Romans 5:7
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
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(7-8) What makes the sacrifice of Christ so paradoxical is that it was undergone for sinners. Even for a righteous man it is rare enough to find another who will be ready to lay down his life. Yet some such persons there are. The one thing which is most extraordinary in the death of Christ, and which most tends to throw into relief the love of God as displayed in it, is that He died for men as sinners, and at the very moment when they were sinning all around Him.

(7) Yet peradventure.—The true reading is, undoubtedly, for peradventure.

For a good man.—Literally, for the good (man), i.e., for the good man in question, the righteous man mentioned above. It would be possible to take the phrase “for the good” as neuter rather than masculine, and to understand by it “in a good cause.” It would be possible also to give to the word translated “good” the special meaning of “benefactor”—“a man might be found to die for his benefactor.” But if this had been intended, it might have been more clearly expressed, and upon the whole it seems best to take the passage as it is taken in the English version. There is a slight distinction in the Greek, as in English, between the words translated “righteous” and “good.” To be “righteous” is to direct the will in obedience to an external standard; to be “good” is to have a natural goodness, especially kindness or benevolence of disposition. But this distinction is not insisted upon here. The two words are used almost convertibly.

5:6-11 Christ died for sinners; not only such as were useless, but such as were guilty and hateful; such that their everlasting destruction would be to the glory of God's justice. Christ died to save us, not in our sins, but from our sins; and we were yet sinners when he died for us. Nay, the carnal mind is not only an enemy to God, but enmity itself, chap. 8:7; Col 1:21. But God designed to deliver from sin, and to work a great change. While the sinful state continues, God loathes the sinner, and the sinner loathes God, Zec 11:8. And that for such as these Christ should die, is a mystery; no other such an instance of love is known, so that it may well be the employment of eternity to adore and wonder at it. Again; what idea had the apostle when he supposed the case of some one dying for a righteous man? And yet he only put it as a thing that might be. Was it not the undergoing this suffering, that the person intended to be benefitted might be released therefrom? But from what are believers in Christ released by his death? Not from bodily death; for that they all do and must endure. The evil, from which the deliverance could be effected only in this astonishing manner, must be more dreadful than natural death. There is no evil, to which the argument can be applied, except that which the apostle actually affirms, sin, and wrath, the punishment of sin, determined by the unerring justice of God. And if, by Divine grace, they were thus brought to repent, and to believe in Christ, and thus were justified by the price of his bloodshedding, and by faith in that atonement, much more through Him who died for them and rose again, would they be kept from falling under the power of sin and Satan, or departing finally from him. The living Lord of all, will complete the purpose of his dying love, by saving all true believers to the uttermost. Having such a pledge of salvation in the love of God through Christ, the apostle declared that believers not only rejoiced in the hope of heaven, and even in their tribulations for Christ's sake, but they gloried in God also, as their unchangeable Friend and all-sufficient Portion, through Christ only.For scarcely ... - The design of this verse and the following is, to illustrate the great love of God by comparing it with what man was willing to do. "It is an unusual occurrence, an event which is all that we can hope for from the highest human benevolence and the purest friendship, that one would be willing to die for a good man. There are none who would be willing to die for a man who was seeking to do us injury, to calumniate our character, to destroy our happiness or our property. But Christ was willing to die for bitter foes."

Scarcely - With difficulty. It is an event which cannot be expected to occur often. There would scarcely be found an instance in which it would happen.

A righteous man - A just man; a man distinguished simply for integrity of conduct; one who has no remarkable claims for amiableness of character, for benevolence, or for personal friendship. Much as we may admire such a man, and applaud him, yet he has not the characteristics which would appeal to our hearts to induce us to lay down our lives for him. Accordingly, it is not known that any instance has occurred where for such a man one would be willing to die.

For a righteous man - That is, in his place, or in his stead. A man would scarcely lay down his own life to save that of a righteous man.

Will one die - Would one be will. ing to die.

