Romans 7:1 - "he"

a b just_a_servant at
Mon Nov 22 23:05:54 EST 1999

I really appreciate the warm welcome and information
you supplied to my question regarding "loosed." I have
several questions dealing with scriptures that deal
with marriage and such like. If my questions have
already been answered in the past, please forgive me
and point me to the archives. I hope I can make sense
out of this one. It is very difficult for me to

The question centers around the KJV translation of
Romans 7:1-4. I won't quote all the scriptures for
lack of space. 

"Know ye not brethren, (for I speak to them that know
the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as
long as HE liveth" (vs. 1). I understand that "HE" was
supplied by the translators. Several commentators,
etc. that I have read behind seem to suggest that "it"
could have been used in place of "HE." I tend to
agree. What do you think?

In verse 1 we have a man bound to a law - or the law
hath dominion over the man. How long? As long as "HE"
liveth. In verses 2 and 3 we have a woman who is bound
to a man as long as He liveth.  But if the man be dead
the woman is freed from him. In verse 4 we learn that
we are no longer bound to the law, but to Christ.

According to the KJV, in verse 1, the one who is under
the law dies; in verse 2 the one who has dominion
(husband) dies; and in verse 3 the one who had
dominion over them (the law) died ('nailed to the
cross"). Now this presents a problem to me. In my own
words I would say that in verse 1 the subject of the
law died, but in the next two illustrations the law
(that to which a person was subject) dies. In other
words, in the KJV the only illustration that supports
the conclusion of verse 4 is the second illustration
because in the first illustration the one subject to
the law dies.

In verse 1 the KJV translators make it say that the
MAN ("HE") is in subjection to the law so long as the
man ("HE") lives. But the context shows that when the
law ceases to be in force, the man is released from
obligation to the law. Greenfield, in his "Notes on
the Greek New Testament," translates it: "The law hath
dominion over a man so long as it is in force, and no
longer." Albert Barnes and Adam Clarke also make
similar observations in their commentaries.

With that having been said, I tend to think that verse
one should read "… as long as IT liveth" with "IT"
being the law. I say this because in the next
illustration Paul shows how when what a person is
bound to dies, that person is free to become bound to
another. Then in verse 4 the point he is leading up to
and seeking to illustrate with the previous two
illustrations is made - what they were bound to ("the
law") has been taken out of the way and now we can be
bound to Christ. Since illustrations 2 and 3 have the
law/husband/dominant force dying (and not those who
were subject to it), then I think the first
illustration must/should be translated "… as long as
IT (law) liveth" and also have the law/dominant
force/that which we are subject to dying.

I would really enjoy reading your comments on Romans

                               (@ @)      
                         Marty Livingston
Do You Yahoo!?
Bid and sell for free at

More information about the B-Greek mailing list