Romans 7:15
For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) That which I do I allow not.—Rather, that which I perform I know not. I act blindly, and without any conscious direction of the will; that higher part of me which should preside over and direct my actions, is kept down by the lower physical nature.

Which I do.—St. Paul uses three words for “to do” in this passage, the distinction between which is hard to represent in English. That which is employed here and in Romans 7:17; Romans 7:20, is the strongest, “perform”—deliberate action, thoroughly carried out. The other two words differ, as “do” and “practise,” the one referring to single, the other to habitual and repeated actions.

What I would.—If my will had free course I should act very differently.

Romans 7:15. For that which I do — Greek, κατεργαζομαι, what I thoroughly work, the word signifying earnestness and perseverance in working till the work in which the agent is employed is finished. It is therefore used by the apostle to denote the continued employment of God’s people in his service unto the end of their lives; Php 2:12, Work out your own salvation. That is, as you have, in time past, laboured to serve God in all things, so persevere in that service to the end. The word here denotes a continued employment of a very different nature. Therefore he says, What I work, I allow not, or, approve not; for the word,

γινωσκω, which literally signifies I know, is used in the sense of approving, Matthew 7:21. For what I would — That is, incline to, or desire, as Macknight renders θελω, which, he observes, cannot here signify the last determination of the will, “actions always following that determination; but such a faint ineffectual desire as reason and conscience, opposed by strong passions, and not strengthened by the Spirit of God, often produce.” These corrupt passions frequently darken the understanding, mislead the judgment, and stupify the conscience; in consequence whereof the will, strongly impelled by criminal desires, in the place of being governed by these higher powers of the mind, governs them herself. But, “when order is restored to the soul by regeneration, then the enlightened understanding determines the judgment, and the decisions thereof, enforced by the voice of conscience, determine the will, whose volitions, thus excited, become the spring of action; so that the good the regenerated man would, he doth, — and the evil he hates, he doth not. But, in the unregenerate, those volitions neither obey the directions of reason nor conscience; hence there is a continual conflict in his breast, between appetites and passions on the one side, and reason and conscience on the other. The latter, however, are generally overcome; and in this state the person, with propriety, may say, What I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that I do: or, as it is expressed, Romans 7:19, The good, that I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do. Ovid, a heathen, describes the conduct of depraved men in words very similar to these:

Sed trahit invitam nova vis, aliudque cupido, Mens aliud suadet. Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor. OVID, Metam., lib. 7. Romans 7:19. ‘My reason this, my passion that persuades; I see the right, and I approve it too; Condemn the wrong, and yet the wrong pursue.’

The apostle does not say that this took place in his conduct on some particular occasions merely, but he gives us this account of himself as his general conduct, while he was carnal and sold under sin, as appears from Romans 7:21. where see the note.” — Smith, On the Carnal Man’s Character.7:14-17 Compared with the holy rule of conduct in the law of God, the apostle found himself so very far short of perfection, that he seemed to be carnal; like a man who is sold against his will to a hated master, from whom he cannot set himself at liberty. A real Christian unwillingly serves this hated master, yet cannot shake off the galling chain, till his powerful and gracious Friend above, rescues him. The remaining evil of his heart is a real and humbling hinderance to his serving God as angels do and the spirits of just made perfect. This strong language was the result of St. Paul's great advance in holiness, and the depth of his self-abasement and hatred of sin. If we do not understand this language, it is because we are so far beneath him in holiness, knowledge of the spirituality of God's law, and the evil of our own hearts, and hatred of moral evil. And many believers have adopted the apostle's language, showing that it is suitable to their deep feelings of abhorrence of sin, and self-abasement. The apostle enlarges on the conflict he daily maintained with the remainder of his original depravity. He was frequently led into tempers, words, or actions, which he did not approve or allow in his renewed judgement and affections. By distinguishing his real self, his spiritual part, from the self, or flesh, in which sin dwelt, and by observing that the evil actions were done, not by him, but by sin dwelling in him, the apostle did not mean that men are not accountable for their sins, but he teaches the evil of their sins, by showing that they are all done against reason and conscience. Sin dwelling in a man, does not prove its ruling, or having dominion over him. If a man dwells in a city, or in a country, still he may not rule there.For that which I do - That is, the evil which I do, the sin of which I am conscious, and which troubles me.

