Romans 7:14
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.

New Living Translation
So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin.

English Standard Version
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.

Berean Study Bible
We know that the Law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.

Berean Literal Bible
For we know that the Law is spiritual; but I am fleshly, having been sold under sin.

New American Standard Bible
For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.

King James Bible
For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Christian Standard Bible
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold as a slave to sin.

Contemporary English Version
We know that the Law is spiritual. But I am merely a human, and I have been sold as a slave to sin.

Good News Translation
We know that the Law is spiritual; but I am a mortal, sold as a slave to sin.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am made out of flesh, sold into sin's power.

International Standard Version
For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am merely human, sold as a slave to sin.

NET Bible
For we know that the law is spiritual--but I am unspiritual, sold into slavery to sin.

New Heart English Bible
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am fleshly, sold under sin.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For we know that The Written Law is spiritual but I am carnal and I am sold to sin.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I know that God's standards are spiritual, but I have a corrupt nature, sold as a slave to sin.

New American Standard 1977
For we know that the Law is spiritual; but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.

Jubilee Bible 2000
For we now know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold unto subjection by sin.

King James 2000 Bible
For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

American King James Version
For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

American Standard Version
For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Darby Bible Translation
For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am fleshly, sold under sin.

English Revised Version
For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Webster's Bible Translation
For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Weymouth New Testament
For we know that the Law is a spiritual thing; but I am unspiritual--the slave, bought and sold, of sin.

World English Bible
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am fleshly, sold under sin.

Young's Literal Translation
for we have known that the law is spiritual, and I am fleshly, sold by the sin;
Study Bible
Struggling with Sin
13Did that which is good, then, become death to me? Certainly not! But in order that sin might be exposed as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful. 14We know that the Law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do. But what I hate, I do.…
Cross References
1 Kings 21:20
When Elijah arrived, Ahab said to him, "So you have found me out, my enemy." He replied, "I have found you out because you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the LORD.

1 Kings 21:25
(Surely there was never one like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the sight of the LORD, incited by his wife Jezebel.

2 Kings 17:17
They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire and practiced divination and soothsaying. They devoted themselves to doing evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger.

Romans 3:9
What then? Are we any better? Not at all. For we have already made the charge that Jews and Greeks alike are all under sin.

Romans 6:6
We know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.

1 Corinthians 3:1
Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual, but as worldly--as infants in Christ.

Galatians 4:3
So also, when we were children, we were enslaved under the basic principles of the world.

Treasury of Scripture

For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

the law.

Leviticus 19:18 You shall not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of …

Deuteronomy 6:5 And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with …

Psalm 51:6 Behold, you desire truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part …

Matthew 5:22,28 But I say to you, That whoever is angry with his brother without …

Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your …

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any …


Romans 7:18,22,23 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: …

Job 42:6 Why I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

Psalm 119:25 My soul sticks to the dust: quicken you me according to your word.

Proverbs 30:2,5 Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding …

Isaiah 6:5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean …

Isaiah 64:5,6 You meet him that rejoices and works righteousness, those that remember …

Luke 5:8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart …

Luke 7:6 Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, …

Luke 18:11-14 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank you, …

Ephesians 3:8 To me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given…


Matthew 16:23 But he turned, and said to Peter, Get you behind me, Satan: you are …

1 Corinthians 3:1-3 And I, brothers, could not speak to you as to spiritual, but as to …


Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

Genesis 37:27,36 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand …

Genesis 40:15 For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and …

Exodus 21:2-6 If you buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the …

Exodus 22:3 If the sun be risen on him, there shall be blood shed for him; for …

1 Kings 21:20,25 And Ahab said to Elijah, Have you found me, O my enemy? And he answered, …

2 Kings 17:17 And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the …

Isaiah 50:1 Thus said the LORD, Where is the bill of your mother's divorce, whom …

Isaiah 52:3 For thus said the LORD, You have sold yourselves for nothing; and …

Amos 2:6 Thus said the LORD; For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, …

Matthew 18:25 But for as much as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be …

(14-25) Further and detailed proof why it was that though the Law appealed to all that was best in man, still he could not obey it.

(14) For we know.--There is no need to argue the question. We Christians all know that the Law is spiritual. It is divinely given and inspired. On the other hand, man, though capable of communion with God, is dominated by that part of his nature which is the direct opposite of divine, and is entirely earthly and sensual. This sensual part of his nature is the slave--and just as much the slave as if he had been sold in the auction mart--of Sin. (Comp. 1Kings 21:20; 1Kings 21:25.)

