Romans 6:17
But God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
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(17) Have obeyed.—Rather, obeyed. (See Note on Romans 6:2.) In like manner correct “have yielded” to “yielded” in Romans 6:19.

That form of doctrine.—That pattern of teaching, or express moral rule of life.

Delivered you.—Literally, to which you were deliveredto the direction of which you were handed over.



Romans 6:17

There is room for difference of opinion as to what Paul precisely means by ‘form’ here. The word so rendered appears in English as type, and has a similar variety of meaning. It signifies originally a mark made by pressure or impact; and then, by natural transitions, a mould, or more generally a pattern or example, and then the copy of such an example or pattern, or the cast from such a mould. It has also the other meaning which its English equivalent has taken on very extensively of late years, such as, for instance, you find in expressions like ‘An English type of face,’ meaning thereby the general outline which preserves the distinguishing characteristics of a thing. Now we may choose between these two meanings in our text. If the Apostle means type in the latter sense of the word, then the rendering ‘form’ is adequate, and he is thinking of the Christian teaching which had been given to the Roman Christians as possessing certain well-defined characteristics which distinguished it from other kinds of teaching-such, for instance, as Jewish or heathen.

But if we take the other meaning, then he is, in true Pauline fashion, bringing in a vivid and picturesque metaphor to enforce his thought, and is thinking of the teaching which the Roman Christians had received as being a kind of mould into which they were thrown, a pattern to which they were to be conformed. And that that is his meaning seems to me to be made a little more probable by the fact that the last words of my text would be more accurate if inverted, and instead of reading, as the Authorised Version does, ‘that form of doctrine which was delivered you,’ we were to read, as the Revised Version does, ‘that form whereunto ye were delivered.’

If this be the general meaning of the words before us, there are three thoughts arising from them to which I turn briefly. First, Paul’s Gospel was a definite body of teaching; secondly, that teaching is a mould for conduct and character; lastly, that teaching therefore demands obedience. Take, then, these three thoughts.

I. First, Paul’s Gospel was a definite body of teaching.

Now the word ‘doctrine,’ which is employed in my text, has, in the lapse of years since the Authorised Version was made, narrowed its significance. At the date of our Authorised translation ‘doctrine’ was probably equivalent to ‘teaching,’ of whatever sort it might be. Since then it has become equivalent to a statement of abstract principles, and that is not at all what Paul means. He does not mean to say that his gospel was a form of doctrine in the sense of being a theological system, but he means to say that it was a body of teaching, the nature of the teaching not being defined at all by the word.

Therefore we have to notice that the great, blessed peculiarity of the Gospel is that it is a teaching, not of abstract dry principles, but of concrete historical facts. From these principles in plenty may be gathered, but in its first form as it comes to men fresh from God it is not a set of propositions, but a history of deeds that were done upon earth. And, therefore, is it fitted to be the food of every soul and the mould of every character.

Jesus Christ did not come and talk to men about God, and say to them what His Apostles afterwards said, ‘God is love,’ but He lived and died, and that mainly was His teaching about God. He did not come to men and lay down a theory of atonement or a doctrine of propitiation, or theology about sin and its relations to God, but He went to the Cross and gave Himself for us, and that was His teaching about sacrifice. He did not say to men ‘There is a future life, and it is of such and such a sort,’ but He came out of the grave and He said ‘Touch Me, and handle Me. A spirit hath not flesh and bones,’ and therefore He brought life and immortality to light, by no empty words but by the solid realities of facts. He did not lecture upon ethics, but He lived a perfect human life out of which all moral principles that will guide human conduct may be gathered. And so, instead of presenting us with a hortus siccus, with a botanic collection of scientifically arranged and dead propositions, He led us into the meadow where the flowers grow, living and fair. His life and death, with all that they imply, are the teaching.

Let us not forget, on the other hand, that the history of a fact is not the mere statement of the outward thing that has happened. Suppose four people, for instance, standing at the foot of Christ’s Cross; four other ‘evangelists’ than the four that we know. There is a Roman soldier; there is a Pharisee; there is one of the weeping crowd of poor women, not disciples; and there is a disciple. The first man tells the fact as he saw it: ‘A Jewish rebel was crucified this morning.’ The second man tells the fact: ‘A blaspheming apostate suffered what he deserved to-day.’ The woman tells the fact: ‘A poor, gentle, fair soul was martyred to-day.’ And the fourth one tells the fact: ‘Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for our sins.’ The three tell the same fact; the fourth preaches the Gospel-that is to say, Christian teaching is the facts plus their explanation; and it is that which differentiates it from the mere record which is of no avail to anybody. So Paul himself in one of his other letters puts it. This is his gospel: Jesus of Nazareth ‘died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and He was buried, and rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures.’ That is what turns the bald story of the facts into teaching, which is the mould for life.

