Romans 5

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Romans 5
Fragments c to h containing parts of the Epistle to the Romans in Papyrus 40, written about AD 250.
BookEpistle to the Romans
CategoryPauline epistles
Christian Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Christian part6

Romans 5 is the fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It is authored by Paul the Apostle, while he was in Corinth in the mid-50s AD,[1] with the help of an amanuensis (secretary), Tertius, who adds his own greeting in Romans 16:22.[2]


The original text was written in Koine Greek. This chapter is divided into 21 verses.

Textual witnesses[edit]

Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter are:

Old Testament references[edit]

  • Romans 5:1 references Habakkuk 2:4: "But the just shall live by his faith"

Peace with God through Jesus Christ (5:1–11)[edit]

Romans 5:1 opens a new section in Paul's letter. Scottish Free Church minister William Robertson Nicoll imagines "that a pause comes [...] in [Paul's dictation of] his work; that he is silent, and Tertius puts down the pen, and they spend their hearts awhile on worshipping, recollection and realisation. The Lord delivered up; His people justified; the Lord risen again, alive for evermore – here was matter for love, joy, and wonder".[3]

Paul resumes with "a description of the serene and blissful state which the sense of justification brings":[4]

We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

The Textus Receptus reads εἰρήνην ἔχομεν, eirēnēn echomen, 'we have peace' but some manuscripts read εἰρήνην ἔχωμεν, eirēnēn echōmen, 'let us maintain peace with God' and similarly the Vulgate reads pacem habeamus. Theologian Heinrich Meyer argues that this variant "is here utterly unsuitable; because the writer now enters on a new and important doctrinal topic, and an exhortation at the very outset, especially regarding a subject not yet expressly spoken of, would at this stage be out of place".[5] The New Living Translation speaks of "peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us".[6]

Verse 8[edit]

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

— Romans 5:8, New King James Version[7]

Adam and Christ (5:12–21)[edit]

In chapter 4 the story of Abraham provides the prototype for the doctrine of justification by faith, and in the first part of chapter 5, the justification won by Christ's death is characterized as reconciliation with God.[8] This section deals with the reason that Christ's work alone can save others, because originally it was the action of one individual that affected the standing of all other person, and that individual was Adam.[8] Thus, Paul points out Adam as" precedent" (in form of "counterexample") for "the universality of Christ's atonement".[8]

Verse 12[edit]

Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, so death has spread to all men, because all have sinned.

— Romans 5:12, Modern English Version[9]

On the basis of Genesis 3, Paul argues that "sin came into the world through one man", who is Adam (not Eve), and the ubiquity of sin is proved by "the universality of its consequence, which is "death"" (cf. Genesis 3:3).[10][8]

Verse 13[edit]

For until the law, sin was in the world, but sin is not charged to one’s account when there is no law.

— Romans 5:13, Lexham English Bible[11]

Verse 14[edit]

Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

— Romans 5:14, New King James Version[12]

The law given through Moses actually increases human's culpability, as all humans could transgress the way Adam had transgressed, which is the "disobedience of an explicit commandment" (verses 13–14; cf. Romans 4:15).[13][8]

Verse 18[edit]

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. —Romans 5:18, English Standard Version[14]

Paul contrasts the universal effect of Adam's sinful act and that of Christ's redemptive work. This text has been viewed by some as evidence for universal salvation due to the parallel use of 'all men' (πάντας ἀνθρώπους) in reference to both "condemnation" and "justification".[15] A similar point is made again by Paul in his first letter to the church at Corinth (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:21–22).[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hill 2007, p. 1084.
  2. ^ Donaldson, Terence L. (2007). "63. Introduction to the Pauline Corpus". In Barton, John; Muddiman, John (eds.). The Oxford Bible Commentary (first (paperback) ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 1077. ISBN 978-0199277186.
  3. ^ Expositor's Bible Commentary on Romans 5, accessed 11 September 2016
  4. ^ Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers on Romans 5, accessed 11 September 2016
  5. ^ Meyer's NT Commentary on Romans 5, accessed 11 September 2016
  6. ^ Romans 5:1 New Living Translation
  7. ^ Romans 5:8 NKJV
  8. ^ a b c d e Hill 2007, p. 1094.
  9. ^ Romans 5:12 MEV
  10. ^ Genesis 3:3
  11. ^ Romans 5:13 LEB
  12. ^ Romans 5:14 NKJV
  13. ^ Romans 4:15
  14. ^ Romans 5:18
  15. ^ Daniel O'Brien, "Romans 5:18-19 and Universal Salvation", October 19, 2022.
  16. ^ 1 Corinthians 15:21–22


External links[edit]