Romans 8:26-39

Romans 8:26-39
Ordinary A35


26 Likewise the SpiritA helpsB us in our weakness;C

Notes on verse 26a

A “Spirit” = pneuma. From pneo (to blow, breath, breathe hard). This is wind, breath, or ghost. A breeze or a blast or air, a breath. Figuratively used for a spirit, the human soul or part of us that is rational. It is also used supernaturally for angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit. This is where pneumonia comes from.
B “helps” = sunantilambanomai. 2x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + antilambano (to take, share in, support, enjoy, to receive support that meets a pressing need); {from anti (opposite, instead of, against) + lambano (active acceptance/taking of what is available or what has been offered; emphasizes the choice and action of the individual)}. This is to help out together with, cooperate with, have a share in, to assist together with others.
C “weakness” = astheneia. From asthenes (without strength, sick, deprivation; weak in a moral or physical sense); {From a (not) + sthenes (strong, vigor); {from the base of sthenoo (to strengthen so that one can be mobile); from sthenos (strength)}}. This is weakness, frailty, illness, suffering, or calamity. It is any kind of sickness or injury that includes weakness or diminishes your ability to enjoy or accomplish what you would choose.

for we do not knowD how to prayE as we ought,F but that very Spirit intercedesG with sighsH too deep for words.I

Notes on verse 26b

D “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.
E “pray” = proseuchomai. From pros (advantageous for, at, toward) + euchomai (to wish, make a request, pray). This is to pray or pray for, to worship or supplicate. It is more literally exchanging one’s own wishes for God’s.
F “ought” = dei. From deo (to tie, bind, compel; declare unlawful). This is what is necessary or proper. It is what is needed or what one should do – a duty or something inevitable. This refers to something absolutely necessary.
G “intercedes” = huperentugchano. 1x in NT. From huper (by, under, over, above, under the authority of another) + entugchano (to encounter, appeal, please, chance upon, confer with, to meet someone in order to consult with them); {from en (in, on, at, by, with, among) + tugchano (root means to become ready; to hit, meet, happen, obtain, chance, perhaps; properly, to hit the mark or be spot on; the opposite of the Greek word for sin hamartano, which literally means to miss the mark); {perhaps from tucho (to make ready, bring about)}}. Properly, to happen upon someone – to bend forward in order to make petition for or intercede – to grant benefit.
H “sighs” = stenagmos. 2x in NT. From stenazo (to sigh, complain, express grief; pressure or pain from bring something about as in childbirth) OR stenos (narrow, confined, constricted; confined because of obstacles); {probably from histemi (to stand, place, set up, establish, stand ready, stand firm, be steadfast)}. This is groaning or sighing, particularly because of a situation that is bringing a lot of pressure.
I “too deep for words” = alaletos. 1x in NT. From a (not, without) + laleo (to talk, say, preach); {from lalos (talkative)}}. This is inexpressible, unspeakable. It is something “that baffles words” or is too profound to be expressed.

 27 And God, who searchesJ the heart,K knows what is the mindL of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedesM for the saintsN according to the will of God.O

Notes on verse 27

J “searches” = ereunao. 6x in NT. From eraunao (to search or examine); perhaps from ereo (to say, tell, speak, mean, command); perhaps from rheo (to say, speak of, command). This is to seek or examine. Figuratively, it can mean to investigate or desire to know.
K “heart” = kardia. Literally the heart, but figuratively mind, character, inner self, will, intention, thoughts, feelings. Also, the center of something. The word heart is only used figuratively in the Old and New Testaments. This is where “cardiac” comes from.
L “mind” = phronema. 4x in NT – all in Romans 8. From phroneo (to think, judge, use one’s mind, have an opinion, shape one’s opinion through action; insight or inner perspective expressing itself through behavior); from phren (diaphragm, heart, intellect, understanding; figurative for personal opinion or inner mindset; thought regulating action; sympathy, feelings, cognition); perhaps from phrao (to rein in or curb). This is thought, mind, purpose, opinion. It is how one’s perspective influences and creates behavior and the results of that behavior. It can also refer to living out personal insight.
M “intercedes” = entugchano. 5x in NT. Related to “intercedes” in v26. See note G above.
N “saints” = hagios. From hagnos (holy, sacred, pure ethically, ritually, or ceremonially; prepared for worship, chaste, unadulterated, pure to the core; undefiled by sin; figurative for innocent, modest, perfect). God is totally different from humanity and thus set apart. That which is consecrated to worship God (elements of worship) or to serve God (as the saints) are holy because they are now set apart for God’s purposes. Holy because important to God. This is sacred physically, pure. It can be morally blameless or ceremonially consecrated.
O “God” = theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.

