Romans 5
Vincent's Word Studies
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
We have (ἔχομεν)

The true reading is ἔχωμεν let us have; but it is difficult if not impossible to explain it. Godet says: "No exegete has been able satisfactorily to account for this imperative suddenly occurring in the midst of a didactic development." Some explain as a concessive subjunctive, we may have; but the use of this in independent sentences is doubtful. Others give the deliberative sense, shall we have; but this occurs only in doubtful questions, as Romans 6:1. A similar instance is found Hebrews 12:28. "Let us have grace," where the indicative might naturally be expected. Compare also the disputed reading, let us bear, 1 Corinthians 15:49, and see note there.

Peace (εἰρήνην)

Not contentment, satisfaction, quiet, see Philippians 4:7; but the state of reconciliation as opposed to enmity (Romans 5:10).

With God (πρός)

See on with God, John 1:1.

By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Access (προσαγωγὴν)

Used only by Paul. Compare Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 3:12. Lit., the act of bringing to. Hence some insist on the transitive sense, introduction. Compare 1 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 2:13. The transitive sense predominates in classical Greek, but there are undoubted instances of the intransitive sense in later Greek, and some illustrations are cited from Xenophon, though their meaning is disputed.

Into this grace

Grace is conceived as a field into which we are brought. Compare Galatians 1:6; Galatians 5:4; 1 Peter 5:12. The; state of justification which is preeminently a matter of grace.

In hope (ἐπ' ἐλπίδι)

Lit., on the ground of hope.

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

Sharp contrast of glory and tribulation. Tribulations has the article; the tribulations attaching to the condition of believers. Rev., our tribulations.

Patience (ὑπομονὴν)

See on 2 Peter 1:6; see on James 5:7.

And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
Experience (δοκιμήν)

Wrong. The word means either the process of trial, proving, as 2 Corinthians 8:2, or the result of trial, approvedness, Philippians 2:22. Here it can only be the latter: tried integrity, a state of mind which has stood the test. The process has already been expressed by tribulation. Rev. renders probation, which might be defended on the ground of English classical usage. Thus Shakespeare:

"And of the truth herein

This present object made probation.

"Hamlet," i., 1

Jeremy Taylor: "When by miracle God dispensed great gifts to the laity, He gave probation that He intended that all should prophecy and preach."

But probation has come to be understood, almost universally, of the process of trial. The more accurate rendering is proof or approval.

And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Maketh not ashamed (οὑ καταισχύνει)

Mostly in Paul; elsewhere only in Luke 13:17; 1 Peter 2:6; 1 Peter 3:16. Rev., putteth not to shame, thus giving better the strong sense of the word, to disgrace or dishonor.

Is shed abroad (ἐκκέχυται)

Rev. renders the perfect tense; hath been shed abroad. Lit., poured out. Compare Titus 3:6; Acts 2:33; Acts 10:45. See on Jde 1:11.

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
For the ungodly (ὑπὲρ ἀσεβῶν)

It is much disputed whether ὑπέρ on behalf of, is ever equivalent to ἀντί instead of. The classical writers furnish instances where the meanings seem to be interchanged. Thus Xenophon: "Seuthes asked, Wouldst thou, Episthenes, die for this one (ὑπὲρ τούτου)?" Seuthes asked the boy if he should smite him (Episthenes) instead of him (ἀντ' ἐκείνου) So Irenaeus: "Christ gave His life for (ὑπέρ) our lives, and His flesh for (ἀντί) our flesh." Plato, "Gorgias," 515, "If you will not answer for yourself, I must answer for you (ὐπὲρ σοῦ)." In the New Testament Plm 1:13 is cited; ὑπὲρ σου, A.V., in thy stead; Rev., in thy behalf. So 1 Corinthians 15:29, "baptized for the dead (ὑπὲρ τῶν νεκρῶν)." The meaning of this passage, however, is so uncertain that it cannot fairly be cited in evidence. The preposition may have a local meaning, over the dead. None of these passages can be regarded as decisive. The most that can be said is that ὑπέρ borders on the meaning of ἀντί. Instead of is urged largely on dogmatic grounds. In the great majority of passages the sense is clearly for the sake of, on behalf of. The true explanation seems to be that, in the passages principally in question, those, namely, relating to Christ's death, as here, Galatians 3:13; Romans 14:15; 1 Peter 3:18, ὑπέρ characterizes the more indefinite and general proposition - Christ died on behalf of - leaving the peculiar sense of in behalf of undetermined, and to be settled by other passages. The meaning instead of may be included in it, but only inferentially. Godet says: "The preposition can signify only in behalf of. It refers to the end, not at all to the mode of the work of redemption."


The radical idea of the word is, want of reverence or of piety.

