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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
Romans 8

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

Romans 8:1. οὐδέν ἄρα νῦν κατάκριμα, There is therefore now no condemnation) The apostle comes now to deliverance and liberty. Moreover he does not employ the adversative δὲ, but; he uses the conclusive ἄρα, therefore, comp. on ch. Romans 2:1; because at the end of ch. 7. he had already reached the confines of this condition. He also now evidently returns from his admirable digression to the path, which is pursued [he had entered on] at ch. Romans 7:6. And, as a proof of this, the particle now, which denotes present time (like the German würklich, actually, truly) was used there, and is resumed here. Condemned [“God c. sin”] in Romans 8:3, refers to condemnation here.


Verse 1-2

Romans 8:1-2. περιπατοῦσιν· γὰρ νόμος, to them that walk: for the law) the aetiology [assigning of the reason, end.] by a parenthesis suspends the train of thought (for the law of death (Romans 8:2): in us who walk [resuming the same word and train of thought as Romans 8:1], Romans 8:4); and as this parenthesis is terminated by epanalepsis,(82) the expression but according to the spirit completes the period, in which the but is opposed rather to the not in Romans 8:1, than to the not in Romans 8:4. The phrase, but after the spirit ( ἀλλὰ κατὰ πνεῦμα) is omitted in the first verse on the most respectable testimony.(83) Baumgarten retains it. But Paul immediately treats of that expression μὴ κατὰ σὰρκα, not according to or after the flesh;(84) then as he advances,(85) he adds, ἀλλὰ κατὰ πνεῦ΄α, but according to or after the spirit, Romans 8:4, note.


Verse 2

Romans 8:2. νόμος τοῦ πνεύματος) the law of the spirit, the Gospel inscribed on the heart; comp. ch. Romans 3:27; 2 Corinthians 3:8. The spirit makes alive, and this life invigorates [vegetat] the Christian.— ἠλευθέρωσέ με, hath made me free) a mild term, and in the preterite tense; he had formerly put the weightier verb ῥύσεται in the future. Grace renders that most easy, which seems difficult to man under the law, or rather does it itself. Both are opposed to the phrase, bringing me into captivity, ch. Romans 7:23.— τῆς ἁμαρτίας καὶ τοῦ θάνατου, of sin and death) He has respect to those things which he said in behalf of the law of God, ch. Romans 7:7; Romans 7:13. Observe that and is put here, and is not put at the beginning of the verse in the antithesis, πνεύματος τῆς ζωῆς, of the spirit of life, where either the conjunctive particle is wanting, of spirit, [and] of life, or it must be explained thus, τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ζωῆς, the Spirit of life.


Verse 3

Romans 8:3. τὸ) This word has the force of an adjective [or epithet], to be simply explained thus: God has accomplished the condemnation of sin, which was beyond the power of the law; God condemned sin in the flesh (a thing which the law could not do, namely, condemn sin, while the sinner is saved). τὸ ἀδύνατον, what was impossible, has an active signification in this passage; and the paraphrase of Luther is according to the meaning of the apostle.—See Wolfii Cur. on this place.— τοῦ νόμου) of the law, not only ceremonial, but also moral; for if the moral law were without this impossible [impossibility of condemning sin, yet saving the sinner], there would have been no need that the Son of God should have been sent. Furthermore, the word impossible, a privation [of something once held], supposes that the thing was previously possessed: formerly the law was able to afford righteousness and life, ch. Romans 7:10. Hence it is that man so willingly follows the traces of that first path even after the fall.— ἑαυτοῦ) ἴδιον, Romans 8:32. His own, over whom sin and death had no power.— πέμψας, sending) This word denotes a sort of separation, as it were, or estrangement of the Son from the Father, that He might be the Mediator.— ἐν ὁμοιώματι σαρκὸς ἁμαρτίας, in the likeness of the flesh of sin [sinful flesh]) The construction is with κατέκρινε, condemned [not as Engl. Vers. His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh]. We, along with our flesh, utterly tainted as it was with sin, ought to have been consigned to death; but God, in the likeness of that flesh (for justice required the likeness), that is, in the flesh of His own Son, which was real and at the same time holy, and (that too) for sin, condemned that sin (which was) in (our) flesh,(86) that we might be made free; ἐν [before ὁ΄οιώ΄ατι] is construed with condemned, compare by, ch. Romans 7:4 [Dead by ( διὰ) the body of Christ].— περὶ ἁ΄αρτίας τὴν ἁ΄αρτίαν, for sin, sin) The substantive is here repeated, as in Luke 11:17, note, when the house is divided, the house falls. But the figure ploce(87) is here added, as is indicated by the use of the article only in the latter place [on the second employment of the word ἁ΄αρτία]. These two terms mutually refer to one another, as do the words the likeness of flesh and flesh, περὶ, for: περὶ ἁμαρτίας is equivalent to a noun, as in Psalms 40 (39):6; Hebrews 10:6; Hebrews 10:8. But here, in the epistle to the Romans, I explain it thus: God condemned sin on this account, because it is sin. Sin was condemned as sin. So sin is put twice in the same signification (not in a double signification as happens in an antanaclasis), but the article τὴν adds an epitasis.(88)κατέκρινε, condemned) took away, finished, put an end to, destroyed all its strength, deprived sin of its power (compare the word impossible above [What the law was powerless to do, God had power to do, and deprived the law and sin of their power]—sin which was laid on the Son of God. For the execution of the sentence also follows the condemnation of sin. It is the opposite of the expression to justify, Romans 8:1; ch. Romans 5:18, and 2 Corinthians 3:9.