I allow not - I do not approve; I do not wish it; the prevailing bent of my inclinations and purposes is against it. Greek, "I know not;" see the margin. The word "know," however, is sometimes used in the sense of approving, Revelation 2:24, "Which have not known (approved) the depths of Satan;" compare Psalm 101:4, I will not know a wicked person." Jeremiah 1:5.

For what I would - That which I approve; and which is my prevailing and established desire. What I would wish always to do.

But what I hate - What I disapprove of: what is contrary to my judgment; my prevailing inclination; my established principles of conduct.

That do I-- Under the influence of sinful propensities, and carnal inclinations and desires. This represents the strong native propensity to sin; and even the power of corrupt propensity under the restraining influence of the gospel. On this remarkable and important passage we may observe,

(1) That the prevailing propensity; the habitual fixed inclination of the mind of the Christian, is to do right. The evil course is hated, the right course is loved. This is the characteristic of a pious mind. It distinguishes a holy man from a sinner.

(2) the evil which is done is disapproved; is a source of grief; and the habitual desire of the mind is to avoid it, and be pure. This also distinguishes the Christian from the sinner.

(3) there is no need of being embarrassed here with any metaphysical difficulties or inquiries how this can be; for.

(a) it is in fact the experience of all Christians. The habitual, fixed inclination and desire of their minds is to serve God. They have a fixed abhorrence of sin; and yet they are conscious of imperfection, and error, and sin, that is the source of uneasiness and trouble. The strength of natural passion may in an unguarded moment overcome them. The power of long habits of previous thoughts may annoy them. A man who was an infidel before his conversion, and whose mind was filled with scepticism, and cavils, and blasphemy, will find the effect of his former habits of thinking lingering in his mind, and annoying his peace for years. These thoughts will start up with the rapidity of lightning. Thus, it is with every vice and every opinion. It is one of the effects of habit. "The very passage of an impure thought through the mind leaves pollution behind it," and where sin has been long indulged, it leaves its withering, desolating effect on the soul long after conversion, and produces that state of conflict with which every Christian is familiar.

(b) An effect somewhat similar is felt by all people. All are conscious of doing that, under the excitement of passion and prejudice, which their conscience and better judgment disapprove. A conflict thus exists, which is attended with as much metaphysical difficulty as the struggle in the Christian's mind referred to here.

(c) The same thing was observed and described in the writings of the heathen. Thus, Xenophon (Cyrop. vi. 1), Araspes, the Persian, says, in order to excuse his treasonable designs," Certainly I must have two souls; for plainly it is not one and the same which is both evil and good; and at the same time wishes to do a thing and not to do it. Plainly then, there are two souls; and when the good one prevails, then it does good; and when the evil one predominates, then it does evil." So also Epictetus (Enchixid. ii. 26) says, "He that sins does not do what he would, but what he would not, that he does." With this passage it would almost seem that Paul was familiar, and had his eye on it when he wrote. So also the well-known passage from Ovid, Meta. vii. 9.

Aliudque Cupido,

Mens aliud suadet. Video meliora, proboque,

Deteriora sequor.

continued...

15, 16. For, &c.—better, "For that which I do I know not"; that is, "In obeying the impulses of my carnal nature I act the slave of another will than my own as a renewed man?"

for, &c.—rather, "for not what I would (wish, desire) that do I, but what I hate that I do."

For that which I do; i.e. what I do contrary to the command of God.

I allow not: in the Greek it is, I know not: q.d. Many times I am surprised and overtaken, not knowing or considering what I do. Or when he says, I know not, his meaning is, (as our translation renders it), I allow or approve not. So the word is used, Matthew 7:23, and elsewhere: q.d. Even now, in my converted and regenerate state, I am many times greatly divided, and feel a strife or combat in myself; so that the good I would do upon the motions of God’s Spirit in me, I do not; and the evil that I hate, and am utterly averse to, so far as I am regenerated, that I do. See a parallel place, Galatians 5:17.

