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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
Romans 6

 

 

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Verse 1

Romans 6:1. ἐπιμενοῦμεν; shall we continue?) Hitherto he treated of the past and the present: now he proceeds to treat of the future; and the forms of expression are suited to those, which immediately precede, whilst he speaks respecting the ‘abounding’ of grace. In this passage the continuing in sin is set before us; in the 15th verse, the going back to sin, which had been overcome. The man, who has obtained grace, may turn himself hither or thither. Paul in this discussion turns his back on sin.


Verse 2

Romans 6:2. ἀπεθάνομεν, we are dead) in baptism and justification.


Verse 3

Romans 6:3. ) Or? [‘an,’ Latin. The second part of] a disjunctive interrogation.— ἀγνοεῖτε, know ye not?) The doctrine concerning baptism was known to all. The same form of expression occurs again ch. Romans 7:1. to which the phrase, know ye not? corresponds, Romans 6:16; Romans 11:2 [Wot ye not?] and 1 Cor. throughout. Ignorance is a great obstruction; knowledge is not sufficient.(55)ὄσοι, whosoever) [as many soever]. No one of the Christians was by that time unbaptized.— ἐβαπτίσθημεν, were baptized) The mentioning of Baptism is extremely well suited to this place; for the adult, being a worthy candidate for Baptism, must have passed through the experience of these things, which the apostle has hitherto been describing. Paul in his more solemn epistles, sent to the churches (Rom. Cor. Gal. Eph. Col.), at the beginning of which he calls himself an apostle, mentions Baptism expressly; in the more familiar (Phil. Thess.) he presupposes it.— εἰς) into. The ground on which we are baptized.— χριστὸν ἰησοῦν, Christ Jesus) The name Christ is here put first, because it is more regarded here, Romans 6:4, Galatians 3:27.— εἰς τὸν θάνατον αὐτοῦ, into His death) He who is baptized puts on Christ, the second Adam; he is baptized, I say, into a whole Christ, and so also into His death, and it is the same thing as if, at that moment, Christ suffered, died, and was buried for such a man, and as if such a man suffered, died, was buried with Christ.


Verse 4

Romans 6:4. συνετάφημεν, we were buried with Him) The fruits of the burial of Christ. Immersion in baptism, or at least the sprinkling of water upon the person, represents burial, burial is a confirmation of [facit ratam] death.— εἰς, into) Construed with baptism, with which comp. Romans 6:3.— ὥσπεροὕτω, as—so) An abbreviated expression for,(56) As Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we should also rise, and as Christ reigns for ever in the glory of the Father, and in that life to which He has risen, so we also should walk in newness of life.— διὰ, by) By concerning the Father is also found at 1 Corinthians 1:9.— τῆς δόξης, the glory) δόξα is the glory of the divine life, of incorruptibility, ch. Romans 1:23, of the power and virtue, by which both Christ was raised, and we are restored to a new life, and are conformed to God, Ephesians 1:19, etc.— ἐν καινότητι, in newness) Ch. Romans 7:6; 2 Corinthians 5:15, etc. This newness consists in life.


Verse 5

Romans 6:5. σύμφυτοι) LXX. βουνὸς σύμφυτος, δρυμὸς σύμφυτος, a planted hill, a planted forest, Amos 9:13; Zechariah 11:2, and on this account ὁμοιώματι here may be taken in the ablative. But Hesychius has σύμφυτον, συμπορευόμενον, συνόν, and so σύμφυτ with the dative is a word very significant; comp. Romans 6:4; Romans 6:6. Cluverus translates it, engendered together [connaturati, endowed with the same nature together] grown together(57).) All spiritually quickening power is in Christ, and that power has been conferred upon [brought together into] baptism; σὺν is used [in the compound σύ΄φυτοι], as in the opposite word συνεσταυρώθη; and the simple [root] word φύο΄αι refers to θάνατον, and ἀνάστασιν.— ἀλλὰ, but) The contrast is between death and the resurrection.— τῆς) that is, τῷ ὁ΄οιώ΄ατι τῆς ἀναστάσεως, in the likeness of His resurrection.— ἐσόμεθα) scil. σύ΄φυτοι, we shall be, viz. planted in a new life. The future, see ch. Romans 5:19.


Verse 6

Romans 6:6. ἄνθρωπος, man) The abstract for the concrete, as in ch. Romans 7:22, and in many other places.— ἵνατοῦ μηκέτι) The particles should be carefully noticed; as also the three synonymous nouns, and the verbs added to them.— καταργηθῇ, may be destroyed) may be stripped of its dominion [Romans 6:14].— τὸ σῶμα τῆς ἁμαρτίας, the body of sin) the mortal body, abounding in sin and lusts, etc., Romans 6:12, so the body of death, ch. Romans 7:24, note.


