Romans 7:1-12

Romans 7:1-12
A Women’s Lectionary – Second Sunday of Easter


Do you not know,A brothersB and sisters—for I am speaking to those who knowC the lawD

Notes on verse 1a

A “not know” = agnoeo. From a (not, without) + ginosko (to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn; gaining knowledge through personal experience). This is to not know, whether on purpose, from not having information, or not having enough intelligence.
B “brothers” = adelphos. From a (with, community, fellowship) + delphus (womb). This is a brother in a literal or figurative sense. It is also used of another member of the Church.
C “know” = ginosko. Related to “not know” in v1. See note A above.
D “law” = nomos. From nemo (to parcel out). Literally, this is that which is assigned. It can be usage, custom, or law. This word can be used for human or divine law. It can be used specifically for the law of Moses or as a name for the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). Sometimes it is used for scripture as a whole, used of the Gospel, or of any theology. It is also used for the “tradition of the elders,” which would be the oral Torah – the tradition of the laws plus their interpretations as they were passed down over time. We must carefully consider which meaning of “law” is meant when we interpret passages the word is found in.

that the law is binding onE a personF only during that person’s lifetime?G 

Notes on verse 1b

E “is binding on” = kurieuo. 7x in NT. From kurios (a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord); from kuros (authority, supremacy). This is to be lord of, rule, lord over.
F “person” = anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (to appear, be seen); perhaps from horao (become, seem, appear)}. This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.
G “lifetime” = chronos + zao. Chronos is time in the chronological sense, quantitative time or a duration of time. Zao is to live literally or figuratively. It is used for life including the vitality of humans, plants, and animals – it is life physical and spiritual and life everlasting.

Thus a marriedH womanI is boundJ by the law to her husbandK as long as he lives;L

Notes on verse 2a

H “married” = hupandros. Related to “person” in v1. 1x in NT. From hupo (by, under, about, subordinate to) + aner (see note F above). This is literally under or subject to a man, which is to say, married.
I “woman” = gune. Perhaps from ginomai (to come into being, to happen, become, be born; to emerge from one state or condition to another; this is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth). This is woman, wife, or bride. This is where the word “gynecologist” comes from.
J “is bound” = deo. To tie, bind, compel, put in chains. This is to bind in a literal or figurative sense. Can also mean declaring something unlawful.
K “husband” = aner. Related to “person” in v1 & “married” in v2. See note F above.
L “lives” = zao. Same as “lifetime” in v1. See note G above.

but if her husband dies,M she is dischargedN from the law concerning the husband. Accordingly, she will be calledO an adulteressP

Notes on verses 2b-3a

M “dies” = apothnesko. From apo (from, away from) + thnesko (to die, be dead). This is to die off. It is death with an emphasis on the way that death separates. It can also mean to wither or decay.
N “is discharged” = katargeo. From kata (down, against, according to, among) + argeo (to delay, linger, be at rest, be idle, do nothing); {from argos (inactive, idle, lazy, thoughtless, useless, unemployed, unprofitable) {from a (not) + ergon (word, task, action, employment)}}. This is making something inactive or bringing it to nothing. So, it could mean making something inoperative or powerless, annulling, or severing. It can also mean to make something ineffective or invalid.
O “called” = chrematizo. 9x in NT– including Matthew 2:12 when the wise men were warned in a dream not to return to Herod. 9x in NT. From chrema (something one uses or needs; money, possessions, wealth); from chraomai (to use, make use of, give what is needed, act in a specific way, request). This is to conduct business, instruct, warn, reveal, to utter an oracle, be warned by God.
P “adulteress” = moichalis. 7x in NT. From moichos (adulterer; a man who has been with a married woman; used figuratively of an apostate). This is adulteress or adultery. It can also refer to idolaters.

if she lives withQ anotherR manS while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she isT freeU from that law, and if she marriesV another man, she is not an adulteress.

Notes on verse 3b

Q “lives with” = ginomai. Related to “woman” in v2. See note I above.
R “another” = heteros. This is other, another, different, strange. It is another of a different kind in contrast to the Greek word allos, which is another of the same kind. This could be a different quality, type, or group.
S “man” = aner. Same as “husband” in v2. See note K above.
T “is” = eimi. This is to be or exist.
U “free” = eleutheros. Probably from erchomai (to come or go). This is a free person, at liberty, not a slave. Properly, it is unshackled – figuratively, it is one who has the freedom to choose their destiny. Also, it is one who does not have obligation or liability.
V “marries” = ginomai. Same as “lives with” in v3. See note Q above.