Verse 14. - For we know (we are all already aware of this; we recognize it as a principle; we can surely have no doubt of it; cf Romans 2:2; Romans 3:10) that the Law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. The statement of ver. 12 is here in effect repeated as being one that cannot be gainsaid with respect to the Law, but with use now of the epithet πνευματικός; and this in opposition to myself being σαρκινός. The new word, πνευματικός, is obviously meant to express a further idea with respect to law, suitable to the line of thought now about to be pursued. Without lingering to mention varying suggestions of various commentators as to the sense in which the Law is here called spiritual, we may offer the following considerations in elucidation. Πνεῦμα and σάρξ are, as is well known, constantly contrasted in the New Testament. The former sometimes denotes the "Holy Spirit of God," and sometimes that highest part in ourselves which is in touch with the Divine Spirit. Σάρξ, though it may, in accordance with its original meaning, sometimes denote our mere bodily organization, is usually used to express our whole present human constitution, mental as well as bodily, considered as apart from the πνεῦμα. When St. Paul in one place distinguishes the constituent elements of human nature, he speaks of πνεῦμα ψυχὴ, and σῶμα (1 Thessalonians 5:23). There ψυχὴ seems to denote the animal life or soul animating the σῶμα for the purposes of mere human life, but distinguished from the πνεῦμα, which associates him with the Divine life. Usually, however, πνεῦμα and σάρξ alone are spoken of; so that the term σάρξ seems to include the ψυχὴ, expressing our whole weak human nature now, apart from the πνεῦμα, which connects us with God (see Galatians 5:17, etc.). That in this and other passages σάρξ does not mean our mere bodily organization only, is further evident from sins not due to mere bodily lusts - such as want of affection, hatred, envy, pride - being called "works of the flesh" (cf. Galatians 5:19-22; 1 Corinthians 3:3). What, then, is meant by the adjective πνευματικός? Applied to man, it is, in 1 Corinthians 3:2, 3, opposed to σαρκικὸς (or σαρκινὸς), and in 1 Corinthians 2:14, to ψυχικὸς (cf. Jude 1:19); the latter word apparently meaning one in whom the ψυχὴ (as above understood), and not the πνεῦμα, dominates. Further, St. Paul (1 Corinthians 15:44) speaks of a σῶμα ψυχικὸν and a πνευματικὸν, meaning by the former a tenement fitted for and adequate to the mere psychic life, and by the latter a new organism adapted for the higher life of the spirit, such as we hope to have hereafter; and in the same passage he uses the neuters, τὸ ψυχικὸν and τὸ πνευματικὸν, with reference to "the first Adam," who was made, or became (ἐγένετο) εἰς ψυχὴν ζῶσαν, and "the last Adam," who was made εἰς πνεῦμα ζωοποιοῦν. Thus πμεῦμα, generally, denotes the Divine, which man apprehends and aspires to, nay, in which he has himself a part in virtue of the original breathing into him of the breath of life (πνοὴν ζωῆς) directly from God (Genesis 3:7), whereby he became a living soul (ἐγένετο εἰς ψυχὴν) for the purposes of his mundane life (itself above that of the brutes), but retained also a share of the Divine πνεῦμα connecting him with God,and capable of being quickened so as to be the dominant principle of his being through contact with the πνεῦμα ζωοποιοῦν. It would seem that the Law is here called πνευματικὸς, as belonging to the Divine sphere of things, and expressive of the Divine order. "The Law, both the moral law in the bosom of man, and the expression of that law in the Decalogue, is, as Augustine profoundly expresses it, a revelation of the higher order of things founded in the being of God. It is hence a πνευματικόν (Tholuck). But man (tἐγὼ δὲ), though still able to admire, nay, to delight in and aspire to, this higher order, cannot yet conform himself to it because of the σάρξ, infected with sin, which at present enthrals him: Ἐγὼ δὲ σαρκινὸς πεπραμένος ὑπὸ τὴν ἁμαρτίαν. Thus is fitly introduced the analysis of human consciousness with reference to law which follows. The word σαρκινὸς (which, rather than σαρκικὸς, is the best-supported reading) may be used to express merely our present constitution Ñ our being of flesh - so as to account for our inability, rather than our being fleshly, or carnally minded, as σαρκικὸς would imply. In two other passages (1 Corinthians 3:1 and Hebrews 7:16) authority is also in favour of σαρκινὸς instead of σαρκικὸς as in the Textus Receptus. Tholuck, however, doubts whether there was, in common usage, a distinction between the meaning of the two forms. The word πεπραμένος ισ significant. It denotes, not our having been originally slaves (vernae), but our having been sold into slavery (capri). Slavery to sin is not the rightful condition of our nature. We are as the Israelites in Egypt, or as the captives in Babylon who remembered Zion. Hence the possibility of deliverance, if we feel the burden of our slavery and long to be free, when the Deliverer comes. For we know that the law is spiritual,.... We who have a spiritual understanding of the law, who have been led into the true nature of it by the Spirit of God, know by experience that that itself is "spiritual"; and therefore can never be the cause of sin or death: the law may be said to be "spiritual", because it comes from the Spirit of God; and reaches to the spirit of man; it requires truth in the inward parts; spiritual service and obedience; a serving of it with our minds; a worshipping of God in spirit and truth; a loving of him with all our hearts and souls, as well as a performance of all the outward acts of religion and duty; and because it cannot be truly obeyed and conformed to without the assistance of the Spirit of God. To this spirituality of the law the apostle opposes himself,

