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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Romans 1

 

 

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Verse 1

Romans 1:1. παῦλος, PAUL. The beginning of the Epistle, the inscription.(1) The Scriptures of the New Testament, as compared with the books of the Old Testament, have the epistolary form; and in those, not merely what has been written by Paul, Peter, James, and Jude, but also both the treatises of Luke, and all the writings of John. Nay, it is of more consequence, that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself wrote seven letters in His own name, by the hand of John (Revelation 2, 3); and the whole Apocalypse is equivalent to an epistle written by Himself. Epistles were usually sent, not to slaves, but to free men, and to those especially who had been emancipated; and the epistolary style of writing is better suited, than any other, for extending, as widely as possible, the kingdom of God, and for the most abundant edification of the souls of men. Moreover, Paul alone laboured in this field more than all the other apostles put together; for fourteen of his epistles are extant, of which various is the arrangement, various the division. He wrote one to the Hebrews, without prefixing his name to it; he added his name to the rest; and these were partly addressed to churches, partly to individuals; and in the present day they are arranged in volumes,(2) in such a way as that the one with the greatest number of verses is put first. But the chronological order is much more worthy of consideration, of which we have treated in the Ordo temporum, cap. 6.(3) When that matter is settled, both the apostolic history, and these very epistles, shed a mutual light on one another; and we perceive a correspondence of thoughts, and modes of expression, in epistles written at one and the same time, and concerning the same state of affairs [as the apostolic history—the Acts—describes]; and we also become acquainted with the spiritual growth of the apostle. There is one division, which, we think, ought to be particularly mentioned in this place. Paul wrote in one way to churches, which had been planted by his own exertions, but in a different way to those churches, to which he was not known by face. The former class of epistles may be compared to the discourses, which pastors deliver in the course of their ordinary ministrations; the latter class, to the discourses, which strangers deliver. The former are replete with the kindness, or else the severity, of an intimate friend, according as the state of the respective churches was more or less consistent with the Gospel; the latter present the truths of the Gospel as it were more unmixed, in general statements, and in the abstract; the former are more for domestic and daily use, the latter are adapted to holidays and solemn festivals,—comp. notes on ch. Romans 15:30. This epistle to the Romans is mostly of this latter description.— δοῦλοςιησο͂ υχριστο͂ υ, servant of Jesus Christ) This commencement and the conclusion correspond (Romans 15:15, etc.) χριστο͂ υ—͂ θεου, of Christ—of God) Everywhere in the epistles of Paul, and throughout the New Testament, the contemplation of God and of Christ is very closely connected; for example, Galatians 2:19, etc. [And it is also our privilege to have the same access to God in Christ.—V. g.]— κλητὸς ἀπόστολος, a called apostle), [called to be an apostle.—Eng. vers.] Supply, of Jesus Christ; for the preceding clause, a servant of Jesus Christ, is now more particularly explained. It is the duty of an apostle, and of a called apostle, to write also to the Romans. [The whole world is certainly under obligation to such a servant as this.—V. g.] The other apostles, indeed, had been trained by long intercourse with Jesus, and at first had been called to be followers and disciples, and had been afterwards advanced to the apostleship. Paul, who had been formerly a persecutor, by a call became suddenly [without the preparatory stage of discipleship] an apostle. So the Jews were saints [set apart to the Lord] in consequence of the promise; the Greeks became saints, merely from their being called, Romans 1:6, etc. There was therefore a special resemblance and connection between one called to be an apostle, and those whom he addressed, called to be saints. Paul applies both to himself and to the Corinthians a similar title (1 Corinthians 1:1-2); and that similarity in the designation of both reminds us of the ὑποτύπωσιν, pattern, or living exhibition [of Christ’s grace in Paul himself, as a sample of what others, who should believe, might expect], which is spoken of in 1 Timothy 1:16. While Christ is calling a man, He makes him what He calls him to be,—comp. ch. Romans 4:17; and that, too, quickly, Acts 9:3-15.— ἀφωρισμένος, separated) The root, or origin of the term Pharisee, was the same as that of this word; but, in this passage Paul intimates, that he was separated by God not only from men, from the Jews, and from the disciples, but also from teachers. There was a separation in one sense before (Galatians 1:15), and another after his call (Acts 13:2); and he refers to this very separation in the passage before us.— εἰς εὐαγγέλιον, to the Gospel) The conjugate verb follows Romans 1:2, προεπηγγείλατο, He had promised before. The promise was the Gospel proclaimed [announced beforehand], the Gospel is the promise fulfilled, Acts 13:32. God promised the Gospel, that is, He comprehended it in the promise. The promise was not merely a promise of the Gospel, but was the Gospel itself.(4)


Verse 2

Romans 1:2. , which). The copiousness of Paul’s style shows itself in the very inscriptions: and we must, therefore, watchfully observe the thread of the parentheses. [God promised that He would not only display His grace in the Son, but also that He would publish that very fact to the whole world. Listen to it with the most profound attention.—V. g.]— προεπηγγείλατο, promised afore) formerly, often, and solemnly. The truth of the promise, and the truth of its fulfilment, mutually confirm each other.— διὰ τῶν προφητῶν ατο͂ υ, by His prophets) That which the prophets of God have spoken, God has spoken, Luke 1:70; Acts 3:24.— γραφᾶις, in the Scriptures) ch. Romans 16:26. The prophets made use of the voice, as well as of writing, in the publication of their message; and the voice was likely to have greater weight in the case of a single people [the Jews], than among the countries of the whole globe: therefore, the greater weight in delivering the message, would give an advantage to the voice over writing: notwithstanding, as much respect is paid to writing, with a view to posterity, as if there had been no voice. To such an extent does Scripture prevail over tradition. [The believing Romans were, in part, originally Jews, and, in part, originally Gentiles (exjudaei, Ex-Gentiles), and Paul particularly has regard to the latter, Romans 1:13.—V. g.]


Verse 3

Romans 1:3. On “Every one that believeth,” Romans 9:1; Romans 9:6; Romans 9:14; Romans 9:24; Romans 9:30; Romans 10:1; Romans 10:11; Romans 11:1; Romans 11:7; Romans 11:11; Romans 11:25; Romans 11:33.

ιουδαίῳ, to the Jew) After the Babylonish captivity, all the Israelites, as Josephus informs us, were called Jews; hence the Jew is opposed to the Greek. For a different reason, the Greek is opposed to the Barbarian; Romans 1:14.— πρῶτον) concerning this particle, See Appendix. Crit. Ed. ii.,(9)) on this verse. The apostle, as I have shown, treats of faith, ch. 1 to 4; of salvation, ch. 5 to 8; of the Jew and the Greek, ch. 9 to 11. The knowledge of this division is very useful for the right understanding of the epistle. The third part of the discussion, that concerning the Jew and the Greek, neither weakens nor strengthens the genuineness of the particle πρῶτον. Paul uses it rather for the purpose of convicting [confuting their notion of their own peculiar justification by the mere possession of the law] the Jews, Romans 2:9-10; but the Gospel is the power of GOD unto salvation, not more to the believing Jew, than to the Greek.


