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Romans 13:9

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery - He that loves another will not deprive him of his wife, of his life, of his property, of his good name; and will not even permit a desire to enter into his heart which would lead him to wish to possess any thing that is the property of another: for the law - the sacred Scripture, has said: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

It is remarkable that ου ψευδομαρτυρησεις, thou shalt not bear false witness, is wanting here in ABDEFG, and several other MSS. Griesbach has left it out of the text. It is wanting also in the Syriac, and in several of the primitive fathers. The generality of the best critics think it a spurious reading.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

For this - “This” which follows is the sum of the laws. “This” is to regulate us in our conduct toward our neighbor. The word “this” here stands opposed to “that” in Romans 13:11. This law of love would prompt us to seek our neighbor‘s good; “that” fact, that our salvation is near, would prompt us to be active and faithful in the discharge of all the duties we owe to him.

Thou shalt not commit adultery - All the commands which follow are designed as an illustration of the duty of loving our neighbor; see these commands considered in the notes at Matthew 19:18-19. The apostle has not enumerated “all” the commands of the second table. He has shown generally what they required. The command to honor our parents he has omitted. The reason might have been that it was not so immediately to his purpose when discoursing of love to a “neighbor” - a word which does not immediately suggest the idea of near relatives. The expression, “Thou shalt not bear false witness,” is rejected by the best critics as of doubtful authority, but it does not materially affect the spirit of the passage. It is missing in many manuscripts and in the Syriac version.

If there be any other commandment - The law respecting parents; or if there be any duty which does not seem to be “specified” by these laws, it is implied in the command to love our neighbor as ourselves.

It is briefly comprehended - Greek, It may be reduced to “this head;” or it is summed up in this.

In this saying - This word, or command,

Thou shalt love … - This is found in Leviticus 19:18. See it considered in the notes at Matthew 19:19. If this command were fulfilled, it would prevent all fraud, injustice, oppression, falsehood, adultery, murder, theft, and covetousness. It is the same as our Saviour‘s golden rule. And if every man would do to others as he would wish them to do to him, all the design of the Law would be at once fulfilled.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Christians must avoid useless expense, and be careful not to contract any debts they have not the power to discharge. They are also to stand aloof from all venturesome speculations and rash engagements, and whatever may expose them to the danger of not rendering to all their due. Do not keep in any one's debt. Give every one his own. Do not spend that on yourselves, which you owe to others. But many who are very sensible of the trouble, think little of the sin, of being in debt. Love to others includes all the duties of the second table. The last five of the ten commandments are all summed up in this royal law, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself; with the same sincerity that thou lovest thyself, though not in the same measure and degree. He that loves his neighbour as himself, will desire the welfare of his neighbour. On this is built that golden rule, of doing as we would be done by. Love is a living, active principle of obedience to the whole law. Let us not only avoid injuries to the persons, connexions, property, and characters of men; but do no kind or degree of evil to any man, and study to be useful in every station of life.
Ellen G. White
Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, 172.3

Teach the children and youth to respect themselves, to be true to God, true to principle; teach them to respect and obey the law of God. Then these principles will control their lives and will be carried out in their association with others. They will love their neighbor as themselves. They will create a pure atmosphere, one that will have an influence to encourage weak souls in the path that leads to holiness and heaven. Let every lesson be of an elevating, ennobling character, and the records made in the books of heaven will be such as you will not be ashamed to meet in the judgment. 1MCP 172.3

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Ellen G. White
Christ's Object Lessons, 391

“If thou wilt enter into life,” He added, “keep the commandments.” The character of God is expressed in His law; and in order for you to be in harmony with God, the principles of His law must be the spring of your every action. COL 391.1

Christ does not lessen the claims of the law. In unmistakable language He presents obedience to it as the condition of eternal life—the same condition that was required of Adam before his fall. The Lord expects no less of the soul now than He expected of man in Paradise, perfect obedience, unblemished righteousness. The requirement under the covenant of grace is just as broad as the requirement made in Eden—harmony with God's law, which is holy, just, and good. COL 391.2

To the words, “Keep the commandments,” the young man answered, “Which?” He supposed that some ceremonial precept was meant, but Christ was speaking of the law given from Sinai. He mentioned several commandments from the second table of the Decalogue, then summed them all up in the precept, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” COL 391.3

The young man answered without hesitation, “All these things have I kept from my youth up; what lack I yet?” His conception of the law was external and superficial. Judged by a human standard, he had preserved an unblemished character. To a great degree his outward life had been free from guilt; he verily thought that his obedience had been without a flaw. Yet he had a secret fear that all was not right between his soul and God. This prompted the question, “What lack I yet?” COL 391.4

“If thou wilt be perfect,” Christ said, “go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come and follow Me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.” COL 391.5

