Robertson's Word Pictures in the NT - Greek NT


vers 1.
Therefore now. Connecting with vii. 25. Being freed through Jesus Christ, there is therefore no condemnation now.

Condemnation (katakrima). As ch. v. 16, sentence of condemnation. Who walk not, etc. The best texts omit to the end of the verse.

vers 2.
The law of the Spirit of life (o nomov tou pneumatov thv zwhv). The law, the regulative principle; the Spirit, the divine Spirit who inspires the law (compare vii. 14). Of life, proceeding from the life of Jesus and producing and imparting life. Compare John xvi. 15.

In Christ Jesus. Construe with hath made me free. Compare John viii. 36.

vers 3.
What the law could not do (to adunaton tou nomou). Lit., the impossible (thing) of the law. An absolute nominative in apposition with the divine act - condemned sin. God condemned sin which condemnation was an impossible thing on the part of the law. The words stand first in the Greek order for emphasis.

In the likeness of sinful flesh. Lit., of the flesh of sin. The choice of words is especially noteworthy. Paul does not say simply, "He came in flesh" (1 John iv. 2; 1 Tim. iii. 16), for this would not have expressed the bond between Christ's manhood and sin. Not in the flesh of sin, which would have represented Him as partaking of sin. Not in the likeness of flesh, since He was really and entirely human; but, in the likeness of the flesh of sin: really human, conformed in appearance to the flesh whose characteristic is sin, yet sinless. "Christ appeared in a body which was like that of other men in so far as it consisted of flesh, and was unlike in so far as the flesh was not flesh of sin" (Dickson). 42 For sin (peri amartiav). The preposition expresses the whole relation of the mission of Christ to sin. The special relation is stated in condemned. For sin - to atone, to destroy, to save and sanctify its victims.

Condemned. Deposed from its dominion, a thing impossible to the law, which could pronounce judgment and inflict penalty, but not dethrone. Christ's holy character was a condemnation of unholiness. Construe in the flesh with condemned.

vers 4.
Righteousness (dikaiwma). Rev., ordinance. Primarily that which is deemed right, so as to have the force of law; hence an ordinance. Here collectively, of the moral precepts of the law: its righteous requirement. Compare Luke i. 6; Rom. ii. 26; Heb. ix. 1. See on ch. v. 16.

The Spirit (pneuma). From pnew to breathe or blow. The primary conception is wind or breath. Breath being the sign and condition of life in man, it comes to signify life. In this sense, physiologically considered, it is frequent in the classics. In the psychological sense, never. In the Old Testament it is ordinarily the translation of ruach. It is also used to translate chai life, Isa. xxxviii. 12; n'shamah breath, 1 Kings xvii. 17. In the New Testament it occurs in the sense of wind or breath, John iii. 8; 2 Thessalonians ii. 8; Heb. i. 7. Closely related to the physiological sense are such passages as Luke viii. 55; Jas. ii. 26; Apoc. xiii. 15.


