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A critical and exegetical commentary on the Epistle to the Romans online

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international Critical Commentary

on t{)e Igolp cf>crtyturcjS? of tjyt #iti anti



Eiitvarii Roln'nson Professor of Biblical Theology,
Union Theological Seminary, New York ;


Regius Professor of Hebrew, Oxford ;


Master oj University College, Durliant,

(Jljt limruafional (Cnfical (fommnUar^

on tl)e C)oItj Scriptiucg of tl)e (S)ib ariii
ISitw (il£stamcnt0.


There are now before the public many Commentaries,
written by British and American divines, of a popular or
homiletical character. T/ze Cambridge Bible for Schools,
the Handbooks for Bible Classes and Private Students, The
Speaker s Commentary, The Popular Commentary (Schaff),
The Expositors Bible, and other similar series, have their
special place and importance. But they do not enter into
the field of Critical Biblical scholarship occupied by such
seiies of Commentaries as the Kurzgefasstes exegetisches
Handbuch zuni A. T.; De Wette's Kurzgefasstes exegetisches
Handbuch zum N. T.; Meyer's Kritisch-exegetischer Kom-
nientar; Keil and Delitzsch's Biblischer Commentar iiber das
A. T.; Lange's Theologisch-hotniletisches Bibelwerk ; Nowack's
Handkommentar zum A. T. ; Holtzmann's Handkommentar
zum N. T. Several of these have been translated, edited.
and in some cases enlarged and adapted, for the English-
speaking public ; others are in process of translation. But
no corresponding series by British or American divines
has hitherto been produced. The way has been prepared
by special Commentaries by Cheyne, Ellicott, Kalisch,
Lightfoot, Perowne, Westcott, and others ; and the tmie has
come, in the judgment of the projectors of this enterprise,
when it is practicable to combine British and American
scholars in the production <j1 a critical, coniprelieubive


Commentary that will be abreast of modern biblical scholar-
ship, and in a measure lead its van.

Messrs. Charles Scribner's Sons of New York, and Messrs.
T. & T. Clark of Edinburgh, propose to publish 5uch a
series of Commentaries on the Old and New Testaments,
under the editorship of Prof. C. A. Briggs, D.D., in America,
and of Prof. S. R. Driver, D.D., for the Old Testament, and
the Rev. Alfred Plummer, D.D., for the New Testament,
in Great Britain.

The Commentaries will be international and inter-con-
fessional, and will be free from polemical and ecclesiastical
bias. They will be based upon a thorough critical study of
che original texts of the Bible, and upon critical methods of
interpretation. They are designed chiefly for students and
>:lergymen, and will be written in a compact style. Each
book will be preceded by an Introduction, stating the results
of criticism upon it, and discussing impartially the questions
!5till remaining open. The details of criticism will appear
in their proper place in the body of the Commentary. Each
?;ection of the Text will be introduced with a paraphrase,
or summary of contents. Technical details of textual and
iphilological criticism will, as a rule, be kept distinct from
■matter of a more general character ; and in the Old Testa-
ment the exegetical notes will be arranged, as far as
possible, so as to be serviceable to students not acquainted
with Hebrew. The History of Interpretation of the Books
will be dealt with, when necessary, in the Introductions,
with critical notices of the most important literature of
the subject. Historical and Archaeological questions, as
well as questions of Biblical Theology, are included in the
plan of the Commentaries, but not Practical or Homiletica'.
Exegesis. The Volumes will constitute a uniform series.


1 liic louowing
named below:


eminent Scholars are engaged upon the Volumes

The Rev. John Skinner, D D., Professor of Old Tes-
tament Language and Literature, College of Pres-
byterianChurch of England, Cambridge, England.

Exodus The Rev. A. R. S. Kennedy, D.D., Professor of

Hebrew, University of Edinburgh.

Leviticus J. F. Stenning, M.A., Fellow of Wadham College,


Numbers G. Buchanan Gray, D.D., Professor of Hebrew,

Mansfield College, Oxford. [iVoca Ready.

Deuteronomy The Rev. S. R. Driver, D.D., D.Litt., Regius Pro-

fessor of Hebrew, Oxford. \Now Ready.

Joshua The Rev. George Adam Smith, D.D., LL.D , Pro-

fessor of Hebrew, Free Church College, Glasgow.

Judges The Rev. George Moore, D. D. , LL. D. , Professor of

Theology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

\^Now Ready.

Samuel The Rev. H. P. Smith, D.D., Professor of Biblical

History, Amherst College, Mass. \^Now Ready.