So on the one hand, dear brethren, do not let us fall into the superficial error of fancying that our religion is a religion of emotion and morality only. It is a religion with a basis of divine truth, which, being struck away, all the rest goes. There is a revolt against dogma to-day, a revolt which in large measure is justified as an essential of progress, and in large measure as an instance of progress; but human nature is ever prone to extremes, and in the revolt from man’s dogma there is danger of casting away God’s truth. Christianity is not preserved when we hold by the bare facts of the outward history, unless we take with these facts the interpretation of them, which declares the divinity and the sacrifice of the Son of God.

And on the other hand, let us keep very clear in our minds the broad and impassable gulf of separation between the Christian teaching as embodied in the Scripture and the systems which Christianity has evolved therefrom. Men’s intellects must work upon the pabulum that is provided for them, and a theology in a systematised form is a necessity for the intellectual and reasonable life of the Christian Church. But there is all the difference between man’s inferences from and systematising of the Christian truth and the truth that lies here. The one is the golden roof that is cast over us; the other is too often but the spiders’ webs that are spun across and darken its splendour. It is a sign of a wholesome change in the whole sentiment and attitude of the modern Christian mind that the word ‘doctrine,’ which has come to mean men’s inferences from God’s truth, should have been substituted as it has been in our Revised Version of my text, by the wholesome Christian word ‘teaching.’ The teaching is the facts with the inspired commentary on them.

II. Secondly, notice that this teaching is in Paul’s judgment a mould or pattern according to which men’s lives are to be conformed.

There can be no question but that, in that teaching as set forth in Scripture, there does lie the mightiest formative power for shaping our lives, and emancipating us from our evil.

Christ is the type, the mould into which men are to be cast. The Gospel, as presented in Scripture, gives us three things. It gives us the perfect mould; it gives us the perfect motive; it gives us the perfect power. And in all three things appears its distinctive glory, apart from and above all other systems that have ever tried to affect the conduct or to mould the character of man.

In Jesus Christ we have in due combination, in perfect proportion, all the possible excellences of humanity. As in other cases of perfect symmetry, the very precision of the balanced proportions detracts from the apparent magnitude of the statue or of the fair building, so to a superficial eye there is but little beauty there that we should desire Him, but as we learn to know Him, and live nearer to Him, and get more familiar with all His sweetness, and with all His power, He towers before us in ever greater and yet never repellent or exaggerated magnitude, and never loses the reality of His brotherhood in the completeness of His perfection. We have in the Christ the one type, the one mould and pattern for all striving, the ‘glass of form,’ the perfect Man.

And that likeness is not reproduced in us by pressure or by a blow, but by the slow and blessed process of gazing until we become like, beholding the glory until we are changed into the glory.

It is no use having a mould and metal unless you have a fire. It is no use having a perfect Pattern unless you have a motive to copy it. Men do not go to the devil for want of examples; and morality is not at a low ebb by reason of ignorance of what the true type of life is. But nowhere but in the full-orbed teaching of the New Testament will you find a motive strong enough to melt down all the obstinate hardness of the ‘northern iron’ of the human will, and to make it plastic to His hand. If we can say, ‘He loved me and gave Himself for me’ then the sum of all morality, the old commandment that ‘ye love one another’ receives a new stringency, and a fresh motive as well as a deepened interpretation, when His love is our pattern. The one thing that will make men willing to be like Christ is their faith that Christ is their Sacrifice and their Saviour. And sure I am of this, that no form of mutilated Christianity, which leaves out or falteringly proclaims the truth that Christ died on the Cross for the sins of the world, will ever generate heat enough to mould men’s wills, or kindle motives powerful enough to lead to a life of growing imitation of and resemblance to Him. The dial may be all right, the hours most accurately marked in their proper places, every minute registered on the circle, the hands may be all right, delicately fashioned, truly poised, but if there is no main-spring inside, dial and hands are of little use, and a Christianity which says, ‘Christ is the Teacher; do you obey Him?’ is as impotent as the dial face with the broken main-spring. What we need, and what, thank God, in ‘the teaching’ we have, is the pattern brought near to us, and the motive for imitating the pattern, set in motion by the great thought, ‘He loved me and gave Himself for me.’

