in a glory similar thereto (by participation in it); not, as Hofmann thinks: which the glory of the children of God shall have brought with it. If, with Luther and many others, including Böhme and Köllner, τῆς δόξης be treated as an adjective: “to the glorious freedom,” we should then have quite as arbitrary a departure from the verbal order, in accordance with which τῶν τέκν. belongs most naturally to τῆς δόξ., as from the analogy of the preceding τῆς δουλ. τῆς φθορᾶς. The accumulation of genitives, τ. δόξης κ. τ. λ., has a certain solemnity; comp. Romans 2:5; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 4:13, al.

Observe, further, how Paul has conceived the catastrophe, of which he is speaking, not as the destruction of the world and a new creation, but, in harmony with the prophetic announcements, especially those of Isaiah (Isaiah 35:1-10; Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66:22; comp. Zahn, p. 537; Schultz, alttest. Theol. II. p. 227), as a transformation into a more perfect state. The passing away of the world is the passing away of its form (1 Corinthians 7:31), by which this transformation is conditioned, and in which, according to 2 Peter 3:10, fire will be the agent employed. And the hope, the tenor of which is specified by ὅτι κ. τ. λ., might, in connection with this living personification, be ascribed to all nature, as if it were conscious thereof, since the latter is destined to become the scene and surrounding of the glorified children of God. But that ἐλπίς does not pertain to mankind, whose presentiment of immortality, by means of its darkened original consciousness of God (Frommann), does not correspond to the idea of ἐλπίς; comp., on the contrary, Ephesians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:13. If, on the other hand, the Gentile hope, cherished amidst the misery of the times, as to a better state of things (according to poets: the golden age of the Saturnia regna), were meant as an image of the Christian hope (Köster), then Paul would have conceived the ἐλευθερωθήσεται as conditioned by the future conversion of the Gentiles. But thus the ἐλπίς would amount to this, that the Gentiles should become themselves children of God, which is inconsistent with Romans 8:19. There, and likewise in Romans 8:21, the sons of God are the third element, for whose transfiguration the κτίσις waits, and from whose glorification it hopes, in Romans 8:21, that the latter shall benefit it also—the κτίσις—through participation therein; and be to it also deliverance and freedom from its hitherto enduring bondage. This is applicable only to the παλιγγενεσία (see on Matthew 19:28) at the Parousia.


Verse 22

Romans 8:22. Proof, not of the ἀποκαραδοκία τῆς κτίσεως (Philippi), which is much too distant, and whose goal remains quite unnoticed here; nor yet of the δουλεία τῆς φθορᾶς (Zahn), which was not the point of the foregoing thought at all; but of what was announced by ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι, ὅτι κ. . κτ. ἐλευθρωθήσεται κ. τ. λ. For if that hope of glorious deliverance had not been left to it, all nature would not have united its groaning and travailing until now. This phenomenon, so universal and so unbroken, cannot be conduct without an aim; on the contrary, it presupposes as the motive of the painful travail that very hope, towards whose final fulfilment it is directed. The οἴδαμεν (comp. Romans 2:2, Romans 3:19, Romans 7:14) is sufficiently explained as an appeal to the Christian consciousness, in which the view of nature stands in connection with the curse of sin. The perfectly superfluous assumption, that the apostle had a book before him containing a similar deduction (Ewald), is suggested by nothing in the text.

In συστενάζει. and συνωδίνει the συν is not a mere strengthening particle (Loesner, Michaelis, Semler, Ernesti, and Köllner), but, on the contrary (comp. Beza), finds its natural reference in πᾶσα, and denotes “gemitum et dolorem communem inter se partium creaturae,” Estius. Calvin, Pareus, Koppe, Ewald, and Umbreit, following Oecumenius, have indeed referred συν to the groaning being in common with that of the children of God; but against this view Romans 8:23 is decisive, and the reference to men generally, with whom the κτίσις sighs (Fritzsche), is foreign to the context. Fritzsche, without due reason, asserts the want of linguistic usage in favour of our view. For it is unquestionable that, in accordance with the usage of analogous verbs, συστενάζειν may denote the common sighing of the elements comprised in the collective πᾶσα κτίσις among themselves (comp. Ephesians 4:16 : πᾶν τὸ σῶμα συναρμολογούμενον, comp. Romans 2:21; Plat. Legg. iii. p. 686 B: ἐπεὶ γενομένη γε τότε διάνοια καὶ συμφωνήσασα εἰς ἕν, Dem. 516. 7 : συνοργισθεὶς δῆ΄ος, 775. 18: συνταράττεται πᾶς τῆς πόλεως κόσ΄ος). That concrete examples of that nature cannot be quoted, is not decisive against it, since συστενάζειν (Eur. Ion. 935, comp. συστένειν, Arist. Eth. ix. 11) and also συνωδίνειν (Eur. Hel. 727; Porphyr. de abst. iii. 10) are only extant in a very few passages. Comp. generally Winer, de verb. compos. II. p. 21 f. Just the same with συναλγεῖν, Plat. Rep. p. 462 D, and συλλυπεῖσθαι p. 462 E.

συνωδίνει] Not an allusion to the חבלי המשיח (Reiche), because the dolores Messiae (see on Matthew 2:3) are peculiar sufferings, that shall immediately precede the appearance of the Messiah, whilst the travail of nature has continued since as early as Genesis 3:17 (Romans 8:20). But the figure is the same in both cases—that of the pains of labour. All nature groans and suffers anguish, as if in travail, over-against the moment of its deliverance. The conception of the ὠδίνειν is based on the fact that the painful struggling of the κτίσις is directed towards the longed-for change, with the setting in of which the suffering has accomplished its end and ceases. Comp. John 16:21.

ἄχρι τοῦ νῦν] that is, up to the present moment; so incessantly has the sighing continued. Formerly Frommann imported the thought: until now, when the revelation of the true goal in Christ has taken place; see, against this, Zahn, p. 524 f. However, Frommann has now corrected his view. Hofmann erroneously takes it as: now still, in contrast to the future change. Comp. rather Philippians 1:5. The point of beginning of the sighing and travailing is that ὑπετάγη in Romans 8:20. Comp. also ἕως τοῦ νῦν in Matthew 24:21. Now still would be ἔτι νῦν, 1 Corinthians 3:2.


Verse 23

Romans 8:23. Climax of the foregoing proof that the ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι, ὅτι κ. τ. λ. of the κτίσις, Romans 8:21, is well founded. “Otherwise, indeed, we Christians also would not join in that sighing.”

οὐ μόνον δέ] scil. πᾶσα κτίσις στενάζει.

What follows must be read: ἀλλὰ καὶ αὐτοὶ, τὴν ἀπαρχὴν τοῦ πνεύματος ἔχοντες, καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐν ἑαυτοῖς στενάζομεν. See the critical remarks. But we also on our part, though we possess the first-fruits of the Spirit, sigh likewise in ourselves.

