Romans 6:20
Parallel Verses
New International Version
When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.

New Living Translation
When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right.

English Standard Version
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.

New American Standard Bible
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.

King James Bible
For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from allegiance to righteousness.

International Standard Version
For when you were slaves of sin, you were "free" as far as righteousness was concerned.

NET Bible
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free with regard to righteousness.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For when you became Servants of sin, you became free from righteousness.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
When you were slaves to sin, you were free from doing what God approves of.

Jubilee Bible 2000
For being previously the slaves of sin, now ye have been made the slaves of righteousness.

King James 2000 Bible
For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness.

American King James Version
For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness.

American Standard Version
For when ye were servants of sin, ye were free in regard of righteousness.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For when you were the servants of sin, you were free men to justice.

Darby Bible Translation
For when ye were bondmen of sin ye were free from righteousness.

English Revised Version
For when ye were servants of sin, ye were free in regard of righteousness.

Webster's Bible Translation
For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

Weymouth New Testament
For when you were the bondservants of sin, you were under no sort of subjection to Righteousness.

World English Bible
For when you were servants of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.

Young's Literal Translation
for when ye were servants of the sin, ye were free from the righteousness,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

6:16-20 Every man is the servant of the master to whose commands he yields himself; whether it be the sinful dispositions of his heart, in actions which lead to death, or the new and spiritual obedience implanted by regeneration. The apostle rejoiced now they obeyed from the heart the gospel, into which they were delivered as into a mould. As the same metal becomes a new vessel, when melted and recast in another mould, so the believer has become a new creature. And there is great difference in the liberty of mind and spirit, so opposite to the state of slavery, which the true Christian has in the service of his rightful Lord, whom he is enabled to consider as his Father, and himself as his son and heir, by the adoption of grace. The dominion of sin consists in being willingly slaves thereto, not in being harassed by it as a hated power, struggling for victory. Those who now are the servants of God, once were the slaves of sin.

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 20-23. - For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness (more literally, to righteousness; i.e. ye were not in any bondage to righteousness). What fruit had ye then (i.e. when you were formerly slaves of sin) in those things whereof ye are now ashamed?, for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and made servants to God, ye have your fruit unto sanctification; and the end life eternal. For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of god is life eternal in Christ Jesus our Lord. The logical connection with the previous context of the above series of verses, beginning with ver. 20, as well as the sequence of thought running through them (intimated by the particles γὰρ σῦν, and δὲ), is not at once obvious. It seems to be as follows: the γὰρ in ver. 20 introduces a reason for the exhortation of ver. 19, παραστήσατε, etc. But ver. 20 is not in itself the reason, being only an introduction to the statement of it in the verses that follow. The drift of the whole passage seems to be this: Yield ye your members to the sole service of righteousness; for (ver. 20) ye were once in the sole service of sin, owning no allegiance to righteousness at all; and (ver. 21) what fruit had ye from that service? None at all; for ye know that the only end of the things ye did then, and of which ye are now ashamed, is death. But (ver. 22) your new service has its fruit: it leads to your sanctification now, and in the end eternal life. Authorities, however, both ancient and modern, are divided as to the punctuation, and consequent construction, of ver. 21. In the Vulgate and the Authorized Version (as in the interpretation given above) the stop of interrogation is placed after "ashamed;" the answer, none, being understood, and "for the end," etc., being the reason why there is no fruit The other way is to take the question as ending at "had ye then," and "those things whereof," etc., as the answer to it, and for the end, etc., as the reason why they are ashamed. Thus: "What fruit had ye then (when you were free from righteousness)? The works (or pleasures) of which you are now ashamed were the only fruit; you are ashamed of them now; for their end is death." The latter interpretation is defended by Alford on the ground that it is more consistent "with the New Testament meaning of καρπός, which is 'actions,' the ' fruit of the man' considered as the tree, not 'wages' or 'reward,' the 'fruit of his actions.'" This is true. But, on the other hand, it may be argued that such use of the word καρπός by St. Paul is always in a good sense; he usually regards sin as having no fruits at all; to the fruit of the Spirit is opposed, not any fruit of a different character, but the works (ἔργα) of the flesh (Galatians 5:19, 22); and in Ephesians 5:11 (again in opposition to the fruit of the Spirit) he speaks of the unfruitful works (ἔργοις τοῖς ἀκάρποις) of darkness. Thus the idea of ver. 21, understood as in the Authorized Version, seems closely to correspond with that of the passage last cited. "The things of which ye are now ashamed," in ver. 21, are "the works of darkness" of Ephesians 5:11; and in both places they are declared to have no fruit. Sin is a barren tree, and only ends in death. Cf. what was said above with respect to εἰς τὴν ἀνομίαν and εἰς ἁγιασμόν in ver. 19. It is true, however, that the expression in the next chapter, καρποφορῆσαι τῷ θανάτῳ (Romans 7:5), in opposition to καρποφορήσωμεν τῷ Θεῷ, in some degree weakens the force of the above argument. We observe, lastly, on ver. 23, that to the "wages" of sin (ὀψώνια , used usually to denote a soldier's pay) is opposed "free gift" (χάρισμα for sin earns death as its due reward; but eternal life is not earned by us, but granted us by the grace of God. As to the phrase, δουλωθέντες τῷ Θεῷ, in ver. 22, it can be used without the need of any such apology as seems to be implied in ver. 19 (according to the meaning of the verse that has been preferred) for speaking of our becoming slaves to righteousness. For we do belong to God as his δοῦλοι, and to Christ, having been "bought with a price" (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:23); and St. Paul at the beginning of his Epistles often calls himself δοῦλος Ξριστοῦ (cf. also Luke 17:10). But it does not follow that our service should be the service of slaves; it may be a free, willing, enthusiastic obedience notwithstanding; we obey, not because we are under bondage to obey, but because love inspires us (cf. Galatians 4:6, etc., "Because ye are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no longer a servant, but a son").





Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

For when ye were the servants of sin,.... This is an argument used, or a reason given, why regenerate persons should be diligent in the service of righteousness; because when they were employed in the drudgery of sin, they

were free from righteousness; they had no righteousness, nor were they desirous of any; yea, averse to it, threw off the yoke of the law of righteousness, and lived in a very unrighteous manner: hence may be observed what is the free will of man in an unregenerate state; not free to, but "from" righteousness; free enough to evil, but from all that is good; and also what obligation lies upon believers, who are delivered from the bondage of corruption, and the servitude of sin, to a life and service of righteousness; inasmuch as they were before free from it, and unconcerned about it, but are now made by the grace of God free to it, they ought therefore cheerfully to pursue it, and neglect no opportunity of performing it.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

20. For when ye were the servants—"were servants"

of Sin, ye were free from—rather, "in respect of"

Righteousness—Difficulties have been made about this clause where none exist. The import of it seems clearly to be this:—"Since no servant can serve two masters, much less where their interests come into deadly collision, and each demands the whole man, so, while ye were in the service of Sin ye were in no proper sense the servants of Righteousness, and never did it one act of real service: whatever might be your conviction of the claims of Righteousness, your real services were all and always given to Sin: Thus had ye full proof of the nature and advantages of Sin's service." The searching question with which this is followed up, shows that this is the meaning.

Romans 6:20 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Wages of Sin
19I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification. 20For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.…
Cross References
Matthew 6:24
"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Romans 6:16
Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
Treasury of Scripture

For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness.

the servants.

Romans 6:16,17 Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, …

John 8:34 Jesus answered them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever commits …

from. Gr. to.

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