Yet peradventure - Perhaps; implying that this was an event which might be expected to occur.

For a good man - That is, not merely a man who is coldly just; but a man whose characteristic is that of kindness, amiableness, tenderness. It is evident that the case of such a man would be much more likely to appeal to our feelings, than that of one who is merely a man of integrity. Such a man is susceptible of tender friendship; and probably the apostle intended to refer to such a case - a case where we would be willing to expose life for a kind, tender, faithful friend.

Some would even dare to die - Some would have courage to give his life. Instances of this kind, though not many, have occurred. The affecting case of Damon and Pythias is one. Damon had been condemned to death by the tyrant Dionysius of Sicily, and obtained leave to go and settle his domestic affairs on promise of returning at a stated hour to the place of execution. Pythias pledged himself to undergo the punishment if Damon should not return in time, and deliver himself into the hands of the tyrant. Damon returned at the appointed moment, just as the sentence was about to be executed on Pythias; and Dionysius was so struck with the fidelity of the two friends, that he remitted their punishment, and entreated them to permit him to share their friendship; (Val. Max. 4. 7.) This case stands almost alone. Our Saviour says that it is the highest expression of love among people. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends;" John 15:13. The friendship of David and Jonathan seems also to have been of this character, that one would have been willing to lay down his life for the other.

7. For scarcely for a righteous man—a man of simply unexceptionable character.

will one—"any one"

die: yet peradventure for a good man—a man who, besides being unexceptionable, is distinguished for goodness, a benefactor to society.

some—"some one."

would—rather, "doth."

even dare to die—"Scarce an instance occurs of self-sacrifice for one merely upright; though for one who makes himself a blessing to society there may be found an example of such noble surrender of life" (So Bengel, Olshausen, Tholuck, Alford, Philippi). (To make the "righteous" and the "good" man here to mean the same person, and the whole sense to be that "though rare, the case may occur, of one making a sacrifice of life for a worthy character" [as Calvin, Beza, Fritzsche, Jowett], is extremely flat.)

He amplifies the love of Christ in dying for the ungodly, and shows that it is unparalleled and without example. By a good man you must understand one that is very kind and bountiful, or one that is very useful and profitable; that is, a public and common good. Instances may be given of those that have sacrificed their lives for such. Lilloe stepped between the murderer and king Edward his master. Nicholas Ribische lost his life to preserve Prince Maurice at the siege of Pista.

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die,.... The design of this, and the following verse, is to show that Christ's dying for ungodly persons is an instance of kindness that is matchless and unparalleled. By "a righteous man", is not meant a truly gracious, holy man; nor one that is made righteous by the obedience of Christ; but one that is so in his own eyes, and in the esteem of others, being outwardly moral and righteous before men; who keeps to the letter of the law, and does, as he imagines, what that externally requires: such were the Pharisees among the Jews, who, though they were had in much outward esteem and veneration among the people, yet were rather feared than loved; and it would have been a difficult thing to have found a person that would cheerfully venture, and lay down his life for any of that complexion and cast:

yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. By "a good man", is not meant a man made so by the grace of God, and who is indeed truly and properly the only good man; but a liberal and beneficent man, who was very bountiful in his charitable distributions to the poor, and very liberal in contributing towards the charge of sacrifices, repairs of the temple, &c. and did more this way than what the law obliged to. Now for such a man perhaps there might be some found so daring and hardy, as to venture and lay down their lives, when there was any danger of his, or any necessity for so doing; so great an interest such men had in the affections of the people. And so the Jews (z) distinguish between "a righteous man", and "a good man". They say (a),

"there is a righteous man that is good, and there is a righteous man that is not good; but he that is good for heaven, and the creatures, i.e. for God and men, this is , "a righteous good man"; but he that is good to God, and evil to men, this is , "a righteous man that is not good".''

The whole body of the people of the Jews were divided into three sorts: take a short sentence out of their Talmud (b), not to support the justness of the characters, but for the sake of this threefold division of the people:

"three things are said concerning the paring of the nails, "a righteous man" buries them, "a good man" burns them, "a wicked man" casts them away.''