Verse 4

Romans 8:4. τὸ δικαίωμα, the law’s just commandment [jus. Engl. Vers. ‘righteousness’]) an antithesis to condemnation, Romans 8:1.— πληρωθῇ, might be fulfilled) That fulfilment is presently after described, Romans 8:5-11; thence it is that we have the for, Romans 8:5. Works of justice [righteousness] follow him that is justified [i.e. follow as the consequent fruits of his justification]: sin is condemned, he who had been a sinner, now acts rightly, and the law does not prosecute its claims against him.— ἐν ἡμῖν) in us.— μὴ κατὰ σαρκὰ, not after the flesh) an antithesis to, in the flesh, Romans 8:3. Now at length Paul has come to the open distinction between flesh and spirit.(89) The spirit denotes either the Spirit of God, or the spirit of believers, Romans 8:16. The latter is a new power produced and maintained in us by Him; and it is to this that the reference is, wherever flesh stands in opposition.


Verse 5

Romans 8:5. οἱ γὰρ, for they that) From this passage and onward Paul primarily describes the condition of believers; and secondarily, for the purpose of illustrating it, what is contrary to that state.— ὀντες, who are) This refers to a state, or condition.— φρονοῦσι [mind] have a feeling for) A feeling which flows from the condition.


Verse 6

Romans 8:6. φρόνημα, [minding] feeling for, or of) Fr. sentiment. Corresponds to the verb, have a feeling for [mind] ( φρὸνουσι, Romans 8:5).— θάνατοςζωὴ, death,—life) in this present life with its continuation in another, comp. ch. Romans 6:23.— ζωὴ καὶ εἰρήνη, life and peace) By the addition of the word peace, he prepares the way for himself for the transition to the following verse, where enmity is described.


Verse 7

Romans 8:7. οὑδὲδύναται, neither can he) Hence the pretext of impossibility, under which they are anxious to excuse themselves, who are reproved in this very passage, as carnal.—V. g.


Verse 8

Romans 8:8. δὲ) is ἐπιτατικόν, [employed to give epitasis (endix): i.e. where to an enunciation already stated, there is added some word to give increased emphasis, or an explanation].— ἀρέσαι) ἀρέσκω here, as elsewhere, signifies not only I please, but I am desirous to please, 1 Corinthians 10:33; Galatians 1:10; it is akin to the phrase, to be subject, in the preceding verse.


Verse 9

Romans 8:9. πνεῦμα θεοῦ, πνεῦμα χριστοῦ, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ) A remarkable testimony to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, and its economy in the hearts of believers, comp. ch. Romans 5:8; Romans 5:5, Romans 14:17-18, Romans 15:16; Romans 15:30; Mark 12:36; John 15:26; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:17; Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 2:22; 1 Peter 1:2; Acts 2:33; Hebrews 2:3-4; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 Corinthians 6:13, etc.; 2 Corinthians 3:3-4. We are to refer Romans 8:11 [The Spirit of Him that raised Jesus] to “the Spirit of God” in this verse, and Christ in you—[the Spirit is life] Romans 8:10, to “the Spirit of Christ” in this verse. For the distinctive marks [Gnorismata of the Christian] proceed in this order: He who has the Spirit, has Christ; he who has Christ, has God.—Comp. respecting such an order as this, 1 Corinthians 12:4, etc; Ephesians 4:4, etc.— ἐν ὑμῖν, in you) In, a particle very carefully to be attended to in this chapter, Romans 8:1-4; Romans 8:8-11; Romans 8:15, concerning the carnal and spiritual state. We in God, God in us.— οὗτος) this man in particular does not belong to Christ; and therefore this whole discourse has no reference to Him.— ατο͂ υ, His) Christ’s; he is a Christian, who belongs to Christ.


Verse 10

Romans 8:10. εἰ δὲ χριστὸς, And truly if Christ) Where the Spirit of Christ is, there Christ is, comp. the preceding verse.— σῶμα) the body, sinful, for here it is opposed to the Spirit, not to the soul.— νεκρὸν) The concrete [not the abstract death; as the antithetic ζωή life in the abstract]: he says dead, instead of, about to die, with great force; [already] adjudged, and delivered over to death. This is the view and feeling of those, who have experienced in themselves [in whom there succeeds] the separation of soul and spirit, or of nature and grace.— δὲ, but) Implying, that the opposition is immediate [and direct between the body and the spirit], which excludes Purgatory, [a notion] suited neither to body nor spirit, and not consonant to the remaining economy of this very full epistle, Romans 8:30; Romans 8:34; Romans 8:38, ch. Romans 6:22-23.— ζωὴ, life) The abstract.— διὰ on account of) Righteousness brings forth life, as sin brings forth death; life does not bring forth righteousness, [justification] contrary to the opinion of the Papists.— δικαιοσύνην, justice [righteousness]) The just—shall live [Romans 1:17].


Verse 11

Romans 8:11. ἰησοῦν, Jesus) Afterwards in Apodosis, Christ. The name Jesus has respect to Himself; the name Christ has reference to us. The former appellation, as a proper name, belongs to the person; the latter, as an appellative, belongs to the office.— ζωοποιήσει, shall quicken [make alive]) comp. life, Romans 8:6. This life knows no condemnation, Romans 8:1.— διὰ on account of [or by means of]) 2 Corinthians 1:22. He is one and the same Spirit, who is the Spirit of Christ, and who is in believers; therefore as Christ lives, so believers shall live: See Appendix. Crit. Ed. ii: on this passage.(90)


Verse 12

Romans 8:12. ἐσμὲν) we are, we acknowledge and consider ourselves to be. A kind of teaching, which borders on exhortation; (so, we are, is also used in Galatians 4:31) and which presupposes men already of their own accord well inclined. A feeling of delight [see ch. Romans 7:22] mitigates the sense of debt. [But what is the condition of carnal men? These are really debtors, and confess themselves to be debtors, as often as they declare that it is not in their power to live spiritually.—V. g.].— οὐ τῇ σαρκι, not to the flesh) add, but to the spirit; but this is elegantly left to be understood.— κατὰ σάρκα, after the flesh) which endeavours to recall us to bondage.