Still further, the teaching is a power to fashion life, inasmuch as it brings with it a gift which secures the transformation of the believer into the likeness of his Lord. Part of ‘the teaching’ is the fact of Pentecost; part of the teaching is the fact of the Ascension; and the consequence of the Ascension and the sure promise of the Pentecost is that all who love Him, and wait upon Him, shall receive into their hearts the ‘Spirit of life in Christ Jesus’ which shall make them free from the law of sin and death.

So, dear friends, on the one hand, let us remember that our religion is meant to work, that we have nothing in our creed that should not be in our character, that all our credenda are to be our agenda; everything believed to be something done; and that if we content ourselves with the simple acceptance of the teaching, and make no effort to translate that teaching into life, we are hypocrites or self-deceivers.

And, on the other hand, do not let us forget that religion is the soul of which morality is the body, and that it is impossible in the nature of things that you shall ever get a true, lofty, moral life which is not based upon religion. I do not say that men cannot be sure of the outlines of their duty without Christianity, though I am free to confess that I think it is a very maimed and shabby version of human duty, which is supplied, minus the special revelation of that duty which Christianity makes; but my point is, that the knowledge will not work without the Gospel.

The Christian type of character is a distinct and manifestly separate thing from the pagan heroism or from the virtues and the righteousnesses of other systems. Just as the musician’s ear can tell, by half a dozen bars, whether that strain was Beethoven’s, or Handel’s, or Mendelssohn’s, just as the trained eye can see Raffaelle’s magic in every touch of his pencil, so Christ, the Teacher, has a style; and all the scholars of His school carry with them a certain mark which tells where they got their education and who is their Master, if they are scholars indeed. And that leads me to the last word.

III. This mould demands obedience.

By the very necessity of things it is so. If the ‘teaching’ was but a teaching of abstract truths it would be enough to assent to them. I believe that the three angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles, and I have done my duty by that proposition when I have said ‘Yes! it is so.’ But the ‘teaching’ which Jesus Christ gives and is, needs a good deal more than that. By the very nature of the teaching, assent drags after it submission. You can please yourself whether you let Jesus Christ into your minds or not, but if you do let Him in, He will be Master. There is no such thing as taking Him in and not obeying.

And so the requirement of the Gospel which we call faith has in it quite as much of the element of obedience as of the element of trust. And the presence of that element is just what makes the difference between a sham and a real faith. ‘Faith which has not works is dead, being alone.’ A faith which is all trust and no obedience is neither trust nor obedience.

And that is why so many of us do not care to yield ourselves to the faith that is in Jesus Christ. If it simply came to us and said, ‘If you will trust Me you will get pardon,’ I fancy there would be a good many more of us honest Christians than are so. But Christ comes and says, ‘Trust Me, follow Me, and take Me for your Master; and be like Me,’ and one’s will kicks, and one’s passions recoil, and a thousand of the devil’s servants within us prick their ears up and stiffen their backs in remonstrance and opposition. ‘Submit’ is Christ’s first word; submit by faith, submit in love.

That heart obedience, which is the requirement of Christianity, means freedom. The Apostle draws a wonderful contrast in the context between the slavery to lust and sin, and the freedom which comes from obedience to God and to righteousness. Obey the Truth, and the Truth, in your obeying, shall make you free, for freedom is the willing submission to the limitations which are best. ‘I will walk at liberty for I keep Thy precepts.’ Take Christ for your Master, and, being His servants, you are your own masters, and the world’s to boot. For ‘all things are yours if ye are Christ’s.’ Refuse to bow your necks to that yoke which is easy, and to take upon your shoulders that burden which is light, and you do not buy liberty, though you buy licentiousness, for you become the slaves and downtrodden vassals of the world and the flesh and the devil, and while you promise yourselves liberty, you become the bondsmen of corruption. Oh! then, let us obey from the heart that mould of teaching to which we are delivered, and so obeying, we shall be free indeed.6:16-20 Every man is the servant of the master to whose commands he yields himself; whether it be the sinful dispositions of his heart, in actions which lead to death, or the new and spiritual obedience implanted by regeneration. The apostle rejoiced now they obeyed from the heart the gospel, into which they were delivered as into a mould. As the same metal becomes a new vessel, when melted and recast in another mould, so the believer has become a new creature. And there is great difference in the liberty of mind and spirit, so opposite to the state of slavery, which the true Christian has in the service of his rightful Lord, whom he is enabled to consider as his Father, and himself as his son and heir, by the adoption of grace. The dominion of sin consists in being willingly slaves thereto, not in being harassed by it as a hated power, struggling for victory. Those who now are the servants of God, once were the slaves of sin.But God be thanked - The argument in this verse is drawn from a direct appeal to the feelings of the Roman Christians themselves. From their experience, Paul was able to draw a demonstration to his purpose, and this was with him a ground of gratitude to God.

