Romans 6:15-23

*Food for thought

Romans 6 Exegesis

The full question:

Provide an exegetical paper on Romans 6:15-23.

Greek Text

15 Τί οὖν; ἁμαρτήσωμεν[1], ὅτι οὐκ ἐσμὲν ὑπὸ νόμον ἀλλʼ ὑπὸ χάριν; μὴ γένοιτο. 16 οὐκ[2] οἴδατε ὅτι ᾧ παριστάνετε ἑαυτοὺς δούλους εἰς ὑπακοήν, δοῦλοί ἐστε ᾧ ὑπακούετε, ἤτοι ἁμαρτίας εἰς θάνατον[3] ἢ ὑπακοῆς εἰς δικαιοσύνην; 17 χάρις δὲ τῷ θεῷ ὅτι ἦτε δοῦλοι τῆς ἁμαρτίας ὑπηκούσατε δὲ ἐκ καρδίας[4] εἰς ὃν παρεδόθητε τύπον διδαχῆς, 18 ἐλευθερωθέντες δὲ ἀπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας ἐδουλώθητε τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ. 19 ἀνθρώπινον λέγω διὰ τὴν ἀσθένειαν τῆς σαρκὸς ὑμῶν. ὥσπερ γὰρ παρεστήσατε τὰ μέλη ὑμῶν δοῦλα[5] τῇ ἀκαθαρσίᾳ καὶ τῇ ἀνομίᾳ εἰς τὴν ἀνομίαν, οὕτως νῦν παραστήσατε τὰ μέλη ὑμῶν δοῦλα τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ εἰς ἁγιασμόν. 20 ὅτε γὰρ δοῦλοι ἦτε τῆς ἁμαρτίας, ἐλεύθεροι ἦτε τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ. 21 τίνα οὖν καρπὸν εἴχετε τότε;[6] ἐφʼ οἷς νῦν ἐπαισχύνεσθε, τὸ γὰρ[7] τέλος ἐκείνων θάνατος. 22 νυνὶ δὲ ἐλευθερωθέντες ἀπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας δουλωθέντες δὲ τῷ θεῷ ἔχετε τὸν καρπὸν ὑμῶν εἰς ἁγιασμόν, τὸ δὲ τέλος ζωὴν αἰώνιον. 23 τὰ γὰρ ὀψώνια τῆς ἁμαρτίας θάνατος, τὸ δὲ χάρισμα τοῦ θεοῦ ζωὴ αἰώνιος ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν.[8]

Introduction

For a believer, united to Christ, there is the glorious news of freedom from death in chapter five, yet there is also mention of ‘two other “powers” of the old age’[9] (cf. Rom 5:12, 13, 20). Chapter seven deals with the law while chapter six wonderfully confronts the realm of sin.[10] It loudly proclaims there is freedom from sin’s dominion because of this transfer from one realm to the other. The transfer from the old man to the new man (6:1-14) and the old master to the new master (6:15-23).[11]

The flow of the passage can easily be seen. Verses fifteen to twenty-three follow on from what has just been previously stated (6:14)[12]. After Paul strongly denies his purported question[13] (6:15), he asks a third question employing the concepts of obedience and the dominant picture of slavery[14] (6:16). Using this analogy, he describes their change of master and what that entails (6:17-19) followed by the two slaveries contrasted and a summary statement (6:20-23). Throughout this section Paul continuously offers antithetical statements that push his point home again and again.[15]

Introductory Questions (vs. 15-16)

Verse 15

Τί οὖν; ἁμαρτήσωμεν, ὅτι οὐκ ἐσμὲν ὑπὸ νόμον ἀλλʼ ὑπὸ χάριν; μὴ γένοιτο.

Τί οὖν (“what then?”), could be seen as merely a way, ‘to keep the argument moving and lively’[16], yet there does seem to be a slight alteration in the direction of the discussion[17]. While Romans 6:1 asks if sin should increase so that grace might increase, the question asked here is if believers are free to sin because of grace.[18]

The present subjunctive verb ἐπιμένωμεν (6:1) is a different tense in comparison to the aorist subjunctive ἁμαρτήσωμεν used here. It may be possible for the difference to highlight remaining in the state of sin as compared to ‘infrequent specific acts of sin’[19]. Yet it seems the tense is merely used ‘to drive home the question without needless redundancy’[20]. Rather than referring to the act of committing a sin, it seems more likely for the aorist to be constative denoting the idea of sinning in general.[21]

The conjunction ὅτι (“because”) is causal[22] which could connote a more ‘legalistic rationalization for sin’[23] with a ‘more sober deduction’[24] in comparison to ἵνα in vs. 1. Yet this clause is ‘just as flagrant’ in its attitude to sin as in verse one.[25] If this question is our attitude to sin perhaps it ‘is a sign that one is not really “under grace” at all’[26]. Notice Paul uses the inclusive first-person plural, ἐσμὲν (“we are”) including himself in this state.

