Romans 1
Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,

ROMANS 1:1–17



Inscription and Salutation

ROMANS 1:1–71


1Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ,3 called to be an apostle [a called, chosen apostle, κλητὸς ἀπόστολος], separated [set apart, ἀφωρισμένος] unto the gospel of God 2(Which he had promised afore [which he promised beforehand, προεπηγγείλατο] by [through] his prophets in the holy Scriptures4) [omit parenthesis], 3Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord [omit here the words:Jesus Christ our Lord, and transfer them to the close of Romans 1:4], which [who] was made [born5] of [from, 4ἐκ] the seed of David according to the flesh; And [omit And] declared to be [who was installed]6 the Son of God with [in] power,7 according to the Spirit of holiness, by [from, ἐξ]8 the resurrection from [of] the dead9 [—Jesus Christ our 5Lord]: By [through] whom we have received [we received] grace and apostleship, for [unto, εἰς, i.e., for the purpose of, with a view to, in order to bring about] obedience to the faith [of faith]10 among all [the] nations, for his name [name’s sake]: 6Among whom are ye also the called [, the chosen ones] of Jesus Christ:11 7To all that be in Rome,12 beloved of God [To all the beloved of God who are in Rome], called to be [chosen] saints: [.]13

Grace to you,14 and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.


FIRST SECTION.Inscription and greeting.—Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an Apostle, set apart for the Gospel of God.—His gospel in harmony with the Old Testament (of the Jews): A gospel of Christ, who, in His human nature and His historical pedigree, is the Son of David; but who, in His spiritual glory, appears as the principle of the resurrection of the dead, and as the one appointed to be the Son of God in power (majesty). By this glorified Christ the Apostle has received his Christian and apostolic call, for the purpose of calling all nations to obedience to the faith.—All the believers in Rome belong to this totality. He accordingly greets the Christians in Rome with the apostolic salutation.

[GENERAL REMARKS ON THE APOSTOLIC SALUTATIONS.—On the grammatical structure of the two sentences, Romans 1:1–7, see textual note 12to Romans 1:7. St. Paul opens his Epistles with his name and official title, by which he challenges respectful attention to his inspired teaching, and with the assurance of his brotherly regard and love for the readers, by which he wins their affections. The ancient epistolary style unites in a brief inscription what we now distinguish as address, greeting, and subscription. Paul combines the heathen and the Hebrew form of salutation, and inspires both with a deep Christian meaning.

The Greek and Roman epistolary inscription contained simply the name of the writer in the nominative, and the name of the receiver in the dative (e.g., Πλἀτων Διονυσἰω, Cicero Attico), frequently with the addition of the wish for health and prosperity, by the words εὖ πρἀττειν, more usually χαίρειν, or χαίρειν λέγεν, satutem, or salutem dicit. This form we find in the New Testament three times: once in the heathen sense, in the letter of Lysias to the Roman governor Felix, Acts 23:26 (Κλαὐδιος Λυσίας τῶ ... Φήλικι χαίρειν), and twice in the Christian sense, namely in the circular letter of the Apostolic Council of Jerusalem, which was probably written by James, Acts 15:23 (οἱ ἀπόστολοι ... τοῖς ... ἀδελφοῖς τοῖς ἐξ ἐθνῶν χαίρειν), and in the Epistle of James, Romans 1:1 (Ἰἀκωβος ... ταῖς δώδεκα φυλαῖς ... χαίρειν).15 From 2 John, Romans 1:10 (χαίρειν αὐτῶ μὴ λέγετε), it appears that Greek Christians were in the habit of greeting one another with the usual χαῖρε (Vulg., ave, comp. Matt. 26:49; 27:29; 28:9; Mark 15:18; Luke 1:28; John 19:3). But the heathen formula, as implying a prayer to the gods, had in it a taint of idolatry, or, at all events, it referred only to temporal prosperity, and had to give way before long to a change in accordance with Christian feeling.

The Hebrew (and Arabic) form of salutation is שָׁלוֹם, εἰρήνη, Peace, or שָׁלוֹם לְךָ, LXX., εἰρήνη σοι, Peace be with you; comp. Gen. 29:6; 43:23; Ex. 18:7; Judges 6:23; 1 Sam. 10:4; Dan. 10:19: Luke 10:5, 6, &c. (With the later Jews the usual formula was יישׁר). The risen Saviour greeted thus the assembled disciples, John 20:19, 26, bringing the true peace of the soul with God, which He, the Prince of Peace, had bought by His atoning death and triumphant resurrection (comp. John 14:27; 16:33; Matt. 10:12, 13).

Combining the Græco-Roman inscription and the Hebrew salutation, we would have this form: “Paul to the Romans. Health and peace be with you.

But Paul transforms the Greek χαίρειν and the Hebrew shalom from the prevailing idea of physical health and temporal comfort, into the deep meaning of the saving grace and peace of God in Christ, and comprehends in the two words χάρις and εἰρήνη the richest blessings of the gospel; χάρις being the objective cause of the Christian salvation, and ειρήνη its subjective effect in the soul of man. At the same time, there is, no doubt, a reference in this epistolary greeting to the Mosaic, or rather Aaronic benediction, Num. 6:25, 26: “The Lord make His grace shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee (וִיחֻנּךָּ, from חָנַן, gratiosus fuit, hence חֵן, χάρις), the Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace (שָׁלוֹם, LXX., εἰρήνην).” We find this salutatory grace and peace not only in the Epistles of Paul, but also in those of Peter and of John in the Apocalypse. In the Pastoral Epistles, 1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2, and Titus 1:4 (text, rec.), Paul, with reference probably to the Greek version of the Aaronic benediction, Num. 6:25 (ἐλεήσει σε for וִיחֻנֶּךָּ), adds to the prayer for grace and peace that of mercy (ἔλεος), which ministers of the gospel need more than any other class of men. This threefold blessing, corresponding to the threefold Aaronic benediction, we find also in 2 John 3.16

In the Epistle to the Romans, where Paul, contrary to his habit, addressed a congregation which he had not founded, or even visited, he amplifies the Græco-Hebrew inscription and salutation still more, and inserts parenthetically some of the fundamental doctrinal ideas of the Epistle, as suggested by the mention of “the gospel of God,” namely: (1) The connection of the gospel with the Old Testament revelation, Romans 1:2; (2) the divine-human nature of Christ, who is the subject of that gospel, Romans 1:3, 4; (3) his call to the apostleship of all the Gentiles by Christ, which gives him a right to address himself also to the Romans, Romans 1:5. In the richness of this salutation we see the overflowing fulness of Paul’s mind, and the importance he attached to this Epistle. Calvin: Epistola tota sic methodica est, ut ipsum quoque exordium ad rationem artis compositum sit.—P. S.]17

Romans 1:1.—Paul.—Saul as PAUL, i.e., the SMALL, in opposition and contrast to BAR-JESUS, ELYMAS THE SORCERER of Cyprus, Acts 13:8. [SAUL and PAUL. PAULOS is the Hellenistic, PAULUS the Latin form for the Hebrew SAUL, though differing from it in meaning. It was chosen as the nearest allusive and alliterative equivalent, and as a name already familiar to the Greeks; while SAUL, as a proper name, was unknown to them. The name Saul—the most distinguished name in the genealogy of the tribe of Benjamin, to which Paul belonged (Rom. 11:1; Phil. 3:5; comp. Acts 13:21)—the Apostle used among the Jews, the name Paul among the Gentiles, and in the later part of his life exclusively. The Jews and early Christians often had two names, either similar in sound and identical in meaning, as Silas and Silvanus (the former occurring uniformly in the Acts thirteen times, the latter four times in the Epistles), Lucas and Lucanus18 (Col. 4:14; 2 Tim. 4:11; Philem. 24); or similar in sound but different in meaning, as Jesus and Justus (Col. 4:11), Saul and Paul, Hillel and Pollio; or different in sound but identical in meaning, as Cephas (Hebrew) and Peter (Greek); or different both in sound and meaning, as Jacob and Israel, Simon and Peter, Bartholomew and Nathanael, John and Mark (Acts 12:12, 25), Simeon and Niger (13:1), Barsabas and Justus (i. 23). It is possible that the Apostle Paul, as a Roman citizen, received this name in early youth in Tarsus (Lightfoot), or inherited it from some ancestor, who may have adopted it in becoming a freedman, or in acquiring the Roman citizenship; Paul being the well-known cognomen of several distinguished Roman families, as the gens Æmilia, Fabia, Julia, Sergia, &c. It is more probable, however, that he chose the name himself after he entered upon his labors among the Gentiles, as a part of his missionary policy to become a Greek to the Greeks, in order to gain them more readily to Christ (1 Cor. 9:19–23). At all events, the name Paul is first mentioned during his first great missionary journey, when he, taking henceforth precedence of Barnabas in words and in acts, struck Elymas the sorcerer with blindness, and converted Sergius Paulus, the pro-consul of Cyprus, to the Christian faith (Acts 13:8). After this striking fact, he is uniformly called Paul in the latter chapters of the Acts, and in all the Epistles. But we have no right, for this reason, to infer (with Jerome, Olshausen, Meyer, Ewald, and others) that the name Paul was a memorial of the conversion of Sergius Paulus as his first-fruit. For (1) he may have converted many Jews and Gentiles before that time; (2) pupils are called after their teachers and benefactors, and not vice versâ; (3) Luke gives no intimation to that effect, and connects the name Paul, not with that of the proconsul of Cyprus (13:7, 12), but with that of Elymas the sorcerer (Romans 1:8). The last circumstance favors the ingenious hypothesis of Dr. Lange, that the name expresses the symbolical significance of the victory of Paul, the small man of God, over Elymas, the mighty magician of the devil, as a New Testament counterpart of the victory of David over Goliath, or of Moses over the sorcerers of Egypt. Dr. Lange, however, admits the probability that Paul had his Roman name before this occasion. At all events, the change of name has nothing whatever to do with his conversion; and all allegorical interpretations of Chrysostom, Augustine, Wordsworth, and others, which go on this assumption, are merely pious fancies, which are sufficiently refuted by the fact that the Apostle is repeatedly called Saul long after his conversion, as in Acts 9:25, 30; 12:25; 13:1, 2, 7, 9; and that it is said of Saul in one passage (13:9), that he was “filled with the Holy Ghost.”—P. S.]19

A servant of Jesus Christ.—עֶבֶר יְהוָֹה. This is not merely the general designation of the pious man (Fritzsche: Christi cultor, Eph. 6:6), but the designation of his office (Tholuck); 1 Cor. 4:1; Phil. 1:1; James 1:1. Reiche: The word implies unlimited obedience. Schott: “δοῦλος denotes the Christian, so far as he, in the discharge of a special Christian calling, surrenders himself completely to God’s will, and excludes his own preference.” Here the Christian call in its universal character is meant, just as it appears in the apostleship, after the absolute service of the one great servant of God, Is. 53. Nevertheless, there is no tautology in the addition: called to be an apostle. Calvin: Apostolatus ministerii est species. The same office, related to Christ, makes the δοῦλος, in the absolute sense (comp. Is. 53.); but, related to the world, it makes the ἀπόστολος. [A servant, literally bondsman (δοῦλος, from δέω, to bind), denotes generally, like the corresponding Hebrew עֶבֶד יְהוָֹה, a relation of dependence on God, and cheerful obedience to His will. Paul glories in this service, which is perfect freedom. The more we feel bound by the authority of Christ, the more we are free from the bondage of men. Deo servire vera libertas est (Augustine). In a wide sense, the term applies to all believers, who are both children and servants of God (Is. 65:13; Dan. 3:26; Rom. 6:22; 14:4; Eph. 6:6; 1 Cor. 7:22; 1 Peter 2:16; Rev. 19:2, 5); in a special and emphatic sense, it is used of the chosen office-bearers in the kingdom of God, as Moses, the prophets, and kings in the Old Testament (Deut. 34:5; Josh. 1:1; Is. 49:5; Jer. 25:4), and the ministers of the gospel in the New, particularly the apostles (so here; Phil. 1:1; Tit. 1:1; Col. 4:12; James 1:1; 2 Pet. 1:1; Rev. 1:1). Hodge: “Servant is a general official designation, of which, in the present case, apostle is the specific explanation.” Paul “rejects all human authority in matters of faith and duty, and yet professes the most absolute subjection of conscience and reason to the authority of Jesus Christ.” Wordsworth: “Other men, in the beginning of their epistles, especially those which they addressed to the Roman people, recited their own titles as rulers, kings, or conquerors; but the apostles claim to be heard as δοῦλον, bondsmen, bondsmen of Jesus Christ.” Comp., however, my annotation on ἀπόστολος, which is a title of dignity and authority.—P. S.]—Jesus Christ. That is, Jesus is the Christ. Dealing with the Roman Christians, the Apostle had no ground for saying the reverse: Christ Jesus, i.e., The Christ is Jesus.

Called to be an apostle.—As he had had to defend his call before the Corinthians and Galatians on account of opponents, he does it here because he was not yet personally known to the Roman Church. [Called; chosen, appointed, not self-called, but called by Christ, in opposition to an arbitrary self-constituted authority (αὐτό–κλητος, self-appointed), and called directly by Christ, without the intervention of church authority, comp. Gal. 1:1: “Not of men (ἀπ̓ ἀνθρώπων), nor by any man (δἰ ἀνθρὠπου), but by Jesus Christ,” &c. The word refers to the historical call, not to the eternal election. Calvin: Neque enim iis assentior, qui eam de qua loquitur vocationem ad eternam Dei electionem referunt.—P. S.] The expression, apostle, has here its widest significance. Christ, the Risen One, has called him; he is therefore, in the most positive sense, a witness of His resurrection, and this implies the apostolic witness of the whole of His miraculous person and work. [Apostle is a title of dignity, signifying the highest order of servant; every apostle being a servant of Christ, but not every servant an apostle of Christ. The one brings out the dependence of Paul on Christ, the other his authority over the congregations, and the latter is conditioned by the former. The term apostle may designate, etymologically, any delegate, commissioner, or missionary, but more particularly, as here, and in most passages, a chosen eye and ear witness of the life of Christ, who was personally instructed and selected by Him for the work of laying the foundation of the Christian Church, and teaching her through all subsequent generations. The apostles were inspired messengers of Christ, not to a particular charge, but to the whole world. The term is therefore generally restricted to the twelve (Luke 6:13), and to Paul, who was likewise directly called by the Lord (Gal. 1:1, 12; Acts 9:15; 26:17). The sudden call of the persecuting Paul to the apostleship of the Gentiles corresponds to the sudden call of the Gentiles to Christianity, just as the gradual instruction of the Jewish apostles accords with the long training of the Jewish nation for the gospel.—P. S.]

Separated, set apart.—Not equal to chosen of God (De Wette), nor to appointed by the Church (with reference to Acts 13:2; Olshausen),20 but directed to and appointed for this particular calling, through the whole providential course of his life (comp. Gal. 1:15). An ἀφορίζεσθαι first took place with him [at his birth, comp. Gal. 1:15: ὁ ἀφορἰσας με ἐκ κοιλίας μητρός μου, καὶ καλέσας, κ.τ.λ.; then.—P. S.] when he was sent from Tarsus to Jerusalem [?]; a second [third], at his conversion and retreat into Arabia; and a third [fourth], at his special appointment as the Apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 13:2 ff.; Gal. 2.). The biblical ὁρίζειν must be distinguished from προγινὠκειν or ἐκλέγεσθαι as well as from καλεῖν; it denotes the Divine determination of the historical career of the man (see Acts 17:26). [Meyer refers ἀφωρισμένος to the historical call at Damascus, and compares σκεῦος ἐκλογῆς, Acts 9:15; 26:16 ff. The word is an explanation of κλητὸς ἀπόστολος, and gives us the additional idea of destination. It implies that Paul was selected from the world, singled out, consecrated to, and destined for the gospel service, at the time of his conversion. It refers to the Divine appointment for the apostolic office in general, while ἀφορίσατε, in Acts 13:2, refers to a special mission, ἀφορὶζειν, like καλεῖν, looks to the historical call, προορίζειν to the eternal decree, but the former is only an execution in time or actualization of the latter.—P. S.]

Unto the gospel of God.—That is, not the gospel having God for its object (Chrysostom), but the gospel given by God (2 Cor. 11:7) for promulgation. [It is the genitive, not of the object, but of origin and possession; God’s gospel, whose author is God, and whose theme is Christ and His salvation by free grace; comp. Romans 1:3, 4; 15:16; 1 Thess. 2:2, 8, 9.—P. S.] Gospel.21 Without the article.22 According to De Wette and Schott, it is here not the internal matter or contents of the gospel, but the εὐαγγελίζεσθαι. [De Wette: zur Verkündigung des Evangeliums.—P. S.] Tholuck, on the contrary: “Εὐαγγέλιον does not stand for the infinitive εὐαγγελίζεσθαι, as we learn from the relative , but it is only an indefinite method of expression, as 2 Cor. 2:12; 10:14.” We would say, rather, that it is the concrete method of expression, implying that the knowledge of salvation cannot be without preaching, and preaching cannot be without the matter of the gospel.

Romans 1:2. Which He promised before by His prophets in the holy Scriptures.—[So that God stood pledged, as it were, to reveal the gospel.] The second verse must not be read, with Beza [and the authorized English version, which often closely follows Beza], as parenthesis. The same expression occurs, 2 Cor. 9:5 [τἡν προεπηγγελμένην εὐλογίαν ὑμῶν, your bounty before promised.—P. S.] The mention of the Old Testament promise of the gospel must not only authenticate the Apostle to the Jewish Christians, but it must also enforce the gospel for the Gentile Christians. This preceding promise lay specifically in the Messianic passages (De Wette); and, at the same time, according to the New Testament view, in the meaning of the whole of the Old Testament, which promised the universal Pauline gospel (see Romans 10.). The expression γραφαί, without the article, does not denote passages of Scripture (Dr. Paulus [Meyer] ), but γραφαί ἅγιαι has become, according to De Wette, a nomen proprium.23 [The second verse teaches that the gospel is no abrupt innovation or afterthought, but the forethought of God, the fulfilment of His promise, and “the desire of all nations.” This harmony of the New and Old Dispensations should be a convincing proof of the Divine origin of Christianity, not only to the Jews, who already believe in the Old Testament, and need only be convinced that Jesus of Nazareth was really the promised Messiah, but also to the heathen, who well know that it is the exclusive prerogative of God to foresee and prearrange the future. In this view, Christianity is the oldest as well as the latest religion, going back to the first promise in Paradise, and even beyond the beginning of time, to the eternal counsel of God. Augustine says: “The New Testament is concealed in the Old; the Old Testament is revealed in the New.” By his prophets, is not to be confined, of course, to the sixteen prophetical books, but extends to the whole Old Testament Scriptures, as far as they contain the gospel, from the promise of the serpent-bruiser, Gen. 3:25, to Mal. 4:2. In fact, the entire Scripture is one organic system of prophecies and types bearing testimony to Christ; John 5:39.—P. S.]

Romans 1:3. Concerning his Son.—This refers to εὐαγγέλιον, gospel, Romans 1:1,24 and not to promised, Romans 1:2, as Tholuck, Meyer [Alford, Hodge], and others would have it. For the question further on is concerning the gospel in its complete New Testament development, and not merely in its Old Testament outline. Meyer says that the connection of περὶ with εὐαγγέλιον [instead of the gen. objecti] does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. But it must be noticed that here the act of preaching the gospel of evangelization is connected with the gospel itself. Besides, the parenthesis has its influence upon the expression.

Romans 1:3, 4. Who was born, &c.—The words from γενομένου to νεκρῶν (Romans 1:3 and 4) are not an abrupt parenthesis (according to Griesbach and Knapp), but part of the sentence.25 They characterize the Son of God, not according to the antithesis of the human and divine nature of Christ in itself, but according to the revelation of this antithesis in the national Old Testament limitation, and in the universal New Testament expansion and elevation of the person of Christ to heavenly majesty, in accordance with the analogy of Phil. 2:6. Yet that ontological antithesis is reflected in this historical antithesis. The historical Christ has a double genealogy and history, which is represented in the following analogies and antitheses:


ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυείδ

κατὰ σάρκα

ὁρισθεὶς υἱὀς θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει

ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρων

κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσὺνης.

[This antithetic parallelism, already hinted at by Bengel, is also brought out by Forbes (Analyt. Com., p. 97), and may be more clearly and fully set forth in this way:

“Concerning His Son,

Who was born [Son of Man in weakness]

from the seed of David,

as to the flesh,

Who was installed Son of God in power

from the resurrection of the dead,

as to the Spirit of holiness,—

Even Jesus Christ our Lord.”—P. S.]

The γενόμενος denotes not merely the being born, but, in a wider sense, the genealogical procession from the seed of David (see Matt. 1:1 ff.). [The house of David represented the flower of the Jewish nation, and foreshadowed the kingdom of Christ. That the Messiah was to proceed from this royal family, was predicted in the Old Testament, Is. 11:1; Jer. 23:5; Ps. 132:11; and generally expected by the Jews, Matt. 22:42; John 7:42; Acts 13:23. Meyer, without good reason, confines ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυείδ to the male line of descent, and refers both genealogies of Matthew and Luke to Joseph; Melanchthon, on the contrary, identifies ex sem ne David with ex virgine Maria; and Wordsworth infers from the words that Mary, as well as Joseph, was of the lineage of David. Comp. Com. on the genealogies in Matt. 1. and Luke 3. Alford: “The words ἐκ σπέρματος Δ. cast a hint back at the promise just spoken of. At the same time, in so solemn an enunciation of the dignity of the Son of God, they serve to show that, even according to the human side, His descent had been fixed in the line of him who was Israel’s anointed and greatest king.”—P. S.]

In distinction from this appearance of Christ in human nature, the idea of the exalted Christ is expressed by the words, ὁρισθεὶς υἱός θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει, established as Son of God in power. The attempt to analyze and divide this one conception (for example, in Luther’s German translation) has obscured the passage very much. The Son of God, in distinction from His Old Testament origin, is absolutely destined (ὡρισμἑνος, Acts 10:42) to be the Son of God in majesty, or in the majestic exercise of his power (see Phil. 2:6 ff.) The ὁρίζειν of God constitutes the central point of all kindred conceptions—of the ὁροθεσίαι, Acts 17:26; of the προορίζειν, Rom. 8:29; and of the ἀφορίζειν, Gal. 1:15. It expresses here God’s absolute determination or establishment concerning Christ as the centre of all the historical developments of the new world, the Head of all things (Matt 28:18; Eph. 1:20 ff.). The expression refers not to the Son of God as such simply, but to the Son of God as exalted to heavenly majesty. As such, He is ὀρισθείς, not merely προορισθείς, prœdestinatus (Ambrose, Augustine,26 Vulgate, &c., according to the Greek fathers, and the gloss προορισθέντος). But as He is the γενόμενος έκ σπέρματος Δαυείδ, his descent from David being the human and historical antecedence for his higher dignity; so is He ὁρισθεὶς υἱός θεοῦ ἐξ ἀναστἀσεως νεκρῶν. The ἐκ, according to the analogy of ἐκ σπέρματος, cannot merely mean since the resurrection, or through (by) the resurrection, but it indicates the origin: out of the resurrection. The σπέρμα Δαυείδ is the whole genealogy, or “the root of Jesse” (Romans 15:12), as it became manifest by the birth from the Virgin. Thus, likewise, the resurrection is not merely the fact of the resurrection of Christ, but with the fact of the resurrection there are brought to light the strength and root of the resurrection of the dead in the world, (Eph. 1:19 ff.). It is in accordance with this that Christ can say: “I AM the resurrection and the life.” Deep in the heart of the first world—for which Christ is the first-born of every creature (πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως, Col. 1:15)—there is at work the power, proceeding from the Logos, of a new world (Rom. 8:23), for which Christ is the first-born from the dead (πρωτότοκος ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, Col. 1:18). And this world of the resurrection, which became manifest in His personal resurrection, continues now to operate dynamically, and will continue to do so until the flower of the new world appears in the first resurrection of the elect (1 Cor. 15:23), and the fruit in the last general resurrection. The Apostle therefore means here the power of the resurrection as the christological principle of life in the world, which has become manifest by the resurrection of Christ, and acts and works as the historical principle of the universal resurrection of the dead. Christ arose from his death and resurrection as the fixed and established, or instituted Son of God in power. (Comp. the Messianic passage, Ps. 2.: “This day have I begotten Thee;” which denotes the very day of the seditious rebellion against the Messiah as the grand day of his glorification). The destination which Christ had from the beginning, became inauguration or institution at His resurrection. The ὁριο̈θείς therefore, does not merely mean “shown,” “declaratively established” (Meyer, according to Chrysostom, δειχθέντος);27 the ἐκ does not mean merely since or after (Theodoret, Erasmus, and others); and the ἀνάστασις νεκρῶν does not mean merely ἀνάστασις ἐκ νεκρῶν. And Philippi, following Melanchthon, and others, has very properly connected the ἐν δυνάμει with υἱοῦ θεοῦ, and did not follow Luther, Meyer, and others in connecting it with ὁρισθέντος. Meyer has therefore no ground for opposing the explanation of Bengel—that our resurrection is comprehended in Christ’s resurrection—by remarking that the term the resurrection from the dead is only the general expression of the category.

In the third antithesis, κατὰ σάρκα, “according to the flesh,” means the fleshly or physical origin of Christ, but not according to the first conception of σάρξ, i.e., the sensuous, susceptible, vital fulness of corporeity, as distinct from and subjected to the spirit, or, in a more general sense, the “earthly man,” ἄνθρωπος χοϊκός (1 Cor. 15:47; Gen. 2). Still less has flesh here the second meaning, viz., sinful sensuousness and susceptibility, as opposed to the spirit, and without it; or, in the more general sense, the “natural man,” ἄνθρωπος ψυχικός (John 3:6; 1 Cor. 2:14). But σάρξ has here its third meaning, and expresses the physical human nature under the influence of the spirit (John 1:13; 6:51), yet in historical relations, or man in his historical finiteness, limitation, and qualification (Gal. 4:4). For Christ’s incarnation, and the growth of His physical nature, evidently involved no opposition to the “Spirit of holiness,” but took place under its consecrating influence.

[Flesh (σάρξ, בָּשָׂר) is here, and in all the passages where it is used of the incarnation (Rom. 9:5; 1 Tim. 3:16; John 1:14; 1 John 4:2), a strong Hebraizing term for human nature, with the implied idea, perhaps, of weakness and frailty, though not necessarily of sin (somewhat analogous to the occasional use of the German der Sterbliche, and the English mortal, for man). It is as correct to say: Christ became man (Menschwerdung), as to say: Christ became flesh (incarnatio, incarnation, Fleischwerdung), but the latter expression is more emphatic; it exhibits more strongly the condescension of Christ, the identity of His nature with our own, and the universalness of His manhood. The word σάρξ, therefore, when applied to Christ, must not be understood in an Apollinarian sense, as if Christ merely assumed a human body with the animal soul, but not the rational soul, whose place was supplied by the divine Logos. It implies the entire human constitution, body, soul, and spirit, sin only excepted, which does not originally and necessarily belong to man. It is not the flesh, as opposed to the spirit, that is here intended, but the human, as distinct from the divine. The flesh, as an organized system of life, is the outward tabernacle and the visible representative of the whole man to our senses. The σάρξ of Christ was the seat of a human ψυχή, with its affections, and of a human νοῦς or πνεῦμα, with its intelligence (comp. Matt. 27:50; John 11:33; 19:30), but not of the ἁμαρτία. He was subject to temptation, or temptable (Heb. 2:18; 4:15), but neither σαρκικός (Rom. 7:14), nor ψυχικός (1 Cor. 2:14). He appeared not “in the flesh of sin,” but only “in the likeness of the flesh of sin” (Rom. 8:2). At the same time, the limitation, κατὰ σάρκα, plainly implies the divine nature of Christ. “Were He a mere man,” says Hodge, “it had been enough to say that He was of the seed of David; but as He is more than man, it was necessary to limit His descent from David to His human nature.”—P. S.]

Romans 1:4. According to the Spirit of holiness, κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης.—We accept, with Bengel, against Tholuck, that the ἁγιωσύνη is certainly distinguished from the ἁγιότης—just as sanctimonia is from sanctitas—in expressing the operation of the Spirit, though in a more comprehensive relation. This is the Spirit of God, who, as the sanctifying Spirit in the world, constitutes the complete opposition and counteraction to the entire corruption of sin; who was first the cause of the holy birth of Christ, and then of His resurrection; and who now proceeds from the glorified Christ as the principle of the sanctification of humanity and the world. Bengel: Ante resurrectionem latebat sub carne Spiritus; post resurrectionem carnem penitus abscondit Spiritus sanctimoniœ.28 We accept this statement in a wider sense. From the divina natura of Christ as sanctificationis omnis causa (Melanchthon, Calov, [Bengel, Olshausen], and others), we must distinguish the expression so far as it does not denote the individual, but the universal vital principle of the new birth of humanity. And we must distinguish it from the Holy Spirit, the πνεῦμα ἅγιον (Chrysostom, and most commentators; see Meyer),29 so far as it denotes this principle, not merely according to its complete New Testament revelation, but also according to the Old Testament preparation of the divine-human life. But we must not make the distinction so that the πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης will represent the difference between the absolute communication of the Spirit to Christ and the relative operation of the πνεῦμα ἅγιον (Tholuck, Baur). We shall be secure against confounding the ideas, πυεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης, λόγος or εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ (Rückert, Reiche), if we observe the difference between the universal and individual divine principle of life in revelation. This difference is most decidedly ignored by Baur, when he understands by the πνεῦμα ἁγ. the Messianic Spirit. When Clemens Romanus, Ep. 2., terms Christ the first Spirit,30 he means the individual designation of the divine nature of Christ, yet according to its universal relation, just as the spirit of a man is the individual himself, but according to his universal relation.

[Κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης is evidently the antithesis or counterpart of κατὰ σάρκα, and as σάρξ here means the human nature of Christ, πνεῦμα must mean His divine nature, which is all Spirit, and intrinsically holy. ἁγιωσύνης is the genitive of qualification, showing that holiness is the essential characteristic of Christ’s Spirit, and yet it distinguishes this from the πνεῦμα ἅγιον, which is the technical designation of the third person of the Trinity. Comp. John 4:24: “God (i.e., the divine being or nature which the three persons of the Trinity have in common) is Spirit;” 2 Cor. 3:17, where Christ Himself is called “the Spirit;” 1 Tim. 3:16: “justified in Spirit” (ἐν πνεὺματι); Heb. 9:14: “Who with an eternal Spirit (διά πνεύματος αἰωνίου) offered Himself without spot to God;” and 1 Peter 3:18, where a somewhat similar distinction is made between the flesh and the spirit, or the human and divine nature of Christ: “Being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit,” although this passage is not exactly parallel. Meyer takes πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης to mean the ἔσω ἄνθρωπος, the whole inner life of Christ, which was elevated above all purely human spirits, filled with the Spirit of God, sinless and perfect. De Wette: “The spiritual side of the life of Christ, yet with the attribute of holiness partly as a quiescent quality, partly as an efficacious power emanating from it.” Substitute for this: “The Divine side of Christ’s person with the essential characteristic of holiness,” &c., and we can adopt this explanation. If flesh means the whole human nature, it implies a human spirit, but not the πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης, which is essentially Divine.—P. S.]

Of Jesus Christ our Lord.—[Ἰησοῦ Χρισ τοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν, Romans 1:4, in apposition with τοῦ υἱοῦ θεοῦ, anticipated in the E. V. Romans 1:3]. This expresses the relation of the exalted Son of God to the Apostle and the Roman Christians as the ground and bond of their union. They together accepted Jesus as the Christ of God, and served Him as their common Master. [Alford: “Having given this description of the person and dignity of the Son of God, very man and very God, he now identifies this divine person with Jesus Christ, the Lord and Master of Christians—the historical object of their faith, and (see words following) the Appointer of himself to the apostolic office.” De Wette: “ ’̓Ιησ.Χρ. bezeichnet den Sohn Gottes als historisch-kirchliche Erscheinung.” So Tholuck, Philippi. Jesus is the personal, Christ the official name; the former expresses His true character and mission and relation to the world, the latter His connection with the Old Testament and the promise of God. Jesus, i.e., Saviour, was the Hebrew name, announced by the angel before His birth, Matt. 1:25; Luke 1:31, and given at His circumcision, Luke 2:21; Christ, the Greek equivalent for the Hebrew Messiah, i.e., the Anointed, exhibits Him as the fulfiller of all the prophecies and types of the Old Testament, as the divinely promised and anointed Prophet, Priest, and King of Israel, who had for ages been the desire of all nations and the hope of all believers. Lord is here, and often, applied to Christ in the same sense in which the Septuagint uses κύριος for the Hebrew אֲדוֹנָי and יְהוָֹה. See the Lexica. Christ is so called as the supreme Lord of the New Dispensation, or the sovereign Head of Christendom, to whom all believers owe allegiance and obedience.—P. S.]

Romans 1:5. Through whom we received.—After stating the common relation of believers to Christ, there follows the account of the special relation of the Apostle to Him. It is plain that neither Romans 1:5 nor Romans 1:6 can be parenthetical; but here is prepared the whole treatment of the Epistle on the relation between the call of the Apostle and the call of the church at Rome. δἰ οὖ. Christ is the personal means of communicating his call on God’s part [or the mediatorial agent in conferring grace from God to man, comp. Gal. 1:1; 1 Cor. 1:9.—P. S.]. ἐλάβομεν (received) denotes not only the free divine gift, but also the living religious and moral appropriation by faith. It is plain that the plural here has reference to the call of Paul alone (not to the apostles in general, according to Bengel), from the following signature of his apostleship, by which he is the Apostle to the Gentiles.31

Grace [in general] and apostleship [in particular.—P. S.]. Grace, as the operative call to salvation and to the full experience of salvation in justification, is the preliminary condition for every Christian office, and, above all, to the apostleship. The grand unfolding of his apostleship was therefore preceded by an extraordinary degree of grace [in his conversion]. The explanation, χάριν ἀποστολῆς, grace of apos leship (Hendiadys, so Chrysostom, Beza, Philippi, and others), obliterates the force of that preliminary condition;32 but when the grace is regarded merely as pardoning grace (Augustine, Calvin), the fundamental part is mistaken for the whole. Thus, also, the extraordinary apostolic gifts (χαρίσματα) to which Theodoret, Luther, and others refer χάριν, presuppose grace (χάρις) already. Meyer understands the expression to mean Divine grace in general; that is, the translation into the communion of the beloved of God.

Unto obedience of faith [εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως, zum Glaubensgehorsam, comp. Rom. 16:26.—P. S.]. That is, for the purpose of establishing obedience to the faith. The εἰς denotes not merely the purpose, but also the operation of the apostleship;—an instance of Pauline conciseness. It may be asked here, whether the genitive πίστεως indicates the object, or must be read as apposition: the faith which consists in obedience [to the Word and Will of Christ.—P. S.].33 But this question is limited by the second, whether πίστις can stand in the objective sense as fides QUÆ creditur [quod credendum est, doctrina Christiana.—P. S.]? Meyer denies this, and asserts that πίστις, in the New Testament, is constantly subjective faith [fides QUA creditur, fides credens.—P. S.], though it is often made objective, as here, and is regarded a power, or controlling principle.34 But this would give us the idea of obedience toward the faithful. The obedience here meant is either identical with faith (the obedience which consists in faith, according to Theophylact, Calvin35 ), or it is obedience to faith in its objective form. The latter interpretation is supported by the expressions ὑπακοὴ τοῦ Χριστοῦ, 2 Cor. 10:5 [ὑπακοἠ τῆς ἀληθεὶας, 1 Peter 1:22], and particularly Acts 6:7 [“a great company of priests ὑπήκουον τῇ πίστει, became obedient to the faith,” comp. Rom. 10:16: ὑπήκουσαν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ.—P. S.]. Comp. 1 Peter 1:2, 14. But this πίστις cannot mean only doctrina fidei. Even obedience to the gospel (Rom. 10:16) does not express the most definite form of the objective πίστις: this is Christ Himself. An Epistle, sent to Rome by the ambassador of a Lord and King, who declared himself appointed to call all the peoples of the Roman Empire to obedience or allegiance, must have been planned in full consciousness of the antithesis, as well as of the analogy, between the earthly Roman Empire and the Kingdom of Christ. Therefore the Apostle expresses the analogy when he characterizes himself as an ambassador who appeals to the nations to be obedient to his Lord. But the antithesis lies in his denoting this obedience as an obedience to the faith. We must admit that the idea of the subjective faith also has here a good sense in itself. Faith is not at all arbitrary, but an obligatory obedience incumbent upon the inmost soul and conscience; yet its obedience is not slavish, but the joyous act of free faith, as it is assensus and fiducia. And if we accept this, the expression would be an oxymoron, like the expression: law of the Spirit. But since the question is concerning a characterization of the apostleship, the fuller idea must be expected: obedience toward the object of faith, especially as the freedom of faith is thereby also declared. Even the Christian’s hope can be used in an objective sense (Col. 1:5).

Among all the nations (ἐν πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν).—Since this expression constitutes one definition with the preceding, it is an improper alternative to refer it either to ἐλάβ. (Beza) or to εἰς ὑπακ. πίστεως (Meyer [Hodge]). We translate here, among all the nations (with Rückert, Reiche, Baur); not among all Gentiles (Tholuck, Meyer), because, from the following salutation, the Jews are included in the designation, and because it is in harmony with the purpose of the whole Epistle to establish a united congregation from among Jews and Gentiles. With this view, the subordinate idea of heathen nations is immediately introduced, yet not clearly before Romans 1:13, 14, &c. [Hodge: “The apostles were not diocesans, restricted in jurisdiction to a particular territory. Their commission was general. It was to all nations,”—yet with an amicable division of the immense field of labor; comp. Gal. 2:9; Rom. 15:20; 2 Cor. 10:16.—P. S.]

For the sake of his name.—(See Acts 5:41). Not for “the good” of His name; nor for the glorifying of the same (Meyer), which would have been expressed in the form of a doxology,36 but for the spread of His name (Phil. 2:10). Therefore the words are not an addition, but an explanatory parallel to the expression, “for obedience to the faith” &c., and relate, in common with this, to the antecedent. His name is the object of the faith to which the nations should render obedience in His name.

Romans 1:6. Among whom are ye also.—We place here a comma, and read the words, the called, the chosen ones of Jesus Christ, as an address (with Rückert, Philippi, &c.); but not, among whom are ye also called of Jesus Christ (with Lachmann, Meyer [Alford], and others). For the principal weight rests on the thought, that the Roman Christians were included in the totality of nations to which the Apostle was sent. He did not need to say first to them that they were the called of Jesus Christ. Thus we have the beautiful antithesis: I am the chosen Apostle for all nations: you are the chosen believers in the midst of all nations: we are therefore directed toward each other.

The called of Jesus Christ.—Not, whom Christ has called (Luther, Rückert, and others); but who, as the called [by the accepted call of God through the gospel], belong to and are subject to Him (the genitive of possession; Erasmus [Calvin, De Wette], Meyer, and others).37 Paul refers the call (through Christ) to God (Rom. 8:30, &c.; see Meyer). The Apostle seems, by this address, to anticipate the salutation itself; but the address must prepare the way for the salutation by the reminder that he can salute them as pertaining to him. [Hodge: “Οἱ κληψοί, the called, means the effectually called; those who are so called by God as to be made obedient to the call. Hence the κλητοὶ are opposed to those who receive and disregard the outward call. … Hence, too, κλητοὶ and ἐκλεκτοὶ are of nearly the same import; κατἁ πρόθεσιν κλητοί, Rom. 8:28; comp. Rom. 9:11; 1 Cor. 1:26, 27. We accordingly find κλητοί used as a familiar designation of believers.” This is not quite correct. κλητοί and ἐκλεκτοί (a paronomasia in Greek, like the German erwählt and auserwählt) are clearly distinguished, Matt. 20:16 and 22:14: πολλοὶ γὰρ εἰσιν κλητοὶ, ὀλἱγοι δἑ ἐκλεκτοὶ, many are called, but few chosen; in the last passage they are even put in antithesis. All the members of the visible Church are κλητοί, though they may ultimately be lost; but only the members of the invisible Church, or the true believers, are ἐκλεκτοὶ, or κλητοὶ κατὰ πρόθεσιν (Rom. 8:28). Comp. the notes on Matt. 20:16, in vol. i. p. 352 and 354 f.—P. S.]

Romans 1:7. To all that are in Rome.—The address and the salutation.38 The Epistle is addressed to all Christians in Rome. Residence in Rome and connection with the body of Roman Christians are certainly presupposed (see Romans 1:8). But the Roman Christians are saluted according to the condition of things, as an incipient church not yet fully organized, but destined to become so—an end to which this very Epistle was directed. The Apostle expresses himself otherwise in the Epistles to the Corinthians, Galatians, and Thessalonians. There he salutes the Christians as a church, or churches. [The Christians residing at Rome, whether born there or not, are viewed as one community, however imperfectly they may have been organized at the time; but they no doubt worshipped in different parts of the city, and were thus divided into various domestic congregations, ἐκκλησίαι κατ̓ οἶκον, 16:5. The population of the city of Rome at the time of Christ is variously estimated from one to two millions. In his earliest five epistles, Paul addresses himself τῆ ἐκκλησίᾳ, κ. τ. λ.; in all the others, τοῖς ἁγίοις.—P. S.]

Beloved of God, called to be saints.—The root of their Christian faith is, that they know themselves beloved of God by the experience of His reconciliation; the goal and crown of their Christian faith is holiness. But they are not merely called to be saints (De Wette). As truly called, they are actually saints first in this sense: that, according to the analogy of theocratic holiness, they are separated from the ungodly world and consecrated to God; secondly, in the sense that Christ dwells in them as the principle of increasing holiness, and that they are characterized according to the ruling principle of their new life (1 Cor. 7:14). This general designation does not imply that the Apostle could say it of every individual, still less that he should ascribe to individuals a personal holiness of life. [κλητοί has the same relation to ἅγιοι as κλητός has to ἀπόστολος, in Romans 1:1, and expresses the vocation of the Roman Christians to holiness, which is both an actual possession as to principle, and a moral aim to be realized more and more by daily growth in Christ.—P. S.]

Grace to you and peace.—The Greek καίρειν (Acts 15:23; James 1:1), and the Hebrew שָׁלוֹס לָכֶּם, are here reflected unitedly in the infinitely richer Christian salutation. The grace which, as the cause of peace, has its source in God and Christ; the peace, as the operation of this cause, which becomes the source of new life in believers. The more definite Christian conception is destroyed if we substitute (with Meyer, against Olshausen, Philippi, and many others) salvation instead of peace, and kindness instead of grace. [Grace and peace are related to each other as cause and effect, and constitute the chief blessings of Christianity, embracing all that we need. The profound Christian meaning of χάρις—the redeeming love of God in Christ—and of εἰρήνη—the peace with God by the redemption—compared with the ordinary meaning of the Greek καίρειν and the Hebrew shalom, affords a striking example of the transforming power which the genius of Christianity exercised over ancient language and custom. See the General Remarks on p. 57.—P. S.]

From God our Father.—The expression of the specifically Christian consciousness of God. The experience of pardon through Christ produces the consciousness of the υἱοθεσία (sonship, adoption) as a result.

And [from] the Lord.—[Κυρίου Ἰ. Χρ. is not dependent on Πατρός and parallel with ἡμῶν, but is ruled by ἀπο and is coördinate with Θεοῦ πατρός. God is nowhere called “our and Christ’s Father,” and Christ never addresses God “our,” but “My Father,” owing to His peculiar relationship which is rooted in the ὁμοουσία, or equality of essence. This frequent coördination of Christ with the Father, as equally the object of prayer and the source of spiritual blessing, implies the recognition of the divinity of Christ. No Hebrew monotheist could thus associate, without blasphemy, the eternal Jehovah with a mere man. So also Philippi, Hodge, and others.—P. S.] Not of the Lord (Erasmus, Glöckler). Nevertheless, we would not read, with Meyer: καὶ ἀπὸ κυρὶου, and not merely view Christ as causa medians, in distinction from the Father, as the causa principalis. For the dominion of the exalted Saviour must be distinguished from the mediatorship of Christ as causa medians. [God the Father is the author, Christ the mediator and procurer, the Holy Spirit the applier or imparter, of grace and peace. The Spirit takes them from Christ and shows them to the believer (comp. John 16:14). The latter may be the reason why the Holy Spirit is not especially mentioned in the epistolary salutations, except 2 Cor. 13:13, 14; 1 Peter 1:2.—P. S.]


1. The Epistle of the Apostle to the Romans on the righteousness of faith is still in a special sense a new message to the Romans, and a witness against Romanists. [It connects admirably with the concluding verses of the Acts, Romans 28:30, 31, as a specimen of Paul’s preaching in Rome, and to the Romans.—P. S.]

2. The significance of the Epistle to the Romans: (1.) As the first of the New Testament Epistles; (2) in the group of the Pauline Epistles; (3) as an original record of the missionary activity of the Apostle, and as an example for evangelical missions; (4) as the central point of the Christian doctrine of salvation, and thus as the starting-point of the Western (Latin) Church, and especially of the Protestant Evangelical Church (see the Introduction).

3. The epistolary inscription of ancient writers contrasted with the subscription of recent ones. The former characterizes the Epistle as a substitute for personal intercourse; the latter has become an independent form of personal communication. Frankness predominates in the former, courtesy in the latter.

4. Servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle. The extent of one idea is determined by that of the other.—Gospel of God: glorious unity.—Connection of the Old and New Testaments.—The apostles, unlike the Pharisees, acknowledge no traditions in connection with the Old Testament.—Grace and office must not be separated.—Just as little can we separate the experience of God’s love and the beginning of sanctification.—Neither can grace and peace be separated; nor the paternal authority of God and the authority of Christ.

5. The importance of the inscription of this Epistle. The importance of the salutation. The adaptation of the great Apostle of the Gentiles and of the Christian congregation of the great metropolis to each other. See the Exeg. Notes.

6. The antithesis: Christ born of the seed of David, and appointed the Son of God in majesty and honor (also over the Roman world), is an economical antithesis, at the foundation of which lies the ontological antithesis: that Christ is the temporal Son of David and the eternal Son of God.

7. The resurrection was historically accomplished and essentially finished in Christ. As the ideal and dynamical productive energy of the Logos, its roots and impulse pervade the whole history of the world and of man, and especially the history of the kingdom of God. The same may be said of the Spirit of holiness. See the Exeg. Notes. The Logos lighteth every man that cometh into the world (John 1:9).

8. Paul, as the ambassador of Jesus Christ, the Son of God in regal power, announces to the believers of the imperial city of Rome that it is his business to call the world to obedience to the faith and to subjection to Christ.


An apostolic salutation: 1. From whom does it come? 2. what is its import? 3. to whom is it addressed? (Romans 1:1–7).—The one gospel of God: 1. Promised by His prophets; 2. fulfilled by His Son (Romans 1:3, 4).—The missionary preaching among the Gentiles was a preaching of obedience to the faith for the glorifying of the name of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:5).—Every office is a gift of grace. The servants of Christ must remember this: 1. For their humility; 2. for their elevation and encouragement (Romans 1:5).—How can preachers of the gospel guard against bitterness toward the members of their congregation? By considering that the congregation are: 1. Beloved by God; 2. called by Jesus Christ (Romans 1:7).—Grace and peace: on one side different in manifestation, but, on the other, one in origin.

LUTHER:—The Spirit of God was given after Christ’s ascension, since which time He sanctifies Christians and glorifies Christ in all the world as the Son of God in power, in word, miracle, and sign (Romans 1:4).

STARKE:—The preachers of the gospel must preach both the law and the gospel in their respective order, and especially the gospel (Romans 1:1).—He who does not become a saint on earth, will not be numbered among the saints in heaven (Romans 1:7).

QUESNEL:—Every thing that comes to light is not therefore new: the oldest errors are continual novelties, and the newest truths are ever old.

OSIANDRI Bibl.:—Christ, according to His human nature, is our brother. O great consolation! (Romans 1:3).

CRAMER:—Worldly peace is a great treasure, but, after all, it is not sufficient for us. When Christ communicates His peace to us (John 14:27), it is grace in God; and then have we peace with God (Romans 1:7).

BENGEL: The Gospel of God is also the Gospel of Christ (Romans 1:1).—Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Romans 1:3, 4). This is the ground of all legitimate address of Christ to His Father and God, and of our legitimate address, through Him as our Lord, to His Father and our Father, His God and our God, who hath made us His own. He was Son of God before His humiliation; but His Sonship was veiled during His earthly life, and not fully unveiled till after His resurrection. On this rests His justification, 1 Tim. 3:16; 1 John 2:1, and this is the ground of our justification, Rom. 4:25.

GERLACH:—According to the flesh, the Son of God belonged to the Jews alone. But by the completion of His atonement, through the resurrection, He became the universal King of the human race, Lord of heaven and earth, according to the Spirit which dwelt in Him, and has perfectly pervaded His human nature (Romans 1:3, 4).

HEUBNER:—Prophets and apostles had one calling, one work (Romans 1:2).—The apostolic benediction—of what fulness of spiritual gifts, of what a holy heart, does it give witness! It is grand to express such a wish for a church; it presupposes the personal possession and appreciation of these gifts, but also a serious zeal to apply them to the congregation (Romans 1:7).

ROOS:—If the theme of Paul’s preaching had been only virtue, and a supreme Being whom we call God, he would have pleased the Greeks; and if he had preached on a Messiah yet to come, and on the works of the law, the Jews would have been contented with him. But he preached on the Son of God. That was the voice of his gospel (Romans 1:4).

BESSER:—The Spirit of holiness is the very force by which Christ has taken away the power of death, and has destroyed mortality, through the triumph of His imperishable life (ver 4).

J. P. LANGE:—How Christ exhibits His power as Lord by the Spirit of sanctification: 1. As the Risen One; 2. as the Son of God (Romans 1:1–4).—The same: Like man, like salutation.—The joy with which the Apostle announces the majesty of Christ in imperial Rome: 1. How foolish this joy appeared; 2. how gloriously it was justified; 3. how it must be fulfilled once more.—The internal connection between the power of the resurrection and the Spirit of holiness in Christ.

[BURKITT:—Paul declares: 1. The person from whom he received authority to be an apostle, namely, Christ; 2. how free and undeserved a favor it was; 3. the special duty and office of an apostle; 4. how he puts the Romans in mind of their condition by nature before the gospel was revealed to them and received by them; hence it is the duty of both ministers and people to be mindful of what was their condition by nature.—Why is the Holy Ghost excluded in the salutation of Romans 1:7? He is not excluded, though He be not named; but is necessarily implied in the forementioned gifts. Besides, in other salutations the Holy Ghost is expressly mentioned; 1 Cor. 13:13, 14.—HENRY:—The Apostle describes: 1. The person who writes the Epistle; 2. the gospel itself; 3. the persons to whom it is written; and 4. pronounces the apostolic benediction.—DODDRIDGE:—We are called to partake of the privileges of God’s people; we belong to the society of those who are eminently beloved of God, and who lie under great obligations, as they are called a holy nation, a peculiar people. May we not dishonor the sacred community to which we belong, and may we finally enjoy the important privileges of that state of everlasting glory in which the kingdom of the Son of God shall terminate!—CLARKE:—The Apostle invokes upon the Romans all the blessings which can flow from God as the fountain of grace; producing in them all the happiness which a heart filled with the peace of God can possess; all of which are to be communicated to them through the Lord Jesus Christ.—Comprehensive Comm.:—The Christian profession is not a notional knowledge, or a naked assent, or useless disputings; but it is obedience to the faith. The act of faith is the obedience of the understanding to God revealing, and the product of that is the obedience of the will to God commanding.—BARNES:—From Paul’s connecting the Lord Jesus Christ with the Father, we see: 1. That the Apostle regarded Him as the source of grace and peace as really as he did the Father; 2. he introduced them in the same connection, and with reference, to the bestowal of the same blessings; 3. if the mention of the Father implies a prayer, the same is implied by the mention of Christ, and hence was an act of worship to the latter; 4. all this shows that Paul’s mind was familiarized to the idea that Christ was divine.—These seven verses are a striking instance of the manner of Paul. While the subject is simply a salutation to the Roman church, his mind seems to catch fire, and to burn and blaze with signal intensity. He leaves the immediate subject before him, and advances some vast thought that awes us, and fixes us in contemplation, and involves us in difficulty about his meaning, and then returns to his subject.—HODGE:—God is called our Father, not merely as the author of our existence and the source of every blessing, but especially as reconciled toward us through Jesus Christ.—If Jesus Christ is the great subject of the gospel, it is evident that we cannot have right views of the one without having correct opinions concerning the other.—J. F. H.]

[SCHAFF:—The epistolary addresses generally bear on the doctrine of the ministerial office and its relation to the congregation, and furnish suitable texts for ordination and installation sermons.

Romans 1:1. PAUL, a model for a Christian minister: I. In his humility—a SERVANT (bondsman) of Jesus Christ. II. In his dignity—a chosen APOSTLE. His sense of dependence on Christ (servant) precedes and underlies his sense of authority over the congregation (apostle).—Only the true servant of Christ can be a true servant of the people.—Ministers derive their authority from Christ, not from the people, but for the people.—A SERVANT OF CHRIST. The service of Christ is perfect freedom, John 8:36. St. Augustine: “Deo servire vera libertas est.”—A CHOSEN APOSTLE. The apostle and the ordinary minister: I. The unity: (a.) Both are called by God; (b.) both are servants of Christ; (c.) both labor for the same end—the glory of God and the salvation of souls. II. The difference: (a.) An apostle is called directly by Christ; a minister, through the medium of church authority; (b.) an apostle is inspired and infallible; a minister is only enlightened, and liable to err; (c.) an apostle has the world for his field; a minister is confined to a particular charge.—CHOSEN, SET APART. The necessity of a Divine call for the ministry: I. The inner call by the Holy Ghost. II. The outward call by the authority and ordination of the Church.—The regularly called minister contrasted with the self-constituted minister and fanatic.—SET APART UNTO THE GOSPEL. The preaching of the gospel: I. The chief duty of the minister, to which all others must be subordinated. II. The highest work, in which Christ Himself and all the apostles engaged. III. The inconsistency of connecting any secular calling with the holy ministry.

Romans 1:2. The close connection of the Old and New Testaments. Christianity a new, and yet an old religion.—The historical character of Christianity—in opposition to the Gnostic and fanatical theory of a magical, abrupt descent from the clouds.

Romans 1:3, 4. JESUS CHRIST the great theme of the gospel. His double nature, the human, earthly, historical, and the divine, heavenly, eternal—both inseparably united in one person.—The importance of the RESURRECTION as an argument for the Divinity of Christ.

Romans 1:5. Christ, the mediator of all grace.

Romans 1:7. The Christians are SAINTSi.e., separated from the world and consecrated to the service of God; holy in principle, and destined to become more and more holy and perfect in their whole life and conduct.—The redeeming GRACE of God in Christ—the fountain of PEACE with God and with ourselves.—First grace, then peace.—No grace without peace; no peace without grace.—The coördination of Christ with God the Father in the epistolary inscriptions—an indirect proof of the Deity of Christ.]


[1][It was thought best to separate the three distinct sections embraced in Romans 1:1–17, viz.: I. The Address and Salutation, Romans 1:1–7. II. The Epistolary Introduction, Romans 1:8–15. III. The Theme of the Epistle, Romans 1:16, 17. Dr. Lange presents them as one whole, which, with our numerous additions, would make it too long and inconvenient for reference.—P. S.]

[2][Πρὸς ̔Ρωμαίους. This is the oldest and simplest title of Codd. א. (Sin.) A. B. C., and has been adopted by Lachmann, Tischendorf, Alford, Lange, &c., in the place of the title of the textus receptus: Παύλου τοῦ ἀποστόλου ἡ πρὸς ̔Ρωμαίους ἐπιστολή. For other titles, see the apparatus criticus in Tischendorf.—P. S.]

[3]Romans 1:1.—The reading ̓Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ is confirmed by most authorities [Codd. א. A. E. G., and adopted by Lachmann, Alford], against the reading, Christ Jesus (Cod. B., Tischendorf).

[4]Romans 1:2.—[ἐν γραφαῖς ἁγίαις, literally in sacred writings (without the article), but better, with the E. V., in the Holy Scriptures. γραφαῖς was sufficiently defined by ἁγίαις to be understood by the readers as referring to the Old Testament. So is πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης, Romans 1:4, and πνεῦμα ἁγιον repeatedly without the article. Comp. Winer, Gr. of the N. T., § 19, 2 b. (p. 113, 6th ed., p. 119, 7th ed., by Lünemann). Meyer insists that the omission of the article (ταῖς) indicates that only those portions or passages of the Old Testament were meant here, which contain Messianic prophecies, and he refers in proof to γραφῶν προφητικῶν in Romans 16:26 (where, however, the prophetical portions of the Old Testament are meant). But Fritzsche, De Wette, Tholuck, Philippi, Alford, Lange (Exeg. Notes), and most commentators regard γραφαὶ ἅγιαι as a proper noun for the whole Old Testament. And, in fact, it is the whole Bible, as an organic unit, from Genesis to Malachi, which bears witness to Christ, comp. John 5:46.—P. S.]

[5]Romans 1:3.—[γενομένου can only be said of the human nature of Christ which began in time, while His divine nature is without beginning and without end. Mark the difference between ἐγένετο and ἦν in John 1:1, 3, 6. Comp. also Gal. 4:4: ἐξαπέστειλεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν υἱὸν αὑτοῦ, γενόμενον ἐκ γυναικὸς, γενόμενον ὑπὸ νόμον. Some Minuscule MSS. read γεννωμένου for γενομένου.—P. S.]

[6]Romans 1:4.—[ὁρισθέντος, decreed, constituted, ordained, inaugurated. Bengel: “ὁρισθέντος multo plus dicit quam ἀφωρισμένος, Romans 1:1: nam ἀφρίζεται unus e pluribus, ὁρίζεται unicus quispiam, Acts 10:42.” ὁρίζειν (from ὅρος, limit) means, 1. to limit, to set bounds; 2. to define (of ideas); 3. to fix, to appoint or constitute, especially with the double accusative (Acts 10:42; 17:31). The last meaning alone can apply here. Dr. Lange translates festgesteilt, established. Some of the best commentators (Chrysostom, Luther, Fritzsche, Olshausen, Philippi, Robertson, Alford, Hodge, and even Meyer) understand it here of a mere declaration, or a subjective manifestation and recognition of Christ as the Son of God in the hearts of men. But there is confessedly no instance where ὁρίζειν means to declare, to manifest, to prove. And then the human recognition of the Messiahship of Christ was the result of an act of God. Paul speaks here not of the preëxistent, but of the incarnate Christ, of the God-Man. Under this view Christ was divinely decreed and objectively fixed, constituted, and inaugurated as the Son of God in power or majesty (ἐν δυνάμει is to be connected with υἱοῦ, not with the verb) at His resurrection, which implied the principle and germ of the resurrection of all believers, and by which the man Jesus was exalted and made partaker of the divine glory of the Logos in His preëxistent state. Comp, Phil. 2:9–11; John 17:5. In a similar sense ποιεῖν is used, Acts 2:36: “God hath made this Jesus whom ye have crucified, Lord and Christ.” Paul had probably in mind the divine decree (חֹק, Sept. πρόσταγμα), Ps. 2:7: “Thou art my Son: this day have I begotten thee,” which he expressly refers to the resurrection, Acts 13:33; comp. Heb. 1:5; 5:5. This is, of course, not to be understood in the Socinian sense, which denies the eternal Sonship of Christ; on the contrary, the eternal Sonship (Rom. 8:3; Gal 4:4; Col. 1:15; Phil. 2:7) precedes and underlies the historical Sonship, just as the Divinity of Christ is necessarily implied in His incarnation; for He could never have become God-Man, if He had not been God before. The eternal, metaphysical Sonship of the Logos, which is coëqual with the Father, was indicated by Paul in Romans 1:3, τοῦ υὶοῦ αὑτοῦ, before speaking of the incarnation, and is, in its nature, incommunicable; but the historical Sonship of the God-Man, which dates indeed from the incarnation (Luke 1:35), but was not fully developed, publicly established, and made manifest till the resurrection, is communicated to believers; first germinally in regeneration, whereby they are made “sons of God,” Rom. 8:14, and fully in their resurrection, 8:23, when what is here sown in weakness will be raised in power (ἐν δυνάμει), 1 Cor. 15:43. Hence the risen Saviour is called “the first-born among many brethren,” Rom. 8:29; “the first-born from the dead” (πρωτότοκος ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν), Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5. Comp. Dr. Lange, Exeg. Notes, p. 61. Forbes, Analyt. Com., p. 94, and Cremer, Bibl. theol. Wörterbuch, sub. ὁρίζω. The translation of the Vulgate: qui prædestinatus est Filius Dei, rests on a false reading or gloss: προ ορισθέντος.—P. S.]