That ye were ... - The sense of this passage is plain. The ground Of the thanksgiving was not that they had been the slaves of sin; but it is, that notwithstanding this, or although they had been thus, yet that they were now obedient. To give thanks to God that people were sinners, would contradict the whole spirit of this argument, and of the Bible. But to give thanks that although people had been sinners, yet that now they had become obedient; that is, that great sinners had become converted, is in entire accordance with the spirit of the Bible, and with propriety. The word "although" or "whereas," understood here, expresses the sense, "But thanks unto God, that whereas ye were the servants of sin," etc. Christians should thank God that they themselves, though once great sinners, have become converted; and when others who are great sinners are converted, they should praise him.

The servants of sin - This is a strong expression implying that they had been in bondage to sin; that they had been completely its slaves.

From the heart - Not in external form only; but as a cordial, sincere, and entire service. No other obedience is genuine.

That form of doctrine - Greek, type; see the note at Romans 5:14. The form or type of doctrine means that shape or model of instruction which was communicated. It does not differ materially from the doctrine itself, "you have obeyed that doctrine," etc. You have yielded obedience to the instructions, the rules, the tenor of the Christian revelation. The word "doctrine" does not refer to an abstract dogma, but means instruction, that which is taught. And the meaning of the whole expression is simply, that they had yielded a cheerful and hearty obedience to what had been communicated to them by the teachers of the Christian religion; compare Romans 1:8.

Which was delivered you - Margin, "Whereto ye were delivered." This is a literal translation of the Greek; and the sense is simply in which you have been instructed.

17. But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of Sin—that is, that this is a state of things now past and gone.

but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you—rather, "whereunto ye were delivered" (Margin), or cast, as in a mould. The idea is, that the teaching to which they had heartily yielded themselves had stamped its own impress upon them.

But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin: q.d. But as for you, God be thanked, that though once you were the servants of sin, viz. when you were ignorant and unregenerate, yet now you are freed from that bondage, and set at liberty from the power and dominion of sin.

But ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you: this phrase expresses the efficacy of Divine doctrine in the hearts of believers; it changeth and fashioneth their hearts according to its likeness, 2 Corinthians 3:18. Hence in Jam 1:21, it is called an ingrafted word; it turns the heart and life of the hearer into its own nature, as the stock doth the scion that is ingrafted into it. The doctrine of the gospel is the mould, and the hearer is the metal, which, when it is melted and cast into the mould, receives its form and figure. But God be thanked that ye were the servants of sin,.... Not that the apostle must be thought to give thanks to God for that these persons had been the servants of sin, than which nothing is more disagreeable to God, or caused more shame to themselves; but that inasmuch as they had been in the drudgery and service of sin, they were now freed from it. Just as if a person, that has been a slave for some time in Algiers, should bless God, or be thankful to the instrument of his deliverance, that whereas he had been in such slavery, he is now redeemed from it: wherefore it is added,

but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. By "the form of doctrine", is meant the Gospel, which is the "doctrine" of the Scriptures, of Christ and his apostles, and is sound and according to godliness; and is a "form", or contains a summary and compendium of truths, and is a pattern or exemplar, according to which ministers are to preach, and people to hear and receive. So the word which is the same with here, is used by the Jewish (y) writers for a form, copy, pattern, or exemplar of any sort of writings This form of doctrine is "a Cabala", but not like that of the Jews' oral law, or form of traditions (z), handed down, as they say, from one man, and set of men, to another; but this is delivered from the Father to Christ, from Christ to his apostles, and by them to the saints; and "into which they were delivered", as it may be rendered, as into a mould; and so received the impression of it, and were evangelized by it: so such are who have a spirit of Gospel liberty, in opposition to a spirit of bondage; who live by faith on Christ, and not by the works of the law; who derive their comfort from him, and not from anything done by them; whose repentance and obedience are influenced by the grace of God, and who are zealous of good works, without any dependence on them. This form of doctrine was "obeyed" by them; by which is meant, not a mere obedience to the ordinances of the Gospel; nor a bare hearing of the doctrines of it, and giving an assent unto them; but an embracing of them by faith for themselves, so as to lay hold on Christ in them, submit to his righteousness therein revealed, and be willing to be saved by him, and him alone, in his own way; and this is the obedience of faith: the reason why faith is expressed by obedience is, because faith receives truth upon the veracity of God, and not upon the dictates of carnal reason; and is always more or less attended with external obedience to the will of God; and that is rightly performed only by faith. And this obedience did not lie in words, or proceed on mercenary views, and in an hypocritical way; but was "from the heart"; and was real and sincere: and good reason there is why a hearty, cheerful, and voluntary obedience should be yielded to t he Gospel; since it is from God; Christ is the substance of it; it is truth, and the word of our salvation. The Alexandrian copy reads, "from a pure heart"; and the Arabic version, "from the sincerity of your heart"; and the Ethiopic version, "with your whole heart".