28 We know that all things work togetherP for goodQ for those who loveR God, who are calledS according to his purpose.T 

Notes on verse 28

P “work together” = sunergeo. 5x in NT. From sunergos (co-worker, associate, helper, co-laborer or one’s companion during labor); {from sun (with, together with) + ergon work, task, deed, labor, effort) {from ergo (to work, accomplish, do)}}. This is to work together, help in labor, be a co-worker, to cooperate. This root is where “synergy” comes from.
Q “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.
R “love” = agapao. Perhaps from agan (much). This is love, longing for, taking pleasure in. It is divine love or human love that echoes divine love.
S “called” = kletos. 11x in NT. From the same as klesis (calling, invitation); from kaleo (to call by name, invite, to name, bid, summon, call aloud); related to keleuo (to command, order, direct); from kelomai (to urge on). This is the called, invited, calling. Used in the NT as God’s calling.
T “purpose” = prothesis. 12x in NT. From protithemi (to set before, purpose, plan, determine, put in a public display); {from pro (before, earlier than, ahead, prior) + tithemi (to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense; properly, this is placing something in a passive or horizontal position)}. This is a setting forth – a proposal, predetermination, purpose. It can also mean something that is sacred or consecrated so it can be used for the showbread or sacred bread.

29 For those whom he foreknewU he also predestinedV to be conformedW to the imageX of his Son, in order that he might be the firstbornY within a large family.Z 

Notes on verse 29

U “foreknew” = proginosko. 5x in NT. From pro (before, first, in front of, earlier) + ginosko (to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn; gaining knowledge through personal experience). This is to know ahead of time, foresee, or ordain.
V “predestined” = proorizo. 6x in NT. From pro (before, earlier than, ahead, prior) + horizo (o determine, set boundaries, appoint, designate, pre-determined; literally, this is setting horizons); {from the same as horion (boundary, territory); from horos (limit, boundary)}. This is to predetermine, to set limits or boundaries in advance. Figuratively, it is foreordain or predestine.
W “conformed” = summorphos. 2x in NT. From sun (with, together with) + morphe (form, shape, external appearance; an appearance that embodies inner essence; figuratively, the nature of something); {perhaps from meros (a part or share, portion); {from meiromai (to get one’s allotment or portion)}. This is similar or conformed to. It is behavior that mirrors inner essence. It is jointly formed.
X “image” = eikon. From eiko (resemble, be like) OR perhaps related to eiko (to submit, give way, be weak, yield). This is a likeness such as an image, statue, or other representation. It implies a prototype that is being mirrored – a replication rather than a shadow. It can be an image in a figurative sense as well. This is where the word “icon” comes from.
Y “firstborn” = prototokos. 8x in NT. From protos (what is first, which could be the most important, the first in order, the main one, the chief); {from pro (before, first, in front of, earlier)} + tikto (to beget, bring forth, produce). This is firstborn or oldest. Figuratively, it can also mean pre-eminent.
Z “within a large family” = en + polus + adelphos. Literally “among many brothers.” Adelphos is from a (with, community, fellowship) + delphus (womb). This is a brother in a literal or figurative sense. It is also used of another member of the Church.