The repeated phrase, ὑπὸ νόμον ἀλλʼ ὑπὸ χάριν (“under law but under grace”), could be repeated ‘for emphasis’[27] and is followed by the emphatic statement μὴ γένοιτο (“absolutely not”) which every Christian should shout in response. Paul continues on to elaborate why such an answer is the only response possible. For it is not enough for a Christian to merely shout this response out, but for a follower of Christ to understand the logic behind such a cry.[28]

Verse 16

οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι ᾧ παριστάνετε ἑαυτοὺς δούλους εἰς ὑπακοήν, δοῦλοί ἐστε ᾧ ὑπακούετε, ἤτοι ἁμαρτίας εἰς θάνατον ἢ ὑπακοῆς εἰς δικαιοσύνην;

Following on from the question in verse fifteen Paul poses a ‘disclosure formula that assumes a degree of common knowledge’[29] οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι (“do you not know that”) (1 Cor 3:16; 5:6; 6:2-3; etc.) by ‘stating a well-known fact’[30]. The concept of παριστάνετε (“present”) has already been introduced previously (6:13) while the reflexive pronoun ἑαυτοὺς (“yourselves”) brings out the ‘willingness of the agency’ to a ‘total subjection’ – δούλους (“slaves”).[31]

Paul states there are only two options because ‘there is such a great difference between the yoke of Christ and that of sin, that no one can bear them simultaneously’[32] (John 8:34; 2 Peter 2:19). As Longenecker points out that ‘commitment to two masters would never have been allowed in the ancient world of slavery’ which may be one of the reasons this analogy is so fitting.[33] There is no middle ground. Either (ἤτοι) sin (ἁμαρτίας) resulting in death (εἰς θάνατον) or (ἢ) obedience (ὑπακοῆς) resulting in righteousness (εἰς δικαιοσύνην).[34] This concept is extremely confronting to our modern society as the ideal is to be master of your own life but this is not possible, there are only two masters and you are not one of them.[35]

Some scholars consider there to be no real antithesis between the two possibilities. For example, Moo sees no relation between sin and obedience believing that the antithesis has already been dropped. This being the case it is easy to disregard any contrast between death and righteousness,[36] yet sin and obedience can be considered as contrasts as Moffat points out in his article[37]. Generally Moo’s view results in the conclusion of death referring to the end and righteousness referring to godly conduct now (ethical righteousness). The strength of this conclusion is how it fits with other verses in the immediate context (6:13, 17-20).[38] Yet others find it difficult to ignore the correlation between the two options.[39] They conclude that it must refer to our ‘ultimate condemnation’ (θάνατος) and our ‘ultimate vindication’ (δικαιοσύνη) (Gal 5:5).[40] It seems likely that some comparison is being made with the εἰς + accusative being repeated. Perhaps, just as death could be referred to ‘in every respect’ it is possible to interpret righteousness as including ‘all its aspects, culminating, indeed, in the consummated righteousness of the new heavens and the new earth’[41].

Having stated this, the concept of an ‘ethical righteousness in the here and now’[42] is still clearly in view throughout the rest of the passage. In the end, what we do defines who our master is, a Christian ‘must no longer live as slaves of sin’[43]. There is no other alternative, no third option. To be truly free (a slave to God) you must obey the law of God ‘otherwise you become a slave to selfishness and sin’[44]. It is the question of a truth stated in this verse that the rest of the passage unpacks masterfully through indicatives and imperatives.

A Change of Master (vs. 17-19)

Verse 17

χάρις δὲ τῷ θεῷ ὅτι ἦτε δοῦλοι τῆς ἁμαρτίας ὑπηκούσατε δὲ ἐκ καρδίας εἰς ὃν παρεδόθητε τύπον διδαχῆς,

Having drawn the line in the sand Paul then thanks (χάρις) God, not the Roman Christians, that they are the latter option in the preceding verse.[45] This is only due ‘to the singular mercy of God’[46]. It was nothing they did which ὅτι brings to the fore as ‘it is causal and introduces the reason for giving thanks’[47].