(y) T. Bab. Gittin, fol. 26. 1. Bava Bathra, fol. 44. 2. R. Moses Kotzensis Mitzvot Tora, precept. Affirm. 50. (z) Vid. Pirke Abot, c. 1. sect. 1.

{9} But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that {s} form of doctrine which was delivered you.

(9) By nature we are slaves to sin and free from righteousness, but by the grace of God we are made servants to righteousness, and therefore free from sin.

(s) This type of speech has a special meaning in it: for he means by this that the doctrine of the gospel is like a certain mould in which we are cast, to be shaped and fashioned like it.

Romans 6:17. Propositio minor.

χάρις δὲ τῷ Θεῷ, ὅτι] animated expression of piety; “ardor pectoris apostolici,” Bengel. Comp Romans 7:25.

ὍΤΙ ἮΤΕ ΔΟῦΛΟΙ Τ. ἉΜ., ὙΠΗΚ. Κ.Τ.Λ[1467]] ἮΤΕ has emphasis: that ye were slaves of sin (that this condition of bondage is past) etc. Comp Ephesians 5:8. The prefixing of ἦτε, and the non-insertion of a μέν, clearly prove that this is the true interpretation, and not that, by which the main idea is discovered in the second half: “non Deo gratias agit, quod servierint peccato, sed quod, qui servierint peccato, postea obedierunt evangelio,” Grotius. In that case μέν at least would be indispensable in the first clause. The mode of expression is purposely chosen, in order to render more forcibly apparent their earlier dangerous condition (whose further delineation in Romans 6:19, moreover, points to the former heathenism of the readers).

ἐκ καρδίας] οὐδὲ γὰρ ἠναγκάσθητε, οὐδὲ ἐβιάσθητε, ἀλλʼ ἑκόντες μετὰ προθυμίας ἀπέστητε, Chrysostom. Comp Job 8:10; Mark 12:30; Wis 8:21 al[1470]; Theocr. xxix. 4; also ἐκ θυμοῦ, ἐξ εὐμενῶν στέρνων, and similar phrases in Greek writers. The opposite: ἑκ βίας.

εἰς ὃν παρεδ. τύπ. διδ.] may either be resolved: τῷ τύπῳ τῆς διδ., εἰς ὃν παρεδ., with Chrysostom and others, including Rückert, Reiche, Köllner, Tholuck, de Wette, Fritzsche, Winer, and Philippi (see Fritzsche, Diss. II. p. 133, Conject. p. 34; Bornemann, Schol. in Luc. p. 177); or: εἰς τ. τύπ. τῆς διδ., εἰς ὃν παρεδ. (as in Romans 4:17); or: εἰς τ. τύπ. τῆς διδ., ὃν παρεδ. i. e. ὃς παρεδ. ὑμῖν (see Castalio and Grotius on the passage, Kypke, II. p. 167, Ewald and Hofmann). It is decisive in favour of the first mode of resolution that ὑπακούειν εἰς τι is never equivalent to ὑπακούειν τινί;[1471] while to take ὑπηκούσατε absolutely either in the sense of the obedience of faith, Romans 1:5 (Ewald), or in that of absolute obedience (“as obedient servants in contrast to sinful ones,” Hofmann), is inadmissible, because ὑπηκούσατε in its antithetical correlation with ΔΟῦΛΟΙ Τῆς ἉΜΑΡΤΊΑς needs a more precise definition. And this it has precisely in ΕἸς ὋΝ ΠΑΡΕΔΌΘ. Κ.Τ.Λ[1472], which cannot therefore indicate whereunto (Ewald and Hofmann) the ὑπακούειν has taken place,—an artificial farfetched expedient, which is wrung from them, in order to get instead of obedience towards the doctrine obedience as effect of the doctrine (comp Matthew 12:41, where however μετενοήσαν stands by its side, which is in fact of itself a complete conception). The τύπος διδαχῆς, εἰς ὃν παρεδ. is usually (and still by Hofmann) understood of Christian doctrine generally, so far as it is a definite, express form of teaching. But since the singular expression τύπος does not thus appear accounted for, and since the Roman church was undoubtedly planted through the preaching of Pauline Christianity, which is certainly a particular type, different from Judaistic forms of Christian teaching and in various points even contrasting with these, it is preferable to understand by it the distinct expression which the Gospel had received through Paul, consequently the doctrinal form of his Gospel (Romans 2:16, Romans 16:25), in opposition to anti-Paulinism (Rückert, ed. 1, de Wette, comp Philippi). This εἰς ὃν παρεδ. is decisive in favour of the interpretation “form of doctrine” in an objective sense, and against the subjective explanation: image of the doctrine, which is impressed on the heart (Kypke). Following Theodore of Mopsuestia, Oecumenius, Calvin, Grotius, Calovius, and many others, Reiche (as also Olshausen, Reithmayr and Krehl) take τύπος in the sense of exemplar, ideal which the doctrine holds up, consequently in that of the ethical rule, which as model of life is contained in the Gospel (διδαχ.).[1475] This is in harmony neither with the ὑπακούειν nor with the εἰς ὃν παρεδ. Unsuitable to the former is also the interpretation of Beza and others, to which Tholuck inclines, that the evangelical doctrine is “quasi instar typi cujusdam, cui veluti immittamur, ut ejus figurae conformemur.” Van Hengel understands ὑπηκούσατε in the sense of obedience toward God, and εἰς as quod attinet at; Paul in his view says: “obedivistis Deo ad sequendam quam profiteri edocti estis doctrinae formam.” This form of doctrine, to which the Romans were directed at the founding of their church, had been, he conceives, probably more Judaistic than purely Pauline. But against the absolute interpretation of ὑπηκούσ. see above; while the assumption of a τύπος διδαχῆς not truly Pauline is irreconcilable with the expression of thanksgiving, and is not supported by Php 1:15, a passage which is to be explained from the peculiar situation of the Apostle. We may add that Paul aptly specialises the ὑπακοή—which was set forth in the major, in Romans 6:16, quite generally (as obedience to God in general)—at the subsumption in the minor, Romans 6:17, as obedience to his Gospel.

