The Meaning of Romans 5:17 Explained

Romans 5:17

KJV: For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

YLT: for if by the offence of the one the death did reign through the one, much more those, who the abundance of the grace and of the free gift of the righteousness are receiving, in life shall reign through the one -- Jesus Christ.

Darby: For if by the offence of the one death reigned by the one, much rather shall those who receive the abundance of grace, and of the free gift of righteousness, reign in life by the one Jesus Christ:)

ASV: For if, by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one; much more shall they that receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, even Jesus Christ.

What does Romans 5:17 Mean?

Study Notes

offence Sin. (See Scofield " Romans 3:23 ") .
righteousness See Romans 5:17 ; Romans 5:18 ; Romans 5:21 .
righteousness of God
The righteousness of God is neither an attribute of God, not the changed character of the believer, but Christ Himself, who fully met in our stead and behalf every demand of the law, and who is, but the act of God called imputation Leviticus 25:50 ; James 2:23 , "made unto us. . righteousness" 1 Corinthians 1:30 .
"The believer in Christ is now, by grace, shrouded under so complete and blessed a righteousness that the law from Mt. Sinai can find neither fault nor diminution therein. This is that which is called the righteousness of God by faith."--Bunyan.
2 Corinthians 5:21 ; Romans 4:6 ; Romans 10:4 ; Philippians 3:9 ; Romans 3:26

Verse Meaning

The consequence of Adam"s sin was death reigning over mankind. The consequence of Christ"s obedience was mankind reigning over death ( Romans 5:17). This implies the believer"s resurrection and participation in Jesus Christ"s reign as well as our reigning in this life. Death and life are the contrasting consequences of Adam"s act and Christ"s act.

Context Summary

Romans 5:12-21 - Death Through Adam, Life Through Christ
This is the profoundest and most fundamental section of the whole Epistle. It contains an insight into the deep things of God, 1 Corinthians 2:10. We must read it slowly and thoughtfully many times in order to catch its drift. In these comments we can only skim in the most superficial manner across the surface.
We are here taught the unity of the race, not only in Adam, but in Christ. Adam's sin has affected the standing of every man; but the grace and the obedience of the "One Man," Jesus Christ, have secured for all men the offer of the free gift. The guilt that lay upon the race by the sin of Adam has been removed from the race by the obedience of the Son of man to the Cross. None, therefore, are condemned, on account of that first transgression, or doomed for that primal fall. In a sense, all are made righteous; that is, all stand before God on the basis of their individual, rather than their racial, responsibility. We are not condemned with Adam, but may be condemned, if we refuse to avail ourselves of the grace of Jesus Christ. All that sin forfeited is put within our reach. Nay, we may reach higher heights than Adam, if we will only receive the abundance of the grace of Christ. [source]

Chapter Summary: Romans 5

1  Being justified by faith, we have peace with God;
2  and joy in our hope;
8  that since we were reconciled by his blood, when we were enemies;
10  we shall much more be saved, being reconciled
12  As sin and death came by Adam;
17  so much more righteousness and life by Jesus Christ
20  Where sin abounded, grace did superabound

Greek Commentary for Romans 5:17

Much more [πολλωι μαλλον]
Argument a fortiori again. Condition of first class assumed to be true. Note balanced words in the contrast (transgression παραπτωματι — paraptōmati grace χαριτος — charitos death τανατος — thanatos life ζωηι — zōēi the one or Adam του ενος — tou henos the one Jesus Christ; reign βασιλευω — basileuō in both). [source]
Reigned []
The emphatic point of the comparison. The effect of the second Adam cannot fall behind that of the first. If death reigned, there must be a reign of life. [source]
They which receive [οἱ λαμβάνοντες]
Not believingly accept, but simply the recipients. [source]
Abundance of grace []
Note the articles, the abundance of the grace. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Romans 5:17

