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

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the wrath, but also for conscience sake.' He only disobeyed when it was
necessary to do so for conscience sake. The point of importance is the
detachment of the two spheres of activity. The Church and the State are
looked upon as different bodies, each with a different work to perform. To
designate this or that form of government as ' Christian,' and support it on
these grounds, would have been quite alien to the whole spirit of those days.
The Church must influence the world by its hold on the hearts and consciences
of individuals, and in that way, and not by political power, will the
Kingdona of God come.



XIII. 8, 8.] LOVE THE FULFILMENT OF ALL LAW 373



LOVE THE FUIiFIIiMEN"T OF ALL LAW.

XIII. 8-10. There is one debt which the Christian must

ahvays be paying but never can discharge, that of love. All
particular precepts are summed up in that of love, which
makes injury to any man impossible.

8. St. Paul passes from our duties towards superiors to that one
principle which must control our relations towards all men, love. In
xii. 9 the principle of love is introduced as the true solution of all
difficulties which may arise from rivalry in the community; here it
is represented as at the root of all regulations as to our relations to
others in any of the affairs of life.

|i'»]8€i'i ^r^\v 64>ei\eT€ must be imperative as the negatives show.
It sums up negatively the results of the previous verse and suggests
the transition, ' Pay everyone their due and owe no man anything.'

el p,T] TO dyaTTui' dWiiXous : ' Let your only debt that is unpaid
be that of love — a debt which you should always be attempting to
discharge in full, but will never succeed in discharging.' Permanere
tamen et nunquam cessare a nobis delitum caritatis : hoc enim et quo-
tidie solvere et semper dehere expedit nobis. Orig. By this pregnant
expression St, Paul suggests both the obligation of love and the
impossibility of fulfilling it. This is more forcible than to suppose
a change in the meaning of o^ei'Xere : ' Owe no man anything, only
ye ought to love one another.'

6 Y^P dyaTTWj' k.t.X. gives the reason why ' love ' is so important :
if a man truly loves another he has fulfilled towards him the whole
law. v6]i.ov is not merely the Jewish law, although it is from it that
the illustrations that follow are taken, but law as a principle. Just
as in the relations of man and God irlcrrii has been substituted for
foVoj, so between man and man dydTTTj takes the place of definite
legal relations. The perfect Tren'KrjpojKev implies that the fulfilment
is already accomplished simply in the act of love.

9. St. Paul gives instances of the manner in which ' love ' fulfils
law. No man who loves another will injure him by adultery, by
murder, by theft, &c. They are all therefore summed up in the
one maxim 'thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,* as indeed
they were also in the Old Covenant.

The AV. adds after ov KXiipeis in this verse ov if/fv^onnprvprjadi from the
O. T. with N P &c., Boh. Sec, as against A B D E F G L See, Vulg. codd. and
most Fathers, iv tw before dyanTjcreis is omitted by B F G. For aeavrov of
the older MSS. (N A B D E), later MSS. read eavr6i', both here and elsewhere.
In late Greek eavrov became habitually used for all persons in the reflexive,
and scribes sub>>tituted the form most usual to them.

The order of the coimnaudmeats is different from that in the Hebrew text



374 EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS [XIII. 9, 10

both in Exodus xx. 13 and Deut. v. i^, namely, (6) Thou shalt do no mnrder,
(7) Thou shalt not commit adulterer, (8) Thou shalt not steal. The MSS
of the LXX vary; in Exodus B reads 7, 8, 6, A F 6, 7, 8 ; in Deut. B reads
7, 6, 8 (the order herel, AF 6, 7, 8. The order of Romans is that also of
Luke xviii. 20 ; James ii. 1 1 ; Philo De Decalogo ; Clem-Alex. Strom, vi. 16.