Verse 13

Romans 8:13.(91) τοῦ σώματος) Others read, τῆς σαρκός. Baumgarten defends the former, I leave it undetermined.(92)ζήσεσθε, ye shall live) He does not say, μέλλετε ζῇν, you are about (thereby) to obtain life, but ζήσεσθε, you will remain in life. In the repentance of those, over whom the flesh had dominion, and in the temptations of those, over whom the spirit reigns, the flesh and the spirit are, so to speak, evenly balanced; grace preventing [i.e. in the old English sense of prevent: going before, so as to give a good will to] the former, sin, preventing [going before, so as to get the advantage over] the latter; to whichsoever side a man turns himself, from it he receives his denomination. Beginning with this passage, Paul entirely dismisses the carnal state, and now that he has finished that part, which he had begun at ch. Romans 6:1, he describes the pure and living state, which is the inheritance of believers.


Verse 14

Romans 8:14. ἄγονται) In the middle voice: are led willingly [This is the sum of the antecedents (the preceding statements); υἱοὶ θεοῦ εἰσιν, the sum of the consequents (the statements that follow) is, υἱοὶ θεοῦ εἰσιν.—V. g.]— εἰσὶν υἱοὶ θεοῦ) Others read υἱοὶ θεοῦ εἰσιν or υἱοί εἰσι θεοῦ. There are thus three readings, of which Baumgarten defends the first, I the second, which is supported by the third, inasmuch as the word υἱοὶ is placed first for the sake of emphasis; and it was the emphasis that induced me to touch upon this variety in the readings.(93)υἱοὶ sons) The Spirit is given to sons, Galatians 4:6. At this passage Paul enters upon the discussion of those topics, which he afterwards comprehends under the expression, He glorified, Romans 8:30, but he does not describe unmixed glory, but only such glory, as that, the taste of which is still diluted with the cross. Therefore the sum of what he says is: through sufferings [we must pass] to glory; patient endurance [or else, support] is interwoven with sufferings. Hence the whole connection of the discourse will be obvious.


Verse 15

Romans 8:15. γὰρ, for) This word has reference to sons in the preceding verse.— πνεῦμα δουλείας, the spirit of bondage) The Holy Spirit was not even in the Old Testament a Spirit of bondage; but He so unfolded His power in the case of those believers, in whom He then dwelt, that there however was lurking, beneath, a feeling and sense, which carried with it something of bondage, inasmuch as being in the case of those who [under the law] were still but children, Galatians 4:1.— πάλιν, again) as formerly [under the law]. The Romans in their state as Gentiles had had groundless [vain] fear; but not the spirit of fear, as those had had, into whose place the Gentiles had come. The Church of all ages is, as it were, one individual, moral person; so the word, again, Galatians 4:9; Galatians 5:1.— εἰς φόβον, to fear) See Hebrews 2:15, note.— υἱοθεσίας, of adoption) See Galatians 4:1, etc.— κράζομεν, we cry) one and all. Cry is a word implying vehemence, accompanied with desire, confidence, a just claim, perseverance. And the Holy Spirit himself cries: Abba, Father, Galatians 4:6, note. [If, while you are alive, you have not attained to this experience, it ought to be the subject of lamentation to you, and you ought eagerly to seek it; but if you have attained it, see that you joyfully continue in it.—V. g.]


Verse 16

Romans 8:16. τῷ) Our spirit testifies: the Spirit of God Himself testifies along with our spirit. [Our spirit is human, 1 Corinthians 2:11; and therefore its testimony is in itself not infallible, Malachi 2:16.—V. g.] Blessed are they, who distinctly perceive this testimony.— αὐτὸ τὸ has reference to Romans 8:14.


Verse 17

Romans 8:17. συγκληρονόμοι, joint-heirs) that we may know, that it is a very great inheritance, which God gives to us: for He has assuredly given a great inheritance to His Son.— εἴπερ, if indeed) This short clause is a new proposition, which has respect to those things, which follow.— συμπάσχομεν, we suffer with) To this word refer sufferings in the following verse, and in like manner, we may be glorified together in this verse refers to the glory in the following verse.


Verse 18

Romans 8:18. γὰρ, for) The reason assigned,(94) why he just now made mention of suffering, and of glorification.— τοῦ νῦν καιροῦ, of the present time) The cross [laid on the children of God], in the New Testament is greater than it formerly was, but it is of short continuance. καιρὸς, a short time; the present and future are opposed to each other.— πρὸς, to be compared with) that is, if they be compared together.— εἰς ἡμᾶς, with respect to [towards] us; comp. 2 Corinthians 5:2.


Verse 18-19

Romans 8:18-19. ἀποκαλυφθῆναιἀποσκάλυψιν) The glory is revealed, and then also the sons of God are revealed.


Verse 19

Romans 8:19. ἀποκαραδοκία. This term denotes the hope of the coming event, and the effort of the mind, which is eagerly panting for [gaping for] it. The expectation of the creature, that is, the creature waiting, or expecting. Luther on this passage in Post. eccl. calls it, das endliche Harren, final waiting.— τῆς κτίσεως, of the creature) The creature here does not denote angels, who are free from vanity [weakness]; nor men of every kind, provided only they are men, although not even the weakest men [those most under bondage to vanity] are excluded, who, although in the bustle of life they consider vanity as if it were liberty, and partly stifle, partly conceal their groaning, yet in times of sobriety, quietness, sleeplessness and calamity, they have many sighs, which are heard by God alone; nor are the virtuous Gentiles excluded; but believers are expressly opposed to the creature. As to the rest, all the visible creation [the whole aggregate of creatures: “creaturarum universitatem”] without exception is intended (as κτίσμα in Macarius everywhere denotes the visible creation [creaturam], Homil. 6 § 5, etc.), and every kind of creature according to its condition (captu) [Romans 8:39; Romans 1:25]. As every creature stands in its relation to the sons of God, so, in this passage, the things predicated of the former stand in relation to the things predicated of the latter. The wicked neither desire, nor will obtain liberty. Disadvantages have redounded to the creature in consequence of [from] sin; reparation will accrue to the creature in consequence of [from] the glory of the sons of God.— υἱῶν) τέκνων, Romans 8:21.— ἀπεκδέχεται) ἀπὸ in this compound verb signifies the waiting for a thing hoped for in consequence of the promise. The same word is in Romans 8:23 and in like manner ἀποκαραδοκία above.