30 And those whom he predestined he also called;AA and those whom he called he also justified;BB and those whom he justified he also glorified.CC

Notes on verse 30

AA “called” = kaleo. Related to “called” in v28 See note S above.
BB “justified” = dikaioo. From dikaios (correct, righteous – implies innocent; this is that which conforms to God’s notion of justice, uprightness); From dike (the principle of justice; that which is right in a way that is very clear; a decision or the execution of that decision; originally, this word was for custom or usage; evolved to include the process of law, judicial hearing, execution of sentence, penalty, and even vengeance; more commonly, it refers to what is right); may be from deiknumi (to show, point out, exhibit; figurative for teach, demonstrate, make known). This is to be righteous, plead the cause of, justify, acquit. Properly, it is being approved, particularly carrying the weight of a legal judgment. It is upright, render just, or innocent.
CC “glorified” = doxazo. From doxa (glory, opinion, praise, honor, renown; particularly used as a quality of God or manifestation of God – splendor); from dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); from dokos (opinion). This is to render or hold something as glorious, to glorify, honor, magnify, or celebrate. This is ascribing weight to something by recognizing its true value or essence.

31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He whoDD did not withholdEE his ownFF Son, but gave him upGG for all of us, will he not with him also giveHH us everything else? 

Notes on verses 31-32

DD {untranslated} = ge. 16x in NT. This is a particle of emphasis – indeed, besides, doubtless, yet, at least.
EE “withhold” = pheidomai. 10x in NT. This is to spare, refrain, or to treat with leniency.
FF “own” = idios. This is something that belongs to you or that is personal, private, apart. It indicates a stronger sense of possession than a simple possessive pronoun. This is where “idiot” comes from (denoting someone who hasn’t had formal training or education and so they rely on their own understanding).
GG “gave…up” = paradidomi. From para (from beside, by) + didomi (give, offer, place, bestow, deliver; give in a literal or figurative sense). This is literally to hand over – hence to deliver, abandon, or betray. It implies a personal involvement.
HH “give” = charizomai. From charis (grace, kindness, favor, gratitude, thanks; being inclined to or favorable towards – leaning towards someone to share some good or benefit; literal, figurative, or spiritual; grace as abstract concept, manner, or action); 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 to extend grace or favor, to grant forgiveness, to pardon or rescue.

33 Who will bring any chargeII against God’s elect?JJ It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn?KK

Notes on verses 33-34a

II “bring any charge” = egkaleo. Related to “called” in v28 & “called” in v30. 7x in NT. From en (in, on, at, by, with, among) + kaleo (see note S above). This is to call in, accuse, lay a charge. It can also be to bring to account as when one calls in a debt or obligation.
JJ “elect” = eklektos. From eklego (to choose, select, elect); {from ek (from, from out of) + lego (to speak, tell, mention)}. This is to select or choose. It is making a person choice – a favorite.
KK “condemn” = katakrino. 18x in NT. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + krino (to judge, decide, think good, condemn, determine, pass judgment, stand trial, sue; judging whether in court or in a private setting; properly, mentally separating or distinguishing an issue – to come to a choice or decision, to judge positively or negatively in seeking what is right or wrong, who is innocent or guilty; can imply trying, condemning, punishing, or avenging). This is judging down, which is to say to vote guilty or deserving of punishment, to condemn. This is a decisive judgment of guilt. It can also be to damn someone.

It is ChristLL Jesus,MM who died,NN yes,OO who was raised,PP, QQ who is at the right handRR of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 

Notes on verses 34b

LL “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.
MM “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.
NN “died” = apothnesko. From apo (from, away from) + thnesko (to die, be dead). This is to die off. It is death with an emphasis on the way that death separates. It can also mean to wither or decay.
OO “yes” = mallon. This is rather, more than, or better.
PP “raised” = egeiro. This is to awake, raise up or lift up. It can be to get up from sitting or lying down, to get up from sleeping, to rise from a disease or from death. Figuratively, it can be rising from inactivity or from ruins.
QQ Some manuscripts add “from the dead.”
RR “right hand” = dexios. Perhaps from dechomai (to warmly receive, be ready for what is offered, take, accept, or welcome; to receive in a literal or figurative sense). This is right, right side, or the right hand.