  1. Breath, 2 Thess. ii. 8.
  2. The spirit or mind of man; the inward, self-conscious principle which feels and thinks and wills (1 Cor. ii. 11; v. 3; vii. 34; Col. ii. 5).
    In this sense it is distinguished from swma body, or accompanied with a personal pronoun in the genitive, as my, our, his spirit (Rom. i. 9; viii. 16; 1 Cor. v. 4; xvi. 18, etc.). It is used as parallel with yuch soul, and kardia heart. See 1 Cor. v. 3; 1 Thess. ii. 17; and compare John xiii. 21 and xii. 27; Matt. xxvi. 38 and Luke i. 46, 47. But while yuch soul, is represented as the subject of life, pneuma spirit, represents the principle of life, having independent activity in all circumstances of the perceptive and emotional life, and never as the subject.
    Generally, pneuma spirit, may be described as the principle, yuch soul, as the subject, and kardia heart, as the organ of life.
  3. The spiritual nature of Christ. Rom. i. 4; 1 Cor. xv. 45; 1 Timothy iii. 16.
  4. The divine power or influence belonging to God, and communicated in Christ to men, in virtue of which they become pneumatikoi spiritual - recipients and organs of the Spirit. This is Paul's most common use of the word. Rom. viii. 9; 1 Corinthians ii. 13; Gal. iv. 6; vi. 1; 1 Thess. iv. 8. In this sense it appears as:
    a. Spirit of God. Rom. viii. 9, 11, 14; 1 Cor. ii. 10, 11, 12, 14; iii. 16; vi. 11; vii. 40; 2 Cor. iii. 3; Eph. iii. 16. b. Spirit of Christ. Rom. viii. 9; 2 Cor. iii. 17, 18; Galatians iv. 6; Philip. i. 19.
    c. Holy Spirit. Rom. v. 5; 1 Cor. vi. 19; xii. 3; Ephesians i. 13; 1 Thess. i. 5, 6; iv. 8, etc.
    d. Spirit. With or without the article, but with its reference to the Spirit of God or Holy Spirit indicated by the context. Romans viii. 16, 23, 26, 27; 1 Cor. ii. 4, 10; xii. 4, 7, 8, 9; Ephesians iv. 3; 2 Thess. ii. 13, etc.
  5. A power or influence, the character, manifestations, or results of which are more peculiarly defined by qualifying genitives. Thus spirit of meekness, faith, power, wisdom. Rom. viii. 2, 15; 1 Corinthians iv. 21; 2 Cor. iv. 13; Gal. vi. 1; Ephesians i. 17; 2 Tim. i. 7, etc.
    These combinations with the genitives are not mere periphrases for a faculty or disposition of man. By the spirit of meekness or wisdom, for instance, is not meant merely a meek or wise spirit; but that meekness, wisdom, power, etc., are gifts of the Spirit of God. This usage is according to Old Testament analogy. Compare Exod. xxviii. 3; xxxi. 3; xxxv. 31; Isa. xi. 2.
  6. In the plural, used of spiritual gifts or of those who profess to be under spiritual influence, 1 Cor. xii. 10; xiv. 12.
  7. Powers or influences alien or averse from the divine Spirit, but with some qualifying word. Thus, the spirit of the world; another spirit; spirit of slumber. Rom. xi. 8; 1 Cor. ii. 12; 2 Corinthians xi. 4; Eph. ii. 2; 2 Tim. i. 7. Where these expressions are in negative form they are framed after the analogy of the positive counterpart with which they are placed in contrast. Thus Romans viii. 15: "Ye have not received the spirit of bondage, but of adoption. In other cases, as Eph. ii. 2, where the expression is positive, the conception is shaped according to Old-Testament usage, where spirits of evil are conceived as issuing from, and dependent upon, God, so far as He permits their operation and makes them subservient to His own ends. See Judg. ix. 23; 1 Sam. xvi. 14-16, 23; xviii. 10; 1 Kings xxii. 21 sqq.; Isa. xix. 4.

Spirit is found contrasted with letter, Rom. ii. 29; vii. 6; 2 Cor. iii. 6. With flesh, Rom. viii. 1-13; Gal. v. 16, 24.

It is frequently associated with the idea of power (Rom. i. 4; xv. 13, 19; 1 Cor. ii. 4; Gal. iii. 5; Eph. iii. 16; 2 Tim. i. 7); and the verb ejnergein, denoting to work efficaciously, is used to mark its special operation (1 Cor. xii. 11; Eph. iii. 20; Philip. ii. 13; Col. i. 29). It is also closely associated with life, Rom. viii. 2, 6, 11, 13; 1 Cor. xv. 4, 5; 2 Cor. iii. 6; Gal. v. 25; vi. 8. It is the common possession of the Church and its members; not an occasional gift, but an essential element and mark of the christian life; not appearing merely or mainly in exceptional, marvelous, ecstatic demonstrations, but as the motive and mainspring of all christian action and feeling. It reveals itself in confession (1. Corinthians xii. 3); in the consciousness of sonship (Rom. viii. 16); in the knowledge of the love of God (Rom. v. 5); in the peace and joy of faith (Rom. xiv. 17; 1 Thessalonians i. 6); in hope (Rom. v. 5; xv. 13). It leads believers (Rom. viii. 14; Gal. v. 18): they serve in newness of the Spirit (Rom. vii. 6) They walk after the Spirit (Rom. viii. 4, 5; Galatians v. 16-25). Through the Spirit they are sanctified (2 Thess. ii. 13). It manifests itself in the diversity of forms and operations, appearing under two main aspects: a difference of gifts, and a difference of functions. See Rom. viii. 9; 1 Cor. iii. 16; v. 1, 11; xii. 13; Eph. i. 13; iv. 3, 4, 30; Philip. ii. 1; 1 Cor. xii. 4, 7, 11.