Verse 4

Romans 1:4. τοῦ ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ θεοῦ, who was definitively marked as [declared to be, Engl. Vers.] the Son of God) He uses τοῦ again, not καὶ or δὲ. When the article is repeated, it forms an epitasis. [end.] In many passages, where both natures of the Saviour are mentioned, the human nature is put first, because the divine was most distinctly proved to all, only after His resurrection from the dead. [Hence it is, that it is frequently repeated, He, and not any other. Acts 9:20; Acts 9:22, etc.—V. g.] The participle ὁρισθέντος expresses much more than ἀφωρισμένος in Romans 1:1; for one, ἀφορίζεται, out of a number of other persons, but a person, ὁρίζεται, as the one and only person, Acts 10:42. In that well-known passage, Psalms 2:7, חק [the decree] is the same as ὁρισμὸς; [the decree implying] that the Father has most determinately said, Thou art My Son. The ἀπόδειξις, the approving of the Son, in regard to men, follows in the train of this ὁρισμόν.—Acts 2:22. Paul particularly extols the glory of the Son of God, when writing to those to whom he had been unable to preach it face to face. Comp. Hebrews 10:8, etc., note.— ἐν δυνάμει, in (or with) power), most powerfully, most fully; as when the sun shines in δυνάμει, in his strength.—Revelation 1:16.— κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης, according to the spirit of holiness) The word קדוש ἃγιος, holy, when the subject under discussion refers to God, not only denotes that blameless rectitude in acting, which distinguishes Him, but the Godhead itself, or, to speak with greater propriety, the divinity, or the excellence of the Divine nature. Hence ἁγιωσύνη has a kind of middle sense between ἁγιότητα and ἁγιασμόν.—Comp. Hebrews 12:10; Hebrews 12:14. [“His holiness,” ἁγιότης; “without ἁγιασμός sanctification, no man shall see the Lord.”] So that there are, as it were, three degrees, sanctification (sanctificatio), sanctity (or sanctimony, “sanctimonia,”) holiness (sanctitas) Holiness itself (sanctitas) is ascribed to God the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. And since the Holy Spirit is not mentioned in this passage, but the Spirit of holiness (sanctity, sanctimoniæ), we must inquire farther, what that expression, which is evidently a singular one, denotes. The name Spirit is expressly, and that too, very often, given to the Holy Spirit; but God is also said to be a Spirit; and the Lord, Jesus Christ, is called Spirit, in antithesis indeed to the letter, 2 Corinthians 3:17. But in the strict sense, it is of use to compare with the idea here the fact, that the antithesis flesh and spirit occurs, as in this passage, so rather frequently, in passages speaking of Christ, 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 3:18. And in these passages that is called Spirit, whatever belongs to Christ, independently of the flesh [assumed through His descent from David, Luke 1:35.—V. g.], although that flesh was pure and holy; also whatever superior to flesh belongs to Him, owing to His generation by the Father, who has sanctified Him, John 10:36; in short, the Godhead itself. For, as in this passage, flesh and spirit, so at chap. Romans 9:5, flesh and Godhead stand in contradistinction to each other. This spirit is not called the spirit of holiness (sanctitatis ἁγιότητος), which is the peculiar and solemn appellation of the Holy Spirit, with whom, however, Jesus was most abundantly filled and anointed, Luke 1:35; Luke 4:1; Luke 4:18; John 3:34; Acts 10:38; but in this one passage alone, the expression used is the spirit of sanctity (sanctimoniæ ἁγιωσύνης), in order that there may be at once implied the efficacy of that holiness (sanctitatis ἁγιότητος) or divinity, of which the resurrection of the Saviour was both a necessary consequence, and which it most powerfully illustrates; and so, that spiritual and holy, or divine power of Jesus Christ glorified, who, however, has still retained the spiritual body. Before the resurrection, the Spirit was concealed under the flesh; after the resurrection the Spirit of sanctity [sanctimoniæ] entirely concealed the flesh, although He did not lay aside the flesh; but all that is carnal (which was also without sin), Luke 24:39. In respect of the former [His state before the resurrection], He once used frequently to call Himself the Son of Man; in respect of the latter [His state after the resurrection; and the spirit of sanctity, by which He rose again], He is celebrated as the Son of God. His [manifested or] conspicuous state [as presented to men’s view before His resurrection] was modified in various ways. At the day of judgment, His glory as the Son of God shall appear, as also His body in the highest degree glorified. See also John 6:63, note.— ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν, by means of the resurrection of the dead) ἐκ not only denotes time, but the connection of things (for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is at once the source and the object of our faith, Acts 17:31). The verb ἀνίστημι is also used without a preposition, as in Herodotus, ἀναστάντες τῶν βαθρῶν: therefore, ἀνάστασις νεκρῶν might be taken in this passage for the resurrection from the dead. But it is in reality taken in a more pregnant sense; for it is intimated, that the resurrection of all is intimately connected with the resurrection of Christ. Comp. Acts 4:2; Acts 23:6; Acts 26:23. Artemonius conjectures that the reading should be ἐξ ἀναστάσεως ἐκ νεκρῶν Part I., cap. 41, p. 214, etc., and this is his construction of the passage: περὶ [Romans 1:3] ἐξαναστάσεως ἐκ νεκρῶν τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ κ. τ. λ. concerning the resurrection of His Son from the dead, etc. But, I. There is a manifest Apposition, concerning His Son, Jesus Christ; therefore, the words, which come between parenthetically, are all construed in an unbroken connection with one another. II. There is an obvious antithesis: του γενομένου εκ κατα: του ὁρισθέντοςκαταεξ.—III. ἀνάστασις, not ἐξανάστασις, if we are to have regard to Paul’s style, is properly applied to Christ; but ἐξαανάστασις to Christians; Comp. ἤγειρε, ἐξεγερεῖ, 1 Corinthians 6:14. Artemonius objects that Christ was even previously the Son of God, Luke 3:22; John 10:36; Acts 2:22; Acts 10:38. We answer, Paul does not infer the Sonship itself, but the ὁρισμὸν, the [declaration] definitive marking of the Sonship by the resurrection. And in support of this point, Chrysostom compares with this the following passages: John 2:19; John 8:28; Matthew 12:39; and the preaching of the apostles follows close upon this ὁρισμόν, Luke 24:47. Therefore, this mode of mentioning the resurrection is exceedingly well adapted to this introduction, as Galatians 1:1.


