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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Romans 5



Other Authors
Verse 1

We have ( ἔχομεν )

The true reading is ἔχωμεν letus have; but it is difficult if not impossible to explain it. Godet says: “No exegete has been able satisfactorily to account for this imperative suddenly occurring in the midst of a didactic development.” Some explain as a concessive subjunctive, we may have; but the use of this in independent sentences is doubtful. Others give the deliberative sense, shall we have; but this occurs only in doubtful questions, as Romans 6:1. A similar instance is found Hebrews 12:28. “Let us have grace,” where the indicative might naturally be expected. Compare also the disputed reading, let us bear, 1 Corinthians 15:49, and see note there.

Peace ( εἰρήνην )

Not contentment, satisfaction, quiet, see Philemon 4:7; but the state of reconciliation as opposed to enmity (Romans 5:10).

With God ( πρός )

See on with God, John 1:1.

Verse 2

Access ( προσαγωγὴν )

Used only by Paul. Compare Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 3:12. Lit., the act of bringing to. Hence some insist on the transitive sense, introduction. Compare 1 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 2:13. The transitive sense predominates in classical Greek, but there are undoubted instances of the intransitive sense in later Greek, and some illustrations are cited from Xenophon, though their meaning is disputed.

Into this grace

Grace is conceived as a field into which we are brought. Compare Galatians 1:6; Galatians 5:4; 1 Peter 5:12. The; state of justification which is preeminently a matter of grace.

In hope ( ἐπ ' ἐλπίδι )

Lit., on the ground of hope.

Verse 3


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

Patience ( ὑπομονὴν )

See on 2 Peter 1:6; see on James 5:7.

Verse 4

Experience ( δοκιμήν )

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

“And of the truth herein

This present object made probation.

Hamlet,” i., 1

Jeremy Taylor: “When by miracle God dispensed great gifts to the laity, He gave probation that He intended that all should prophecy and preach.”

But probation has come to be understood, almost universally, of the process of trial. The more accurate rendering is proof or approval.

Verse 5

Maketh not ashamed ( οὑ καταισχύνει )

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

Is shed abroad ( ἐκκέχυται )

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

Verse 6

For the ungodly ( ὑπὲρ ἀσεβῶν )

It is much disputed whether ὑπέρ onbehalf of, is ever equivalent to ἀντί insteadof. The classical writers furnish instances where the meanings seem to be interchanged. Thus Xenophon: “Seuthes asked, Wouldst thou, Episthenes, die for this one ( ὑπὲρ τούτου )?” Seuthes asked the boy if he should smite him (Episthenes) instead of him ( ἀντ ' ἐκείνου ) So Irenaeus: “Christ gave His life for ( ὑπέρ ) our lives, and His flesh for ( ἀντί ) our flesh.” Plato, “Gorgias,” 515, “If you will not answer for yourself, I must answer for you ( ὐπὲρ σοῦ ).” In the New Testament Philemon 1:13is cited; ὑπὲρ σου , A.V., in thy stead; Rev., in thy behalf. So 1 Corinthians 15:29, “baptized for the dead ( ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν ).” The meaning of this passage, however, is so uncertain that it cannot fairly be cited in evidence. The preposition may have a local meaning, over the dead. None of these passages can be regarded as decisive. The most that can be said is that ὑπέρ borders on the meaning of ἀντί . Instead of is urged largely on dogmatic grounds. In the great majority of passages the sense is clearly for the sake of, on behalf of. The true explanation seems to be that, in the passages principally in question, those, namely, relating to Christ's death, as here, Galatians 3:13; Romans 14:15; 1 Peter 3:18, ὑπέρ characterizes the more indefinite and general proposition - Christ died on behalf of - leaving the peculiar sense of in behalf of undetermined, and to be settled by other passages. The meaning instead of may be included in it, but only inferentially. Godet says: “The preposition can signify only in behalf of. It refers to the end, not at all to the mode of the work of redemption.”


The radical idea of the word is, want of reverence or of piety.