τὴν ἀπαρχ. τ. πνεύμ.] τ. πν. is the partitive genitive, as is involved in the very meaning of ἀπαρχή Comp. Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 15:20; 1 Corinthians 16:15; James 1:18; and all the passages of the LXX. and Apocr., where ἀπ. stands with the genitive of the thing, in Biel and Schleusner. Comp. Herod. i. 92; Plat. Legg. vii. p. 806 D Dem. 164. 21; Thuc. iii. 58. 3; Soph. Trach. 758; Eur. Or. 96; Phoen. 864; Ion. 402; also ἀπαρχὴ τῆς σοφίας, Plat. Prot. p. 343 A and ἀπαρχαὶ ἀπὸ φιλοσοφίας, Plut. Mor. p. 172 C. By the possessors, however, of the ἀπαρχὴ τοῦ πνεύματος, are not exclusively meant the apostles, who at Pentecost had received the first outpouring of the Spirit, and among whom Paul includes himself on account of his miraculous conversion (Origen, Oecumenius, Melancthon, Grotius, and others). He means rather the Christians of that age generally, since in fact they—in contrast to the far greater mass of mankind still unconverted, for whom, according to Joel 3:1, the receiving of the Spirit was still a thing of the future (Romans 11:25 ff.)—were in possession of that, which first had resulted from the communication of the Spirit, and which therefore stood related to the collective bestowal as the daybreak. So, on the whole, Erasmus, Wetstein, Morus, Reiche, Köllner, de Wette, Olshausen, Köster, and Frommann; see also Müller in the Luther. Zeitschr. 1871, p. 618. Paul does not say simply τὸ πνεῦμα ἔχοντες, but, in the lofty feeling of the privilege, which he discovered in the earlier calling and sanctification of the then Christians: τὴν ἀπαρχ. τ. πν. ἔχ.; “even we, though favoured so pre-eminently that we possess the first-fruit gift of the Spirit, cannot refrain from sighing likewise.” This we remark in opposition to the oft-repeated objection, that it was not an element of importance whether they had received the πνεῦμα at the first or a few years later; and also in opposition to the quite as irrelevant objection of Hofmann, that the conception of a measure of the Spirit to be given forth by degrees is nowhere indicated. This conception has no place here, and the Spirit is one and the same; but if, in the first instance, only a comparatively small portion of mankind has received it, and its possession in the case of the remaining collective body is still in abeyance, this serves to constitute the idea of an ἀπαρχή in relation to the whole body. Nevertheless, the sense: best gift of the Spirit (Ch. Schmidt, Rosenmüller), is not conveyed by τ. ἀπαρχήν, because that must have been suggested by the context, and also because Paul could not have regarded the later communication of the Spirit as less valuable. Further, the sense of a merely provisional reception of the Spirit, taking place, as it were, on account, in contrast to the future full effusion in the kingdom of heaven (Chrysostom and other Fathers, in Suicer, Thes. I. p. 423; Calvin, Beza, Pareus, Estius, Calovius, Semler, Flatt, Tholuck, Philippi, and Bisping; comp. also Pfleiderer), is not contained in ἀπ. τ. πν., because Paul, had he wished to speak here of a preliminary reception in contrast to the future plenitude, must necessarily, in accordance with the connection, have so spoken of that of the υἱοθεσία or δόξα, not of the Spirit, and because a full effusion of the Spirit at the Parousia is nowhere taught in the N. T. The Spirit already received, not a new and more perfect reception of it in the future αἰών, by its quickening activity leads to and conditions the eternal ζωή, in which God is then all in all (1 Corinthians 15:28). Others, again, make τ. πν. an epexegetical genitive of apposition: the Spirit as first-fruits, namely, of the state of glory. So Bengel, Keil, Opusc., Winer, p. 495 [E. T. 667], Baumgarten-Crusius, Reithmayr, Rückert, Maier, Hofmann, Zahn, and Engelhardt; comp. also Flatt. But however Pauline the idea may be (2 Corinthians 1:22; 2 Corinthians 5:3; Ephesians 1:14; comp. Romans 2:5), it would, when thus expressed, be liable to be misunderstood, since the readers were accustomed to find in the genitive with ἀπαρχή nothing else than that, of which the latter is a portion; and how intelligibly Paul might have expressed himself, either in accordance with 2 Cor. l.c. and Eph. l.c., by τὸν ἀῤῥαβῶνα, or by τ. ἀπ. (scil. τῆς υἱοθες.) ἐν τῷ πνεύ΄.! This applies, at the same time, against Fritzsche, who takes τοῦ πνεύ΄. as genitive of the subject, and the first gifts of the Spirit as in contrast to the σωτηρία which the Spirit will give to us in the αἰὼν ΄έλλων. Against this it may also be urged that the Holy Ghost is not described in the N. T. as the Giver of eternal life (not even in such passages as 2 Corinthians 1:22; 2 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 1:14; Ephesians 4:30; Galatians 6:8). It is God who, in like manner as He calls and justifies, confers also the eternal δόξα (Romans 8:30). The Spirit operates to eternal life by His government (Romans 8:2), and is the ground (Romans 8:11) and pledge ( ἀῤῥαβών) of that life; but He does not give it.

καὶ αὐτοί] Repeated and placed along with ἐν ἑαυτοῖς with earnest emphasis: et ipsi in nobis ipsis. The latter is not equivalent to ἐν ἀλλήλοις (Schulthess and Fritzsche), but denotes, in harmony with the nature of the deep, painful emotion, the inward sighing of the still longing of believers; which suffers, is silent, and hopes, but never complains, being assured of the goal that shall be finally reached. Hofmann incorrectly would join κ. αὐτοὶ ἐν ἑαυτοῖς with ἔχοντες. But this would leave the καί, which, according to the common connection with στενάζ., has its appropriate correlative in the sighing of the κτίσις, without a reference. For, when Hofmann sets it down as the object of the καί to emphasize personal possession on the part of the Christians in contrast to the future participation of the κτίσις, there is thus forced on this καί the meaning of already; and this all the more arbitrarily, since καὶ αὐτοί just precedes it in the quite common sense of et ipsi (Baeumlein, Partik. p. 151; Breitenbach, ad Xen. Hell. iii. 1. 10), and its emphatic repetition is very appropriate to the lively emotion of the discourse.

υἱοθες. ἀπεκδεχ.] whilst we wait for the adoption of children. It is true, believers have already this blessing (Romans 8:15), but only as inward relation and as divine right, with which, however, the objective and real state does not yet correspond. Thus, looked at from the standpoint of complete realization, they are only to receive υἱοθεσίαν at the Parousia, whereupon the ἀποκάλυψις τῶν υἱῶν τ. θεοῦ and their δόξα ensues. Comp. also Matthew 5:9; Matthew 5:45; Luke 6:15. In like manner the δικαιοσύνη is a present possession, and also one to he entered on hereafter. Comp. on Romans 5:19; and see on Galatians 5:5; Colossians 3:3 f. Luther incorrectly joins υἱοθες. with στενάζ., which, with an accusative, means to bemoan or bewail something (Soph. Ant. 873; Oed. C. 1668; Dem. 690. 18; Eur. Suppl. 104; and often elsewhere).

τὴν ἀπολ. τ. σώμ. ἡμ.] epexegesis: (namely) the redemption of our body from all the defects of its earthly condition; through which redemption it shall be glorified into the σῶμα ἄφθαρτον similar to the glorified body of Christ (Philippians 3:21; 2 Corinthians 5:2 ff.; 1 Corinthians 15:51), or shall be raised up as such, in case of our not surviving till the Parousia (1 Corinthians 15:42 ff.). So, in substance ( τοῦ σώ΄. as gen. subj.), Chrysostom and other Fathers (in Suicer, Thes. I. p. 463), Beza, Grotius, Estius, Cornelius a Lapide, and most modern expositors. On the other hand, Erasmus, Clericus, and others, including Reiche, Fritzsche, Krehl, and Ewald, take it as: redemption from the body. This is linguistically admissible (Hebrews 9:15); we should thus have to refer it, not to death, but to deliverance from this earthly body through the reception of the immortal and glorious body at the Parousia, 1 Corinthians 15:51. But in that case Paul must have added to τοῦ σώματ. ἡμῶν a qualitative more precise definition, as in Philippians 3:21

Remark.

If we adopt the common reading ( ἀλλὰ καὶ αὐτοὶ τὴν ἀπ. τ. πν. ἔχοντες, καὶ ἡμεῖς αὐτοὶ κ. τ. λ.), which Ewald and Umbreit follow, while Rückert, Philippi, Tholuck, and Hofmann declare themselves in favour of ours (see the crit. remarks), αὐτοὶἔχοντες is understood, either as meaning the Christians of that age generally, and καὶ ἡμεῖς αὐτοί the apostles (Köllner, following Melancthon, Wolf, and many others), or Paul alone (Koppe, Reiche, Umbreit, and many others); or, the former is referred to beginners in Christianity, and the latter to those who have been Christians for a longer time (Glöckler); or, both (the latter per analepsin) are referred to the apostles (Grotius), or to the Christians (Luther, Beza, Calvin, Klee, Maier, Köster, and Frommann). The interpretation referring it to the Christians is the only right one; so that ἡμεῖς brings into more definite prominence the repeated subject. The ἔχοντες, without the article, is fatal to every reference to subjects of two sorts.