Verse 20

Romans 8:20. ΄αταίοτητι, to vanity) whence the first of believers, whom the Scriptures commend, was called הבל, Abel [vanity]. Glory is opposed both to vanity and corruption; and the greatest vanity is idolatry, ch. Romans 1:21; Romans 1:23. Vanity is abuse and waste; even the malignant spirits themselves have dominion over the creature.— ὑπετάγη, was made subject) In the passive voice, with a middle signification, though it has however in it somewhat of the figure, personification.— οὐχʼ ἐκοῦσα, not willingly) For in the beginning it was otherwise: thence it is that the creature would rather be made subject to Christ [“Thou hast put all things in subjection under His feet”], Hebrews 2:7-8.— διὰ τὸν ὑποτάξαντα, on account of [propter: owing to] Him who hath subjected) that is on account of [by reason of] God, Genesis 3:17; Genesis 5:29. Adam rendered the creature obnoxious [liable] to vanity, but he did not subject it.


Verse 21

Romans 8:21. ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι [super spe: resting on hope], in hope) It is construed with, was made subject, so, in hope [super spe], is put absolutely, Acts 2:26; and comp. by hope [spe], Romans 8:24.— αὐτὴ κτίσις) itself, to wit, the creature.— ἐλευθερωθήσεται, shall be delivered [set free]) Deliverance is not accomplished by means of complete destruction; otherwise quadrupeds, when they are butchered, would fall with pleasure.(95)ἀπὸ τῆς δουλείας τῆς φθορᾶς εἰς τὴν ἐλευθερίαν τῆς δόξης, from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty) ἀπὸ, from, and εἰς, into, are opposed to each other. From denotes the point, from which we set out; into, the point at which we arrive. Bondage and liberty belong to the creature; corruption and glory to men, even believers [the latter, glory to believers alone: the former, corruption, to men in general]. Vanity, Romans 8:20, is something more subtle than φθορὰ, corruption. Not only deliverance, but also liberty, is that goal, to which the creature in its own way is directing its course.— εἰς τὴν ἐλευθερίαν, into the liberty) In order that they may in freedom be subservient to the glory of the sons [of God].—Cluverus.


Verse 22

Romans 8:22. γὰρ, for) This aetiology(96) [assigning of a reason] supposes, that the groaning of the creature is not in vain, but that it is heard by God.— πᾶσα) all [the whole]. It is considered as one whole, comp. Romans 8:28; Romans 8:32; Romans 8:39.— συστενάζει, groaneth together) with united groanings [sighings]. Dio Cassius, book 39, gives a singular example of this in the wailing of the elephants, which Pompey devoted to the public shows contrary to an express pledge [promise given], as men at the time interpreted it; and the people themselves were so affected by it, that they imprecated curses on the head of the commander.— ἄχρι, until) He insinuates, that there will be an end of pains and groans, the pains and groans of the creature.


Verse 23

Romans 8:23. οὐ μόνον δὲ, but [and] not only) The conclusion is drawn from the strong groaning [of the creature] to that which is much stronger [that of ourselves].— αὐτοὶκαὶ ἡμεῖς αὐτοὶ, ourselves—even we ourselves) The former αὐτοί, ourselves, is to be referred [has reference] by antithesis to the creature [the whole creation groaneth] Romans 8:22 : the latter refers to Romans 8:26, concerning the Spirit [maketh intercession for us with groanings]; and yet one and the same subject is denoted [the two αὐτοί belong to ἡμεῖς]; otherwise, the apostle would have said, αὐτοὶ οἱ την ἀπαρχὴν κ. τ. λ. [the article οἱ would have followed the first αὐτοί, had it referred to a different subject from the second αὐτοί].— τὴν ἀπαρχὴν τοῦ πνεύματος, the first fruits of the Spirit) that is the Spirit, who is the first fruits; see 2 Corinthians 1:22, note. We are a kind of first fruits of God’s creatures, James 1:18; and we have the first fruits of the Spirit; and the same Spirit enters into all creatures, Psalms 139:7, a passage, from which the groaning of the creature is distinctly explained. The sons of God are said to have the first fruits, so long as they are in the way [whilst as yet they have not reached the end, when they shall have full fruition]. They who possess the first fruits, and the good, which attends the first fruits, are the same.— ἔχοντες, having) This word involves the idea of cause; because we have.— ἐν ἑαντοῖς, in ourselves) It implies, that the groaning of believers is widely different from the groaning of the creature.— στενάζομεν) στενάζω here, and in Romans 8:22, signifies to desire [yearn after] with groaning; comp. 2 Corinthians 5:4.— τὴν) This article shows by the apposition, that this sentiment, if it be resolved [analyzed], is contained in it, the redemption of our body is what constitutes the adoption.— τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν [redemption] deliverance) This will be at the last day, which already at that time they were setting before themselves as being at hand; ἐλευθερία, liberty [Romans 8:21], is a kindred expression to this ἀπολύτρωσις.—Comp. Luke 20:36. [That liberty is not intended here, by which we are delivered from the body, but that, by which the body is delivered from death.—V. g.]


Verse 24

Romans 8:24. ἐλπίδι) the dative, not of the means, but of the manner; we are so saved, that there may even yet remain something, for which we may hope,—both salvation and glory. He limits the present salvation, but, while he limits, he by that very circumstance takes it for granted.— τί καὶ) why yet does he hope for it? Where there is vision, there is no need of hope. The blessed will be sure of the eternity of their blessedness, because they shall have no need of hope; and therefore they will be established in it.


Verse 25

Romans 8:25. εἰ δὲ, but if) The patient waiting of believers is deduced from the nature of hope.


