Romans 8

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Romans 8
Papyrus 27.png
Epistle to the Romans 8:12–22 in the bigger of two fragments forming Papyrus 27 (recto side), written in the 3rd century.
BookEpistle to the Romans
CategoryPauline epistles
Christian Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Christian part6

Romans 8 is the eighth 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 CE,[1] with the help of an amanuensis (secretary), Tertius, who adds his own greeting in Romans 16:22.[2] Chapter 8 concerns "the Christian's spiritual life."[a][3]

The reformer Martin Luther stated that this chapter is where Paul "comforts fighters" involved in an inner struggle between spirit and flesh:

The Holy Spirit assures us that we are God's children no matter how furiously sin may rage within us, so long as we follow the Spirit and struggle against sin in order to kill it.[4]

Text[edit]

The original text was written in Koine Greek. This chapter is divided into 39 verses.

Textual witnesses[edit]

Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter are:

Old Testament references[edit]

The Spirit of life (8:1–13)[edit]

This part deals with the Christian's deliverance from condemnation, which is the penalty of death because of the sin people are living under, by virtue of believers' union with Christ (Romans 5:12–21).[6]

Verse 1[edit]

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.[7]

The discourse in the previous chapter continues in Romans 8:1 with the illative word Greek: ἄρα (ara), generally translated as so or therefore,[8] or consequently in Thayer's Greek Lexicon.[9] The vocabulary and the content of verse 1 point back to the end of chapter 5 as the basis of the conclusion which Paul starts with therefore.[6] Paul argues that Christians are set free from the condemnation (katakrima, cf. verses 16 and 18) caused by Adam because they have been joined to Jesus Christ.[6] This he iterates after his digression in chapters 67.[6]

Methodist founder John Wesley concurs that Paul "resumes the thread of his discourse" from Romans 7:1–7, following a digression (in Romans 7:8–25) regarding sin and the Mosaic Law:[10]

By dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit (Romans 7:7)

whereas theologians Heinrich Meyer and Harold Buls are content to link the inference with the immediately preceding text:

Greek: αυτος εγω τω μεν νοι δουλευω νομω θεου τη δε σαρκι νομω αμαρτιας":
I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin (Romans 7:25).[11]

Buls explains that Paul's "real self" serving God is his mind and not his flesh.[12]

Meyer goes on to distinguish between two alternative readings of There is ... now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus:

  • now, after Christ (as deliverer from the law of sin, Romans 8:2), has interposed, there is no condemnation ...

or

  • one must be in Christ, in order to get rid of every condemnation.

He prefers the former reading "as a matter of fact that has become historical" rather than the latter reading, attributed to Lutheran theologian Johann Hofmann.[13]

The Spirit of adoption (8:14–17)[edit]

Continuing the theme of 'life' in verses 1–13, the following paragraph (verses 14–17) deals with 'sonship', describing 'the wonderful and comforting truth that Christians have been adopted into God's own family, so God's Spirit can confer life on us (13–14) and we can be heirs with a glorious prospect for the future (17–18).[14] Thus, this short passage provides a transition between the previous and the next part.[14]

The Spirit of glory (8:18–30)[edit]

In this part Paul further develops his whole theme of Christian assurance, which he started in chapter 5, elaborating on the Christian's hope of glory, based on the knowledge that 'God has determined to bring us though to our inheritance (18–22, 29–30), providentially working on behalf of his children (verse 28) and having given his Spirit as the guarantee for their final redemption (verse 30).[14]

God's everlasting love (8:31–39)[edit]

Anglican Bishop Charles Ellicott describes the final section of this chapter (Romans 8:31–39) as "a sublime and triumphant conclusion" and Erasmus of Rotterdam remarks that "Cicero never said anything grander".[15]

Verse 31[edit]

What shall we then say to these things?
If God be for us, who can be against us?[16]
Greek NT: τί οὖν ἐροῦμεν πρὸς ταῦτα (Ti oun eroumen pros tauta)
εἰ ὁ θεὸς ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν τίς καθ' ἡμῶν (ei ho Theos hyper hēmōn tis kath’ hēmōn)[17]
  • "These things" (Greek: tauta[17]): The Living Bible translates as "these wonderful things".[18] By "these things", according to William Reed Newell, "Paul evidently indicates not only the whole process of our salvation by Christ, from chapter three onward, with that great deliverance by the help of the Holy Spirit set forth in this eighth chapter ... but also ... what he has been telling us of the purpose of God: "Whom He foreknew, foreordained, called, justified, glorified!"[19]