Verse 24

Romans 8:24. τῇ γὰρ ἐλπ. ἐσώθ.] Ground of the υἱοθεσίαν ἀπεκδ., so far as the υἱοθεσία is still object of expectation; for in hope we were made partakers of salvation. The dative, “non medii, sed modi” (Bengel), denotes that to which the ἐσώθ. is to be conceived as confined (Winer, p. 202) [E. T. 271], and τῇ ἐλπ. is prefixed with the emphasis of the contrast of reality; for “sic liberati sumus ut adhuc speranda sit haereditas, postea possidenda, et ut ita dicam, nunc habemus jus ad rem, nondum in re,” Melancthon. Comp. Titus 3:7; Colossians 3:3 f. Following Chrysostom, others (recently Rückert, Köllner, and de Wette) take the dative in an instrumental sense; by hope—thus assuming that Paul characterizes faith, the proper medium of salvation, as hope. Incorrectly, because in general Paul specifically distinguishes faith and hope (1 Corinthians 13:13), while he always bases salvation only on faith, from which hope thereupon proceeds (comp. Colossians 1:27); and here especially, as is shown by what follows, he brings into prominence the definite conception of hope, which as δόξα μελλόντων (Plat. Legg. I. p. 644 C) rests in the προσδοκία ἀγαθοῦ (Plat. Def. p. 416 A). Hofmann also takes τῇ ἐλπ. in the sense of the means, but so that it shall signify the benefit hoped for, the object of the waiting, which God has offered to us in the word, by which we were converted to faith (Colossians 1:5). Thus, however, the thought that we have been saved by hope (instead of by faith, Ephesians 2:8) is set aside only by the insertion of parenthetical clauses. And in Colossians 1:5, the blessing hoped for, heard of through preaching, is set forth as the ground, not of conversion or salvation, but of love.

ἐλπὶς δὲ κ. τ. λ.… ἀπεκδεχ.] is a deduction from τῇ ἐλπ. ἐσωθ., closing the first ground of encouragement, and meaning substantially: “the nature of hope, however, involves our patiently waiting for.”

βλεπομένη] But a hope ( δὲ ΄εταβατικόν) that is seen, i.e. whose object lies before the eyes (comp. on the objective ἐλπίς, Colossians 1:5; 1 Timothy 1:1; Hebrews 6:18; Thuc. iii. 57. 4; Lucian, Pisc. 3; Aeschin. ad Ctesiph. 100). Comp. 2 Corinthians 4:18.

τί καὶ ἐλπίζει;] Why doth he still hope for it? By καί is indicated the—in the supposed case groundless—accession of hope to sight (1 Corinthians 15:29). Comp. generally, on this strengthening use of the καί, etiam, in lively interrogation, Klotz, ad Devar. p. 633 f., and on 1 Cor. l.c. Bengel aptly remarks: “cum visione non est spe opus.”


Verse 25

Romans 8:25. διʼ ὑπομ.] With patience, perseveringly. Hebrews 12:1; Kühner, II. 1, p. 418.

The indicative ἀπεκδεχ., which is not, with Estius, Koppe, Köllner, and others, to be taken as exspectare debemus, does not announce the virtuous operation (Grotius), but simply the situation, which the circumstance that we hope without seeing involves. The ethical position assigned to us is, that we patiently wait for the object of our hope.


Verse 26

Romans 8:26. The second ground of encouragement (see on Romans 8:18-31), connected with the immediately foregoing by ὡσαύτως.

τὸ πνεῦμα] The objective Holy Spirit. See Romans 8:16; Romans 8:23, and what follows, where the activity of the πνεῦμα is described as something distinct from the subjective consciousness. Köllner incorrectly takes it (comp. Reiche) as: the Christian life-element; and van Hengel: “fiduciae sensus a. Sp. s. profectus.”

συναντιλ.] The συν must neither be neglected (as by many older expositors, also Olshausen), nor regarded as a mere strengthening adjunct (Rückert and Reiche). Beza gives the right explanation: “ad nos laborantes refertur.” He joins His activity with our weakness, helps it. See Luke 10:40; Exodus 18:22; Psalms 88:13.

τῇ ἀσθενείᾳ ἡμῶν] Not specially weakness in prayer (Ambrosiaster and Bengel), for in what follows there is specified only the particular mode of the help, which the Spirit renders to us in our infirmity. It is therefore to be left general: with our weakness,—so far, namely, as in that waiting for final redemption adequate power of our own for ὑπομονή fails us.

τὸ γὰρ τί προσευξ. κ. τ. λ.] Reason assigned, by specifying how the Spirit, etc.; in prayer, namely, He intercedes for us.

On τό, see Winer, p. 103 [E. T. 135]. It denotes what of praying comes into question in such a position. Comp. Krüger, Xen. Anab. iv. 4. 17.

τί προσευξ. καθὸ δεῖ] what we ought to pray for according as it is necessary, in proportion (comp. 2 Corinthians 8:12; 1 Peter 4:13) to the need. The latter is the subsequently determining element; it is not absolutely and altogether unknown to us what we ought to ask, but only what it is necessary to ask according to the given circumstances. Usually καθὸ δεῖ is taken in reference to the form of asking, like πῶς in Matthew 10:19; but thus the distinctive reference of the meaning of καθὸ, prout (comp. Plat. Soph. p. 267 D Baruch 1:6) is neglected. Chrysostom rightly illustrates the matter by the apostle’s own example, who ὑπὲρ τοῦ σκόλοπος τοῦ δεδομένου αὐτῷ ἐν τῇ σαρκί (2 Corinthians 12) had prayed for what was not granted him. According to Hofmann, καθὸ δεῖ connects itself with οὐκ οἴδαμεν, so that the thought would be: “we do not so understand as it would be necessary.” But how much too feeble in this connection would be the assertion of a merely insufficient knowledge!

ὑπερεντυγχάνει] i.e. ἐντυγχάνει ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν, He applies Himself for our benefit (counterpart of Romans 11:2), namely, τῷ θεῷ, which addition is read by Origen. The double compound is not elsewhere preserved, except in the Fathers, but it is formed after the analogy of ὑπεραποκρίνομαι, ὑπεραπολογέομαι, and many other words. The superlative rendering of it (Luther: “He intercedes for us the best”) is improbable, since ἐντυγχάνει does not already express the notion of that which is much (Romans 5:20) or triumphant (Romans 8:37; Philippians 2:9), or the like, which would admit of enhancement.

στεναγμ. ἀλαλήτοις] i.e. thereby that He makes unutterable sighs, sighs whose meaning words are powerless to convey. The idea therefore is, that the Holy Spirit sighs unutterably in our hearts (Romans 8:27), and thereby intercedes for us with God, to whom, as heart-searcher, the desire of the Spirit sighing in the heart is known. It was an erroneous view, whereby, following Augustine, Tr. VI. on John 2, most expositors, who took τὸ πν. rightly as the Holy Spirit, held the στεναγμ. ἀλαλ. to be unutterable sighs which the man, incited by the Spirit, heaves forth. The Spirit Himself (comp. also Hofmann) must sigh, if He is to intercede for us with sighs, and if God is to understand the φρόνημα of the Spirit (Romans 8:27); although the Spirit uses the human organ for His sighing (comp. the counterpart phenomenon of demons speaking or crying out of men), as He likewise does elsewhere for His speaking, Matthew 10:20. See also on Galatians 4:6. The tongue is analogously, in the case of speaking with tongues, the organ of the Spirit who speaks. The necessary explanation of the πνεῦμα as meaning the Holy Spirit, and the fact that the sighs must be His sighs, overturn the rationalizing interpretations of Reiche: “Christian feeling cherishes, indeed, the quiet longing in the heart, and therewith turns, full of confidence, to God, but nevertheless does not permit itself any inquisitive wishes towards Him;” and of Köllner: “The Spirit gained in Christ … works in man that deep and holy emotion in which man, turned towards God in his inmost feeling, cannot, in the fulness of the emotion, express his burden in words, and can only relieve his oppressed heart by silent groanings.” A mere arbitrary alteration of the simple verbal sense is to be found in the view to which Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, and others have recourse, that the Spirit is here the χάρισμα εὐχῆς, in virtue of which the human soul sighs. Comp. Theodoret, who thinks that Paul means not τὴν ὑπόστασιν τοῦ πνεύματος, but τὴν δεδομένην τοῖς πιστεύουσι χάριν· ὑπὸ γὰρ ταύτης διεγειρόμενοι κατανυττόμεθα, πυρσευόμενοι προθυμότερον προσευχόμεθα κ. τ. λ. The question whether, moreover, ἀλαλ. should, with Beza, Grotius, Wetstein, Koppe, Flatt, Glöckler, Fritzsche, Baumgarten-Crusius, Reithmayr, van Hengel, Köster, and others, be rendered unexpressed, i.e. dumb, not accompanied with words, or, with the Vulgate and the majority of commentators, inexpressible (for the expression of whose meaning words are insufficient), is decided by the fact that only the latter sense can be proved by linguistic usage, and it characterizes the depth and fervour of the sighing most directly and forcibly. Comp. also 2 Corinthians 9:15; 1 Peter 1:8.; Anth. Pal. v. 4 (Philodem. 17); Theogn. 422 (according to Stob. Serm. 36, p. 216).