The imperfect ἦτε could imply ‘a regularly recurring activity in past time (habitual) or a state that continued for some time (general)’[48]. Either way their ‘helpless bondage to sin is a fact of the past’[49]. Because ὑπηκούσατε δὲ ἐκ καρδίας εἰς ὃν παρεδόθητε τύπον διδαχῆς (“you obeyed from the heart the pattern of teaching to which you were delivered”). Cranfield points out Bultmann’s attitude to this ‘stupid insertion’ of the relative clause that does not seem to belong due to the words ἐκ καρδίας and τύπον διδαχῆς being ‘un-Pauline expressions’ and ruining the antithesis in vs. 17a and vs. 18.[50] Yet such an idea fails to provide considerable proof that would make it ‘difficult to imagine Paul saying to the Christians in Rome’.[51] Schreiner considers this ‘clumsy syntax’ to be deliberate, emphasising God’s role which seems to be the accurate reading of the passage due to the thankfulness at the beginning.[52] The δὲ is again adversative, as in the first instance.[53] The ἐκ + genetive specifies source and the heart could imply willingness[54] within the ‘innermost being’[55] which may contain a faint reference ‘to the new covenant work of the Spirit in which the law is engraved on the heart’[56].

The aorist passive verb παρεδόθητε may constitute an ‘ingressive aorist and a divine passive’[57]. This could indicate that God is the one who handed them over or ‘transferred’ them to this τύπον διδαχῆς at their baptism[58] or conversion[59]. It may be that this is ‘a well-known way of expressing’ the handing over from one master to another[60] yet this is purely theoretical. Others consider it to be ‘the summary of Christian ethics, based on the teaching of Christ’[61] or direct ‘reference to Jesus Christ’[62]. This τύπος may include ‘the idea that Christian teaching “molds” and “forms” those who have been handed over to it’[63]. Hodge clarifies the matter by considering the usage of this word elsewhere (Acts 23:25; 2 Tim 1:13). He believes it refers to the ‘form of doctrine’ and this is to be understood as ‘the Gospel’.[64] His conclusion is that ‘faith in the gospel is the gift of God’.[65]

It is only by God that a believer can obey from the heart his will. Thanks be to God alone. He is the instigator and the continuator of our obedience. We have left one realm of sin and death in Adam and been moved to a greater realm in Christ with the freedom to obey from the heart what God desires because of what God has done. It is on this concept that the next verse further elaborates.

Verse 18

ἐλευθερωθέντες δὲ ἀπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας ἐδουλώθητε τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ.

Following on from the previous statement with a continuative[66] δὲ rather than transitive[67], Paul continues to employ the aorist passive verbs (ἐλευθερωθέντες, ἐδουλώθητε) indicating a sustained explanation for his thankfulness to God in verse seventeen. The first verb provides a sense of freedom from ‘sin as a dominant disposition’ rather than being ‘perfectly and absolutely’ it is ‘substantially and virtually’[68].

Paul sees freedom in the idea of slavery to righteousness (τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ). Between the only two options of in Adam or in Christ ‘the only real freedom for man is as a slave of God’[69] and what a glorious freedom it is to be a slave to God. Harvey points out the correlation to verse twenty-two where it is enslavement to God.[70] Dunn also sees the ‘close verbal parallel with v 22’ which leads him to conclude that ‘Paul here thinks of “righteousness” as in effect synonymous with “God”’ which makes some sense in context.[71] A Christian is not merely ‘called to do right in a vacuum but to do right out of a new and powerful relationship that has already been established’[72]. It is with these indicatives of what was and has been done that Paul turns to the imperative in verse nineteen.

Verse 19

ἀνθρώπινον λέγω διὰ τὴν ἀσθένειαν τῆς σαρκὸς ὑμῶν.

Paul continues on with an ‘asyndeton’[73] to apologise for ‘the all-too-human nature’[74] of his analogy that he has been using and goes on to employ.[75] The words ἀσθένειαν (“weakness”) and σαρκὸς (“flesh”) presents the idea of a lack of spiritual understanding.[76] It is not necessarily intelligence[77] nor is it a moral failing of the audience (cf. 1 Cor. 2:3; 2 Cor 12:5) rather it refers to a ‘limitation of human understanding…due to sin’[78] in the spiritual sense. This phrase is used because Paul considers the analogy of slavery to be inadequate in some aspects such as: the antithetical nature of the metaphor to Greek ideals thereby a weakness to refer ‘to their relation with God’[79]; the possible correlation to the idea of ‘degradation, fear, and confinement that were typical of secular slavery’[80]; and relating the concept to ‘relationship with God as an enslavement to obedience and righteousness’[81]. Yet despite these weaknesses it is appropriate in a number of ways that Paul uses the metaphor of slavery ‘with a vigour and vividness which no other image seems able to equal’[82]. It portrays the accurate idea of total ownership, total commitment, total obligation and total accountability.[83] It seems wise to both accept this wonderful metaphor and at the same time ‘heed Paul’s warning of its unworthiness’[84].