35 Who will separateSS us from the loveTT of Christ? Will hardship,UU or distress,VV or persecution,WW

Notes on verse 35a

SS “separate” = chorizo. 13x in NT. From choris (apart from, separate from); from chora (space, land, region, fields, open area); from chasma (gap, gulf, chasm, open space); from chasko (to gape, yawn). Properly, this is to separate or create space. It can be literal as divide, depart, or withdraw. It can be figurative in reference to divorce.
TT “love” = agape. Related to “love” in v28. From agapao (see note R above). This is love, goodwill, benevolence. It is God’s divine love or human love that mirrors God’s love.
UU “hardship” = thlipsis. From thlibo (to press in on and make narrow, rub together, constrict; figuratively to oppress or afflict). This is pressure that hems us in – used often of internal pressure that makes us feel like we have no other options and are confined or restricted. So, this is persecution, affliction, trouble, distress, and anguish. There is a different word, stenoxoria, that refers to external pressure that we feel from what’s going on.
VV “distress” = stenochoria. Related to “sighs” in v26 & “separate” in v35. From stenos (see note H above) + chora (see note SS above). This is literally a narrow space. Figuratively, it is distress, anguish, or difficulty.
WW “persecution” = diogmos. 10x in NT. From dioko to chase after, put to flight; by implication, to persecute or to purse like a hunter after its prey; this can be earnestly pursue or zealously persecute) {related to dio (put to flight). This is chase, pursuit, or persecution. It is hunting someone like an animal.

or famine,XX or nakedness,YY or peril,ZZ or sword?AAA 

Notes on verse 35b

XX “famine” = limos. 12x in NT. Probably from leipo (to leave behind, be lacking). This is hunger, famine, or lacking.
YY “nakedness” = gumnotes. 3x in NT. From gumnos (naked; generally, not completely clothed i.e. only wearing the undergarment and not the complete attire for going out; rarely, completely naked; naked in a literal or figurative sense – open, bare, ill-clad). This is nakedness or exposure – whether total nakedness or naked as compared to others.
ZZ “peril” = kindunos. 9x in NT – here and 8x in 2 Corinthians 11:26. This is danger, peril, or risk.
AAA “sword” = machaira. Perhaps from mache (fight, battle, conflict; figuratively, controversy); from machomai (to fight, strive, dispute, quarrel; to war). This is a short sword, slaughter knife, or dagger. It is a stabbing weapon. Figuratively, associated with retribution, war, or legal punishment.

36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killedBBB allCCC day long;
    we are accountedDDD as sheepEEE to be slaughtered.”FFF

Notes on verse 36

BBB “being killed” = thanatoo. Related to “died” in v34. 11x in NT. From thanatos (death, risk of death, pestilence); from thnesko (see note NN above). This is to kill, subdue, be rid of, mortify. It is to kill in a literal or figurative sense.
CCC “all” = holos. This is whole, complete, or entire. It is a state where every member is present and functioning in concert. This is the root of the word “whole.”
DDD “accounted” = logizomai. From logos (word, statement, speech, analogy; here, word as an account or accounting; can also be a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying; a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words; by implication, a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive; can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ); from lego (to speak, tell, mention). This is this is to compute or reckon up, to count; figuratively, it is coming to a conclusion or decision using logic; taking an inventory in a literal or figurative sense.
EEE “sheep” = probaton. Probably from probaino (to go forward literally or to advance in years); {from pro (before, ahead, earlier than, above) + the same as basis (a step, pace, foot); {from baino (to walk, to go)}}. This is literally easily led and so a sheep or another grazing animal. Also use figuratively of people who are led easily.
FFF “slaughtered” = sphage. 3x in NT. From sphazo (to slay, butcher an animal to eat or for sacrifice, slaughter, maim through violence). This is butchery of meat, whether for sacrifice or for food. It can also be used of slaughter and sacrifice more generally and figuratively of people, meaning destruction.