Verse 27

Romans 8:27. ʼο ἐρευν. τὰς καρδ.] Traditionally hallowed (1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Kings 8:39; Psalms 7:10; Proverbs 15:11; Jeremiah 17:9 f.), description of God, bearing on the subject in hand; for it is in the heart, as in the central laboratory of the personal self-conscious life (comp. Delitzsch, Psychol. p. 254), that the praying Spirit sighs, Galatians 4:6.

ὅτι] Not for, as many think, including Tholuck, Rückert, de Wette, Philippi, Ewald, and Umbreit. What follows in fact conveys no real ground, since God would in every case know the purpose of the Spirit, and to take οἶδε in the pregnant sense: understands and hears (so Rückert, following Calvin), is utterly unjustifiable, especially after ἐρευν. κ. τ. λ. The ὅτι is rather that, annexed by way of explanation: that He, namely. Comp. Grotius, Estius, Benecke, Reiche, Fritzsche, Maier, Krehl, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bisping, Reithmayr, van Hengel, and Hofmann. See on Philippians 1:27; Philippians 2:22, al.

κατὰ θεόν] This, explained by Origen “secundum divinitatem,” does not mean: on the instigation of God (Tholuck, appealing improperly to 1 Corinthians 12:8), but: in accordance with God, i.e. so as God desires it, κατὰ γνώμην αὐτοῦ, Theodore of Mopsuestia. Comp. 2 Corinthians 7:9-10; 4 Maccabees 15:2; Plat. Apol. pp. 22 A, 23 B. The sense: in pursuance of the divine disposal, more common in classic usage (see Wetstein on the passage, and Valcken. ad Herod. iii. 153), is here foreign. Böhme, Reiche, and Fritzsche render it before God, with God (“in Deum quasi converses”). This is indeed justifiable from a linguistic point of view (Bernhardy, p. 240), comp. Wisdom of Solomon 5:1, Sirach 34:6; but how superfluous and unsuited to the emphasis of the prominent position assigned to it! With the emphasis on κατὰ θεόν it cannot appear strange that Paul has not written κατʼ αὐτόν, but has rather named the subject. Comp. Xen. Mem. i. 3. 2 : εὔχετο δέ πρὸς τοὺς θεοὺς, … ὡς τοὺς θεοὺς κὰλλιστα εἰδότας κ. τ. λ. The omission of the article, which does not render the expression adverbial (against Hofmann), establishes in the case of θεός no difference of sense (Winer, p. 115 f. [E. T. 151]).

ὑπὲρ ἁγίων] for saints, without the article because qualitative;sancti sunt et Deo propinqui et auxilio digni, pro quibus intercedit,” Bengel. On ἐντυγχ. ὑπέρ τινος, to pray for any one, see Bähr on Plut. Flamin. p. 83.


Verse 28

Romans 8:28. Third ground of encouragement; comp. on Romans 8:26.

οἴδαμεν δέ] It is known to us, however (as in Romans 8:22). This δέ is not: on the other hand, however, in contradistinction to the sighing discussed since Romans 8:22, as Hofmann thinks—a reference, that must have been marked in some way or other (at least by the stronger adversative ἀλλά). It is the usual μεταβατικόν, and carries us from the special relation discussed in Romans 8:26 f. over to a general one, the consciousness of which must finally place the good courage of the believer on a footing all the more sure.

τοῖς ἀγαπ. τ. θεόν] the dative of communion. Paul characterizes as lovers of God ( κατʼ ἐξοχ.) the true Christians (comp. 1 Corinthians 2:9; 1 Corinthians 3:8; Ephesians 6:24; James 1:12), as is plain from τοῖς κατὰ κ. τ. λ.

πάντα] everything, i.e., according to the context, all destined events, even those full of pain not excepted (Romans 8:35). On the thought, comp. Plat. Rep. p. 613 A.

συνεργεῖ] works along with, that is, contributes; βοηθεῖ, Hesychius. See Wetstein. The συν does not refer to the common working together of the elements contained in πάντα (comp. Romans 8:22), but to the idea of the fellowship in which he who supports necessarily stands to him who is supported. Comp. on Romans 8:26.

εἰς ἀγαθόν] indefinitely: for good; it works beneficially. Comp. Theogn. 161; Hom. Il. x. 102; Plat. Rep. l.c.; Sirach 39:27; Romans 13:4. Reiche erroneously takes it as: “the good of the Christians, their eternal welfare.” In that case, the article at least must have been used as in Romans 14:16; and some witnesses in reality add it. Bengel has the right view: “in bonum, ad glorificationem usque” (Romans 8:30).

τοῖς κατὰ πρόθ. κλητοῖς οὖσιν] These words may mean either ( οὖσιν as predicate, joining on): “since they are the called according to His purpose” (so Hofmann), or (taking τοῖς in conjunction with οὖσιν), as to those who (quippe qui, i.e. since they indeed) are the called according to His purpose. So usually; and this latter is the true rendering, because otherwise οὖσιν would be put not only quite superfluously, but also in a way very liable to misconception, since it would occur to every reader, at the first glance, to join τοῖς with οὖσιν. Had Paul meant what Hofmann thinks he did, he would have written simply τοῖς κ. π. κλητοῖς without οὗσιν, or possibly οἵτινές εἰσιν οἱ κ. π. κλητοί.

Respecting the idea itself, there is causally involved in the relation of being the called according to His purpose (for the emphasis rests on κλητοῖς), the certainty that to them all things, etc.; for otherwise that high distinction, which God has conferred upon them according to the purpose of His grace, would be vain and fruitless, which is impossible (Romans 8:30). The πρόθεσις here meant is the free decree formed by God in eternity for imparting bliss to believers through Christ (Romans 9:11; Ephesians 1:11; Ephesians 3:11; 2 Timothy 1:9; Ephesians 1:9). In accordance with that decree, the call of God to the Messianic salvation through the preaching of the gospel (Romans 10:14; 2 Thessalonians 2:14) has gone forth to those comprehended in that decree. Therefore, when Paul terms the Christians κλητοί, it is self-evident that in their case the call has met with success (1 Corinthians 1:24), consequently has been combined with the converting operation of the divine grace,—without the latter, however, being found in the word itself, or the word being made equivalent to ἐκλεκτοί. Comp. Lamping, Pauli de praedest. decreta, Leovard. 1858, p. 40 f. Christians are at the same time κλητοί, ἐκλεκτοί (Romans 9:11), ἅγιοι κ. τ. λ.; but the significations of these predicates correspond to different characteristic qualities of the Christian state. Consequently, just as it was quite a mistaken view to interpret πρόθεσις of the personal self-determination of the subjects (Chrysostom, Theodoret, and others), so also it was an unbiblical and hazardous distinction (see against this, Calovius) to put the called κατὰ πρόθεσιν in contrast with those who are called μὴ κατὰ πρόθ. (Augustine, Estius, Reithmayr, and others). Weiss aptly observes, in the Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theol. 1857, p. 79: “Election and calling are inseparable correlative ideas; where the one takes place, there the other takes place also; only we cannot take cognizance of the former as an act before all time and within the divine mind, while the latter becomes apparent as a historical fact.” Comp. also his bibl. Theol. p. 386 f.


Verse 29-30

Romans 8:29-30. More detailed development and expression of τοῖς κ. πρόθ. κλ. οὖσιν,—as a continued confirmation of the οἴδαμεν, ὅτι κ. τ. λ. “For this divine plan of salvation advancing from the πρόθεσις to the πλῆσις, leads the Christian safely and surely to the δόξα;” hence it is not conceivable that anything whatever, in opposition to this plan, should exercise other than a beneficial influence upon them (Romans 8:31 ff.).