In the same way, my friends,W you have diedX to the law through the bodyY of Christ,Z

Notes on verse 4a

W “friends” = adelphos. Same as “brothers” in v1. See note B above.
X “died” = thanatoo. Related to “dies” in v2. 11x in NT. From thanatos (death, whether literal or spiritual; also something fatal); from thnesko (see note M above). This is to kill in a literal or figurative sense – subdue, mortify, be apart from.
Y “body” = soma. Perhaps from sozo (to save, heal, rescue); from sos (safe, well, rescued). This is body or flesh. It can be body in a literal or figurative sense (as the body of Christ). This is where the word “somatic” comes from.
Z “Christ” = Christos. From chrio (consecrate by anointing with oil; often done for prophets, priests, or kings). Literally, the anointed one, Christ. The Greek word for Messiah.

so that you may belongAA to another, to him who has been raisedBB from the deadCC in order that we may bear fruitDD for God.EE 

Notes on verse 4b

AA “may belong” = ginomai. Same as “lives with” in v3. See note Q above.
BB “raised” = egeiro. This is to awake, raise up or lift up. It can be to get up from sitting or lying down, to get up from sleeping, to rise from a disease or from death. Figuratively, it can be rising from inactivity or from ruins.
CC “dead” = nekros. Perhaps from nekus (corpse). This is dead of lifeless, mortal, corpse. It can also be used figuratively for powerless or ineffective. It is where the word “necrotic” comes from.
DD “bear fruit” = karpophoreo. 8x in NT. From karpophoros (fruitful, productive); {from karpos (a fruit or vegetable; sometimes an animal; figuratively, deeds, results, profits, or gain); {perhaps from harpazo (to seize by force, snatch away); from haireo (to choose, take).} + phero (to bear, bring, lead, make known publicly; to carry in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is to produce fruit or crops. It is fertile in a literal or figurative sense.
EE “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.

While we were livingFF in the flesh,GG our sinfulHH passions,II

Notes on verse 5a

FF “were living” = eimi. Same as “is” in v3. See note T above.
GG “flesh” = sarx. May be from saroo (to sweep, cleanse by sweeping); from sairo (to brush off). This is flesh, the body, human nature, materiality, kindred. Flesh is not always evil in scripture (as when it refers to Jesus taking on a human body). However, it is generally used in a negative way for actions made selfishly and not through faith. This can mean animal flesh, i.e. meat, or refer to body in contrast to soul/spirit. Flesh can be a way of talking about how things or people are related or talking about human frailty (physical or moral).
HH “sinful” = hamartia. From hamartano (to miss the mark, do wrong, make a mistake, sin); {from a (not) + meros (a part or share)}. Literally, this means not having one’s share or portion – like not receiving inheritance or what was allotted to you. This word means missing the mark so it is used for guilt, fault, and acts of sin.
II “passions” = pathema. 16x in NT. From pathos (passion, lust, suffering, something that happens to you, strong feelings); from pascho (to be acted on for good or ill; often used for negative treatment; properly, feeling strong emotions – especially suffering; can also be the ability to feel suffering). This is something that happens to you such as suffering, affliction, passion, or emotion. It can also be one’s capacity for deep feelings or enduring. Further, it can be hardship or pain.

aroused by the law, were at workJJ in our membersKK to bear fruit for death.LL 

Notes on verse 5b

JJ “were at work” = energeo. Related to “is discharged” in v2. From energes (active, effective, operative, energized, powerful); {from en (in, at, by, with, among) + ergon (see note N above)}. This is to be at work, accomplish, be mighty or effectual. This is where “energy” comes from.
KK “members” = melos. This is a limb or an organ of the body. So, it is a member of a greater whole. It is used figuratively for the body of Christ.
LL “death” = thanatos. Related to “dies” in v2 & “died” in v4. See note X above.

But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive,MM so that we are slavesNN not under the oldOO written codePP but in the new lifeQQ of the Spirit.RR

Notes on verse 6

MM “held…captive” = katecho. 18x in NT. From kata (down, against, according to, throughout) + echo (to have, hold, possess). This is to hold fast, bind, possess, restrain, arrest, suppress. It is to hold down in a literal or figurative sense. It can also be to hold something in one’s memory.
NN “are slaves” = douleuo. Related to “is bound” in v2. From doulos (a servant or for a slave, enslaved; someone who belongs to someone else, but could be voluntary to pay off debt or involuntary – captured in war and enslaved; a metaphor for serving Christ); perhaps from deo (see note J above). This is to be a slave, serve, do service, obey, be devoted.
OO “old” = palaiotes. 1x in NT. From palaios (old, ancient, or worn out); from palai (former, of old); probably from palin (back, again, further).. This is oldness or antiquatedness.
PP “written code” = gramma. 15x in NT. From grapho (to write, describe). This is something drawn or written. So, it could be a letter of the alphabet, an epistle, a book, literature, etc.
QQ “new life” = kainotes. 2x in NT. From kainos (not new as in new versus old; new in the sense of novel, innovative, or fresh). This is newness, novelty, or renewal.
RR “Spirit” = pneuma. From pneo (to blow, breath, breathe hard). This is wind, breath, or ghost. A breeze or a blast or air, a breath. Figuratively used for a spirit, the human soul or part of us that is rational. It is also used supernaturally for angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit. This is where pneumonia comes from.