[7]Romans 1:4.—[ἐν δυνάμει may be connected adverbially with ὁρισθέντος (=τοῦ ἐν δυν. ὁρ.), with power, powerfully, effectually, kräftiglich, gewaltig (Luther, Olshausen, De Wette, Meyer, Alford, Hodge), or better adjectively with the preceding noun υὶοῦ θεοῦ, in power (Melanchthon: “Declaratus est esse Filius Dei potens,” Philippi, Hofmann, Lange). In the former case, the words refer to the resurrection as an exhibition of the Divine power; in the latter, they contrast the majesty and power of the risen Son of God with the weakness of His human nature, the ἀσθένεια, implied in σάρξ.—P. S.]

[8]Romans 1:4.—[Dr. Lange translates ἐξ von-aus, from, out of, as indicating the origin, corresponding to ἐκ σπέρματος, Romans 1:3. Bengel: “ἐκ non modo tempus, sed nexum rerum denotat.” The preposition ἐκ marks in both cases, Romans 1:3, 4, the source from or out of which the relation springs. The seed of David is the source of the human nature of Christ; the resurrection is the starting-point of His divine nature, not in its preëxistent state, of course, but in its objective historical manifestation and public recognition among men. Comp. Exeg. Notes.—P. S.]

[9]Romans 1:4.—[ἀνάστασις νεκρῶν, the resurrection of the dead, Todten-auferstehung, is not identical with ἀνάστασις ἐκ νεκρῶν, resurrection from the dead (E. V.), but is a stronger summary expression which comprehends the resurrection of Christ and the believers as one connected whole or single fact, inasmuch as the resurrection of Christ, who is “the Resurrection and the Life” itself, implies and guarantees the resurrection of all the members of His mystical body; comp. John 11:25; Acts 4:2; 17:32; 23:6; 26:23; 1 Cor. 15:12. Alford: “We must not render as E. V. ‘the resurrection from the dead,’ but the resurrection of the dead,’ regarded as accomplished in that of Christ.” Comp. also Philippi and Wordsworth.—P. S.]

[10]Romans 1:5.—[εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως (without the article) occurs once more, Rom. 16:26, and may be translated as a compound noun: Glaubensgehorsam. The words express the design and object of Paul’s apostlesh p, viz., that through its instrumentality all the nations be brought to a saving faith in Christ. The different views on the meaning of πίστις, whether it be objective faith, fides quæ creditur, or subjective faith, fides qua creditur, do not affect the translation. See Exeg. Notes.—P. S.]

[11]Romans 1:6.—[The E. V. and Dr. Lange make a comma after ὑμεῖς, and regard κλητοὶ Ἰ. Χρ. as being in apposition to ὑμεῖς. So also the New Testament of the Am. Bible Union, which, however, omits the article before called, and renders: among whom are ye also, called of Jesus Christ. But Lachmann, Tischendorf, De Wette, Meyer, Alford, omit the comma and connect κλητοί as the predicate with ἐστέ: “Among whom ye also are called of Jesus Christ;” Meyer: “Unter welchen auch ihr Berufene Jesu Christi seid.” Alford thinks that the assertion among whom are ye, with a comma after ὑμεῖς, would be fiat and unmeaning. This, however, is not the case. See Exeg. Notes.—P. S.]

[12]Romans 1:7.—[ἐν ̔Ρώμη, Romans 1:7, and τοῖς ἐν Ρ̓ώμῃ, Romans 1:15, are omitted in Cod. G. Born. and Schol. Cod. 47, but this omission is too isolated to nave any critical weight. Comp. Meyer against Reiche’s inference.—P. S.]

[13]Romans 1:7.—[According to the usual construction still adhered to by Wordsworth, who makes a comma after ἁγίοις, the first seven verses form but one sentence, in which case we would have a double subject, viz., Παῦλος and Χάρις καὶ εἰρήνη instead of χάριν καὶ είρήνην (λέγει), and a repetition of the persons addressed, viz., τοῖς ἐν Ῥώμη and ὑμῖν. But it is impossible that such a gross grammatical irregularity should occur not only here, but in all the Pauline Epistles, as also in 1 and 2 Peter, Jude, and Apoc. 1:4. The nominative χάρις and εἰρήνη, as well as the ὑμῖν, clearly indicate that the second clause of Romans 1:7 (which should be divided into two verses) forms a complete sentence by itself and contains the salutation proper, while the preceding words form the inscription. Hence there should be a period before χάρις. So Knapp-Goeschen, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Theile-Stier, Alford, in their editions, as well as most of the modem commentators. Tholuck is wrong when he says that Fritzsche was the first to suggest this division. Beza already did it; “Novam hic periodum incipio, adscripto puncto post ἁγίοις.”—P. S.]

[14]Romans 1:7.—[Grace to you, without be, is in accordance with the Greek and the Vulg. (gratia vobis et pax) and preferable. The E. V. is inconsistent, sometimes inserting be and sometimes omitting it. The verbal form to be supplied after χἁρις in this case would not be the annunciative or mandatory ἕστω, be, but the optative εἴη, may be; for the χάρις ὑμῖν is not an elliptical doxology, nor an authoritative benediction, but a prayer or earnest wish; comp. 2 Peter 1:2, χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη πληθυνθείη; Jude 2, ἔλεος … πληθυνθείη.—P. S.]

[15][Outside of the New Testament the salutatory χαίρειν is also found in several epistles of Ignatius, in the epistle of (pseudo-) Barnabas, and in other ancient Christian documents; comp. Eusebius, H. E. v. 4; iv. 26.—P. S.]

[16][In post-apostolic literature, Clement of Rome wishes the Corinthians χάρις καὶ εἰρήνη. Polycarp, ad Phil., instead of this, has ἔλεος καὶ ειρήνη (comp. Gal. 6:16: εἰρήνη ἐπ̓ αὐτοὺς καὶ ἔλεος). The Martyrium Polycarpi, in its inscription, prays for ἔλεος, εἰρήνη καὶ ἀγάπη, which corresponds with the formula in Jude 2. In the epistle of the congregations of Southern Gaul, A. D. 167 (Eusebius, H. E. v. 1–4). we have εἰρήνη καὶ χάρις καὶ δόξα.—P. S.]

[17][Besides the commentaries, comp. J. B. Bittinger: The Greetings of Paul, in the Am. Presb. and Theol. Review for Jan. and April, 1867; and especially J. C. Theo. Otto: Ueber den apostolischen Segensgruss χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη, und χάρις, ἔλεος, εἰρήνη, in the Jahrbücher für Deutsche Theologie, vol. vii. No. 4 (Gotha, 1867), pp. 678–697.—P. S.]

[18][Lucanus does not occur in the Greek Testament, but in several Latin MSS. the third Gospel is inscribed: Evangelium secundum Lucanum. The Greek Λουκᾶς is, no doubt, a contraction of the Latin Lucanus, as Σίλας is of Silvanus. Some commentators, however, identify the names Lucas and Lucius (Acts 13:1; Rom. 16:21.)—P. S.]

[19][I add, as a curiosity, a quotation from Dr. Wordsworth, who, in his Com. on Acts 13:9, uncritically combines all the various interpretations of the name (except Dr. Lange’s, which was then not yet known to him), and assigns no less than eight reasons for the change of Saul into Paul: (1) Because Σαῦλος was a purely Jewish name. (2) Because among the Greeks it might expose him to contempt, as having the same sound as σαῦλος, wanton (see Homer, Hymn. Mercur., 28, and Ruhnken in loc.). (3) To indicate his change and call to a new life; from a Jew to a Christian; from a persecutor to a preacher of the gospel. (4) But in the change much of the original name was left and commemorated what he had been. The fire of zeal of Σαῦλος still glowed in the heart of Παῦλος, but its flame was purified by the Holy Ghost. (5) His new name denoted also his mission to the Gentiles, the Romans being familiar with the name Paulus. (6) It was a token of humility, Paulus-parvulus (1 Cor. 15:9). (7) It commemorated the cognomen of Paul’s first (?) convert, Sergius-Paulus, and was a good augury of his future success in the Roman world. (8) It indicates Paul’s intended supremacy in the Roman or Western Church as distinct from the Aramaic name Cephas, and the Greek name Peter.—P. S.]

[20][Wordsworth, also, explains the word from Acts 13:2, where the Holy Ghost says: ἈΦορίσατε (the word here used by Paul) δή μοι τὸν Βαρνάβαν καὶ Σαῦλον εὶς τὸ ἒργον ὁ προσκέκλημαι αὐτούς, so that he was both κλητός and ἀφωρισμένος. Paul was not only called by God, but was also visibly set apart for the apostolic office by an outward mission and ordination at His command. But Acts 13:2 evidently refers to a special and joint mission of Barnabas and Saul.—P. S.]

[21][The Anglo-Saxon gospel, i.e., either good spell, or God’s spell, is the precise equivalent for the Greek εὐαγγέλιον, i.e., good news, glad tidings (of salvation). Geo. P. Marsh, in his Lectures on the English Language, New York, 1860, p. 30, has a note on the two derivations, either from the name of the divinity God, or from the adjective gód, good, and leans to the latter.—P. S.]

[22][Comp. Winer, N. T. Grammar, p. 118 f. ed. 7th, and Textual Note 3.—P. S.]

[23][Comp. Textual Note3.—P. S.]

[24][Grotius: “Hoc refertur ad illud quod præcessit εὐαγγέλιον; explicatur nempe, de quo agat ille sermo bona nuntians.” So also Calvin, Bengel, the E. V., and all who regard Romans 1:2 as a parenthesis. The sense in either case is the same. Christ is the great subject of the gospel.—P. S.]

[25][So Lachmann, Tischendorf, Alford, who, in their editions, omit the parenthesis, and Meyer in loc. Comp. Winer: Grammar N. T. p. 525, 7th ed.: Viele längere Einschaltungen sind nicht Parenthesen, sondern Digressionen, sofern sie nur den Gedankenfortschritt, nicht den Lauf der Construction aufhalten.”—P. S.]

[26][De præd, sanct. c.25. Augustine had but a superficial knowledge of Greek, and was here, as in Rom. 5:12 and in other passages, misled by the translation of the Vulgate, which reads: prædestinatus (προ ορισθέντος).—P. S.]

[27][Comp. my textual note No.5. Chrysostom: Τί οὖν ἒστιν ὁρισθέντος; τοῦ δειχθέντος, ἀποφανθέντος, κριθέντος ὁμολογηθέντος παρὰ τῆς ἁπάντων γνώμης καὶ ψήφου. So Theophylact. Luther: erwiesen. Meyer agrees with this as to the sense, but insists that here as elsewhere ὸριζειν with the double accusative means to appoint, designate, institute some one for something (Acts 10:42). Philippi (3d ed.): “Christus ist als Sohn Gottes DARGETHAN, ERWIESEN, insofern er von den MENSCHEN, oder in der UEBERZEUGUNG DER MENSCHEN, durch die Auferstehung von den Todten dazu eingeselzteist. Gonz parallel ist der Gudanke, Acts 13:33.” Alford: “The ὁρίζειν here spoken of is not the objective ‘fixing,’ ‘appointing’ of Christ to be the Son of God, but the subjective manifestation in men’s minds that He is so. Thus the objective words ποιεῖν (Acts 2:36), γεννᾷν (Acts 13:33), are used of the same proof or manifestation of Christ’s Sonship by His resurrection. So again ἐδικαιώθη, 1 Tim. 3:16.” But all this is contrary to the meaning of ὁρίζειν, which denotes the objective fixing and appointing. Wordsworth explains somewhat differently: “Who was defined (as distinguished from all others) by a divine decree, and proclaimed to be the Son of God.” He refers to Ps. 2:7 as the best exposition of this text: “I will declare the decree (חֹק) whereby the Lord said unto me, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten Thee.” Bengel refers to the same passage and remarks that חֹק here means the same as ὀρισμός, and that the divine decree implies, that the Father has most determinately said, Thou art my Son. The ἀπόδειξις, the approving of the Son, follows in the train of this ὁρισμός.—P. S.]

[28][Bengel has a large note on πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης which is well worth reading in full. He regards ἁγιωσύνη, sanctimonia, as a kind of middle term between ἁγιότης, holiness, and ἁγιασμός, sanctification.—P. S.]

[29][Wordsworth and Forbes also wrongly identity the πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης with the πνεῦμα ἂγιον, the third person in the Holy Trinity, and thereby destroy the obvious contrast of κατὰ πν. ἁγιωσ. and κατὰ σάρκα.—P. S.]

[30][Epist. ad Cor. II. c.9: Ὡς Χριστὸς ὁ κύριος, ὁ σώσας ὴμᾶς, ὢν μὲν τὸ πρῶτον πνεῦμα, ἐγένετο σάρξ, καὶ οὒτως ὴμᾶς ἐκάλεσεν. οὒτως καὶ ὴμεῖς ταύτη ἐν τῆ σαρκὶ ἀποληψόμεθα τὸν μισθόν. The Clementine origin of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians is very doubtful.—P. S.]

[31][Comp. the note of Meyer in loco against Reiche, and of Alford against Peile, who infers that the subject of ἐλάβομεν must be the same as the preceding ἠμῶν, overlooking the formulary character of the phrase ὸ κύριος ήμῶν.—P. S.]

[32][Alford: “Keep the χάριν καὶ ἀποστολήν separate, and strictly consecutive, avoiding all nonsensical figures of Hendiadys, Hypallage, and the like. It was the general bestowal of grace which conditioned and introduced the special bestowal (καὶ, as so often, coupling a specific portion to a whole) of apostleship; cf. 1 Cor. 15:10.” Augustine: “Gratiam cum omnibus fidelibus, apostolatum autem non cum omnibus communem habet.”—P. S.]

[33][Or rather: the obedience which consists in faith, in the act of believing.—P. S.]

[34][Meyer, 4th ed. 1865, p. 43: “πίστις für DOCTRINAFIDEI zu nehmen (Beza, Tolet., Estius, Bengel, Heum., Cramer, Rosenm., Flatt, Fritzsche, Tholuck, u. M.), ist durchaus gigen den Sprachgebrauch des N. T., in welchem die πίστις stets der SUBJECTIVE Glaube ist, obwohl oft, wie hier, OBECTIVIRT, als Potenz gedacht. Vrgl. xvi. 26; Gal. 1:23. Die πίστις ist, nach P., die Ueberzeugung und Zuversicht (ASSENSUS und FIDUCIA) von Jesus Christus als dem einzigen und vollkommenen Vermittler der göttlichen Gnade und des ewigen Lebens, durch sein Versöhnungswerk.”—P. S.]

[35][So also Hodge: “The obedience of faith is that obedience which consists in faith, or of which faith is the controlling principle. Wordsworth: “That I might bring all nations to that faith which manifests itself in hearkening to the “Word, and in obedience to the Will, of God.”—P. S.]

[36][Not necessarily; comp. Acts 9:16; 15:26; 21:13, where the same phrase, ύπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόματος τοῦ κυρίον, Ἰησοῦ, occurs in the sense: for the glory of Christ. Meyer’s interpretation is also adopted by Alford and Hodge. The words aptly express the final end of Paul’s apostleship, which was, to promote the knowledge and glory of Christ. In the “name” of Christ is summed up all that He was, did, and suffered.—p. S.]

[37][Alford takes ̓Ιησοῦ χριστοῦ not as the genit. possessionis, but as equivalent to by Jesus Christ. But the call of believers is uniformly referred to the Father. Alford quotes John 5:25 and 1 Tim. 1:12; but these passages are not to the point.—P. S.]

[38][The salutation commences with χάρις, and should form a verse by itself. The first clause of Romans 1:7 connects with Romans 1:1 and indicates the readers. See Text. Note 12.—P. S.]

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

The Introduction

ROMANS 1:8–15

8First [of all],39 I thank my God through Jesus Christ for [concerning]40 you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world [in all the world]. 9For God is my witness, whom I serve with [in] my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that [how, ὡς]41 without ceasing I make mention of you [how unceasingly 10I remember you;] always in my prayers; Making request, [; always asking in my prayers,]42 if by any means now at length [if haply now at last]43 I might have a prosperous journey [I may be prospered]44 by the will of God to come unto you. 11For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you [share with you, μεταδῶ] some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established [in order that ye may be strengthened];45 12That is, that I may be comforted together with you, by the mutual faith both of you and me [among you by each other’s faith, both 13yours and mine].46 Now [But] I would not47 have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes [often] I purposed to come unto you (but was let48 [hindered] hitherto)49 that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles [the rest of the Gentiles]. 14I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise [Both to Greeks and to Barbarians; 15both to wise and to unwise, I am debtor]. So,50 as much as in me is [as far as lies in me], I am ready,51 to preach the gospel to you [also] that [who] are at Rome also [omit also].


SECOND SECTION.The connecting link in the form of doxology, and the transition of the author to his designed argument in the fundamental topic. The praise of the faith of the Roman Christians known all over the world, and the desire and purpose of the Apostle to visit them.

Romans 1:8. First of all, I thank.—De Wette: “In all his Epistles, with the exception of Galatians, 1 Tim., and Titus,52 the Apostle pursues the natural course of first placing himself, so to speak, in relation with his readers; and his first point of contact with them is gratitude for their participation in Christianity.” [So also Alford in loc]. Comp. also 1 Thess. 1:2; 2 Thess. 1:3; 1 Cor. 1:4. This means more definitely that the Apostle, in his epistles, with thanksgiving to God, seizes the point of connection for his subsequent argument; and this point of connection is in general a recognition of what has been already attained, but it takes its peculiar form from the condition of the different churches. Köllner calls this, captatio benevolentiœ. Tholuck: The Apostle opens his way to the hearts of the church by a declaration of his love. [Words-worth: “As usual, the Apostle begins with a sentiment by which he expresses his gratitude to God, and conciliates the good will of those to whom he writes.”—P. S.] According to Tholuck [De Wette] and Meyer, we would properly expect an εἶτα δέ [or ἔπειτα] after πρῶτον μέν, but not in point of fact, since the πρῶτον marks the emphasis of the following introductory word.—My God. Not only the expression of genuine feeling (De Wette), but also of the thought that God has shown Himself as the God of his apostolic call, by opening before him a path in Rome for the cause of Christ (Acts 28:15). [The language of personal application, with a corresponding sense of personal obligation: the God who, with all His blessings and promises, belongs to me, as I belong to Him, and am bound to serve Him. Comp. Acts 27:23: τοῦ θεοῦ οὗ εἰμι, ᾧ καὶ λατρεύω, 1 Cor. 1:4; Phil: 1:3; 4:19; Philemon 4.—P. S.]—Through Jesus Christ. [Not to be connected with μου (Koppe, Glöckler), but with εὐχαριστῶ.—P. S.] Comp. Rom. 7:25; Col. 3:17; Heb. 13:15; 1 Peter 2:5. Origen: Christ, as the mediator of the prayer, also presents the thanksgiving. [“Velut per pontificem magnum: opportet enim scire eum qui vult offerre sacrificium Deo, quod per manus Pontificis debet offerre.” So also Calvin, who refers to Heb. 13:15, Bengel, Olshausen, and Hodge, who justly says that it is the clear doctrine of the Bible that, in all our approaches to God in prayer or praise, we must come in the name of Christ as the ground of our acceptance.—P. S.] Meyer objects to this view as not justified by Paul’s usual method, and explains that he renders thanks for what has come to pass by Christ. [Similarly Alford.] But what is meant by giving thanks for every thing in the name of Jesus Christ? (Eph. 5:20.) The thanksgiving, as well as prayer, must be sanctified by the spiritual communion with Christ, and thus come before God; by this means, all selfish interests, and all human and passionate joy at the obtained results are excluded.—For you all. The περί and ὑπέρ were often confounded or changed by the copyists; therefore the Recepta has ὑπέο here. Here, as at the beginning of Romans 1:7, the Apostle emphasizes the fact that he has in view all the believers in Rome, and will not appeal to or favor any partisan tendency.—That your faith is spoken of. Mention is made of it, and it has become famous among Christians in the whole world (see Romans 10:18; 16:19). The expression, which has the outward appearance of being hyperbolical, acquires its complete significance chiefly in consequence of the powerful position of the metropolis of Rome, by the weight which Christianity gained in all the world by the conquest of this central home of the world, and by the Apostle’s views of the future of this apostolic station. See the quotations from Grotius and Calvin in Tholuck. [Meyer: “ἐν ὅλω τῷ κόσμῳ—a popular hyperbole, but admirably suited to the position of the congregation in the metropolis of the world, to which the eyes of all were directed.” Remember the adage: Orbis in urbe continetur.—P. S.]

Romans 1:9. For God is my witness. The for establishes the foregoing. Here, therefore, the thanksgiving through Christ is also explained (Phil. 1:3; Col. 1:3; 1 Thess. 1:2). The sense of the solemn asseveration is: My declaration is before the face of God. The free asseverations of this character arise in the Apostle’s case from the inner character of his work and the loftiness of his position. He cannot adduce earthly witnesses of the peculiarity of the facts which he has to assure; they are of heavenly origin, and he calls on God as their witness: that is, his whole knowledge of God, and his apostolic conscience, must be pledged. Pareus: “Ignotus ad ignotos scribens jurat.” Against this, Meyer quotes Phil. 1:18 [and 2 Cor. 1:23.—P. S.] as decisive. The necessities for such strong expressions of the fervent man were indeed very different; but one species of them is that adduced by Pareus. The general constraint of the Apostle to let his readers sometimes look into the sanctity of his inner life, is secured by the solemn asseveration against all danger of profanation. Meyer adduces as a motive “the strange fact that he, the Apostle to the Gentiles, had not yet become active in the church at Rome, although it belonged to his school.” [Bengel: “A pious asseveration respecting a matter necessary and hidden from men, especially from those who were remote and unknown.” Alford: “There could be no other witness to his practice in his secret prayers, but God: and as the assertion of a habit of incessantly praying for the Roman Christians, whom he had never seen, might seem to savor of an exaggerated expression of affection, he solemnly appeals to this only possible testimony. To the Ephesians, Philippians (see, however, Phil. 1:8), Colossians, Thessalonians, he gives the same assurance, but without the asseveration. The thus calling God to witness is no uncommon practice with Paul; see ref. in E. V.” The Apostle’s frequent appeal to God (2 Cor. 1:23; 11:31; Phil. 1:8; 1 Thess. 2:5, 10; Gal. 1:20) is a devout recognition of God’s omniscience, and hence an act of worship. It disproves the literal interpretation of Matt. 5:33 ff., which prohibits perjury, and all useless and thoughtless swearing. Comp. Tholuck, Die Berpredigt, p. 263 ff. (3d ed.).—P. S.]

Whom I serve in my spirit. The idea of the real service of God, which so powerfully pervades the Epistle to the Romans, first appears with the λατρεύω (see Romans 1:21; Romans 2:22; 3:25; 5:2; 12:1; 15:16; 16:25–27; comp. Acts 7:7). As such a λατρεύων, he stands before God. But he serves Him in his spirit; that is, his priesthood is not merely external, but the living service of God by a spiritually awakened, vital, and steadfast consciousness.53 Grotius and Reiche have found in the λατρ. an antithetical relation to the Jewish λατρεὶα in the law. Meyer thinks such an idea farfetched. But we are rather of the opinion that the Apostle is still thinking of all external character of worship, and especially that of the heathen Romans. [Umbreit, approvingly quoted by Alford: “The Apostle means that he is an intelligent, true priest of his God, not in the temple, but in his spirit; not at the altar, but at the gospel of His Son.” λατρεύειν (עָבַד) and λειτουργεῖν (שֵרֵת) are used in the Septuagint of the ministrations of the Jewish priesthood in the temple (comp. Luke 1:23; Heb. 8:6; 9:21), and in the New Testament applied to the Christian ministry, and to worship generally (Matt. 4:10; Phil. 2:17). The words ᾧλατρεύω, &c., give additional force to his solemn asseveration, and attest its sincerity.—P. S.]—In the gospel of his Son. (Genitive of the object.) His spirit is the temple, the sphere of his service; the gospel of the Son of God in the great work of evangelization, is the substance and form of his service of God.—How without ceasing. Meyer: ὡς does not stand for ὅτι (as it is usually taken, even by Fritzsche), but expresses the mode (the degree). This thanking without ceasing is not only more precisely defined, but more exactly conditioned by what follows.

Romans 1:10. Always in my prayers. His spiritual longing and striving are directed toward Rome; therefore he is ever (and everywhere. Bretschneider: Ubicumque locorum et quovis tempore. Luther: in all places) praying with his mind fixed on Rome. The thought is thus defined, if, with Tischendorf, we place a comma after προσευχῶν μον. We prefer this view to that of Meyer: Always asking in my prayers. [Comp. here my Textual Note in defence of Meyer’s punctuation.—P. S.] There was, during his prayers, an unceasing remembrance of the Romans (the ἐπί is the determination of the time or the occasion), and this became a specific and urgent prayer.—If haply now at last I. The expression declares at the same time the earnestness of the petition, and humble resignation.—Might have a prosperous journey [better: may be prospered.—P. S.] Meyer: “The active εὐοδοῦν seldom has the exact signification, to lead well, expeditum iter prœbere; … but the passive never means via recta incedere, expeditum iter habere, but always [even in Prov. 17:8] metaphorically, prospero successu gaudere. [Meyer then quotes a number of passages.—P. S.] Therefore the explanation, which anyhow gives a trivial idea, prospero itinereutar (Vulgate, and others), must be rejected.” [So also Alford.] Nevertheless, the choice of the word was suited to the allusion that the prosperity which the Apostle desired would consist in a successful journey to Rome; and we have sought to express this in the translation (Wohlfahrt). The affair is a subject of his prayerful solicitude, for it is not from selfishness, but only in accordance with God’s will that he will come to Rome. (Schott connects the ἐν τ. θελ. τ. θεοῦ not with ἐλθεῖν, but with εὐοδωθήσομαι; but then the word would not seem to have been well chosen.)

Romans 1:11. For I long to see you, Ἐπιποθέω. Fritzsche: simply cupio. [Not VALDE or ARDENTER cupio; comp. 2 Cor. 5:2; for ἐπί does not intensify, but simply expresses the direction of the πόθος, which itself means strong desire. So also De Wette, Meyer, and Alford.—P. S.] Schott, πόθον ἔχω ἐπί. According to Schott, the see you, ἰδεῖν ὑμᾶς, would indicate that Paul did not design to stay in Rome. But yet it constitutes an antithesis to the Epistle now about to be written.—Some spiritual gift, χάρισμα πνευματικόν. De Wette: χάρισμα is simply a gift, without special reference to Divine grace. [De Wette understands by it the παράκλησις, Romans 1:12, and is followed by Alford.—P. S.] But the word must be explained by Paul’s use of language, especially by 1 Cor. 12:4. The specific gift of Paul consists in his being the Apostle to the Gentiles; and without doubt this expression means not only that the Roman Church is to receive a general spiritual blessing from him, but shall also share in this special spiritual gift. [But such specific reference seems to be excluded by τι, nor was the apostolate of the Gentiles strictly communicable to a congregation. Hence I prefer, with Tholuck, Olshausen, and Philippi, to give χάρισμα a more general application: spiritual invigoration of the whole Christian life, πίστις, ἀγάπη, ἐλπίς, γνῶσις, &c. So Hodge: “Any increase of knowledge, of grace, or of power.”—P. S.] The adjective πνευματικόν, especially in connection with χάρισμα, can only denote a spiritual quality of the gift which proceeds from the communion of the divine Spirit. [“Springing from the Spirit of God, and imparted to the spirit of man;” Alford]. The following explanations are one-sided: Miraculous gifts (Bengel, &c.); gifts of the human spiritual life (Köllner, &c.). The τι, some, expresses not only the Apostle’s modesty (Meyer), but an acknowledgment that the Romans were already in the faith, together with an intimation that something was still wanting in them.—In order that ye may be strengthened (see Romans 16:25). This is the object of the charismatic communication. [Paul uses the passive στηριχθῆναι, since he is simply the instrument through which God Himself strengthens and invigorates the spiritual life in man; comp. 16:25: τῶ δυναμένῳ ὑμᾶς στηρίξαι, and 2 Thess. 2:17.—P. S.]