Now to this division of the people the apostle alludes; and there is in the words a beautiful gradation, scarcely for one of the "righteous men", who does just what he is obliged to do by the law, and no more, will any die; perhaps it may be, that for one of "the good men", who are very liberal to the poor, and towards defraying all the expenses of the temple service, in which they exceed the strict demands of the law, some may be found willing to die; but who will die for the "the wicked and ungodly", the profligate and abandoned part of the people? not one, but Christ died for the ungodly: wherefore if instances could be produced of men's dying either for righteous men, or good men, these would not come up to the instance of Christ's dying for men, who were neither righteous nor good.

(z) Maimon in Misn Pirke Abot, c. 5. sect. 10, 13. Bartenora in Misn. Bava Metzia, c. 4. sect. 6. Juchasin, fol. 12. 2. Kimchi in Psal. iv. 3.((a) T. Bab. Kiddushin, fol. 40. 1.((b) T. Bab. Moed Katon, fol. 18. 1. & Niddah, fol. 17. 1.

{8} For scarcely {g} for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

(8) An amplifying of the love of God towards us, so that we cannot doubt it, who delivered Christ to death for the unjust and for them from whom he could receive no useful thing, and, what is more, for his very enemies. How can it be then that Christ, being now alive, should not save them from destruction whom by his death he justifies and reconciles.

(g) In the place of a just man.

Romans 5:7-8. Illustrative description (γάρ) of this dying ὑπὲρ ἀσεβῶν as the practical demonstration of the divine love (Romans 5:8). Observe the syllogistic relation of Romans 5:8 to Romans 5:7; which is apparent through the emphatic ἑαυτοῦ.

