Romans 7:15-25a

Romans 7:15-25a
Ordinary A32


15 I do not understandA my own actions.B For I do not doC what I want,D but I doE the very thing I hate.F 

Notes on verse 15

A “understand” = ginosko. This is to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn. It is knowledge gained through personal experience
B “actions” = katergazomai. From kata (down, against, throughout, among, daily) + ergazomai (to work, labor); {from ergon (work, task, action, employment)}. This is working something until it is completed, working fully, accomplishing, producing, achieving, performing.
C “do” = prasso. This is to do or practice – something done on an on-going basis or by habit. It can also mean to accomplish, attend, or commit.
D “want” = thelo. This is to wish, desire, will, or intend. It is to choose or prefer in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean inclined toward or take delight in. It can have a sense of being ready to act on the impulse in question.
E “do” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
F “hate” = miseo. From misos (hatred). This word is used in two ways in the New Testament. One has to do with how we prioritize. In order to prioritize something the highest, it means we have to rank other things lower. We cannot have 10 number one priorities. So, the nine that are not number 1, we love less or we value them lower. We make a moral choice the springs from our values about where we put our time, efforts, energy, etc. The other way is detesting or hatred as we normally think of it. This sense has a particular affinity with persecuting the one we hate.

16 Now if I doG what I do not want, I agreeH that the lawI is good.J 17 But in fact it is no longer I that doK it, but sinL that dwellsM within me. 

Notes on verses 16-17

G “do” = poieo. Same as “do” in v15. See note E above.
H “agree” = sumphemi. 1x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + phemi (to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view); {from phao (to shine) or phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear)}. Literally, to say together. So, this would be consent, agree with, or confess.
I “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.
J “good” = kalos. This is good, noble, beautiful, correct, or worthy. This is external signs of goodness like beauty, demonstrations of honorable character, showing moral virtues. A different word, agathos, speaks of intrinsic good.
K “do” = katergazomai. Same as “actions” in v15. See note B above.
L “sin” = 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.
M “dwells” = oikeo. 9x in NT. From oikos (house – the building, the household, the family, descendants; the temple). Properly, this means making a home or living at home. So, this is dwell or indwell, remain, reside, or cohabit.

18 For I knowN that nothing goodO dwells within me, that is, in my flesh.P I can willQ what is right,R but I cannot doS it. 

Notes on verse 18

N “know” = 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.
O “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.
P “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).
Q “I can will” = thelo + parakeimai. Literally “to will is present with me.” Thelo is the same as “want” in v15. See note D above. Parakeimai is 2x in NT. From para (beside, by, in the presence of) + keimai (to lie, recline, set, be appointed, be destined). This is literally to lie beside. It means to be present with, rest with, to be at hand. Figuratively, it can also mean to contrast different moral understandings or drives. It can also mean something that is quick or easy.
R “right” = kalos. Same as “good” in v16. See note J above.
S “do” = katergazomai. Same as “actions” in v15. See note B above.

19 For I do not doT the goodU I want, but the evilV I do not want is what I do.W 20 Now if I doX what I do not want, it is no longer I that doY it, but sin that dwells within me.

Notes on verses 19-20

T “do” = poieo. Same as “do” in v15. See note E above.
U “good” = agathos. Same as “good” in v18. See note O above.
V “evil” = kakos. This is bad, evil, harm, ill. It is evil that is part of someone’s core character – intrinsic, rotted, worthless, depraved, causing harm. It refers to deep inner malice that comes from a rotten character. Can be contrasted with the Greek poneros, which is that which bears pain – a focus on the miseries and pains that come with evil. Also contrasting the Greek sapros, which deals with falling away from a previously embodied virtue.
W “do” = prasso. Same as “do” in v15. See note C above.
X “do” = poieo. Same as “do” in v15. See note E above.
Y “do” = katergazomai. Same as “action” in v15. See note B above.

21 So I findZ it to be a law that when I want to doAA what is good,BB evil lies close at hand.CC 

Notes on verse 21

Z “find” = 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.
AA “do” = poieo. Same as “do” in v15. See note E above.
BB “good” = kalos. Same as “good” in v16. See note J above.
CC “lies close at hand” = parakeimai. Same as “can” in v18. See note Q above.