παρεδόθ.] τὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ βοήθειαν αἰνίττεται, Chrysostom. The reference to God, which is also to be observed for the passives in Romans 6:18, is plain from χάρις τῷ Θεῷ. That it is not to be taken as middle (to yield themselves, so Fritzsche) is shown by the same passives in Romans 6:18. Παραδίδωμι either with the dative or with εἰς, in the sense of delivering over to the disposal and power of another, is very current everywhere in Greek literature (Jdt 10:15; Romans 1:26; Xen. Hell. 1, 7, 3; Dem. 515, 6, 1187, 5); but whether in a hostile sense or not, is conveyed not by the expression itself, but simply by the context. To the expression itself the abolition of one’s own self-determination is essential. So also here. The Christian has at his conversion ceased to be sui juris, and has been given over to the morally regulative power of the Gospel. On τύπος διδαχῆς comp Jamblichus, de Pythag. vit. 16 : τῆς παιδεύσεως ὁ τύπος, Plat. Rep. p. 412 B: οἱ τύποι τῆς παιδεἰας, p. 397 C: τύπῳ τῆς λέξεως, Jamblichus l.c[1477] 23: τὸν τύπον τῆς διδασκαλίας, Isoc. Antid. 186: ὁ τύπος τῆς φιλοσοφίας.

[1467] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[1470] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[1471] In the passages quoted by Kypke from Greek authors ὑπακούειν εἰς τι means to obey in reference to something, to be obedient in a matter. Reiche’s judgment of these passages is erroneous. See on 2 Corinthians 2:9.

[1472] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[1475] So probably Chrysostom took it, who explains ὁ τύπος τ. διδαχῆς by ὀρθῶς ζῆν καὶ μετὰ πολιτείας ἀρίστης. So also Theophylact.