But what I hate, that do I: he doth not speak here so much of outward actions, as of inward motions and affections: he doth not speak of gross sins, as drunkenness, uncleanness, &c., but of such infirmities as flow from the polluted nature, and from which we can never be thoroughly cleansed in this life. For that which I do, I allow not,.... The apostle having cleared the law from the charge of being the cause either of sin or death, and taken the blame to himself, proceeds to give an account of the struggle and combat he found in himself between the flesh and spirit; "that which I do, I allow not". That which he did was evil, since he allowed not of it; but this is to be understood not of any notorious crime committed by him, and repeated again and again; nor of a sinful course of life, for before his conversion he was not a profane man, but externally moral; and after his conversion, had his conversation in the world by the grace of God in righteousness and holiness; a vicious course of life being contrary to the grace of God implanted in him, and the doctrines of grace professed by him; but of internal lusts, the workings of corruptions in his heart, and which are real actions of the mind, together with the various frailties and infirmities of life: when that apostle says that what he did, "I know not": his meaning is, not that he was utterly ignorant of them, of their nature and operations; that he was insensible of their motions, and unconcerned about them; for his sense of them, and concern for them, are expressed by him in the strongest terms, "I know", "I find", "I see", "O wretched man", &c. Romans 7:18; but either that the efforts and effects of sin in him were so sadden, and at an unawares, that he was sometimes overtaken and held captive, before he knew well where he was, or, what he was doing; or the sense is, that he had not a full knowledge of the evil of his heart, the corruptions of his nature, nor did he understand all his infirmities and the errors of his life; or else the meaning is, I own it not as right, but confess it to be wrong, I do not acknowledge these actions as the productions of the new man, they are alien to him, but as the deeds of the old man; or rather, "I do not approve" of them, I dislike, abhor, and detest them; I cannot excuse or palliate them, but must condemn them; so words of knowledge in the Hebrew language are expressive of love, liking, and approbation; see Psalm 1:6; on which last text, "I know him", says Jarchi, , "it is the language of love", or a phrase expressive of strong affection; and so here, I know not, I do not like, love, and approve of these things, or I do not "allow" of them, and indulge myself in them, I loathe them and myself for them; and is this talking like an unregenerate man? can it be thought that the apostle speaks of himself as unregenerate, or represents such a man?

for what I would, that do I not; what he desired and willed was good, though he did it not; and so the Vulgate Latin version reads, "for not the good which I would, I:do": and so the next clause, "but the evil which I hate, I:do": and what was that? he would have had his thoughts always employed about the best things; he would have had his affections continually and alone set on God, Christ, and the things of another world; he would he was desirous to keep the whole law of God, and do the whole will of God, and live without sin, and as the angels do in heaven: now such a will as this is never to be found in unregenerate persons; this is from God, and the power of his grace: when he says he did not what he willed, what he was desirous of, and bent upon, his sense is, not that he never did any good thing he willed; for he did many good things, as every good man does, but he did not always do the good he willed, and never perfectly, nor anything without grace and strength from Christ: he adds,

but what I hate, that do I; sin was what he hated; it being contrary to the pure and holy nature of God, to the good and righteous law of God, and was in itself, to his view, exceeding sinful: he hated vain thoughts, unclean desires, revengeful lusts, the secret motions of all sin in his heart, and the various evil actions of life; which can never be said of an unregenerate man; who loves sin, delights in iniquity, and takes pleasure in them that do it; and yet what the apostle hated he did; he wrought with his carnal I, his flesh, and through the power of it, and force of temptation, though not without reluctance, remorse, and repentance. The Karaite Jews, which were the better sort of them, say and hold some things, not much unlike to what is here delivered;

"though a man (say they (i)) should transgress some of the commandments, or the commandments in part, , "through the strength of lust, and not on account of, or with pleasure not delight", he shall be one of those that shall enter into paradise.''

(i) R. Eliahu in Addareth, c. 3. apud Triglaud de Sect. Karaeorum, c. 10. p. 176.

{9} For that which I do I {10} allow not: for what I {11} would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

(9) He sets himself before us as an example, since he has been regenerated, and in whom may easily appear the strife of the Spirit and the flesh, and therefore of the law of God, and our wickedness. For since the law in a man who has not been regenerated brings forth only death, therefore in him it may easily be accused: but seeing that in a man who is regenerated it brings forth good fruit, it better appears that evil actions proceed not from the law but from sin, that is, from our corrupt nature: and therefore the apostle teaches also what the true use of the law is by reproving sin in the regenerated, unto the end of the chapter: as a little before (that is, from the seventh verse until now) Ro 7:7-15, he declared the use of it in those who are not regenerated.