προέγνω] foreknew, namely, as those who should one day, in the way of the divine plan of salvation, become σύμμορφοι τῆς εἰκόνος τ. υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ. That this character, in which they were foreknown by God, presupposes the subjection to faith (the ὑπακοὴ πίστεως, Romans 1:5), was self-evident to the Christian reader. Erasmus aptly remarks: “Non temere elegit Deus quos elegit, novit suos multo antequam vocaret.” The text merely gives the terminus of the προ in προέγνω and προώρισε quite indefinitely, namely: before their calling. More precise definitions, therefore (e.g. that of Tholuck: “before the foundation of the world,” though in itself correct, Ephesians 1:4; Ephesians 3:11), should not be here given. The taking of the πνοέγνω in the sense of prescience, demanded by the signification of the word, has been followed (though with various, and in part very arbitrary, attempts to supply that, as which the persons concerned were foreknown by God) by Origen, Chrysostom, Augustine, Ambrosiaster, Jerome, Theophylact, Oecumenius, Erasmus, Paraphr., Toletus, Calovius, and others, including Reiche, Neander, Tholuck, Reithmayr, Maier, Philippi, van Hengel, Hahn, Ewald, Weiss, and others. The question whether this exposition or the other of the pre-election (Calvin and others, including Rückert, Usteri, Köllner, de Wette, Fritzsche, Krehl, Baumgarten-Crusius, and Lamping), is the true one, cannot be got rid of by mixing up the two conceptions (Umbreit); nor is it to be decided by dogmatic presuppositions, but simply by the usage of the language, in accordance with which προγ. never in the N. T. (not even in Romans 11:2, 1 Peter 1:20) means anything else than to know before-hand (Acts 26:5; 2 Peter 3:17; Judith 9:6; Wisdom of Solomon 6:13; Wisdom of Solomon 8:8; Wisdom of Solomon 18:6). Comp. Philippi in loc., and his Glaubenslehre, IV. 1, p. 117 ff., ed. 2. That in classic usage it ever means anything else, cannot be at all proved. See, on the contrary, Hom. Cer. 258; Xen. Ap. 30; Plat. Rep. p. 426 C Theaet. p. 203 D Tim. p. 70 C Eur. Hipp. 1072; Dem. 861. 13; Lucian, Prom. 20. Comp. also πρόγνωσις and προγνωστικός. An appeal is made to the familiar use of γινώσκ. in the sense of judicial cognizance, or even of other resolutions and decisions (Herod. iv. 25, i. 74, 78; Thuc. iv. 30, iii. 99, and many other instances). But, in the first place, it is never in this sense joined with the accusative of the person without an infinitive; and secondly, there is no such precedent of usage for the compound προγινώσκειν, current as it was in Greek authors; for the few passages in which it means to take forethought about something (Thuc. ii. 64. 5; Xen. Cyr. ii. 4. 11, with a very doubtful reading) are not suitable for comparison, either as regards the sense, or as respects the union with the personal accusative in our passage. The incorrectness of this explanation is confirmed, moreover, by the analogy of the following clauses, which always add another and different idea to the one preceding. The right interpretation remains, therefore: praecognovit (Vulg. = praescivit), which, however, is neither to be altered, with Augustine, Vatablus, Grotius, Estius, and others, into approbavit jam ante, to which view also Tholuck and Rückert incline (see on Romans 7:15); nor to be taken, with Hofmann, in that sense of γινώσκειν which obtains in 1 Corinthians 8:3; 1 Corinthians 13:12, Galatians 4:9, 2 Timothy 2:19 (an appropriating cognizance of what is akin and homogeneous, according to Hofmann). The latter, to which also Delitzsch ultimately comes, Psychol. p. 39, is incorrect, because in accordance with it the πρόγνωσις would be a relation of communion already entered into actively by God, which would necessarily include the προορισμός, and consequently exclude the latter as a special and accessory act. For to suppose that Paul, with προέγνω and προώρισε, does not mean two acts following each other in succession, but asserts the former of the persons, and the latter of the character ascribed to them (Hofmann), is wholly groundless in presence of the clearly progressive description of the apostle. The right view, since faith is the subjective ground of salvation, is that held by Calovius and our older dogmatists: “quos credituros praevidit vel suscepturos vocationem.” It is God’s being aware in His plan, by means of which, before the subjects are destined by Him to salvation, He knows whom He has to destine thereto. Comp. on Romans 11:2.

καὶ προώρισε] them He destined also beforehand. To what? συμμόρφ. τῆς εἰκ. τ. υἱ. αὐτ.: to be conformed to the image of His Son, i.e. to be such as should present the image of His Son in their conformation. From the following εἰς τὸ εἶναι κ. τ. λ. it is plain that Paul here means the same which in Romans 8:23 he has designated as υἱοθεσίαν, τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν τοῦ σώματος ἡμῶν, consequently the glory to which God has predestined them, the state of the μέλλουσα δόξα (Romans 8:18), so far as this shall be the same (even in respect of the glorified body, Philippians 3:21, 1 Corinthians 15:49) as that which the exalted Christ has. Comp. 2 Corinthians 3:18, 1 John 3:2. The fellowship in suffering (Calvin, Grotius, Calovius, and others) is here remote. What Paul has in view must be the same as he denotes in Romans 8:30 by ἐδόξασε, consequently the conformitas gloriae. This very thought of the entire glorious appearance, which he means, has suggested the vivid expression συμμόρφ. τ. εἰκόνος; wherefore we are not, with Chrysostom ( ὅπερ γὰρ μονογενὴς ἦν φύσει, τοῦτο καὶ αὐτοὶ γεγόνασι κατὰ χάριν), Theophylact, Bengel, and others, to refer it to the present υἱοθεσία. Theodoret has the right view. The conformity of the inner being is not conveyed in the expression (Hofmann understands it as included), but is the moral presupposition of the glory meant.

σύμμορφος (Lucian, Amor. 39), in Philippians 3:21 with the dative, here with the genitive. See Bernhardy, p. 171; Kühner, II. 1, p. 295.

εἰς τὸ εἶναι κ. τ. λ.] Not an inferential clause (see on Romans 1:20), but—as the very notion of προώρ. embraces the purpose—the final aim of προώρ. συμμόρφ. Nor is the main thought contained in ἐν πολλ. ἀδελφ., as de Wette very arbitrarily supposes; but, on the contrary, Paul contemplates Christ as the One, to whom the divine decree referred as to its final aim. Christ was to fulfil His lofty commission not merely by standing in the relation of His glory to the Father as the μονογενής, but by being the First-born among many brethren, i.e. among many who through Him, the essential and primordial Son of God, should, as adopted υἱοὶ θεοῦ, and consequently in so far as His brethren, have attained to the same δόξα of sharing the possession of the dignity and privilege (Colossians 1:18) of the First-born. Comp. also Hebrews 1:6, and Lünemann in loc.

ἐκάλεσε] Like κλητοῖς in Romans 8:28. For those who despised the invitation to salvation conveyed to them through the preachers of the gospel did not belong to the called, whom God προέγνω and προώρισε; the following τούτους κ. ἐδικ. also presupposes that the calling has been attended with the result of the ὑπακοὴ πίστεως. Comp. on Romans 8:28. Hence the divine saving grace is to be conceived as working by means of the word on those who become called, namely, in opening and preparing the heart for the reception of the word, Acts 16:14; Philippians 1:6; Philippians 1:29; John 6:44. God has fore-known those who would not oppose to His gracious calling the resistance of unbelief, but would follow its drawing; thereafter He has fore-ordained them to eternal salvation; and when the time had come for the execution of His saving counsel, has called them, etc. (Romans 8:30). With the κλῆσις begins the execution of the προορισμός in accordance with the πρόγνωσις; and the subjects concerned are, in contrast to the multitude standing outside of this divine process of salvation, the ἐκλεκτοί (Romans 8:33).

ἐδικαίωσεν] Justification is consequently the sole ground of the glorifying; sanctification is added to it, in order that the justified may attain that goal in the way that God desires.

ἐδόξασε] Justification, as a divine act of imputation, is really (not merely ideally or in principle, in opposition to Lipsius, Rechtfert. p. 48 f.) accomplished; but the glorification falls to the future (Romans 8:21; Romans 5:2, and constantly in N. T.; comp. also 1 Corinthians 2:7, Romans 9:23). Notwithstanding, the aorist neither stands for the future nor for the present (in opposition to Köllner; see Herm. ad Viger. p. 746); nor does it express anywhere in the N. T. a habit, as Flatt thinks—against which view, in the present instance, the analogy of the preceding aorists is decisive; but it represents the de facto certainly future glorification as so necessary and certain, that it appears as if already given and completed with the ἐδικαίωσεν. “Whom He has justified, them He has—viewing the relation from its final aim—therewith also glorified.” See Herm. ad Viger. p. 747; Kühner, II. 1, p. 142. In order thus to place the glorification on the same platform of certainty with the προέγνω, προώρισε, ἐκάλεσε, and ἐδικ., Paul selected the proleptic aorist. On the other hand, the triumphant flow of the great chain of thought and the thoroughly Pauline boldness of expression (comp. on Ephesians 2:5) are misapprehended, if the act be regarded as accomplished only in the decree of God (Grotius, Reiche, and Umbreit); or if the expression be referred to the glory of God possessed “at first only inwardly and secretly” (Hofmann), or to “repute with God” (Märcker), or to the bestowal of grace and υἱοθεσία here below (Chrysostom and his followers, Ambrosiaster, Pelagius, and Erasmus), to which also van Hengel adheres, appealing to John 12:28.