Scarce, namely, for a righteous man (not to mention for ἀσεβεῖς) will any one die. This very contrast to the ἀσεβεῖς completely shuts out the neuter interpretation of δικαίου (“pro re justa,” Melancthon, comp Olshausen, Jerome, Erasmus, Annot. Luther). On account of the same contrast, consequently because of the parallel between ὑπὲρ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ and ὙΠῈΡ ΔΙΚΑΊΟΥ, and because the context generally has to do only with the dying for persons, τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ also is to be taken not as neuter,[1198] but as masculine; and the article denotes the definite ἀγαθός who is in question in the case concerned. Since, moreover, an essential distinction between δίκαιος and ἈΓΑΘΌς (comp on the contrary Matthew 5:45; further, ἈΝῊΡ ἈΓΑΘῸς Κ. ΔΊΚΑΙΟς in Luke 23:50; Ἡ ἘΝΤΟΛῊ ἉΓΊΑ Κ. ΔΙΚΑΊΑ Κ. ἈΓΑΘΉ in Romans 7:12; Ὁ ΔΊΚΑΙΟς ἩΜῖΝ ἈΝΑΠΈΦΑΝΤΑΙ ὬΝ ἈΓΑΘΌς ΤΕ ΚΑῚ ΣΟΦΌς, Aesch. Sept. 576; Eur. Hipp. 427; Thes. fr. viii. 2) is neither implied in the context, where on the contrary the contrast to both is ἀσεβῶν and ἉΜΑΡΤΩΛῶΝ, nor is in the least hinted at by Paul, no explanation is admissible that is based on an essential difference of idea in the two words; such as that ΤΟῦ ἈΓΑΘΟῦ should be held to express something different from or higher than δικαίου. Therefore the following is the only explanation that presents itself as conformable to the words and context: After Paul has said that one will hardly die for a righteous man, he wishes to add, by way of confirmation (ΓΆΡ), that cases of the undertaking such a death might possibly occur, and expresses this in the form: for perhaps for the good man one even takes it upon him to die. Thus the previously asserted ὑπὲρ δικαίου τις ἀποθανεῖται, although one assents to it vix et aegre, is yet said with reason,—it may perhaps occur. Paul has not however written τοῦ δικαίου in the second clause of the verse, as he might have done, but introduces ΤΟῦ ἈΓΑΘΟῦ, and prefixes it, in order now to make still more apparent, in the interest of the contrast, the category of the quality of the person for whom one may perhaps venture this self-sacrifice. This is substantially the view arrived at by Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Erasmus, in the Paraphr., Beza, Calvin (“rarissimum sane inter homines exemplum exstat, ut pro justo mori quis sustineat, quamquam illud nonnunquam accidere possit”), Castalio, Calovius, and others; recently again by Fritzsche (also Oltramare and Reithmayr); formerly also by Hofmann (in his Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 348). It has been wrongly alleged that it makes the second half of the verse superfluous (de Wette) and weakening (Köllner and Rückert); on the contrary, in granting what may certainly now and again occur, it the more emphatically paves the way for the contrast which is to follow, that God has caused Christ to die for quite other persons than the δικαίους and ἈΓΑΘΟῦς—for us sinners. Groundless also is the objection (of van Hengel), that in Paul’s writings the repeated τίς always denotes different subjects; the indefinite τίς, one, any one, may indeed even here represent in the concrete application different subjects or the same. Comp 2 Corinthians 11:20. And, even if ΔΙΚΑΊΟΥ and ΤΟῦ ἈΓΑΘΟῦ be regarded as two distinct conceptions, may not the second ΤΊς be the same with the first? But the perfect accordance with the words and context, which is only found in the exposition offered, shuts out every other. Among the explanations thus excluded are: (1) Those which take τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ as neuter, like the rendering of Jerome, Erasmus, Annot. (“bonitatem”), Luther, Melancthon (“pro bona et suavi re, i. e. incitati cupiditate aut opinione magnae utilitatis”), and more recently Rückert (“for the good, i.e. for what he calls his highest good”), Mehring (“for for his own advantage some one perhaps risks even life”); now also Hofmann (“what is in itself and really good.… a moral value, for which, when it is endangered, one sacrifices life, in order not to let it perish”).—(2) Those explanations which indeed take τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ properly as masculine, but yet give self-invented distinctions of idea in reference to δικαίου; namely (a), the exposition, that ὁ ἀγαθός means the benefactor: hardly does any one die for a righteous man (who stands in no closer relation to him); for for his benefactor one dares perchance (out of gratitude) to die. So Flacius,[1201] Knatchbull, Estius, Hammond, Clericus, Heumann, Wolf, and others; including Koppe, Tholuck, Winer, Benecke, Reiche, Glöckler, Krehl, Maier, Umbreit, Bisping, Lechler and Jatho. They take the article with ἀγαθοῦ as: the benefactor whom he has, against which nothing can be objected (Bernhardy, p. 315). But we may object that we cannot at all see why Paul should not have expressed benefactor by the very current and definite term εὐεργέτης; and that ἈΓΑΘΌς must have obtained the specific sense of beneficence (as in Matthew 20:15; Xen. Cyr. iii. 13, 4, al[1202] ap. Dorvill. a[1203] Charit. p. 722; and Tholuck in loc[1204]) from the context—a want, which the mere article cannot supply (in opposition to Reiche). Hence, in order to gain for ἀγαθός the sense beneficent in keeping with the context, δίκαιος would have to be taken in the narrower sense as just (with Wetstein and Olshausen), so as to yield a climax from the just man to the benevolent (who renders more than the mere obligation of right binds him to do). An apt illustration of this would be Cicero, de off. iii Romans 15 : “Si vir bonus is est, qui prodest quibus potest, nocet nemini, recte justum virum, bonum non facile reperiemus.” But in Romans 5:8 there is no reference to ἀγαθός in the sense assumed; and the narrower sense of δικαίος is at variance with the contrasting ἉΜΑΡΤΩΛῶΝ in Romans 5:8, which demands for ΔΊΚ, precisely the wider meaning (righteous). Besides the prominence which Paul intends to give to the love of God, which caused Christ to die for sinners, while a man hardly dies for a δίκαιος, is weakened just in proportion as the sense of ΔΊΚΑΙΟς is narrowed. The whole interpretation is a forced one, inconsistent with the undefined ΤΟῦ ἈΓΑΘΟῦ itself as well as with the entire context.—(b) No better are the explanations which find in τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ a greater degree of morality than in δικαίου, consequently a man more worthy of having life sacrificed for him. So, but with what varied distinctions! especially Ambrosiaster (the ΔΊΚΑΙΟς is such exercitio, the ἀγαθός natura), Bengel (δίκ. homo innoxius, ὁ ἀγαθός, omnibus pietatis numeris absolutus.… v. g. pater patriae), Michaelis, Olshausen, Köllner (δίκ.: legally just, ἈΓΑΘ.: perfectly good and upright), de Wette (ΔΊΚ.: irreproachable, ἀγαθ.: the noble), Philippi and Th. Schott (both substantially agreeing with de Wette), also van Hengel (δίκ.: probus coram Deo, i. e. venerabilis, ἀγαθ.: bonus in hominum oculis, i. e. amabilis), and Ewald, according to whom. δίκ. is he “who, in a definite case accused unto death, is nevertheless innocent in that particular case,” while the ἀγαθός is “he, who not only in one such individual suit, but predominantly in his whole life, is purely useful to others and guiltless in himself;”[1205] comp Stölting, who finds in ΔΊΚ. the honest upright man, and in ἈΓΑΘΌς him whom we personally esteem and love. But all these distinctions of idea are artificially created and brought in without any hint from the context.[1207]