(10) The deeds of my life, he says, are not in accordance to my will, rather they are contrary to it. Therefore by the consent of my will with the law, and repugnancy with the deeds of my life, it plainly appears that the law and a properly controlled will induce us to do one thing, but corruption, which also has its seat in the regenerated, another thing.

(11) It is to be noted that the very same man is said to will and not to will, in different respects: that is, he is said to will in that he is regenerated by grace: and not to will in that he is not regenerated, or in that he is in the same state into which he was born. But because the part which is regenerated at length becomes conqueror, therefore Paul, speaking on behalf of the regenerated, speaks in such a way as if the corruption which willingly sins were something outside of a man: although afterward he grants that this evil is in his flesh, or in his members.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Romans 7:15 elucidates and assigns the reason of this relation of slavery. “For what I perform I know not,” i.e. it takes place on my part without cognition of its ethical bearing, in the state of bondage of my moral reason. Analogous is the position of the slave, who acts as his master’s tool without perceiving the proper nature and the aim of what he does. Augustine, Beza, Grotius, Estius, and others, including Flatt, Glöckler, Reiche, and Reithmayr, erroneously take γινώσκω as I approve, which it never means, not even in Matthew 7:23; John 10:14; 1 Corinthians 8:3; Romans 10:19; 2 Timothy 2:19; Psalm 1:6; Hosea 8:4; Sir 18:27. Hofmann’s view, however, is also incorrect, that the cognition is meant, “which includes the object in the subjectivity of the person knowing,” so that the passage denies that the work and the inner life have anything in common. In this way the idea of the divine cognition, whose object is man (Galatians 4:9; Matthew 12:23), is extraneously imported into the passage.

οὐ γὰρ ὃ θέλω κ.τ.λ.] The proof of the ὁ κατεργ. οὐ γινώσκω. For whosoever acts in the light of the moral cognition does not, of course, do that which is hateful to him following his practical reason (ὃ μισῶ), but, on the contrary, that towards which his moral desire is directed (ὃ θέλω). The person acting without that cognition, carried away by the power of sin in him, does not pursue as the aim of his activity (πράσσει, comp. on Romans 1:32) that which in the morally conscious state he would pursue, but, on the contrary, does (ποιεῖ) what in that state is abhorrent to him. The ethical power of resolution, which decides for the good, is inactive, and man does the evil that he abhors. Paul consequently ascribes to the unregenerate man also the moral wish, which he has in rational self-determination; but he denies to him the action corresponding thereto, because his moral self-determination does not come into exercise in the state of his natural bondage, but he is, on the contrary, hurried away to the performance of the opposite. His θέλειν of the good and his ΜΙΣΕῖΝ of the evil are not, therefore, those of the regenerate man, because the new man, in virtue of the holy ΠΝΕῦΜΑ, emerges from the conflict with the ΣΆΡΞ as a conqueror (against Philippi); nor yet the weak velleitas of the schoolmen (Tholuck, Reithmayr, comp. Baumgarten-Crusius); but a real, decided wishing and hating (comp. Romans 7:16), which present, indeed, for the moral consciousness the theory of self-determination, but without the corresponding result in the issue. The “I” in θέλω and ΜΙΣῶ is conceived according to its moral self-consciousness, but in ΠΡΆΣΣΩ and ΠΟΙῶ, according to its empiric practice, which runs counter to the self-determination of that consciousness. Reiche, in consistency with his misconception of the entire representation, brings out as the pure thought of Romans 7:15 : “the sinful Jew, as he appears in experience and history, does the evil which the Jew free from sin, as he might and should have been, does not approve.” As profane analogies of the moral conflict meant by Paul, comp. Epict. Enchir. ii. 26. 4 : ὃ μὲν θέλει (ὁ ἁμαρτάνων) οὐ ποιεῖ, καὶ ὃ μὴ θέλει ποιεῖ; Eur. Med. 1079: θυμὸς δὲ κρείσσων (stronger) ΤῶΝ ἘΜῶΝ ΒΟΥΛΕΥΜΆΤΩΝ, and the familiar “video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor” (Ovid, Met. vii. 19). See also Wetstein, and Spiess, Logos spermat. p. 228 f.Romans 7:15. Only the hypothesis of slavery explains his acts. For what I do οὐ γινώσκω, i.e., I do not recognise it as my own, as a thing for which I am responsible and which I can approve: my act is that of a slave who is but the instrument of another’s will. οὐ γὰρ ὃ θέλω κ.τ.λ. There is “an incomprehensible contradiction in his action”. κατεργὰζεσθαι is to effect, to bring about by one’s own work; πράσσειν is to work at, to busy oneself with, a thing, with or without success, but with purpose; ποιεῖν is simply to make or produce.15. I do] The Gr. word is strong; carry out; perhaps with allusion to servile task-work.