Verse 7

Romans 6:7. ἀποθανὼν, dead) to sin, Romans 6:2.— δεδιχαίωται, [is freed from sin] is justified) Sin has now no longer any claim against him in law; with which comp. Romans 6:6; Romans 6:9, so that he is no longer a debtor, ch. Romans 8:12. In respect of the past, he is justified [just] from the guilt of sin; in respect of the future, from its dominion, Romans 6:14.


Verse 8

Romans 6:8. ἐι, if) The Apodosis falls principally on the verb, we shall live with.


Verse 9

Romans 6:9. εἰδότες, knowing) This word depends on, we believe.— θάνατος, death) without the article, any kind of death.— οὖκ ἔτι, no more) Death never had dominion over Christ, but yet it had assailed Him, Acts 2:24; and if it had held Him, it might have been said to have had dominion over Him; which God forbid. Paul was unwilling to say here, βασιλεύει, reigneth.


Verse 10

Romans 6:10. , in that) This has more force than , in that.— τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ, to sin) The dative of disadvantage, as in Romans 6:11. Sin had been cast upon Christ, but Christ abolished it by His death for us; He truly died.— ἐφάπαξ) This has a stronger meaning in this passage than ἅπαξ. So Hebrews 7:27, and ἅπαξ, 1 Peter 3:18.— ζῇ τῷ θεῷ) He lives to God, a glorious life derived from God, Romans 6:4 [raised up—by the glory of the Father] full of divine vigour, lasting for ever. For God is the God of the living.


Verse 11

Romans 6:11. λογίζεσθε, you reckon) The indicative; for the imperative begins in the following verse. So λογιζόμεθα, Romans 3:28 [we conclude that a man is justified by faith, etc.] Whatever is the standing in which every one is, in and according to that standing he ought to account himself.(58)εἶναι) is omitted by a few copies, but they are ancient. Baumgarten adopts this reading—I consider it doubtful.(59)ἐν, in) It is construed with alive, nay even with dead too: So Romans 6:8, only that the prepositions with [ σὺν, Romans 6:8] and by, ch. Romans 7:4 [ διὰ, by the body of Christ] are rather used in that connection.— τῷ κυρίῳ ὑμῶν) See Appendix. crit. Ed. II. on this passage.(60)


Verse 12

Romans 6:12. ΄ὴ, not) Refer the ἀλλὰ but [yield yourselves unto God, Romans 6:13] to μὴ, not [here]: and refer καὶ τὰ μέλη, and your members, etc., to μηδὲ, neither [both in Romans 6:13] [There is a remarkable force in this dehortation on the one hand and exhortation on the other, V. g.]— μὴ οὖν βασιλευέτω, let not sin therefore reign) The same verb occurs in ch. Romans 5:21. A synonymous term in Romans 6:9. It is a correlative of serve, Romans 6:6.— θνητῷ, mortal) For you, who are now alive, are become alienated from your body, ch. Romans 8:10.— αὐτῃ ἐν) This savours somewhat of a paraphrase. Baumgarten and I, as usual, hold each his own opinion, as to the mode of interpreting this passage.— ἐν ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις αὐτοῦ, in its lusts) viz. σώματος, of the body. The bodily appetites are the fuel; sin is the fire.


Verse 13

Romans 6:13. ΄ηδὲ παριστάνετε) neither yield ye. The first aor. παραστήσατε, which occurs presently, has greater force than this present.— τὰ μέλη ὑμῶν· ἑαυτοὺς καὶ τὰ μέλη, your members; yourselves and your members) First, the character of the Christian is brought under consideration; secondly, His actions and duties. Man, who is dead in sin, could not, with propriety, be said to yield HIMSELF [Sistere seipsum, to present himself] to sin: but the man, who is alive, may yield [present] himself to God.— ὄπλα, arms) [instruments] a figurative expression, derived from war, as wages, Romans 6:23.— ἀδικίας, of unrighteousness) which is opposed to the righteous will of God.— τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ, to sin) Sin is here considered as a tyrant.— παραστήσατε [yield] present) as to a king.— ἐκ νεκρῶν, from the dead) The Christian is alive from the dead. He had been dead, he is now alive. Comp. Ephesians 5:14, note, Revelation 3:1-3. Sleep, too, in these passages, is the image of death.— δικαιοσύνης, of righteousness) The antithetic word is ἀδικίας, of unrighteousness.