On τάχα, fortasse, perhaps indeed, expressing possibility not without doubt, comp Xen. Anab. v. 2, 17; Philemon 1:15; Wis 13:6; Wis 14:19. In classic authors most frequently τάχʼ ἄν.

καὶ τολμᾷ] etiam sustinet, he has even the courage,[1209] can prevail upon himself, audet. The καί is the also of the corresponding relation. In presence of the good man, he ventures also to die for him.

We may add, that the words from ὑπὲρ γὰρ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ down to ἈΠΟΘΑΝΕῖΝ are not to be put (with Lachmann) in a parenthesis, since, though they form only a subordinate confirmatory clause, they cause no interruption in the construction.

Romans 5:8. δέ] Not antithetical (“such are men, but such is God,” Mehring), as if the sentence began with ὁ δὲ Θεός, but rather carrying it onward, namely, to the middle term of the syllogism (the minor proposition), from which then the conclusion, Romans 5:9, is designed to result.

συνίστησι] proves, as in Romans 3:25. The accomplished fact of the atoning death is conceived according to its abiding effect of setting forth clearly the divine love; hence the present. The emphasis indeed lies in the first instance on συνίστησι (for from this proof as such a further inference is then to be drawn), but passes on strengthened to ΤῊΝ ἙΑΥΤΟῦ, because it must be God’s own love, authenticating itself in the death of Christ, that gives us the assurance to be expressed in Romans 5:9. God Himself, out of His love for men, has given Christ to a death of atonement; Romans 3:24, Romans 8:32; Ephesians 2:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:16; John 3:16; 1 John 4:10 et al[1210] To find in Τ. ἙΑΥΤΟῦ ἈΓΑΠ. the contrast to our love towards God (Hofmann; comp on Romans 5:5) is quite opposed to the context, which exhibits the divine demonstration of love in Christ’s deed of love. That is the clear relation of Romans 5:8 to Romans 5:6 f., from which then the blessed inference is drawn in Romans 5:9. Hence we are not to begin a new connection with συνίστησι δέ Κ.Τ.Λ[1212] (Hofmann, “God lets us know, and gives us to experience that He loves us; and this He does, because Christ, etc.). The ὅτι cannot be the motive of God for His συνίστησι κ.τ.λ[1213], since He has already given Christ out of love; it is meant on the contrary to specify the actual ground of the knowledge of the divine proof of love (= εἰς ἐκεῖνο, ὅτι, comp on 2 Corinthians 1:18; John 2:18).