Romans 1:12. That is, that I may be comforted together with you, &c. The connection of the two objects serves to explain one as well as the other. The Apostle wishes that the Romans be strengthened by him (the choice of the passive is not merely an expression of modesty, but also of the information that the matter is not of human choice, but that the blessing must come from the Lord), not only in their faith in general, but also in their particular calling as Roman Christians in their central relation to the world. And the result there-from will be, that the Apostle will be encouraged and aided in his universal apostleship. The addition, that is, &c., is therefore not a sancta adulatio (Erasmus), nor a safeguard against the appearance of presumption (Meyer),54 but the statement of his whole purpose. This purpose is not to seek comfort and consolation among them, as the συμπαρα κληθῆναι (ἅπαξ λεγόμενον in the New Testament) is explained by many, in harmony with the Peshito and Vulgate; but he will find Christian encouragement among them when they are strengthened (Meyer). Yet this is not only “in general,” but with a view to his Western mission. The συμ does not include the readers (Fritzsche), but is related as a termination to the στηριχθῆναι of the Romans. This can be seen by the following: By our common (reciprocal) faith, both yours and mine. This is a brief form of expression (Reiche, Van Hengel, and others, supply the ἐν αλλήλοις with an ἐνεργουμένης). He declares the fact that the communion of faith should serve for the reciprocal promotion of the faith. Fritzsche and Schott miss ἐμέ, but this is implied in the words of the first person in Romans 1:11.

Romans 1:13. But I would not have you ignorant. Well-known form of announcement, especially of something new and important (Romans 11:25; 1 Cor. 10:1; 1 Thess. 4:13).—That oftentimes I purposed, &c. Together with the Apostle’s other impediments, it is of special consideration that, after every missionary journey, he found it necessary to return to Jerusalem in order to establish the unity of his new congregation with the mother church. Many delays were occasioned also by the necessary inspection and review of his organized churches, their internal disturbances, and the persecutions on the part of the Jews. The fact that he desired first to establish his mission in the East, he could not call an impediment. Meyer points to Romans 15:22. [So does Alford.] But the Apostle seems to intimate here (according to Romans 1:20, 21) that he must prepare the church at Rome, as a church already existing, for his visit (by sending out his friends in advance). Meyer’s remark is odd: “Therefore hindered neither by the devil (1 Thess. 2:18), nor by the Holy Ghost (Acts 16:6); ” for his general hinderance is specified in these terms.—That I might have some fruit. Harvest-fruit, as a laborer. The figure is frequent (Phil. 1:22) [John 4:36; 15:16; Col. 1:6. The “fruit” is not the result of Paul’s labor, or his reward, but the good works of the Roman Christians who have been planted to bring forth fruit to God. This fruit the Apostle expected to gather and to present to God. Alford.—P. S.]. The choice of the expression is evidently a new evidence of his delicacy and modesty. We cannot urge that σχῶ is the antithesis of have (Meyer: gehabt hätte) and obtain (Köllner).—Among you also. The καί intensifies the comparison, in lively expression. The expression, ἔθνη, is used here to indicate definitely the Gentiles; first, because the Romans, as Romans, are Gentiles, from whom the remaining Gentiles are distinguished as such; then, because he has hitherto labored as the Apostle to the Gentiles. See the Exeg. Note on Romans 1:14. Schott: “There runs, from Romans 1:11–13, this thought: The Apostle Paul, in preparing himself for apostolic preaching in the midst of the Western Gentile world, regards it necessary to secure the Roman Church as a point of support and departure—so to speak, as a base of operations.” While this opinion is correct enough as far as the definiteness of his aim is concerned, the Apostle was far from regarding Rome merely as the means for an end, without first having chiefly in view the purpose of edifying the Roman Church for its own sake.

Romans 1:14. To Greeks and to Barbarians. What is the desire of his heart and his effort, is at the same time his calling and the duty of his office. His apostleship belongs to the whole Gentile world, and for this reason incidentally also to the Jews. Therefore, in consequence of the existing unity of Grecian and Roman culture, the Greeks and the Romans are combined under the term Greeks, in antithesis to the so-called Barbarians (Cicero, De Fin. ii. 15: Non solum Grœcia et Italia, sed etiam omnis barbaria), just as the term wise comprehends Jews and Greeks (1 Cor. 1:26), and the unwise those barbarian nations who stood lowest in intellectual culture.55 The antithesis of Greeks and Barbarians means, according to the original Greek usage, Greeks and non-Greeks—the latter as uncultivated Barbarians in a national sense. It is in this sense that the present passage is interpreted by Reiche and others. But at a time when Greek was written in Rome, and to Rome, the word undoubtedly indicated an historical antithesis of culture, according to the expression quoted from Cicero; and Paul, with his refined feeling, could hardly have chosen the word in the former restricted sense. (Ambrosiaster, and others.) Meyer objects that the Romans were nowhere enumerated as Hellenes. But this is certainly the case in Romans 1:16, where the Hellene represents heathendom in general. Comp. Romans 2:9, 10; 10:12; and the many antitheses of a similar character in the Acts of the Apostles, and in the other Pauline Epistles. Therefore Meyer’s statement is unsatisfactory, that Paul would only express his Gentile-apostolic obligation in its universality, and that he does this in double merismat c form, as well according to nationality as according to the degree of culture. The sense certainly is, that he is pledged to all Gentiles. In this relation, he is ὀφειλέτης in the sense of indebtedness, which he assumed at his call. See 1 Cor. 9:10.56

Romans 1:15. So, as far as lies in me, I am ready. So far as it depends on him, he is not only willing, but determined; his inclination corresponds to his indebtedness (πρόθυμον = προθυμία). τὸ κατ̓ ἐμέ is variously explained. 1. Οὕτως, τὸ κατ̓ ἐμὲ: πρὸθυμον (sc. προθυμία ἔστι). 2. Οὕτως τὸ (κατ̓ ἐμὲ) πρόθυμον. 3. Οὕτως τὸ κατ̓ ἐμἑ πρόθυμον (= τὸ πρόθυμόν μου). 4. Ούτως: τὸ κατ̓ ἐμὲ πρὸθυμον. De Wette and also Meyer [in the third edition of 1859, but not in the fourth.—P. S.] are fur the first: As far as I am concerned, there is readiness. [This explanation connects τὸ with κατ̓ ἐμέ, and takes πρόθυμον as the predicate and a substantive = προθυμία.—P. S.] Reiche [Calvin, Philippi, Van Hengel, and Meyer, in the fourth edition of 1865, where he gives up his former view.—P. S.] are for the second: And so am I—as far as lies in me—ready. Fritzsche is for the third: My readiness, or desire, is. [κατ̓ ἐμέ in this case is taken us a mere periphrase for ἐμοῦ, but it has an emphasis, and expresses Paul’s sense of dependence on a higher will.—P. S.] Tholuck is for the fourth: So, for my part, I am ready. [Tholuck, though not very decidedly, follows Beza (Quidquid in me situm est, id promptum est), Grotius, Bengel, and Rückert, and takes τό κατ̓ ἐμέ as the subject of the sentence = ἐγώ, and πρόθυμον as an adjective and as the predicate: I am ready. But Meyer objects that τὸ κατ̓ ἐμέ is never used as a periphrase for the personal pronoun; τὰ ὑμέτερα for ὑμεῖς, and τὰ ἐμὰ for ἐγώ not being parallel.—P. S.] I think the explanation of Reiche the correct one.57 For further particulars, see De Wette, Tholuck, and Meyer. Theodore Schott explains the οὕτως, under such circumstances, and translates thus: Under such circumstances it is my present inclination. But Paul has not at all spoken of circumstances. He asserts that οὕτως, used absolutely, never means itaque, but always “under this condition, these circumstances.” But as the circumstances may be attending, so they may be causative; comp. Rom. 5:12.—To you also who are in Rome. Schott thinks that by these words are meant, not the Christians in Rome, but the Gentile inhabitants of Rome! The natural conclusion from this view would be, that his Epistle also must have been designed for the Gentiles in Rome. Certainly he had in view from the start, besides the Christians, those Gentiles also who were yet to be converted, [τοῖς ἐν ̔Ρώμη is emphatically added, since Rome, the “caput et theatrum orbis terrarum,” could least of all be excluded from that general apostolic commission. Bengel and Meyer.—P. S.]


1. The point of connection (Romans 1:8). Every Pauline Epistle has its definite point of connection. So, too, has every apostolic sermon of Peter, Paul, and John. And this is as much a vital law for proper Christian preaching, as for missions. See the connecting point in Acts 17. The doxological character of this section. Without gratitude for what is given, there is no real continuance, still less any real progress. Gratitude must also be sanctified by working in Christ.

2. Asseverations, prayers, proofs of the Apostle’s prayer. See the Exeg. Notes.

3. The difference between the longing of the Apostle for Rome, and the longing of the modern world for Rome. If the Pauline Christianity of the Evangelical Church were not so much paralyzed by the indifference of humanitarianism, by the hatred and ignorance of rationalism, and by the morbid literalism of confessionalism and sectarianism, it would be able to wield the weapons of the Spirit as heroically against mediæval Papal Rome—which is now besieged at so many points—as Paul, the poor tent-maker, combatted pagan, imperial Rome. Still, the gospel of God will triumph in the end.

4. The great missionary thought of the Apostle (Romans 1:11, 12). See the Exeg. Notes. Romans 1:12: The Popes do not write thus to the Romans.

5. The impediments (Romans 1:13). Although the Apostle knew well that on the absolute height of faith all impediments are only means of advancement for believers (Rom. 8:28), he yet speaks of impediments with a truly human feeling. But each of these impediments marks a point where he surrenders to God his desire to pass beyond those sacred limits through which an enthusiast would have violently broken.

6. How Paul subsequently attained the object of his wishes, though not according to human purposes, but according to the counsel of God; first as a prisoner, and last as a martyr.


How the Apostle introduces himself to the Church at Rome: 1. As remembering it in prayer (Romans 1:8–10); 2. as desiring its personal acquaintance (Romans 1:11, 12); 3. as previously prevented from visiting it and fulfilling his obligation (Romans 1:13–15).—The truly Christian manner of introducing one’s self to strange people.—Praise without flattery (Romans 1:8).—Under what circumstances can we call on God to witness? 1. When we are conscious that we serve Him; 2. when the matter in hand is sacred (Romans 1:9).—We cannot always do what we would (Romans 1:11–13).—For what purpose should Christian friends visit each other? 1. To give; 2. to receive (Romans 1:11, 12).—Paul a debtor to the Greeks and to the Barbarians, to the wise and the unwise: 1. In what did his obligation consist? 2. when did he acknowledge it? 3. how did he desire to discharge it? (Romans 1:14, 15).—The obligation of Christians to the heathen (Romans 1:14).

STARKE: We have greater occasion to thank God for spiritual than for temporal blessings (Romans 1:8).—We must not always be brief in prayer, but we must continue until the heart becomes warmed (Romans 1:10).—Complete sovereignty over auditors does not belong to any teacher or preacher (Romans 1:13).—QUESNEL: Thankfulness is one of the most excellent, but one of the most neglected duties. Preachers must supply this deficiency on the part of their flocks (Romans 1:8).—The oath may be allowed, if God’s honor requires it (Romans 1:9).—CRAMER: The presence and living voice of teachers can accomplish more than the mere reading of their writings. Therefore Christians should not think that they have done enough, when they read God’s word in sermons at home; but, whenever they can, they should hear their instructors personally, and industriously attend public worship (Romans 1:11).—OSIANDRI Bibl.: We should do no less than our calling directs; but we should not include therein any thing that does not belong to it, lest we trespass on the office of another (Romans 1:15).

LISCO, on Romans 1:9–12: The fruits of the (apostolical) sense of gratitude: (a.) Continual remembrance of the Roman Christians in prayer; (b.) prayer that, by the will of God (Romans 1:10), an open way might be made for his personal acquaintance with the church.

HEUBNER, on Romans 1:8: 1. There is an extended Christian celebrity in the estimation of others; yet it must not be sought nor circulated designedly, but come of itself; 2. we learn that Christian churches should take knowledge of each other. Metropolitan cities can exert an important influence on the whole country. So with Rome at that time.—On Romans 1:9: Sacred fidelity to one’s calling is true service of God.

LANGE: The justification of praise: 1. So far as it corresponds to the truth; 2. is embraced in thanksgiving; 3. is sanctified as an incitement to greater success.—The estimation of good human conduct is not ignored by the exclusion of the merit of works, but secured against profanation.—Rome formerly a celebrated congregation of believers.—The different phases of Rome in universal history.—The apostolical longing for Rome: 1. An image of the longing of Christ (Luke 12:49); 2. a life-picture of human destination.—The sanctification of longing.—The proper estimate of impediments in life: 1. We should distinguish between imaginary and real hinderances; 2. we should not become discouraged by them, but we should not stubbornly force our way through them; 3. we should overcome them by prayer; 4. we should transform them into helps. (The Epistle to the Romans, besides other blessings, arose from the Apostle’s hinderances.)

[BURKITT: From the Apostle’s longing to see the Romans, learn: 1. That the establishment in faith and holiness is needed by the holiest and best Christians; 2. that the presence of the ministers of Christ with their people is necessary for their establishment; 3. that the Apostle desired to be personally present with the Church and saints at Rome for his own benefit as well as for their advantage.—HENRY: Romans 1:8. The faith of the Roman Christians came to be talked of because of the prominence of Rome. That city being very conspicuous, every thing done there was talked of. Thus, they who have many eyes upon them need to walk very circumspectly; for, whether they do good or evil, it will certainly be reported. How is the purity of Rome departed! The Epistle to the Romans is an argument against them.—SCOTT: The most of us must own with shame that we are not so earnest or particular, even in our narrow circles, as Paul was in respect to his most extensive connections and multiplied engagements. We ought to long for opportunities of usefulness, as worldly men do for a prosperous trade, or occasions of distinguishing themselves and acquiring celebrity.—CLARKE: Romans 1:9. Paul presents the spiritual worship of God in opposition to the external. Our religion is not one of ceremonies, but one in which the life and power of the eternal Spirit are acknowledged and experienced.—BARNES: 1. One effect of religion is, to produce the desire of the communion of saints 2. nothing is better fitted to produce growth in grace than such communion; 3. the firm faith of young converts is very much calculated to excite the feeling and strengthen the hope of Christian ministers; 4. the Apostle did not disdain to be taught by the humblest Christians.—J. F. H.]


[39]Romans 1:8.—[πρῶτονμέν, primum quidem, zuvörderst, first of all. The εἲτα δέ is omitted in the pressure of thought and flow of speech, as in Acts 1:1; Rom. 3:2; 1 Cor. 11:18. Comp. Winer, Grammar, p. 508 (6th ed), and Alex. Buttmann, Grammatik des N. T. Sprachgebrauchs, p. 313. Alford finds the corresponding δέ in Romans 1:13, and connects thus: “Ye indeed are prospering in the faith; but I still am anxious further to advance that fruitfulness.” But this anxiety was already expressed in Romans 1:10, and the δέ in Romans 1:13 is simply μεταβατικόν.—P. S.]

[40]Romans 1:8.—περί is best supported in opposition to ὑπέρ. [The prepositions περί and ὑπέρ both occur in this connection (1 Cor. 1:4; Col. 1:3; 1 Thess. 1:2; 2 Thess. 1:3), though ὑπέρ more rarely (Eph. 1:16; Phil. 1:4), with substantially the same meaning; the difference is, that περί, concerning, implies simply that the Roman Christians are the subject of thanks; while ὑπέρ, for, in behalf of, for the sake of, gives the idea of intercession and aid. But περί has also the latter meaning. They are often confounded by the MSS., but the best codices (א. A. B. C. D*. K.) and critical editors (Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer, Alford, Wordsworth) are here in favor of περί against the ὐπέρ of the textus receptus.—P. S.]

[41]Romans 1:9.—[ὠς differs from ὂτι and expresses the mode or degree. Comp. Phil. 1:8; 2 Cor. 7:15; 1 Thess. 2:10; Acts 10:28, and Meyer and Philippi in loc.—P. S.]

[42]Romans 1:10.—[The translation depends here upon the punctuation, which is left to critical conjecture, the ancient MSS. having no punctuation. I make a comma or semi-colon after ποιοῦμαι, and connect πάντοτε, κ.τ.λ., with δεόμενος. So Meyer, Philippi, Alford (in his notes). Dr. Lange, however, in his version and Exeg. Notes, follows Tischendorf, who makes a comma after προσευχῶν μου, like the E. V. In this case πάντοτε must be taken as an intensification of ἀδιαλειπτως = assidue semper, assiduissime; but this would require a different position of the words, viz., ὡς ἀδιαλείπτωςπάντοτε. As it is, πάντοτε ἐπὶ τῶν προσευχῶν μον δεόμενος is better taken as an explanation of ἀδιαλείπτως μνείανὐμῶν ποιοῦμαι, so as to mark at the same time a progress of the idea, the incessant remembrance of the Romans culminating in direct prayer.—P. S.]

[43]Romans 1:10.—[εἰ πως ἥδη ποτε, ob etwa endlich einmal (Meyer, Olshausen, Lange, &c.); Alford: if by any means before long. πως, haply, possibly, implies the possibility of new delays and hindrances. ῆδη, already, may mean finally or at last, with reference to things long hoped for and delayed, and in connection with ποτε, tandem aliquando. See Hartung, Partikellehre 1:238. The Apostle’s desire in this respect was granted about three years afterwards, A. D. 61.—P. S.]

[44]Romans 1:10.—[Or succeed, εὐοδωθήσομαι. The original meaning of ὁδός, way, journey, is lost in the verb. See Exeg. Notes. But the parting wish in Greece to travellers is even now καλὸν κατευοδιον, as in Italy, buon viaggio, a happy journey.—P. S.]

[45]Romans 1:11.—[Dr. Lange inserts after gift: personal, peculiar grace, and after established: for your world-historical calling. See his explanation below, which I cannot adopt.—P. S.]

[46]Romans 1:12.—[συμπαρακληθῆναι ἐν ὑμῖν διὰ τῆς ἐν ἀλλήλοις πίστεως, ὑμῶν τε καὶ ἐμοῦ. The infinitive συμπαρακλ. (which compound verb only occurs here in the N. T.) is parallel with the preceding στηριχθῆναι, the subject ἐμέ being understood from ἐπιποθω, Romans 1:11. The συμ is generally resolved into ἦμᾶς καὶ ἐμαυτόν, you and I, but Meyer, on account of ἐν ὑμῖν, makes Paul the only subject of συμπαρακληθῆναι. This would require the omission of together in the E. V. The ὑμῶν (which is politely put first) and ἐμοῦ explain ἐν ἀλλήλοις, which is a little more emphatic than ἀλλήλων, showing that faith dwelled in the hearts of the Roman Christians. The mutual faith of the E. V. suggests the wrong sense: faith which each has in the other. Dr. Lange, in accordance with his specific interpretation of χάρισμα, adds to comforted: made joyful for the common call for the conversion of the world.—P. S.]

[47]Romans 1:13.—[For οὐ θέλω, Codd. D*. E. G. and Ital. read οὐκ οἲομαι.—P. S.]

[48] Romans 1:13.—[The verb to let, is used here, and 2 Thess. 2:7, by the E. V. in the rare sense to hinder, to forbid, to prevent (κωλύειν, κατέχειν), as in Tennyson’s lines:

“Mine ancient wound is hardly whole,

And lets me from the saddle.”

But the word is now generally used in the opposite sense, to allow, to permit. On the contrary, the verb to prevent, in the E. V. (and in the Anglican Liturgy), means to precede, to anticipate (præ-venire); while in modern English it signifies the reverse, to hinder, to obstruct.—P. S.]

[49]Romans 1:13.—[The words καὶ ὲκωλύθην ἂχρι τοῦ δεῦρο, are a parenthesis, since ἲνα must depend upon προεθὲμην, &c. It is not necessary on this account to take καὶ in the adversative sense, to which Fritzsche and Meyer object. δεῦρο is only here in the N. T. a particle of time, although often in Plato and later writers.—P. S.]

[50]Romans 1:15.—[Or: And so, Hence. The force of οὒτως is: Since I am a debtor to all the Gentiles, &c.—P. S.]

[51]Romans 1:15.—[οὒτως τὸ, κατ̓ ἐμὲ, πρόθυμον (sc. ἐστι). On the different interpretations of this phrase which do not materially alter the sense, comp. Exeg. Notes. As may be inferred from my punctuation, I connect (with the E. V., Calvin, Philippi, Wordsworth, Meyer, in his last edition) τό with πρόθυμον, and take πρόθυμον as equivalent to the substantive προθυμία (as τὸ χρηστόν for ἡ χρηστότης, 2:4; comp. τὸ μωρόν, τὸ ἀσθενές, 1 Cor. 1:25), and as the subject of the sentence: This being so (οὒτως), there is, on my part, or, as far as I am concerned (κατ̓ ἐμέ, quantum ad me), a willingness or desire (πρόθυμον); or I, as much as in me is, am willing (Calvin: Itaque, quantum in me est, paratus sum). Comp. τὴν καθ̓ ὐμᾶς πίστιν, Eph. 1:15; τῶν καθ̓ ὐμᾶς ποιητῶν, Acts 13:28; 1 Cor. 3:3; 15:32). κατ̓ ἐμέ is more expressive than μου (after πρόθυμον) would be; the Apostle laying stress on his dependence and submission to a higher power, as if to say: As far as it depends on me, I am anxious to come and preach to you, but my will is subject to the will of God, who may have decreed otherwise.—P. S.]

[52][1 Tim. is no exception, comp. 1 Tim. 1:13–17; nor is 2 Cor., as Olshausen thinks, for in 2 Cor. 1:3–22 we have an equivalent. The absence of the usual praise and thanksgiving in the Epistle to the Galatians, is to be explained by their apostasy from the simplicity of the gospel.—P. S.]

[53][De Wette: “Das innere lebendige Element und somit die Wahrhafligkeit des Dienstes.” Meyer: “ἐν πνεύματίμον, in meinem höheren sittlichen Selbstbewustsein, welches die lebensvolle innere Werkstätte dieses Dienstes ist.” On the spiritual service of God, comp. John 4:24.—P. S.]

[54][So also Wordsworth, who explains τοῦτο δὲ ἐστιν: “Think not that I am so presumptuous as to imagine that the benefit will be wholly yours.”—P. S.]

[55][Βάρβαρος—an onomatopoëtic word imitating a rough sounding, unintelligible language—means originally simply a foreigner, a man speaking a strange tongue (1 Cor. 14:11; comp. Ovid’s “Barbarus hic ergo sum, quia non intelligor ulli”), and does not necessarily imply reproach, but the Greeks, with their pride of race and culture, and the Romans, with their pride of power, looked down with sovereign contempt upon all other nations. Hellen and Barbarian refers to the distinction of language and race; wise and unwise, to the difference of natural intelligence and culture in every nation. Rome, being “an epitome of the world,” included representatives of all nations and all shades of culture and ignorance. The Jews should not be mixed in here; the Apostle speaks simply of his indebtedness to the whole Gentile world without distinction of race and culture.—P. S.]

[56][We mention, as an exegetical curiosity, that Dr. Wordsworth finds in this passage proof of the universal gift of language for preaching the gospel: “How could St. Paul be said to owe the debt of the gospel to all the world, if he had not the means of paying it? And how could he pay it, without the coinage of intelligible words?” It would be hard for Dr. Wordsworth to prove that Paul preached in the Chinese, the Sanscrit, the Teutonic, and Celtic languages, to nations who understood no other, and whom he never visited. From Acts 14:11, 14, it would seem that he did not understand the popular language of Lycaonia. The knowledge of Greek and Hebrew was sufficient for his apostolic mission within the limits of the whole Roman empire.—P. S.]

[57][Comp. my Textual Note13on Romans 1:15, p. 68.—P. S.]

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

The Fundamental Theme

ROMANS 1:16, 17

16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ58 [omit Christ]: for it is the power of God [God’s power] unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first,59 and also to the Greek. 17For therein is the righteousness of God [God’s righteousness] revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just [The righteous] shall live by [of] faith (Hab. 2 4).60


THIRD SECTION.The fundamental theme. The joy of the Apostle to proclaim the gospel of Christ, since it is a power of God for Jews and Gentiles as a revelation of the righteousness of God—a righteousness by and for the faith.

Romans 1:16. For I am not ashamed [not even in the metropolis of the heathen world.—P. S.]. Evidently, this general declaration refers not merely to Romans 1:15, but also to Romans 1:14. There could be no difficulty to the Apostle to preach to the believers in Rome; but it was difficult to preach to the whole Gentile world, especially to its wise men, who were so much inclined to despise the gospel as foolishness. And finally, it was particularly difficult to preach to the Gentiles in the proud metropolis of Rome, the central seat of the culture and pride of the ancient world. It is plain from Romans 1:15, you that, are at Rome, that he would not confine himself to the congregation of Christians in Rome. The designation of his disposition is exact in relation to that pride of wisdom which everywhere opposed him, as he had experienced particularly in Athens and Corinth. He is not afraid of the threats of the world; he does not avoid the offence of the Jews; nor is he ashamed in view of the contempt of the Greeks and of the wise men. And this is not only expressive of his real joy in general, but of his Christian enthusiasm, by which he could glory in the cross of Christ (Rom. 5:2; Gal. 6:14). [I am not ashamed, is an answer, by anticipation, to an objection which was readily suggested by the word Rome, with all its associations of idolatry, worldly power, pride, pomp, corruption, decay, and approaching persecution of Christians. Tacitus, the heathen historian, says of Rome, that there cuncta undiquc atrocia aut pudenda confluunt celebranturque (Annal. 15:44). See Chrysostom, Alford, Wordsworth, Hodge in loc. Meyer explains the term more with reference to the past experiences of Paul in other heathen cities, as Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, and to the general character of the religion of the cross (1 Cor. 1:18). It is true that human nature, as such, in its carnal pride, is apt to be ashamed of the gospel. But this carnal pride culminated at the time in Rome, and found a fit expression in the blasphemous worship of the emperors as present deities. That Paul has special reference to Rome, is also evident from his definition of the gospel as a power of God, which puts to shame the world-power of Rome (ῥώμη, strength). Dealing with the Greeks, who excelled in wisdom, he defines the gospel to be the wisdom of God, which turns the wisdom of this world into folly. When afterwards a prisoner in Rome, Paul was not ashamed of his bonds (2 Tim. 1:12), in which he felt more free, mighty, and happy than the emperor on the throne.—P. S.].

Of the gospel of Christ. Here, also, we can not separate the concrete unity of the gospel and its promulgation.

For it is a power of God.61 The for announces the reason: it is the highest manifestation of the power of God—the highest manifestation of the compassionate love and grace of God; it is the blessing of salvation for faith throughout the world. The power of God. This cannot apply to the preaching of the gospel alone, but to the objective gospel itself, which combines with evangelization for complete operation. The question whether there is a metonyme62 here (see Tholuck), becomes important only when that unity is dissolved. The gospel, in the objective sense, implies: 1. The revelation of God in Christ; 2. redemption by Christ; 3. the victory, the glory, and the kingdom of Christ; 4. the presentation of this salvation through the medium of the Church in word and sacrament, under the operation of the Holy Spirit.63

Unto salvation. Both the negative and positive sides of the idea of the σωτηρία must be elucidated, the former denoting redemption, the latter adoption. The operation of σωτηρία reaches from the depths of hell to heaven. When man is truly delivered, he is always delivered from the depths of hell, and raised to the heights of heaven; because he is saved from the condemnation of his conscience, and from the judgment of wrath, and is made a participant of salvation through the righteousness of faith which leads to righteousness of life. The expression, blessedness, denotes the highest effect and the highest aim of the σωτηρία. Comp. Acts 4:12; 13:26; Rom. 10:1. The opposite is ἀπώλεια, θάνατος, and similar terms.

To every one that believeth. De Wette: “The παντί is opposed to Jewish particularism, and the πιστεύοντι to Jewish legalism.”64 The highest operation of God’s power is not at all a fatalistic or mechanical operation; it is a personal dealing of love, and presupposes personal relations. For as it cannot be said, on the one hand, that faith completes objective salvation, so we cannot say, on the other, that it is a compulsory operation of salvation. It is the condition of the efficacy of salvation (John 3:16, &c.; see Gen. 15), the causa apprehendens.

To the Jew first. This priority is economical, as it rests upon the Old Testament revelation of God, and the faith of Abraham (Romans 4:9); and as such it is: 1. The genetic priority. “Salvation is of the Jews” [John 4:22]. 2. The historical priority (Chrysostom, and others). 3. A legal priority (as to form) of the nearest claim to the gospel in accordance with the direction given to the apostles, Acts 1:8 (Calov, De Wette, Tholuck). But notwithstanding all this, the Jew had no real right to the gospel, since salvation, 1. is not a product of Judaism, but of free grace; 2. faith is older than Judaism (chap. 4); 3. faith itself is the reality and substance of which Judaism was only the symbol.65

And also to the Greek. The Ἔλλην is here the representative of all who are not Jews. [Jew and Greek here refer not to the national distinction, as Greek and Barbarian, Romans 1:14, but to the religious antagonism of the world at the time, so that Greek is equivalent to Gentile. Ἔλλ. κ. Βάρβ. is the Greek, Ἰουδ. κ.̓́ Ελλ. the Jewish, designation of all mankind; comp. Acts 14:1; 1 Cor. 10:32.—P. S.]

Romans 1:17. For therein is the righteousness of God. Proof of the previous proposition. The δν́ναμις θεοῦ εἰς σωτηρίαν is ἀποκάλυψις of the δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ, &c.

[PRELIMINARY PHILOLOGICAL REMARKS ON δικαιοσύνη AND THE COGNATE TERMS.—These are of primary importance in Paul’s Epistles, especially the Romans and Galatians. Their root, according to Aristotle (Eth. Nic. v. 2), is δίχα = twofold; hence δικάζειν, to divide into two equal parts, to judge; δικαστής, judge, dispenser of justice. Others derive them from δίκη (the daughter of Zeus and Themis), custom, right, judgment. At all events, the fundamental idea of δικαιοσύνη is an even relation between two or more parts where each has its due, or conformity to law and custom, a normal moral condition. According to Homer, he is δικαιότατος who best fulfils his duties to God and men. Plato develops the idea of righteousness in his Polieia, and identifies it with moral goodness. In the Bible, the will of God, as expressed in the written law, and more fully in the perfect life of Christ, is the standard both of morals and religion, which are always viewed as essentially connected. God Himself is righteous—i.e., absolutely perfect in Himself, and in all His dealings with His creatures, and requires man to aim at this perfection (Matt. 5:48). Accordingly, we may define the several terms (referring to the dictionaries and concordances for passages) as follows:

δίκαιος, צַדּיק, conform to the law, inwardly as well as outwardly, holy, perfect. It is used in the absolute sense of God, in a relative sense of man, also of things. Du Cange: “Δίκαιος dicitur vel de re vel de persona, in qua nee abundat aliquid nec deficit, quœ muneri suo par est, numeris suis absoluta.