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
Righteous - 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.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

See on Romans 3:5. Note the present tense. God continuously establishes His love in that the death of Christ remains as its most striking manifestation.

His love (ἑαυτοῦ)

Rev., more literally, His own. Not in contrast with human love, but as demonstrated by Christ's act of love.

Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
Wrath (τῆς ὀργῆς)

Rev., better, "the wrath of God." the article specifying. See on Romans 12:19.

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Enemies (ἐχθροὶ)

The word may be used either in an active sense, hating God, or passively, hated of God. The context favors the latter sense; not, however, with the conventional meaning of hated, denoting the revengeful, passionate feeling of human enmity, but simply the essential antagonism of the divine nature to sin. Neither the active nor the passive meaning needs to be pressed. The term represents the mutual estrangement and opposition which must accompany sin on man's part, and which requires reconciliation.

We were reconciled to God (καταλλάγημεν τῷ Θεῷ)

The verb means primarily to exchange; and hence to change the relation of hostile parties into a relation of peace; to reconcile. It is used of both mutual and one-sided enmity. In the former case, the context must show on which side is the active enmity.

In the Christian sense, the change in the relation of God and man effected through Christ. This involves, 1. A movement of God toward man with a view to break down man's hostility, to commend God's love and holiness to him, and to convince him of the enormity and the consequence of sin. It is God who initiates this movement in the person and work of Jesus Christ. See Romans 5:6, Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:18, 2 Corinthians 5:19; Ephesians 1:6; 1 John 4:19. Hence the passive form of the verb here: we were made subjects of God's reconciling Acts 2. A corresponding movement on man's part toward God; yielding to the appeal of Christ's self-sacrificing love, laying aside his enmity, renouncing his sin, and turning to God in faith and obedience. 3. A consequent change of character in man; the covering, forgiving, cleansing of his sin; a thorough revolution in all his dispositions and principles. 4. A corresponding change of relation on God's part, that being removed which alone rendered Him hostile to man, so that God can now receive Him into fellowship and let loose upon him all His fatherly love and grace, 1 John 1:3, 1 John 1:7. Thus there is complete reconciliation. See, further, on Romans 3:25, Romans 3:26.

And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
We also joy (καὶ καυχώμενοι)

Lit., but also glorying. The participle corresponds with that in Romans 5:10, being reconciled. We shall be saved, not only as being reconciled, but as also rejoicing; the certainty of the salvation being based, not only upon the reconciliation, but also upon the corresponding joy.

We have now received the atonement (νῦν τὴν καταλλαγὴν ἐλάβομεν)

Now, in contrast with future glory.

Atonement, Rev., properly, reconciliation, the noun being etymologically akin to the verb to reconcile. Atonement at the time of the A.V. signified reconciliation, at-one-ment, the making two estranged parties at one. So Shakespeare:

"He and Aufidius can no more atone

Than violenist contrarieties."

"Coriolanus," iv., 6.

Fuller: "His first essay succeeded so well, Moses would adventure on a second design to atone two Israelites at variance." The word at present carries the idea of satisfaction rather than of reconciliation, and is therefore inappropriate here. The article points to the reconciliation in Romans 5:10. See on Romans 3:24-26.

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Wherefore as

As (ὥσπερ) begins the first member of a comparison. The second member is not expressed, but is checked by the illustration introduced in Romans 5:13, Romans 5:14, and the apostle, in his flow of thought, drops the construction with which he started, and brings in the main tenor of what is wanting by "Adam who is the type," etc. (Romans 5:14).

Entered into

As a principle till then external to the world.

Passed upon (διῆλθεν ἐφ')

Lit., came throughout upon. The preposition διά denotes spreading, propagation, as εἰς into denoted entrance.

For that (ἐφ' ᾧ)

On the ground of the fact that.

(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
Until the law

In the period between Adam and Moses.

Is not imputed (οὐκ ἐλλογεῖται)

Put to account so as to bring penalty. From λόγος an account or reckoning. Only here and Plm 1:18.

Figure (τύπος)

See on 1 Peter 5:3.

Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
Of one (τοῦ ἑνὸς)

Rev., correctly, the one - Adam. So the many.

Much more

Some explain of the quality of the cause and effect: that as the fall of Adam caused vast evil, the work of the far greater Christ shall much more cause great results of good. This is true; but the argument seems to turn rather on the question of certainty. "The character of God is such, from a christian point of view, that the comparison gives a much more certain basis for belief, in what is gained through the second Adam, than in the certainties of sin and death through the first Adam" (Schaff and Riddle).

And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
That sinned (ἁμαρτήσαντος)

The better supported reading. Some MSS. and versions read ἁμαρτήματος transgression.