Verse 31

Romans 8:31. What shall we therefore say (infer thence) with respect to these things (Romans 8:29-30)?

εἰ θεὸς κ. τ. λ.] Herewith begins a stream of triumphant questions and answers (on to Romans 8:37) which contains what we say.

The θεὸς ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν briefly sums up the divine guardianship according to the tenor of Romans 8:29-30.

τίς καθʼ ἡμῶν;] a question not of challenge (Hofmann), with which the following does not accord, but of the sure, already triumphant certainty that all hostile power must be unsuccessful and harmless for us. On εἶναι κατά τινος, comp. Sirach 6:12; Wisdom of Solomon 4:6; Plut. Nic. 21; and on the contrast of ὑπὲρ and κατά, 2 Corinthians 13:8.


Verses 31-39

Romans 8:31-39. Inference from Romans 8:29-30. So, then, the Christian has to fear nothing that might be detrimental to his salvation; but on the contrary he is, with the love of God in Christ, assured of that salvation.

This whole passage is (observe the logical relation of ὅτι in Romans 8:29, and οὖν in Romans 8:31) a commentary on Romans 8:28. And what a commentary! “Quid unquam Cicero dixit grandiloquentius?” Erasmus on Romans 8:35. Comp. Augustine, de doctr. Chr. iv. 20. A sublime ὄγκος τῆς λέξεως (Arist. Rhet. iii. 6) pervades the whole, even as respects form.


Verse 32

Romans 8:32. The answer to the foregoing question, likewise interrogative, but with all the more confidence.

ὅσγε] quippe qui, He, who indeed, brings into prominence causally the subject of what is to be said of him by πῶς κ. τ. λ. (see Baeumlein, Partik. p. 57 f.; Bornemann, ad Xen. Symp. iv. 15; Maetzn. ad Lycurg. p. 228). This causal clause is with great emphasis prefixed to the πῶς κ. τ. λ., of which it serves as the ground (the converse occurs e.g. in Xen. Mem. iv. 4. 14; Aristoph. Ran. 739).

τοῦ ἰδίου] full of significance, for the more forcible delineation of the display of love. A contrast, however, to the υἱοὺς θετούς (Theophylact, Pareus, Wetstein, Tholuck, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, Fritzsche, Philippi) is not. implied in the text. Comp., rather, Romans 8:3 : τὸν ἑαυτοῦ υἱόν.

οὐκ ἐφείσατο] Comp. Romans 11:21; 2 Corinthians 13:2; 2 Peter 2:4-5; frequent also in classic authors. “Deus paterno suo amori quasi vim adhibuit,” Bengel. The prevalence of the expression, as also the fact that Paul has not written τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀγαπητοῦ, makes the assumption of an allusion to Genesis 22:12 seem not sufficiently well founded (Philippi, Hofmann, and many older commentators). The juxtaposition of the negative and positive phrases, οὐκ ἐφ., ἀλλʼπαρέδ., enhances the significance of the act of love. On παρέδωκεν (unto death), comp. Romans 4:25. σὺν αὐτῷ: with Him who, given up for us, has by God’s grace already become ours. Thus everything else stands to this highest gift of grace in the relation of concomitant accessory gift.

πῶς οὐχὶ καὶ] how is it possible that He should not also with Him, etc.? The καὶ belongs, not to πῶς οὐχί (Philippi), but to σὺν αὐτῷ; comp. Romans 3:29; 1 Corinthians 9:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:19. The inference is a majori ad minus. “Minus est enim vobis omnia cum illo donare, quam ilium nostri causa morti tradere,” Ambrosiaster. Comp. Chrysostom.

τὰ πάντα] the whole, of what He has to bestow in accordance with the aim of the surrender of Jesus; that is, not “the universe of things” (Hofmann), the κληρονομία of the world, which is here quite foreign, but, in harmony with the context, Romans 8:26-30 : the collective saving blessings of His love shown to us in Christ. This certainty of the divine relation toward us, expressed by πῶς κ. τ. λ., excludes the possibility of success on the part of human adversaries.


Verse 33

Romans 8:33 ff. It is impossible that this σὺν αὐτῷ τὰ πάντα ἡμῖν χαρίσεται should be frustrated, either on the side of God, with whom no accusation of His elect can have the result of their condemnation (Romans 8:33, down to κατακρίνων in Romans 8:34), or on that of Christ, whose death, resurrection, etc., afford the guarantee that nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:34, χριστὸς ἀποθανὼν, on to Romans 8:36). In the analysis of this swelling effusion we must return to the method for which Origen, Chrysostom, Theodoret, and other Fathers paved the way, and which Erasmus followed: namely, that to the question τίς ἐγκαλέσει κ. τ. λ. the answer is: θεὸς δικαιῶν· τίς κατακρίνων; and then follows, moulded in similar form to that answer, the expression, passing over from God to Christ, χριστὸςἡμῶν· τίς ἡμᾶς χωρίσει κ. τ. λ.; so that after δικαιῶν, and also after ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν, only a colon is to be inserted. Who shall raise accusation against the elect of God? Answer, in a boldly triumphant counter-question,

God is the justifier, who the condemner? (there is consequently no one there to condemn, and every accusation is without result! Comp. Isaiah 50:8.) And as regards Christ: Christ is He that has died, yea rather also has risen again, who also is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us: who shall separate us from the love of Christ? This view (followed also by van Hengel, but by Hofmann only with respect to the first portion as far as κατακρίνων), though abandoned by nearly all modern expositors, is corroborated by its entire accordance with the sense, by the harmony of the soaring rhetorical form, and by its freedom from those insuperable difficulties which beset the modes of division that differ from it. Of the latter, two in particular fall to be considered. 1. Luther, Castalio, Beza, Calvin, Grotius, Wolf, and many others, including Ammon, Tholuck, Flatt, Fritzsche, Philippi, Reithmayr, and Ewald, take θεὸς δικαιῶν as affirmative answer to τίς ἐγκαλέσει κ. τ. λ.; then τίς κατακρίνων as a new question, and as the affirmative answer thereto: χριστὸς ἀποθανὼν κ. τ. λ., thus: Who shall accuse, etc.? God is the justifier (consequently no accuser shall succeed). Who is the condemner? Christ is He that has died, etc. (so that He cannot, therefore, condemn us in judgment). But against this view it may be urged, (a) that θεὸς δικαιῶν and τίς κατακρινῶν are, as regards both substance ( δικαιῶν and κατακριν.) and form (Paul has not written τίς κατακρινεῖ to correspond with τίς ἐγκαλέσει), correlative, and therefore may not, without arbitrariness, be separated; (b) that in Romans 8:34 Christ is not at all described as a judge, which would be in keeping with the κατακρινῶν, but, on the contrary, as redeemer and intercessor; (c) that, if τίς ἐγκαλέσει is at once disposed of by θεὸς δικαιῶν, it must be already quite self-evident that there can be no κατακρίνων, and consequently τίς κατακ., as a new question, would be something superfluous and out of keeping with so compressed an utterance of emotion; (d) and, finally, that in the entire context there is no mention of the last judgment. 2. The theory, that came into vogue after Augustine, doctr. Chr. iii. 3, and Ambrosiaster (adopted in modern times by Koppe, Reiche, Köllner, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, de Wette, and Maier, also by Griesbach and Lachmann; Tholuck is undecided), consists in supplying ἐγκαλέσει with θεὸς δικαιῶν, and taking it as a question, and dealing in a corresponding manner with χριστὸςἡμῶν also: Who shall accuse? Shall God do so, who justifies? Who shall condemn? Shall Christ do so, who has died, etc.? But against this view it suffices to urge the decisive reason, that to conceive of God as accuser (before Christ) is destitute of scriptural analogy, and could not at all have occurred to the apostle. Hofmann takes χριστὸςἐντυγχ. ὑπὲρ ἡμ. as a question with two dissimilar relative adjuncts, of which the first declares how it was possible, after the question τίς κατακρ., to subjoin the further question, whether it might not be feared with regard to Christ that He should condemn where God acquits; while the second shows the impossibility of such a fear. But this artificial interpretation, in connection with which the first and second καὶ (see the critical remarks) are condemned as not genuine and this condemnation is acutely turned to account, fails, so far as the substance is concerned, on the very ground that the thought of its being possible perhaps for Christ to condemn where God acquits would be an absurd idea, which could not occur to a Christian consciousness; and, so far as form is concerned, on the ground that the second relative clause is annexed to the first with entire similarity, and therefore does not warrant our explaining it, as if Paul, instead of ὃς καὶ ἐντ., should have written ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐντ.