δικαιοσύνη, צְרָקָה, justitia, the normal, moral and religious condition. If used of man, it means conformity to the holy will and law of God, godliness, or true piety toward God, and virtue toward man. If used of God, it is one of His moral attributes, essentially identical with His holiness and goodness, as manifested in His dealings with His creatures, especially with men.

δικαιόω (λογίζειν εἰς δικαιοσύνην), הִצְדִּיק, justificare, to put right with the law, i.e., to declare or pronounce one righteous, and to treat him accordingly. Etymologically, the word ought to mean, to make just (since the verbs in όω, derived from adjectives of the second declension, signify, to make a person or thing what the primitive denotes, as τυφλόω, δουλόω, ὀρθόω, φανερόω, τελειόω=τυφλόν, &c., ποιεῖν). But in Hebrew and Hellenistic, and often also in classical usage, it has a forensic sense, to which, however, when used of God, the objective state of things, either preceding or succeeding, must correspond, for God’s judgment can never err, and His declaration is always effective. More of this, ad 2:13 and 3:21–31. Now for the particular explanation of δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ in our passage.

δικαίωσις (λογισμὸς τῆς δικαιοσύνης) justificatio, the act of putting a man right with the law, or into the state of δικαιοσύνη.

δικαίωμα, a righteous decree, judgment, ordinance.—P. S.]

In view of the widely divergent explanations, it is necessary to make close distinctions. The righteousness of God, understood absolutely in its complete New Testament revelation, or ἀποκάλυψις, cannot apply immediately to righteousness before God (ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ), in which case the genitive is taken objectively in a wider relation (thus Luther, Fritzsche, Baur, Philippi). For this righteousness of faith presupposes justification. Nor can the word of itself denote the act of justification, even if we connect with it the result, the righteousness of faith, the genitive being taken in this case subjectively66 in this sense: “the rightness which proceeds from God, the right relation in which man is placed by a judicial act of God” (Meyer, after Chrysostom, Bengel, De Wette, and others).67 For the justification presupposes the atonement (Romans 3:25), and the atonement is founded on the exercise of God’s righteousness. To this exercise the Apostle evidently refers in Romans 3:25, 26, and he therefore does it here also in the theme, which, from its very nature, must encompass the whole idea of the Epistle. Absolute righteousness, like absolute grace and truth, is first revealed in Christianity. It is the righteousness which not only institutes the law of the letter, and requires righteousness in man, and, in its character of judge, pronounces sentence and kills, but which at last reveals itself in union with love, or as grace in the form of righteousness, and produces righteousness in man. It accomplishes all this: 1. As law-giving—that is, establishing the right—it institutes the law of the Spirit; that is, it reveals it in the life of Christ as the personal power of the atonement. 2. In the power and suffering of this personal righteousness, it satisfies the demands of the righteousness of the law, and thus changes the symbolical ἱλαστήριον into a real one. The atonement. 3. It communicates to believers the work and efficacy of Christ’s righteousness, by the spirit of His righteousness, as a gift of grace and principle of the new life in creative, operative justification.

Or briefly: The righteousness of God is the self-communication of the righteousness which proceeds from God, which becomes personal righteousness in the person of Christ, which, in His passion as propitiation, satisfies the righteousness of the law (in harmony with the requirement of conscience), and, by the act of justification, applies the atonement to the believer for the sanctification of his life.

As the δόξα, which avails before God, can be none other than the δόξα, which proceeds from God, and became personal in Christ, so can the righteousness which avails before God be none other than a righteousness which comes from God. It is the δικαιοσύνη ἐκ θεοῦ, in opposition to the δικ. ἡ ἐμή, Phil. 3:9; and therefore the δικαιοσύνη ἐνώπιον θεοῦ, Rom. 3:21, in opposition to the δικαιοσύνη ἐκ τοῦ νόμου, Romans 10:5. Therefore it is God’s righteousness also in this sense, that man can never make out of it a righteousness of his own, though the Divine justification becomes the principle of his new life. Tholuck likewise allows a combination of the objective and subjective meanings, but decidedly rejects the interpretation of δικαιοσύνη, as an attribute of God, which he considers incompatible with the prophetic passage adduced. But this quotation does not explain righteousness, but faith. The statement of Tholuck, that Hofmann (Schriftbeweis, i. 625 f.) describes the δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ as an attribute of God, is not exact; he declares it only as a righteousness existing on the part of God.68 We go so far as to understand by righteousness here a synthesis of righteousness and of love—a synthesis which, as grace according to its different relations under the supremacy of righteousness, and as the grace that establishes the new and the absolute right of the Spirit, is called righteousness, but which, under the supremacy of love, as the fountain of the new life, is called love. This impartial righteousness is revealed to believers as grace, and to unbelievers as wrath. When Tholuck says that δικ. is not the righteousness of God in fulfilment of the promises (Ambrose), nor retributive justice (Origen), nor the essential righteousness which belongs to God (as Osiander once taught, and recently Hofmann), nor the goodness of God (Morus), nor impartiality toward Jews and Gentiles (Semler), he has collected into one all the disjecta membra of the central idea, that the δικαιοσύνη (from δίχα, a relation between two, according to the Aristotelian derivation of the word), establishes, maintains, and restores the relation between the personal God and the personal world according to their respective character (for the protection of personality). The omission of the article does not justify us in reading here, a righteousness of God; being inseparably connected with θεοῦ, it means rather the proper righteousness of God (see Winer’s Gramm.).69

[Upon the whole, I agree with this interpretation. The majority of evangelical commentators restrict the δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ to God’s justifying righteousness; some even ungrammatically identity it with justification (δικαίωσις), or God’s “method of justification.” The fundamental idea of the Epistle as set forth in the theme, every expression used in Romans 1:16 and 17, and the contrast presented in Romans 1:18, point to a more comprehensive meaning, answering to the definition of the gospel as “the power of God unto salvation,” full and final, from “all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” This implies a righteousness imputable as well as imputable, or sanctifying as well as justifying—a righteousness inherent in God, and manifested in Christ, which, by a living union with Christ, is to become the personal property and higher nature of the believer, so that, at the final judgment, no trace of unrighteousness will remain. Wordsworth (an Anglican) and Forbes (a Scotch Presbyterian LL.D.) independently arrive substantially at the same view with Lange. Wordsworth in loco says: “This significant phrase, the righteousness of God, is not to be lowered, weakened, and impaired, so as to mean only the method of justification by which God acquits and justifies mankind. But it is the very righteousness of God Himself, which is both imputed and imparted to men in Jesus Christ ‘the Righteous’ (John 2:1), who is ‘the Lord our righteousness’ (Jer.23:6; 33:16), and who, being God from everlasting, and having also taken the nature of man, is made righteousness to us (1 Cor. 1:30), and does effectually, by His incarnation, and by our incorporation into Him, justify us believing on Him, and making Him ours by faith, so that we may not only be acquitted by God, but may become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21).” Forbes, in a long and able dissertation (Anal. Com., p. 102 ff.), combines here the three Scripture meanings of δικαιοσύνη, when used of God, viz.: “1. God’s retributive righteousness or justice (now manifested in God’s condemnation of sin, shown in giving His Son to die for man’s sin on the cross—to induce thereby the believer to concur cordially in its condemnation in himself); 2. God’s justifying righteousness (now manifested in Christ’s exhibiting in the character of man a perfect righteousness—imputable to and appropriable by the believer, for his pardon and acceptance with God); 3. God’s sanctifying, righteousness (also manifested in Christ as “the Lord our righteousness,” changing the believer’s heart the moment he is united by faith to Christ, and progressively mortifying within him all sin, and imparting eventually to him universal righteousness—appropriable in like manner through faith by the believer).” For further information, comp. the Exeg. Notes on chaps. 2:13, and 3:21–31; Doctrinal and Ethical on 3:21–31, No. 5; also the following works: Winzer, Progr. de voce. δίκαιος, δικαιοσύνη et δικαιοῦν in P. ad Rom. Ep., Leipzig, 1831; Rauwenhoff, Disquisitio de loco Paulino, qui est de δικαιώσει, Lugd. Bat., 1852; Lipsius, Die Paulinische Rechtfertigungslehre, mit Vorwort von Liebner (who differs from Lipsius), Leipzig, 1853 (220 pp.);70 Schmid, Biblische Theologie, Stuttg., 1853, vol. ii. p. 331 ff.; Wieseler, Com. on Gal. 2:16, Gött., 1859, p. 176 ff. (who very learnedly and ably defends the orthodox Protestant view); Hodge, on Romans, 3:20 (new ed., Philad., 1866, p. 126 ff.); Forbes, on Romans (Edinb., 1868), pp. 102–144. The doctrinal treatises on justification by faith will be mentioned below, ad 3:21–31, Doctrinal and Ethical, No. 5, pp. 138 f.—P. S.]

Is revealed [ἀποκαλύπτεται is being revealed; the present tense marks the continuous, progressive revelation of righteousness.—P. S.]. The αποκαλύπτειν is distinguished from the φανεροῦν by being God’s revelation, which proceeds from God, and addresses itself to the inward spiritual world (Gal. 1:16); while the φανεροῦν denotes the same revelation as manifested in the outward life from the inward spiritual world (John 2:11). The revelation of wrath is also an ἀποκάυψις (Romans 1:18), although the wrath is revealed in external manifestation; for it is only by the conscience, that the facts connected therewith are first recognized as the phenomena of wrath, and it is only in the light of the New Testament truth that they are recognized completely. ἐν αὐτῷ. The gospel is the medium.

From faith to faith. [It is connected with the verb ἀποκαλύπτεται by De Wette, Meyer, Tholuck (ed. 5), Alford; with the noun δικαιοσύνη (sc. οὐσα or γενομένη) by Bengel, Philippi, Hodge, Forbes. The former agrees better with the position of the words, and with εἰς πίστιν, the latter with ἐκ πίστεως, comp. Rom. 9:30; 10:6.—P. S.] The idea of faith appears here in accordance with the comprehensive idea of righteousness, and therefore as a hearty, trustful self-surrender (to rest and lean upon, הֶאֱמִיו), which includes both knowledge and belief, assent and surrender, appropriation and application. [Faith is neither the efficient cause nor the objective ground of justification, but the instrumental cause and subjective condition; as eating is the condition of nourishment. As the nourishing power is in the food, which, however, must be received and digested before it can be of any use, so the saving power is in Christ’s person and work, but becomes personally available, and is made our own, only by the appropriating organ of faith. This appropriation and assimilation must be continually renewed; hence ἐκ πίστεως εἰς πίστιν.—P. S.] The distinction between from faith and to faith is variously explained. Origen refers it to Old Testament and New Testament faith.71 Œcumenius [Olshausen, De Wette, Alford, Philippi]: ἀπὀ πἱστεως εἰς πιστεύοντα [for the believer; comp. 3:22, where the δικ. θεοῦ is said to be εἰς πἀντας τοὺς πιστεύοντας.—P. S.]. Theophylact, and others: For the promotion of faith. Luther: From weak to strong faith.72 Baumgarten-Crusius: From faith as conviction to faith as sentiment. De Wette: 1. Faith as conditional; 2. faith as receptive. For other meanings, see Tholuck (also the view of Zwingli, that the second πίστις means the faithfulness of God). [Meyer: The revelation of righteousness proceeds from faith and aims at faith, ut fides habeatur (similarly Fritzsche, Tholuck). Bengel and Hodge connect ἐκ πίστεως εἰς πὶστιν with δικαιοσύνη, and take it as intensive, like the phrase, “death unto death,” “life unto life,” so as to mean fidem meram, entirely of faith, without any works. Ewald understands ἐκ πὶστεως of Divine faith (?), εἰς πίστιν of human faith, which must meet the former.—P. S.] It may be asked, if the key to the passage may not be sought in Romans 3:22, since the second half of that chapter is in general a commentary on this passage. Comp. Heb. 12:2: “The author and finisher of our faith.” At all events, the Apostle acknowledges, like the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, the difference between a degree of faith which receives the revelation prophetically and apostolically, in order to proclaim it, and a more general degree of faith, which, through the agency of preaching, extends into the world. Comp. Heb. 11:1 ff.

As it is written. The same quotation from Hab. 2:4 is found in Gal. 3:11 and Heb. 10:38. The Apostle will here (as in Romans 1:2 and chaps.4 and 10) prove the harmony of the gospel with the Old Testament. The passage in the Prophet Habakkuk declares: The just shall live by his confidence, his faith (Is. 28:16). Therefore the most of the elder expositors, and some of the recent ones (Philippi, and others), thus explained the maxim of the Apostle: The just shall live by his faith. But according to Beza, Meyer [Hodge], and others, the Apostle’s expression must be construed thus: The man who is justified by faith, shall live. Meyer properly says: Paul had a good reason to put this meaning into the prophetic expression: since the just man, if he would live by faith, must have been justified by faith. We read in Habakkuk two concrete definitions: “Behold, puffed up [חִנֵּה עֻפְּלָה], not upright is his soul [his life] within him [לֹא־יָשְׁרָה נַפְשׁוֹ בּוֹ]. But the just man, he shall live by his faith.” That is, as the puffed-up soul is puffed up because it is not upright, and has no sound life, so is it the mark of the just man that he acquires his life by faith. The additional profundity which the New Testament gives to this Old Testament expression, does therefore not really change even the expression, much less the sense. [I prefer the connection of ἐκ πίοτεως with ζήσεται, which is more agreeable to the Hebrew (although the other is favored by the Masoretic accentuation), and this is adopted also by Tholuck, De Wette, Philippi, Delitzsch (ad Hab. 2:4), Ewald, Forbes. See Textual Note 3above. The sense, however, is not essentially altered. The emphasis lies, at all events, on πίστις, which is, of course, living faith. ζήσεται is to be taken in the full sense of the ζωὴ αἰώνιος, as revealed in Christ. The Apostle, as Delitzsch remarks, puts no forced meaning into the words of the prophet, but simply places them into the light of the New Testament. Habakkuk ends where Paul begins.—P. S.]


1. The fundamental theme. The joyfulness of the Apostle in anticipation of preaching the gospel without shame even in Rome, the central seat of the conceit of human wisdom. The source of this cheerfulness: The gospel is the power of God, &c. The heroic spirit of faith, philanthropy, and hope, elevates him above all hesitation. But how far is the gospel a power of God? See Romans 1:17, and the Exeg. Notes thereon. Especially on the righteousness of God, and the two fundamental forms of faith (the faith which has established preaching, and the faith which is established by preaching).

[2. St. Bernard: Justus ex fide sua vivet, utique si vivat et ipsa: aliter quomodo vitam dabit, si ipsa sit mortua (The just man shall live by his faith, if his faith itself live; otherwise how shall that which is itself death, give life?).—P. S.]

[3. “If the subject of the Epistle is to be stated in few words, these should be chosen: τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, δύναμις Θεοῦ εἰς σωτηρίαν παντὶ τῷ πιστεύοντι. This expresses it better than merely ‘justification by faith,’ which is, in fact, only a subordinate part of the great theme—only the condition necessitated by man’s sinfulness for his entering the state of salvation: whereas the argument extends beyond this, to the death unto sin and life unto God and carrying forward of the sanctifying work of the Spirit, from its first fruits even to its completion;” Alford. Forbes (Anal. Com., p. 7.) likewise denies that justification by faith, especially if presented in a bare, forensic form, is the leading doctrine of the Epistle. “The grand truth here enunciated is the warm, living reality of a personal UNION with CHRIST (contrasted with the previous union with Adam), by which, in place of the SIN unto DEATH communicated by the first head of humanity, Christ’s RIGHTEOUSNESS and LIFE are communicated to the believer, and become the inward quickening mover of every thought, feeling, and action. Thus is the distinction preserved, yet the indissoluble connection clearly evinced, between justification and sanctification, as being but two aspects of one and the same UNION of the believer with CHRIST—just as the dying branch ingrafted into the living vine is then only reckoned, and may justly be declared to be, a sound, living branch, when the union has taken place—because the assurance is then given of its being made so finally and fully, the vital juices of the vine having already begun to circulate within it.”—P. S.]


Whence is it that many are ashamed of the gospel of Christ? Either, 1. They do not know it fully; or, 2. if they know it, they have not the courage to confess it.—Why do we not need to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ? Because, 1. It is of Divine origin; 2. of Divine import; 3. of Divine operation.—He who is ashamed of the gospel, is also ashamed of the Lord. True shame comes from God, false shame from the devil. Shame and shame.—Christianity the universal religion.—The shades of the law vanish; the stars of Greece grow pale at the rising sun of the gospel.—The righteousness which God approves is the chief import of the gospel.—The fundamental thought of the Epistle to the Romans is also the fundamental thought of the Reformation.

LUTHER: The power of God is such a force as to elevate man from sin to righteousness, from death to life, from hell to heaven, from the kingdom of the devil to the kingdom of God; and gives him eternal salvation.

STARKE: As the gospel is a power of God, he denies it who constantly appeals to his weakness, and presents it in opposition to the gospel.—Though the gospel is the power of God, no one will be compelled to be saved, but every one possesses his own freedom to resist, and is therefore responsible.—HEDINGER: Who would be ashamed of medicine when he is sick? or of light when he is blind, and would like to see? Wo to those who are ashamed of the words and office of Christ!

LANGE: Many a person is not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; but yet, if he is ashamed to follow Christ, he is in reality ashamed of the gospel itself in its true application and appropriation.—Faith is like a bucket, by which we draw grace for grace from that fulness of Jesus which contains the gospel.

SPENER: Faith in Christ, confidence in the grace of God in Christ, is the beginning of our salvation, and will remain its instrument to the end. Therefore, faith must always endure and increase, and will thus grow from faith to faith—from one degree of light and power to another.

BENGEL: No one need be ashamed of what is mighty and Divine (Romans 1:16).

GERLACH: There is something in the gospel of which the natural man is ashamed; therefore the Apostle confesses that this shame is conquered in his own case.—The effective power of God is not merely in the gospel, but it is the gospel itself. It is not merely a strength, from God, but it is His own strength. He works in and through the gospel.

LISCO: The gospel is a power of God; that is, a power in which He operates Himself. Therefore it is a holy, mighty, creative force, capable of saving all who believe it. On our part, faith is the condition that we must fulfil, the way to which we must conform, in order to obtain real salvation and deliverance from temporal and eternal destruction by the gospel.

HEUBNER: The danger of being ashamed of the gospel is easily incurred. Yet it is a shame which is very reprehensible; for, 1. It is a miserable weakness and want of principle to be ashamed of what is best; 2. It is the grossest contempt of God to place the world higher and fear it more than Him; and, 3. it is the meanest ingratitude toward God.

FR. A. WOLFF: The more the world boasts of its unbelief, the less should true Christians be ashamed of their faith. This is required: 1. For the honor of the truth; 2. the conversion of unbelievers; 3. the salvation of our own souls.

J. P. LANGE: How sad the contrast between the false shame of Christians and the boldness and shamelessness of the world.—Who should be ashamed of the gospel? i.e., 1. Of God’s power and honor; 2. of the deliverance of men for their final salvation; 3. of the grand task of uniting Jews and Greeks (the law and culture) into a higher life.—The twofold confirmatory power of the gospel: 1. The first for: its Divine operation (Romans 1:16); 2. the second for: its Divine import (Romans 1:17).—The threefold for (Romans 1:16, 17), or the three grounds of joyous, evangelizing activity.—The righteousness of faith: 1. Very old (Habakkuk); 2. eternally new (Paul, Luther); 3. always confirmed by true life.

[BURKITT: The power of the gospel is not from the preachers of the gospel; therefore do not idolize them. But they are God’s instruments, and their words are the organ of the Spirit’s power; therefore do not think meanly of them—A justified man lives a more holy, useful, and excellent life than all others; but the life that a justified man lives is always one of faith.—HENRY (condensed): The reason why the Apostle made such a bold profession was, that sinners might be saved and believers edified.—MACKNIGHT: The Apostle insinuates with great propriety that the gospel is not an institution like the heathen mysteries, which were concealed from all but the initiated. The precepts of the gospel, being honorable in themselves and beneficial to society, cannot be too openly published.—HODGE: The salvation of men, including the pardon of their sins and the moral renovation of their hearts, can be effected by the gospel alone.—The power of the gospel does not lie in its pure theism, or perfect moral code, but in the CROSS—in the doctrine of justification by faith in a crucified Redeemer.—Whether we be wise or unwise, orthodox or heterodox, unless we are believers, and receive “the righteousness which is of God” as the ground of acceptance, we have no share in the salvation of the gospel.—Sermons on Romans 1:16, by B. WHICHCOTE, JOHN OWEN, BISHOP WARD, G. ESTY, J. ERSKINE, BISHOP GILBERT, ISAAC WATTS, BISHOP STILLINGFLEET, ZOLLIKOFER, E. BRACKENBURY, GEO. BURDER, W. E. CHANNING, R. MCCHEYNE, and THOMAS ARNOLD.—J. F. H.]


[58]Romans 1:16.—The Codd, A. B. C. D., &c., read τὸ εὐαγγέλιον without the addition of τοῦ Χριστοῦ. [Cod. Sin. likewise omits τοῦ Χριστοῦ, as do nearly all the critical editors, Mill, Bengel, Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Alford, Wordsworth, &c. The words are found in the Complutensian Text and in Elzevir, and are defended by Wetstoin and Matthaei.—P. S.]

[59]Romans 1:17.—The πρῶτον is left out by Codd. B. and G. [not A., as Lange has it]; probably because it had an offensive appearance. [MSS. א. A. C. D. K. L. have it Tischendorf, Meyer, Alford, and others retain it. Lachmann puts it in brackets.—P. S.]

[60]Romans 1:17.—[This is a free translation of the Hebrew (Hab. 2:4): וְצַדִּיק בֶּאֶמוּנָ־ו̇ יִחְיֶה, lit., the righteous shall live in (by) his faithfulness. The Masoretic accentuation, however, connects the first two words: The righteous in his faith, shall live. The Hebrew אֶמוּנָה and the Christian πίστις both rest on the fundamental idea of trust in God. Paul follows in his rendering the Septuagint, but properly omits the μου which these insert: ὁ δίκαιος μου ἐκ πίστεωςζήσεται. Vulgate: justus in fide sua vivet. Most commentators connect ἐκ πίστεως with the verb ζήσεται. But Dr. Lange, with Beza and Meyer, connects ἐκ πίστεως with ὁ δίκαιος, and translates: He that righteous by faith, shall live. See the Exeg. Notes.—P. S.]

[61][To δύναμις θεοῦ, comp. 1 Cor. 1:24, where Christ is called θεοῦ δύναμις and θεοῦ σοΦία.—P. S.]

[62][i.e., here rei per instrumentum effectæ pro instrumento, as if we say, the knife cuts, while it is the hand of man that cuts with the knife. So it is the Holy Spirit that operates through the gospel as the instrumentality.—P. S.]

[63][δύναμις θεοῦ is not to be resolved into divine power (Jowett), but the gospel is a power in and through which God Himself works efficaciously, i.e., so as to save the sinner by rousing him to repentance, faith, and obedience. θεοῦ is gen. autoris or rather possessivus. Comp. 1 Cor. 1:18. Alford explains: “The bare substantive δύναμις hero (and 1 Cor. 1:24) carries a superlative sense: the highest and holiest vehicle of the divine power, the δύναμις κατ̓ ὲξοχήν.” Umbreit remarks that the law is never called God’s power, but a light or teaching, in which man must walk.—P. S.]

[64][Or rather: every one, implies the universality; that believeth, the subjective condition, of the gospel salvation; faith being the apprehending and appropriating organ. Paul says not: to every one who is circumcised, or baptized, or obeys the law, but, to every one that believeth. Without faith, sacraments and good works avail nothing. But true saving faith is of course a living faith, including knowledge of the truth, assent to the truth, and trust or confidence in Christ; it submits to all the ordinances of Christ, and necessarily produces good works.—P. S.]

[65][Alford: “Not that the Jew had any preference under the gospel; only he inherits and has a precedence.” Wordsworth: “First, in having a prior claim, as the covenanted people of God: first, therefore, in the season of its offer, but not in the condition of its recipients after its acceptance.” Dr. Hodge refers πρῶτον merely to the priority in time, which is not sufficient.—P. S.]

[66][Or as genitive of origin and procession. See Meyer.—P. S.]

[67][So also Alford: “God’s righteousness—not His attribute of righteousness, ‘the righteousness of God,’ but righteousness flowing from and acceptable to Him.” He then subjoins De Wette’s note. Hodge: “The righteousness which God gives, and which He approves.” He also quotes the remark of De Wette: “All interpretations which overlook the idea of imputation, as is done in the explanations given by the Romanists, and also in that of Grotius, are false.” M. Stuart confounds δικαιοσύνη with δικαίωσις, and explains: “δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ is the justification which God bestows, or the justification of which God is the author.”—P. S.]

[68][Hofmann says, l. c., p. 626: “Einerseits bezeichnet δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ eine Gerechtigkeit, welche Gottes ist; andererseits muss nach dem Zusammenhange etwas gemeint sein, das uns zu Theil wird.” He takes the word to mean, not an attribute of God, but a righteousness which God has established, and which constitutes the subject of the gospel preaching, and makes it a power of God unto salvation to every believer. Hence the apostolic office is called ὴ διακονια τῆς δικαιοσύνης. in opposition to the διακονία τῆς κατακρίσεως, 2 Cor. 3:9.—P. S.]

[69][Seventh ed. by Lünemann, § 19, No. 26, p. 118. The article is often omitted before such substantives as are followed by a genitive of possession, e.g., εἰς εὐαγγέλιον θεοῦ, Rom. 1:20; ἐπὶ πρόσωπον αύτῶν, Matt. 17:6; νοῦν κυρίου, 1 Cor. 2:16, &c.—P. S.]

[70][Lipsius says, p. 22, without proof: “The general Greek significance of the word δικαιόω remains justum facere, and must therefore have the preference before justum habere.” To this Dr. Liebner, and Wieseler, on Gal. 2:16, p. 179, justly object. Lipsius admits, however, that δικαιόω in Paul means justum habere, only not always, nor exclusively.—P. S.]

[71][So also Chrysostom and Theodoret. A modification of this view is Tertullian’s: Ex fide legis in fidem evangelii.—P. S.]

[72][This is only a modification of the preceding explanation, and is substantially held also by Erasmus, Melanchthon, Calvin, Beza, Wordsworth, Forbes. The sense is: Beginning and ending with faith from one degree of faith to another; faith is a vital principle and constant growth, receiving grace for grace, going from strength to strength, till it is transformed from glory to glory. Development is the law of spiritual as well as physical life; but in all the stages of growth of Christian life, the vital principle is the same; hence ἐκ πίστεως εὶς πίστιν, from or out of faith as the root, unto faith as the blossom and fruit; faith, as Bengel says, the prora et puppis, the fore-deck and hind-deck of a ship—i.e., all in all. Comp. ἀπὸ δόξης εὶς δόξαν, “from glory to glory,” 2 Cor. 3:18, and “from strength to strength,” Ps. 84:7.—P. S.]

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

The Doctrine of Justification by Faith as the Restoration of the true Glorification of God





CHAPTERS 1:18–5:11

FIRST SECTION.The beginning of all the real corruption of the world, and of the Gentiles in particular, together with the judgment pronounced on it. The neglect of the general revelation of God in creation by the neglect of the real worship of God in thanksgiving and praise (Romans 1:18–21).

SECOND SECTION.The development of Gentile corruption under God’s judicial abandonment (the departure of His Spirit, and the decree of ripeness for judgment). From arbitrary symbolism to the worship of images and beasts; from theoretical to practical corruption; from natural to unnatural and abominable sins, to the completion of all kinds of crimes and iniquities, and to the demoniacal lust of evil, and even of evil maxims (Romans 1:22–32).

18For the wrath of God [God’s wrath] is revealed [in opposition to that revelation of God’s righteousness, Romans 1:17] from heaven against all ungodliness [godlessness] and unrighteousness [iniquity] of men, who hold [hold back]73 the truth in unrighteousness; 19Because74 that which may be known [which is known]75 of God is manifest in them;76 for God hath shewed [God manifested]77 it unto [to] them. 20For the invisible things of him [his unseen attributes] from the creation of the world are [are, since the creation of the world,]78 clearly seen,79 being understood by the things that are made [by means of his works], even his eternal power and Godhead [Divinity,80 θειότης, notθεότης]; so that81 they are without excuse 21[inexcusable, ἀναπολογήτους]. Because that, when they knew God [because, knowing God, or, although they knew God, διότι γνόντες τὸν θεόν], they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful [they did not glorify him as God, nor give thanks to him as God]; but became vain in their imaginations [thoughts], and their foolish heart was darkened.

22, 23Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed [exchanged] the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man [for a likeness of an image of corruptible man], and to [of] birds, and fourfooted beasts [quadrupeds], and creeping things [reptiles].

24Wherefore God also82 gave them up to uncleanness, through the lusts of their own hearts [God delivered them over, in the lusts of their hearts, to uncleanness], to dishonor their own bodies between themselves [so that their 25bodies were dishonored among them].83 Who changed [They who exchanged]84 the truth of God into [for] a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more 26[rather] than the Creator,85 who is blessed forever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up [delivered them over] unto [to] vile affections [shameful passions]:86 for even their women did change [exchanged] the natural, use into 27[for] that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust [lustful excitement] one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly [working the (well known) indecency, τὴν αἰοχημοσύνην], and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet [the due reward of their error].