As compared with the Old-Testament conception, Paul's pneuma "is the ruach of the Old Testament, conceived as manifesting itself after a manner analogous to, but transcending, its earlier forms. It bears the same characteristic marks of divine origin, of supernatural power, of motive energy in active exercise - standing in intimate relation to the fuller religious life and distinctive character and action of its recipients. But while in the Old Testament it is partial, occasional, intermittent, here it is general, constant, pervading. While in the Old Testament, as well as in the New, its forms of manifestation are diverse, they are expressly referred under the New to one and the same Spirit. While in the Old Testament they contemplate mainly the official equipment of men for special work given them to perform, they include under the New the inward energy of moral action in the individual, no less than the gifts requisite for the edification of the Church; they embrace the whole domain of the religious life in the believer, and in the community to which he belongs. The pneuma of the apostle is not the life-breath of man as originally constituted a creature of God; but it is the life-spirit of "the new creation" in which all things have become new" (Dickson).

With the relation of this word to yuch soul is bound up the complicated question whether Paul recognizes in the human personality a trichotomy, or threefold division into body, soul, and spirit. On the one side it is claimed that Paul regards man as consisting of body, the material element and physical basis of his being; soul, the principle of animal life; and spirit, the higher principle of the intellectual nature. On the other side, that spirit and soul represent different sides or functions of the one inner man; the former embracing the higher powers more especially distinctive of man, the latter the feelings and appetites. The threefold distinction is maintained chiefly on the basis of 1 Thess. v. 23. Compare Heb. iv. 12. 43 On the distinction from yuch soul, see, further, on ch. xi. 3.

vers 5.
They that are (oi ontev). Wider in meaning than walk, which expresses the manifestation of the condition expressed by are.

Do mind (fronousin). The verb primarily means to have understanding; then to feel or think (1 Cor. xiii. 11); to have an opinion (Romans xii. 3). Hence to judge (Acts xxviii. 22; Gal. v. 10; Philip. iii. 15). To direct the mind to something, and so to seek or strive for (Matt. xvi. 23, note; Philip. iii. 19; Col. iii. 2). So here. The object of their thinking and striving is fleshly.

vers 6.
To be carnally minded (to fronhma thv sarkov). Lit., as Rev., the mind of the flesh. Fleshly thinking and striving. Similarly the mind of the Spirit for to be spiritually minded.

vers 7.
Is not subject (ouc upotassetai). See on Jas. iv. 7. Originally to arrange under. Possibly with a shade of military meaning suggested by enmity. It is marshaled under a hostile banner.

vers 10.
The body. The believer's natural body.

The spirit. The believer's human spirit.

vers 13.
Ye shall die (mellete apoqnhskein). The expression is stronger than the simple future of the verb. It indicates a necessary consequence. So Rev., ye must.

Mortify (qanatoute). Put to death.

Deeds (praxeiv). Habitual practices. See on ch. vii. 15; John iii. 21.

vers 14.
Sons (uioi). See on John i. 12; Matt. i. 1. There is an implied contrast with the Jewish idea of sonship by physical descent.

vers 15.
Spirit of bondage (pneuma douleiav) The Holy Spirit, as in Spirit of adoption. The Spirit which ye received was not a spirit of bondage. See ver. 4, under pneuma, 7.