Verse 26

Romans 8:26. καὶ, even) Not only the whole creation (every creature) groans, but the Holy Spirit Himself affords assistance; comp. Romans 8:23, note 2. On both sides, believers have such as groan with them, and make common cause with them;—on the one side, they have the whole creation [creature]; on the other, what is of still more importance, they have the Spirit. In as far as the Spirit groans, it respects us: in as far as He also affords assistance [‘helps,’] it respects the creature [creation].— συναντιλαμβάνεται) σὺν has the same force in this compound as in συμμαρτυρεῖ, Romans 8:16, [i.e., along with us].— ταῖς ἀσθενείαις) infirmities, which exist in our knowledge and in our prayers; the abstract for the concrete, infirmities, that is our prayers, which are in themselves infirm.— γὰρ, for) Paul explains what the infirmities are.— τίκαθὸ, what—as) comp. how or what, Matthew 10:19.— ὑπερεντυγχάνει) ὑπὲρ, abundantly [over and above] as in Romans 8:37, ὑπερνικῶμεν, and ὑπερεπερίσσευσεν, ch. Romans 5:20. Both ὑπερεντυγχάνει in this verse, and ἐντυγχάνει, Romans 8:27, are the predicates of the same subject, viz. the Holy Spirit. It is the general practice, first to put the compound verb with its proper emphasis, and then afterwards merely to repeat, in its stead, the simple form. Thus in Romans 15:4 we have first προεγράφη, and subsequently in the second place, ἐγράφη follows, which is the genuine reading.— στεναγμοῖς, with groans) Every groan (the theme or root of the word being στενός, strait) proceeds from the pressure of great straits: therefore the matter [the component material] of our groaning is from ourselves; but the Holy Spirit puts upon that matter its form [puts it into shape], whence it is that the groanings of believers, whether they proceed from joy or sorrow, cannot be uttered.


Verse 27

Romans 8:27. δὲ) [Not and, as Engl. Vers., but] refers to a privative in ἀλαλήτοις [Though they can not be uttered, yet, etc.]— τὰς καρδίας, the hearts) The Spirit dwells in the hearts [of believers], and makes intercession. Christ is in heaven. He who searches the hearts is the Father, to whom especially that act is attributed in Scripture.— τὸ φρόνημα τοῦ πνεύματος, the mind of the Spirit).—Comp. φρόνημα, Romans 8:6, Sensum,(97) the nominative: from the plural sensa, sensorum.— τοῦ πνεύματος, of the Spirit) the Holy Spirit, as in the preceding verse.— κατὰ) according to [ad], κατὰ θεὸν, according to God, not κατὰ ἄνθρωπον, according to man (comp. 1 John 3:20) [after the manner of God, not man], as is worthy of God, and in a manner acceptable and manifest to Him. The Holy Spirit understands the style of the court of heaven, which is acceptable to the Father. κατὰ is the emphatic word of the sentence, inasmuch as it is placed at the beginning of the clause.— ὑπὲρ ἁγίων, for saints) The article is not added; they are saints, who are both near to God, and are deemed worthy of assistance, being those for whom [the Spirit] makes intercession.


Verse 28

Romans 8:28. οἴδαμεν δὲ, Moreover we know) An antithesis to, we know not, Romans 8:26.— τοῖς ἀγαπῶσι, to them that love) The subject is here described from the fruit of those things, which have been hitherto mentioned,—namely, love to God; and this love also makes believers [by a happy art] dexterously to take in good part all things which God sends upon them, and perseveringly to overcome all difficulties and temptations, [James 1:12. Paul is an example, 2 Corinthians 1:3-11.—V. g.] Presently after, in the case of the called, the reason is given, why a predicate so excellent is attributed to this subject [why such blessed things are predicated of them who love God].— πάντα συνεργεῖ) all things work together, by means of groanings, and in other ways. So 1 Maccabees 12:1, καιρὸς αὐτῷ συνεργεῖ, time works with (serves) him.— εἰς ἀγαθὸν, for good) even as far as to [up to] their glorification, Romans 8:30, at the end.— τοῖς κατὰ πρόθεσιν κλητοῖς οὖσιν, to those who are the called according to His purpose) This is a new proposition in reference to what follows. The apostle designs to give a recapitulation of all the advantages involved in justification and glorification, Romans 8:30, and accordingly returns now first of all to its deepest [most remote] roots, which only can be known from these their sweetest fruits themselves:(98) he at the same time hereby prepares us for the ninth chapter [which treats chiefly of God’s election and calling]: πρόθεσις is the purpose, which God determined to carry into effect concerning the salvation of His own people. κλητοῖς, the called, is a noun, not a participle; inasmuch as οὖσιν is added [which it would not be, if κλητοῖς were a participial adjective], who are the called:—the purpose is unfolded, Romans 8:29, the called, Romans 8:30.


Verse 29

Romans 8:29. προέγνω) He foreknew. Hafenreffer translates it—He formerly acknowledged. πρόθεσις, the purpose, comprehends πρόγνωσιν, foreknowledge, and προορισμὸν, predestination, for calling is annexed both to the former ( πρόθεσις) and to the two latter ( πρόγνωσις and προορισμός), Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:9, where however θέλημα, His will, is in a more extensive sense, than predestination, and assuredly predestination accompanies foreknowledge, for foreknowledge takes away rejection or reprobation [casting away]: ch. Romans 11:2. Moreover reprobation [casting away] and predestination are opposed to each other.— προώρισε, συμμόρφους, predestined, (to be) conformed) He declares, who they are, whom He foreknew, namely, those who are conformed. This is the character of those [impress of God’s seal on those: referring to seal, 2 Timothy 2:19], who were foreknown and are to be glorified, 2 Timothy 2:19; Philippians 3:10; Philippians 3:21.— τῆς εἰκόνος, to the image) construed with συμμόρφους, although σύμμορφον, Philippians 3:10, governs the dative. Here it has more the power of a substantive with [followed by] the genitive. This likeness [conformity to His Son’s likeness] constitutes the very adoption of sons itself, not the cross or glory; for this [the glory] follows only after [not till after] justification; concerning which, see Romans 8:30 : but they who are the sons of God are the brethren of Christ [at an earlier stage in the successive links, viz. Romans 8:29]. Conformity to His cross or His glory is the consequence that follows in the train of conformity to the Son of God, Galatians 4:19. So Ephesians 1:5, predestinating us unto the adoption of sons (children).— εἰς τὸ) The cause, why predestination is conjoined with foreknowledge, namely, Christ ought to have many brethren; but this multitude of brethren would fail, or at least would be diminished, if there were foreknowledge without predestination. Predestination overcomes everything that obstructs the salvation of believers, and changes adversity into prosperity.— εἶναι) that He might be, and might be seen to be.— πρωτότοκον, the first-born) The glorious resurrection of Christ, and of believers, is itself a kind of generation [the regeneration], Matthew 19:28.