Kings The Rev. Francis Brown, D.D., D.Litt., LL.D.,

Professor of Hebrew and Cognate Languages,
Union Theological Seminary, New York City.

Chronicles The Rev. Edward L. Curtis, D D., Professor of

Hebrew, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.

Ezra and The Rev. L. W. Batten, Ph.D., D.D., Rector of

Nehemiah St. Marks Church, New York City, sometime

Professor of Hebrew, P. E. Divinity School,

Psalms The Rev. Chas. A. Briggs, D.D., D Litt., Pro-

fessor of Biblical Theology, Union Theological
Seminary, New York.

Proverbs The Rev. C. H. Toy, D.D., LL D., Professor of

Hebrew, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

\^Noiv Ready.

Job The Rev. S. R. Driver, D.D., D.Litt., Regius

Professor of Hebrew, Oxford.

Isaiah Chaps. I-XXXIX. The Rev. S. R. Driver, D.D.,

D.Litt., Regius Professor of Hebrew, Oxford.

Isaiah Chaps. XL-LXVL The late Rev. Prof. A. B.

Davidson, D.D., LL.D.

Jeremiah The Rev. A. F. Kirkpatrick, D.D., Master of

Selwyn College, Regius Professor of Hebrew,
Cambridge, England,

Ezekiel By the Rev. G. A. Cooke, M.A., Fellow Mag-

dalen College, and the Rev. Charles F. Burney,
M.A. , Fellow and Lecturer in Hebrew, St. Johns
College, Oxford.

Daniel The Rev. John P. Peters, Ph.D., D.D., sometime

Professor of Hebrew, P. E. Divinity School,
Philadelphia, now Rector of St. Michael's Church,
New York City.

Amos and Hosea W. R. Harper, Ph.D., LL.D., President of the
University of Chicago, Illinois. [.\'i'rt' Reau\\

Micah to Malachi W. R. Harper, Ph.D., LL D., President of the
University of Chicago.

Esther The Rev. L. B. Paton, Ph.D.. Professor of Hebrew.

Hartford TheoJMgical Seminarv.

Z^c 3tttcrnationaf Cnticaf Commentary.

Ecclesiastes Prof. Gkhkcik A Harton ['h.D.. Professor of

biblical Lueiaiure. Mryii Mawr CuUcgc, Pa.

Ruth Rev.CnARi.KS P. Fagnani, D.D.. Associate Profes-

sor of Hebrew, Union '1 heologicai Seminary,
New York.

Song of Songs Rev. Charles A., D. D.. D.Litt., Professor of

and Lamentations Biblical Theologj-, Union Theological Seminary,
New York.


St. Matthew The Rev. Wili-oughry C. Allen, M.A., Fellow of

Exeter College, Oxford.
St. Mark The late Rev. E. P. GouLn. D.D., sometime

Professor of New Testament I.''erature, P. E.

Divinity School, Philadelphia. [Now Ready.

St. Luke The Rev. Alfred Pli mmkr, D.D., sometime Master

of University College, Durham. [A'^w Ready.

St. John The Very Rev. John Henry Bernard, D.D., Dean

of St. Patrick's and Lecturer in Divinity,
University of Dublin.

Harmony of the The Rev. William Sandav. D.D., LL.D., Lad)
Gospels Margaret Professor of Divinity, Oxford, and the

Rev. WiLLOUGHBY C. Allen, M.A., Fellow of
Exeter College, Oxford.

Acts The Rev. Frederick H. Chase, Noiissonian Pro-

fessor of Divinity, President of Queens College
and \'ice-Chancellor, Cambridge, England.

Romans The Rev. William Sanday, D.D., LL.D., Lady

Margaret Professor of Divinity and Canon of
Christ Church, Oxford, and the Rev. A. C.
Headlam, M.A., D.D., Principal of Kings College,
London. [yV^Tc Kendy.

Corinthians The Right Rev. Arch. Rorertson, D.D.. LL D.,

Lord Bishop of Exeter, and the Rev. Richard J.
Knowling, D.D., Professor of New Testament
Exegesis, Kings College, London.

Galatians The Rev. Ernest D. Burion, D D., Professor of

New Testament Literature.Universii) of Chicago.

Ephesians and The Rev. T. K. Ahbott, B.D., D.Litt., sometime

Colossians Professor of Biblical Greek, Trinity College,

Dublin, now Librarian of the same. \Noiu Ready,

Philippians and The Rev. Marvin R. Vincent, D.D., Professor of

Philemon Biblical Literature, Union Theological Seminary,

New York City. [Now Ready.