Verse 7

Righteous - good ( δικαίου - ἀγαθοῦ )

The distinction is: δίκαιος is simply right or just; doing all that law or justice requires; ἀγαθός is benevolent, kind, generous. The righteous man does what he ought, and gives to every one his due. The good man “does as much as ever he can, and proves his moral quality by promoting the wellbeing of him with whom he has to do.” Ἀγαθός always includes a corresponding beneficent relation of the subject of it to another subject; an establishment of a communion and exchange of life; while δίκαιος only expresses a relation to the purely objective δίκη rightBengel says: “ δίκαιος , indefinitely, implies an innocent man; ὁ ἀγαθός one perfect in all that piety demands; excellent, honorable, princely, blessed; for example, the father of his country.”

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

Verse 8


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

His love ( ἑαυτοῦ )

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

Verse 9

Wrath ( τῆς ὀργῆς )

Rev., better, “the wrath of God.” the article specifying. See on Romans 12:19.

Verse 10

Enemies ( ἐχθροὶ )

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

We were reconciled to God ( καταλλάγημεν τῷ Θεῷ )

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

In the Christian sense, the change in the relation of God and man effected through Christ. This involves, 1. A movement of God toward man with a view to break down man's hostility, to commend God's love and holiness to him, and to convince him of the enormity and the consequence of sin. It is God who initiates this movement in the person and work of Jesus Christ. See Romans 5:6, Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:18, 2 Corinthians 5:19; Ephesians 1:6; 1 John 4:19. Hence the passive form of the verb here: we were made subjects of God's reconciling 1John href="/desk/?q=1jo+1:3&sr=1">1 John 1:3, 1 John 1:7. Thus there is complete reconciliation. See, further, on Romans 3:25, Romans 3:26.

Verse 11

We also joy ( καὶ καυχώμενοι )

Lit., but also glorying. The participle corresponds with that in Romans 5:10, being reconciled. We shall be saved, not only as being reconciled, but as also rejoicing; the certainty of the salvation being based, not only upon the reconciliation, but also upon the corresponding joy.

We have now received the atonement ( νῦν τὴν καταλλαγὴν ἐλάβομεν )

Now, in contrast with future glory.

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

“He and Aufidius can no more atone

Than violenist contrarieties.”

Coriolanus,” iv., 6.

Fuller: “His first essay succeeded so well, Moses would adventure on a second design to atone two Israelites at variance.” The word at present carries the idea of satisfaction rather than of reconciliation, and is therefore inappropriate here. The article points to the reconciliation in Romans 5:10. See on Romans 3:24-26.

Verse 12

Wherefore as

As ( ὥσπερ ) begins the first member of a comparison. The second member is not expressed, but is checked by the illustration introduced in Romans 5:13, Romans 5:14, and the apostle, in his flow of thought, drops the construction with which he started, and brings in the main tenor of what is wanting by “Adam who is the type,” etc. (Romans 5:14).

Entered into

As a principle till then external to the world.

Passed upon ( διῆλθεν ἐφ ')

Lit., came throughout upon. The preposition διά denotes spreading, propagation, as εἰς intodenoted entrance.

For that ( ἐφ ' ᾧ )

On the ground of the fact that.

Verse 13

Until the law

In the period between Adam and Moses.

Is not imputed ( οὐκ ἐλλογεῖται )

Put to account so as to bring penalty. From λόγος anaccount or reckoning. Only here and Philemon 1:18.

Figure ( τύπος )

See on 1 Peter 5:3.

Verse 15

Of one ( τοῦ ἑνὸς )

Rev., correctly, the one - Adam. So the many.

Much more

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

Verse 16

That sinned ( ἁμαρτήσαντος )

The better supported reading. Some MSS. and versions read ἁμαρτήματος transgressionOf one

Some explain, one man, from the preceding (one) that sinned. Others, one trespass, from Romans 5:17.

The judgment ( κρῖμα )

Judicial sentence. Compare 1 Corinthians 6:7; 1 Corinthians 11:29. See on 2 Peter 2:3.