Of one

Some explain, one man, from the preceding (one) that sinned. Others, one trespass, from Romans 5:17.

The judgment (κρῖμα)

Judicial sentence. Compare 1 Corinthians 6:7; 1 Corinthians 11:29. See on 2 Peter 2:3.

Condemnation (κατάκριμα)

See on shall be damned, Mark 16:16. A condemnatory sentence.

Justification (δικαίωμα)

Not the subjective state of justification, but a righteous act or deed. Revelation 19:8; see on Romans 5:18.

The word is sometimes rendered ordinance, Hebrews 9:1, Hebrews 9:10; an appointment of God having the force of law. So Romans 1:32, where Rev. gives ordinance for judgment, and Romans 2:26, ordinances for righteousness.

For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

The emphatic point of the comparison. The effect of the second Adam cannot fall behind that of the first. If death reigned, there must be a reign of life.

They which receive (οἱ λαμβάνοντες)

Not believingly accept, but simply the recipients.

Abundance of grace

Note the articles, the abundance of the grace.

Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
The offense of one (ἑνὸς παραπτώματος)

Rev., corrects, one trespass.

The righteousness of one (ἑνὸς δικαιώματος)

See on Romans 5:16. Rev., correctly, one act of righteousness.

For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Disobedience (παρακοῆς)

Only here, 2 Corinthians 10:6; Hebrews 9:2. The kindred verb παραλούω to neglect, Rev., refuse, occurs Matthew 18:17. From παρά aside, amiss, and ἀκούω to hear, sometimes with the accompanying sense of heeding, and so nearly equals obey. Παρακοή is therefore, primarily, a failing to hear or hearing amiss. Bengel remarks that the word very appositely points out the first step in Adam's fall - carelessness, as the beginning of a city's capture is the remissness of the guards.

Were made (κατεστάθησαν)

See on James 3:6. Used elsewhere by Paul only at Titus 1:5, in the sense of to appoint to office or position. This is its most frequent use in the New Testament. See Matthew 24:25; Acts 6:3; Acts 7:10; Hebrews 5:1, etc. The primary meaning being to set down, it is used in classical Greek of bringing to a place, as a ship to the land, or a man to a place or person; hence to bring before a magistrate (Acts 17:15). From this comes the meaning to set down as, i.e., to declare or show to be; or to constitute, make to be. So 2 Peter 1:8; James 4:4; James 3:6. The exact meaning in this passage is disputed. The following are the principal explanations: 1. Set down in a declarative sense; declared to be. 2. Placed in the category of sinners because of a vital connection with the first tranegressor. 3. Became sinners; were made. This last harmonizes with sinned in Romans 5:12. The disobedience of Adam is thus declared to have been the occasion of the death of all, because it is the occasion of their sin; but the precise nature of this relation is not explained.

Obedience (ὑπακοῆς)

Note the play on the words, parakoe, hypokoe, disobedience, obedience. Ὑπακοή obedience, is also derived from ἀκούω to hear (see on disobedience) and ὑπό beneath, the idea being submission to what one hears.

Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
The law entered (παρεισῆλθεν)

Rev., literally, came in beside, giving the force of παρά beside. Very significant. Now that the parallel between Adam and Christ is closed, the question arises as to the position and office of the law. How did it stand related to Adam and Christ? Paul replies that it came in alongside of the sin. "It was taken up into the divine plan or arrangement, and made an occasion for the abounding of grace in the opening of the new way to justification and life" (Dwight).

Might abound (πλεονάσῃ)

Not primarily of the greater consciousness and acknowledgment of sin, but of the increase of actual transgression. The other thought, however, may be included. See Romans 7:7, Romans 7:8, Romans 7:9, Romans 7:11.

Did much more abound (ὑπερεπερίσσευσεν)

Lit., abounded over and above. Only here and 2 Corinthians 7:4. Compare ὑπερεπλεόνασε abounded exceedingly, 1 Timothy 1:14; ὑπερπερισσῶς beyond measure, Mark 7:37; ὑπεραυξάνει; groweth exceedingly, 2 Thessalonians 1:3.

That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Unto death (ἐν τῷ θανάτῳ)

Wrong. In death, as Rev. As the sphere or dominion of death's tyranny. Compare Romans 5:14, "death reigned." Some, however, explain the preposition as instrumental, by death. How much is lost by the inaccurate rendering of the prepositions. Ellicott remarks that there are few points more characteristic of the apostle's style than his varied but accurate use of prepositions, especially of two or more in the same or in immediately contiguous clauses. See Romans 3:22; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:16.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord

"And now - so this last word seems to say - Adam has passed away; Christ alone remains" (Godet).

Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent [1886].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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