[1477] .c. loco citato or laudato.Romans 6:17. Paul thanks God that his readers have already made their choice, and made it for obedience. ὅτι ἦτεὑπηκούσατε δὲ: the co-ordination seems to imply that Paul is grateful (1) that their servitude to sin is pastἦτε having the emphasis; (2) that they have received the Gospel. Yet the two things are one, and it would have been more natural to subordinate the first: “that though ye were slaves of sin, ye obeyed,” etc. ὑπηκούσατε εἰς ὃν παρεδόθητε τύπον διδαχῆς must be resolved into . τῷ τύπῳ τῆς διδαχῆς εἰς ὃν παρεδόθητε. The alternative is εἰς τὸν τύπον τῆς διδαχῆς ὃς παρεδόθη ὑμῖν (Kypke). But ὑπακούειν εἴς τι only means to be obedient with respect to something, not to be obedient to some one, or some thing, which is the sense required here. A true parallel is Cyril of Jerus. Catechet. lect. iv., § iii.: πρὸ δὲ τῆς εἰς τὴν πίστιν παραδόσεως; the catechumens were handed over to the faith. But what is the τύπος διδαχῆς to which the converts at Rome were handed over? Many, in the line of these words of Cyril, conceive of it as a “type of doctrine,” a special mode of presenting the Gospel, which had as catchwords, e.g., “not under law but under grace,” or “free from sin and slaves to righteousness,” or more probably, “dying with Christ and rising with Him”. In other words, Paulinism as modern theology conceives it. But this is an anachronism. It is only modern eyes that see distinct doctrinal types in the N.T., and Paul, as far as he knew (1 Corinthians 15:3-11), preached the same Gospel as the other Apostles. It is unnecessary, also, to the argument. In whatever form the Gospel won the obedience of men, it was inconsistent with their continuance in sin. Hence it seems nearer the truth to take τύπος διδαχῆς in a more general sense; it is teaching, of course in a definite form, but regarded chiefly in its ethical requirements; when received, or when men were handed over to it, it became a moral authority. Cf. Hort, Romans and Ephesians, p. 32 f. What is the time referred to in the aorists ὑπηκούσατε and παρεδόθητε? It is the time when they became Christians, a time really fixed by their acceptance of the Gospel in faith, and outwardly marked by baptism. Baptism is the visible point of separation between the two servitudes—to sin and to God.17. that ye were] i.e. obviously, “that whereas you were, &c.”

servants of sin] Such, without exception, was the former state and position of the justified. They were ruled by the principles, and under the claim, of sin; the will alienated from God, the person liable to doom.

ye have obeyed] Better, ye obeyed; at the time of faith. See note on obedience, Romans 6:16.

from the heart] The words are added as indicating the grand requisite of reality, and as implying the heartiness of the consequent life of holy “bond-service” (see Romans 10:9-10); perhaps too in allusion and contrast to any idea of a forcible subjection which might be suggested by the phrase “ye were delivered over” just below. See next note.

that form of doctrine which was delivered you] This rendering of the Gr. cannot stand. The margin E. V. is correct: the form of doctrine into which yon were delivered. Here we have to ask, (1) what is the “form of doctrine”? The word rendered “form,” (same word as ch. Romans 5:14, but there certainly with different reference), usually means, in St Paul, something guiding or formative—whether fact, principle, or person; (e.g. Php 3:17; and 1 Corinthians 10:6, where literally “figures, types, of us”). The phrase here would thus mean, “the principle, the rule of doctrine;” i.e. that rule of life which the “doctrine” in question, viz. the apostolic teaching, furnishes. Such a reference of the word “form” is specially apt here, since the moral results of faith are now in view. The reference of the phrase to shades and varieties of Christian teaching is certainly wrong; for such a reference would be out of place here, where the subject is the antithesis of the main truths of sin and salvation.—The phrase thus = “The guiding principles learnt from the preaching of the Gospel.”—(2) What is the meaning of “into, or unto, which ye were delivered, or handed over”? The allusion is to that metaphor of slavery which runs through the context. The Christian has been taken, by Divine mercy, from the hands of one Master to be put into the hands of another. The transference is, in one aspect, voluntary, (“yield yourselves,” “from the heart,”) but in another aspect it is the sovereign act of grace. (See Colossians 1:13 for similar imagery). The new Master is here the Ruling-Principle of the Gospel, just as, in Romans 6:16, it was Obedience to that Gospel.Romans 6:17. Χάρις δὲ τῷ Θεῷ, but God be thanked) This is an idiom peculiar to Paul, who usually expresses categorical propositions, not categorically and nakedly, but, as it were, with some modifying qualification, i.e., with an intimation of affection, thanksgiving, prayerful wish for them, etc.—1 Corinthians 14:18; 2 Timothy 2:7, note. The enthymeme[61] of this passage stands thus: you were the servants of sin; but now you have become obedient to righteousness: but there is added the moral mode[62] or moral sentiment, God be thanked, that though ye were the servants of sin, ye have now obeyed righteousness. This mode, however, in this place, implies this also, that this is the blessed state of the Romans, which they ought by all means to maintain. This observation will clearly bring out the meaning of the apostle’s language in many passages, and will show the ardour that was within his breast.—ὃτι, that) so that, with indeed, to be understood, John 3:19.[63]—δοῦλοι, servants) especially in heathenism.—ἐκ καρδίας, from the heart) The truth and efficacy of the Christian religion [lies in its having its root in the heart.] Wicked men cannot be altogether wicked with their whole heart, but even unconsciously and continually repent of their past conduct, and of their slavery to sin; but good men are good from the heart, and without constraint. [It is not any doctrine of men, but the doctrine of God alone, which takes by storm (takes complete possession of) the human heart.—V. g.]—εἰς ὃν) This is the explanation ὙΠΗΚΟΎΣΑΤΕ ΕἸς ΤΎΠΟΝ ΔΙΔΑΧῆς ᾩ or ΕἸς ὋΝ ΠΑΡΕΔΌΘΗΤΕ, comp. ΕἸς, Galatians 1:6; you were obedient to [with respect to, towards] the form of doctrine (comp. εἰς πάντα ὑπήκοοι, obedient in all things, 2 Corinthians 2:9) unto which you were delivered (which was delivered to you). The case of the relative, expressed in abbreviated form,[64] depends on the word preceding, ch. Romans 4:17, or following ch. Romans 10:14.—ΠΑΡΕΔΌΘΗΤΕ, you were delivered) Elsewhere the doctrine is said to be delivered. That phrase is here elegantly inverted, and is a very graceful expression respecting those who, when freed from sin, devote and yield [present] themselves, Romans 6:16, with a great change of masters, to the honourable service of righteousness.—τύπον, form) a very beautiful term, Exodus 25:40. The form meant is the ‘form’ of Christ, Galatians 4:19.—διδαχῆς, of doctrine) That rule and standard, to which the servant conforms himself, is merely shown to him by the doctrine; he does not need to be urged by constraint.