allow] In the old English sense of the word; “to allaud,” “to praise, or approve:” so “the Lord alloweth the righteous,” Psalm 11:6, Prayer-Book. But the common meaning of the Gr. is I know, in the sense of recognition; and this has a fit application here: q. d., “I know not, in a proper sense, what I do; it is done only under the (partial) obscuration due to the presence of the flesh.” This is further explained in the next clauses.

what I would, &c.] Lit., and better, not what I will, do I; but what I hate, that do I. Here the “willing” and the “hating,” if carefully weighed, are good evidence for the reference of this whole section to the regenerate soul in its conflicts. It is certainly out of harmony with St Paul’s doctrine of grace to represent the soul, before special grace, as “hating” sin as sin, and “willing” pure holiness as holiness.—On the whole passage we must again remember that a soul fully alive to the profound sanctity of the Law is in view. Not gross but minute deviations (minute on the human standard) occasion these complaints.Romans 7:15. Ὁ γὰρ, for that which) He describes slavery in such a way as not to excuse himself, but to accuse the tyranny of sin, and to deplore his own misery, Romans 7:17; Romans 7:20. Γὰρ, for, tends to strengthen the word sold. The slave serves an unworthy master, first, with joy, then afterwards, with grief, lastly, he shakes off the yoke.—οὐ γινώσκω, I do not acknowledge [allow]) as good; ([γινώσκω] the same as to consent to it, that it is good, Romans 7:16, which forms the antithesis); its opposite is I hate.—θέλω, I would, [wish]) he does not say, I love, which would imply more, but I would, intending to oppose this [I would] to, I hate, following immediately after.—πράσσωποιῶ) There is a distinction between πράσσω and ποιῶ commonly acknowledged among the Greeks;[74]—the former implies something weightier than the latter. The former is put twice in the present tense, first in a negative assertion, and then in an affirmative assertion, οὐ πράσσω I practise not, the thing is not put in practice; ποιῶ I do, refers to action both internal and external. These words are interchanged, Romans 7:19; Romans 13:3-4; and this interchange is not only not contrary to the nature of the discourse which is gradually rising to a climax, but it even supports and strengthens it; for at Romans 7:15, the sense of the evil is not yet so bitter, and therefore he does not so much as name it, but by the time he reaches Romans 7:19, he is now become very impatient [takes it exceedingly ill] that he should thus impose evil on himself. The farther the soul is from evil, the greater is its distress [torture], to touch even the smallest particle of evil with so much as one finger.