Matthew 6:14 Trespasses [παραπτώματα]
The Lord here uses another word for sins, and still another ( ἁμαρτιας ) appears in Luke's version of the prayer, though he also says, “every one that is indebted to us.” There is no difficulty in supposing that Christ, contemplating sins in general, should represent them by different terms expressive of different aspects of wrong-doing (see on Matthew 1:21). This word is derived from παραπίπτω , to fall or throw one's self beside. Thus it has a sense somewhat akin to ἁμαρτία , of going beside a mark, missing. In classical Greek the verb is often used of intentional falling, as of throwing one's self upon an enemy; and this is the prevailing sense in biblical Greek, indicating reckless and wilful sin (see 1 Chronicles 5:25; 1 Chronicles 10:13; 2 Chronicles 26:18; 2 Chronicles 29:6, 2 Chronicles 29:19; Ezekiel 14:13; Ezekiel 18:26). It does not, therefore, imply palliation or excuse. It is a conscious violation of right, involving guilt, and occurs therefore, in connection with the mention of forgiveness (Romans 4:25; Romans 5:16; Colossians 2:13; Ephesians 2:1, Ephesians 2:5). Unlike παράβασις (transgression )which contemplates merely the objective violation of law, it carries the thought of sin as affecting the sinner, and hence is found associated with expressions which indicate the consequences and the remedy of sin (Romans 4:25; Romans 5:15, Romans 5:17; Ephesians 2:1). [source]
John 1:4 In Him was life [ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν]
He was the fountain of life - physical, moral, and eternal - its principle and source. Two words for life are employed in the New Testament: βίος and ζωὴ . The primary distinction is that ζωὴ means existence as contrasted with death, and βίος , the period, means, or manner of existence. Hence βίος is originally the higher word, being used of men, while ζωὴ is used of animals ( ζῶα ). We speak therefore of the discussion of the life and habits of animals as zoo logy; and of accounts of men's lives as bio graphy. Animals have the vital principle in common with men, but men lead lives controlled by intellect and will, and directed to moral and intellectual ends. In the New Testament, βίος means either living, i.e., means of subsistence (Mark 12:44; Luke 8:43), or course of life, life regarded as an economy (Luke 8:14; 1 Timothy 2:2; 2 Timothy 2:4). Ζωὴ occurs in the lower sense of life, considered principally or wholly as existence (1 Peter 3:10; Acts 8:33; Acts 17:25; Hebrews 7:3). There seems to be a significance in the use of the word in Luke 16:25: “Thou in thy lifetime ( ἐν τῇ ζωῇ σου ) receivedst thy good things;” the intimation being that the rich man's life had been little better than mere existence, and not life at all in the true sense. But throughout the New Testament ζωὴ is the nobler word, seeming to have changed places with βίος . It expresses the sum of mortal and eternal blessedness (Matthew 25:46; Luke 18:30; John 11:25; Acts 2:28; Romans 5:17; Romans 6:4), and that not only in respect of men, but also of God and Christ. So here. Compare John 5:26; John 14:6; 1 John 1:2. This change is due to the gospel revelation of the essential connection of sin with death, and consequently, of life with holiness. “Whatever truly lives, does so because sin has never found place in it, or, having found place for a time, has since been overcome and expelled” (Trench). Ζωὴ is a favorite word with John. See John 11:25; John 14:6; John 8:12; 1 John 1:2; 1 John 5:20; John 6:35, John 6:48; John 6:63; Revelation 21:6; Revelation 22:1, Revelation 22:17; Revelation 7:17; John 4:14; Revelation 2:7; Revelation 22:2, Revelation 22:14, Revelation 22:19; John 12:50; John 17:3; John 20:31; John 5:26; John 6:53, John 6:54; John 5:40; John 3:15, John 3:16, John 3:36; John 10:10; John 5:24; John 12:25; John 6:27; John 4:36; 1 John 5:12, 1 John 5:16; John 6:51.Was the Light of men ( ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων )Passing from the thought of creation in general to that of mankind, who, in the whole range of created things, had a special capacity for receiving the divine. The Light - the peculiar mode of the divine operation upon men, conformably to their rational and moral nature which alone was fitted to receive the light of divine truth. It is not said that the Word was light, but that the life was the light. The Word becomes light through the medium of life, of spiritual life, just as sight is a function of physical life. Compare John 14:6, where Christ becomes the life through being the truth; and Matthew 5:8, where the pure heart is the medium through which God is beheld. In whatever mode of manifestation the Word is in the world, He is the light of the world; in His works, in the dawn of creation; in the happy conditions of Eden; in the Patriarchs, in the Law and the Prophets, in His incarnation, and in the subsequent history of the Church. Compare John 9:5. Of men, as a class, and not of individuals only. [source]
Romans 5:16 The better supported reading. Some MSS. and versions read ἁμαρτήματος transgression Of one []
Some explain, one man, from the preceding (one) that sinned. Others, one trespass, from Romans 5:17. [source]
Romans 5:16 That sinned [ἁμαρτήσαντος]
The better supported reading. Some MSS. and versions read ἁμαρτήματος transgressionOf oneSome explain, one man, from the preceding (one) that sinned. Others, one trespass, from Romans 5:17. [source]
Romans 5:18 Through one trespass [δι ενος παραπτωματος]
That of Adam. Through one act of righteousness (δι ενος δικαιωματος — di' henos dikaiōmatos). That of Christ. The first “unto all men” (εις παντας αντρωπους — eis pantas anthrōpous) as in Romans 5:12, the second as in Romans 5:17 “they that receive, etc.” [source]
Romans 5:18 Through one act of righteousness [δι ενος δικαιωματος]
That of Christ. The first “unto all men” (εις παντας αντρωπους — eis pantas anthrōpous) as in Romans 5:12, the second as in Romans 5:17 “they that receive, etc.” [source]
Romans 5:12 As through one man [ωσπερ δι ενος αντρωπου]
Paul begins a comparison between the effects of Adam‘s sin and the effects of the redemptive work of Christ, but he does not give the second member of the comparison. Instead of that he discusses some problems about sin and death and starts over again in Romans 5:15. The general point is plain that the effects of Adam‘s sin are transmitted to his descendants, though he does not say how it was done whether by the natural or the federal headship of Adam. It is important to note that Paul does not say that the whole race receives the full benefit of Christ‘s atoning death, but only those who do. Christ is the head of all believers as Adam is the head of the race. In this sense Adam “is a figure of him that was to come.” Sin entered into the world (η αμαρτια εις τον κοσμον εισηλτεν — hē hamartia eis ton kosmon eisēlthen). Personification of sin and represented as coming from the outside into the world of humanity. Paul does not discuss the origin of evil beyond this fact. There are some today who deny the fact of sin at all and who call it merely “an error of mortal mind” (a notion) while others regard it as merely an animal inheritance devoid of ethical quality. And so death passed unto all men Note use of διερχομαι — dierchomai rather than εισερχομαι — eiserchomai just before, second aorist active indicative in both instances. By “death” in Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:19 physical death is meant, but in Romans 5:17, Romans 5:21 eternal death is Paul‘s idea and that lurks constantly behind physical death with Paul. For that all sinned (επ ωι παντες ημαρτον — Ephesians' hōi pantes hēmarton). Constative (summary) aorist active indicative of αμαρτανω — hamartanō gathering up in this one tense the history of the race (committed sin). The transmission from Adam became facts of experience. In the old Greek επ ωι — Ephesians' hōi usually meant “on condition that,” but “because” in N.T. (Robertson, Grammar, p. 963). [source]