[61] The simple enunciation. See Appendix.

[62] See Appendix, under the title, Modalis Sermo. A proposition not stated nakedly, but with intimation of feeling accompanying it. Instead of the naked statement, “Ye were servants of sin,” Paul says, in the moral mode, “Thanks be to God, that, though ye were servants of sin, ye have now obeyed,” etc.

[63] Light is (indeed) come into the world, and (yet) men loved darkness, etc. So here, = though ye were,—yet now, etc.—ED.

[64] See App., tit. “Concisa Locutio.”Verses 17, 18. - But thanks be to God, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine whereunto ye were delivered. (Not, as in the Authorized Version, which was delivered you). Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. There is no contradiction between what is here said and the fear previously implied lest the persons addressed might still serve sin. He refers them back to the time of their baptism, when he conceives them both to have understood their obligation (cf. ver. 3), and also to have been heartily sincere. The fear was lest they might have relaxed since, perhaps through infection with antinomian teaching. By the "form of doctrine" or "of instruction" (τύπον διδαχῆς) is not at all likely to be meant (as some have supposed) any distinctive type of Christian teaching, such as the Pauline (so Meyer). Usually elsewhere, where St. Paul uses the word τύπος, it is of persons being examples or patterns to others (1 Corinthians 10:6; Philippians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:7; 2 Thessalonians 3:9; 1 Timothy 4:12; Titus 2:7). Somewhat similarly, in Romans 5:14, Adam is τύπος τοῦ μέλλοντος; and in 1 Corinthians 10:6 the things which happened to the Israelites in the wilderness were τύποι to us. These are all the instances of the use of the word in St. Paul's Epistles. Here, therefore, it may be best to understand it (so as to retain the idea of pattern) as the general Christian code into which converts had been indoctrinated, regarded as a norton agendi "Norma ilia et regula, ad quam se conformat servus, tautum ei per doctrinam ostenditur; urgeri eum non opus est" (Bengel on διδαχῆς). That ye were

The peculiar form of expression is explained in two ways; either making the thanksgiving bear only on the second proposition, ye obeyed, etc., and regarding the first as inserted by way of contrast or background to the salutary moral change: or, emphasizing were; ye were the servants of sin, but are so no more. Rev. adopts the former, and inserts whereas.

From the heart

See on Romans 1:21.

Form of doctrine (τύπον διδαχῆς)

Rev., form of teaching. For τύπον, see on 1 Peter 5:3. The Pauline type of teaching as contrasted with the Judaistic forms of Christianity. Compare my gospel, Romans 2:16; Romans 16:25. Others explain as the ideal or pattern presented by the gospel. Form of teaching, however, seems to point to a special and precisely defined type of christian instruction.

Was delivered unto you (εἱς δν παρεδόθητε)

But this rendering is impossible. Render, as Rev., whereunto ye were delivered. For the verb, see on Romans 4:25. They had been handed over to the educative power of this form of teaching.

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