Kol €1 Tis cTcpa shows that St. Paul in this selection has only
taken instances and that he does not mean merely to give a sum-
ming up of the Jewish law.

dvaK€<|>aXaiouTat : a rhetorical term used of the summing up of
a speech or argument, and hence of including a large number of
separate details under one head. As used in Eph. i. 10 of God
summing up all things in Christ it became a definite theological
term, represented in Latin by recapitulatio (Iren. III. xxii. 2).

'AYa-n"»]o-€is Tof TrXtjaioi' <tou dis koM-xov. Taken from Levidcus
xix. 18 where it sums up a far longer list of commandments. It
is quoted Matt. xxii. 39; Mark xii. 31 ; Luke x. 27; Gal. v. 14;
James ii. 8 where it is called ^aaiXiKos vSfxoi.

10. r\ dYairtj . . . ouk epyd^eTai. Love fulfils all law, because no
one who loves another will do him any ill by word or deed. These
words sum up what has been said at greater length in i Cor. xiii.

4-6.

irX^puiia, 'complete fulfilment.' The meaning of 77X. here is
given by ver. 9 ' He that loveth his neighbour has fulfilled (»r<*rX^-
puKfv) law, therefore love is the fulfilment (nXi'ipcona) of law.

T^g History of the word ayditTj,

There are three words in Greek all of which may be translated by the
English 'love,' epaw, (piXeca, dyauda}. Of these fpd(u with its cognate form
ioanai was originally associated with the sexual passion and was thence
translerred to any strong passionate affection ; (piKeai was used rather of
warm domestic affection, and so of the love of master and servant, of parents
and children, of husband and wife ; in Homer, of the love of the gods for
men. ipdv is combined with kmBvuuv and contrasted with <pi\iiv as it.
Xen. Hier. xi. 11 ware oi /xuvov (pikoio av dWai koI epwo. One special use
of tpojs and tpaoj must be referred to, namely, the Platonic. The intensity
and strength of human passion seemed to Plato to represent most adequately
the love of the soul for higher things, and so the philosophic epus was used
for the highest human desire, that for true knowledge, true virtue, true
Immortality.

The distinction of <pt\i(u and dyairiaj much resembled that between am«
and diligo. The one expressed greater affection, the other greater esteem.
So Dio Cassius xliv. 48 ((piXrjcraTt avT^!' cLs Trartpa xal -qyaThjaaTt «is fvep-
yirrjv; and John xxi. 15-17 \(yet axirS) ir&\tv Sfvrtpov, 'S.'tpojv 'laidiov,
dyaiT^s fit; Atyfi avrqj, Nat, Kvpie- av oiSas Sti (piKai ae k.t.K. (see Trench,
Syn. § xii). It is significant that no distinction is absolute; but <pi\(ai
occasionally, still more rarely dyandaj, are both used incorrectly of the
sexual passion. There is too close a connexion between the different forms
of human affection to allow any rigid distinction to be made in the nse of
^ords.

When these words w«re adopted into Hellenistic Greek, a gradual changt



filll. 8-10.] LOVE THE FULFILMENT OF ALL LAW 375

was made in their use. ipAto and its coq;nates are very rarely used, and
almost invariably in a bad sense. In the N. T. they do not occur at all, the
word iiriOvixiw being employed instead. Yet occasionally, even in biblical
and ecclesiastical Greek, the higher sense of the Platonic tpojs finds a place
(Prov. iv. 6 ; Wisdom viii. 2 ; Justin, Dial. 8, p. 225 B ; Clem.-Alex. Coh.
II, p. 90; see Lightfoot, Ignatius ad Rom. vii. 2). Between artanaio and
<pi\tci) a decided preference was shown for the former. It occurs about
368 times (Hatch and Redpath) in a very large proportion of cases as a
translation of the Hebrew 2nt<; (j'tkico about twelve times (Trommius), ex-
cluding its use as equivalent to oscular. This choice was largely due to the
use of the Hebrew word to express the love of God to man, and of man tc
Ged (Deut. xxiii. 5; xxx. 6; Hosea iii. i) ; it was felt that the greatei
amount of intellectual desire and the greater severity implied in dyaTrdw fitted
it better than cpiKioi for this purpose. But while it was elevated in meaning
it was also broadened ; it is used not only of the love of father and son, of
husband and wife, but also of the love of Samson for Delilah (Jud. xvi. 4)
and of Hosea's love for his adulterous v/ife (Hos. iii. i). Nor can there be any
doubt that to Hebrew writers there was in a pure love of God or of righteous-
ness something of the intensity which is the highest characteristic ot human
passion (Is. Ixii. 5). d7ajrda; in the LXX corresponds in all its characletisiics
to the English ' love.'