Spirit of adoption (pneuma uioqesiav). The Spirit of God, producing the condition of adoption. Uioqesia adoption, is from uiJov son, and qesiv a setting or placing: the placing one in the position of a son. Mr. Merivale, illustrating Paul's acquaintance with Roman law, says: "The process of legal adoption by which the chosen heir became entitled not only to the reversion of the property but to the civil status, to the burdens as well as the rights of the adopter - became, as it were, his other self, one with him... this too is a Roman principle, peculiar at this time to the Romans, unknown, I believe, to the Greeks, unknown, to all appearance, to the Jews, as it certainly is not found in the legislation of Moses, nor mentioned anywhere as a usage among the children of the covenant. We have but a faint conception of the force with which such an illustration would speak to one familiar with the Roman practice; how it would serve to impress upon him the assurance that the adopted son of God becomes, in a peculiar and intimate sense, one with the heavenly Father" ("Conversion of the Roman Empire").

We cry (krazomen). Of a loud cry or vociferation; expressing deep emotion.

Abba (Abba). Compare Mark xiv. 36. A Syrian term, to which Paul adds the Greek Father. The repetition is probably from a liturgical formula which may have originated among the Hellenistic Jews who retained the consecrated word Abba. Some find here a hint of the union of Jew and Gentile in God. 45

vers 16.
Beareth witness with our spirit (summarturei tw pneumati hmwn). This rendering assumes the concurrent testimony of the human spirit with that of the divine Spirit. Others, however, prefer to render to our spirit, urging that the human spirit can give no testimony until acted upon by the Spirit of God.

Children (tekna). See on John i. 12.

vers 17.
Joint-heirs. Roman law made all children, including adopted ones, equal heritors. Jewish law gave a double portion to the eldest son. The Roman law was naturally in Paul's mind, and suits the context, where adoption is the basis of inheritance.

If so be that (eiper). The conditional particle with the indicative mood assumes the fact. If so be, as is really the case.

Suffer with Him. Mere suffering does not fulfill the condition. It is suffering with Christ. Compare with Him - all things, ver. 32.

vers 18.
I reckon (logizomai). See on 1 Pet. v. 12. It implies reasoning. "I judge after calculation made" (Godet). Compare iii. 28; 2 Cor. xi. 5; Philip. iii. 13.

vers 19.
Earnest expectation (apokaradokia). Only here and Philippians i. 20. From ajpo away kara the head, dokein to watch. A watching with the head erect or outstretched. Hence a waiting in suspense.'Apo from, implies abstraction, the attention turned from other objects. The classical student will recall the watchman in the opening of Aeschylus'"Agamemnon," awaiting the beacon which is to announce the capture of Troy.

Creature (ktisewv). The word may signify either the creative act (as i. 20), or the thing created (Mark x. 6; xiii. 19; xvi. 15; Col. i. 23; Heb. iv. 13). See on 1 Pet. ii. 13. Here in the latter sense. The interpretations vary: 1. The whole unredeemed creation, rational and irrational. 2. All creation, except humanity. The point of difference is the inclusion or exclusion of humanity. The second explanation is preferable, the non-rational creation viewed collectively, animate and inanimate. Equivalent to all nature.

Waiteth (apekdecetai). Only in Paul and Heb. ix. 28. The whole passage, with the expressions waiting, sighing, hoping, bondage, is poetical and prophetic. Compare Psalm xix. 2; Isa. xi. 6; xiv. 8; lv. 12; lxv. 17; Ezek. xxxi. 15; 37.; Hab. ii. 11.

vers 20.
Vanity (mataiothti). Only here, Eph. iv. 17; 2 Pet. ii. 18. Compare the kindred verb became vain (Rom. i. 21 note), and the adjective vain (1 Cor. iii. 20; 1 Pet. i. 18). Vain is also used to render kenov (1 Cor. xv. 14, 58; Eph. v. 6; Jas. ii. 20). Kenov signifies empty; mataiov idle, resultless. Kenov, used of persons, implies not merely the absence of good, but the presence of evil. So Jas. ii. 20. The Greek proverb runs. "The empty think empty things." Mataiov expresses aimlessness. All which has not God for the true end of its being is mataiov. Pindar describes the vain man as one who hunts bootless things with fruitless hopes. Plato ("Laws," 735) of labor to no purpose. Ezek. xiii. 6, "prophesying vain things (mataia)," things which God will not bring to pass. Compare Tit. iii. 9. Here, therefore, the reference is to a perishable and decaying condition, separate from God, and pursuing false ends.