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Ellen G. White
The Publishing Ministry, 280

Evangelistic Canvassers in Place of Living Preacher—Canvassing for our publications is an important and most profitable line of evangelistic work. Our publications can go to places where meetings cannot be held. In such places the faithful evangelistic canvasser takes the place of the living preacher. By the canvassing work the truth is presented to thousands who otherwise would never hear it. PM 280.1

I feel very sorry to know that so many of the books which should be finding ready sale are lying on the office shelves. These books contain the light that people need. May the Lord move upon many of our young people to enter His service as evangelistic canvassers. Our time for work is short. Many, very many, need the promptitude of the “quickly” in them, to lead them to arouse and go to work. The Lord calls for workers just now.... PM 280.2

Our commission is to let the light shine forth everywhere from the press. By the printed page the light reaches the isolated ones, who have no opportunity to hear the living preacher. This is most blessed missionary work. Canvassers can be the Lord's helping hand, opening doors for the entrance of truth.—The Review and Herald, October 7, 1902. PM 280.3

Canvassers to Warn the Cities While It Is Possible—Who can question that we are living in perilous times? When Christ portrayed the destruction of Jerusalem, He looked down the ages and included in His description the still more awful destruction of the world. And He declares, “As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37-39). PM 280.4

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 1 (EGW), 1104

Adam and Eve Knew the Law—Adam and Eve, at their creation, had a knowledge of the law of God. It was printed on their hearts, and they understood its claims upon them (Manuscript 99, 1902). 1BC 1104.1

The law of God existed before man was created. It was adapted to the condition of holy beings; even angels were governed by it. After the fall, the principles of righteousness were unchanged. Nothing was taken from the law; not one of its holy precepts could be improved. And as it has existed from the beginning, so will it continue to exist throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. “Concerning thy testimonies,” says the psalmist, “I have known of old that thou hast founded them forever (The Signs of the Times, April 15, 1886). 1BC 1104.2

Law Suited to Holy Order of Beings—The Sabbath of the fourth commandment was instituted in Eden. After God had made the world, and created man upon the earth, He made the Sabbath for man. After Adam's sin and fall nothing was taken from the law of God. The principles of the ten commandments existed before the fall, and were of a character suited to the condition of a holy order of beings. After the fall, the principles of those precepts were not changed, but additional precepts were given to meet man in his fallen state (Spiritual Gifts 3:295). 1BC 1104.3

Worded to Meet Fallen Intelligences—The law of Jehovah dating back to creation, was comprised in the two great principles, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” These two great principles embrace the first four commandments, showing the duty of man to God, and the last six, showing the duty of man to his fellowman. The principles were more explicitly stated to man after the fall, and worded to meet the case of fallen intelligences. This was necessary in consequence of the minds of men being blinded by transgression (The Signs of the Times, April 15, 1875, reprinted in The Review and Herald, May 6, 1875). 1BC 1104.4

The law of God existed before the creation of man or else Adam could not have sinned. After the transgression of Adam the principles of the law were not changed, but were definitely arranged and expressed to meet man in his fallen condition. Christ, in counsel with His Father, instituted the system of sacrificial offerings; that death, instead of being immediately visited upon the transgressor, should be transferred to a victim which should prefigure the great and perfect offering of the son of God (The Signs of the Times, March 14, 1878). 1BC 1104.5

Precepts Given to Guard Decalogue—In consequence of continual transgression, the moral law was repeated in awful grandeur from Sinai. Christ gave to Moses religious precepts which were to govern everyday life. These statutes were explicitly given to guard the ten commandments. They were not shadowy types to pass away with the death of Christ. They were to be binding upon men in every age as long as time should last. These commands were enforced by the power of the moral law, and they clearly and definitely explained that law (The Signs of the Times, April 15, 1875, reprinted in The Review and Herald, May 6, 1875). 1BC 1104.6

(Isaiah 58:13, 14). Every Specification Is God's Character—The God of heaven has placed a benediction upon them that keep the commandments of God. Shall we stand as a peculiar people of God, or shall we trample upon the law of God and say it is not binding? God might just as well have abolished Himself. In the law every specification is the character of the infinite God (Manuscript 12, 1894). 1BC 1104.7

Law Denounces Slightest Sin—God has given His law for the regulation of the conduct of nations, of families, and of individuals. There is not one worker of wickedness, though his act be the lightest and the most secret, that escapes the denunciation of that law (Manuscript 58, 1897). 1BC 1104.8

Holiness Made Known—Our duty to obey this law is to be the burden of this last message of mercy to the world. God's law is not a new thing. It is not holiness created, but holiness made known. It is a code of principles expressing mercy, goodness, and love. It presents to fallen humanity the character of God, and states plainly the whole duty of man (Manuscript 88, 1897). 1BC 1104.9

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