Verse 5

Romans 1:5. διʼ οὗ, by whom), by Jesus Christ our Lord.— ἐλάβομεν, we have received), we, the other apostles and I.— χάριν καὶ ἀποστολὴν, grace and the apostolic mission) These two things are quite distinct, but very closely connected. Grace, nay, a singular measure of grace, fell to the lot of the apostles, and from it, not only their whole mission, Ephesians 3:2, but also all their actions proceeded, Romans 12:3; Romans 15:15-16; Romans 15:18. The word ἀποστολή occurs in this sense in Acts 1:25. With the LXX. it signifies, sending away, a gift sent, etc. Obedience to the faith corresponds to grace and apostleship.— εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως, for obedience to the faith), that all nations may become and continue submissively obedient to the word of faith and doctrine concerning Jesus (Acts 6:7), and may therefore render the obedience, which consists in faith itself. From its relation to the Gospel, the nature of this obedience is evident, ch. Romans 10:16, Romans 16:26; 1 Peter 1:2 : and ὑπακοὴ, obedience, is ἀκοὴ μεθʼ ὑποταγῆς, hearing with submission, ch. Romans 10:3, at the close of the verse. So, Mary believing said, Behold, the handmaid of the Lord, Luke 1:38; Luke 1:45ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, among all nations) As all nations outwardly obey the authority of the Romans, so all nations, and so the Romans themselves also ought, with their whole heart, to be obedient to the faithὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόματος ἀυτοῦ), for the name of Him, even Jesus Christ our Lord. By Him grace has come, John 1:17; for Him, His ambassador’s act; 2 Corinthians 5:20; by Him faith is directed towards God, 1 Peter 1:21.


Verse 6

Romans 1:6. ἐν οἷς), among which nations, that have been brought to the obedience of the faith by the calling of Jesus Christκαὶ ὑμεῖς, ye also) Paul ascribes no particular superiority to the Romans.—Comp. 1 Corinthians 14:36. He, however, touches upon the reason for his writing to the Romans. Presently, in the following verse, he directly addresses them— κλητοὶ, called), Romans 1:7.

V. 7. πᾶσι το͂ ις οὖσιν ἐν ῥώμῃ, to all that be in Rome) Most of these were of the Gentiles, Romans 1:13, with whom, however, Jews were mixed. They had been either born and educated at Rome, or, at least, were residing there at that time. They were dwelling scattered throughout a very large city, and had not hitherto been brought into the form of a regularly constituted church. Only some of them were in the habit of assembling in the house of Priscilla and Aquila, Romans 16:5. What follows, beloved, etc., agrees with the word all; for he does not address the idolaters at Rome— ἀγαπητοῖς θεοῦ, κλητοῖς ἁγίοις) These two clauses want the copulative conjunction, and are parallel; for he, who belongs to God, is holy [set apart]. Comp. Hebrews 3:1. The expression, the beloved of God, he particularly applies to the believing Israelites, ch. Romans 11:28; called to be saints, to believers of the Gentiles. The Israelites are holy by descent from their fathers, Acts 20:32, note. Comp. with annot. on Romans 1:1 of this chapter; but believers of the Gentiles are said to be sanctified or called saints, holy by calling, as Paul interprets it [‘sanctified’], 1 Corinthians 1:2. We have here a double title, and I have referred the first part to the Israelites, the second to the Gentiles. Comp. Romans 1:5-6, and add the passages, which have just now been quoted. The celebrated Baumgarten, in his German exposition of this Epistle, to which we shall often have occasion to refer, writes thus: “Hiedurch würde der gottesdienstliche Unterschied der Gläubigen und eingebildete Vorzug der Israëliten zu sehr bestätiget worden seyn, den Paulus vielmehr bestreitet und abgeschaffet oder aufgehoben zu seyn versichert.”(6) We answer: The privilege of the Israelite (although he who is called holy, is as highly blessed, as he who is the beloved of God) is as appropriate to be mentioned in Paul’s introduction, as the πρῶτον, ch. Romans 1:16 [to the Jew first], is appropriate in the Statement of his subject(7) there; which [the statement of the priority of the Jew, at Romans 1:16] Baumgarten defends enough and more than enough.— χάρις, grace, etc. This form of expression is the customary one in the writings of Paul. See the beginnings of his epistles, and also Ephesians 6:23.— ὑμῖν, to you) Supply, may there fall to your lot.— εἰρήνη, peace) שלום, peace: a form of salutation in common use among the Hebrews, before which is placed χάρις, grace, a term altogether consonant to the New Testament, and to the preaching of the apostles. Grace comes from God; then, in consequence, man is in a state of peace, ch. Romans 5:2, note.— ἀπὸ θεο͂ υ πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου ιησο͂ υ χριστο͂ υ, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ) The solemn form of appellation used by the apostles, God and the Father, God our Father; and, when they speak to one another, they do not often say κυρίος, Lord, inasmuch as by it the proper name of GOD with four letters [ יהוה were the four letters, tetragrammaton] is intended; but, in the Old Testament, they had said, Jehovah our God. The reason of the difference is: in the Old Testament they were, so to speak, slaves; in the New Testament they are sons; but sons so know their father, as to render it unnecessary to call him often by his proper name. Comp. Hebrews 8:11. Farther, when Polytheism was rooted out, it was not so necessary, that the true God should be distinguished from false gods, by His proper name. κυρίου is construed, not with ἡ΄ῶν; for God is declared to be the Father of Jesus Christ, and our Father, not, our Father, and the Father of Jesus Christ; but [ κυρίου is construed] with ἀπὸ, as is evident from 2 Timothy 1:2. There is one and the same grace, one and the same peace, from God and Christ. Our confidence and prayers are directed to God, inasmuch as He is the Father of our Lord; and to Jesus Christ, inasmuch as He makes us, through Himself, stand in the presence of the Father.


Verse 8

Romans 1:8. πρῶτον, first) A next does not always follow; and in this passage, the affectionate feeling and emotion of the writer have absorbed it.— μὲν) The corresponding δέ follows at Romans 1:13. You are, says he, already indeed in the faith; but yet I am desirous to contribute something to your improvement.— εὐχαριστῶ, I give thanks) Even at the beginning alone [besides similar beginnings in other epistles] of this epistle, there are traces of all the spiritual emotions. Among these, thanksgiving takes the preeminence: and with it almost all the epistles commence. The categorical idea of the sentence is: You have found faith. Thanksgiving, which is an accessory idea, renders the discourse modal (i.e., shows the manner in which the subject and predicate, in the categorical sentence, are connected),—comp. note to ch. Romans 6:17. Paul rejoices that, what he considered should be effected by him elsewhere, as a debtor to all, was already effected at Rome.— τῷ θεῷ μου, my God) This phrase, my God, expresses faith, love, hope, and, therefore, the whole of true religion, Psalms 144:15; Habakkuk 1:12. My God is the God whom I serve; see next verse.— διὰ, through) The gifts of God come to us through Christ, our thanksgivings go to God through Christ.— πίστις, faith) In congratulations of this kind, Paul describes either the whole of Christianity, Colossians 1:3, etc., or some part of it, 1 Corinthians 1:5. He therefore mentions faith in this passage, as suited to the object, which he has in view, Romans 1:12; Romans 1:17.— καταγγέλλεται, is spoken of) An abbreviated mode of expression for, You have obtained faith; I hear of it, for it is everywhere openly declared; so, 1 Thessalonians 1:8, he says, that the faith of the Thessalonians is spread abread in every place.— ἐν ὅλῳ τῷ κόσμῳ, throughout the whole world) The Divine goodness and wisdom established the faith in the principal cities, especially in Jerusalem and Rome, from which it might be disseminated throughout the whole world.