By reason of Him who hath subjected (dia ton upotaxanta). God, not Adam nor Satan. Paul does not use the grammatical form which would express the direct agency of God, by Him who hath subjected, but that which makes God's will the occasion rather than the worker - on account of Him. Adam's sin and not God's will was the direct and special cause of the subjection to vanity. The supreme will of God is thus removed "to a wider distance from corruption and vanity" (Alford).

vers 21.
In hope because (ep elpidi oti), The best texts transfer these words from the preceding verse, and construe with was made subject, rendering oti that instead of because. "The creation was subjected in the hope that," etc. In hope is literally on hope, as a foundation. The hope is that of the subjected, not of the subjector. Nature "possesses in the feeling of her unmerited suffering, a sort of presentiment of her future deliverance" (Godet). Some adopt a very suggestive connection of in hope with waiteth for the manifestation.

Glorious liberty (eleuqerian thv doxhv). Better, and more literally, as Rev., liberty of the glory. Liberty is one of the elements of the glorious state and is dependent upon it. The glory is that in ver. 18. The Greek student will note the accumulation of genitives, giving solemnity to the passage.

vers 22.
For. Introducing the proof of the hope, not of the bondage. Groaneth - travaileth together (sustenazei - sunwdinei). Both only here in the New Testament. The simple verb wjdinw to travail, occurs Gal. iv. 19, 27; Apoc. xii. 2; and the kindred noun wjdin birth-pang, in Matthew and Mark, Acts, and 1 Thess. v. 3. See on Mark xiii. 9; Acts ii. 24. Together refers to the common longing of all the elements of the creation, not to its longing in common with God's children. "Nature, with its melancholy charm, resembles a bride who, at the very moment when she was fully attired for marriage, saw the bridegroom die. She still stands with her fresh crown and in her bridal dress, but her eyes are full of tears" (Schelling, cited by Godet).

vers 24.
By hope (th elpidi). Better in hope. We are saved by faith. See on 1 Peter i. 3.

Hope - not hope. Here the word is used of the object of hope. See Col. i. 5; 1 Tim. i. 1; Heb. vi. 18.

vers 26.
Helpeth (sunantilambanetai). Only here and Luke x. 40, on which see note. "Lambanetai taketh. Precisely the same verb in precisely the same phrase, which is translated 'took our infirmities'," Matt. viii. 17 (Bushnell).

As we ought (kaqo dei). Not with reference to the form of prayer, but to the circumstances: in proportion to the need. Compare 2 Cor. viii. 12; 1 Pet. iv. 13.

Maketh intercession for (uperentugcanei). Only here in the New Testament. The verb ejntugcanw means to light upon or fall in with; to go to meet for consultation, conversation, or supplication. So Acts xxv. 24, "dealt with," Rev., "made suit." Compare Rom. viii. 34; xi. 2; Hebrews vii. 25.

Which cannot be uttered (alalhtoiv). This may mean either unutterable or unuttered..

vers 28.
Work together (sunergei). Or, are working together, now, while the creation is in travail. Together refers to the common working of all the elements included in panta all things.