But not only did the LXX use modify the meaning of d7ajracy, it created
a new word dydnr}. Some method was required of expressing the conception
which was gradually growing up. "Epan had too sordid associations. 4>iA(a
was tried (Wisdom vii. 14 ; viii. 18), but was felt to be inadequate. The
language of the Song of Solomon created the demand for uydnr]. (2 Kings
I or 2 times; Ecclesiastes 2; Canticles 11 ; Wisdom 2 ; Ecclus. i; Jeremiah i ;
Ps. Sol. I.)

The N.T. reproduces the usage of the LXX, but somewhat modified.
While dja-ndco is used 138 times, <pi\(Oj is used in this sense 22 times (13 in
St. John's Gospel) ; generally when special emphasis has to be laid on the
relations of father and son. But the most maiked change is in the use of
dydiri]. It is never used in the Classical writers, only occasionally in the
LXX ; in early Christian writers its use becomes habitual and general.
Nothing could show more clearly that a new principle has been created than
this creation of a new word.

In the Vulgate dydin] is sometimes rendered by dilectio, sometimes by
earitas; to this inconsistency are due the variations in the English
Authorized Version. The word caritas passed into English in the Middle
Ages (for details see Eng. Diet, sub voc.) in the form 'charity,' and was for
some time used to correspond to most of the meanings of dyd-nr] ; but as the
English Version was inconsistent and no corresponding verb existed the
usage did not remain wide. In spite of its retention in 1 Cor. xiii. ' charity '
became confined in all ordinary phraseology to ' benevolence,' and the
Revised Version was compelled to make the usage of the New Testament
consistent.

Whatever loss there may have been in association and in the rhythm of
well-known passages, there is an undoubted gain. The history of the word
dya-ndo) is that of the collection under one head of various conceptions which
were at any rate partially separated, and the usage of tne N. T. shows that
the distinction which has to be made is not between <pt\4w, dyairdo) and
(paw, but between dyd-nrj and (ni6vfj.ia. The English language makes this
distinction between the affection or passion in any form, and a purely animal
desire, quite plain ; although it may be obliterated at times by a natural
euphemism. But setting aside this distinction which must be occasionally
present to the mind, but which need not be ofien spoken of, Christianity does
not shrink from declaring that in all forms of human passion and affection



376 EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS [XIII. &-10.

which are not purely animal there is present that same love which In its

highest and most pure development forms the essence and sum of the
Christian religion. This affection, hcnvever perverted it may be, Christianity
does not condemn, but so far as may be elevates and purifies.



The Christian Teaching on Love.

The somewhat lengthy history just given of the word dydmj is
a suitable introduciion to the history of an idea which forms a fun-
damental principle of all Christian thought.

The duty of love in some form or other had been a common-
place of moral teaching in times long before Christianity and in
many different places. Isolated maxims have been collected in its
favour from very varied authors, and the highest pagan teaching
approaches the highest Christian doctrine. But in all previous
philosophy such teaching was partial or isolated, it was never
elevated to a great principle. Maxims almost or quite on a level
with those of Christianity we find both in the O. T. and in Jewish
writers. The command * Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy-
self is of course taken directly from the O. T., and is there used
to sum up in one general principle a long series of rules. Sayings
of great beauty are quoted from the Jewish fathers. * Hillel said,
Be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace,
loving mankind and bringing them nigh to the Torah' {Ptrqe
Aboth i. 13); or again, 'What is hateful to thyself do not to thy
fellow; this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary; go
study,' also ascribed to Hillel. It is however true in all cases that
these maxims, and all such as these, are only isolated instances, that
they do not represent the spirit of earlier institutions, and that they
form a very insignificant proportion compared with much of
a different character.