Thessalonians The Rev. James E. Frame, M.A., Associate Profes-
sor in the New Testament, Union Theological
Seminary, New York.

The Pastoral The Rev. Walter Lock, D.D., Warden of Keble

Epistles College and Professor of Exegesis, Oxford.

Hebrews The Rev. A. Nairne, M.A., Professor of Hebrew

in Kings College, London.

St. James The Rev James H. Ropes, D.D., Bussey Professor of

New Testament Criticism in Harvard University.

Peter and Jude The Rev. Charles Bigg, D.D., Regius Professor
of Ecclesiastical History and Canon of Christ
Church, Oxford. [Now Ready.

The Epistles of The Rev. S. D. F. Salmond. D.D., Principal of the
St. John United Free Church College, Aberdeen.

Revelation The Rev. Robert H. Charles, M.A., D.D., Profes-

sor of Biblical Greek in the University of DubllB.


Rev. W. SANDAY, D.D., LL.D.


Rev. a. C. HEADLAM, B. D.

The International Critical Commentary














U, ^/J


We are indebted to the keen sight and disinterested care
of friends for many small corrections. We desire to thank
especially Professor Lock, Mr. C. H. Turner, the Revs. F.
E. Brightman, and R. B. Rackham. We have also, where
necessary, inserted references to the edition of 4 Ezra, by
the late Mr. Bensly, published in Texts and Studies, iii. 2.
No more extensive recasting of the Commentary has been

W. S.
A. C. K.

Oxford, Lent^ 1896.


The commentaries on the Epistle to the Romans
which aheady exist in English, unlike those on some other
Books of the New Testament, are so good and so varied
that to add to their number may well seem superfluous.
Fortunately for the present editors the responsibility for
ittempting this does not rest with them. In a series of
commentaries on the New Testament it was impossible
that the Epistle to the Romans should not be included
and should not hold a prominent place. There are few
books which it is more difficult to exhaust and few in
regard to which there is more to be gained from renewed
interpretation by difierent minds working under different
conditions. If it is a historical fact that the spiritual
revivals of Christendom have been usually associated with
closer study of the Bible,' this would be true in an eminent
degree of the Epistle to the Romans. The editors are
under no illusion as to the value of their own special con-
tribution, and they will be well content that it should find
its proper level and be assimilated or left behind as it

Perhaps the nearest approach to anything at all dis-
tinctive in the present edition would be (i) the distribution
of the subject-matter of the commentary, (2) the attempt
to furnish an interpretation of the Epistle which might be
described as historical.

Some experience in teaching has shown that if a diffioilt


Epistle like the Romans is really to be understood and
grasped at once as a whole and in its parts, the argument
should be presented in several different ways and on several
different scales at the same time. And it is an advantage
when the matter of a commentary can be so broken up that
by means of headlines, headings to sections, summaries,
paraphrases, and large and small print notes, the reader
may not either lose the main thread of the argument in the
crowd of details, or slur over details in seeking to obtain
a general idea. While we are upon this subject, we may
explain that the principle which has glided the choice of
large and small print for the notes and longer discussions
is not exactly that of greater or less importance, but rather
that of greater or less directness of bearing upon the
exegesis of the text. This principle may not be carried
out with perfect uniformity : it was an experiment the
effect of which could not always be judged until the
commentary was in print ; but when once the type was
set the possibility of improvement was hardly worth the
trouble and expense of resetting.

The other main object at which we have aimed is that
of making our exposition of the Epistle historical, that is
of assigning to it its true position in place and time — on
the one hand in relation to contemporary Jewish thought,
and on the other hand in relation to the growing body of
Christian teaching. We have endeavoured always to bear
in mind not only the Jewish education and training of the
writer, which must clearly have given him the framework
of thought and language in which his ideas are cast, but
also the position of the Epistle in Christian literature. It
was written when a large part of the phraseology of the
newly created body was still fluid, when a number of words
had not yet come to have a fixed meaning, when their
origin and associations — to us obscure — were still fresh
and vivid. The problem which a commentator ought to
propose to himself in the first instance is not what answer


does the Epistle give to questions which are occupying
men's minds now, or which have occupied them in any
past period of Church history, but what were the questions
of the time at which the Epistle was written and what
meaning did his words and thoughts convey to the writer

