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Romans 5:7

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die - The Jews divide men, as to their moral character, into four classes:

    First class, Those who say, "what is mine, is my own; and what is thine, is thy own." These may be considered the just, who render to every man his due; or rather, they who neither give nor take.

    The second class is made up of those who say, "what is mine, is thine; and what is thine, is mine." These are they who accommodate each other, who borrow and lend.

    The third class is composed of those who say, "What is mine, is thine; and what is thine, let it be thine." These are the pious, or good, who give up all for the benefit of their neighbor.

    The fourth class are those who say, "What is mine, is mine; and what is thine, shall be mine." These are the impious, who take all, and give nothing. Now, for one of the first class, who would die? There is nothing amiable in his life or conduct that would so endear him to any man, as to induce him to risk his life to save such a person.

Peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die -

This is for one of the third class, who gives all he has for the good of others. This is the truly benevolent man, whose life is devoted to the public good: for such a person, peradventure, some who have had their lives perhaps preserved by his bounty, would even dare to die: but such cases may be considered merely as possible: they exist, it is true, in romance; and we find a few rare instances of friends exposing themselves to death for their friends. See the case of Jonathan and David; Damon and Pythias, Val. Max. lib. iv. c, 7; Nisus and Euryalus, Virgil. And our Lord says, John 15:13; : Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. This is the utmost we can expect among men.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

For scarcely … - The design of this verse and the following is, to illustrate the great love of God by comparing it with what man was willing to do. “It is an unusual occurrence, an event which is all that we can hope for from the highest human benevolence and the purest friendship, that one would be willing to die for a good man. There are none who would be willing to die for a man who was seeking to do us injury, to calumniate our character, to destroy our happiness or our property. But Christ was willing to die for bitter foes.”

Scarcely - With difficulty. It is an event which cannot be expected to occur often. There would scarcely be found an instance in which it would happen.

A righteous man - A just man; a man distinguished simply for integrity of conduct; one who has no remarkable claims for amiableness of character, for benevolence, or for personal friendship. Much as we may admire such a man, and applaud him, yet he has not the characteristics which would appeal to our hearts to induce us to lay down our lives for him. Accordingly, it is not known that any instance has occurred where for such a man one would be willing to die.

For a righteous man - That is, in his place, or in his stead. A man would scarcely lay down his own life to save that of a righteous man.

Will one die - Would one be will. ing to die.

Yet peradventure - Perhaps; implying that this was an event which might be expected to occur.

For a good man - That is, not merely a man who is coldly just; but a man whose characteristic is that of kindness, amiableness, tenderness. It is evident that the case of such a man would be much more likely to appeal to our feelings, than that of one who is merely a man of integrity. Such a man is susceptible of tender friendship; and probably the apostle intended to refer to such a case - a case where we would be willing to expose life for a kind, tender, faithful friend.

Some would even dare to die - Some would have courage to give his life. Instances of this kind, though not many, have occurred. The affecting case of Damon and Pythias is one. Damon had been condemned to death by the tyrant Dionysius of Sicily, and obtained leave to go and settle his domestic affairs on promise of returning at a stated hour to the place of execution. Pythias pledged himself to undergo the punishment if Damon should not return in time, and deliver himself into the hands of the tyrant. Damon returned at the appointed moment, just as the sentence was about to be executed on Pythias; and Dionysius was so struck with the fidelity of the two friends, that he remitted their punishment, and entreated them to permit him to share their friendship; (Val. Max. 4. 7.) This case stands almost alone. Our Saviour says that it is the highest expression of love among people. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends;” John 15:13. The friendship of David and Jonathan seems also to have been of this character, that one would have been willing to lay down his life for the other.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Christ died for sinners; not only such as were useless, but such as were guilty and hateful; such that their everlasting destruction would be to the glory of God's justice. Christ died to save us, not in our sins, but from our sins; and we were yet sinners when he died for us. Nay, the carnal mind is not only an enemy to God, but enmity itself, chap. 8:7; Col 1:21. But God designed to deliver from sin, and to work a great change. While the sinful state continues, God loathes the sinner, and the sinner loathes God, Zec 11:8. And that for such as these Christ should die, is a mystery; no other such an instance of love is known, so that it may well be the employment of eternity to adore and wonder at it. Again; what idea had the apostle when he supposed the case of some one dying for a righteous man? And yet he only put it as a thing that might be. Was it not the undergoing this suffering, that the person intended to be benefitted might be released therefrom? But from what are believers in Christ released by his death? Not from bodily death; for that they all do and must endure. The evil, from which the deliverance could be effected only in this astonishing manner, must be more dreadful than natural death. There is no evil, to which the argument can be applied, except that which the apostle actually affirms, sin, and wrath, the punishment of sin, determined by the unerring justice of God. And if, by Divine grace, they were thus brought to repent, and to believe in Christ, and thus were justified by the price of his bloodshedding, and by faith in that atonement, much more through Him who died for them and rose again, would they be kept from falling under the power of sin and Satan, or departing finally from him. The living Lord of all, will complete the purpose of his dying love, by saving all true believers to the uttermost. Having such a pledge of salvation in the love of God through Christ, the apostle declared that believers not only rejoiced in the hope of heaven, and even in their tribulations for Christ's sake, but they gloried in God also, as their unchangeable Friend and all-sufficient Portion, through Christ only.
Ellen G. White
Our High Calling, 131.3

God will be to us everything we will let Him be. Our languid, half-hearted prayers will not bring us returns from heaven. Oh, we need to press our petitions! Ask in faith, wait in faith, receive in faith, rejoice in hope, for everyone that seeketh findeth. Be in earnest in the matter. Seek God with all the heart. People put soul and earnestness into everything they undertake in temporal things, until their efforts are crowned with success. With intense earnestness learn the trade of seeking the rich blessings that God has promised, and with persevering, determined effort you shall have His light and His truth and His rich grace. OHC 131.3

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Ellen G. White
Lift Him Up, 353.5

When we consider that Christ died for the ungodly while they were yet sinners, we are led to realize how willing and even anxious He is to bless us, that we may be a blessing to others (The Review and Herald, April 21, 1896). LHU 353.5

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 94

This is the testimony that must go throughout the length and breadth of the world. It presents the law and the gospel, binding up the two in a perfect whole. (See Romans 5 and 1 John 3:9 to the close of the chapter.) These precious scriptures will be impressed upon every heart that is opened to receive them. “The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple”—those who are contrite in heart. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” These have not a mere nominal faith, a theory of truth, a legal religion, but they believe to a purpose, appropriating to themselves the richest gifts of God. They plead for the gift, that they may give to others. They can say, “Of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.” TM 94.1

“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit.” TM 94.2

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Ellen G. White
The Upward Look, 357.5

Satan has made men and women his prisoners, and claims them as his subjects. When Christ saw that there was no human being able to be man's intercessor, He Himself entered the fierce conflict and battled with Satan. The First begotten of God was the only One who could liberate those who by Adam's sin had been brought in subjection to Satan. UL 357.5

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