[74] See my previous note. Πράσσω is ago. Ποιέω, facio. Ἐργαζομαι, operor.—ED.Verses 15-25. - For that which I do (rather, work, or perform, or accomplish, κατεργάζομαι) I know not (rather than I allow not, as in the English Version, this being the proper meaning of the verb γινώσκω. The idea may be that, when under the delusion of sin I do wrong, I do not know what I am accomplishing): for not what I would, that I do (rather, practise; the verb here is πράσσω); but what I hate, that I do (ποιῶ). But if what I would not that I do, I consent unto the Law that it is good (καλός). Now then (νυνὶ δὲ, not in temporal sense, but meaning, as the case is) it is no more I that work (κατεργάζομαι, as before) it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth not good (ἀγαθόν): for to will is present with me; but to perform (κατεργάζεσθθαι) that which is good (τὸ καλὸν) is not (οὐ, rather than οὐχ αὐρίσκω ασ ιν the Textus Receptus, is the best-supported reading). For the good (ἀγαθόν) that I would I do not (οἰ ποιῶ): but the evil which I would not, that I practise (πράσσω). But if what I (ἐγὼ, emphatic) would not, that I do (ποιῶ), it is no longer I (ἐγὼ, again emphatic) that work (κατεργάζομαι) it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then the law, that to me who would do good, evil is present. For I delight in the Law of God after the inward man. But I see a different law in my members (on what is meant by "members" (μέλεσι) see note under Romans 6:13) warring against the law of my mind, and brining me into captivity to (or, according to some readings, by) the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (probably in the same sense as "the body of sin" in Romans 6:6; see note thereon. Translate certainly as in the English Version; not this body of death, as if it meant this mortal body) Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the Law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. In the note introducing this whole section (vers. 7-25)its general drift has been intimated. The following additional comments may further explain the part of it which begins at ver. 15.

(1) The initial γὰρ introduces proof of the ἐγὼ being in the condition spoken of in the preceding clause, viz. "sold under sin." For (the meaning is) am I not a bond-slave, when, as I feel is the case with me, I am not my own master? But, observe, the state that goes on to be described is that of an unwilling bond-slave; not of one who likes his bondage, and has no desire to be free. The conscience is supposed already, through the operation of law, to protest against sin; to hate its thraldom; not willingly to acquiesce in it.

(2) The distinction between the verbs ποιῶ, πράσσω κατεργάζομαι, not observed in the English Version, but to which attention has been drawn in the above translation, has its meaning. Attention to the places where they occur will show their appropriateness in each case, denoting severally single acts, habitual practice, and general working, performance, or accomplishment.

(3) The English Version is wrong in rendering, in ver. 15, "What I would, that I do not," so as to make the idea the same as that in ver. 19. There are really two different statements in the two verses - the first, of our doing what we wish not to do; the second, of our not doing what we wish to do; and after each the same conclusion is drawn in the same words, viz. that sin is the real worker (κατεργάζομαι being here the word appropriately used).

(4) The conflicting principles, or energies, of human nature, between which the individual ἐγὼ, which wills and acts, is here regarded as being distracted, are the σάρξ in which sin dwells (which has been explained above; see note under ver. 14) on the one hand, and the νοῦς (ver. 23) of the ἔσω ἄνθρωπος (ver. 22) on the other. The ἐγὼ is identified with the ἔσω ἄνθρωπος, rather than regarded as an intermediate personality between the two. For it is spoken of throughout as willing what is good; and,. though in ver. 14 it is said to be σαρκινός, and though, in ver. 18, good dwells not in it, yet the first of these expressions only means that it is in the flesh at present, and therefore in bondage; and the latter is at once qualified by the addition, τουτέστιν ἐν τῆ σαρκί μου; it does not identify the ἐγὼ with the σάρξ. It is, we may remark in passing, this ἐγὼ - ὁ ἔσω ἄνθρωπος - that is regarded as rising to a new life with Christ, so as to become a new man, delivered from bondage; this last expression, of course, involving a different idea from that of the inward man). It is to be observed, further, that throughout this section beginning at ver. 7, there is no distinction drawn (as elsewhere by St. Paul) between πνεῦμα and σάρξ; the idea of πνεῦμα, in fact, does not come in at all, except with regard to the Law, which is called πνευματικός. The reason is that the apostle is confining himself here to an examination of what man, even at his best, is in his mere human nature; of what thoughtful observers, though not theologians, may perceive him to be. It is a philosophical rather than a theological analysis. It is one that might commend itself to heathen philosophers, some of whom have, in fact, expressed themselves much to the same effect. Hence it is not till ch. 8, where man's regeneration by the Divine πνεῦμα is portrayed, that the spiritual principle in himself, through which he is capable of such regeneration, comes into view. And it will be seen that it is this very idea of πνεῦμα that pervades that whole chapter. This essential distinction between the two chapters is sufficient in itself to disprove the theory that the regenerate state is described in ch. 7.