Verse 9

Romans 1:9. ΄άρτυς, witness) A pious asseveration respecting a matter necessary [Paul’s secret prayer for them], and hidden from men, especially from those, who were remote and unknown,—2 Corinthians 11:31.— λατρεύω, I serve), as an apostle, ch. Romans 15:16. The witness of God resounds [is often appealed to] in spiritual service; and he who serves God, desires and rejoices, that as many as possible should serve God, 2 Timothy 1:3.— μνείαν ὑμῶν, mention of you) Paul was wont to make distinct and explicit mention of the churches, and of the souls of their members.


Verse 10

Romans 1:10. ἔιπως ἤδη ποτέ, The accumulation of the particles intimates the strength of the desire.


Verse 11

Romans 1:11. ΄εταδῶ, I may impart), in your presence, by the preaching of the Gospel, Romans 1:15, by profitable discourses, by prayers, etc. Paul was not satisfied with writing an epistle in the meantime, but retained this purpose, ch. Romans 15:24. There is much greater advantage in being present, than in sending letters, when the former falls out so [when one can be present in person].— χάρισμα πνευματικὸν, spiritual gift) In these gifts, the Corinthians abounded, inasmuch as they had been favoured with the presence of Paul, 1 Corinthians 1:7; 1 Corinthians 12:1; 1 Corinthians 14:1; in like manner the Galatians, Galatians 3:5. And those churches, which were gladdened by the presence of the apostles, had evidently distinguished privileges of this kind; for example, from the imposition of the apostles’ hands, Acts 19:2; Acts 19:6; Acts 8:17-18; and 2 Timothy 1:6. But hitherto, at least, the Romans were much inferior in this respect; wherefore also the enumeration of gifts at ch. Romans 12:6-7, is extremely brief. He is, therefore, desirous to go to their assistance, that they may be established, for the testimony of Christ was confirmed by means of the gifts.—1 Corinthians 1:6. Peter had not, any more than Paul, visited Rome, before this epistle was written, as we learn from this passage, and indeed from the whole tenor of the epistle; since Peter, had he been at Rome, would have imparted, what Paul was desirous to impart, to the Romans. Furthermore, Baronius thinks that this epistle was written A.D. 58; whereas the martyrdom of Peter took place A.D. 67; therefore, if he was at Rome at all, he could not have remained long at Rome.— στηριχθῆναι, to be established) He speaks modestly; It is the province of God to establish, ch. Romans 16:25. Paul intimates, that he is only the instrument.


Verse 12

Romans 1:12. τοῦτο δέ ἐστι, Moreover, that is) He explains the words, to see you, etc. He does not say, Moreover, that is, that I may bring you into the form of a regularly constituted church. Precaution was taken [by Divine foresight] lest the Church of Rome should be the occasion of any mischief, which nevertheless arose in after-times.— ὑμῶν τε καῖμο͂ υ, both of you and me) He not only associates with himself the Romans, together with whom he longs to be comforted [or stirred up together with whom], but he even puts them first in the order of words, before himself. The style of the apostle is widely different from that of the Papal court at Rome.


Verse 13

Romans 1:13. ὀυἀγνοεῖν, not—to be ignorant) A form of expression usual with Paul, which shows the candour of his mind.— ἀδελφοί, brethren) An address, frequent, holy, adapted to all, simple, agreeable, magnificent. It is profitable, in this place, to consider the titles, which the apostles use in their addresses. They rather seldom introduce proper names, such as Corinthians, Timothy, etc. Paul most frequently calls them brethren; sometimes, when he is exhorting them, beloved, or my beloved brethren. James says, brethren, my brethren, my beloved brethren; Peter and Jude always use the word beloved; John often, beloved; once, brethren; more than once, little, or my little children, as Paul, my son Timothy.— καρπὸν σχῶ, I might have fruit) Have, a word elegantly placed midway between receive and give. What is profitable to others is a delight to Paul himself. He esteems that as the fruit [of his labour] (Philippians 1:22). In every place, he wishes to have something [a gift] put out at interest. He somewhat modifies [qualifies] this desire of gain [spiritual gain], when he speaks of himself in the following verse as a debtor. He both demands and owes, Romans 1:12; Romans 1:11. By the cords of these two forces, the 15th verse is steadied and strengthened.— καθὼς, even as) Good extends itself among as many as possible.


Verse 14

Romans 1:14. ἑλλησί τε καὶ βαρβάροις, alike to the Greeks and to the barbarians). He reckons those among the Greeks, to whom he is writing in the Greek language. This division into Greeks and barbarians comprehends the entire Gentile world. There follows another division, alike to the wise and to the unwise; for there were fools even among the Greeks, and also wise men even among the Barbarians. To all, he says, I am debtor, by virtue of my divine commission to all, as being the servant of all (2 Corinthians 4:5.) Though men excel in wisdom or in power, the Gospel is still necessary to them; others [beside the wise and powerful] are not excluded.—(Colossians 1:28, note.)


Verse 15

Romans 1:15. οὕτω, so), therefore. It is a sort of epiphonema [exclamation, which follows a train of reasoning], and a conclusion drawn from the whole to an important part.— τὸ κατʼ ἐμὲ), that is, so far as depends on me, or I for my part, so far as I am not prevented; so Ezra 6:11, καὶ οἶκος ατο͂ υ τὸ κατʼ ἐμὲ ποιηθήσεται, and his house, so far as it depends upon me, shall be made [a dunghill].— πξόθυμον, ready) supply there is [readiness in me; I am ready]. 3 Maccabees 5:23, (26.)— τὸ προθυμοι τοῦ βασιλέως ἐν ἑτοίμῳ κεῖσθαι, [the readiness of the king to continue in a state of preparation]— ἐν ῥώμῃ, at Rome), to the wise.—Comp. the preceding verse; to the powerful.—Comp. the following verse and 1 Corinthians 1:24; therefore the following expression, at Rome, is emphatically repeated.—(See Romans 1:7.) Rome, the capital and theatre of the whole world— εὐαγγελίσασθαι, to preach the Gospel) The Statement of the Subject of the epistle is secretly implied here; I will write, what I would wish to have spoken in your presence concerning the Gospel.