In Christianity this principle, which had been only partially
understood and imperfectly taught, which was known only in
isolated examples, yet testified to a universal instinct, was finally
put forward as the paramount principle of moral conduct, uniting
our moral instincts with our highest religious principles. A new
virtue, or rather one hiiherto imperfectly understood, had become
recognized as the root of all virtues, and a new name was demanded
for what was practically a new idea.

In the first place, the new Christian doctrine of love is universal.
' Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour and
hate thine enemy : but I say unto you. Love your enemies, and
pray for them that persecute you ; ' and a very definite reason is
given, the universal Fatherhood of God. This universalism which
underlies all the teaching of Jesus is put in a definite practical
form by St. Paul. * In Christ Jesus there is neither Jew nor Gentile,



XIII. U.] THE DAY IS AT HAND 377

bond nor free, male nor female.' As it i<' summed up in a well-
known work : ' The first law, then, of the k"ngdom of God is that
all men, however divided from each other b) blood or language,
have certain mutual duties arising out of their ct^mmon relation to
God ' i^Ecce Homo, chap. xii).

But secondly, the Christian doctrine of love was the substitution
of a universal principle for law. All moral precepts are summed
up in the one command of love. What is my duty towards others ?
Just that feeling which you have towards the persons to whom you
ace most attached in the world, just that you must feel for every one.
If you have that feeling there will be no need for any further
command. Love is a principle and a passion, and as such is the
fulfilment of the Law. Christ ' declared an ardent, passionate, or
devoted state of mind to be the root of virtue ' ; and this purifying
passion, capable of existing in all men alike, will be able to re-
deem our nature and make laws superfluous.

And thirdly, how is this new Christian spirit possible? It is
possible because it is intimately bound up with that love which is
a characteristic of the Godhead. 'God is love.' 'A new com-
mandment I give to you, that ye should love one another as I have
loved you.' It is possible also because men have learnt to love
mankind in Christ * Where the precept of love has been given,
an image must be set before the eyes of those who are called on to
obey it, an ideal or type of man which may be noble and amiable
enough to raise the whole race, and make the meanest member of
it sacred with reflected glory.' This is what Christ did for us.

These three points will help to elucidate what St. Paul means by
ayuTrrf, It is in fact the correlative in the moral world to what faith
is in the religious life. Like faith it is universal ; like faith it is
a principle not a code; like faith it is centred in the Godhead.
Hence St. Paul, as St. John (i John iii. 23), sums up Christianity
in Faith and Love, which are finally, united in that Love of God,
which is the end and root of both.



THE DAY IS AT HAND.

XIII. 11-14. Tke night of this corrupt age is fiying.
The Parotisia is nearing. Cast off your evil ways. Gird
yourselves with the armour of light. Take Christ into your
hearts. Shun sin and self-indulgence.

11. The Apostle adds a motive for the Christian standard of
life, the nearness of our final salvation.

Kal TouTO, ' and that too ' : cp. i Cor. vi. 6, 8 ; Eph. ii. 8, &c. : it



5? 8 EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS [XIII. 11-18

resumes the series of exhortations implied in the previous sections ;
there is no need to supply any special words wiih it.

