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Chapter 7

7:1 To men that know the law [ginōskousin nomon]. Dative plural of present active participle of [ginōskō]. The Romans, whether Jews or Gentiles, knew the principle of law. A man [tou anthrōpou]. “The person,” generic term [anthrōpos], not [anēr].

7:2 The wife that hath a husband [hē hupandros gunē]. Late word, under (in subjection to) a husband. Here only in N.T. Is bound [dedetai]. Perfect passive indicative, stands bound. By law [nomōi]. Instrumental case. To the husband while he liveth [tōi zōnti andri]. “To the living husband,” literally. But if the husband die [ean de apothanēi ho anēr]. Third class condition, a supposable case [ean] and the second aorist active subjunctive). She is discharged [katērgētai]. Perfect passive indicative of [katargeō], to make void. She stands free from the law of the husband. Cf. 6:6.

7:3 While the husband liveth [zōntos tou andros]. Genitive absolute of present active participle of [zaō]. She shall be called [chrēmatisei]. Future active indicative of [chrēmatizō], old verb, to receive a name as in Ac 11:26, from [chrēma], business, from [chraomai], to use, then to give an oracle, etc. An adulteress [moichalis]. Late word, in Plutarch, LXX. See on Mt 12:39. If she be joined [ean genētai]. Third class condition, “if she come to.” So that she is no adulteress [tou mē einai autēn moichalida]. It is a fact that [tou] and the infinitive is used for result as we saw in 1:24. Conceived result may explain the idiom here.

7:4 Ye also were made to the law [kai humeis ethanatōthēte]. First aorist indicative passive of [thanatoō], old verb, to put to death (Mt 10:21) or to make to die (extinct) as here and Ro 8:13. The analogy calls for the death of the law, but Paul refuses to say that. He changes the structure and makes them dead to the law as the husband (6:3-6). The relation of marriage is killed “through the body of Christ” as the “propitiation” (3:25) for us. Cf. Col 1:22. That we should be joined to another [eis to genesthai heterōi]. Purpose clause with [eis to] and the infinitive. First mention of the saints as wedded to Christ as their Husband occurs in 1Co 6:13; Ga 4:26. See further Eph 5:22-33. That we might bring forth fruit unto God [hina karpophorēsōmen tōi theōi]. He changes the metaphor to that of the tree used in 6:22.

7:5 In the flesh [en tēi sarki]. Same sense as in 6:19 and 7:18, 25. The “flesh” is not inherently sinful, but is subject to sin. It is what Paul means by being “under the law.” He uses [sarx] in a good many senses. Sinful passions [ta pathēmata tōn hamartiōn]. “Passions of sins” or marked by sins. Wrought [energeito]. Imperfect middle of [energeō], “were active.” To bring forth fruit unto death [eis to karpophorēsai tōi thanatōi]. Purpose clause again. Vivid picture of the seeds of sin working for death.

7:6 But now [nuni de]. In the new condition. Wherein we were holden [en hōi kateichometha]. Imperfect passive of [katechō], picture of our former state (same verb in 1:18). In newness of spirit [en kainotēti pneumatos]. The death to the letter of the law (the old husband) has set us free to the new life in Christ. So Paul has shown again the obligation on us to live for Christ.

7:7 Is the law sin? [ho nomos hamartia?]. A pertinent query in view of what he had said. Some people today oppose all inhibitions and prohibitions because they stimulate violations. That is half-baked thinking. I had not known sin [tēn hamartian ouk egnōn]. Second aorist indicative of [ginōskō], to know. It is a conclusion of a second class condition, determined as unfulfilled. Usually [an] is used in the conclusion to make it plain that it is second class condition instead of first class, but occasionally it is not employed when it is plain enough without as here (Joh 16:22,24). See on Ga 4:15. So as to I had not known coveting (lust), [epithumian ouk ēidein]. But all the same the law is not itself sin nor the cause of sin. Men with their sinful natures turn law into an occasion for sinful acts.