28And even as they did not like [And as they did not deem it worthy, orworth while, οὐχ ἐδοχίμασαν] to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate [worthless, ἀδόκιμον]87 mind, to do those things which are not convenient 29[becoming];88 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication,89 wickedness [malice], covetousness, maliciousness [badness]; full of envy, murder, 30debate [strife, ἔριδος], deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters [slanderers], haters of God,90 despiteful [insolent], proud, boasters, inventors of evil things 31[villanies], disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant-breakers 32[truce-breakers], without natural affection, implacable,91 unmerciful: Who, knowing [although they well know] the judgment [just decree] of God, that they which [who] commit [practice, πράσσοντες] such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them [approve of those who practise them, συνευδοκοῦσιν τοῖς πράσσουσιν].

GENERAL REMARKS.—The whole section, in its progress to the end of the chapter, relates more particularly to the heathen world (Tholuck, Meyer). Yet it describes the corruption in its original form as a general corruption of humanity. The antithesis: Heathendom and Judaism was a subsequent development. Romans 1:24, with its causality in Romans 1:22 and 23, constitutes the more definite beginning of heathenism. Tholuck recommends the treatise of Adam, Exercitationes Exegeticœ, 1712, pp. 501–738, on the section Romans 1:18–32. Tholuck remarks: “What the Apostle says of the relations of the Gentile world, and afterwards of the Jews, to God, naturally applies to their universality, but to individuals only in a greater or less degree.” We add: So that a relative opposition is embraced within the general judgment (see Romans 2:6 ff.).



Romans 1:18. For God’s wrath is revealed. The ἀποχάλυψις of the ὀργὴ θεοῦ, as the revelation which was historically earlier, is contrasted with the revelation of the righteousness of God from faith. It is therewith intimated that that righteousness denotes grace, or justifying righteousness; but that the ὀργὴ θεοῦ is an exercise of penal righteousness which precedes it.92 The wrath of God, as an emotion of God, is His personal displeasure at sin as ἀσέβεια, as conscious transgression, as apostasy, as unbelief, and therefore as the limitation of His personal revelation in the world. It is a displeasure which is revealed by such decrees of penal justice as death and the terrors of death, especially in retribution for obstructions placed in the way of the divine life (Exod. 4:14, 24; Ps. 90:7, 8), by a decree of blindness in retribution for the hinderances to His truth (the present passages; Is. 6:10; Rom. 9.; 2 Cor. 3:14; Matt. 13:14; John 12:40; Acts 28:26), by the abandonment to the lusts of the flesh in retribution for the general resistance to His Spirit (Eph. 2:3), and finally, by a decree of reprobation and condemnation in retribution for the hinderances to salvation by apostasy and unbelief (Matt. 3:7; 22:13; John 3:36; Rom. 5:9). Comp. my article, Zorn Gottes, in Herzog’s

Realencyklopædie. This ὀργὴ θεοῦ has its ἀποκάλυψις immediately, so far as it is declared to the conscience of man as God’s decree from heaven; but it becomes especially an ἀποκάλυψις by the witness of the law, and is perfected in the light of the gospel. It is revealed in a real manner from heaven, as a message from the height of the holy, supernatural world, and from the throne of Divine government. And it is revealed in an ideal way by the light of righteousness, which, like a flame of wrath from the kingdom of the Spirit, shines down into the realm of consciously guilty human life, and explains its dark fate. The older writers understood by ὀργή, punishment alone, taking metonymically the operation for the cause [metonymia causœ pro effectu = κόλασις, τιμωρία]. But we must unite both. The opposite of ὀργή is not merely ἀγάπη (Tholuck), but ἔλεος (see my Positive Dogmatik, p. 109). According to De Wette [and Alford], wrath is only an anthropopathic conception of the righteousness of God in punishment; but by this interpretation its procession ἀπ ̓ αὐρανοῦ is obliterated. The internal ἀποχάλυψις of wrath involves its external φανέρωσις, but it is one-sided to confine it to the punishment which God has determined for the heathen world (De Wette), or the wretched condition of the world at that time (Köllner), or to the manifestation of the punishment in the conscience (Tholuck), or in the gospel (Grotius). From the beginning, the deeds of wrath have ever succeeded the ἀσέβεια in its opposition to God’s government and revelation. But the complete ἀποκάλυψις thereof does not appear before the New Testament ἀποκάλυψις of grace. The reason of this is, that the world’s guilt reaches its climax in the crucifixion and death of Christ. The ἀσέβεια—the rebellion of unbelief to the revelation of the divine light and life (Romans 2:4, 5; 8:6, 7)—sums up the whole idea of sin which incurs the guilt of God’s wrath. The idea of the ὀργή itself is God’s abandonment of man to the judgment of death. And the idea of the ἀποκἀλυψις of this ὀργή is the entire revelation of the judgment of God in the corruption of the world amid the light of the gospel, for the conscience of humanity, especially the body of believers. The idea of the οὐρανός is the heavenly world in its ideal laws, which lie also at the foundation of the earthly world, and react against all abnormal conduct with punishment and death. The present, ἀποκαλύπτεται, must be emphasized; it is neither merely a historical reference to the misery of the old world (Köllner, and others), nor (with Chrysostom, and others) a reference to the future day of wrath. It means, rather, a progressive revelation of the judgment in opposition to which the progressive revelation of the righteousness of salvation in the gospel acquires its perfect significance and clearness. The ἀπ ̓ οὐρανοῦ certainly refers chiefly to ἀποκαλύπγτεται, but it is indirectly declared thereby that the ὀργὴ θεοῦ is from heaven, although, as a judgment immanent in life itself, it breaks forth from its internal state, or is caused by it. Special interpretations of the ὀργή: The religion of the Old Testament (Bengel); storms and natural disasters (Pelagius); external and internal necessities of the times (Baumgarten-Crusius).

Against all ungodliness and unrighteousness. The ἀσέβεια [godlessness, impiety] is the fundamental form of personal misconduct toward God; but the word is more especially significant in that it describes ungodliness as the absence of reverence for God. See Romans 1:21. The ἀδικία [unrighteousness, iniquity] is the correspondent fundamental form of misconduct toward God’s law in life, and therefore not toward our neighbor alone. Theophylact, Tholuck, and many others: Profanitas in Deum, injuria in proximnm. [So Hodge: ἀσέβεια, impiety toward God; ἀδικία, injustice toward men.—P. S.] Meyer, on the contrary: Irreligiousness and immorality, which is supported by the following description. [Ἀσέβεια is the fountain of ἀδικία, but both act and react upon each other.—P. S.]—Of men. Antithesis of ὀργὴ θεοῦ. The word signifies, first, the universality of guilt; second, the weakness of man’s enmity against Almighty God.

Who hold back the truth. Description of the obstructions which, as the wicked reaction against the revelation of God, cause the reaction of Divine displeasure in the form of the ὀργή. The truth is the revelation of God in its most general sense, as the unity and harmony of all the single Divine acts of revelation, with a special reference here to the natural revelation of God (Romans 1:19, 20); although the doctrines of the gospel (of which Ammon explains ἀλήθεια) must not be excluded from the general idea, nor must the natural knowledge of God be substituted for the revelation of God. The κατέχειν (to grasp, to hold, here with the accessory idea of holding back) strikingly denotes hinderance, keeping back (Meyer, improperly, keeping down); as is the case with καταλαμβάνειν in John 1:5.93 An odd explanation is this: “Who possess the truth with unrighteousness; that is, sin against, better knowledge” (Michaelis, Koppe, Baur).—In unrighteousness. Not adverbial (Reiche, et al.), but instrumental (Meyer).94 The word must be understood here in the wide sense, according to which all sin is ἀδικία. See 1 John 3:4. The sentence must be understood, however, in its general force, though with special reference already to the Gentiles. The history of this κατέχειν is the history of the kingdom of darkness in humanity, which is consummated in the ἀντικεὶμενος, 2 Thess. 2:8; comp. especially also 2 Thess. 1:8. According to De Wette, the κατέχειν operates so as not to let the truth come to appearance and development. But it also so operates as to pervert the individual elements of the truth into distortions, errors, and strong delusions, and thereby calls down the wrath of God. We must observe how decidedly the Apostle here views the ἀπιστία ethically as ἀπεὶθεια; and how he derives the errors of unbelief from unrighteousness, and from misconduct toward the ethical laws of the inner life.

Romans 1:19. Because that which is known of God.95 The διότι in Romans 1:19 may be regarded as an explanation of the statement in Romans 1:18, with special reference to the holding back of the truth of God; the διότι in Romans 1:21 as the explanation of the preceding ἀναπολογήτους εἶναι; and the διὸ in Romans 1:24, as well as the διὰ τοῦτο in Romans 1:26, as the explanation of the revelation of God’s wrath. Though the διότι of Romans 1:19 is not to be regarded exactly the same as γάρ, it does not serve specially as a proof of the motive for Divine wrath. For more particular information, see Tholuck and Meyer.96

The knowledge of God.97 Tholuck distinguishes three meanings of γνωστόν: 1. That which is known of God (Itala, Vulg., De Wette [Meyer, Philippi, Alford, Wordsworth.—P. S.]); 2. what may be known (Photius, and many others; Rückert); 3. knowledge [ = γνῶσις. Fritzsche, Tholuck, Hodge.—P. S.]. He shows that γνωστός, according to the classical use of the language, means, what may be known; while γνωτός means, what is known. But in the Septuagint and New Testament the signification, known, is undoubted. Nevertheless, many expositors, from the time of Origen down to the present [Theophylact, Œcumenius, Erasmus, Calvin, Beza, Grotius, Ewald], have pronounced in favor of the translation, what may be known. But this signification does not make good sense, since it is difficult to distinguish between what may, and what may not be known of God, and since every thing that may be known of God was by no means revealed at the beginning to the nations (see Meyer). We understand what is known of God concretely as knowledge [Kenntniss, γνῶσις], notitia dei—which should become true knowledge [Erkenntniss, ἐπίγνωσις] by living appropriation. Luther has made the untenable distinction, that the reason of man can know that God is, but cannot know who or what He is. Tholuck justly remarks that the Apostle immediately afterward speaks of a certain knowledge of the nature of God. [The book of nature is a παιδευτήριον θεογνωσὶας, as Basil (Hexaëmeron, i.) calls it, a school of the general knowledge of God, and there is no nation on earth which is entirely destitute of this knowledge.—P. S.]

Is manifest among them.98 Erasmus, Grotius, Köllner, and Baumgarten-Crusius, adopt this explanation.99 On the contrary, Tholuck, Meyer, and De Wette—with reference to Romans 2:15; Gal. 1:16—strongly advocate Calvin’s interpretation, cordibus insculptum. [So also Beza: “In ipsorum animis, quia hœc Dei notitia recondita est in intimis mentis penetralibus;” and Hodge: “It is not of a mere external revelation of which the Apostle is speaking, but of that evidence of the being and perfection of God which every man has in the constitution of his own nature, and in virtue of which he is competent to apprehend the manifestations of God in His works.”—P. S.] But ἀποκαλύψαι stands in Gal. 1:16; and in Rom. 2:15, the question is God’s manifestation by conscience, and not by creation. De Wette says: If the knowledge of God had been something common among them, it would not have been suppressed (κατεχόμενον).100 But this is not conclusive. We could say with more propriety: If there had been no general knowledge of God among them, there would have been no common guilt. We must admit, however, that among them presupposes in them, or the existence of a knowledge of God in their hearts.—God manifested it to them. This was not first of all ἀποκάλυψις, but φανέρωσις—manifestation through creation. And thus there arose from individuals a manifest knowledge of God—a φανερόν. The reference of this φανερόν to the gnosis of the philosophers (Erasmus, Grotius) is too contracted. But there was a tradition of the knowledge of God among men which preceded the development of heathenism. (It is hardly worth while to mention the explanation of Luther, Koppe, Flatt, that ἐν αὐτοῖς is the mere dative.) [There is a threefold revelation of God: 1. An internal revelation to the reason and conscience of every man (comp. 2:15; John 1:9); 2. an external revelation in the creation, which proclaims God’s power, wisdom, and goodness (Rom. 1:20); 3. a special revelation, through the Holy Scriptures, and in the person and work of Christ, which confirms and completes the other revelations, and exhibits the justice, holiness, and love of God. The first two are here intended.—P. S.]

Romans 1:20. For his invisible attributes [τά, ἀόρατα αὐτοῦ]. Explanation of the declaration: “God manifested it to them.” Meyer: “That may not be seen of Him (sein Unschaubares), the invisible attributes which constitute His essence, not actiones Dei invisibiles.” (Theodoret and Fritzsche: In relation to both creation and providence.) The pictures of creation, however, are also permanent actiones, and so far providence is at least indicated. [The ἀόρατα is subsequently explained by δύναμις, and θειότης, and the τέ, followed by καί, as Tholuck remarks, does not annex a new idea (and also), but it partitions the ἀόρατα into the two ideas of δύναμις and θειότης. Paul has in view simply some of the Divine attributes, not the whole Divine being (which would rather require to τὸ ἀόρατον); the pagan knowledge of God is only partial and fragmentary, though sufficient to leave those who possess it without excuse.—P. S.]

From the time of the creation of the world. Not out of the creation (Luther, and others). This idea is contained in τοῖς ποιήμ. (De Wette). κτίσις, moreover, is here equal to καταβολή, (Fritzsche).—Being understood by the things that are made.101 An oxymoron, Arist., De mundo C. [vi.]: [πάσῃ θνητῇ φύσει γενόμενος] ἀθεώρητος ἀπ̓ αὐτῶν τῶν ἔργων θεωρεῖται ὁθεός.102 Meyer thus paraphrases the νοούμενα καθορᾶται: It is beheld by being perceived with the reason. We might ask: Should the sentence read, The invisible becomes visible by knowledge, as the means; or, it becomes visible as something known, perceptible to the reason? The latter thought is preferable here, since it is better adapted to the participle, and presupposes the import of the power, the thought-life of man. Philippi also limits himself to the middle form: “The invisible is seen; an oxymoron which is explained and qualified by the addition of νοούμενα. It is not seen by the bodily eye, but by the eye of the Spirit, the νοῦς, the reason.” Our view is favored by the original sense of καθορᾷν, a conception which passes through looking down and looking over into looking at.By the things that are made [ by and in (his) works, τοῖς ποιήμασιν, instrumental dative.—P. S.]. These are therefore signs of the attributes of God. Schneckenburger (after Episcopius, and others) includes among them the government of God in history. But the conception of מעֲשֶׂה, creature, is against this view. Baumgarten-Crusius, following the Syriac and other versions, takes ποιήμασι, in an ablative sense—by the creature—which is quite untenable.—His eternal power and divinity. [ἀΐδιος, from ἀδί, ever-enduring, eternal, belongs to both nouns. Here is the germ of the physicotheological argument for the existence of God, as in Romans 1:19 the ontological argument is intimated.—P. S.] Here, as in the Creed [I believe in God the Father Almighty], omnipotence serves as the representative of the attributes of God. Tholuck: “In the contemplation of nature, the first thing which strikes man with overpowering weight is the impression of an infinite, supernatural omnipotence (Book of Wisdom 13:4). All religion has its root in the feeling of dependence on supernatural powers (?). To the patriarchs God first revealed Himself as שַׁדַּי, as the Almighty; Ex. 6:3” (Gen. 17:1).103And his Divinity. θειότης, from θεῖος, is the summary of the divinities, or divine excellencies, and must be distinguished from θεότης, the term which denotes the Divine Being itself. The omnipotence is completed by the remaining Divine attributes, through which it really becomes omnipotence in the full ethical as well as metaphysical sense. It is onesided if Schneckenburger refers it only to God’s goodness. Reiche’s thought is better, that wisdom and goodness are chiefly meant.

So that they are without excuse. Meyer does not regard the εἰς as expressing a consequence—as most commentators do [Vulg.: Ita ut sint inexcusabiles; Chrysostom, Luther, Reiche, De Wette, Fritzsche, Tholuck, Philippi, Ewald, Alford, Words worth, Hodge]—but a purpose (in harmony with Calvin, Beza, and others): In order that they may be without excuse. But this rendering leads to a monstrous view of the purpose of the creation of the world. It is too fatalistic even for the conception of predestination, which it was once designed to support. Meyer urges in its defence that εἰς, in the Epistle to the Romans, when used with τό and the infinitive, has always a teleological sense, against which [De Wette and] Tholuck (p. 67) protest. Then he insists that the results must also be determined beforehand. But this would be a kind of predestination which is self-contradictory: Predestinated—to have no excuse; that is, predestinated for guilt. The other explanation implies by no means a sufficientia religionis naturalis ad salutem, but it permits the possibility of another form of the course of development from Adam to Christ. [The object here is to show man’s guilt, not God’s sovereignty. Comp. on εἰς τό the Textual Note104. Hodge: “Paul does not here teach that it is the design of God, in revealing Himself to men, to render their opposition inexcusable, but rather, since this revelation has been made, they have in fact no apology for their ignorance and neglect of God. Though the revelation of God in His works is sufficient to render men inexcusable, it does not follow that it is sufficient to Lead men, blinded by sin, to a saving knowledge of Himself.” Wordsworth: “It can hardly be thought that the conviction, confusion, and condemnation of men was any part of the Divine plan in creation, although it followed as a consequence from it.”—P. S.]

Romans 1:21. Because, although they knew God, &c. The διότι explains first of all how far they are without excuse; then, indirectly, how their guilt of holding back the truth in unrighteousness commenced. Incorrect construction: cum cognoscere potuissent (Œcumenius, Flatt).105 Meyer has no ground for opposing the solution of the participle γνόντες into the sentence: although they knew God (not, perceived Him). The contradiction between knowing God and the designated neglect of Him is obvious indeed; but herein precisely consists the inexcusableness. The ignorance (ἄγνοια) of the Gentile world, Eph. 4:18, &c., is improperly regarded by Tholuck as an apparent contradiction; for the Gentile world was not such at the outset, and its ignorance is the result and punishment of its great sin of neglect. They lost even their imperfect knowledge (γνῶσις), because they did not raise it to full knowledge (ἐπίγνωσις) through the labor of the heart, [τὸν θεόν, the one true God, in opposition to the false θεοί whom the heathen worshipped.—P. S.]

They glorified him not as God. According to His divinity (John 4:24). They were not wanting in worship, but in worship suitable to God. Melanchthon refers δοξάζειν to theoretical, and εὐχαριστεῖν to practical conduct toward God (as recognition and reverence); but Tholuck very justly rejects such an interpretation, and regards δοξάζειν as the general term for worship, and εὐχ, as the special designation of that species in which the feeling of dependence exhibits itself in the most tender and truly human way. In our opinion, the former denotes rather all worship, so far as it should be preëminently the glorification of God; the latter denotes the same worship as the grateful recognition of the Divine government for human welfare.106

But became vain [ἐματαιώθησαν]. They became idle, foolish, in devising vanities (Is. 44:9), vain idols, μάταια (Acts 14:15). [ματαιότης, חֶבִל, vanitas, is a characteristic term for idol-worship; Deut. 32:21; 2 Kings 17:5; Jer. 2:5; Acts 14:15.—P. S.] “As man, so his God.” The axiom may also be reversed: As his God, so man himself (Ps. 115:8); They that make them are like unto them. The human mind is made dumb, wooden, and stone-like, by dumb, wooden, and stone idols (comp. Acts 17:29). But that vanity began in the inward life.—In their imaginations [thoughts, reasonings, speculations, διαλογισμοῖς], Tholuck: “We can scarcely coincide with the Vulgate, Fritzsche, Meyer, and Philippi, in translating διαλογισμοί simply by cogitata. But since the word is used usually malo sensu, and the antithesis is more expressive, we may translate it, with Luther: ‘In their imagining;’ Beza: rationibus suis. We need not think exclusively of the reasonings and conclusions of the philosophers (Philippi).” Mythology was complete with its growth of ideals and images long before philosophy proper was conceived.

And their foolish heart was darkened. The supposition that “foolish” (ἀσύνετος) is used proleptically in the sense that their heart was darkened so as to lose its understanding (De Wette), is not only unnecessary (Tholuck), but altogether irrelevant (Meyer: “because it destroys the climax”).107 Positive darkness was the result of the negative neglect of the heart to regard the Divine tokens, and to weigh them understandingly. The καρδία, the centre of life, is first, darkened; then the διάνοια, the developed thought-life (Eph. 4:18), Tholuck: In this section the Apostle coincides so fully in word and thought, with the Book of Wisdom, chaps. 13–15, that Nitzsch regards it “almost impossible” to ascribe perfect originality to him. Yet he himself admits that the fundamental thought—the tracing of idolatry back to sin—was unknown to the Alexandrine author, &c. (comp. Nitzsch, Deutsche Zeitschrift, 1850, p. 387; Bleek, Stud, und Kritiken, 1853, p. 340).


Romans 1:22. Professing themselves [i.e., while, not became, they professed themselves, φάσκοντες, or pretended] to be wise. De Wette: “This is referred by many, and also by Tholuck, to the philosophers of ancient Greece and Rome. But these were above idolatry, and, besides, were later than the origin of idolatry,” &c.108 The latter remark requires special attention. The question here is concerning the very ancient origin of heathendom, as characterized by the far-fetched ingenuities of symbolical mythicism. Nor could Paul have had in thought merely the pride of Grecian wisdom. But in contemplating it, he could also judge concerning the origin of heathenism. Comp. 1 Cor. 1:19–25; 3:19. Calvin: “Neque enim id proprie in philosophos competit, etc., sed œque commune est gentium ordinumque omnium. Nemo enim fuit, qui non voluerit Dei majestatem sub captum suum includere, ac talem Deum facere, qualem percipere posset suopte sensu.”They became fools. Not, they have by this means shown themselves to be fools (Köllner), which weakens the thought. [Their folly was in proportion to their, boast of wisdom. There can be no greater folly than to worship a beast rather than God. Wordsworth in loc.: “Intelligence is no safeguard against superstition. Knowledge puffeth up (1 Cor. 8:1). It often engenders pride, and pride is punished by God with spiritual blindness, which is the mother of idolatry.”—P. S.]

Romans 1:23. And exchanged, &c. They have abandoned the real δόξα [כְּבוֹר יְהוָֹה]—the contemplation of God’s glory—which was communicated to them through the spiritual contemplation of the creation, which was manifested to the Israelites in the Shekinah in the exalted moments of vision, and which was finally communicated to Christians in the righteousness of Christ for faith. They exchanged this glory for their religious images—that is, for vanity, folly, and darkness. “The ἐν cannot be taken for εἰς (Reiche [E. V.]), but is instrumental” (Meyer). It denotes the external element of their exchange. [The verb ἀλλάσσειν, when it means to exchange, is usually construed with τί τινος or ἀντἱ τινος, permutare rem per rem or re, but in the LXX. with ἐν, after the Hebrew הֵמִיר בְּ, as in Ps. 106:20: ἠλλάξαντο τήν δόξαν αὐτὼν ἐν ὁμοιώματι μόσχου, κ.τ.λ. Tholuck quotes also Sophocles, Antig., Romans 1:936, for the same construction. The contrast of ἀφθἁρτου and φθαρτοῦ sets forth the folly of such an exchange.—P. S.] Grotius: ὁμοίωμα εἰκόνος, figura, quœ apparet in simulacro. Meyer quotes Rev. 9:7 in favor of this view. But the expression seems to indicate that the worship of images proceeded from an arbitrary, self-created symbolism. They believed that they wisely expressed and maintained the δόξα of God in the symbol or likeness of a human image. For this purpose they naturally made use of the image of the external and therefore perishable form of man. This was specially the case among the Greeks. There were also the Egyptian images of beasts: of birds —the bird Ibis; of four-footed beasts—the Apis, the dog and the cat; and of creeping things—the crocodile and the serpent. Tholuck: The Egyptian worship was at that time domesticated at Rome;109 and the expression of Paul relates as well to the adoration of the symbol, generally practised by the cultivated classes, as to the adoration of the image itself, as a real idol, which prevailed among the great masses (see Tholuck). [The common people saw in the idols the gods themselves, the cultivated heathen, symbolical representations, or, at best, only the organs through which the gods operated. A similar difference of a gross and a more refined superstition is found in the Roman Catholic Church with regard to the images of saints. The Scriptures make no account of this distinction, and denounce all image-worshippers as idolaters.—P. S.] The Apostle traces the downward tendency of heathendom, by passing, first, from the likeness to the image, and, second, from the image of man to the images of creeping animals. [Wordsworth: “καὶκαὶκαί—observe this repetition, marking successive stages of their moral and intellectual degradation: ending in the transmutation of the living God of heaven into the likeness of unclean reptiles crawling upon the earth!”—P. S.]

Romans 1:24. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness. The Apostle evidently distinguishes two degrees of this abandonment; Romans 1:24 and Romans 1:26. As the unnatural sins of lust are not mentioned before Romans 1:26, so may we understand Romans 1:24 as referring to the natural forms of sensuality. But lewdness is the sin common to both degrees of corruption. That the Apostle should regard sins of lust as the immediate result of religious apostasy, rests: 1. On the Hebrew idea of whoredom, according to which religious whoredom—that is, idolatry—leads to moral whoredom as its most immediate result (Num. 25; Ezek. 23); just as, reversely, moral unchastity leads to religious lewdness (Solomon, Henry IV. [of France]). The heathen forms of worship are therefore connected in various ways with the practice of lust, or they are even the worship of lust. 2. On the ethical law, that moral principles stand in reciprocal connection with religious principles. The image of corruptible man is an image of the natural man, who, like Jupiter, indulges in love intrigues. The image of the bull likewise indicates the deification of the generative power of nature.

Wherefore God gave them up [παρέδωκεν, delivered them over]. The abandonment must not be regarded, with the Greek expositors [since Origen], as a mere permission110 (συγχώρησις—see Chrysostom’s remarks, quoted by Tholuck [who dissents from him]), nor, on the other hand, as referring to a Divine predestination of abandonment to the judgment of condemnation. (Tholuck, the editor of Calvin’s Commentaries, calls this the Calvinistic view, according to which God is the effective author of sin;—but this he could certainly not prove from Calvin’s exposition of the present passage.) The abandonment is rather the first stage in the exercise of punitive authority (see my Positive Dogmatics, p. 468). God executed this punishment on a grand scale in the origin and growth of heathendom. He allowed the Gentiles to walk in their own ways (Acts 14:16; Ps. 81:13; 147:20). The permittere in this punishment becomes an effective operation by God’s withdrawal of His Spirit; which measure His holiness requires.111 Paul has already said that this withdrawal is retributive; but he now makes it especially prominent: in the lusts of their hearts, ἐν ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις, &c. The ἐν must not be understood as instrumental [by or through] (Erasmus [E. V.], and others), nor like εἰς (Piscat., Estius, and others) [but signifies the element or moral condition in which they were already when God, by a judicial act, delivered them over to a still worse condition.—P. S.]. The negative punitive judgment becomes positive in this, that they can no longer control the lusts of their heart after God’s Spirit is withdrawn from them. It is in harmony with God’s righteousness that sin should be punished by sin.—To uncleanness. The sins of thought and heart became sins of deed. The expression filthiness (Unflätherei, Meyer) seems too strong for the beginning of the development of uncleanness. In Gal. 5:19 (to which Meyer refers), the description passes from the grosser to the more subtle forms.

So that their bodies were dishonored. De Wette and Tholuck [Meyer, Alford, al.] maintain that ἀτιμάζεαθαι does not occur in the middle (Erasmus, Luther [E. V.]), but only in the passive voice. The bodies were already dishonored by natural lewdness, by which they lost their dignity as temples of God, and were degraded into instruments of sensual lust (and not merely “woman;” Tholuck). See 1 Cor. 6:16.—Between themselves. Three explanations: 1. The ἐν is instrumental (Theophylact, Köllner). Then the moral subject is wanting. 2. The ἐν αὐτοῖς has a reciprocal signification equal to ἐν ἀλλήλοις, reciprocally (Erasmus, De Wette, Tholuck, and others). Meyer: One dishonors the other. This construction is favored by the reciprocal sexual intercourse which disappears in the unnatural lewdness described in Romans 1:26. 3. Reflexive (Vulgate, Luther, Calvin, and others). Tholuck remarks on this, that to themselves does not give clear sense. Comp., on the contrary, 1 Cor. 6:16. We may adopt the second explanation, and yet the third need not be given up—namely, that in natural lewdness not only does one dishonor the other, but each dishonors himself.