Verse 32[edit]

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?[20]

Hill regards this verse 32 'especially poignant' as it borrows the language from the account of the binding of Isaac in Genesis 22 (22:12: you have not withheld your son, your only son), but God made the sacrifice, that even Abraham was spared.[21]

Verse 35[edit]

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?[22]

The first part of this verse, either in its full form (Latin: Quis ergo nos separabit a caritate Christi?) or shortened as Quis separabit?, is often used as a motto. The list of hardship (KJV: "tribulation")... or sword recalls the real afflictions that the people of Israel experienced in history, as summarized in the quote in verse 36.[23]

Verse 36[edit]

As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."[24]

The citation from Psalm 44:22[23] in Greek is exactly as in the Septuagint (numbered as Psalm 43:22).[13]

More than conquerors[edit]

Verse 37[edit]

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.[25]
  • "We are more than conquerors" translated from a single Greek word ὑπερνικῶμεν, hypernikōmen, a word probably coined by Paul himself, 'who loves compounds with ὑπέρ'.[26] The Vulgate renders it in Latin as superamus, but Cyprian supervincimus.[26] Later Greek writers distinguish νικᾶν and ὑπερνικᾶν, and justify the current rendering. To define in what the “more” consists, the answer must be sought on the line indicated in the note on ἕνεκεν σοῦ ("for your sake") in verse 36, that is, these trials not only do not cut the believers off from Christ’s love, but actually give them 'more intimate and thrilling experiences' from it.[26]

A hymn to God's love[edit]

Verses 38–39[edit]

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.[27]

The Jerusalem Bible suggests that the "powers", "heights" and "depths" were "probably the mysterious cosmic forces which to the mind of antiquity were in general hostile to mankind".[28]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ According to Jerusalem Bible's sub-heading for Romans 8

References[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. ^ Romans - Jerusalem Bible
  4. ^ Luther, M. Preface to the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans, translated by Andrew Thornton, OSB
  5. ^ Kirkpatrick, A. F. (1901). The Book of Psalms: with Introduction and Notes. The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. Book IV and V: Psalms XC-CL. Cambridge: At the University Press. p. 839. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d Moo 1994, p. 1139.
  7. ^ Romans 8:1 KJV
  8. ^ Majority of translations at BibleGateway.com
  9. ^ Stong's Concordance: ἄρα, accessed 19 September 2016
  10. ^ Wesley's Notes on the Bible on Romans 8, accessed 18 September 2016
  11. ^ Buls, H. H., Romans 8:1–11 and Meyer's NT Commentary, accessed 20 September 2016
  12. ^ Buls, H. H., Romans 8:1–11
  13. ^ a b Meyer, Heinrich August Wilhelm (1880). Commentary on the New Testament. Romans 8. Translation by Peter Christie from Meyer's sixth edition. Accessed February 14, 2019.
  14. ^ a b c Moo 1994, p. 1140.
  15. ^ Ellicott's Commentary for Modern Readers on Romans 8, accessed 21 September 2016
  16. ^ Romans 8:31 KJV
  17. ^ a b [ Greek Text Analysis: Romans 8:31]. Biblehub
  18. ^ Living Bible, Romans 8:31 TLB
  19. ^ Newell, William R., Romans, Revelation on Romans 8, accessed 21 September 2016
  20. ^ Romans 8:32 KJV
  21. ^ Hill 2007, p. 1099.
  22. ^ Romans 8:35 KJV
  23. ^ a b Coogan 2007, p. 255 New Testament.
  24. ^ Romans 8:36 NIV
  25. ^ Romans 8:37 KJV
  26. ^ a b c Expositor's Greek Testament. Romans 8. Accessed 24 April 2019.
  27. ^ Romans 8:38–39 NKJV
  28. ^ Jerusalem Bible, footnote at Romans 8:39

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]