Condemnation ( κατάκριμα )

See on shall be damned, Mark 16:16. A condemnatory sentence.

Justification ( δικαίωμα )

Not the subjective state of justification, but a righteous act or deed. Revelation 19:8; see on Romans 5:18.

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

Verse 17


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

They which receive ( οἱ λαμβάνοντες )

Not believingly accept, but simply the recipients.

Abundance of grace

Note the articles, the abundance of the grace.

Verse 18

The offense of one ( ἑνὸς παραπτώματος )

Rev., corrects, one trespass.

The righteousness of one ( ἑνὸς δικαιώματος )

See on Romans 5:16. Rev., correctly, one act of righteousness.

Verse 19

Disobedience ( παρακοῆς )

Only here, 2 Corinthians 10:6; Hebrews 9:2. The kindred verb παραλούω toneglect, Rev., refuse, occurs Matthew 18:17. From παρά asideamiss, and ἀκούω tohear, sometimes with the accompanying sense of heeding, and so nearly = obey. Παρακοή is therefore, primarily, a failing to hear or hearing amiss. Bengel remarks that the word very appositely points out the first step in Adam's fall - carelessness, as the beginning of a city's capture is the remissness of the guards.

Were made ( κατεστάθησαν )

See on James 3:6. Used elsewhere by Paul only at Titus 1:5, in the sense of to appoint to office or position. This is its most frequent use in the New Testament. See Matthew 24:25; Acts 6:3; Acts 7:10; Hebrews 5:1, etc. The primary meaning being to set down, it is used in classical Greek of bringing to a place, as a ship to the land, or a man to a place or person; hence to bring before a magistrate (Acts 17:15). From this comes the meaning to set down as, i.e., to declare or show to be; or to constitute, make to be. So 2 Peter 1:8; James 4:4; James 3:6. The exact meaning in this passage is disputed. The following are the principal explanations: 1. Set down in a declarative sense; declared to be. 2. Placed in the category of sinners because of a vital connection with the first tranegressor. 3. Became sinners; were made. This last harmonizes with sinned in Romans 5:12. The disobedience of Adam is thus declared to have been the occasion of the death of all, because it is the occasion of their sin; but the precise nature of this relation is not explained.

Obedience ( ὑπακοῆς )

Note the play on the words, parakoe hypokoe disobedience, obedience. Ὑπακοή obedienceis also derived from ἀκούω tohear (see on disobedience ) and ὑπό beneaththe idea being submission to what one hears.

Verse 20

The law entered ( παρεισῆλθεν )

Rev., literally, came in beside, giving the force of παρά besideVery significant. Now that the parallel between Adam and Christ is closed, the question arises as to the position and office of the law. How did it stand related to Adam and Christ? Paul replies that it came in alongside of the sin. “It was taken up into the divine plan or arrangement, and made an occasion for the abounding of grace in the opening of the new way to justification and life” (Dwight).

Might abound ( πλεονάσῃ )

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

Did much more abound ( ὑπερεπερίσσευσεν )

Lit., abounded over and above. Only here and 2 Corinthians 7:4. Compare ὑπερεπλεόνασε aboundedexceedingly, 1 Timothy 1:14; ὑπερπερισσῶς beyondmeasure, Mark 7:37; ὑπεραυξάνει ; groweth exceedingly, 2 Thessalonians 1:3.

Verse 21

Unto death ( ἐν τῷ θανάτῳ )

Wrong. In death, as Rev. As the sphere or dominion of death's tyranny. Compare Romans 5:14, “death reigned.” Some, however, explain the preposition as instrumental, by death. How much is lost by the inaccurate rendering of the prepositions. Ellicott remarks that there are few points more characteristic of the apostle's style than his varied but accurate use of prepositions, especially of two or more in the same or in immediately contiguous clauses. See Romans 3:22; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:16.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord

“And now - so this last word seems to say - Adam has passed away; Christ alone remains” (Godet).


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Romans 5:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

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