Verse 16

Romans 1:16. οὐ γὰρ ἐπαισχύνομαι, for I am not ashamed) He speaks somewhat less forcibly, as in the introduction; afterwards he says, I have whereof I may glory (ch. Romans 15:17). To the world, the Gospel is folly and weakness (1 Corinthians 1:18); wherefore, in the opinion of the world, a man should be ashamed of it, especially at Rome; but Paul is not ashamed (2 Timothy 1:8; 2 Corinthians 4:2). τοῦ χριστο͂ υ, of Christ) Baumgarten gives good reasons, why Paul did not call it in this passage the Gospel of GOD, or of the SON OF GOD but the reasons, which he alleges, are as strong for reading the words τοῦ χριστο͂ υ, as for omitting them. Arguments are easily found out for both sides; but testimony ought to have the chief weight; and in reference to this passage, the testimony for the omission is sufficient.—(See Appendix. Crit., edit. ii., on this verse.(8))— δύναμις θεοῦ, the power of God), great and glorious (2 Corinthians 10:4.)— εἰς σωτηρίαν, unto salvation) As Paul sums up the Gospel in this epistle, so he sums up the epistle in this and the following verse. This then is the proper place for presenting a connected view of the epistles. We have in it—

I. The Introduction, Romans 1:1-15.

II. The Subject stated [Propositio], with a Summary of its Proof.

1. Concerning Faith and Righteousness.

2. Concerning Salvation, or, in other words, Life.

3. Concerning “Every one that believeth,” Jew and Greek, Romans 1:16-17.

To these three divisions, of which the first is discussed from Romans 1:18 to Romans 4:1, the second from 5 to 8 the third from 9 to 11, not only this Discussion itself, but also the Exhortation derived from it, correspond respectively and in the same order.

III. The Discussion.

1. On Justification, which results,

i. Not through works: for alike under sin are

The Gentiles, Romans 1:18.

The Jews, Romans 2:1.

Both together, Romans 2:11; Romans 2:14; Romans 2:17; Romans 3:1; Romans 3:9.

ii. But through faith, Romans 2:21; Romans 2:27; Romans 2:29.

iii. As is evident from the instance of Abraham, and the testimony of David, Romans 4:1; Romans 4:6; Romans 4:9; Romans 4:13; Romans 4:18; Romans 4:22.

2. On Salvation, Romans 5:1; Romans 5:12; Romans 6:1; Romans 7:1; Romans 7:7; Romans 7:14; Romans 8:1; Romans 8:14; Romans 8:24; Romans 8:31.

3. On “Every one that believeth,” Romans 9:1; Romans 9:6; Romans 9:14; Romans 9:24; Romans 9:30; Romans 10:1; Romans 10:11; Romans 11:1; Romans 11:7; Romans 11:11; Romans 11:25; Romans 11:33.

IV. The Exhortation, Romans 12:1-2.

1. Concerning Faith, and (because the law is established through faith, Romans 3:31) concerning love, which faith produces, and concerning righteousness towards men, 3—Romans 13:10. Faith is expressly named, Romans 12:3; Romans 12:6. Love, Romans 12:9, and Romans 13:8. The definition of Righteousness is given, Romans 13:7, at the beginning of the verse.

2. Concerning Salvation, Romans 13:11-14. Salvation is expressly named, Romans 13:11.

3. Concerning the joint union of Jews and Gentiles, Romans 14:1; Romans 14:10; Romans 14:13; Romans 14:19; Romans 15:1; Romans 15:7-13. Express mention of both, Romans 15:8-9.

V. The Conclusion, Romans 15:14; Romans 16:1; Romans 16:3; Romans 16:17; Romans 16:21; Romans 16:25.


Verse 17

Romans 1:17. δικαιοσὑνη θεο͂ υ, the righteousness of God) The righteousness of God is frequently mentioned in the New Testament, often in the books of Isaiah and Daniel, most often in the Psalms. It sometimes signifies that righteousness, by which God Himself is righteous, acts righteously, and is acknowledged to be righteous, ch. Romans 3:5; and also that righteousness, as it is termed in the case of [when applied to] men, either particular or universal, in which grace, and mercy also, are included, and which is shown principally in the condemnation of sin, and in the justification of the sinner; and thus, in this view, the essential righteousness of God is evidently not to be excluded from the business of justification, ch. Romans 3:25, etc. Hence it sometimes signifies this latter righteousness, by which a man (in consequence of the gift of God, Matthew 6:33) becomes righteous, and is righteous; and that, too, either by laying hold of the righteousness of Jesus Christ through faith, ch. Romans 3:21-22, or by imitating that [the former spoken of] righteousness of God, in the practice of virtue, and in the performance of good works, James 1:20. That righteousness of faith is called the righteousness of God by Paul, when he is speaking of justification; because God has originated and prepared it, reveals and bestows it, approves and crowns it with completion (comp. 2 Peter 1:1), to which, therefore, men’s own righteousness is opposed, Romans 10:3; with which comp. Philippians 3:9. Moreover, we ourselves are also called the righteousness of God, 2 Corinthians 5:21. In this passage, as well as in the statement of the subject [Proposition], the righteousness of God denotes the entire scheme of beneficence of God in Jesus Christ, for the salvation of the sinner.— ἀποκαλύπτεται, is revealed) Hence the necessity of the Gospel is manifest, without which neither righteousness nor salvation is capable of being known. The showing forth [‘declare.’—Engl. vers.] of the righteousness of God was made in the death of Christ, ch. Romans 3:25, etc. [ ἔνδειξιν τ. δικαιοσύνης]; the manifestation and revelation of that righteousness of God, which is through faith, are made in the Gospel: ch. Romans 3:21, and in this passage. Thus there is here a double revelation made; (comp. Romans 1:18 with this verse) namely, of wrath and of righteousness. The former by the law, which is but little known to nature; the latter, by the Gospel, which is altogether unknown to nature. The former precedes and prepares the way; the latter follows after. Each is a matter of revelation ( ἀποκαλύπτεται), the word being expressed in the present tense, in opposition to the times of ignorance, Acts 17:30.— ἐκ πίστεως εἰς πίστιν, from faith to faith) Construe the righteousness which is of or from faith, as we have presently after the just from faith [i.e. he who is justified,—whose righteousness is, of faith]. The phrase, from faith to faith, expresses pure faith; for righteousness of, or from faith, subsists in faith, without works. εἰς denotes the destination, the boundary, and limit; see ch. Romans 12:3, and notes on Chrysostom’s work, De Sacerd, p. 415. So 1 Chronicles 17:5. I have gone [lit. in the Heb. I was or have been] מאהל אל אהל from tent to tent, where one and another tent [different tents] are not intended; but a tent [the tabernacle] as distinguished from [or independently of] a house or temple. Faith, says Paul, continues to be faith; faith is all in all [lit. the prow and stern] in the case of Jews and Gentiles; in the case of Paul also, even up to its very final consummation, Philippians 3:7-12. Thus εἰς sounds with a beautiful effect after ἐκ, as ἀπὸ and εἰς, 2 Corinthians 3:18, concerning the purest glory. It is to avoid what might be disagreeable to his readers, that Paul does not yet expressly exclude works, of which, however, in this Statement of Subject [Proposition], an exclusion of some kind should otherwise have appeared. Furthermore, the nature of a proposition, thus set forth, bears, that many other things may be inferred from this; for inasmuch as it is not said, ἐκ τῆς πίστεως εἰς τὴν πίστιν, from the faith to the faith, but indefinitely ἐκ πίστεως εἰς πίστιν from faith to faith, so we shall say [we may say by inference] from one faith to another, from the faith of God, who makes the offer, to the faith of men, who receive it, ch. Romans 3:2, etc.; from the faith of the Old Testament, and of the Jews, to the faith of the New Testament, and of the Gentiles also, ch. Romans 3:30; from the faith of Paul to the faith of the Romans, ch. Romans 1:12; from one degree of faith to still higher degrees, 1 John 5:13; from the faith of the strong to the faith of the weak, ch. Romans 14:1, etc.; from our faith, which is that of expectation, to the faith, which is to be divinely made good to us, by the gift of life [“The just shall live by faith”].— καθως, as) Paul has just laid down three principles: I. Righteousness is [of, or] from faith, Romans 1:17 : II. Salvation is by righteousness, Romans 1:16 : III. To the Jew and to the Greek, Romans 1:16. What follows confirms the whole, viz., the clause, the just by faith, shall live, which is found in the prophetical record, Habakkuk 2:4; see notes on Hebrews 10:36, etc. It is the same Spirit, who spoke by the prophets the Words, that were to be quoted by Paul; and under whose guidance Paul made such apposite and suitable quotations, especially in this epistle.— ζήσεται, shall live) some of the Latins, in former times, wrote the present ‘lives’ for the future “shall live” (vivit for vivet);(10) an obvious mistake in one small letter, and not worthy of notice or refutation. Baumgarten, following Whitby, refutes it, and observes, that I have omitted to notice it.


