Romans 7:1 - "he"

Ben Crick ben.crick at
Tue Nov 23 10:49:32 EST 1999

On Mon 22 Nov 1999 (20:05:54), just_a_servant at wrote:
> "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?

 Dear Marty,

 The first word in verse 1, )H\, refers back to OU GAR ESTE hUPO NOMON
 ALLA hUPO CARIN (6:14), picked up by TO DE CARISMA TOU QEOU in 6:23.
 hO NOMOS (7:1) does not necessarily refer to the Mosaic Law only; the
 Romans would also apply it to the Lex Romana. This is the Law of Marriage,
 not the Law of Moses, being instanced here.

 TOU ANQROPOU does not mean the husband hO ANHR in verse 2; it means men and
 women generally, and covers all legal contracts, not just marriage. These
 cease to be of any effect after the death of one or other of the parties
 concerned. The legal contract ceases; but not the Law itself.

 hOSON CRONON ZHi would mean hOSON CRONON hO ANQRWPOS ZHi. It would be a
 redundant tautology, adding nothing to the argument, if it were taken
 to mean hOSON CRONON hO NOMOS ZHi. Compare ZWNTOS TOU ANDROS in verse 3.
 The Law makes a married woman an adulteress if she marry another husband
 GENHTAI ANDRI hETERWi unless her first husband has died (EAN DE APOQANHi
 hO ANHR). Compare Hosea 3:3 LXX, OUDE MH GENHi ANDRI, for the expression
 GINOMAI ANDRI, 'get married'; also Deuteronomy 24:4, Ruth 1:12 LXX.

 In verse 4 it does not say the Law is dead; it is the ANDRES ADELFOI who
 are *dead to the Law* in Christ, who died our death penalty under the Law.
 Now being 'dead' to the Law of Moses, we are free to be 'married' to the
 Law of Christ, and bring forth the 'fruit' of that union.

> 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.

 Those are excellent commentaries; but maybe you should also consult
 something a little more recent?  Douglas J Moo is very good, if you
 prefer a 'conservative' one. There are many more.

 Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
 <ben.crick at>
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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