ὥσπερ γὰρ παρεστήσατε τὰ μέλη ὑμῶν δοῦλα τῇ ἀκαθαρσίᾳ καὶ τῇ ἀνομίᾳ εἰς τὴν ἀνομίαν, οὕτως νῦν παραστήσατε τὰ μέλη ὑμῶν δοῦλα τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ εἰς ἁγιασμόν.

After that clarification Paul goes on to explain (γὰρ) what it means to be enslaved to righteousness (vs. 18). The ὥσπερ… οὕτως… comparison may recall ‘the frequent use of the same formulation in 5:12, 18, 19, 21, with probably deliberate effect’[85]. It describes their old way of living in Adam and ruled by sin to how we live now because we are in Christ free of the dominion of sin.

The first phrase uses the aorist indicative παρεστήσατε[86] while the next phrase uses the aorist imperative παραστήσατε. This latter usage reflects verse thirteen[87] and in comparison to the passive indicatives in verse eighteen may point ‘to the human response demanded by the divine action, while the aorist passive indicatives point to the basis on which alone the imperative is really meaningful’[88]. Previously their condition was one of lawlessness (ἀνομία) due to a slavery to moral impurity[89] (ἀκαθαρσίᾳ). Jewett points out that the article with ἀνόμιον conveys a generic concept.[90] Yet the repeated words could imply ‘progressive deterioration, sin begetting sins’ which brings to mind Romans 1:18-32.[91] ‘The corollary (οὕτως) to the past is “now” (νῦν)’[92], which may point to an eschatological aspect.[93]

Finally the word ἁγιασμόν (“sanctification”) could refer to a ‘state of the soul’[94] which Dunn finds difficult to draw ‘a firm line between end result and process’ but places the emphasis on ‘God’s gracious, sustaining power’ which he says δικαιοσύνῃ indicates[95]. Yet this seems to contradict the purpose of the previous parallel statement. It seems more fitting to understand Paul as bringing to attention their ‘former life’ and all the ‘energy in going after things which’ they now consider wrong and then commanding them to use ‘that same energy, imagination and initiative’ for righteousness, for God.[96] So sanctification may also be the process of becoming more holy[97]. Yet it would not be difficult in context of the end and the now being in sight within Paul’s theological framework that Kruse is correct in considering this to be an occasion ‘where Paul implies both aspects: yielding one’s members to righteousness not only leads to the process of sanctification but also results in a state of fitness for God’s presence’[98]. Edwards also agrees by making the poignant point that such a distinction is ‘foreign to Paul’s thought’.[99]

This is the only appropriate response to being enslaved to righteousness (vs. 18). Pursue holiness with every fiber of our beings, just as passionately as we desired immorality. Paul then follows through even further by contrasting the consequences of which slave master you obey.

Slaveries Contrasted (vs. 20-22)

Verse 20

ὅτε γὰρ δοῦλοι ἦτε τῆς ἁμαρτίας, ἐλεύθεροι ἦτε τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ.

Here Paul makes it clear once again that it is not possible to be a slave to sin and to righteousness.[100] He begins with γὰρ connecting it to what has come before and further delivering a reason to present ourselves as slaves to righteousness (vs. 18).[101] The idea of ὅτε (“when”) signifies ‘a time gone by’[102] and τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ (“to righteousness”) is a dative of reference[103]. Sin and righteousness are ‘mutually exclusive’[104]. It is clear that while a slave to sin ‘the power to do the right and turn from the wrong is not present’ but right and wrong is still recognizable (cf. Rom 1:18-32; 2:14-15).[105]

Verse 21

τίνα οὖν καρπὸν εἴχετε τότε; ἐφʼ οἷς νῦν ἐπαισχύνεσθε, τὸ γὰρ τέλος ἐκείνων θάνατος.