Verse 18

Romans 1:18. ἀποκαλύπτεται, is revealed) See verse 17, note.— γὰρ, for) The particle begins the discussion; the Statement of Subject [Proposition] being now concluded, ch. Romans 6:19; Matthew 1:18; Acts 2:15; 1 Corinthians 15:3. The Latins generally omit it.(11) This is Paul’s first argument: All are under sin; and that the law shows; therefore, no one is justified by the works of the law. The discussion of this point continues to the third chapter, Romans 1:20. From this he draws the inference, therefore [justification must be] by faith, ch. Romans 3:21, etc.— ὀργὴ θεοῦ, wrath of God) [not as Engl. Vers. “the wrath”] ὀργή without the article, in this passage [is denounced against all unrighteousness]; but ὀργὴ is denounced against those [the persons; not as ὀργή, against the sin], who disregard righteousness. Wrath is, as it were, different, when directed against the Gentiles, and when against the Jews. The righteousness and the wrath of God form, in some measure, an antithesis. The righteousness of the world crushes the guilty individual; the righteousness of God crushes beneath it the sin, and restores the sinner. Hence there is frequent mention of wrath, especially in this epistle, ch. Romans 2:5; Romans 2:8, Romans 3:5, Romans 4:15, Romans 5:9, Romans 9:22, and besides, ch. Romans 12:19, Romans 13:4-5.— ἀπʼ οὐρανοῦ, from heaven) This significantly implies the majesty of an angry God, and His all-seeing eye, and the wide extent of His wrath: whatever is under heaven, and yet not under the Gospel, is under this wrath,—Psalms 14:2.— ἐπὶ πᾶσαν, upon all) Paul, in vividly presenting to view the wrath of God, speaks in the abstract, concerning sin: in presenting to view salvation [Romans 1:16, he speaks] in the concrete, concerning believers; he now, therefore, intimates enigmatically [by implication], that grace has been procured for sinners.— ἀσέβειαν καὶ ἀδικίαν, ungodliness and unrighteousness) These two points are discussed at the twenty-third and following verses. [Paul often mentions unrighteousness, Romans 1:29, as directly opposed to righteousness.—V. g.]— ἀνθρώπων τῶν) A periphrasis for the Gentiles.— τὴν ἀλήθειαν, the truth) to which belongs, whatever of really sound morality the heathen writings possess.— ἐν ἀδικίᾳ, in unrighteousness) The term is taken now in a larger sense, than just before, where it formed an antithesis to ἀσέβειαν, viz., in the sense of ἀνο΄ία, ch. Romans 6:19.— κατεχόντων, holding back) [holding, Engl. Vers. less correctly] Truth in the understanding, makes great efforts, and is urgent; but man impedes its effect.


Verse 19

Romans 1:19. τὸ γνωστόν) the fact that God is known: that principle, that God makes Himself known; that is to say, the existence of an acquaintance with, or knowledge of, God [the fact of God being known; the objective knowledge of God], not merely that He can be known. For, at Romans 1:21, he says, γνόντες, of the Gentiles [asserting thus, that they did know God].—Plato b. 5. Polit. uses γνωστόν in the same way; τὸ μὲν παντελῶς ὂν, παντελῶς γνωστόν· μὴ ὂν δὲ μηδαμῆ, πάντη ἄγνωστον, whatsoever indeed has a positive existence, is positively known: but a thing, which has no existence at all, is utterly unknown.— ἐφανέρωσε) Paul used this word with great propriety, as well as ἀποκαλύπτω above.(12)


Verse 20

Romans 1:20. ἀόρατα καθορᾶται, the invisible things are seen) An incomparable oxymoron(13) (a happy union of things opposite, as here invisible, yet seen). The invisible things of God, if ever at any time, would certainly have become visible at the creation; but even then they began to be seen, not otherwise, save by the understanding.— ἀπὸ κτίσεως, from the creation) ἀπὸ here denotes either a proof, as ἀπὸ, in Matthew 24:32, so that the understanding [comp. Romans 1:20, “understood”] of the fathers [respecting God, as He, whose being and attributes are proved] from the creation of the world, may refute the apostasy of the Gentiles; or rather, ἀπό denotes time, so that it corresponds to the Hebrew preposition מ, and means, ever since the foundation of the world, and beyond it, reckoning backward; and thus the ἀΐδιος, eternal, presently after, agrees with it. In the former mode of interpretation, ἀπὸ is connected with καθορᾶται, are seen from; in the second mode, with ἀόρατα, unseen ever since.— ποιή΄ασι) [the things made], the works that have been produced by κτίσιν, creation. There are works; therefore there is a creation; therefore there is a Creator.— νοούμενα) Those alone, who use their understanding, νῷ, καθορῶσι, look closely into a subject.— καθορᾶται, are seen) for the works [which proceed from the invisible attributes of God] are discerned. The antithesis is, ἐσκοτίσθη [Romans 1:21], was darkened.— ἥτεκαὶ) These words stand in apposition with ἀόρατα.— ἀΐδιος κ. τ. λ., eternal, etc.) The highest attribute of God, worthy of God—perfection in being and acting; in one word θειότης, which signifies divinity [not “Godhead,” as Engl. Vers.], as θεότης, Godhead.— δύνα΄ις, power) of all the attributes of God, this is the one, which was first revealed. His works, in a peculiar manner correspond to His several attributes [Isaiah 40:26]— εἰς τὸ) Paul not only speaks of some result ensuing, but directly takes away all excuse; and this clause, εἰς το,—is equivalent to a proposition, in relation to [to be handled more fully in] the following verses. Construe it with φανερόν ἐστιν [Romans 1:19. The fact of their knowing God, is manifest in, or among them].— ἀναπολογήτους, without excuse). So also in regard to the Jews, ch. Romans 2:1.