but I am carnal, sold under sin: from hence to the end of the chapter many are of opinion, that the apostle speaks in the person of an unregenerate man, or of himself as unregenerate; but nothing is more clear, than that he speaks all along of himself in the first person, "I am carnal":, &c. , "I myself", as in Romans 7:25, and in the present tense of what he then was and found; whereas, when he speaks of his unregenerate state, and how it was with him under the first convictions of sin, he speaks of them as things past, Romans 7:5; besides, several things which are said by the apostle can neither agree with him, nor any other, but as regenerate; such as to "hate evil", "delight in the law of God", and "serve it with the mind", Romans 7:15. Moreover, the distinctions between flesh and spirit, the inward and the outward man, and the struggle there is between them, are to be found in none but regenerate persons; and to say no more, the thanksgiving for deliverance from sin by Christ can only come from such; nor are any of the things said inapplicable to men that are born again, as will appear by the consideration of them as they follow: for when the apostle says, "I am carnal"; his meaning is, either that he was so by nature, and as he saw himself when sin through the law became exceeding sinful to him; or as he might be denominated from the flesh or corruption of nature which was still in him, and from the infirmities of the flesh he was attended with; just as the Corinthians, though sanctified in Christ Jesus, and called to be saints, are said to be "carnal" on account of their envying, strife, and divisions, 1 Corinthians 3:1, or in comparison of the "spiritual" law of God, which was now before him, and in which he was beholding his face as in a glass, and with which when compared, the holiest man in the world must be reckoned carnal. He adds, "sold under sin"; he did not "sell himself" to work wickedness, as Ahab, 1 Kings 21:25, and others; he was passive and not active in it; and when at any time he with his flesh served the law of sin, he was not a voluntary, but an involuntary servant; besides, this may be understood of his other I, his carnal I, his unrenewed self, the old man which is always under sin, when the spiritual I, the new man, is never under the law of sin, but under the governing influence of the grace of God. 14. For we know that the law is spiritual—in its demands.

but I am carnal—fleshly (see on [2216]Ro 7:5), and as such, incapable of yielding spiritual obedience.

sold under sin—enslaved to it. The "I" here, though of course not the regenerate, is neither the unregenerate, but the sinful principle of the renewed man, as is expressly stated in Ro 7:18.7:14-17 Compared with the holy rule of conduct in the law of God, the apostle found himself so very far short of perfection, that he seemed to be carnal; like a man who is sold against his will to a hated master, from whom he cannot set himself at liberty. A real Christian unwillingly serves this hated master, yet cannot shake off the galling chain, till his powerful and gracious Friend above, rescues him. The remaining evil of his heart is a real and humbling hinderance to his serving God as angels do and the spirits of just made perfect. This strong language was the result of St. Paul's great advance in holiness, and the depth of his self-abasement and hatred of sin. If we do not understand this language, it is because we are so far beneath him in holiness, knowledge of the spirituality of God's law, and the evil of our own hearts, and hatred of moral evil. And many believers have adopted the apostle's language, showing that it is suitable to their deep feelings of abhorrence of sin, and self-abasement. The apostle enlarges on the conflict he daily maintained with the remainder of his original depravity. He was frequently led into tempers, words, or actions, which he did not approve or allow in his renewed judgement and affections. By distinguishing his real self, his spiritual part, from the self, or flesh, in which sin dwelt, and by observing that the evil actions were done, not by him, but by sin dwelling in him, the apostle did not mean that men are not accountable for their sins, but he teaches the evil of their sins, by showing that they are all done against reason and conscience. Sin dwelling in a man, does not prove its ruling, or having dominion over him. If a man dwells in a city, or in a country, still he may not rule there.
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