Verse 30

Romans 8:30. τούτους καὶ ἐδικαίωσεν, them He also justified) Paul does not fix the number of those, who are called, justified, glorified, to be absolutely equal; he does not affirm that the believer may not fail between the special call, and final glory, ch. Romans 11:22; nor does he deny that there are also persons called, who may not be justified; but he shows, that God, so far as He Himself is concerned, conducts His people from step to step.— ἐδόξασε, He glorified) Romans 8:17-24. He speaks in the preterite, as if he were looking back from the goal to the race of faith, and from eternal glory, as it were, backward to the eternity itself, in which God decreed the glorifying of His people.—[Comp. Psalms 16:3.]


Verse 31

Romans 8:31. πρὸς ταῦτα) to [as regards] these things, which have been spoken of in chapters 3 5 8: that is to say, we cannot go, we cannot think, we cannot wish for anything farther. And if any one, by reason of his unbelief, should feel inclined to bring forward anything in opposition to these things (comp. Luke 14:6, to=in opposition to these things) he cannot do it. [It may be justly said, that the gate of heaven is thrown open in this passage, Romans 8:31-39.—V. g.]— εἰ) if. The conditional used instead of the causal, renders the conclusion the stronger. Many are of opinion, that there are three sections [periochœ, complete portions of the discourse] in this passage, every one of which begins by an interrogation with τίς, who? with an anaphora,(99) and has its answer immediately following, which is called anthypophora.(100) But the apostle contemplated a different analysis. There are four sections beginning with this verse; one, a general section; and three special ones: every one of them has glorying concerning Grace in the first instance; and then presently after a suitable question, challenging all opposition, to which the expression, I am persuaded, is an answer. The first, a general section, is this: If God be for us, WHO can be against us? The first special section is this, which concerns the past: He who did not even spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all; How shall He not also with Him forgive [But Engl. Vers. freely give] us all things? WHO shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? (Where in the question, the logical consequence is from [is drawn from] glorying concerning the past: for the nature of the subject did not admit of the section being only expressed by preterite tenses. Accordingly there is [besides the Preterites] also a double future in, shall He forgive, shall lay to the charge; but it has a manifest reference to past events. God will forgive all the sins, that have been committed [by believers]. No one can now accuse God’s elect on account of those sins committed by them. And the how and who are thus combined in one and the same section, but there is also a double relation, 1.) God did not spare His own Son. Therefore, He will also forgive us with Him all things. 2.) He delivered Him up for us all. Therefore, no one shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect.) The second section has respect to the present; It is God that justifieth, WHO is he that condemneth; comp. by all means, Isaiah 50:8-9. The third section is concerning the future; It is Christ [that died], etc. WHO shall separate us? For it is a future non-separation which is implied in the shall separate, as appears by comparing this with the end of Romans 8:38. The Past and Present are the foundation of the Future, and often the love of Christ is inferred from His death, ch. Romans 5:5, etc.; Galatians 2:20; Revelation 1:5. An interrogative apodosis such as this is frequent, and is admirably suited to a spirited discourse.—Acts 8:33; Numbers 24:9; Job 9:12; Job 34:29; Psalms 27:1; Isaiah 14:27; Isaiah 43:13; Lamentations 2:13, at the end of verse; Amos 3:8.


Verse 32

Romans 8:32. ὅσγε, who) This first special section has four sentences: the third has respect to the first, the fourth to the second. He did not spare His own Son: therefore there is nothing, which He will not forgive. He delivered up His Son for us: therefore no one shall accuse us on account of our sins, ch. Romans 4:25. He was delivered [for our offences]. Nor does the clause, who shall lay anything to the charge, so closely cohere with that which follows, as with that which goes before; for the delivering up of Christ for us forbids all laying ought to our charge: whereas our justification [Romans 8:33, it is God that justifieth] does not forbid the laying things to our charge, but overcomes it. γὲ has a sweetness full of exultation, as the καὶ, even—also, Romans 8:34, repeated: ὅς, who, has its apodosis, he, implied in the following words.— οὐκ ἐφείσατο, did not spare) LXX. οὐκ ἐφείσω τοῦ υἱοῦ σου κ. τ. λ., Genesis 22:16, concerning Abraham and Isaac, and Paul seems to have had that passage in his mind. God, so to speak, offered violence to His love as a Father.— ἡμῶν πάντων, us all) In other places it is generally said, all we, of all of us; but here us is put first with greater force and emphasis. The perception of grace in respect to ourselves is prior to our perception of universal grace [grace in respect to the world at large]. Many examples of its application are found without any mention of its universality, for instance, 1 Timothy 1:15-16 : whereas its universality is subsequently commended for the purpose of stimulating to the farther discharge of duties, ib. Romans 2:1, etc.— παρέδωκεν) delivered up. So LXX., Isaiah 53:6.— καὶ σὺν αὐτῷ, with Himself also) καὶ also adds an epitasis(101) to the reasoning from the greater to the less. It was more [a greater stretch of love] not to spare His Son; now, with the Son, that is, when we have the Son already sacrificed, at all costs, to us [by the Father], He will certainly forgive us [give us freely] all things.— πάντα) all things, that are for our salvation.— χαρίσεται, will freely give [and forgive]) The antithesis to He did not spare. The things which are the consequence of redemption, are themselves also of grace [freely given: χαρίσεται, χάρις].