Verse 21

Romans 1:21. διὁτι. This διότι is resumed from Romans 1:19. They did not sin in ignorance, but knowingly.— θεὸν ὡς θεὸν, God as God). This is ἀλήθεια, the truth [of God, Romans 1:25], the perfection of conformity with nature,(14) where worship corresponds to the divine nature. Comp. in contrast with this, Galatians 4:8 [when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which] by nature are no Gods.— θεὸν, God). [They glorified Him not as the God] eternal, almighty, and to be continually honoured by showing forth His glory, and by thanksgiving.— ἐδόξασαν ἐυχαρίστησαν, they glorified or were thankful) We ought to render thanks for benefits; and to glorify Him on account of the divine perfections themselves, contrary to the opinion of Hobbes. If it were possible for a mind to exist extraneous to God, and not created by God, still that mind would be bound to praise God.— ), or, at least.— ἐματαιώθησαν) This verb and ἐσκοτίσθη have a reciprocal force. הבל, μάταια, ματαιο ͂ υσθαι are frequently applied to idols, and to their worship and worshippers, 2 Kings 17:15; Jeremiah 2:5; for the mind is conformed [becomes and is assimilated] to its object [of worship], Psalms 115:8. ΄αταιότης is opposed to τῷ δοξάζειν; ἀσύνετος καρδία to τῷ εὐχαριστεῖν.— δισλογισμοῖς [“imaginations,” Eng. vers.], thoughts) Variable, uncertain, and foolish.


Verse 22

Romans 1:22. φάσκοντες, professing.— ἐμωράνθησαν) The LXX., Jeremiah 10:14, etc., ἐμωράνθη πᾶς ἄνθρωπος ἀπὸ γνώσεωςψευδῆ ἐχώνευσανμάταιά ἐστιν, ἔργα ἐμπεπαιγμένα, (every man is a fool in his knowledge.—Their molten images are falsehoods, they are vain and deceitful works). Throughout this epistle Paul alludes to the last chapters of Isaiah, and to the first of Jeremiah, from which it appears, that this holy man of God was at that time fresh from the reading of them.


Verse 23

Romans 1:23. ἤλλαξαν, they changed), with the utmost folly, Psalms 106:20; Jeremiah 2:11. The impiety being one and the same, and the punishment one and the same, have three successive stages. In the first, these words are the emphatic ones, viz., καρδία, in Romans 1:21; καρδιῶν, in Romans 1:24; ἐδόξασαν, and δόξαν, and ἀτιμάζεσθαι τὰ σώματα, in Romans 1:21; Romans 1:23-24. In the second stage, μετήλλαξαν is emphatic, and the repetition of this verb, not, however, without a difference between the simple and compound forms [ ἤλλαξαν τ. δοξαν, Romans 1:23; μετήλλαξαν τ. φυσικὴν χρῆσιν, Romans 1:26, the corresponding sin and punishment], gives the meaning of like for like [talionis, their punishment being like their sin], Romans 1:25-26; as παρὰ changes its meaning, when repeated in the same place [ παρὰ τ. κτίσαντα, Romans 1:25; παρὰ φύσιν, Romans 1:26]. In the third, οὐκ ἐδοκίμασαν, and ἀδόκιμον, Romans 1:28, are emphatic. In the several cases, the word παρέδωκε expresses the punishment. If a man worships not God as God, he is so far left to himself, that he casts away his manhood, and departs as far as possible from God, after whose image he was made.— τὴν δόξαν το͂ υ ἀφθὰρτου, the glory of the incorruptible) The perfections of God are expressed either in positive or negative terms. The Hebrew language abounds in positive terms, and generally renders negatives by a periphrasis.— ἐν), Hebrew ב, [So, after the verb to change with, or for] the Latin pro, cum; so, ἐν, Romans 1:25 [changed the truth of God into a lie].— ἀνθρώπουἑρπετῶν, like to man—to creeping things) A descending climax; corruptible is to be construed also with birds, etc. They often mixed together the form of man, bird, quadruped, and serpent.— ὁμοιώματι εἰκόνος, in the likeness of an image) Image is the concrete; likeness the abstract, opposed to δόξῃ, the glory; the greater the resemblance of the image to the creature, the more manifest is the aberration from the truth.


Verse 24

Romans 1:24. διό, wherefore) One punishment of sin arises from its physical consequences, Romans 1:27, note, [that recompense of their error, which] was meet; another, moreover, from retributive justice, as in this passage.— ἐν ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις, in the lusts) ἐν, not ἐις. ἁι ἐπιθυμίαι, the lusts, were already present there. The men themselves were such as were the gods that they framed.— ἀκαθαρσίαν, uncleanness) Impiety and impurity are frequently joined together, 1 Thessalonians 4:5; as are also the knowledge of God and purity of mind, Matthew 5:8; 1 John 3:2, etc.— ἀτιμάζεσθαι, to dishonour) Honour is its opposite, 1 Thessalonians 4:4. Man ought not to debase himself, 1 Corinthians 6:13, etc.— ἐν ἑαυτοῖς,(15) among their ownselves), by fornication, effeminacy, and other vices. They themselves furnish the materials of their own punishment, and are at the cost of it. How justly! they, who dishonour God, inflict punishment on their ownselves. Joh. Cluverus.


Verse 25

Romans 1:25. την ἀλήθειαν, the truth) which commands us to worship God AS God.— ἐν τῳ ψεύδει [into a lie—Engl. vers.] (exchanged) for a lie) the price paid for [mythology] idol worship; ἐν, the Lat. cum.— ἐσεβάσθησαν, they worshipped) implying internal worship.— ἐλάτρευσαν, they served) implying external worship.— παρὰ) in preference to, more than, ch. Romans 14:5 [ ἡμέραν παρʼ ἡμέραν].


Verse 26

Romans 1:26. πάθη ἀτιμίας, lusts of dishonour) [vile affections—Engl. vers.] See Gerberi lib. unerkannte sünden (unknown sins), T. i., cap. 92; Von der geheimen Unzucht (on secret vices). The writings of the heathen are full of such things.— ἀτιμίας, dishonour). Honour is its opposite, 1 Thessalonians 4:4.— θήλειαι, women) In stigmatizing sins, we must often call a spade a spade. Those generally demand from others a preposterous modesty [in speech], who are without chastity [in acts]. Paul, at the beginning of this epistle, thus writes more plainly to Rome, which he had not yet visited, than on any former occasion anywhere. The dignity and earnestness of the judicial style [which he employs], from the propriety of its language, does not offend modesty.— χρῆσιν, use) supply of themselves; but it is elliptical; the reason is found, 1 Corinthians 11:9; we must use, not enjoy. Herein is seen the gravity of style in the sacred writings.