(5) The senses in which the word νόμος is used in this chapter require to be perceived and distinguished, its usual sense (see under Romans 2:13) not being uniformly retained. There is, however, always some appended expression to indicate any new application of the word. We find it

(a) in its usual sense, with the usual significance of the absence or the presence of the article, in vers. 7, 9, 12, 14, 16; and in ver. 22, still in the same sense, we have "the Law of God." We find also,

(b) in ver. 23, "the law of my mind," whereby I delight in the "Law of God." Here "law" assumes a different sense from the other, but one in which the word is often used; as when we speak of the laws of nature, having in view, not so much a fiat external to nature which nature must obey, as the uniform rule according to which nature is found to work. The Latin word norma expresses the idea. Thus "the law of my mind" means the normal constitution of my higher and better self, whereby it cannot but assent to "the Law of God. Then

(c) we have "the law of sin in my members;" i.e., in a similar sense, an antagonistic rule or constitution dominant in my σάρξ. Lastly,

(d) in ver. 21, the general law (in like sense) of my complex human nature, which necessitates this antagonism: "the law, that when I would do good" (in accordance with the law of the mind), "evil is present with me" (in virtue of the other law). Ancient and other commentators have been much puzzled as to the meaning of ver. 21, from taking τὸν νόμον at the beginning to denote the Mosaic Law, as νόμος usually does when preceded by the article. But not so when there is something after it to denote a different meaning; as there is here in the ὅτι at the end of the verse, meaning that, not (as some have understood it) because.

(6) Difficulty has been found in the concluding clause of ver. 25, ἄρα οῦν, etc. It follows the expression of thanksgiving, "Thanks be to God," etc., which certainly introduced the thought of deliverance from the state that had been described; and hence it is supposed by some that this clause must be a continuance of that thought, and so to be taken as an introduction to ch. 8. rather than a summing up of the preceding argument. It is said also, in support of this view, that more entire association of the ἐγὼ with the Law of God than was before intimated is here expressed; αὐτὸς ἐγὼ being written instead of simply ἐγὼ, and δουλεύω being a stronger word than συνήδομαι (ver. 22). Thus the meaning would be, "Though in my flesh I still serve the law of sin (the φρόνημα σάρκος still remains in me, notwithstanding my regeneration), yet now in my very real self I not only approve, but am in subjection to, the Law of God." It is, however, at least a question whether these slight differences of expression come to much; and both the introductory ἄρα οῦν and the form of the clause suggest rather its being the summarized result of ch. 7. The additional emphasis added to ἐγὼ (which had, indeed, already been emphatic), and the substitution of δοελεύω for συνήδομαι, may serve only to bring out all the more strongly in the end what it had been the purpose of the whole passage to lead up to, viz. that man's real self, when conscience is fully aroused, yearns for and is ready for redemption. There is no difficulty in so understanding the clause (as we should surely understand it naturally but for the preceding thanksgiving), if we regard the thanksgiving as a parenthetical exclamation, anticipating for a moment the purport of ch. 8. Such an exclamation is characteristic of St. Paul, and it adds life to the passage.



I do (κατεργάζομαι)

See on Romans 7:8. Accomplish, achieve. Here appropriately used of carrying out another's will. I do not perceive the outcome of my sinful life.

I allow not (οὐ γινώσκω)

Allow is used by A.V. in the earlier English sense of approve. Compare Luke 11:48; Romans 14:22; 1 Thessalonians 2:4. Shakespeare: "Thou shalt hold the opinion of Pythagoras as I will allow of thy wits" ("Twelfth Night," iv., 2). But the meaning of γινώσκω is not approve, but recognize, come to know, perceive. Hence Rev., I know not. Paul says: "What I carry out I do not recognize in its true nature, as a slave who ignorantly performs his master's behest without knowing its tendency or result."

I would (θέλω)

See on Matthew 1:19. Rather desire than will in the sense of full determination, as is shown by I consent (Romans 7:16), and I delight in (Romans 7:22).

Do I not (πράσσω)

See on John 3:21. Rev., correctly, practice: the daily doing which issues in accomplishment (κατεργάζομαι).

Do I((ποιῶ)

See on John 3:21. More nearly akin to κατεργάζομαι I accomplish, realize. "When I have acted (πράσσω) I find myself face to face with a result which my moral instinct condemns" (Godet). I do not practice what I would, and the outcome is what I hate.

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