Robertson's Word Pictures in the NT - Greek NT


vers 1.
What shall we say then? "A transition-expression and a debater's phrase" (Morison). The use of this phrase points to Paul's training in the Rabbinical schools, where questions were propounded and the students encouraged to debate, objections being suddenly interposed and answered. Shall we continue (epimenwmen). The verb means primarily to remain or abide at or with, as 1 Cor. xvi. 8; Philip. i. 24; and secondarily, to persevere, as Rom. xi. 23; Col. i. 23. So better here, persist.

vers 3.
Know ye not (agnoeite). The expression is stronger: are ye ignorant. So Rev. The indicative mood presupposes an acquaintance with the moral nature of baptism, and a consequent absurdity in the idea of persisting in sin.

So many as (osoi). Rev., all we who. Put differently from we that (oitinev, ver. 2) as not characterizing but designating all collectively. Baptized into (eiv). See on Matt. xxviii. 19. The preposition. denotes inward union, participation; not in order to bring about the union, for that has been effected. Compare 1 Cor. xii. 12, 13, 27.

Into His death. As He died to sin, so we die to sin, just as if we were literally members of His body. Godet gives an anecdote related by a missionary who was questioning a converted Bechuana on Col. iii. 3. The convert said: "Soon I shall be dead, and they will bury me in my field. My flocks will come to pasture above me. But I shall no longer hear them, and I shall not come forth from my tomb to take them and carry them with me to the sepulchre. They will be strange to me, as I to them. Such is the image of my life in the midst of the world since I believed in Christ."

vers 4.
We are buried with (sunetafhmen). Rev., more accurately, were buried. Therefore, as a natural consequence of death. There is probably an allusion to the immersion of baptism. Compare Col. iii. 3.

Into death. Through the baptism into death referred to in ver. 3. Both A.V. and Rev. omit the article, which is important for the avoidance of the error buried into death.

Glory (doxhv). The glorious collective perfection of God See on iii. 23. Here the element of power is emphasized, which is closely related to the idea of divine glory. See Col. i. 11. All the perfections of God contribute to the resurrection of Christ - righteousness, mercy, wisdom, holiness.

We might walk (peripathswmen). Lit., walk about, implying habitual conduct. See on John xi. 9; 1 John i. 6; 3 John 4; Luke xi. 44.

In newness of life (en kainothti zwhv). A stronger expression than new life. It gives more prominence to the main idea, newness, than would be given by the adjective. Thus 1 Tim. vi. 17, uncertainty of riches; not uncertain riches, as A.V.

vers 5.
We have been planted together (sumfutoi gegonamen). Rev. gives more accurately the meaning of both words. Sumfutoi is not planted, which would be formed from futeuw to plant, while this word is compounded with sun together, and fuw to grow. Gegonaman is have become, denoting process, instead of the simple einai to be. Hence Rev., have become united, have grown together; an intimate and progressive union; coalescence. Note the mixture of metaphors, walking and growing. We shall be also (alla kai esomeqa). It is impossible to reproduce this graphic and condensed phrase accurately in English. It contains an adversative particle ajlla; but. Morison paraphrases: "If we were united with Him in the likeness of His death (that will not be the full extent of the union), but we shall be also united," etc. For similar instances see 1 Corinthians iv. 15; Col. ii. 5.

vers 6.
Old man (o palaiov anqrwpov)., Only in Paul, and only three times; here, Eph. iv. 22; Col. iii. 9. Compare John iii. 3; Tit. iii. 5. The old, unrenewed self. Paul views the Christian before his union with Christ, as, figuratively, another person. Somewhat in the same way he regards himself in ch. 7.

The body of sin (to swma thv amartiav). Swma in earlier classical usage signifies a corpse. So always in Homer and often in later Greek. So in the New Testament, Matt. vi. 25; Mark v. 29; xiv. 8; xv. 43. It is used of men as slaves, Apoc. xviii. 13. Also in classical Greek of the sum-total. So Plato: to tou kosmou swma the sum-total of the world ("Timaeus," 31). The meaning is tinged in some cases by the fact of the vital union of the body with the immaterial nature, as being animated by the yuxh soul, the principle of individual life. Thus Matt. vi. 25, where the two are conceived as forming one organism, so that the material ministries which are predicated of the one are predicated of the other, and the meanings of the two merge into one another.