The beginning question is by no means an open question.[106] It indicates a clear reality for the Christians now (νῦν) as they look back on their time then (τότε)[107]. The UBS5 and many commentators such as Moo[108] end the interrogation with τότε. Yet as Schreiner points out it makes more sense for the causal clause that follows for it to end after ἐπαισχύνεσθε. Moo considers the question to be in its appropriate place due to a clear parallel with what follows in the sense that the fruit is shame in comparison to the fruit of sanctification. When all is said and done the correct end point of this question does not affect the essence of what is written. Murray provides four convincing reasons why the question could be placed at the end of the phrase which appear to make the most sense[109]. In one of his reasons he provides a number of references that point to the concept of fruit being good fruit uniformly in Paul’s letters (cf. Rom 1:13; Gal 5:22; Eph 5:9; Phil 1:11, 22; 4:17). Moo attempts to answer this by pointing to several passages in Paul that contains a more ‘neutral’ than positive inference (1 Cor. 9:7; Phil. 1:22; 2 Tim. 2:6) yet they are most certainly not negative and could still be construed as positive. This would infer that the answer to what fruit is gained must be no fruit (καρπὸν) from the things they are currently ashamed of (ἐπαισχύνεσθε). Harvey points out this verb is a progressive present and a deponent middle which could imply ‘the verb describes the experience of a loss of status because of some event or activity’.[110] This idea of shame is not ‘otiose’, as Cranfield puts it, because shame of one’s sinful past ‘is a vital element in sancitifcation’.[111] For only ‘the light of the Lord’ is able to ‘open our eyes to behold the foulness which lies concealed in our flesh’.[112] Furthermore sin’s end point (τέλος) is death (θάνατος)[113]. This death has a strong ‘eschatological emphasis of final outcome’[114] and is antithetic to ζωή αἰώνιος (6:22)[115].

Verse 22

νυνὶ δὲ ἐλευθερωθέντες ἀπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας δουλωθέντες δὲ τῷ θεῷ ἔχετε τὸν καρπὸν ὑμῶν εἰς ἁγιασμόν, τὸ δὲ τέλος ζωὴν αἰώνιον.

Verse twenty-two gathers many of the themes together and begins with νυνὶ δὲ (“but now”) which brings an eschatological aspect (cf. 3:21). The divine passives once again recall God’s work (vs. 17-18)[116] that he achieved in the past, hence the aorist[117]. This verse is the first to speak directly of slavery to God (τῷ θεῷ) ‘and not indirectly’ (vs. 16, 18).[118]

The fruit (καρπὸν) they now have (ἔχετε)[119] leads to sanctification (ἁγιασμόν). This concept of sanctification must be upheld in Christian doctrine. Too often it seems the church focusses continuously on justification they forget the vital aspect of sanctification.[120] Once again this holiness contains ‘the tension between what is (already) happening and what is (not yet)’[121] with the final outcome (τέλος) being most certainly eternal life (ζωὴν αἰώνιον). In consideration of the contrasts provided (vs. 20-22) Calvin describes how we should react to ‘this, unless we are immeasurably stupid, ought to create in our minds a hatred and horror of sin, and a love of and a desire for righteousness’.[122]

Summary Statement (vs. 23)

Verse 23

τὰ γὰρ ὀψώνια τῆς ἁμαρτίας θάνατος, τὸ δὲ χάρισμα τοῦ θεοῦ ζωὴ αἰώνιος ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν.

This summary explanation (γὰρ) provides proof and clarification of what has come before (vs. 20-22) and indeed concludes the entire chapter.[123] There is some contention over the concept of wages (ὀψώνια). Some would propose that this is an analogy to a soldier’s wage and thereby eludes to Paul picturing ‘“sin” as a commanding general paying a wage to its “soldiers”’[124]. While this term was ‘popularized by military usage to refer to wages or rations given as remuneration for services’ (Luke 3:14; 1 Cor 9:7), ‘the word came to be used more broadly’ for many who received a wage (2 Cor 11:8).[125] Wages usually provided a means to live but this wage is the opposite – death (θάνατος).[126]

The contrast to wages is the gift (χάρισμα). This gift could be considered as the donativum (“donation”) given to a soldier by the emperor on his accession.[127] Yet as Jewett helpfully points out it is most likely referring to ‘the gift of unmerited love granted through Christ to “the many” who deserve nothing and reflects what Paul has said previously (Rom 5:15-16)’.[128]

A second contrast is brought out through the two masters – sin (ἁμαρτίας) and God (θεοῦ). As the whole section has been undeniably striving to convey, the greater one to be a slave of is God. For the gift, in comparison to death, is eternal life (ζωὴ αἰώνιος). The only possible way of receiving this is via a gift, it cannot be earned. While Calvin is hesitant to consider eternal life as the gift due to his understanding that the contrast is lost in this section, [129] eternal life as a gift seems to be the plain reading of the text and contains a clear antithesis to death as a wage.

This wonderful summary concludes with the overwhelming reality that this is all possible in Christ Jesus our Lord (ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν). Campbell[130] notes the various possibilities of how this phrase could be understood – either in a locative, instrumental, agency or causal sense. It seems unlikely to be locative as ‘death’ and ‘eternal life’ appear to be juxtaposed rather than ‘death’ and ‘eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’. So eternal life is not necessarily ‘found in the sphere of Christ’.[131] The agency or originator in this verse is God so Christ is not the agent and Campbell considers causal to ‘undermine the agency of God somewhat’.[132] This leaves the logical conclusion to be instrumental, ‘eternal life wrought [by God] through Christ’.