Verse 14

Romans 6:14. οὐ κυριεύσει, Shall not have dominion) Sin has neither the right nor the power; it will not force men to become slaves to it against their will.— ὑπὸ νόμον, under the law) Sin has dominion over him, who is under the law.


Verse 15

Romans 6:15. ὑπὸ, under) ch. Romans 7:2; Romans 7:14.


Verse 16

Romans 6:16. δούλους, servants) Servitude is here denoted, from which obedience follows as a consequence.— δοῦλοι, servants) The state of servitude, which follows as the consequence of obedience, is signified, 2 Peter 2:19.— εἰς, unto) εἰς, unto, occurs twice in this verse, and in both cases it depends on servants.— ὑπακοῆς, of obedience) Obedience, used absolutely, is taken in a good sense. Righteousness, too, promptly claims as her own, those who act obediently to her.— εἰς δικαιοσύνην, unto righteousness) Supply, and of righteousness unto life: as appears from the antithesis [death], with which comp. the similar antithesis, Romans 6:20; Romans 6:22; Romans 3:20, note.


Verse 17

Romans 6:17. χάρις δὲ τῷ θεῷ, but God be thanked) This is an idiom peculiar to Paul, who usually expresses categorical propositions, not categorically and nakedly, but, as it were, with some modifying qualification, i.e., with an intimation of affection, thanksgiving, prayerful wish for them, etc.—1 Corinthians 14:18; 2 Timothy 2:7, note. The enthymeme(61) of this passage stands thus: you were the servants of sin; but now you have become obedient to righteousness: but there is added the moral mode(62) or moral sentiment, God be thanked, that though ye were the servants of sin, ye have now obeyed righteousness. This mode, however, in this place, implies this also, that this is the blessed state of the Romans, which they ought by all means to maintain. This observation will clearly bring out the meaning of the apostle’s language in many passages, and will show the ardour that was within his breast.— ὃτι, that) so that, with indeed, to be understood, John 3:19.(63)δοῦλοι, servants) especially in heathenism.— ἐκ καρδίας, from the heart) The truth and efficacy of the Christian religion [lies in its having its root in the heart.] Wicked men cannot be altogether wicked with their whole heart, but even unconsciously and continually repent of their past conduct, and of their slavery to sin; but good men are good from the heart, and without constraint. [It is not any doctrine of men, but the doctrine of God alone, which takes by storm (takes complete possession of) the human heart.—V. g.]— εἰς ὃν) This is the explanation ὑπηκούσατε εἰς τύπον διδαχῆς or εἰς ὃν παρεδόθητε, comp. εἰς, Galatians 1:6; you were obedient to [with respect to, towards] the form of doctrine (comp. εἰς πάντα ὑπήκοοι, obedient in all things, 2 Corinthians 2:9) unto which you were delivered (which was delivered to you). The case of the relative, expressed in abbreviated form,(64) depends on the word preceding, ch. Romans 4:17, or following ch. Romans 10:14.— παρεδόθητε, you were delivered) Elsewhere the doctrine is said to be delivered. That phrase is here elegantly inverted, and is a very graceful expression respecting those who, when freed from sin, devote and yield [present] themselves, Romans 6:16, with a great change of masters, to the honourable service of righteousness.— τύπον, form) a very beautiful term, Exodus 25:40. The form meant is the ‘form’ of Christ, Galatians 4:19.— διδαχῆς, of doctrine) That rule and standard, to which the servant conforms himself, is merely shown to him by the doctrine; he does not need to be urged by constraint.


Verse 18

Romans 6:18. ἐλευθερωθέντες, being made free) It will be of use to have this connected view of the plan of the apostle, up to the point which it has now reached:—

From this view, it is evident why Paul, in proving justification by faith alone, against those who are in doubt or error, makes frequent mention of the gift of the Holy Spirit, and of the other things, which follow as the consequences of justification. As righteousness flows from faith; adoption [sonship] accompanies righteousness; the gift of the Holy Spirit, with the cry, Abba, Father, and with newness of life, follows upon adoption; but faith and righteousness are not in themselves clearly perceived by sense; whereas the gift of the Holy Ghost produces very conspicuous and prominent [standing out palpable] effects; comp. [God] bare them witness [giving them the Holy Ghost] Acts 15:8. Farther, the surpassing excellence of these fruits, most effectually proves the worthlessness of men’s works.