It is in the pursuit of this original meaning that we have
dravvn illustrations somewhat freely from Jewish writings,
both from the Apocryphal literature which is mainly the
product of the period between loo B.C. and loo A.D., and
(although less fully) from later Jewish literature. In the
former direction we have been much assisted by the
attention which has been bestowed in recent years on
these writings, particularly by the excellent editions of the
Psalms of Solomon and of the Book of Enoch. It is by
a continuous and careful study of such works that any
advance in the exegesis of the New Testament will be
possible. For the later Jewish literature and the teaching
of the Rabbis we have found ourselves in a position of
greater difficulty. A first-hand acquaintance with this
literature we do not possess, nor would it be easy for most
students of the New Testament to acquire it. Moreover
complete agreement among the specialists on the subject
does not as yet exist, and a perfectly trustworthy standard
of criticism seems to be wanting. We cannot therefore feel
altogether confident of our ground. At the same time we
have used such material as was at our disposal, and cer-
tainly to ourselves it has been of great assistance, partly as
suggesting the common origin of systems of thought which
have developed very differently, partly by the striking
contrasts which it has afforded to Christian teaching.

Our object is historical and not dogmatic Dogmatics
are indeed excluded by the plan of this series of commen-
taries, but they are excluded also by the conception which
we have formed for ourselves of our duty as commentators.
We have §pught before all things to understand St. Paul,


and to understand him not only in relation to his sur-
roundings but also to those permanent facts of human
nature on which his system is based. It is possible that
in so far as we may succeed in doing this, data may be
supplied which at other times and in other hands may be
utilized for purposes of dogmatics ; but the final adjust-
ments of Christian doctrine have not been in our thoughts.

To this general aim all other features of the commentary
are subordinate. It is no part of our design to be in the
least degree exhaustive. If we touch upon the history of
exegesis it is less for the sake of that history in itself than
as helping to throw into clearer relief that interpretation
which we believe to be the right one. And in like manner
we have not made use of the Epistle as a means for
illustrating New Testament grammar or New Testament
diction, but we deal with questions of grammar and diction
just so far as they contribute to the exegesis of the text
before us. No doubt there will be omissions which are not
to be excused in this way. The literature on the Epistle
to the Romans is so vast that we cannot pretend to have
really mastered it. We have tried to take account of
monographs and commentaries of the most recent date,
but here again when we have reached what seemed to us
a satisfactory explanation we have held our hand. In
regard to one book in particular, Dr. Bruce's Sf. Paul's
Conception of Christianity, which came out as our own
work was far advanced, we thought it best to be quite
independent. On the other hand we have been glad to
have access to the sheets relating to Romans in Dr. Hort's
forthcoming Introductions to Romans and Ephesians, which,
through the kindness of the editors, have been in our
possession since December last.

The Commentary and the Introduction have been about
equally divided between the two editors ; but they have
each been carefully over the work of the other, and they
desire to accept a joint responsibility for the whole. The


editors themselves are conscious of having gained much
by this co-operation, and they hope that this gain may be
set off against a certain amount of unevenness which was

It only remains for them to express their obligations and
thanks to those many friends who have helped them
directly or indirectly in various parts of the work, and
more especially to Dr. Plummer and the Rev. F. E.
Brightman of the Pusey House. Dr. Plummer, as editor
of the series, has read through the whole of the Com-
mentary more than once, and to his courteous and careful
criticism they owe much. To Mr. Brightman they are
indebted for spending upon the proof-sheets of one half of
the Commentary greater care and attention than many men
have the patience to bestow on work of their own.

The reader is requested to note the table of abbreviations
on p. ex fF., and the explanation there given as to the
Greek text made use of in the Commentary. Some addi-
tional references are given in the Index (p. 444 ff).

Oxford, Whitsuntid*, 1899.



§ I. Rome in A. D. 58 . • • xiii

3. The Jews in Rome xviii

3. The Roman Church • . xxv

4. Time and Place, Occasion and Purpose . • . xxxvi

5. Argument . . • xliv

6. Language and Style ••••••• Hi

7. Text Ixiii

8. Literary History • . Ixxiv

9. Integrity ...•••• .Ixxxv
10. Commentaries •••.••• .xcviii

Abbreviations • cx-cxii


Detached Notes:

The Theological Terminology of Rom. !. I-7 • • • 17

The word S/xatof and its cognates 28

The Meaning of Faith in the New Testament and in some

Jewish Writings ..•.*••• 31

The Righteousness of God 34

St. Paul's Description of the Condition of the Heathen

World 49

Use of the Book of Wisdom in Chapter i . . • • 5*
The Death of Christ considered as a Sacrifice . . .91
The History of Abraham as treated by St. Paul and by