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerorsGGG through him who loved us. 38 For I am convincedHHH that neither death,III nor life,JJJ nor angels,KKK nor rulers,LLL

Notes on verses 37-38a

GGG “more than conquerors” = hupernikao. 1x in NT. From huper (by, under, over, above, under the authority of another) + nikao (to conquer, prevail, overcome, be victories; implies victory in battle); {from nike (victory, conquest; figurative for what makes one successful)}. This is to overwhelmingly conquer. It is a super conqueror whose victory is complete, surpassing – having a decisive victory.
HHH “convinced” = peitho. This is to have confidence, to urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust. It is the root from which the Greek word for faith is drawn (pistis).
III “death” = thanatos. Related” to “died” in v34 & “being killed” in v36. From thnesko (see note NN above). See note BBB above.
JJJ “life” = zoe. From zao (to live, be alive). This is life including the vitality of humans, plants, and animals – it is life physical and spiritual and life everlasting.
KKK “angels” = aggelos. Probably from ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide) + agele (flock, herd, drove); {also from ago (see above)}. This is angel or messenger. Properly, it is one sent with news or to perform a specific task. This messenger can be human or an angel from heaven. More commonly, it is used for angels in the New Testament.
LLL “rulers” = arche. From archomai (to begin or rule); from archo (to rule, begin, have first rank or have political power). Properly, this is what is first. In a temporal sense, that is beginning or origin. It can also refer to the one who ranks first, i.e. king or ruler. So, it can also be magistrate, power, or principality. It can be used more generally for wat is preeminent.

nor things present,MMM nor things to come,NNN nor powers,OOO 

Notes on verse 38b

MMM “things present” = enistemi. Related to “sighs” in v26. 7x in NT. From en (in, on, at, by with, among) + histemi (see note H above). This is literally to place in or be at hand. Thus, it is to be present or the things that are present. It can also be something that is impending or instant.
NNN “things to come” = mello. Perhaps from melo (something that one is worried or concerned about, something one pays attention to or thinks about). Properly, this is ready, about to happen, to intend, delay, or linger. This is just on the point of acting.
OOO “powers” = dunamis. From dunamai (to be able, have power or ability). This is might, strength, physical power, efficacy, energy, and miraculous power. It is force literally or figuratively – the power of a miracle or the miracle itself.

39 nor height,PPP nor depth,QQQ nor anything elseRRR in all creation,SSS will be ableTTT to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.UUU

Notes on verse 39

PPP “height” = hupsoma. 2x in NT. From hupsoo (to elevate in a literal or figurative sense; to raise up or set something in a high place or to exalt or make something great); from hupsos (height, high position, heaven, dignity, eminence; elevation, altitude; to be exalted); from hupsi (on high, aloft); from huper (over, above, beyond). This is something that is lifted up. So, it could be height, barrier, or bulwark. It could also be a lofty thing or elevated place – altitude, presumption.
QQQ “depth” = bathos. 8x in NT. From bathus (deep in a literal or figurative sense); from the same root as basis (step, foot). This is depth, fullness, profundity, or immensity. This is where the term “bathysphere” comes from, but not the English word “bath.”
RRR “else” = 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.
SSS “creation” = ktisis. 19x in NT. From ktizo (to build, create, form, shape; God’s acts of creation); probably akin to ktaomai (to get, purchase, possess). This is creation, creature, or ordinance. It is also used for when a city is founded and creation as origin.
TTT “be able” = dunamai. Related to “powers” in v38. See note OOO above.
UUU “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.

Image credit: “Whole World in God’s Hands” by Courtney Carmody, 2010.

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