Summary

There is overwhelming clarity in Paul’s answer to the one who would consider sin as a viable option now that we are under grace. Surely God’s great work of salvation, which is of no merit or instigation of our own, should cause us to pursue righteousness with an even greater passion than we desired sin. It would surely be such an atrocity to go back and willfully persist in sin, presuming on God’s grace, ignoring the consequences. Every antithesis to God is a destitute and broken possibility that can only end in death.

  1. As Longenecker points out this subjunctive verb ‘is very widely attested in the textual tradition’ for ‘the future indicative a,marth,somen (“shall we sin?”)…lacks sufficient external support’ and the aorist indicative a,marth,samen (“we have sinned”) found in some texts but ‘in all likelihood, this use of the aorist indicative verb is simply a scribal error’. Longenecker, The Epistle to the Romans, 618.

  2. Longenecker notes that the sixth-century Codex Beza adds the particle h,; at the beginning but concludes it was put there ‘in order to correspond with the use of the same Greek participle at the beginning of 6:3 and 7:1’. Longenecker, The Epistle to the Romans, 618.

  3. The two words εἰς θάνατον is ‘absent from a few witnesses, chiefly versional and patristic’ and considering its ‘correlative’ to the phrase εἰς δικαιοσύνην it seems to be ‘an unintentional oversight’. Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (Corrected ed.; Stuttgart: United Bible Societies, 1975), 513–514.

  4. Harvey notes some manuscripts add καθαρãς but he concludes it may ‘reflect an assimilation to 1 Tim 1:5 and 2 Tim 2:22’. John D Harvey, Romans (eds. Andreas J. Köstenberger and Robert W. Yarbrough; Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament; Nashville, Tenn: B & H Academic, 2017), 161. Longenecker considers it to be ‘an attempted moralistic improvement’ and notes that it is ‘without support elsewhere in the textual tradition’. Longenecker, The Epistle to the Romans, 618.

  5. Longenecker points out that the accusative plural neuter term δοῦλα (“enslaved”) has ‘two variant uses of the infinitive douleu,ein (“to be enslaved”)’ yet this is ‘too weakly supported by the textual tradition’ so he concludes it must be ‘attempted stylistic improvements’. Longenecker, The Epistle to the Romans, 618.

  6. The conclusion of where the interrogative sentence finishes is discussed in the comments on this verse.

  7. Longenecker notes that ‘some MSS’ add the particle me,n (“indeed”) and concludes that it is an addition ‘meant to highlight the antithesis in the text with the particle de, that starts v. 22’ Longenecker, The Epistle to the Romans, 618–619.

  8. Aland, B., Aland, K., Karavidopoulos, J., Martini, C. M., & Metzger, B. M. (Eds.). (2014). The Greek New Testament (Fifth Revised Edition, Ro 6:15–23). (Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft).

  9. Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans (The New International Commentary on the New Testament; Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 1996), 351.

  10. While Longenecker considers chapters six and seven to be an excursus from Paul’s main argument providing ‘ad hoc answers’ in The Epistle to the Romans: A Commentary on the Greek Text (The New International Greek Testament Commentary; Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2016), 604., Moo seems to accurately point to the natural flow of argument that Paul presents in these two chapters flowing on from chapter five. As Moo specifically states, ‘it is a mistake to regard chaps 6 and 7 as “excursuses.”’ in The Epistle to the Romans, 351.

  11. Brian Kidwell, ‘The Adamic Backdrop of Romans’, Criswell Theological Review 11/1 (September 2013): 115.

  12. As well as reference to 5:20 and 3:7-8 as Colin G. Kruse points out in Paul’s Letter to the Romans (The Pillar New Testament Commentary; Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2012).

  13. As Longenecker helpfully points out the question does not need to be an ‘external objector’, ‘postulated questioner’ or ‘imaginary interlocutor’ but could simply be ‘an internal debate that Paul knew could very well arise from what he had written in 5:1-11 and 5:12-21 about the greatness of God’s grace as expressed “through Jesus Christ our Lord”’ in The Epistle to the Romans, 609.

  14. Which is an appropriate picture to use as ‘slaves accounted for more than one-third of the population of the Roman Empire…slaves and former slaves (“freedmen”) constituted the majority of the population’ Longenecker, The Epistle to the Romans, 619. It was accepted in both the Gentile world and as ‘part of the fabric of Jewish society’ Longenecker, The Epistle to the Romans, 620. This concept is introduced earlier in the chapter (6:6). Slaves and freedpersons most probably also made up a majority of ‘the Christian community in Rome’ James D. G. Dunn, Romans 1-8 (eds. David A. Hubbard, Glenn W. Barkert, and Ralph P. Martin; Word Biblical Commentary 38A; Milton Keynes, England: Word Publishing, 1991), 341. Goodrich assists in analyzing the metaphor of slavery in Paul and concludes that though it may come from a ‘Jewish theological motif’ it was predominantly influenced by ‘Greco-Roman’ concepts of domestic slavery. John K Goodrich, ‘From Slaves of Sin to Slaves of God: Reconsidering the Origin of Paul’s Slavery Metaphor in Romans 6’, Bulletin for Biblical Research 23/4 (2013), 509–530.