Verse 19

Romans 6:19. ἀνθρώπινον, after the manner of men) Language after the manner of men, is frequent, and in some measure always occurring, whereby Scripture condescends to suit itself to our capacity. Too plain language is not always better [the best] adapted to the subject in hand. The accusative is used for the adverb. [According to our mode of speaking, it may be translated, Ich muss es euch mir massiv sagen, I must speak to you with great plainness and simplicity.—V. g.]— διὰ, because of) Slowness of understanding arises from weakness of the flesh, i.e., of a nature merely human, comp. 1 Corinthians 3:3. ἀσθένειαν, weakness) Those who desire discourse to be continuously in all respects quite plain, should perceive in this a mark of their own weakness, and should not take amiss [take offence at] a more profound expression of the truth, but they should consider it with gratitude, as an ample benefit, if in one way or the other, they have had the good fortune to understand the subject: at first, the mode of expressing the truth is more sublime, then afterwards it is more plain, as in the case of Nicodemus.—John 3:3; John 3:15. That which pleases most [the greatest number] is not always the best.—V. g.— τῇ ἀνομιᾳ εἰς τὴν ἀνομίαν, to iniquity unto iniquity) A ploce(65) not observed by the Syriac version. The word [to] iniquity [ ἀνομίᾳ] (before which uncleanness is put, as a part before a whole) is opposed to righteousness; the word [unto] iniquity [ ἀνομίαν] is opposed to holiness [end of verse] Righteousness corresponds to the Divine will, holiness as it were, to the whole of the Divine nature. Those who are the servants of righteousness, make progress [i.e., advance from righteousness to holiness, whereby they partake of the Divine nature]; ἄνομοι, workers of iniquity are workers of iniquity, nothing more.


Verse 20

Romans 6:20. τῆς ἁμαρτίας, of sin) This case contains the emphasis of the sentence; sin had taken possession of you.— τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ, to [towards] righteousness) that is in respect of righteousness.


Verse 21

Romans 6:21. τίνα οὖν καρπὸν εἴχετε τότε, ἐφʼ οἷς νῦν ἐπαισχύνεσθε) This whole period has the force of a negative interrogation. He says, that the righteous have their fruit unto holiness; but he does not consider those things which are ‘unfruitful’ [ ἄκαρπα] worthy of the name of fruit.—Ephesians 5:11. He says, therefore, those things which now cause you to feel ashamed, were, indeed, formerly not fruits. Others put the mark of interrogation after τότε, then, so that ἐφʼ οἷς may be the answer to the interrogation; but then the apostle should have said ἐφʼ , sc. καρπῷ [Sanctification is the reverse of this shame, Romans 6:22, evidently just as in 1 Corinthians 1:28; 1 Corinthians 1:30, that which is base (“base things”) and sanctification, are in antithesis; but the multitude of Christians are now ashamed of sanctification, which is esteemed as something base. What a fearful death hangs over such persons! O the degeneracy of the times and the manners (principles of men)!—V. g.]— νῦν, now) when you have been brought to repentance.— γὰρ, for) instead of moreover [autem]; but it has a greater power of separation, comp. Romans 6:22 at the end, δὲ, and moreover [autem]; so γὰρ, for, ch. Romans 5:7.— ἐκείνων, of those things) He does not say, of these things; he looks on those things as the remote past.— θάνατος, death) The epithet eternal ( αἰώνιος) Romans 6:23, is never added to this noun, not only in relation to those, in the case of whom, death yields to life, but not even in relation to those who shall go away into everlasting fire, torment, and destruction. If any one can think, that it is by mere chance, and not design, that Scripture, when eternal life is expressly mentioned, never names its opposite, eternal death, but everywhere speaks of it in a different manner, and that, too, in so many places, I, for my part, leave to him the equivalence of the phrases, eternal destruction, etc.(66) The reason of the difference, however, is this: Scripture often describes death, by personification, as an enemy, and an enemy, too, to be destroyed; but it does not so describe torment.


Verse 22

Romans 6:22. νυνὶ δὲ, but now) Paul has used νυνὶ very often, and always with δἐ, but.— ἔχετε, you have; or, have ye, with which comp. Romans 6:19.— εἰς ἁγιασμὸν, unto sanctification [holiness], an antithesis to; ἐφʼ οἷς ἐπαισχύνεσθε, of which you are ashamed, Romans 6:21. Ye are a holy priesthood of God. The reference seems to be to Amos 2:11, לנזרים, LXX, εἰς ἁγιασμόν; Engl. Vers. has Nazarites.


Verse 23

Romans 6:23. τὰ, τὸ) The mark of the subject.— ὀψώνιαχάρισμα, wages—gift) Bad works earn their own proper pay; not so, good works; for the former obtain wages, the latter a gift: ὀψώνια, wages, in the plural: χάρισμα, a gift, in the singular, with a stronger force.

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Romans 6:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/romans-6.html. 1897.

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Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
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