22 For I delightDD in the law of GodEE in my inmost self,FF 

Notes on verse 22

DD “delight” = sunedomai. 1x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + hedone (pleasure of the senses, desire, passion; pleasure for its own sake, lust; often used in a negative sense); {from hedos (sensual pleasure) or from hedomai (to enjoy yourself) or from handano (to please)}. This is to rejoice together, find inward delight, have agreement and sympathy by identifying with someone else in delight and joy.
EE “God” = theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
FF “self” = anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face). This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.

23 but I seeGG in my membersHH anotherII law at war withJJ the law of my mind,KK making me captiveLL to the law of sin that dwells in my members.

Notes on verse 23

GG “see” = blepo. This is literally to see – it is primarily used in the physical sense. However, figuratively it can be seeing, which includes attention and so to watchfulness, being observant, perceiving, and acting on the visual information. It can also mean beware.
HH “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.
II “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.
JJ “at war with” = antistrateuomai. 1x in NT. From anti (opposite, instead of, against) + strateuo (to wage war, fight, serve as a soldier; used figuratively for spiritual warfare); or from the base of stronnuo (to spread, to spread out like a bed). This is to attack or destroy – to make war against.
KK “mind” = nous. From noos (mind) OR from the same as ginosko (to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn; gaining knowledge through personal experience). This is mind, understanding, reasoning faculty, intellect, capacity to reflect. It can refer to God’s mind or human minds – thoughts, feelings, will, or reflective thinking.
LL “making…captive” = aichmalotizo. 4x in NT. From aichmalotos (a prisoner or captive in war); {from aichme (a spear) + haliskomai (taken or conquered) or halosis (capturing); from haliskomai (see above); from haireomai (to take, choose, or prefer); probably related to airo (raise, take up, lift, remove)}. This is to take captive, ensnare, subdue, lead captive, or make a prisoner.

24 WretchedMM manNN that I am! Who will rescueOO me from this bodyPP of death? 

Notes on verse 24

MM “wretched” = talaiporos. 2x in NT. From talao (to bear, undergo, be steadfast) + poros (a callous); {from pentheo (grieving a death; figuratively, loss of hope or end of a relationship; embodied grief that is readily apparent; grief as a feeling or the act of grieving); from penthos (mourning, sorrow, sadness, grief)} OR from peira (trial, experiment, attempt, experience, assaying); from the base of peran (over, beyond, across); akin to pera (on the far side); from a derivative or peiro (to pierce)}. This is miserable, afflicted, wretched, one undergoing a trial. It is ongoing suffering that results in deep misery, heavy side effects.
NN “man” = anthropos. Same as “self” in v22. See note FF above.
OO “rescue” = rhuomai. 18x in NT – including from the Lord’s prayer “deliver us from evil”. Related to eruo (to draw or drag) OR related to rheo (to flow, overflow). This is to rescue or set free. It is to deliver from danger, to snatch up.
PP “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.

25 ThanksQQ be to God through JesusRR ChristSS our Lord!TT

So then,UU with my mind I am a slaveVV to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin.

Notes on verse 25

QQ “thanks” = charis. From chairo (to rejoice, be glad; used to say hello; properly, delighting in the grace of God or experiencing God’s favor); from char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards). This is grace, kindness, favor, gratitude, thanks. It is the sense of being inclined to or favorable towards – leaning towards someone to share some good or benefit. This can be literal, figurative, or spiritual. It is grace as abstract concept, manner, or action.
RR “Jesus” = iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone). This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
SS “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.
TT “Lord” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is 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.
UU {untranslated} = men. This is truly, indeed, even, in fact. Often, it is not translated, but used to emphasize affirmation.
VV “am a slave” = douleuo. 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 (to tie, bind, fasten, impel, compel; to declare something against the law or prohibited). This is to be a slave, serve, do service, obey, be devoted.

Image credit: “Good Samaritan” by Jan Gierveld, 1980.

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