St. James 102

Jewish Teaching on Circumcision 108

The Place of the Resurrection of Christ in the teaching of

St. Paul 116

Is the Society or the Individual the proper object of

Justification? 122



The Idea of Reconciliation or Atonement .... 129

The Effects of Adam's Fall in Jewish Theology , . . 136

St. Paul's Conception of Sin and of the Fall .... 143

History of the Interpretation of the Pauline doctrine of

SiKalaais ......... I47

The Doctrine of Mystical Union with Christ . . . 162

The Inward Conflict 184

St. Paul's View of the Law 187

The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit .... 199

The Renovation of Nature 210

The Privileges of Israel 232

The Punctuation of Rom. ix. 5 233

The Divine Election 248

The Divine Sovereignty in the Old Testament . . . 257

The Power and Rights of God as Creator .... 266
The Relation of St. Paul's Argument in chap, ix to the Book

of Wisdom 267

A History of the Interpretation of Rom. ix. 6-29 . . . 269

The Argument of ix. 30-x. 21 : Human Responsibility . 300

St. Paul's Use of the Old Testament 302

The Doctrine of the Remnant 316

The Merits of the Fathers 330

The Argument of Romans ix-xi 341

St. Paul's Philosophy of History 342

The Salvation of the Individual : Free-Will and Predesti-
nation 347

Spiritual Gifts 358

The Church and the Civil Power 369

The History of the word (17(17717 374

The Christian Teaching on Love 376

The early Christian belief in the nearness of the napov<ria , 379

The relation of Chapters xii-xiv to the Gospels . . . 381

What sect or party is referred to in Rom. xiv ? . . . 399

Aquila and Priscilla .••••••. 418


I Subjects ..••.••• 437

II Latin Words 443

III Greek Words 443


§ I. Rome in a.d. 58.

It was during the winter 57-58, or early in the spring of the
year 58, according to almost all calculations, that St. Paul wrote
his Epistle to the Romans, and that we thus obtain the first trust-
worthy information about the Roman Church. Even if there be
some slight error in the calculations, it is in any case impossible
that this date can be far wrong, and the Epistle must certainly
have been written during the early years of Nero's reign. It would
be unwise to attempt a full account either of the city or the empire
at this date, but for the illustration of the Epistle and for the
comprehension of St. Paul's own mind, a brief reference to a few
leading features in the history of each is necessary '.

For certainly St. Paul was' influenced by the name of Rome. In
Rome, great as it is, and to Romans, he wishes to preach the
Gospel : he prays for a prosperous journey that by the will of God
he may come unto them : he longs to see them : the universality
of the Gospel makes him desire to preach it in the universal city^
And the impression which we gain from the Epistle to the
Romans is supported by our other sources of information. The
desire to visit Rome dominates the close of the Acts of the
Apostles: 'After I have been there, I must also see Rome.' 'As
thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness
also at RomeV The imagery of citizenship has impressed itself
upon his language*. And this was the result both of his experience
and of his birth. Wherever Christianity had been preached the
Roman authorities had appeared as the power which restrained

' The main authorities used for this section are Fnmeanx, The Annals of
Tacitus, vol. ii, and Schiller, CeschichU des Komischen Kaisserrcichs un^cr
der R$gierung des Nero,

• Rom. i. 8-15.

• Acts xix. 31 ; xxiii. ii.

• Phil. i. 37; iii. 30; £ph. ii. 19; Acts xxiiL I.


the forces of evil opposed to it*. The worst persecution of the
Christians had been while Judaea was under the rule of a native
prince. Everywhere the Jews had stirred up persecutions, and
the imperial officials had interfered and protected the Apostle.
And so both in this Epistle and throughout his life St. Paul
emphasizes the duty of obedience to the civil government, and the
necessity of fulfilling our obligations to it. But also St. Paul was
himself a Roman citizen. This privilege, not then so common as
it became later, would naturally broaden the view and impress the
imagination of a provincial; and it is significant that the first clear
conception of the universal character inherent in Christianity, the
first bold step to carry it out, and the capacity to realize the import-
ance of the Roman Church should come from an Aposile who was
not a Galilaean peasant but a citizen of a universal empire. ' We
cannot fail to be struck with the strong hold that Roman ideas had
on the mind of St. Paul,' writes Mr. Ramsay, ' we feel compelled
to suppose that St. Paul had conceived the great idea of Christianity
as the religion of the Roman world ; and that he thought of the
various districts and countries in which he had preached as parts of

Online LibraryW. (William) SandayA critical and exegetical commentary on the Epistle to the Romans → online text (page 1 of 71)