Toi' Katpoi' : used of a definite, measured, or determined time, and
so almost technically of the period before the second coming of
Christ: cf. I Cor, vii. 29 6 Kaipos awfaraXnevos ; Mark i. 15; and

so o naiobs 6 ivearoji (Heb. ix. 9).

oTi wpa t]8t) k.t.X. rjbr) wiih iy(p6r]vai. The time of trial on earth
is looked upon as a night of gloom, to be followed by a bright
morning. We must arouse ourselves from slumber and prepare
ourselves for the light.

vuv ydp eyyuTepoK k.t.X. ' For our completed salvation, no longer
that hope of salvation which sustains us here, is appreciably nearer
for us than when we first accepted in faith the Messianic message.'
OTi enifTTevaaiifv refers to the actual moment of the acceptance of
Christianity. The language is that befitting those who expect tlie
actual coming of Christ almost immediately, but it will fit the
circumstances of any Christian for whom death brings the day.

In ver. 11 the original vfias (N A BCP, Clem.-Alex.) has been corrected
for the sake of uniformity into ij/nay (^<« D E F G L, &c., Boh. Sah.). In ver. 1 3
iv epiai Kal Crj\ois is a variant of B, Sah., Clem.-Alex. Arab. In ver. 14 B,
and Clem.-Alex. read r6v Xptardv 'lijaovv, which may very likely be the
correct reading.

12. irpo^Kovj/ef, 'has advanced towards dawn.* Cf. Luke ii. 52;
Gal. i. 14 ; Jos. Bell. Jud. IV. iv. 6 ; Just. Dial. p. 277 d.

The contrast of v-nvo^, vv^, and <tk6tos with rjfispa and 05f finds
many illustrations in Christian and in all religious literature.

diroGcofJieQa. The works of darkness, /. e. works such as befit the
kingdom of darkness, are represented as being cast oiT like the
uncomely garments of the night, for the bright armour which
befits the Cliristian soldier as a member of the kingdom of light.
This metai'hor of the Christian armour is a favourite one with
St. Paul (i Thess. v. 8; 2 Cor. vi. 7; Rom. vi. 13; and especially
Eph. vi. 13 f.) ; it may have been originally suggested by the
Jewish conception of the last great fight against the armies of
Antichrist (Dan. xi ; Orac. Sib. iii. 663 f. ; 4 Ezra xiii. 33 ; Enoch
xc 16), but in St. Paul the conception has become completely
spiritualized.

13. euax^fAowajs irepiTraniCTcofiei'. The metaphor nfpiTvaruv of
conduct is very common in St. Paul's Epistles, where it occurs
thirty-three times (never in the Past. Epp.); elsewhere in the
N. T. sixteen times.

Kc5|xois, 'rioting,' 'revelry' (Gal. v. ai; i Pet iv. 3). fxeer] the
drunkenness which would be the natural result and accompaniment
©f such revelry,

Koirais Kttl dcreXyeiais, 'unlawful intercourse and wanton acts.'
'Opa bi TT)v rd^iV KWfJid^av ftiv yap T»f fxtOvei, fuQvMV 8f Koird^eTai,



XIII. 13, 14.] THE DAY IS AT HAND 379

KOtTa^ofitvos 8e aatXyalvei, toC otvou tovtov rfj irXtjcritovg nvpnaikovvTos koI
bifptOiCovTos. Euthym.-Zig.

14. ei'SuaoffOe tok Ku'pioi' 'itjaoui' Xpi(Tr6v. Christ is put On first in
baptism (vi. 3; Gal. iii. 27), but we must continually renew that
life with which we have been clothed (Eph. iv. 24 ; Col. iii. 12).

TTJs CTopKos with npouoiav : the word is thrown forward in order to
emphasize the contrast between the old nature, the flesh of sin, and
the new, the life in Christ.

On this passage most commentators compare St. Aug. Con/ess.
viii. 12, 33 Arripui, aperui et legi in silentio capilulum, quo pri-
mum coniecti sunt oculi met: Non in conversationibus et ebrie-
tatibus, non in cubilibus et impudicitiis, non in contentione et
aemulatione : sed induite Dominum lesum Christum, et carnis
providentiam ne feceritis in concupiscentiis. Nee ultra volui
legere, nee opus erat. Statim quippe eum fine huiusce sententiae quasi
luce securitatis infusa cordi meo, omnes dubitationis tenebrae di§u-
gerunt,

Th$ early Christian belief in the nearness of the

■napovaia.