Verse 33

Romans 8:33. ἐκλεκτῶν θεοῦ, of God’s elect) Romans 8:29.— δικαιῶν, that justifieth) To justify and condemn are the words in antithesis to each other, Romans 8:3, note. In Isaiah 50:8-9, a passage, which we have previously quoted, there similarly comes first an hypothesis in each of the consecutive sections, and there follows the Answer subjoined by the speaker, in each case respectively, expressed in the form of a question; for example,

A. He is near, who justifies me:(102)

A. He is near, who justifies me:[*]

B. 1. Who will contend with me? we shall (let us) stand together.

2. Who is the lord of my cause? let him draw near to me.

C. Behold the Lord God will help me:

D. Who is he that shall condemn me?

Here the apostle seems to have assumed A, and on the contrary to have omitted B, and likewise to have omitted C, and on the contrary to have quoted D.

[*] This expression, that He is near, seems to be in the meanwhile said in the Old Testament sense, whereas, on the contrary, He is said in the Romans to be the God that justifieth, without any restriction.


Verse 34

Romans 8:34. ἀποθανών, μᾶλλον δὲὃς καὶὃς καί, that died, yea rather—who even—who also) The order of the enumeration of the things contrary, Romans 8:35; Romans 8:38-39, corresponds to these four weighty turning points of his argument. In Romans 8:35, the former are lighter and less considerable [than in Romans 8:38], and may be all referred to [reduced to the one head, viz.] death, Romans 8:38, inasmuch as they are, as it were, previous tendencies towards death. The contraries in the way of the elect, enumerated in Romans 8:38-39, are more weighty ones. That topic will be by and by brought out more fully.— μᾶλλον, rather) ch. Romans 5:10. Our faith ought to lean on the death of Christ, but it ought rather also to make such progress, as to lean on His resurrection, kingly dominion, and second coming.— ἔστιν ἐν δεξιᾷ τοῦ θεοῦ, is at the right hand of God) He is able to save; He Himself and the Father. The ascension is not previously mentioned, nor does the mention of His glorious coming follow: for the former is the act of sitting at the right hand of God, the latter entirely takes away all, that threatens separation from the love of God, and brings in the state of glory, of which Romans 8:30 treats.— ἐντυγχάνει, intercedes) He is willing to save: He Himself and the Father.


Verse 35

Romans 8:35. τίς ἡμᾶς χωρίσει, who shall separate us) The perpetuity of the union, for the time to come, with the love of Christ and of God, is deduced from the death of Christ, from His resurrection, His sitting at the right hand of God and His intercession, comp. ch. Romans 5:5-6; Romans 5:9-10; Hebrews 7:25. But the who is presently after explained by the enumeration [shall tribulation or distress, etc.], without an aetiology following after: from which again it is evident, that the aetiology, [assigning of the reason] must be sought for before the words, who shall separate us, in Romans 8:34 : and he says who, not what, although he subjoins [shall] affliction, etc., because personal enemies lurk under these adverse things.— τῆς ἀγαπῆς, from the love) towards us, Romans 8:37; Romans 8:39. The foundation of the impossibility of being separated from the love of Christ is love; the foundation of this confidence is love clearly perceived.— τοῦ χριστοῦ, of Christ) The love of God is one with the love of Christ, Romans 8:39.— γυμνότης) nakedness, the want of clothing, the extreme of poverty, 1 Corinthians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 11:27. The enumeration for the most part goes on in pairs, hunger and nakedness, etc.— κίνδυνος, peril) Hypocrites often sink under mere dangers.— μάχαιρα, or sword) an instrument of slaughter. Paul mentions the kind of death, with which he himself had been sometimes threatened, ch. Romans 16:4; Philippians 2:17, note. Many martyrs, who survived other tortures, were despatched with the sword, ἐτελειώθησαν [consummati sunt].


Verse 36

Romans 8:36. καθὼς, as) He gives the reason, why he enumerates in the preceding verse so many trials.— ὅτισφαγῆς) So the LXX., Psalms 44:23. Both the church of the Old Testament, and much more that of the New Testament, might have so spoken; and the latter may still so speak.— ἓνεκα σοῦ, for thy sake) It is a good thing thus [i.e. for Christ’s sake] to suffer: the sorrows, in which the world abounds, and which are braved for other reasons, are vain.— θανατούμεθα, we are killed) The first class of the blessed [departed saints] is for the most part filled up with those, who met a violent death, Matthew 23:34-35; Hebrews 11:37; Revelation 6:11; Revelation 20:4.— ὅλην τὴν ἡμέραν) all the day. So the LXX., in many passages, כל היום, a proverbial expression; the whole day, all the day: Matthew 20:6. Ps. quoted above, Romans 8:16; Romans 8:9.— ἐλογίσθημεν, we are accounted) by our enemies, as also by ourselves.


Verse 37

Romans 8:37. ὑπερνικῶμεν, we are more than conquerors) We have strength not only equal and sufficient, but far more than sufficient for overcoming the preceding catalogue of evils: and not even shall the catalogue of evils, which follows, injure us, because Christ, because God is greater than all. In this section there is designated that (as it were) highest mark which the Christian can attain, before his departure to the abodes of the blessed.— διὰ τοῦ ἀγαπήσαντος) The Aorist: through Him, who hath with His love embraced us in Christ, and for that very reason proves us by trials and adversity.