ΕἸς ἩΜᾶς] belongs to ΣΥΝΊΣΤ.

.] For only through the atoning death of Christ have we become ΔΙΚΑΙΩΘΈΝΤΕς. See Romans 5:9.

[1198] Köster also in the Stud. u. Krit. 1854, p. 312, has taken both words as neuter: “hardly does one die for others for the sake of their (mere) right; sooner at all events for the sake of the manifestly good, which they have.”

[1201] Clav. I. p. 693. “Vix accidit, ut quis suam vitam profundat pro justissimis; pro eo tamen, qui alicui valde est utilis, forsitan mori non recuset.”

[1202] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[1203] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[1204] n loc. refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[1205] Ewald supposes an allusion to cases like these in 1 Samuel 14:45; 1 Samuel 20:17; but that it is also possible, that Paul might have in view Gentile examples that were known to himself and the readers.

[1207] Kunze, in the Stud u. Krit. 1850, p. 407 ff., also rightly recognises this; but explains the second half, contrary to the words, as if the proposition were expressed conditionally (εἰ καί), “for if even some one lightly ventures to die for the good man, still however God proves his love,” etc. Comp. Erasm. Paraphr.—Märcker explains it in the sense of one friend dying for another; and suggests that Paul was thinking of the example of Damon and Pythias.

[1209] Respecting τολμᾶν see Wetstein, who properly defines it: “quidpiam grave in animum inducere et sibi imperare.” Comp. Stallbaum, ad Plat. Rep. p. 360 B; Monk, ad Eur. Alc. 284; Jacobs in Addit. ad Athen. p. 309 f.

[1210] t al. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[1212] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[1213] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

Romans 5:7. Christ’s death for the ungodly assures us of God’s love; for the utmost that human love will do is far less. ὑπὲρ δικαίου: for a righteous man. Some make both δικαίου and τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ neuter: some who take δικαίου as masculine take τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ as neuter (so Weiss and Godet—“pour un juste, pour le bien”): but as Jowett says, the notion of dying for an abstract idea is entirely unlike the N.T., or the age in which the N.T. was written, while the opposition to Christ’s dying for sinful persons requires that persons should be in question here also. The absence of the article with δικαίου corresponds to the virtually negative character of the clause: it is inserted before ἀγαθοῦ because the exceptional case is definitely conceived as happening. ἀποθανεῖται, gnomic; see Burton, § 69. Unless ἀγαθὸς is meant to suggest a certain advance upon δίκαιος, it is impossible to see in what respect the second clause adds anything to the first. Of course the words are broadly synonymous, so that often they are both applied to the same person or thing (Luke 23:50, Romans 7:12); still there is a difference, and it answers to their application here; it is difficult to die for a just man, it has been found possible (one may venture to affirm) to die for a good man. The difference is like that between “just” and “good” in English: the latter is the more generous and inspiring type of character. Cf. the Gnostic contrast between the “just” God of the O.T. and the “good” God of the N.T., and the passages quoted in Cremer, s.v ἀγαθός. καὶ τολμᾷ: even prevails upon himself, wins it from himself.

7. For, &c.] The connexion is somewhat thus: “He died for the godless: a proof of unequalled love; for hardly will you find any one die for a just, a good, man; you may find such a case, but it will be rare.”—No marked distinction is meant between “just” and “good.” Justice and goodness are equally contrasted with godlessness and sinfulness here. As regards the wording of the verse, it is lit. For hardly for a just man will one die; for for the good man, perhaps, one actually dares to die. The first “for” in the second clause may be explained by a paraphrase: “Death for even a just person is hardly known. I say, hardly known; not quite unknown; for cases of death for one who is good do occur.” The whole point of the verse is that such acts of even such love among men are very rare and very limited indeed. (The translation “for a just cause,” “for that which is good,” is precluded, as Meyer points out, by the personal words in contrast; “the godless,” “sinners.”)