  15. James R Edwards, Romans (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2011), 168.

  16. Dunn, Romans 1-8, 340.

  17. As Longenecker seems to correctly identify this question beginning another section in the argument (cf. 6:1, 7:7). He considers ἐροῦμεν to be stated in vs. 15 ‘elliptically’ which makes some sense as all three contain the emphatic negative μὴ γένοιτο. Longenecker, The Epistle to the Romans, 610.

  18. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 398.

  19. Kenneth Samuel Wuest, ‘Victory Over Indwelling Sin in Romans Six’, Bibliotheca sacra 116/461 (January 1959): 43.

  20. Longenecker, The Epistle to the Romans, 610. As Moo points out that ἐπιμένω ‘almost requires’ the present tense. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 397.

  21. Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament 6; Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Books, 1998), 329.

  22. Harvey, Romans, 160.

  23. Robert Jewett, Romans: A Commentary (ed. Eldon Jay Epp; Hermeneia–a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007), 415.

  24. Dunn, Romans 1-8, 341.

  25. Schreiner, Romans, 329.

  26. F. F. Bruce, Romans: An Introduction and Commentary (Tyndale New Testament Commentaries; Nottingham, England: Downers Grove, Ill: Inter-Varsity Press; Intervarsity Press, 2008), 145.

  27. William G. T Shedd, A Critical and Doctrinal Commentary Upon the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans (New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1888), 162.

  28. John R. W. Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1996), 187.

  29. Harvey, Romans, 160.

  30. Dunn, Romans 1-8, 341.

  31. Shedd, A Critical and Doctrinal Commentary on Romans, 162.

  32. Jean Calvin, The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Romans and to the Thessalonians (trans. by Ross Mackenzie; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Carlisle: Eerdmans; Paternoster, 1995), 131.

  33. Longenecker, The Epistle to the Romans, 622.

  34. These ‘paired disjunctives…establish a correlation’. Harvey, Romans, 160.

  35. David Peter Seccombe, Romans: Dust to Destiny (Sydney South, N.S.W.: Aquila Press, 2013), 116.

  36. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 400.

  37. James Moffatt, ‘The Interpretation of Romans 6:17-18’, Journal of Biblical Literature 48/3–4 (1929): 233.

  38. Shedd, A Critical and Doctrinal Commentary on Romans, 163.

  39. Schreiner, Romans, 332.

  40. Bruce, Romans, 145; C. E. B. Cranfield, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (The International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments; London; New York: T&T Clark International, 1975), 1:322; Harvey, Romans, 160; Kruse, Paul’s Letter to the Romans, 281.

  41. John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1968), 1:231.

  42. Kruse, Paul’s Letter to the Romans, 281.

  43. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 398.

  44. Timothy Keller, Romans 1-7 For You (Purcellville, VA: The Good Book Company, 2014), 151.

  45. Shedd, A Critical and Doctrinal Commentary on Romans, 164.

  46. Calvin, The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Romans and to the Thessalonians, 132.

  47. Harvey, Romans, 161.

  48. Daniel B Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2008), 548.

  49. Shedd, A Critical and Doctrinal Commentary on Romans, 163.

  50. Cranfield, Critical and Exegetical on Romans, 1:323.

  51. Cranfield, Critical and Exegetical on Romans, 1:324.

  52. Schreiner, Romans, 336.

  53. Harvey, Romans, 161.

  54. Shedd, A Critical and Doctrinal Commentary on Romans, 163.

  55. Dunn, Romans 1-8, 343.

  56. Schreiner, Romans, 336.

  57. Harvey, Romans, 161.

  58. Dunn, Romans 1-8, 344.

  59. Kruse, Paul’s Letter to the Romans, 282.

  60. Longenecker, The Epistle to the Romans, 625.

  61. Bruce, Romans, 145 and Barclay Moon Newman and Eugene A Nida, A Translator’s Handbook on Paul’s Letter to the Romans (London, Stuttgart: United Bible Societies, 1973), 122 also consider it to be ethical teaching as opposed to a specific creed.

  62. Edwards, Romans, 173.

  63. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 402.