Verse 38

Romans 8:38. πέπεισμαι, I am persuaded) all doubt being overcome.— γὰρ) Things of less weight do not hurt us: for even things of greater weight shall not hurt us.— οὔτε θάνατος, κ. τ. λ., neither death, etc.) This is introduced from Romans 8:34, in an admirable order:

Neither death shall hurt us,

for Christ hath died:

nor life: comp. Romans 14:9.

He rose again:

nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come: comp. Ephesians 1:20-21.

Christ is at the right hand of God.

nor power, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature.

He makes intercession.

Hence we have an illustration of the order of the words. For the enumeration moves in pairs; neither death nor life; nor things present, nor things to come. The other two pairs are subjoined by chiasmus;(103) nor power (1), nor height (2), nor depth (3), nor any other (4) creature; [the first referring to the fourth, the second to the third]; in such a way, however, that in some sense, also power and height, depth and any creature may be respectively joined together. A similar chiasmus occurs at Matthew 12:22, so that the blind and dumb both spake and saw, [blind referring to saw; dumb to spake]. But if any one should prefer the more commonly received reading of the order of enumeration, he may read as follows.—

Neither death, nor life:

nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers:

nor things present, nor things to come:

nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature,

so that there may be four pairs of species, and the second and fourth pairs may have the genus added in the first or last place. But testimony of higher antiquity maintains the former order of enumeration to be superior.(104) See Appendix. Crit. Ed. ii., p. 329, etc. I acknowledge for my own part that the generally received order of the words is more easy, and the reader is free to choose either. At all events the relation of this enumeration to Romans 8:34, which was demonstrated above, is so evident, and so full of the doctrine of salvation, that it cannot be admitted to be an arbitrary interpretation. Now, we shall look at the same clauses one by one.— θάνατος, death) Death is considered as a thing most terrible and here it is put first, with which comp. Romans 8:34, and the order of its series, and Romans 8:36. Therefore the death also, which is inflicted by men, is indicated: burning alive, strangulation, casting to wild beasts, etc.(105)ζωὴ, life) and in it θλίψις, affliction, etc., Romans 8:35 : likewise length of life, tranquillity, and all living men [as opposed to angels]. None of these things shall be hurtful, comp. 1 Corinthians 3:22 [in Romans 8:21 men are included].— ἄγγελοι, angels) The mention of angels is made, after the implied mention of men, in the way of gradation; 1 Corinthians 15:24, note. In this passage the statement may be understood as referring to good angels (conditionally, as Galatians 1:8), and of wicked angels (categorically): (for it will be found that

the latter are also called angels absolutely, not merely angels of the devil; Matthew 25:41); 1 Corinthians 4:9; 1 Corinthians 6:3; 1 Corinthians 11:10; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 3:22; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6; Revelation 9:11, etc.; Psalms 78:49.— ἀρχαὶ, principalities) These are also comprehended under the general name angels, as well as other orders, Hebrews 1:4; Hebrews 1:14; but those seem to be specially denominated angels, who are more frequently sent than the rest of the heavenly orders. They are thus called principalities, and also thrones, Colossians 1:16; but not kingdoms, for the kingdom belongs to the Son of God, 1 Corinthians 15:24-25.— οὔτε ἐνεστῶτα οὔτε μέλλοντα, nor things present nor things to come) Things past are not mentioned, not even sins; for they have all passed away. Present things are the events, that happen to us during our earthly pilgrimage, or which befall the whole world, until it come to an end. For the saints are viewed either individually, or as a united body. Things future refer to whatever will occur to us either after our time in the world, or after that of the whole world has terminated, as the last judgment, the conflagration of the world, eternal punishment; or those things, which, though they now exist, will yet become known to us at length by name in the world to come, and not till then.— οὔτε δύναμις,1(106) nor power)(107) δύναμις often corresponds to the Hebrew word צבא, and signifies forces, hosts.


Verse 39

Romans 8:39. οὔτε ὕψωμα, οὔτε βάθος, nor height nor depth) Things past and future point to differences of times, height and depth to differences of places. We do not know, the number, magnitude, and variety of things, comprehended in these words, and yet we do not fear them. Height here, in sublime style, is used for heaven; depth for the abyss; with which comp. ch. Romans 5:6-7; Ephesians 4:8-10, that is, neither the arduous and high ascents, nor the precipitous and deep descents, I shall not say, of the feelings, of the affections, of fame, and of pecuniary resources, Philippians 4:12, nor shall I say [the arduous ascents, etc.], of walls, of mountains, and of waters, but even of heaven and of the abyss itself, of which even a careless consideration has power sufficient to make the human mind beside itself [to fill it with strange awe], produce in us no terror. Furthermore, Paul does not say in Greek, ὕψος, βάθος, as he does elsewhere in another sense; nor ὕψωμα, βάθυσμα (as Plutarch says, ὑψώματα τῶι ἀστέρων, the heights of the stars, and Theophrastus, βαθύσματα τῆς λίμνης, the depths of the lake) but ὕψωμα, βάθος; using purposely, as it were, the derivative and primitive, which strike the ear with variety in sound. ὓψος, the primitive noun, signifies height absolutely; ὑψωμα, a sort of verbal noun, is not so much height, as something that has been elevated, or made high; ὕψος belongs to God, and the third heaven, from whence we receive nothing hurtful; ὕψωμα has perhaps some likeness in sound [resemblance by alliteration] to the word στερέωμα, firmament, which is frequently used by the LXX. interpreters; and in this passage certainly points to those regions, to which it is difficult to ascend, and where the powers of darkness range, exalting themselves awfully against us [2 Thessalonians 2:4, exalteth himself, Ephes. Romans 2:2, Romans 6:12]: βάθος, how far soever it descends, does no injury to us.— κτίσις, creature) whatever things exist outside of God, and of what kind soever they are. He does not so much as condescend to mention visible enemies.— δυνήσεται, shall be able) although they should make many attempts.— χωρίσαι, to separate) neither by violence, Romans 8:35, nor in the way of law [just right], Romans 8:33-34.

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Romans 8:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/romans-8.html. 1897.

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Monday, July 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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