Romans 1:25. They who exchanged the truth of God. According to Meyer and Tholuck, Paul returns expressly to the cause of the abandonment. But by this they overlook the definite progress of thought—namely, the argument for the abandonment of the second degree which follows in Romans 1:26. As a punishment of the heathen for squandering the δόξα of God for the paltry sum of images, their own bodies have lost their δόξα. But they are further charged with bartering the truth of God for the lie of idolatry, since they have served the creature παρὰ τὸν κτίσαντα. Therefore God gave them up to a lie of sexual lust, to a lust παρὰ φύσιν. It is from this parallel, which the commentators have overlooked, that exact exegetical definitions on this passage arise.—They who exchanged, Οἵτινες, Quippe qui. The expression denotes them as the same, but characterizes them more fully. The sense is, they exchanged for (sie tauschten um), μετήλλαξαν, which is not merely “more emphatic” (Meyer) than ἤλλαξαν. It includes, with the exchange, a very strong conception of change, of variation.—The truth of God. Explanations: 1. The truth revealed to the Gentiles (Camerarius, Reiche, and others). 2. θεοῦ is genit. object.; therefore the true knowledge of God (Piscat., Usteri. [Alford: the true notion of Him as the Creator]). 3. θεοῦ is genit. subject.; the truth or reality of God, the true Divine essence, according to the analogy τὴν δόξαν τοῦ θεοῦ (Tholuck, Meyer). Tholuck (with Theophylact, Luther, and others) takes it exactly as ἀληθινὸς θεός [and ψεῦδος for οἱ ψευδεῖς θεοί. So also Hodge: a periphrase for the true God—P. S.]. The δόξα of God is God’s revelation in glory, and so is God’s truth the φανέρωσις (see Romans 1:19) of his essential truth in the truthful relations of creation. The name of God is the revelation of His nature; not His nature in and of itself. But this revelation divides itself into the δόξα when we have in view the whole majesty of His name, and into the ἀλήθεια when we look at the real harmony of its antitheses. They have forsaken the general manifestation of this truth of God. They have, indeed, utterly squandered it for the gain of a mere lie—for the lying idols. [ψεῦδος = שֶׁקֶר, is used emphatically for idols in the Scriptures; Jer. 13:25; 16:19; Isa. 28:15; 44:20; because the heathen gods do not even exist, and yet they are worshipped in the place of the only true God, who is the Cause of all existence, and the Author of all truth.—P. S.] Idols are lies not simply as dii imaginarii (Grotius). They are embodied lies. Man must make them, and they pretend to represent Him who made man (Isa. 40:19, 20). They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not (Ps. 115:5; 135:16; Wisdom 15:15). The worshipper of idols has a dark consciousness of this contradiction. Even his worship is mendacious. Tholuck quotes Philo, De Vita Mosis, i. 3 [where it is said of the Israelites who had made the golden calf], Moses wondered ὅσον ψεῦδος ἀνθ̓ ὅσης ἀληθεἱας ὑπηλλάξαντο. Comp. also Isa. 44:20; Jer. 3:10; 13:25: 16:19.—And worshipped. Σεβάζομαι [only once in the N. T.] denotes religious reverence in general; λατρεύω denotes worship [with sacrifice, and other acts and rites]. The conception of the σεβ. passes from fear and reverence to worship. Of kindred but not of identical character is the distinction of Theophylact, and others: internal and external worship.—The creature rather than the Creator. [κτίσει, any created being or thing, belongs to both verbs, but is conformed to λατρεύω as the nearest, while σεβάζομαι would require the accusative.—P. S.] The παρὰ τὸν κτίσαντα has been interpreted in three ways: 1. More than the Creator [in the relative sense], (Vulgate, Erasmus, Luther [E. V., Grotius], and others); 2. against the Creator [contra creatorem; comp. παρὰ φύσιν, Romans 1:26], (Hammond, Fritzsche, and others); 3. In the sense of comparison [and exclusion], prœ creators, prœterito, or relicto creatore (Hilarius, Theophylact, Beza, Tholuck, Meyer [Olshausen, De Wette, Philippi, Alford, Wordsworth, Hodge], and others). The third explanation is correct in the sense that it includes the second: Passing by one with the disregard and rejection of the same (see Luke 18:14). The παρὰ φύσιν in Romans 1:26 perfectly corresponds to this rendering. In both cases, the statement must not be understood absolutely; otherwise heathendom would have been the negation of all religion, and unnatural lust the negation of all propagation of the human race. It denotes the outbreaking sovereignty of a religious vice, which is completed in a sensual one. [Wordsworth derives from this text an argument against the Arians, who assert Christ to be a creature, and yet profess to worship Him; and against those who pay religious worship to any creature, since no one is to be worshipped, according to the Scriptures, who is not God by nature, and since there is no middle between Creator and creature.—P. S.]

Who is blessed forever. Tholuck: “The doxology is added to the name of God by Jews and Mohammedans when they must state something that is unworthy of Him, as though the writer would remove all suspicion of any share in the statement,” &c. It is more natural to seek the explanation of this custom in the indignation of religious feeling, and in its confidence that God is exalted above the profanation of His name.112 Tholuck informs us that an Arabian writer added, after every heresy which he mentioned: “God is exalted above all that they say!” The Apostle’s expression, at all events, must not be regarded as a mere form, but as candid emotion (Meyer); which yet does not exclude the thought indicated above (Chrysostom, Grotius).—εὐλογητός, בָּרדּךְ.113 Who is blessed, with reference to all future eternity, is likewise an expression of the confident expectation that he shall be blessed (Meyer therefore rejects, without good reason, the explanation of Fritzsche: celebrandus).

Romans 1:26. For this cause God gave them up. The διὰ τοῦτο refers specifically to Romans 1:25, and takes its place with the διό of Romans 1:24 and the διότι of Romans 1:21 as a subdivision under Romans 1:18.

Unto shameful passions. The ἀτιμία was already in Romans 1:24, but now it becomes a passion. Meyer: πάθη ἀτιμ., genit. qual. Since whoredom is also a shameful passion, the substantive must be retained: Passions of the shameful and degraded condition. There was first a departure from honor to simple dishonor; then still further downward, to a passionate course of dishonor, which might almost be described as passion for vileness. The unnatural sins of lust rest upon unnatural passions, and these spring from the root of the unnatural, lying deification of creatures and images. Man is for God in a religious sense, as the man and woman are for each other in a moral point of view: this is the natural condition, the truth of the relations (Eph. 5:25). Therefore the perversion of nature, unnaturalness, or the lie of the service of the creature and of the idols, is punished by the perversion of nature, unnaturalness, or the lie of sexual gratification. Tholuck praises the modest reticence of the Apostle in the expression, although his expression is clear enough. He also says: “The self-degradation and self-condemnation of man appears most strikingly in the peculiarly (?) Grecian sin of pederasty (ἀρσενοκοῖται, 1 Cor. 6:9), which, at the time when Paul wrote, was largely practised also in Rome. After Xenophon, De Lacedœm. Republ., ii. 14, has mentioned that this vice was forbidden by Lycurgus, he adds, that this is not believed by some, ἐν πολλαῖς γὰρ τῶν πὁλεων οἱ νὸμοι οὐκ ἐναντιόῦνται ταῖς πρὸς τοὺς παῖδας ἐπιθυμίαις. Even the most distinguished men have incurred grave suspicions in this matter, some justly, others unjustly. Comp. Gessner, De pœderastia Socratis in vet. diss. Gott. ii. p. 125. Seneca, a contemporary of Paul, writes in Rome, Ep. 35: Transeo puerorum infelicium greges, quos post transacta convivia aliœ cubiculi contumeliœ exspectant; transeo agmina exoletorum per nationes coloresque descripta. The most hideous and yet the most accurate picture of Roman licentiousness at that time, is given by Petronius, a contemporary of the Apostle. Even women (called tribades) committed the same Outrage, which was called by a smoother term after a famous predecessor in the crime, “Sapphic Love.” [Seneca writes, Ep. 95: “Libidine vero ne maribus quidem cedunt, pati natœ; dii illas deœque male perdant, adeo perversum commentœ genus impudicitœ viros ineunt.”]114

For even their women. Θήλειαι and ἄρσενες, instead of γυναῖκες and ἄνδρες, on account of the sexual reference. Reiche says erroneously: In a contemptuous sense, for description of the bestial. The expression χρῆσις is euphemistic for usus venereus, and therefore we must not supply τοῦ ἄρσενος, or τῆς θηλείας (Fritzsche). Tholuck explains thus: The Apostle places the female sex first, because the abomination of the crime is most horrible in that sex, whose noblest ornament is modesty (1 Tim, 2:9) [similarly Hodge]. It may be observed, on the contrary, that the Apostle here generally passes from the less to the more abominable crime. He probably alludes, in Romans 1:26 (as Tholuck remarks), to the debauchery of the tribades (frictrices, “the Lesbian vice,” λεσβιάζειν), where women commit abuses with women, but perhaps he included the more secret sin of onanism. This appears from the antithesis in Romans 1:27: Men with men. This sin is referred in a two-fold way to the deification of the creature: by μετήλλαξαν and by παρὰ φύσιν.

Romans 1:27. And likewise also the men. The construction indicates that the unnatural burning (ἐκκαὶεσθαι = ποροῦσθαι, 1 Cor. 7:9) was inflamed by unnatural excitement in the shameful act itself. The κατεργαζόμενοι means the complete perpetration of the abomination.115Receiving in themselves the due reward of their error. According to Ammon and others, the destructive consequences of lust. According to Tholuck, the self-degradation. According to Meyer, the designated lusts themselves, as the punishment for the πλάνη, Romans 1:21–23. [Alford and Hodge likewise refer the πλάνη to their departure from God into idolatry.—P. S.]. But the πλάνη is certainly the godless aberration into unnaturalness—that is, into a lie against nature, and we must think of the punishment as proportionate thereto; therefore not only the absolute self-deception, but also the shameful perversion of the sexual character (a man in a horrible way “the woman of all men”). Therefore, in themselves, not through themselves (Tholuck); nor “reciprocally” (Meyer). Meyer erroneously excludes here from consideration the destructive results of debauchery.

Romans 1:28. And as they did not deem it worth while [οὐκ ἐδοκίμασαν] to retain God. A further and more general development of moral corruption, based on a further and more general unfolding of religious corruption. Καθώς. The comparison is at the same time causal—which Tholuck denies. On the correspondence between the darkening of knowledge and practical corruption, see the quotations from the heathen writers, in Tholuck [and Wetstein. Cicero says, De Nat. Deor. 12: “Haud scio, an, pietate adversus Deos sublata, fides etiam et societas, et una excellentissima virtus justitia tollatur.” The assertion of modern deists, rationalists, and infidels, that morality is independent of religion, is an idle delusion. The wise heathen knew better. Religion is the backbone of morality, and irreligion the mother of immorality and vice. He who is most true to God, is most true to himself and his fellow-men; and he who denies God, is not likely to recognize any binding obligation to man, except on purely selfish and utilitarian grounds. Immoral religionists and moral irreligionists are exceptions, and confirm the rule.—P. S.] The δοκιμάζειν = δόκιμον ἡγεῖσθαι [here, to think it worthy, or worth while; comp. 1 Thess. 2:4; 1 Cor. 16:3].—To retain God in (their) knowledge [ἐν ἐπιγνώσει, Erkenntniss]. Tholuck makes the ἐπιγινώσκειν equal to the γινώσκειν in Romans 1:21. But here the question is concerning per ception—that is, the reception of knowledge into the inner life. Besides, the ἔχεσν ἐν ἐπιγνώσκει is stronger than γινωσκειν. Here again the punishment corresponds to the guilt; therefore the ἀδόκιμος νοῦς is not a mind incapable of judgment or discernment [judicii expers], (Beza, Piscat. [Bengel]), but the adjective is passive, according to the use of language: worthless (good-for-nothing) mind. [δόκιμος, from δέχομαι, receivable, worthy of reception; ἀδόκιμος, worthless, worthy of rejection. The heathen did not lose the moral faculty of discerning between right and wrong, good and bad, but in spite of it they practised the bad, and encouraged its practice in others (Romans 1:32), thereby increasing their guilt. “It is the video meliora proboque, which makes the detoriora sequor so peculiarly criminal.”—P. S.] The οὐκ ἐδοκίμασαν and ἀδόκιμος νοῦς are a paronomasy. The νοῦς is the perceiving and deciding intelligence, and mediates all the impressions for moral self-determination and action.—Things which are not becoming. The μὴ καθήκοντα, in the technical sense of the philosophical schools, are things contrary to duty, or immoral; but in a more popular sense here, they are an expression of moral abhorrence.

Romans 1:29-32. Being filled with all unrighteousness. Tholuck: “The accusatives πεπληρωμένους, μεστούς, &c., depend on ποιεῖν, as Erasmus has already remarked: because their thoughts are so impure, they also commit unbecoming things.” [Some connect the following accusatives with αὐτούς of the preceding verse, so as to express the state in which, and the reason why, God abandoned them; but it is better to connect them with the subject of ποιεῖν, understood, so as to express the consequences of such abandonment, and the various forms of τὰ μὴ καθήκοντα which they practised, πᾶσα ἀδικια, all manner of immorality, is general; the following terms are specifications. Similar catalogues of sins: 2 Cor. 12:20; Gal. 5:19–21; Eph. 5:3; 1 Tim. 1:9, 10; 2 Tim. 3:2–4.—P. S.] De Wette remarks that the following catalogue of sins, like a similar one in Gal. 5:19, is unsystematic; though ἀδικία stands first, as the principal, conception. Likewise Tholuck (against Bengel’s and Glöckler’s attempts at classification) maintains that the Apostle states a “συναθροισμός [rhetorical accumulation] of manifestations of sin,” and cites the paronomasies φθόνου and φόνου, ἀσυνέτους and ἀσυνθέτους. But the paronomasies are no proof, and so we attempt the following construction:116

I. Vices. The chief vice, ἀδικία, unrighteousness, at the head. This is divided into πονηρία, malice [disposition to inflict evil], wickedness—bold form; and into πλεονεξὶα, avarice, covetousness; κακία, badness, malice—pusillanimous form. On the addition of πορνεία, to the above, see Textual Note [117]. The expression πεπληρωμένους means, that every wicked person had not merely one crime. By the vices are here meant permanent and cold traits of character, in distinction from deeds of impulse, in which the guilty persons appear as μεστοί, full and drunken.

II. Evil deeds, or criminal acts. The chief sin, φθόνος, envy, at the head; divided into φόνος, murder; ἔρις, strife, contention; δόλος, deceit, or fraud; κακοήθεια, malignity, treacherous conduct. The chief source is φθόνος; but in all these evil deeds they appear as drunken.

III. Wicked characters according to their deeds. ψιθυρισταί, whisperers, backbiters [one who slanders secretly]; καταλάλοι, slanderers, calumniators; θεοστυγεῖς, haters of God, despisers of God, scorning God (Gottverächter). Tholuck: Promethean characters. In the classic literature, and especially the tragic department, the word occurs only in the passive meaning; hated by God, hateful to God [see the quotations of Meyer in loc.]; but the context plainly declares in favor of the active rendering, which has been adopted by most commentators from Theodoret down to the present, and which alone is in harmony with the Christian spirit. Classic usage also favors the accessory thought: ungodly, wicked. ὑβρισταί, insolent, overbearing, those who perpetrate criminal ὕβρις; ὑπερήφανοι, those who are proud, self-conceited, those who conduct themselves arrogantly above others; ἀλαζόνες, boasters, who do not design, like the previous class, to crush others by the force of their greatness, but make a lying show of it; ἐφευρεταὶ κακῶν, inventors of villanies, or crimes, swindlers, and adventurers; γονεῦσιν ἀπειθεῖς, disobedient to parents; apostasy from the piety and affection due to parents is a fountain of corruption (see Malachi 4:6; Luke 1:17). [Hodge: “That such should be included in this fearful list, shows the light in which filial disobedience is regarded by the sacred writers.”—P. S.]

IV. (Romans 1:31.) Wicked characters according to their sentiments, in leading psychological types. ἀσύνετοι, without understanding [or insight into moral things, blinded, besotted]; corrupted intelligence; ἀσύνθετοι, according to Philippi, and others, quarrelsome, implacable; according to Meyer, covenant-breakers [perfidious]; we construe the expression psychologically: unstable, unreliable—corrupted will. ἄστοργοι, destitute of affection, heartless; wanting even in natural feeling and natural love—corrupted feeling. (ἄσπονθοι, implacable, irreconcilable. Probably an insertion). ἀνελεήμονες, unmerciful, without pity and compassion: a totally corrupted state of feeling (Matt. 25:31 ff.).

V. Wicked maxims (Romans 1:32). Demoniacal pleasure in wickedness on the part of those who are conscious of the deadly guilt of sin (for example, heathen philosophers, magistrates, judges, etc.); and who not only commit sins worthy of death, but also approve them in others by their endorsement and principles.—The οἳτινες announces a new element, a new degree. This degree was of course not reached or thoroughly accomplished by all, but the generality were guilty to this degree—a fact which is shown by the crucifixion of Christ. Grotius has alluded to the defence of many crimes by the philosophers [e.g., the defence of hatred, revenge, even pederasty and sodomy]; and Heumann [and Ewald] to lax criminal justice. The δικαίωμα of God in the knowledge of the Gentiles is in part the institution of law and in part God’s punitive dealing, so far as the latter is referred by the heathen conscience to Divine justice. [δικαὶωμα (comp. Luke 1:6; Rom. 2:26; 8:4; Apoc. 15:5, in the Septuagint often for the Hebrew מִצְוָה ,הֻקָּה ,חֹק) is here the righteous decree or sentence of God as the Lawgiver and Judge, declaring what is right and wrong, and connecting death with sin, and life with righteousness. Meyer: Rechtsbestimmung; Lange: Rechtsurtheil; Alford: sentence; Wordsworth and Hodge: decree. This decree is inscribed not only on the revealed law of the Old Testament, but also on the conscience or moral sense of every man. The latter is here meant.—P. S.]

Romans 1:32. Are worthy of death. Photius: According to the Mosaic law. The Socinians: Civil punishment by death. Meyer: Eternal death, by which Paul has in mind the heathen notion of the state of punishment in Hades.118 Fritzsche and De Wette: The misery of sin, and similar results. But the meaning is the general idea of death in the Gentile consciousness of guilt, as the punishment of the most varied forms of sin. [Alford: θάνατος , a general term for the fatal consequence of sin; that such courses lead to ruin. Hodge: All evil inflicted for the satisfaction of justice. This passage shows that the judicial abandonment of God does not destroy the free agency or responsibility of men. The stream which carries them away is not without, but within; it is their own corrupt nature. Umbreit: Life and death are ever set over against one another in the Old and New Testaments, the one as including all good, the other as all evil.—P. S.] The πράσσειν is a stronger expression. [It brings out more clearly the idea of repetition and continuance of action than ποιεῖν.—P. S.]

The progress is very apparent from wicked passions to wicked acts; from these, to wicked characters, according to the positive methods of action; from these, to wicked characters in whom the inclination for what is good is extinguished; and from these, finally, to wicked maxims. This progress is also expressed by the change of the forms. The same sins are not described throughout these different categories. According to the fundamental conception of unrighteousness, the first category may be regarded as the general category. The second describes sins against our fellow-men in their individual relation; the third, those against human society; the fourth passes on to settle the character of self-corruption in its psychological forms of sentiment; and the fifth, to the complete demoniacal consciousness and approval of sin.

[This dark picture of heathen corruption (which does not exclude honorable exceptions; comp. Rom. 2:14, 26) is by no means overdrawn, and can be fully verified by testimonies from the first writers of the classical age of ancient Greece and Rome, such as Thucydides (3:82–84, on the moral state of Greece during the Peloponnesian war), Aristophanes, Horace, Catullus, Juvenal, Persius, Sallust, Seneca, Tacitus, Suetonius. Comp. my Church History, vol. i. p. 302 ff., and the works quoted there. I shall only refer to a passage from Seneca, the philosopher and contemporary of Paul, De Ira, ii. 8: “All is full of crime and vice; there is more committed than can be healed by punishment. A monstrous prize contest of wickedness is going on. The desire to sin increases, and shame decreases day by day. … Vice is no longer practised secretly, but in open view. Vileness gains in every street and in every breast to such an extent, that innocence has become not only rare, but has ceased to exist.” It is true, the history of Christian countries often presents a similar picture of moral corruption (with the exception of those unnatural vices described Romans 1:26 and 27, which have almost disappeared, or greatly diminished within the pale of Christian civilization). Think of the state of the Latin Christians in the fifth century as described by the priest Salvianus, who charges them with every vice, and puts them, in a moral point of view, beneath the barbarians; of the condition of Catholic France under Louis 14. and 15.; and of the large capitals of Europe and America in our days. Yea, in some respects the most diabolical forms of sin are brought out by contrast under the Christian dispensation, and apostasy from Christianity is worse than heathenism (comp. 2 Tim. 3:1–9). But there remains this radical difference: the heathen corruptions were produced and sanctioned by the heathen mythology and idolatry; while Christian nations are corrupt in spite of and in direct opposition to Christianity, which raises the highest standard of virtue, and acts continually on the world as a purifying and sanctifying power.—P. S.]


1. The revelation of God’s salvation is at the same time a revelation of God’s wrath. One conception is eclipsed by the other. It is a vain delusion to imagine that we can separate the doctrine of redemption from that of wrath. The conception of wrath is the conception of the absolute and personal energy of the Divine government of love in punitive righteousness. Redeeming love is the absolute and personal energy of Divine righteousness in the saving exercise of love. Can a soul enjoy the experience of salvation by faith, without passing through an internal judgment, and feeling of Divine displeasure? For further information, see the Exeg. Notes; Tholuck, pp. 56, 57; Meyer, p. 49; the article Zorn Gottes, in Herzog’s Realencyklopädie [vol. xviii. p. 657 ff.], together with the literature on the subject enumerated there [especially the monograph on the Wrath of God by Ferdinand Weber, with prolegomena on the doctrine of the atonement by Franz Delitzsch, Erlangen, 1862.—P. S.]

2. The essential characteristic of all forms of unbelief consists in men’s holding back or hindering the truth in unrighteousness. “Modern culture” attempts to separate the ideas ἀπιστία and ἀπείθεια utterly from each other. But the biblical view will not allow such a separation. Unbelief is misconduct toward the moral claims within the horizon of the internal life. This misconduct has its degrees. The germ and principle is sin as transgression (παράβασις) in general. The definite determination is apostasy, which manifests itself also as opposition to Divine truth. Therefore the two fundamental forms of specific unbelief are: apostasy, and hostile attack. The third degree is hardness of heart. But the measure of power in human obstacles to the revelation of God is related to the power of Divine reaction against these obstacles, just as the power of man (as weakness) is related to the omnipotence of God.

3. The idea of the revelation of God by nature pervades the entire Bible. See Ps. 8., 19., 104., and others; Isa. 40. According to Schneckenburger (Beiträge zur Einleitung in’s Neue Testament, 10th essay: Paul’s Natural Theology, and its Sources), Philo was Paul’s source. See thereon, Tholuck, p. 64. The pamphlet of Hebart also belongs here: Die natürliche Theologie des Apostels Paulus (Nürnb., 1860); likewise Zöckler’s Theologia Naturalis, or Entwurf einer systematischen Naturtheologie. [Frankfurt a. M., 1860, 2 vols.] The latter has viewed natural theology in a more primitive than usual sense. We must bear in mind that natural theology, since the revelation of salvation, has assumed a different form from what it had before the revelation of salvation, and especially as the basis of the original revelation. The symbolical natural religion which prevailed down to Abraham is distinguished from the revelation of salvation herein, that God revealed Himself there specially by symbols and signs, but here by the Word. See also the article Raymond of Sabunde, in Herzog’s Real-encyklopädie [vol. xii. p. 571].

4. According to Paul, as according to all the Holy Scriptures, humanity has fallen from its original ideal height; but according to the majority of those who set themselves up as the advocates of “modern culture,” it has risen from a rough, beast-like state. Wherefore Reiche also (p. 157) has expressed the opinion that the Apostle has here expressed only a cotemporary opinion of the Jews. The testimony of history is against the view of “modern culture.” It proves the gradual decay of the Hindus, the Arabians, the Ethiopians, the Indians, and, finally, even of the Greco-Roman world, with all its relative glory.

5. It is improper to regard the description of the Apostle as a description only of the corruption of the heathen world. It shows us first how the Gentile world arose, and then what became of it; but it does not commence with a Gentile world. Therefore it goes back, fundamentally, to the genesis of sin in the fall of man; but then it shows how the fall of man in its second form (with the self-boasting of man after the flood) became the genesis of real heathendom. The corruption arose from the original symbolical religion which prevailed from Adam down to Abraham. For men magnified the simple symbolism of nature—which God had given—by their own arbitrary symbolizations, and then mythicized the symbols; that is, they deified them. Thus mythology arose from symbolism, and idolatry and then image-worship arose from the symbolical view of nature. Recent research has commenced to exhume from the ruins of myths the gold of the original symbolism. Comp. my treatise On the Relation between General and Ecclesiastical Symbolism, in the Deutsche Zeitschrift für Christliche Wissenschaft, &c ., 1855, Nos. 4–6; and the recent writings on heathendom by Wuttke [Geschichte des Heidenthums, 1852 ff.], Döllinger [Heidenthum und Judenthum, 1851], Stiefelhagen, Lasaulx, and others. [Schelling, Philosophie der Mythologie, 1857; Fabri, Die Entstehung des Heidenthums, 1859; Nägelsbach on the Homeric, and Post-Homeric Theology, 1840, 1857; Gladstone, Studies on Homer, 1858; W. S. Tyler, The Theology of the Greek Poets, 1867.—P. S.]

6. The description of the original form of natural religion does not justify the conclusion that the revelation of God in Christ would not have occurred under the presupposition of human righteousness. But it leads us to conclude that the progress from the one to the other would have been effected in the form of a historical continuity.

7. The explanation of Gentile corruption from the great peccatum omissionis. “They have not honored and thanked God” (Romans 1:21); this is a penetrating glance which sheds its light also upon the first fall, as well as upon every genesis of sin. On the significance of this passage for the whole Epistle, see the Introduction and the Exeg. Notes.

8. God’s positive government, which impels evil through trial and temptation into the process of development from righteous judgment (sin punished by sin) and to righteous judgment (Rom. 11:32), corresponds with God’s negative abandonment, in which the first ground for the punishment is revealed, not only because God, as the Holy One, must withdraw His Spirit from the consciousness of sinful man, but also because He regards man in his freedom, and leaves him to its action (see my Positive Dogmatics, p. 468).

[Sin punished by sin. The Rabbinical tract, Pirke Aboth, 100:2, Romans 1:1, says: “Festina ad prœceptum leve tanquam ad grave, et fuge transgressionem; prœceptum enim trahit prœceptum, et transgressio transgressionem; quia merces prœcepti prœceptum est, et transgressionis transgressio.’ Seneca (Ep. 16): “The first and greatest punishment of any commission of sin is the sin itself which is committed.” De Wette, ad Rom. 1:24: “This view (that sin is punished by sin) is no mere Jewish doctrine, but it is universally true from the absolute standpoint of religion.” Schiller:

“This is the very curse of evil deed,

That of new evil it becomes the seed.”

But this judicial punishment of sin with sin does not make God the author of sin in any sense. Dr. South (Serm, ii. on 2 Thess. 2:11) says: “God may make one sin the punishment of another, though it still is to be remembered that it is one thing for God to give a man over to sin, and quite another for God to cause him to sin; the former importing in it no more than God’s providential ordering of a man’s circumstances, so that he shall find no check or hinderance in the course of his sin; but the latter implying also a positive efficiency toward the commission or production of a sinful act; which God never does, nor can do; but the other He both may, and, in a judicial way, very often does. … In all which God is not at all the author of sin, but only pursues the great work and righteous ends of His providence, in disposing of things or objects in themselves good or indifferent, toward the compassing of the same; howbeit, through the poison of men’s vicious affections, they are turned into the opportunities and fuel of sin, and made the occasion of their final destruction; 9:17, 22.” Dr. Hodge: “God often punishes one sin by abandoning the sinner to the commission of others. Paul repeats this idea three times, Romans 1:24, 26, 28. This judicial abandonment is consistent with the holiness of God and the free agency of man. God does not impel or entice to evil. He ceases to restrain. He says of the sinner, Let him alone; Romans 1:24–28.”—P. S.]

9. The deep truth in the proof of the connection between religious and moral corruption.

10. The intimate connection between the denial of the δόξα of God and the degradation of the δόξα of the human form by whoredom, and between the denial of the truth of God and the degradation of the true relations of human nature, as represented by Paul, has not been properly observed. See Exeg. Notes.

11. Other enumerations of sins and crimes in the Scriptures: see 2 Cor. 12:20; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 5:3; 1 Tim. 1:9; 2 Tim. 3:2.

12. Sin reaches its climax in wicked maxims and principles. They are demoniacal in their character, and the intellectual side of the service of the devil, which may be known not only in its gross forms, but also in the subtle form of cowardly idolatry of what is base, and which in this shape is widely diffused. [Yet, even in the most reprobate sinner, the voice of conscience cannot be entirely extinguished (“knowing the judgment of God, “ Romans 1:32). It makes him uneasy and miserable on earth, and will be his condemnation in the other world.—P. S.]

13. While the Apostle has here described the dark side of heathendom, the second chapter shows that the whole of heathendom does not appear to him under this dark aspect. In the first chapter he describes the prevailing Antinomian tendency of heathendom, in opposition to the prevailing legalistic tendency of Judaism.


ROMANS 1:18-21

In what does the beginning of all the real sinful corruption of the world, and of the Gentiles in particular, consist? 1. In the neglect of the general manifestations of God by creation; 2. in neglect to worship God by praise and thanksgiving.—Against what will God’s wrath be sent from heaven? 1. Against all ungodliness; 2. against all unrighteousness of men who hold back the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18).

The revelation of wrath, and the revelation of love, as they, 1. Are opposed to each other; 2. are closely connected with each other.—The revelation of God in nature is a revelation of His invisible nature—that is, of His eternal power and Godhead (Romans 1:19, 20).—He who knows God, should praise and thank Him.—The knowledge and worship of God.—Neglect of the worship of God leads to obscuring the knowledge of God (Romans 1:21).

LUTHER: Where there is no faith, reason falls from one depth to another, until it is totally blinded in its speculations, as is the case with all self-conceited and heated brains (Romans 1:21).

STARKE: Even after the fall, every man has a natural knowledge of the nature and works of God; yet this is not sufficient to lead him to salvation (Romans 1:19).—God esteems our knowledge according to the means we have of obtaining it. Thus He demands more knowledge from the Jews than from the Gentiles, and still more from us Christians (Romans 1:21).—As God is a living God, so must our knowledge of Him also be vital, and express itself in praise and thanks (Romans 1:21).—LANGII Op. Bibl.: Whoever denies the wrath of God, and describes God alone according to mere love, thereby obscures also the greatness of the grace and love of God, and leads others to despise this grace and love (Romans 1:18).—HEDINGER: God does not leave Himself without a witness among the heathen. All creatures eloquently testify to His might and wisdom (Romans 1:20). From QUESNEL: Hugo de Arca: Omnis creatura tribus vocibus nobis loquitur: prima est famulantis, accipe beneficium; secunda admonentis, redde debitum servitium; tertia comminantis, fuge supplicium (Romans 1:20).