Verse 27

Romans 1:27. ἐξεκαύθησαν, were all in a flame) [burned] with an abominable fire ( πυρώσει, viz., of lust.)— τὴν ἀσχημοσύνην, that which is unseemly) against which the conformation of the body and its members reclaims.— ἣν ἔδει) which it was meet [or proper], by a natural consequence.— τῆς πλάνης, of their error) by which they wandered away from God.— ἀπολαμβάνοντες), the antithetic word used to express the punishment of the Gentiles; as ἀποδώσει, that of the Jews, Romans 2:6. In both words, ἀπό has the same force.


Verse 28

Romans 1:28. ἔχειν to have) [or retain] the antithesis is παρέδωκεν, [God] gave them over: ἔχειν ἐν ἐπιγνώσει, to have [or retain] in knowledge, denotes more than ἐπιγινώσκειν, to know) [to be acquainted with]. Knowledge was not altogether wanting to them; but they did not so far profit in the possession of it, as to have [or retain] God, Romans 1:32.— ἀδόκιμον) As ἀδύνατος, ἄπιστος, and such like, have both an active and passive signification, so also ἀδόκιμος. In this passage, there is denoted [or stigmatized], in an active sense, the mind, which approves of things, which ought by no means to be approved of; to this state of mind they are consigned, who have disapproved of, what was most worthy of approbation. In this sense, the word ἁδοκίμον is treated of at Romans 1:32; συνευδοκοῦσι: and the words ποιε͂ ιν τὰ μὴ καθήκοντα, at Romans 1:29-31.— τὰ μὴ καθήκοντα), an example of the figure Meiosis [by which less is said, than the writer wishes to be understood].


Verse 29

Romans 1:29. πεπληρωμένους) a word of large meaning; μεστοὺς follows presently after.— ἀδικίᾳ, with unrighteousness) This word, the opposite of righteousness, is put in the first place; unmerciful is put in the last [Romans 1:31]. Righteousness has [as its necessary fruit], life; unrighteousness, death, Romans 1:32. The whole enumeration shows a wise arrangement, as follows: nine members of it respecting the affections; two in reference to men’s conversation; three respecting God, a man’s own self, and his neighbour; two regarding a man’s management of affairs; and six respecting relative ties. Comp. as regards the things contrary to these, ch. Romans 12:9, etc.— πορνέιᾳ) I have now, for a long time, acknowledged that this word should be retained.(16) It does not appear certain, that it was not read by Clemens Romanus.— πονηρίᾳκακίᾳ)(17) πονηρία is the perverse wickedness of a man, who delights in injuring another, without any advantage to himself: κακία is the vicious disposition, which prevents a man from conferring any good on another.— πλεονεξια denotes avarice, properly so called, as we often find it in the writings of Paul: otherwise [were πλεονεξία not taken in the sense avarice] this sin would be blamed by him rather rarely. But he usually joins it with impurity; for man [in his natural state] seeks his food for enjoyment, outside of God, in the material creature, either in the way of pleasure, or else avarice; he tries to appropriate the good that belongs to another.— κακοηθείας), κακοήθεια, κακία κεκρυ΄΄ένη. Ammonius explains this as “wickedly inveighing against all that belongs to others; exhibiting himself troublesome to another.”


Verse 30

Romans 1:30. ψιθυριστάς, whisperers), who defame secretly.— καταλάλους, back-biters), who defame openly.— θεοστυγεῖς) men who show themselves to be haters of Godὑβριστὰς) those who insolently drive away from themselves all that is good and salutary.— ὑπερηφάνους) those who exalt themselves above others. On this vice, and others which are here noticed, see 2 Timothy 3:2, etc.— ἀλαζόνας) [‘boasters,’ Engl. vers.], assuming, in reference to things great and good.(18)ἐφευρετὰς κακῶν, inventors of evil things) of new pleasures, of new methods of acquiring wealth, of new modes of injuring others, for example in war, 2 Maccabees 7:31. Antiochus is said to have been πάσης κακίας εὑρετής [an inventor of every kind of evil] against the Hebrews.


Verse 30-31

Romans 1:30-31. γονεῦσινπειθε͂ ις, ἀσυνέτους, ἀσυνθέτους, ἀστόργους, ἀσπόνδους, ἀνελεήμονας, disobedient to parents, without understanding, refractory, [But covenant-breakers—Eng. vers.], without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful) Two triplets [groups consisting of three each], the former referring to one’s conduct to superiors, the latter to inferiors.


Verse 31

Romans 1:31. ἀσυνθέτους). The LXX. translate the Hebrew words בגד, to act with perfidy, מעל, to prevaricate, by ἀ συνθετε ͂ ιν.(19)


Verse 32

Romans 1:32. δικαίωμα, [judgment.—Eng. ver.], the royal, divine, principle of justice, that God approves of virtues, hates vices, visits the wicked with the punishment of death, and justly and deservedly so, in order that He may show that He is not unjust. For whilst He punishes the guilty with death, He Himself is justified [is manifested as just]. This Royal rule is acknowledged even among the Gentiles.— ὁτι) viz. that.— πράσσοντες· πράσσουσι) [those that commit or practise.] This verb, which is repeated after the interposition of ποιοῦσιν [do], accurately expresses the wantonness of profligate men, which is altogether opposed to divine justice. ποιοῦσιν)—they do such things, even with the affections, and with the reason. The same distinction between these two verbs occurs,(20) ch. Romans 2:3.— θανάτου, of death) Leviticus 18:24, etc.; Acts 28:4. From time to time every extremely wicked generation of men is extirpated, and posterity is entirely propagated from those, whose conduct has not been so immoral.— ἀλλὰ καὶ, but also.) It is a worse thing, συνευδοκε͂ ιν, to approve [of the evil]; for he, who perpetrates what is evil, is led away by his own desire, not without an argument of condemnation against himself, or even against others,—(Comp. thou that judgest, Romans 2:1), and at the same time shows his approbation of the law.—Comp. with this, ch. Romans 7:16; but he who, συνευδοκεῖ, or approves, with the heart and with the tongue [that which is evil], has as the fruit of wickedness, wickedness itself; he feeds upon it; he adds to the heap of his own guilt the guilt of others, and inflames others to the commission of sin. He is a worse man, who destroys both himself and others, than he who destroys himself alone. This is truly a reprobate mind.— ἀδόκιμον and συνευδοκοῦσι are conjugate forms.—See Romans 1:28, note. The judging, in ch. Romans 2:1, is the antithesis to the approving here. The Gentiles not only do these things, but also approve of them. The Jew judges indeed, thereby expressing disapproval; but yet he does them.— τοῖς πράσσουσι, them that do them) themselves, and others.—Comp. Isaiah 3:9.

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Romans 1:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/romans-1.html. 1897.

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