7:8 Finding occasion [aphormēn labousa]. See 2Co 5:12; 11:12; Ga 5:13 for [aphormēn], a starting place from which to rush into acts of sin, excuses for doing what they want to do. Just so drinking men use the prohibition laws as “occasions” for violating them. Wrought in me [kateirgasato en emoi]. First aorist active middle indicative of the intensive verb [katergazomai], to work out (to the finish), effective aorist. The command not to lust made me lust more. Dead [nekra]. Inactive, not non-existent. Sin in reality was there in a dormant state.

7:9 I was alive [ezōn]. Imperfect active. Apparently, “the lost paradise in the infancy of men” (Denney), before the conscience awoke and moral responsibility came, “a seeming life” (Shedd). Sin revived [hē hamartia anezēsen]. Sin came back to life, waked up, the blissful innocent stage was over, “the commandment having come” [elthousēs tēs entolēs], genitive absolute). But I died [egō de apethanon]. My seeming life was over for I was conscious of sin, of violation of law. I was dead before, but I did not know. Now I found out that I was spiritually dead.

7:10 This I found unto death [heurethē moi—hautē eis thanaton]. Literally, “the commandment the one for (meant for) life, this was found for me unto death.” First aorist (effective) passive indicative of [heuriskō], to find, not active as the English has it. It turned out so for me (ethical dative).

7:11 Beguiled me [exēpatēsen me]. First aorist active indicative of [exapataō], old verb, completely [ex] made me lose my way [a] privative, [pateō], to walk). See on 1Co 3:18; 2Co 11:3. Only in Paul in N.T. Slew me [apekteinen]. First aorist active indicative of [apokteinō], old verb. “Killed me off,” made a clean job of it. Sin here is personified as the tempter (Ge 3:13).

7:12 Holy, and righteous, and good [hagia kai dikaia kai agathē]. This is the conclusion (wherefore, [hōste] to the query in verse 7. The commandment is God’s and so holy like Him, just in its requirements and designed for our good. The modern revolt against law needs these words.

7:13 Become death unto me? [emoi egeneto thanatos?]. Ethical dative [emoi] again. New turn to the problem. Admitting the goodness of God’s law, did it issue in death for me? Paul repels [mē genoito] this suggestion. It was sin that (But sin, [alla hē hamartia] “became death for me.” That it might be shown [hina phanēi]. Final clause, [hina] and second aorist passive subjunctive of [phainō], to show. The sinfulness of sin is revealed in its violations of God’s law. By working death to me [moi katergazomenē thanaton]. Present middle participle, as an incidental result. Might become exceedingly sinful [genētai kath’ huperbolēn hamartōlos]. Second aorist middle subjunctive of [ginomai] with [hina] in final clause. On [kath’ huperbolēn], see on 1Co 12:31. Our hyperbole is the Greek [huperbolē]. The excesses of sin reveal its real nature. Only then do some people get their eyes opened.

7:14 Spiritual [pneumatikos]. Spirit-caused and spirit-given and like the Holy Spirit. See 1Co 10:3f. But I am carnal [egō de sarkinos eimi]. “Fleshen” as in 1Co 3:1 which see, more emphatic even than [sarkikos],” a creature of flesh.” Sold under sin [pepramenos hupo tēn hamartian]. Perfect passive participle of [pipraskō], old verb, to sell. See on Mt 13:46; Ac 2:45, state of completion. Sin has closed the mortgage and owns its slave.

7:15 I know not [ou ginōskō]. “I do not recognize” in its true nature. My spiritual perceptions are dulled, blinded by sin (2Co 4:4). The dual life pictured here by Paul finds an echo in us all, the struggle after the highest in us (“what I really wish,” [ho thelō], to practise it steadily, [prassō] and the slipping into doing [poiō] “what I really hate” [ho misō] and yet sometimes do. There is a deal of controversy as to whether Paul is describing his struggle with sin before conversion or after it. The words “sold under sin” in verse 14 seem to turn the scale for the pre-conversion period. “It is the unregenerate man’s experience, surviving at least in memory into regenerate days, and read with regenerate eyes” (Denney).