For good. Jacob cried, all these things are against me. Paul, all things are working together for good.

vers 29.
Did foreknow (proegnw). Five times in the New Testament. In all cases it means foreknow. Acts. xxvi. 5; 1 Pet. i. 20; 2 Pet. iii. 17; Romans xi. 2. It does not mean foreordain. It signifies prescience, not preelection. "It is God's being aware in His plan, by means of which, before the subjects are destined by Him to salvation, He knows whom He has to destine thereto" (Meyer). 46 It is to be remarked:

  1. That proegnw foreknew is used by the apostle as distinct and different from predestinated (prowrisen).
  2. That, strictly speaking, it is coordinate with foreordained. "In God is no before." All the past, present, and future are simultaneously present to Him. In presenting the two phases, the operation of God's knowledge and of His decretory will, the succession of time is introduced, not as metaphysically true, but in concession to human limitations of thought. Hence the coordinating force of kai also.
  3. That a predetermination of God is clearly stated as accompanying or (humanly speaking) succeeding, and grounded upon the foreknowledge.
  4. That this predetermination is to the end of conformity to the image of the Son of God, and that this is the vital point of the passage.
  5. That, therefore, the relation between foreknowledge and predestination is incidental, and is not contemplated as a special point of discussion. God's foreknowledge and His decree are alike aimed at holy character and final salvation.

"O thou predestination, how remote Thy root is from the aspect of all those Who the First Cause do not behold entire! And you, O mortals! hold yourselves restrained In judging; for ourselves, who look on God, We do not known as yet all the elect; And sweet to us is such a deprivation, Because our good in this good is made perfect, That whatsoe'er God wills, we also will" DANTE, "Paradiso," xx., 130-138.

To be conformed (summorfouv). With an inner and essential conformity. See on transfigured, Matt. xvii. 2.

To the image (thv eikonov). See on ch. i. 23. In all respects, sufferings and moral character no less than glory. Compare vers. 18, 28, 31, and see Philip. iii. 21; 1 Cor. xv. 49; 2 Cor. iii. 18; 1 John iii. 2, 3. "There is another kind of life of which science as yet has taken little cognizance. It obeys the same laws. It builds up an organism into its own form. It is the Christ-life. As the bird-life builds up a bird, the image of itself, so the Christ-life builds up a Christ, the image of Himself, in the inward nature of man.... According to the great law of conformity to type, this fashioning takes a specific form. It is that of the Artist who fashions. And all through life this wonderful, mystical, glorious, yet perfectly definite process goes on 'until Christ be formed' in it" (Drummond, "Natural Law in the Spiritual World").

First-born (prwtotokon). See on Apoc. i. 5. Compare Colossians i. 15, 18, note.

vers 32.
Spared (efeisato). Mostly in Paul. Elsewhere only Acts xx. 29; 2 Peter ii. 4, 5. Compare Gen. xxii. 16, which Paul may have had in mind. His own (idiou). See on Acts i. 7; 2 Pet. i. 3, 20.

With Him. Not merely in addition to Him, but all gifts of God are to be received, held, and enjoyed in communion with Christ.

Freely give. In contrast with spared.

vers 33.
Shall lay - to the charge (egkalesei). Only here by Paul. Frequent in Acts. See xix. 38, 40; xxiii. 28, 29; xxvi. 2, 7. Lit., "to call something in one." Hence call to account; bring a charge against.

The following clauses are differently arranged by expositors. I prefer the succession of four interrogatives: Who shall lay? etc. Is it God? etc. Who is He that condemneth? Is it Christ? etc. 47

vers 34.
Rather (mallon). "Our faith should rest on Christ's death. but it should rather also so far progress as to lean on His resurrection, dominion, and second coming" (Bengel). "From the representations of the dead Christ the early believers shrank as from an impiety. To them He was the living, not the dead Christ - the triumphant, the glorified, the infinite, - not the agonized Christ in that one brief hour and power of darkness which was but the spasm of an eternal glorification" (Farrar, "Lives of the Fathers," 1. 14).

vers 37.
We are more than conquerors (upernikwmen). A victory which is more than a victory. "A holy arrogance of victory in the might of Christ" (Meyer).

vers 38.
Powers (arcai). Angelic, higher than mere angels.

Things present (enestwta). Only in Paul and Heb. ix. 9. The verb literally means to stand in sight. Hence to impend or threaten. So 2 Thessalonians ii. 2; 2 Tim. iii. 1; 1 Cor. vii. 26. Used of something that has set in or begun. So some render here. 48 Bengel says: "Things past are not mentioned, not even sins, for they have passed away."

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