  64. Charles Hodge, A Commentary on Romans (London: Banner of Truth Trust, 1972), 208.

  65. Hodge, Romans, 208.

  66. Harvey, Romans, 161.

  67. Shedd, A Critical and Doctrinal Commentary on Romans, 165.

  68. Shedd, A Critical and Doctrinal Commentary on Romans, 164.

  69. Dunn, Romans 1-8, 345.

  70. Harvey, Romans, 162.

  71. Dunn, Romans 1-8, 345.

  72. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 403.

  73. Harvey, Romans, 162.

  74. Longenecker, The Epistle to the Romans, 626.

  75. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 403.

  76. Shedd, A Critical and Doctrinal Commentary on Romans, 167.

  77. Which is the way Bruce, Romans, 50 defines it.

  78. Schreiner, Romans, 333.

  79. Dunn, Romans 1-8, 345.

  80. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 404.

  81. Longenecker, The Epistle to the Romans, 626.

  82. Cranfield, Critical and Exegetical on Romans, 1:321.

  83. Cranfield, Critical and Exegetical on Romans, 1:321; Longenecker, The Epistle to the Romans, 626. Both use similar wording in their descriptions.

  84. Cranfield, Critical and Exegetical on Romans, 1:326.

  85. Dunn, Romans 1-8, 346.

  86. A ‘constative aorist describing past conduct as a whole’. Harvey, Romans, 162.

  87. Kruse, Paul’s Letter to the Romans, 283.

  88. Cranfield, Critical and Exegetical on Romans, 1:327.

  89. Henry George Liddell et al., A Greek-English Lexicon (9th rev. ed.; Oxford : New York: Clarendon Press ; Oxford University Press, 1996), 46.

  90. Jewett, Romans, 420.

  91. Dunn, Romans 1-8, 346.

  92. Harvey, Romans, 162.

  93. Longenecker, The Epistle to the Romans, 626.

  94. Shedd, A Critical and Doctrinal Commentary on Romans, 168.

  95. Dunn, Romans 1-8, 347.

  96. Nicholas Thomas Wright, Paul for Everyone Romans Part 1: Chapters 1-8 (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 112.

  97. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 404–405.

  98. Kruse, Paul’s Letter to the Romans, 284.

  99. James R Edwards, The Gospel According to Mark (Grand Rapids, Mich; Leicester, England: Eerdmans ; Apollos, 2002), 174.

  100. Cranfield, Critical and Exegetical on Romans, 1:327.

  101. Harvey, Romans, 162; Shedd, A Critical and Doctrinal Commentary on Romans, 169.

  102. Shedd, A Critical and Doctrinal Commentary on Romans, 169.

  103. Charles Francis Digby Moule, An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek (2nd ed.; Cambridge: Univ. Press, 1971), 46.

  104. Dunn, Romans 1-8, 347.

  105. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 406.

  106. Douglas Estes, Questions and Rhetoric in the Greek New Testament: An Essential Reference Resource for Exegesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2017), 151.

  107. It is helpful how Dunn continuously reminds his readers of the hints throughout to ‘the before-and-after of conversion-initiation and of the epochs of Adam and Christ’ Dunn, Romans 1-8, 348.

  108. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 406.

  109. Murray, The Epistle to the Romans, 1:235–236.

  110. Harvey, Romans, 163.

  111. Cranfield, Critical and Exegetical on Romans, 1:328.

  112. Calvin, The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Romans and to the Thessalonians, 135.

  113. Harvey notes how ‘the placement of the pronoun [ἐκείνων] is emphatic’ and it ‘is a genitive of production’ in Romans, 163.

  114. Dunn, Romans 1-8, 348.

  115. Harvey, Romans, 163.

  116. Dunn, Romans 1-8, 348.

  117. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 407.

  118. Cranfield, Critical and Exegetical on Romans, 1:328.

  119. Present tense.

  120. Stuart Olyott, The Gospel as It Really Is: Paul’s Epistle to the Romans Simply Explained (Welwyn, Hertfordshire, England: Evangelical Press, 1979), 60.

  121. Dunn, Romans 1-8, 349.

  122. Calvin, The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Romans and to the Thessalonians, 136.

  123. Harvey, Romans, 164.

  124. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 408.

  125. Jewett, Romans, 425.

  126. Jewett, Romans, 426.

  127. Robert H. Mounce, Romans (The New American Commentary 27; Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman & Holman, 1995), 159.

  128. Jewett, Romans, 426.

  129. Calvin, The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Romans and to the Thessalonians, 136.

  130. Constantine R. Campbell, Paul and Union with Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012), 75.

  131. Campbell, Paul and Union with Christ, 75.

  132. Campbell, Paul and Union with Christ, 75.

 

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