7:16 I consent unto the law [sunphēmi tōi nomōi]. Old verb, here only in N.T., with associative instrumental case. “I speak with.” My wanting [thelō] to do the opposite of what I do proves my acceptance of God’s law as good [kalos].

7:17 So now [nuni de]. A logical contrast, “as the case really stands.” But sin that dwelleth in me [all’ hē enoikousa en emoi hamartia]. “But the dwelling in me sin.” Not my true self, my higher personality, but my lower self due to my slavery to indwelling sin. Paul does not mean to say that his whole self has no moral responsibility by using this paradox. “To be saved from sin, a man must at the same time own it and disown it” (Denney).

7:18 In me [en emoi]. Paul explains this by “in my flesh” [en tēi sarki mou], the unregenerate man “sold under sin” of verse 14. No good thing [ouk—agathon]. “Not absolutely good.” This is not a complete view of man even in his unregenerate state as Paul at once shows. For to will is present with me [to gar thelein parakeitai moi]. Present middle indicative of [parakeimai], old verb, to lie beside, at hand, with dative [moi]. Only here in N.T. The wishing is the better self, the doing not the lower self.

7:19 But the evil which I would not [alla ho ou thelō kakon]. Incorporation of the antecedent into the relative clause, “what evil I do not wish.” An extreme case of this practise of evil is seen in the drunkard or the dope-fiend.

7:20 It is no more I that do it [ouketi egō katergazomai auto]. Just as in verse 17, “no longer do I do it” (the real [Ego], my better self), and yet there is responsibility and guilt for the struggle goes on.

7:21 The law [ton nomon]. The principle already set forth [ara], accordingly) in verses 18, 19. This is the way it works, but there is no surcease for the stings of conscience.

7:22 For I delight in [sunēdomai gar]. Old verb, here alone in N.T., with associative instrumental case, “I rejoice with the law of God,” my real self “after the inward man” [kata ton esō anthrōpon] of the conscience as opposed to “the outward man” (2Co 4:16; Eph 3:16).

7:23 A different law [heteron nomon]. For the distinction between [heteros] and [allos], see Ga 1:6f. Warring against [antistrateuomenon]. Rare verb (Xenophon) to carry on a campaign against. Only here in N.T. The law of my mind [tōi nomōi tou noos]. The reflective intelligence Paul means by [noos], “the inward man” of verse 22. It is this higher self that agrees that the law of God is good (12, 16, 22). Bringing me into captivity [aichmalōtizonta]. See on this late and vivid verb for capture and slavery Lu 21:24; 2Co 10:5. Surely it is a tragic picture drawn by Paul with this outcome, “sold under sin” (14), “captivity to the law of sin” (23). The ancient writers (Plato, Ovid, Seneca, Epictetus) describe the same dual struggle in man between his conscience and his deeds.

7:24 O wretched man that I am [talaipōros egō anthrōpos]. “Wretched man I.” Old adjective from [tlaō], to bear, and [pōros], a callus. In N.T. only here and Re 3:17. “A heart-rending cry from the depths of despair” (Sanday and Headlam). Out of the body of this death [ek tou sōmatos tou thanatou toutou]. So the order of words demands. See verse 13 for “death” which finds a lodgment in the body (Lightfoot). If one feels that Paul has exaggerated his own condition, he has only to recall 1Ti 1:15 when he describes himself a chief of sinners. He dealt too honestly with himself for Pharisaic complacency to live long.

7:25 I thank God [charis tōi theōi]. “Thanks to God.” Note of victory over death through Jesus Christ our Lord.” So then I myself [ara oun autos egō]. His whole self in his unregenerate state gives a divided service as he has already shown above. In 6:1-7:6 Paul proved the obligation to be sanctified. In 7:7-8:11 he discusses the possibility of sanctification, only for the renewed man by the help of the Holy Spirit.

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