In Paul it can scarcely be said to be used of a dead body, except in a figurative sense, as Rom. viii. 10, or by inference, 2 Cor. v. 8. Commonly of a living body. It occurs with yuch soul, only 1 Thessalonians v. 23, and there its distinction from yuch rather than its union with it is implied. So in Matt. x. 28, though even there the distinction includes the two as one personality. It is used by Paul:

vers 1.
Of the living human body, Rom. iv. 19; 1 Cor. vi. 13; ix. 27; xii. 12-26.

vers 2.
Of the Church as the body of Christ, Rom. xii. 5; 1 Corinthians xii. 27; Eph. i. 23; Col. i. 18, etc. Sarx flesh, never in this sense.

vers 3.
Of plants and heavenly bodies, 1 Cor. xv. 37, 40.

vers 4.
Of the glorified body of Christ, Philip. iii. 21.

vers 5.
Of the spiritual body of risen believers, 1 Cor. xv. 44. It is distinguished from sarx flesh, as not being limited to the organism of an earthly, living body, 1 Cor. xv. 37, 38. It is the material organism apart from any definite matter. It is however sometimes used as practically synonymous with sarx, 1 Cor. vii. 16, 17; Eph. v. 28, 31; 2 Corinthians iv. 10, 11. Compare 1 Cor. v. 3 with Col. ii. 5. An ethical conception attaches to it. It is alternated with melh members, and the two are associated with sin (Rom. i. 24; vi. 6; vii. 5, 24; viii. 13; Col. iii. 5), and with sanctification (Rom. xii. 1; 1 Cor. vi. 19 sq.; compare 1 Thess. iv. 4; v. 23). It is represented as mortal, Rom. viii. 11; 2 Cor. x. 10; and as capable of life, 1 Corinthians xiii. 3; 2 Cor. iv. 10.

In common with melh members, it is the instrument of feeling and willing rather than sarx, because the object in such cases is to designate the body not definitely as earthly, but generally as organic, Rom. vi. 12, 13, 19; 2 Corinthians v. 10. Hence, wherever it is viewed with reference to sin or sanctification, it is the outward organ for the execution of the good or bad resolves of the will.

The phrase body of sin denotes the body belonging to, or ruled by, the power of sin, in which the members are instruments of unrighteousness (ver. 13). Not the body as containing the principle of evil in our humanity, since Paul does not regard sin as inherent in, and inseparable from, the body (see ver. 13; 2 Cor. iv. 10-12; vii. 1. Compare Matt. xv. 19), nor as precisely identical with the old man, an organism or system of evil dispositions, which does not harmonize with vers. 12, 13, where Paul uses body in the strict sense. "Sin is conceived as the master, to whom the body as slave belongs and is obedient to execute its will. As the slave must perform his definite functions, not because he in himself can perform no others, but because of His actually subsistent relationship of service he may perform no others, while of himself he might belong as well to another master and render other services; so the earthly swma body belongs not of itself to the aJmartia sin, but may just as well belong to the Lord (1 Corinthians vi. 13), and doubtless it is de facto enslaved to sin, so long as a redemption from this state has not set in by virtue of the divine Spirit" (Rom. vii. 24; Dickson).

Destroyed. See on iii. 3.

He that is dead (o apoqanwn). Rev., literally, he that hath died. In a physical sense. Death and its consequences are used as the general illustration of the spiritual truth. It is a habit of Paul to throw in such general illustrations. See vii. 2.

vers 7.
Is freed (dedikaiwtai). Lit., as Rev., is justified; i.e., acquitted, absolved; just as the dead person sins no more, being released from sin as from a legal claim. "As a man that is dead is acquitted and released from bondage among men, so a man that has died to sin is acquitted from the guilt of sin and released from its bondage" (Alford).

vers 8.
We be dead (apeqanomen). The aorist. Rev., correctly, we died. The death is viewed as an event, not as a state.

We believe (pisteuomen). Dogmatic belief rather than trust, though the latter is not excluded.

Shall live with (sunzhsomen). Participation of the believer's sanctified life with the life of Christ rather than participation in future glory, which is not the point emphasized. Compare ver. 11.

vers 10.
In that He died (o gar apeqanen). Lit.. what he died; the death which he died. Compare sin a sin, 1 John v. 16; the life which I live, literally, what I live, Gal. ii. 20.

Once (efapax). More literally, as Rev., in margin, once for all. Compare Heb. vii. 27; ix. 12; x. 10.

vers 12.
Reign (basileuetw). The antithesis implied is not between reigning and existing, but between reigning and being deposed.

Body. Literal, thus according with members, ver: 13.

vers 13.
Yield (paristanete). Put at the service of; render. Rev., present. Compare Luke ii. 22; Acts ix. 41; Rom. xii. 1. See on Acts i. 3. Members (melh). Physical; though some include mental faculties.