Romans 5:7. Δικαίου. το͂υ ἀγαθο͂υ) Masculines; with which comp. Romans 5:6; Romans 5:8, as Th. Gataker rightly shows, Book 2, Misc. c. 9, but in such a way, that he thinks them to be merely synonymous. When there is any doubt respecting the peculiar force of an expression, and a difference between words, it will be of much advantage if you either suppose something in the meanwhile, or transpose the words. Accordingly, by transposing the words in this passage, we shall read: μόλις γὰρ ὑπὲρ ἀγαθοῦ τις ἀποθανε͂ιται, ὑπὲρ γὰρ δικαίου τάχα τὶς καὶ τολμᾷ ἀποθανε͂ιν, for scarcely for a good man will one die, for peradventure for a righteous man, some one would even dare to die) suppose, to wit, also, that ἀγαθο͂υ is put without the article. You will immediately perceive the disadvantage to the sense, with which this change would be attended, and it will appear evident, that there is both some difference between δίκαιον and ἀγαθὸν, and a great one between δίκαιον and τὸν ἀγαθὸν, wheresoever that difference in the consecutive words may be found hereafter. In fact, the article so placed, makes a climax. Every good man is righteous; but every righteous man is not good. Gregory Thaumaturgus; περὶ πολλο͂υ καὶ ΤΟΥ παντός. Chrysostom; μικρὰ ταῦτα καὶ ΤΟ μηδεν, those things of little importance, and that which is of no importance whatever. The Hebrews call a man צדיק, who performs his lawful duties; חסיד, who performs acts of kindness. The Greeks call the former δίκαιος; the latter, ὃσιος; comp. צדק and ענוה, Zephaniah 2:3, but in this passage we have not ὁσίου, but το͂υ ἀγαθοῦ. Wherefore the distinction between the Hebrew words does not determine the point. But this much is certain, that just as ὅσιος, so also ἀγαθὸς expresses more than δίκαιος. (See Matthew 5:45, and lest they should be thought there also to be merely synonymous, try that same transposition, and it will be seen, that to make mention of the genial sun in connection with the just, and the useful rain in connection with the good, is not so suitable [as the converse order of the original], likewise Luke 23:50.) And so Paul, in this passage, judges τὸν ἀγαθὸν, the good man to be more worthy, that one should die for him, than δίκαιον, a righteous man. Ἀσεβεῖς [Romans 5:6] and ὁ ἀγαθὸς, the ungodly and the good man, also δίκαιος and ἁμαρτωλοὶ [Romans 5:8], a righteous man and sinners, are respectively opposed to each other. What, then, is the result? δίκαιος, indefinitely, implies a harmless [guiltless] man; ὁ ἀγαθὸς, one perfect in all that piety [duty towards God and man] demands, excellent, bounteous, princely, blessed, for example, the father of his country.—ὑπὲρ γὰρ) here γάρ has a disjunctive force, of which we have many examples.—τάχα, τὶς, καὶ, τολμᾷ, peradventure, one, even, dares) These several words amplify that which is stated in Romans 5:8; τάχα (instead of τάχιστα) diminishes the force of the affirmation; τὶς, one, is evidently put indefinitely; nor is it regarded [nor does it enter into the consideration], whether the person, who may die for a just or for the good man, is in a state of wrath or of grace; καἰ, even, concessive, shows, why it is not said simply, dies, as if it were a daily occurrence; but that the writer should rather say, dares to die, inasmuch as it is something great and unusual. τὁλμᾷ, dares, as though it were an auxiliary verb, corresponds to the future, will one die; dares [endures to], ventures.—ἀποθανε͂ιν, to die) Dost thou wish to have the steadiest friends? be a good man.

Romans 5:7Righteous - good (δικαίου - ἀγαθοῦ)

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

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

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