What then should we say? That the law is sin? By no means!SS Yet, if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have knownTT what it is to covetUU if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”VV 

Notes on verse 7

SS “by no means” = me + ginomai. Me is not or never. Ginomai is the same as “lives with” in v3. See note Q above.
TT “have known” = eido. This is to know, consider perceive, appreciate, behold, or remember. It means seeing with one’s eyes, but also figuratively, it means perceiving – seeing that becomes understanding. So, by implication, this means knowing or being aware.
UU “what it is to covet” = epithumia. From epithmueo (long for, set one’s heart on, yearn, desire); {from epi (on, upon, at, what is fitting) + thumos (passion, wrath; actions emerging from passion or impulse) {from thuo (to rush along, breathe violently, offer sacrifice)}}. This is desire, a longing built on passionate emotion or urges. This can be a positive or a negative passion (lust or eagerness).
VV “shall…covet” = epithumeo. Related to “what it is to covet” in v7. 16x in NT. See note UU above.

But sin, seizingWW an opportunityXX in the commandment,YY

Notes on verse 8a

WW “seizing” = lambano. It does not refer to passive receiving of something, but active acceptance or taking of something whether it is offered or simply nearby. It focuses on individual decision and action.
XX “opportunity” = aphorme. 7x in NT. From apo (from, away from) + hormao (to rush, run, start, or spur on); {from horme (onrush, quick motion forward, attempt, inclination, attempt)}. This is occasion, launching point, opportunity.
YY “commandment” = entole. From entellomai (to charge, command, give orders or instructions) {from en (in, on, at, by, with) + tellomai (to accomplish); {from telos (an end, aim, purpose, completion, end goal, consummation, tax; going through the steps to complete a stage or phase and then moving on to the next one)}}. This is an order, command, ordinance, or law. It focuses on the purpose of the command and its end result.

producedZZ in me all kinds ofAAA covetousness.BBB Apart fromCCC the law sin lies dead. 

Notes on verse 8b

ZZ “produced” = katergazomai. Related to “is discharged” in v2 & “were at work” in v5. From kata (down, against, throughout, among, daily) + ergazomai (to work, labor); {from ergon (see note N above)}. This is working something until it is completed, working fully, accomplishing, producing, achieving, performing.
AAA “all kinds of” = pas. This is all or every.
BBB “covetousness” = epithumia. Same as “what it is to covet” in v7. See note UU above.
CCC “apart from” = choris. From chora (space, land, region, fields, open area); from chasma (gap, gulf, chasm, open space); from chasko (to gape, yawn). This is apart from, separate from.

I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came,DDD sin revivedEEE 10 and I died,FFF and the very commandment that promised lifeGGG proved to beHHH death to me. 

Notes on verses 9-10

DDD “came” = erchomai. Related to “free” in v3. See note U above.
EEE “revived” = anazao. Related to “lifetime” In v1. 2x in NT.  From ana (up, again, back, anew) + zao (see note G above). This is to live again, revive, resurrect. It can be literal or figurative.
FFF “died” = apothnesko. Same as “dies” in v2. See note M above.
GGG “life” = zoe. Related to “lifetime” in v1 & “revived” in v9. From zao (see note G above). This is life including the vitality of humans, plants, and animals – it is life physical and spiritual and life everlasting.
HHH “proved to be” = heurisko. This is to find, learn, or obtain. It is to discover something, which generally implies a period of searching for it. This is to find in a literal or figurative sense. This is where the word “heuristic” comes from.

11 For sin, seizing an opportunity in the commandment, deceivedIII me and through it killedJJJ me. 12 So theKKK law is holy,LLL and the commandment is holy and justMMM and good.NNN

Notes on verses 11-12

III “deceived” = exapatao. 6x in NT. From ek (from, from out of) + apatao (to deceive, seduce, cheat, delude; focuses on the method used to lure astray); {from apate (deception, cheating, treachery, fraud)}. This is to deceive of beguile. It focuses on the final effects of the deception.
JJJ “killed” = apokteino. From apo (from, away from) + kteino (to kill). To put to death, kill, slay. Figuratively, this word can mean abolish, destroy, or extinguish.
KKK {untranslated} = men. This is truly, indeed, even, in fact. Often, it is not translated, but used to emphasize affirmation.
LLL “holy” = hagios. From hagnos (holy, sacred, pure ethically, ritually, or ceremonially; prepared for worship, chaste, unadulterated, pure to the core; undefiled by sin; figurative for innocent, modest, perfect). God is totally different from humanity and thus set apart. That which is consecrated to worship God (elements of worship) or to serve God (as the saints) are holy because they are now set apart for God’s purposes. Holy because important to God. This is sacred physically, pure. It can be morally blameless or ceremonially consecrated.
MMM “just” = dikaios. From dike (the principle of justice; that which is right in a way that is very clear; a decision or the execution of that decision; originally, this word was for custom or usage; evolved to include the process of law, judicial hearing, execution of sentence, penalty, and even vengeance; more commonly, it refers to what is right); may be from deiknumi (to show, point out, exhibit; figurative for teach, demonstrate, make known). This is correct, righteous, just, or a righteous person. It implies innocent or conforming to God’s standard of justice.
NNN “good” = agathos. This is good, a benefit, or a good thing. It is good by its very nature, intrinsically good. A different word, kalos, refers to external signs of goodness.

Image credit: “Green Light” by darkday, 2014.

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