Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Romans 8:38

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

For I am persuaded - After the blessed experience we have had of support by the grace and Spirit of him that loved us, that neither fear of death, nor hope of life, nor evil angels, nor principalities, nor powers, persecuting us for Christ's sake; nor the things we endure at present, nor the things to come, whatever tribulation we may be called to suffer in future;

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

For I am persuaded - I have a strong and unwavering confidence. Latin Vulgate, “I am certain.” The expression here implies unwavering certainty.

Neither death - Neither the fear of death, nor all the pains and tortures of the dying scene, even in the most painful trials of persecution; death in no form.

Nor life - Nor the hope of life; the love of life; the offer of life made to us by our persecutors, on condition of abjuring our Christian faith. The words evidently refer to times of persecution; and it was not uncommon for persecutors to offer life to Christians, on condition of their renouncing attachment to the Saviour, and offering sacrifice to idols. All that was demanded in the times of persecution under the Roman emperors was, that they should throw a few grains of incense on the altar of a pagan god, as expressive of homage to the idol. But even this they would not do. The hope of life on so very easy terms would not, could not alienate them from the love of Christ.

Nor angels - It seems to be apparent that “good angels” cannot be intended here. The apostle was saying that nothing would separate Christians from the love of Christ. Of course, it would be implied that the things which he specifies might be supposed to have some power or tendency to do it. But it is not conceivable that good angels, who are “sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” Hebrews 1:14, should seek to alienate the minds of Christians from the Saviour, or that their influence should have any such tendency. It seems to be clear, therefore, that he refers to the designs and temptations of evil spirits. The word “angels” is applied to evil spirits in Matthew 25:41; 1 Corinthians 6:3.

Nor principalities - ( ἀρχαὶ archai). This word usually refers to magistrates and civil rulers. But it is also applied to evil angels, as having dominion over people; Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle against … principalities;” Colossians 2:15, “And having spoiled principalities:” 1 Corinthians 15:24, “When he shall have put down all rule;” Greek, ἀρχήν archēnSome have supposed that it refers here to magistrates and those in authority who persecuted Christians; but the connection of the word with angels seems to require us to understand it of evil spirits.

Nor powers - This word δυνάμεις dunameisis often applied to magistrates; but it is also applied to evil spirits that have dominion over men; 1 Corinthians 15:24. The ancient Rabbis also give the name powers to evil angels. (Schleusner.) There can be no doubt that the Jews were accustomed to divide the angels of heaven into various ranks and orders, traces of which custom we find often in the Scriptures. And there is also reason to suppose that they made such a division with reference to evil angels, regarding Satan as their leader, and other evil spirits, divided into various ranks, as subordinate to him; see Matthew 25:41; Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 2:15. To such a division there is probably reference here; and the meaning is, that no order of evil angels, however powerful, artful, or numerous, would be able to alienate the hearts of Christians from their Redeemer.

Nor things present - Calamities and persecutions to which we are now subject.

Nor things to come - Trials to which we may be yet exposed. It evinced strong confidence to say that no possible trials should be sufficient to destroy their love for Christ.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
All things whatever, in heaven and earth, are not so great a display of God's free love, as the gift of his coequal Son to be the atonement on the cross for the sin of man; and all the rest follows upon union with him, and interest in him. All things, all which can be the causes or means of any real good to the faithful Christian. He that has prepared a crown and a kingdom for us, will give us what we need in the way to it. Men may justify themselves, though the accusations are in full force against them; but if God justifies, that answers all. By Christ we are thus secured. By the merit of his death he paid our debt. Yea, rather that is risen again. This is convincing evidence that Divine justice was satisfied. We have such a Friend at the right hand of God; all power is given to him. He is there, making intercession. Believer! does your soul say within you, Oh that he were mine! and oh that I were his; that I could please him and live to him! Then do not toss your spirit and perplex your thoughts in fruitless, endless doubtings, but as you are convinced of ungodliness, believe on Him who justifies the ungodly. You are condemned, yet Christ is dead and risen. Flee to Him as such. God having manifested his love in giving his own Son for us, can we think that any thing should turn aside or do away that love? Troubles neither cause nor show any abatement of his love. Whatever believers may be separated from, enough remains. None can take Christ from the believer: none can take the believer from Him; and that is enough. All other hazards signify nothing. Alas, poor sinners! though you abound with the possessions of this world, what vain things are they! Can you say of any of them, Who shall separate us? You may be removed from pleasant dwellings, and friends, and estates. You may even live to see and seek your parting. At last you must part, for you must die. Then farewell, all this world accounts most valuable. And what hast thou left, poor soul, who hast not Christ, but that which thou wouldest gladly part with, and canst not; the condemning guilt of all thy sins! But the soul that is in Christ, when other things are pulled away, cleaves to Christ, and these separations pain him not. Yea, when death comes, that breaks all other unions, even that of the soul and body, it carries the believer's soul into the nearest union with its beloved Lord Jesus, and the full enjoyment of him for ever.
Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 286.4

Christ offers our prayers to the Father, mingled with the merit of His sacrifice, and they come up before God as sweet incense.... Whenever you are tempted to sin remember that Christ's eye is upon you, and that Satan desires to have you that he may sift you as wheat. Remember to send your petitions heavenward, and see Jesus making intercession for you. Send up an earnest cry to God, “Lord, save me; I perish,” and you will not be overcome; you will not enter into sin. Take your stand firmly on the words of Paul, and in the strength of Jesus say, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39).9 TMK 286.4

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Ellen G. White
God's Amazing Grace, 223

And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Ephesians 4:23, 24. AG 223.1

Christ was a faithful reprover.... To all things untrue and base His very presence was a rebuke. In the light of His purity, men saw themselves unclean, their life's aims mean and false. Yet He drew them. He who had created man, understood the value of humanity.... AG 223.2

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Ellen G. White
In Heavenly Places, 148.4

Let us not spare ourselves, but carry forward in earnest the work of reform that must be done in our lives. Let us crucify self. Unholy habits will clamor for the mastery, but in the name and through the power of Jesus we may conquer. To him who daily seeks to keep his heart with all diligence, the promise is given, “Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38, 39).... God Himself is “the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” And “whom he justified, them he also glorified” (verse 30). HP 148.4

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Ellen G. White
In Heavenly Places, 269.3

Christ's love for His children is as strong as it is tender. It is a love stronger than death, for He died for us. It is a love more true than that of a mother for her children. The mother's love may change, but Christ's love is changeless. “I am persuaded,” Paul says, “that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38, 39). HP 269.3

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