There can hardly be any doubt that in the Apostolic age the
prevailing belief was that the Second Coming of the Lord was an
event to be expected in any case shortly and probably in the life-
time of many of those then living; it is also probable that this
belief was shared by the Apostles themselves. For example, so
strongly did such views prevail among the Thessalonian converts
that the death of some members of the community had filled them
with perplexity, and even when correcting these opinions St. Paul
speaks of ' we that are alive, that are left unto the coming of our
Lord ' ; and in the second Epistle, although he corrects the
erroneous impression which still prevailed that the coming was
immediate and shows that other events must precede it, he still
contemplates it as at hand. Similar passages may be quoted from
all or most of the Epistles, although there are others that suggest
that it is by his own death, not by the coming of Christ, that
St. Paul expects to attain the full life in Christ to which he looked
forward (i Cor. vii. 29-31; Rom. xiii. 11, 12; Pliil. iv. 5; and
on the other side 2 Cor. v. i-io; Phil. i. 23; iii. 11, 20, 21 ; see
Jowett, Thessalonians^ Sec, i. p. 105, who quotes both classes of
passages without dis'Jnguishing them).

How far was this derived from our Lord's own teaching ?
There is, it is true, very clear teaching on the reality and the
suddenness of the coming of Christ, and very definite exhortation
to all Christians to live as expecting that coming. This teaching
is couched largely in the current language of Apocalyptic literature



380 EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS [XIII. 11-14

which was often hardly intended to be taken literally even by
Jewish writers; moreover it is certainly mingled with teaching
which was intended to refer to what was a real manifestation of the
Divine power, and very definitely a ' coming of the Lord ' in the
O. T. sense of the term, the destruction of Jerusalem. All this
language again is reported to us by those who took it in a literal
sense. The expressions of our Lord quoted as prophetic of His
speedy return are all to a certain extent ambiguous ; for example,
' This generation shall not pass away until all these things be ful-
filled,' or again ' There be some of them here who shall not taste of
death until they see the Son of God coming with power.' On the
other side there is a very distinct tradition preserved in documents
of different classes recording that when our Lord was asked de-
finitely on such matters His answers were ambiguous. Acts i. 7
' It is not for you to know times and seasons, which the Father
hath set within His own authority.' John xxi. 23 ' This saying
therefore went forth among the brethren, that that discijjle should
not die : yet Jesus said not unto him, that he should not die ; but,
If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee ?' Moreover
he affirmed that He Himself was ignorant of the date Mark xiii. 32 ;
Matt. xxiv. 36 ' But of that day and hour knoweth no one, not
even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only.'

In the face of these passages it is reasonable to believe that
this ignorance of the Early Church was permitted and that with
a purpose. If so, we may be allowed to speculate as to the service
it was intended to fulfil.

In the first place, this belief in the nearness of the second coming
quickened the religious and moral earnestness of the early Chrisdan.
Believing as intently as he did ' that the fashion of this world passeth
away,' he ' set his affection on things above ' ; he lived in the world
and yet not of the world. The constant looking forward to the
coming of the Lord produced a state of intense spiritual zeal which
braced the Church for its earliest and hardest task.

And secondly, it has been pointed out very ably how much the
elasticity and mobility of Christianity were preserved by the fact thai
the Aposdes never realized that they were building up a Church
which was to last through the ages. It became the fashion of
a later age to ascribe to the Apostles a series of ordinances and
constitutions. Any such theory is quite inconsistent with the real
spirit of their time. They never wrote or legislated except so far
as existing needs demanded. They founded such institutions as
were clearly required by some immediate want, or were part of our
Lord's teaching. But they never administered or planned with
a view to the remote future. Their writings were occasional,



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