Compare Col. iii. 5, where members is expounded by fornication, uncleanness, etc., the physical being a symbol of the moral, of which it is the instrument.

Instruments (opla). The word is used from the earliest times of tools or instruments generally. In Homer of a ship's tackle, smith's tools, implements of war, and in the last sense more especially in later Greek. In the New Testament distinctly of instruments of war (John xviii. 3; 2 Corinthians vi. 7; x. 4). Here probably with the same meaning, the conception being that of sin and righteousness as respectively rulers of opposing sovereignties (compare reign, ver. 12, and have dominion, ver. 14), and enlisting men in their armies. Hence the exhortation is, do not offer your members as weapons with which the rule of unrighteousness may be maintained, but offer them to God in the service of righteousness. Of unrighteousness (adikiav). See on 2 Pet. ii. 13.

Yield (parasthsate). Rev., present. The same word as before, but in a different tense. The present tense, be presenting, denotes the daily habit, the giving of the hand, the tongue, etc., to the service of sin as temptation appeals to each. Here the aorist, as in xii. 1, denotes an act of self-devotion once for all.

As those that are alive (wv zwntav). The best texts read wJsei as if alive. This brings out more clearly the figurative character of the exhortation. 37 From the dead (ek nekrwn). Note the preposition out of. See on Luke xvi. 31.

vers 16.
Servants (doulouv). Every man must choose between two ethical principles. Whichever one he chooses is master, and he is its bond-servant. Compare Matt. vi. 24; vii. 18.

Sin unto death - obedience unto righteousness. The antithesis is not direct - sin unto death, obedience unto life; but obedience is the true antithesis of sin, since sin is disobedience, and righteousness is life.

vers 17.
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 i. 21.

Form of doctrine (tupon didachv). Rev., form of teaching. For tupon, see on 1 Pet. v. 3. The Pauline type of teaching as contrasted with the Judaistic forms of Christianity. Compare my gospel, ii. 16; xvi. 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 (eiv dn paredoqhte). But this rendering is impossible. Render, as Rev., whereunto ye were delivered. For the verb, see on iv. 25. They had been handed over to the educative power of this form of teaching.

vers 19.
After the manner of men (anqrwpinon). Lit., what is human, popularly. He seems to have felt that the figures of service, bondage, etc., were unworthy of the subject, and apologizes for his use of the image of the slave mart to enforce such a high spiritual truth, on the ground of their imperfect spiritual comprehension. Compare 2 Cor. ii. 6; 1 Corinthians iii. 1, 2.

To iniquity unto iniquity (th anomia eiv thn anomian). Iniquity issuing in an abiding iniquitous state. Lit., lawlessness. It is used by John as the definition of sin, 1 John iii. 4.

Holiness (agiasmon). Rev., sanctification. For the kindred adjective agiov holy, see on saints, Acts xxvi. 10. Agiasmov is used in the New Testament both of a process - the inauguration and maintenance of the life of fellowship with God, and of the resultant state of sanctification. See 1 Thess. iv. 3, 7; 2 Thess. ii. 13; 1 Tim. ii. 15; 1 Pet. i. 2; Heb. xii. 14. It is difficult to determine which is meant here. The passages in Thessalonians, Timothy, and Hebrews, are cited by interpreters on both sides. As in ver. 22 it appears that sanctification contemplates a further result (everlasting life), it is perhaps better to understand it as the process. Yield your members to righteousness in order to carry on the progressive work of sanctification, perfecting holiness (1 Corinthians vii. 1).

vers 20.
Free from righteousness (eleuqeroi th dikaiosunh). An ambiguous translation. Better, Rev., free in regard of righteousness. Disengaged (Morison), practically independent of its demands, having offered their service to the opposing power. They could not serve two masters.

vers 21.
Fruit. See on i. 13.

Had ye (eicete). Imperfect tense, denoting continuance. What fruit were ye having during your service of sin?

In the things whereof (ef oiv). Some change the punctuation, and read "What fruit had ye at that time? Things whereof ye are now ashamed." But the majority of the best texts reject this, and besides, the question is of having fruit, not of the quality of the fruit.

vers 23.
Wages (oywnia). From oyon cooked meat, and later, generally, provisions. At Athens especially fish. Hence ojywnion is primarily provision-money, and is used of supplies for an army, see 1 Corinthians ix. 7. The figure of ver. 13 is carried out: Sin, as a Lord to whom they tender weapons and who pays wages.

Death. "Sin pays its serfs by punishing them. Its wages is death, and the death for which its counters are available is the destruction of the weal of the soul" (Morison).

Gift (carisma). Rev., rightly, free gift (compare ch. v. 15). In sharp contrast with wages.

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