In detail, observe further: The designation of Christians in Romans 8:33 as ἐκλεκτοὶ θεοῦ is selected as having a special bearing on the matter, and renders palpable at once the fruitlessness of every ἔγκλησις; while θεός coming immediately after θεοῦ has rhetorical emphasis.

κατὰ ἐκλ. θεοῦ] i.e. against those whom God has chosen out of the κόσμος (John 17:6) to be members of His Messianic peculiar people to be made blessed for Christ’s sake, according to His eternal decree (Ephesians 1:4); comp. on Romans 8:30. This is the Christian conception (comp. 1 Peter 2:9) of the Old Testament ἐκλεκτ. (Psalms 105:43; Psalms 106:5; Isaiah 42:1; Isaiah 65:9; Wisdom of Solomon 3:9, al.). The elect constitute the Israel of God, Galatians 6:16. Regarding the genitive θεοῦ ( ἐκλ. is used quite as a substantive; comp. Colossians 3:12; Matthew 24:31 al.), see Fritzsche, Diss. II. p. 31; Pflugk, ad Eur. Hec. 1135. The absence of the article (comp. Romans 8:27) in the case of ἐκλ. θεοῦ brings out the quality of the persons.

The predicates of Christ in Romans 8:34—under which His death is to be conceived as an atoning death, His rising again as having taken place διὰ τὴν δικαίωσιν ἡμῶν (Romans 4:25), and His being at the right hand of God as personal participation in the government of the world (Ephesians 1:20, Colossians 3:1, al.; comp. also Dissen, ad Pindar. Fragm. xi. 9) in the heavenly dwelling-place of the Father’s glory (see on Matthew 6:6)—exclude the possibility of any one separating us from the love of Christ. For, as regards His past, He has proved by His death the abundance of His love (Romans 5:6 f.; Ephesians 3:18 f.), and this demonstration of His love has been divinely confirmed by His resurrection; and as regards His present, through His sitting at the right hand of God He possesses the power to do for His own whatever His love desires, and through His intercession He procures for them every protection and operation of grace from the Father (Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 9:24; 1 John 2:1). But this intercession (comp. Romans 8:26 f.) is the continuous bringing to bear of His work of atonement, completed by His ἱλαστήριον, on the part of Christ in His glory with the Father; which we are to conceive of as real and—in virtue of the glorified corporeity of the exalted Christ, as also in virtue of the subordination in which He even as σύνθρονος stands to the Father—as request properly so called ( ἔντευξις) through which the “continuus quasi vigor” (Gerhard) of redemption takes place. Comp. John 14:16. There has been much dogmatic and philosophical explaining away of this passage on the part of systematists and exegetes. Some apt observations are to be found in Düsterdieck on 1 John 2:1, who nevertheless, without assigning his exegetical grounds, calls in question that the intercession is vocalis et oralis. As such, however, it must be conceived, because it is made by the glorified God-man; though the more special mode in which it takes place is withdrawn from the cognizance of our earthly apprehension. Comp. Philippi, Glaubensl. IV. 2, p. 336, ed. 2.

μᾶλλον δὲ is the imo vero, vel potius, by which the speaker amends his statement (see on Galatians 4:9); for what would Christ’s having died have been of itself? how could it have been to us the bond and the security of His love against all distresses, etc., Romans 8:35 f., if the divine resurrection had not been added to it? Paul therefore appends to the bare ἀποθανών, by way of correction: imo vero etiam resuscitatus, in which the καὶ, also, signifies: non solum mortuus, sed etiam resusc.; comp. Ephesians 5:11. It is thus clear that (contrary to Hofmann’s view) this καί was quite essential and indispensable; for it was not the ἀποθανών itself, but its having been mentioned alone, and without the resurrection belonging to it, that needed correction. It is, moreover, self-evident that all this application of the corrective expression is here merely of a formal nature, serving to bring into marked prominence the two elements in their important correlation.

The ὃς καὶ occurring twice has a certain solemnity.

Romans 8:35. τίς] Paul puts the question by τίς, not τί, in conformity with the parallel τίς κατακρίνων. The circumstance that he subsequently specifies states and things, not persons—which, however, naturally suggest themselves to the conception of the reader—cannot lead any one astray, least of all in such a bold flight of rhetoric.

ἀπὸ τῆς ἀγάπ. τ. χριστοῦ] Most expositors take τοῦ χ. (comp. Ephesians 3:19) as genitive of the subject, and rightly, because this view was already prepared for by Romans 8:34 (in which the great acts of Christ’s love toward us are specified), and is confirmed by Romans 8:37 ( διὰ τοῦ ἀγαπ. ἡμᾶς), and by Romans 8:39, where the ἀγάπη τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν χριστῷ comes in the place of the ἀγάπη τοῦ χ. This excludes the interpretation of others, who understand it of the love to Christ (Origen, Ambrosiaster, Erasmus, Majus, Heumann, Morus, Köllner, and Ewald). Köllner’s objections to our view do not touch its true sense, since the point in question is not a possible interruption of the love of Christ to us, nor yet the hindering of our access to it (Philippi), but a possible separation from the love of Christ (that helps to victory, Romans 8:37) through hindrances intervening between it and us, which might nullify its manifestation and operation upon us and might thus dissolve our real fellowship with it. It was therefore very unwarranted in de Wette (comp. Calvin, Rückert, and Tholuck) to convert, in accordance with Romans 5:5, the love of Christ into “the joyful feeling of being loved by Christ,” which Romans 8:37 does not permit, where manifestly the aid of the exalted Christ, who has loved us (comp. Matthew 28:20; Philippians 4:13), is meant.


Verse 36

Romans 8:36. The marks of parenthesis are to be expunged, because the construction is unbroken, and ἀλλʼ ἐν τούτ. πᾶσιν in Romans 8:37 refers to Romans 8:35 and Romans 8:36. On the accumulation of designations that follows, comp. 2 Corinthians 6:4 f.; and on the so frequently repeated , Xen. Mem. i. 1. 7, Soph. O. C. 251. By way of scriptural proof for the most extreme element mentioned, for μάχαιρα, Paul quotes a passage, in accordance with which even the slaying sword has here its place already prophetically indicated beforehand. In Ps. 43:24 (quoted exactly from the LXX.), where the historical meaning refers to the daily massacres of Jews in the time of the Psalmist (in an age after the exile, but not so late as the Maccabean), he recognises a type of the analogous fate awaiting the Christian people of God, as their sacred-historic destiny. κατάλληλος τοῖς προκειμένοις μαρτυρία· ἐκ προσώπου γὰρ ἀνδρῶν εἴρηται τὸν αὐτὸν ἐσχηκότων σκοπόν, Theodoret. Therein lies the justification of this typical view. But since our passage specially mentions only the being put to death and the slaying, we have no right to make the reference which Paul gives to them extend, with Hofmann, to the treatment in general which the Christians should have to experience, instead of leaving it limited to μάχαιρα.

ὅτι] for. A part of the quotation, without relevant reference to the connection in our passage.

ἕνεκεν σοῦ] There is no reason whatever for departing, with Köllner (comp. Hofmann), from the reference of the original text to God, and referring σοῦ to Christ. For, in the first place, the probative point of the quotation does not lie in ἕνεκεν σοῦ (but in θανατ. and ἐλογ. ὡς πρόβ. σφ.); and in the second place, the very massacres of the Christians took place on account of God, because they continued faithful to Him in Christ, while the denial of Christ would have been a denial of God, who had sent Him. Hence martyrdom was regarded as a δοξάζειν θανάτῳ τὸν θεόν (John 21:19).

ὅλην τὴν ἡμ.] Not quotidie (Castalio, Grotius, and Glöckler); Paul follows the LXX., who thus translate כָּל־הַיּוֹם. It means: the whole day (comp. Romans 10:21; Isaiah 62:6; Exodus 10:13; 1 Samuel 19:24; 1 Maccabees 5:50) are we murdered, so that at every time of the day murder is committed upon us (now on this one, now on that one of us); it ceases not the livelong day. And this is the consequence of the fact, that we have been counted (aorist) as sheep for the slaughter, reckoned like sheep destined for slaughter.


Verse 37

Romans 8:37. But in all this—namely, what is specified in vers. 35 and 36—we conquer, etc. This ἀλλὰ does not break off an incomplete sentence (Hofmann), but is rather the simple antithetic at, but, whatever sufferings and dangers may await us.