BENGEL: Whatever is under heaven, and not under the gospel, is under the wrath (Romans 1:18).—The heart of man conforms to its thoughts (Romans 1:21).

GERLACH: The sin against which God’s wrath is directed shows itself in the double form of ungodliness and unrighteousness, according as man sins more directly against God, or against himself and his neighbor (Romans 1:18).—As soon as man ceases to direct himself to the holy and gracious God, he worships only God’s power and beauty (?), and makes Nature his God (Romans 1:21).

HEUBNER: The denial of God can never be excused, for man can know God (Romans 1:19).

THE PERICOPE for the 11th Sunday after Trinity (Romans 1:16–20).—HEUBNER: The joy of the Christian in the confession of faith: 1. Disposition; 2. necessity; 3. how are we fitted for it?—How shall we learn to estimate properly the value of the gospel? 1. When we experience its power in our own hearts; 2. when we perceive properly the wretched condition of the human race without Christianity—its religious as well as its moral condition; 3. when we learn the insufficiency of natural religion, which reveals God’s existence and power, but not His mercy toward sinners.—The relation of natural and revealed religion: 1. Harmony; 2. difference; 3. inferences.

LANGE: For the wrath of God. Wrath a proof of the gospel: 1. Of its necessity; 2. its truth; 3. its glory.—On the difference between the knowledge and perception of God.—The general manifestation of God, or the relation between natural religion and revealed religion in its narrower sense.—The beginning of all sin is always at bottom a sin of neglect.—The two sides of piety: to praise God, and to thank Him.

[TILLOTSON: Romans 1:18, 19. If it were only the wrath and displeasure of men that the sinner were exposed to, there might be reason enough for fear; but the wrath and vengeance of men bears no comparison with the wrath of God. Their arm is short, and their power small; they may shoot their most poisonous arrows at us, and at last kill us; but they cannot pursue us into the other world. But the wrath of God has none of these limits.—The fear of God’s wrath: Men may harden their foreheads, and conquer all sense of shame; but they cannot perfectly stifle and subdue their fears. They can hardly so extinguish the fear of hell, but that some sparks of that fire will ever and anon be flying about in their consciences.—SOUTH (sermon on Natural Religion without Revelation, sufficient to render a sinner inexcusable (Romans 1:20): I heartily wish that all young persons would lodge this one observation deep in their minds: That God and nature have joined wisdom and virtue by such a near cognation, or, rather, such an inseparable connection, that a wise, prudent, and honorable old age is seldom or never found but as the reward and effect of a sober, virtuous, and well-spent youth.—SCOTT: Even to this day, if any nations seem to be sunk into so entire a stupidity as to have no notions of a God remaining among them, this still more clearly proves, not man’s want of rational powers, but his carnal enmity to God and religion, through which he becomes more and more the besotted and blind slave of Satan.—CLARKE: Paul’s purpose is to show: 1. That all the heathen nations are utterly corrupt, and deserving of punishment; 2. that the Jews, notwithstanding the greatness of their privilege, were no better than the Gentiles.—HODGE: The folly and darkness of which the Apostle here speaks are expressive of want of Divine knowledge, which is but the effect and cause of moral depravity.—J. F. H.]

ROMANS 1:22-32

Abandonment of the Gentile world: 1. Why did God abandon them? a. Because they changed His glory into something transitory and corruptible; b. His truth into a lie. 2. In what respect did God abandon them? a. In pollution of the flesh and spirit; b. in utter hardness of heart (Romans 1:22–32).—How dreadful to be abandoned by God! Because 1. His Spirit departs; 2. sin becomes punishment.—Has Paul described the moral pollution of the Gentile world in too dark colors? No. For what the Apostle says is corroborated by witnesses from its very midst. 1. Of ancient times (Aristophanes, Horace, Juvenal); 2. of the present day (modern Hindu literature, &c).—He who would describe sin, must be strengthened by looking up to God (Romans 1:25).—The heathen world of the present day is the same as that at the time of Paul, and therefore can be converted only by the same means (the gospel).—He who knows how to do good, and does not do it, sins (Romans 1:32).—What men are hardened? Those who (1) know God’s righteousness, (2) yet do what deserves death, and (3) are not contented to have pleasure in those who do it (Romans 1:32).

LUTHER: The real Epicureans are those who live as if there were no God; who boast much, and would have others boast of them that they are something extraordinary, when they really are not (Romans 1:30).

STARKE: It was a crime of pride, when they said, We are not so foolish (Romans 1:22).—To consider one’s self wise and shrewd, and yet to possess foolish principia, is the greatest folly; especially when exhibited by the world’s wise men in published writings (Romans 1:22).—The wisest and most learned are often also the most perverted.—It is absolutely unreasonable to worship God under the image of a beast; for what king, prince, and honorable man would permit himself to be represented in the form of an ox, or hog (!). How much less can God be treated thus (Romans 1:23).—He who forsakes God, will be forsaken also by God (Romans 1:24).—The most direct path to atheism, is to regard God unworthy to be known (Romans 1:28).—Goodness goes gently, but evil goes violently, and will be host in the house. It foams and ferments like new wine (Romans 1:29).—HEDINGER: Sin is sometimes the punishment of sin (Romans 1:24).—OSIANDER Bibl.: Teachers and preachers must be careful to speak of sins against God and nature in such a way that those sins be prevented and guarded against, rather than learned and committed (Romans 1:26).—CRAMER: Although the neglect to know God is regarded by the world as no sin, or, if a sin, the least of all, it is really a fountain of all sin, and, finally, of all the penalties consequent upon sin (Romans 1:28).

HEUBNER: The ruin of the Gentile world is a warning for Christians: Apostasy from the word of God induces similar aberrations at all times—a new though more refined heathenism (Romans 1:22).—God forsakes only those who will not hear Him (Romans 1:24).—A wicked state of heart leads to absolute pleasure in wickedness itself (Romans 1:32).

BESSER: Unnaturalness follows from the deification of nature (Romans 1:27).

LANGE: The connection between religious and moral ruin is exhibited also in the world at the present time.—The barbarous disregard of the human person in all sexual sins, as often concealed beneath the most refined masks of culture, is closely connected with the irreligious disregard of the personality of God and man.—A fundamental sanctification of the sexual relations can arise only from the vital knowledge of the dignity of personal life.—Sin taking on the form of the devilish nature in wicked maxims.

[SCOTT: Religion moderates and regulates natural affections, but excess of depravity extinguishes them. It is a proof of more determined impiety for men to take pleasure in the company of the enemies of God, than to commit many crimes whilst the heart and conscience protest against them.—CLARKE: We see what the world was, and what it would ever have been, had not God sent a divine revelation of His will, and established a public ministry to proclaim it. Were man left to the power and influence of his fallen nature, he would always be what the Apostle here describes as the condition of the Gentile world.—Comprehensive Comm.: No wickedness so heinous, but a reprobate mind will comply.

HODGE (condensed): 1. It is the very nature of sin to be inexcusable, and worthy of punishment; 2. as the works of God reveal His eternal power and Godhead, we should accustom ourselves to see in them the manifestations of His perfections; 3. the human intellect is as erring as the human heart; 4. as the light of nature is insufficient to lead the heathen to God and holiness, it is our obvious and urgent duty to send them the light of the Bible; 5. sins of uncleanness are peculiarly debasing and demoralizing; 6. to take pleasure in those who do good, makes us better; as to delight in those who do evil, is the surest way to become even more degraded than they are themselves.—Compare two sermons by R. SOUTH on The Heinous Guilt of Taking Pleasure in Other Men’s Sins; and sermon by C. GIRDLESTONE on Pleasure in the Sight of Sin (Parochial Sermons).—J. F. H.]

[Romans 1:32. SOUTH (Sermon on the text): That sin (which sympathizes with and patronizes the sinner) is a pitch beyond all other sins, and such an one as must nonplus the devil himself to proceed farther. It is the very extremity, the fulness, and the concluding period of sin; the last line and finishing stroke of the devil’s image, drawn upon the soul of man.—P. S.]

THIRD SECTION.Gradual transition from the corruption of the Gentiles to that of the Jews. The universality of the corruption, and, with the universality of guilt, that worst corruption, the judgment of others. This judgment is likewise judged by the continuance of a universal antagonism, within the universal corruption, between pious, earnest men, and obstinate rebels, both among Gentiles and Jews, in view of the righteous, impartial government of God by virtue of the continuance of the universal legislation of God in the conscience. The revelation of the antagonism of loyal Gentiles and disloyal Jews on the day of the proclamation of the gospel.


[73]Romans 1:18.—[Or hinder. So Lange and Meyer: aufhalten. This is the meaning of κατέχειν here, as in 2 Thess. 2:6, 7; Luke 4:42. Comp. the Exeg. Notes, as also the note of Alford in loc.—P. S.]

[74]Romans 1:19.—[διότι, contracted from δἰ ὅ τι, means (like διό) originally, propter quod, quam ob rem, qua re, on account of which, wherefore, and draws an inference from the preceding sentence; but in the N. T. it is always, and in the classics occasionally, used in the sense of διὰ τοῦτο ὂτι, propterea quod, quia, because that, because, and assigns a reason for a preceding assertion, like γάρ, for. It may here give the reason why the wrath of God is revealed (Meyer), or it may explain the words τῶν τὴν ὰλ. … κατεχόντων (De Wette, Tholuck, Alford). See Exeg. Notes. Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer, Alford separate διότι from Romans 1:18 simply by a comma; Tholuck, Fritzsche, Theile, Philippi, by a period.—P. S.]

[75]Romans 1:19.—[τὸ γνωστὸν τοῦ θεοῦ, quod notum est Dei (Vulg.). This is the sense of γνωστός in the N. T., the Sept., and the Apocrypha (Luke 2:44; John 18:15, 16; Acts 1:19; 2:14; 4:16, &c.), as ἂγνωστος means unknown (Acts 17:23); while, in the classics, γνωστός usually signifies knowable, erkennbar, as distinct from γνωτός, known (which word does not occur in the Greek Testament). The authorized version, therefore, is inconsistent with the biblical (though not with the classical) usage of the term, and conveys a false idea; for the heathen did not know all that may be known of God, but, as clearly appears from what follows, they knew only that which may be learned from the general revelation in the book of nature and reason, as distinct from the special revelation in the Bible and in the person of Christ. To retain the E. V., and to supply (with Robinson, sub γνωστός), without revelation, is arbitrary. Lange translates Kenntniss, knowledge; but γνωστόν is objective, γνῶσις is subjective, and does not suit Φανερόν ἐστιν ἐν αὐτοῖς. There is no warrant in the usus loquendi for identifying the two, unless it be Gen. 2:9, LXX.: γνωστὸν καλοῦ καὶ πονηροῦ. The Apostle purposely avoided the term γνῶσις or ἐπίγνωσις τοῦ θεοῦ, which is used in the N. T. of the true knowledge of God in Christ (comp. John 17:3), and chose the more general and objective term γνωστόν, that which is patent to all men in the work of creation.—P. S.]

[76]Romans 1:19.—[Φανερόν ἐστιν ἐν αὐτοῖς, in illis (Vulg.), i.e., ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις αὐτῶν, in their hearts; comp. 2:15; Gal. 1:16. It refers to the inborn consciousness of God which is inseparable from our reason, and it contains the germ of the ontological argument of Anselm. Dr. Lange, however, renders, with Erasmus and others: unter ihnen, among them. See Exeg. Notes. Luther’s version (chnen) ignores the preposition ἐν.—P. S.]

[77]Romans 1:19.—[ἐΦανέρωσεν, the historic aorist, referring to the original creation.—P. S.]

[78]Romans 1:20.—[τὰ γὰρ ἀόρατα αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ κτίσεως κόσμου τοῖς ποιήμασιν νοούμενα καθορᾶται. κτίσις here means the act of creation, ποιήμασι (dativus instrumenti), the things created, or creatures, and hence ἀπό is here not = ἐκ, which would be tautological, but, like the Hebrew מ, from the time of, or since, a condilo mundo.—P. S.]

[79]Romans 1:20.—[Alford objects to the E. V. and translates are perceived; but this destroys the striking oxymoron, ἀόρατα καθορᾶται, invisibilia videntur, das Unschaubare wird erschaut, the invisible becomes visible, or the unseen is seen, viz., by the mind’s eye (νοούμενα). The compound καθορᾶν (ἅπαξ λεγόμενον in the N. T.) means to look down from a higher place, to take a survey, and hence often intensifies the simple verb = ἀκριβῶς ὁρᾶν, pervidere, perspicere, to see clearly.—P. S.]

[80]Romans 1:20.—[θειότης, Göttlichkeit, from θεῖος, divinus, refers to the Divine attributes, such as majesty, power, wisdom, goodness, which are manifest in creation; while θεότης, deitas, Deity, Godhead, Gottheit, from θεός, refers to the Divine Being itself, who created the world and dwelt in Christ.—P. S.]

[81]Romans 1:20.—[εὶς τό with the infinitive (used by Paul seventeen times in the Romans alone), like the Latin ad with the gerund., indicates properly the intention, in hoc ut, in order that (comp. Rom. 1:11; 3:26; 4:11, 16, 18, &c.); but here it must indicate the (intended) result, = ὥστε, ita ut, so that (6:12; 7:4, 5; 2 Cor. 1:4; comp. the Exeg. Notes, and Buttmann, N. T. Gr., p. 227).—P. S.]

[82]Romans 1:24.—Καί is retained by Meyer on account of its adaptation. [It indicates the correspondence, between men’s guilt and God’s judgment; but the external authorities, מ. A. B. C., Vulgate, Orig., &c., are against it.—P. S.]

[83]Romans 1:24. [τοῦ ἀτιμάζεσθαι τὰ σώματα αὐτῶν ἐν αὐτοῖς. The reading ἐν αὑτοῖς is sustained by N. A. B. C. D*., against the text. rec., ἐν ἐαυτοῖς, among themselves, reciprocally. Meyer defends the latter reading (referring it to the persons, αὐτῶν), in view of the frequent neglect of the reflex pronoun by the transcribers; e.g., Romans 1:27.—ἀτιμάζεσθαι is passive (Beza, De Wette, Meyer, Lange, Alford), and not middle (Erasmus, Luther, E. V.); and hence αὐτῶν is preferable to αὐτῶν, and ἐν αὐτοῖς to ἐν ἑαυτοῖς, which may have arisen from imagining that “they,” instead of τὰ σώματα, was the subject to ἀτιμάζ.—The genitive, τοῦ ἀτιμάζ., may be taken simply as gen. appositionis, explaining ἀκαθαρσία, which consisted in their bodies being dishonored; or as implying the purpose of God: in order that (= εις τό); or as denoting the consequence: so that. I prefer the last.—P. S.]

[84]Romans 1:25.—[οἲτινες is used αίτιολογικῶς, quippe qui, seeing that they, such as, indicating the class to which one belongs, and implying the reason of the preceding statement. μετήλλαξαν, umtauschten; the compound is stronger than ἢλλαξαν, tauschlen; Romans 1:22.—P. S.]

[85]Romans 1:25.—[παρὰ τὸν κτίσαντα, beyond, rather than, so as eventually to exclude the Creator altogether; comp. παῤ ἐκεῖνον, Luke 18:14, and παπὰ Φύαιν, Romans 1:26. The nature of the case here decides for the exclusive rather than the comparative sense of παρά, since idolatry is incompatible with the worship of the true God, who shares His honor with no creature. See the Exeg. Notes.—P. S.]

[86]Romans 1:26.—[Or shameful lusts, lusts of dishonor, πάθη ἀτιμίας, “stronger than ἂτιμα πάθη, as setting forth the status, άτιμία to which the πάθη belonged” (Alford). Luther: schändliche Lüste. Lange: Leidenschaften der Schande. Meyer: schandbare Leidenschaften.—P. S.]

[87]Romans 1:28.—[The paronomasia between δοκιμάζω and ἀδόκιμος, which strikingly brings out the adjustment of the punishment to the sin, is lost in the E. V. The Vulg. renders it imperfectly: Non probaverunt—reprobrum sensum. Lange: Nicht würdig hielten—unwürdige (nichtsnutzige) Sinnesart. Conybeare and Howson: “As they thought fit to cast out the acknowledgment of God, God gave them over to an outcast mind,” Alford: “Because they reprobated the knowledge of God, God gave them over to a reprobate mind,” But both Conybeare and Alford omit the ἒχειν.—P. S.]

[88]Romans 1:28.—[τὰ μὴ καθήκοντα, not becoming, or unbecoming, indecent, immoral. The E. V. follows the Vulg.: ea quæ non conveniunt. But convenient is one of those words in the E. V. which have changed or modified their meaning, like prevent, lit, &c., and are apt to bewilder the reader, and to mislead him by a false light, Comp. τὰ οὐκ ἀνήκοντα, Eph. 5:4; and on the difference between μή and ούκ, Winer, § 55, 5, p. 449) (7th ed.).—P. S.]

[89]Romans 1:29.—As πορνεία has already been mentioned, it is here probably inserted for completeness sake by Cod. L. and others, or substituted for πονηρία. See Tischendorf. [It is omitted by N. A. B. C. א., Lachmann, Tischendorf, Alford, Meyer, Lange. It may have arisen from πονηρία, but may as easily have been overlooked on account of the similarity. Where the unnatural πορνεία, which was mentioned before, prevails, the ordinary πορνεία abounds also. Upon the whole, I would retain it.—P. S.]

[90]Romans 1:30.—[θεοστυγεῖς always used in the passive sense: θεομίσητοι, hated by God (meaning the highest degree of reckless wickedness), and so taken here by Fritzsche, De Wette, Philippi, Meyer, Alford; while the majority of commentators (Theodoret. Œcumenius, Luther, Calvin, Grotius, Tholuck, Ewald, Wordsworth, Hodge) and versions (Syriac, Luth., E. V.) incline to the active sense: μισόθεοι, Dei osores, enemies of God, Gottesfeinde. So Suidas: θεοστυγεῖς θεομίσητοι, οἰ ἀπὸ θεοῦ μισούμενοι καὶ οί θεὸν μισοῦντες παρὰ δὲ τῷ ἀποστόλῳ θεοστυγεῖς μισής οὐχὶ οἰ ὑπὸθεοῦ μισούμενοι, ὰλλ ̓ οἰ μισοῦντες τὸν θεόν. The advocates of the active sense refer to θεομισής and θεοστυγής as analogies: but Meyer insists that these, too, have the passive meaning, especially θεομισής = θεοστυγής, the opposite of θεοΦιλής. Usage is undoubtedly in favor of the passive; but the connection, and the Scripture idea of God, are in favor of the active sense. The Apostle here describes the sins of the heathen, and not their punishment; and God hates sin, but loves the sinner. See the Exeg. Notes.—P. S.]

[91]Romans 1:31.—ἀσπόνδους [in the text. rec. after ἀστόργους] is not sufficiently sustained by Codd. C. D., al. and sounds rather weak between these strong terms. [Omitted by א. A. B. D*. G., and cancelled by Mill, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer. Alford regards it as a gloss in margin to explain ἀσυνθέτους; Meyer as an insertion from the similar catalogue, 2 Tim. in. 3.—P. S.]

[92][The wrath of God is an anthropopathic but most truthful expression of the punitive justice and holiness of God over-against sin, and perfectly harmonizes with His love, which is holy, and repels the evil with the same energy with which it attracts the good. No man can love, who cannot hate. Wrath, or hatred, is inverted love. But while the wrath of man is a passion, and destroys the sinner, God’s wrath is a calm and holy energy, and restores the sinner by destroying sin. Meyer in loc.: “Der Zorn Gottes ist die Liebe des heiligen Gottes zu allem Guten in ihrer entgegengesetzten Energie gegen alles Böse.” He quotes Lactantius, De ira Dei, v. 9: “Si Deus non irascitur impiis et injustis, nec pios justosque diligit; in rebus enim diversis aut in utramque partem moveri necesse est, aut in neutram.” Comp. also Tholuck on Matt. 5:22, and Harless on Eph. 3:3.—P. S.]

[93][Wordsworth in loc.:Holding, keeping down, the truth in ungodliness, as in a prison-house. Men have incarcerated the truth, and hold her a captive under restraint and durance, with the bars and bolts of a depraved will and vicious habits, so that she cannot go forth and breathe the air and see the light, and do works suitable to her own nature.” The passage implies, however, that man has the remnants of the Divine image in him, and that, though fallen in Adam, he may fall still deeper by obscuring and suppressing the elements of truth in his reason and conscience. The reference to καταλαμβάνειν, John 1:5, is questionable. But see Lange in loc.,—P. S.]

[94][Also Alford, who justly remarks that the pregnant ἐν, “in and by,” implies that their ἀδικία is the status wherein, and the instrument whereby, they hold back the truth lit up in their consciences.—P. S.]

[95][Romans 1:19, 20, as also Romans 1:20–26, and Romans 1:27 of this chapter, are quoted by Hippolytus, in his recently discovered Philosophumena, or Refut. omnium hæres., lib. ix. c. 9, p. 444, and v. 7, p. 140, ed. Duncker and Schneidewin.—P. S.]

[96][These two commentators, however, differ in their exposition of διότι. See Textual Note2. The Apostle proves first that men had the ἀλήθεια (19, 20), and then that they held it back, and perverted it into a lie (21–23), and that therefore (διό) God’s wrath came upon them (24 ff.).—P. S.]

[97][So Dr. Lange translates τὸ γνωστὸν τοῦ θεοῦ, but I cannot agree. See Textual Note3.—P. S.]

[98][So Dr. Lange translates ἐν αὐτοῖς, unter ihnen, among them, instead of in them. See Text. Note4.—P. S.]

[99][Erasmus and Grotius, with the restriction to the superior knowledge of heathen philosophers, as Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato; others in the sense that the knowledge of God was a common revelation, accessible to all. Dr. Lange takes the latter view, as appears from what follows.—P. S.]

[100][Precisely the same remark is made by Alford, who often follows De Wette very closely.—P. S.]

[101][Lange: Die Unschaubarkeiten werden als Erkanntes angeschaut. Comp. Textual Note7.—P. S.]

[102][Similar passages are quoted from Cicero, De Divin., 2:72: “Esse præstantem aliquam æternamque naturam … pulchritudo mundi ordoque rerum cœlestium cogit confiteri;” and Quæst. Tusc., 1:29: “Deum non vides, tamen Deum agnoscis ex ejus operibus.” Comp. also Bengel in loc: “Incomparabile oxymoron. Invisibilia Dei, si unquam, certe in creatione fucta essent visibilia: sed tum quoque non nisi per intelligentiam videri cœperunt.”—P. S.]

[103][Alford: “Eternal, and Almighty, have always been recognized epithets of the Creator.”—P. S.]

[104]Romans 1:20.—[εὶς τό with the infinitive (used by Paul seventeen times in the Romans alone), like the Latin ad with the gerund., indicates properly the intention, in hoc ut, in order that (comp. Rom. 1:11; 3:26; 4:11, 16, 18, &c.); but here it must indicate the (intended) result, = ὥστε, ita ut, so that (6:12; 7:4, 5; 2 Cor. 1:4; comp. the Exeg. Notes, and Buttmann, N. T. Gr., p. 227).—P. S.]

[105][Alford: “γνόντες, ‘with the knowledge above stated.’ This participle testifies plainly that matter of fact, and not of possibility, has been the subject of the foregoing verses. From this point, we take up what they might have done, but did not.”—P. S.]

[106][Bengel: “GRATIAS AGERE (εὐχαρ) debemus ob beneficia: GLORIFICARE (δοξάζ.) ob ipsas virtutes divinas.”—P. S.]

[107][Alford: “THEIR HEART (καρδία of the whole inner man, the seat of knowledge and feeling) BEING FOOLISH (unintelligent, not retaining God in its knowledge) BECAME PARK (lost the little light it had, and wandered blindly in the mazes of folly).”—P. S.]

[108][In like manner, Meyer and Alford refer the words not so much to the schools of philosophy, as to the assumption of wisdom by the Greeks in general (1 Cor. 1:21), which is always connected with an alienation from the truth of God. Tholuck, also, in his fifth edition, refers the passage expressly to the whole civilized heathen world which looked down upon the rest of mankind as outside barbarians (1:14).—P. S.]

[109] [Tholuck quotes from Lucan (Phars. viii. 83):

Nos in templa tuam Romana recipimus Isim

Semideosque canes.—P. S.]

[110][παρέδωκε = εἲασε (Chrysostom), or = συνεχώρησε (Theodoret). This interpretation of the Greek fathers was followed by the rationalists, and is contrary to the meaning of the word (see Meyer). It explains nothing, for if God permits the sinner to sink deeper into vice, He does it, of course, with wise intention as a sovereign and righteous Judge.—P. S.]

[111][Calov: “Traditi sunt a Deo non EFFECTIVE, nec solum PERMISSIVE, nec tantum ἐκβατικῶς, sed δικαστικῶς et judicialiter.” So Tholuck, Philippi, Alford (“not merely permissive, but judicial”). Meyer, stronger: “παρέδωκε expresses the real active abandonment (die wirkliche active Preisgebung) on the part of God.” Both the Bible and daily experience teach that sin is punished by sin, as virtue is rewarded by virtue; and this is a Divinely instituted law in perfect harmony with our personal freedom and moral accountability; for man’s will is in every act of sin as well as of obedience, and hence what is represented in one passage as the work of God, is in another passage just as properly represented as the work of man, comp. Eph. 4:19: οἲτινες ἐαυτοὐς παρέδωκαν τῇ ἀσελγεία, κ.τ.λ. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, Exod. 7:13; 9:12; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10; Rom. 9:18, but Pharaoh first hardened his own heart, Exod. 8:15, 32; 9:34, 35, so that God punished him by his own sin. Comp. Doctrinal and Ethical No. 8.—P. S.]

[112][So also Meyer (Erguss der errcgten Pletat), Alford, and others. The doxology is the natural outburst of a holy indignation which puts the sin of idolatry in a more striking light and holds it up to the abhorrence of all pious minds. Comp. similar doxologies 9:5; 1 Tim. 1:17; 2 Tim. 4:18; comp. Gen. 9:26; 14:20; 24:27.—P. S.]

[113][It is in the Bible only applied to God, while μακάριος and the corresponding Hebrew אַשְׁדֵי, happy, is applied to man,

Very rarely to God (only in two passages of the N. T., 1 Tim. 1:11; 6:15). The E. V. renders εὐλογητός (and εὐλογημένος) always and properly blessed, but varies in its translation of μακάριος between happy and blessed; using the latter in those passages where spiritual happiness or the future glory of saints or the blessedness of God is intended, as Ps. 1:1; 31:1. Luke 1:48; Matt. 5:3–11; 1 Tim. 1:11; 6:15; Titus 2:13.—P. S.]

[114][Comp. the fearful and yet truthful description of the horrible vice of παιδεραστία among the highly civilized Greeks, in Döllinger’s learned work: Heidenthum und Judenthum, 1857, p. 684 ff. “Bei den Griechen,” he says, “trill das Laster der Päderastie mit allen Symptomen einer grossen nationalen Krankheit, gleichsam eines ethischen Miasma auf; es zeigt sich als ein Gefühl, das stärker und heftiger wirkte, als die Weiberliebe bei anderen Völkern, massloser, leidenschaftticher in seinen Ausbrüchen war. Rasende Eifersucht, unbedingte Hingebung, sinnliche Gluth, zärtiche Tändelei, nächtliches Weilen vor der Thüre des Geliebten, Alles, was zur Carricatur der natürlichen Geschlechlsliebe gehört, findet sich dabei. Auch die ernstesten Moralisten waren in der Beurtheilung des Verhällnisses höchst nachsichtig, mitunter. mehr als nachsichtig, sie behandelten die Sache häufig mehr mit leichtfertigem Scherze, und duldeten die Schuldigen in ihrer Gesellschaft. In der ganzen Literatur der vorchristlichen Periode ist kaum ein Schriftsteller zu finden, der sich enschieden dagegen erklärt hätte. Vielmehr war die ganze Gesellschaft davon angesteckt, und man athmete das Miasma, so zu sagen, mit der Luft ein.”—P. S.]

[115][Meyer: κατεργάζεσθαι is used in the good as well as the bad sense, but in distinction from ἐργάζεσθαι it always expresses the idea of carrying out, or completing.—P. S.]

[116][The classification, of Dr. Lange is certainly original and ingenious, and decidedly preferable to any other, although perhaps somewhat artificial. The next best classification is that of Bengel in Rom. 1:29: “Tota enumeratio ordinem habet sapientem. per membra novem, in affectibus: duo, in sermone: tria, repectu Dei, et sui, et proximi; et duo, in rebus gerendis: sex, respectu necessitudinum.” He also remarks that ἀδικία, the opposite of justitia, is put first, immisericordia last; justice has life, injustice death; Romans 1:32. But it seems to me that the Apostle, in this catalogue of vices, had regard not so much to systematic order, as to rhetorical effect, with the view to bring out more strikingly the absolute necessity of redemption. It is a rapid accumulation and rising climax to the crisis of the disease, which was the turning-point of the cure. Man’s extremity was God’s opportunity. Christ appeared “in the fulness of time,” just when He was most needed, and when the way for His coming was fully prepared, both negatively by the hopeless corruption of society, and positively by the mission of the law and the promise in Israel, and the aspirations of the better class of heathen.—P. S.]

[117]Romans 1:29.—As πορνεία has already been mentioned, it is here probably inserted for completeness sake by Cod. L. and others, or substituted for πονηρία. See Tischendorf. [It is omitted by N. A. B. C. א., Lachmann, Tischendorf, Alford, Meyer, Lange. It may have arisen from πονηρία, but may as easily have been overlooked on account of the similarity. Where the unnatural πορνεία, which was mentioned before, prevails, the ordinary πορνεία abounds also. Upon the whole, I would retain it.—P. S.]

[118][Philippi likewise refers to the heathen myth of Hades with its punishments, and quotes from Æschylus, Eumenid. Romans 1:259–265.—P. S.]

Lange, John Peter - Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical

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