ὑπερνικ.] We gain a victory that is more than victory; we are over-victorious. Luther well renders: “we overcome far.” Comp. Romans 5:20. It does not involve more than this; neither the easiness of the victory (Chrysostom, Theophylact), nor the “in cruce etiam gloriamur” (Beza), which is rather the consequence of this victory; for a sublime testimony to the latter, see 2 Corinthians 4:8-11. In the ancient Greek ὑπερνικ. is not extant, but it occurs in Socr. H. E. iii. 21, Leo Tact. xiv. 25, although in a derogatory sense ( νικᾶν μὲν καλόν, ὑπερνικᾶν δὲ ἐπίφθονον). Nevertheless there is contained in our passage also a holy arrogance of victory, not selfish, but in the consciousness of the might of Christ.

διὰ τοῦ ἀγαπ. ἡμᾶς] He who hath loved us is the procurer of this our victory, helps us to it by His power. Comp. esp. 2 Corinthians 12:9. That it is not God (Chrysostom, Estius, Grotius, Bengel, and others, including Reiche, Köllner, Olshausen, and van Hengel) that is meant, but Christ (Rückert, de Wette, Philippi, Tholuck, Ewald, and Hofmann), follows, not indeed from Philippians 4:13, but from the necessary reference to τίς ἡμ. χωρ. ἀπὸ τ. ἀγ. τ. χ. in Romans 8:35; for Romans 8:37 contains the opposite of the separation from the love of Christ.

ἀγαπής.] denotes the act of love κατʼ ἐξοχήν, which Christ accomplished by the sacrifice of His life. This reference was self-evident to the consciousness of the readers. Comp. Romans 5:6; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 5:2; Ephesians 5:25.


Verse 38-39

Romans 8:38-39. Paul now confirms what he had said in Romans 8:37 by the enthusiastic declaration of his conviction that no power, in whatever shape it may exist or be conceived of, etc. For the singular πέπεισμαι there is as little necessity for seeking a special reason (Hofmann, e.g., thinks that Paul wished to justify the confidence, with which he had expressed Romans 8:37) as in the case of λογίζομαι in Romans 8:18, especially as Romans 8:37 contains only the simple assertion of a state of fact, and not a how of that assertion.

The following expressions ( θάνατος κ. τ. λ.) are to be left in the generality of their sense, which is, partly in itself and partly through the connection, beyond doubt; every arbitrary limitation is purely opposed to the purpose of declaring everything—everything possible—incapable of separating the believers from the love of God in Christ. Hence: οὔτε θάνατος οὔτε ζωή: neither death nor life, as the two most general states, in which man can be. We may die or live: we remain in the love of God. The mention of death first was occasioned very naturally by Romans 8:36. It is otherwise in 1 Corinthians 3:22. Grotius (following Chrysostom and Jerome, ad Aglas. 9) imports the idea: “metus mortis; spes vitae,” which Philippi also regards as a “correct paraphrase of the sense.”

οὔτε ἄγγελοι οὔτε ἀρχαί] Neither angels (generally) nor (angelic) powers (in particular). ἄγγ. is, with Chrysostom, Theophylact, Beza, Tholuck, Philippi, Fritzsche, Hofmann, and others, to be understood of good angels, because the wicked are never termed ἄγγελοι without some defining adjunct (Matthew 25:41; 2 Corinthians 12:7; 2 Peter 2:4; comp. Jude 1:6). The objection repeated by Reiche (who, with Clemens Alexandrinus, Toletus, Grotius, Estius, and others, understands it of wicked angels), that an attempt on the part of the good angels to separate Christians from God is inconceivable, does not hold, since, according to Galatians 1:8, the case of such an attempt falling within the sphere of possibility could certainly be—not believed, but—conceived ex hypothesi by Paul. Theophylact already aptly says: οὐχ ὡς τῶν ἀγγέλων ἀφιστώντων τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ἀπὸ χριστοῦ, ἀλλὰ καθʼ ὑπόθεσιν τὸν λόγον τιθείς. Against the view that ἄγγ. denotes good and wicked angels (Wolf, Bengel, Koppe, and van Hengel), the linguistic usage is likewise decisive, since according to it the absolute ἀγγ. signifies nothing else than simply good angels. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 4:9.

ἀρχαί] obtains, through its connection with ἀγγ., its definite reference to particular powers in the category of angels—those invested with power in the angelic world. Paul recognises a diversity of rank and power in the angelic hierarchy (of the good and the wicked), and finds occasion, especially in his later epistles, to mention it (Colossians 1:16; Ephesians 1:21; 1 Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 2:15); without, however (comp. on Ephesians 1:21), betraying any participation in the fluctuating definitions of the later Jews. See, respecting these definitions, Bartolocci, Bibl. rabb. I. p. 267 ff.; Eisenmenger, entdecktes Judenthum, II. p. 370 ff. Olearius, Wetstein, Loesner, Morus, Rosenmüller, Flatt, and Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 460, refer ἀρχ. to human ruling powers; van Hengel to “principatus quoslibet.” Against these its connection with ἀγγ. is decisive, because no contrast is suggested of non-angelic powers. Just as little, because without any trace in the text, are we to understand with Hofmann the ἀρχαί, in contrast to the good God-serving ἄγγελοι, as spirits “that in self-will exercise a dominion, with which they do not live to the service of God,” i.e. as evil spirits.

οὔτε ἐνεστῶτα οὔτε μέλλοντα] neither that which has set in nor that which is future. Comp. 1 Corinthians 3:22. Quite general, and not to be limited to sufferings (Vatablus, Grotius, Flatt, and others). ἐνεστ., however, does not absolutely coincide with the idea things present (as it is usually taken), which is in itself linguistically possible, but is never the case in the N. T. (see on Galatians 1:4); but it denotes rather what is in the act of having set in, has already begun (and μελλ. that, the emergence of which is still future). So, according to Galatians 1:4; 1 Corinthians 3:22; 1 Corinthians 7:26; 2 Thessalonians 2:2. Aptly rendered by the Vulgate: “instantia.” Comp. Lucretius, i. 461: “quae res instet, quid porro deinde sequatur.”

οὔτε δυνάμεις] nor powers; to be left in its utmost generality, personal and impersonal (Hofmann arbitrarily limiting it to the latter). The common interpretation, angelic powers, would be correct, if its position after ἀρχαί were right; but see the crit. remarks. The incongruity of the apparent isolation of this link vanishes on observing that Paul, in his enumeration, twice arranges the elements in pairs ( θάνατοςἀρχαι), and then twice again in threes (viz. οὔτε ἐνεστ. οὔτε μέλλ. οὔτε δυνάμ., and οὔτε ὓψω΄α οὔτε βάθος οὔτε τίς κτίσις ἑτέρα), and the latter indeed in such a way, that to the two that stand contrasted he adds a third of a general character.

οὔτε ὓψω΄α οὔτε βάθος] neither height nor depth; likewise without any alteration or limitation of the quite general sense of the words. No dimension of space can separate us, etc. Arbitrary definitions are given: heaven and hell or the nether world (Theodoret, Bengel, Wetstein, Michaelis, Klee, Baumgarten-Crusius, Ewald, and Hofmann); heaven and earth (Fritzsche; comp. Theophylact, Morus, and Flatt); the height of bliss and the depth of misery (Koppe); spes honorum and metus ignominiae (Grotius, Rosenmüller); sapientia haereticorum and communes vulgi errores (Melancthon); neque altitudo, ex qua quis minaretur praecipitium, neque profundum, in quo aliquis minaretur demersionem (Thomas Aquinas, Anselm, Estius).

οὔτε τίς κτίσις ἑτέρα] nor any other created thing whatever, covers all not yet embraced in the foregoing elements; and thus the idea of “nothing in the world in the shape of a creature” is fully exhausted. The attempt to bring the collective elements named in their consecutive order under definite logical categories leads to artificialities of exposition, which ought not to be applied to such enthusiastic outbursts of the moment.

Instead of τῆς ἀγ. τοῦ χριστοῦ (Romans 8:35), Paul now says, τῆς ἀγ. τοῦ θεοῦ τῆς ἐν χ. ., not thereby expressing something different, but characterizing the love of Christ (toward us) as the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. The love of Christ, namely, is nothing else than the love of God Himself, which has its seat and place of operation in Christ. God is the original fountain, Christ the constant organ and mediating channel of one and the same love; so that in Christ is the love of God, and the love of Christ is the love of God in Christ. Comp. Romans 5:6; Romans 5:8.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Romans 8:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/romans-8.html. 1832.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, July 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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