Romans 5:12 And so death passed unto all men [και ουτως εις παντας αντρωπους διηλτεν]
Note use of διερχομαι — dierchomai rather than εισερχομαι — eiserchomai just before, second aorist active indicative in both instances. By “death” in Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:19 physical death is meant, but in Romans 5:17, Romans 5:21 eternal death is Paul‘s idea and that lurks constantly behind physical death with Paul. For that all sinned (επ ωι παντες ημαρτον — Ephesians' hōi pantes hēmarton). Constative (summary) aorist active indicative of αμαρτανω — hamartanō gathering up in this one tense the history of the race (committed sin). The transmission from Adam became facts of experience. In the old Greek επ ωι — Ephesians' hōi usually meant “on condition that,” but “because” in N.T. (Robertson, Grammar, p. 963). [source]
2 Timothy 2:12 If we suffer we shall also reign with him [εἰ ὑπομένομεν, καὶ συνβασιλεύσομεν]
For suffer, rend. endure. Συνβασιλεύειν toreign with, only here and 1 Corinthians 4:8. Comp. Luke 19:17, Luke 19:19; Luke 22:29, Luke 22:30; Romans 5:17; Revelation 4:4; Revelation 5:10; Revelation 22:5. [source]
James 1:21 Superfluity of naughtiness [περισσείαν κακίας]
A translation which may be commended to the attention of indiscriminate panegyrists of the A. V. Περισσεία is an unclassical word, and occurs in three other New-Testament passages - Romans 5:17; 2 Corinthians 8:2; 2 Corinthians 10:15. In all these it is rendered abundance, both by A. V. and Rev. There seems to be no need of departing from this meaning here, as Rev., overjoying. The sense is abounding or abundant wickedness. For haughtiness Rev. gives wickedness, as in 1 Peter 2:1, 1 Peter 2:16, where it changes malice to wickedness. It is mostly rendered malice in both A. V. and Rev. In this passage, as in the two from Peter, Rev. gives malice, in margin. Malice is an adequate translation, the word denoting a malevolent disposition toward one's neighbor. Hence it is not a general term for moral evil, but a special form of vice. Compare the wrath of man, James 1:20. Naughtiness has acquired a petty sense in popular usage, as of the mischievous pranks of children, which renders it out of the question here. [source]
James 1:21 Putting away [αποτεμενοι]
Second aorist middle participle of αποτιτημι — apotithēmi to put off, metaphor of removing clothing as in Romans 13:12; Colossians 3:8; Ephesians 4:22, Ephesians 4:25; 1 Peter 2:1.Filthiness (ρυπαριαν — ruparian). Late word (Plutarch) from ρυπαρος — ruparos dirty (James 2:2), here only in N.T. Surely a dirty garment.Overflowing of wickedness Περισσεια — Perisseia is a late word (from περισσος — perissos abundant, exceeding), only four times in N.T., in 2 Corinthians 8:2 with χαρας — charas (of joy), in Romans 5:17 with χαριτος — charitos (of grace). Κακια — Kakia (from κακος — kakos evil) can be either general like ρυπαρια — ruparia (filthiness, naughtiness), or special like “malice.” But any of either sense is a “superfluity.”With meekness (εν πρατητι — en praūtēti). In docility. “The contrast is with οργη — orgē rather than κακιας — kakias ” (Ropes).The implanted word This old verbal adjective (from εμπυω — emphuō to implant, to grow in), only here in N.T., meaning properly ingrown, inborn, not εμπυτευτον — emphuteuton (engrafted). It is “the rooted word” (James 1:18), sown in the heart as the soil or garden of God (Matt 13:3-23; Matthew 15:13; 1 Corinthians 3:6).Able to save (δυναμενον σωσαι — dunamenon sōsai). Cf. 1 Peter 1:9; James 2:14; James 4:12; James 5:20; Romans 1:16. Ultimate salvation (effective aorist active infinitive σωσαι — sōsai from σωζω — sōzō). [source]
James 1:21 Overflowing of wickedness [περισσειαν κακιας]
Περισσεια — Perisseia is a late word (from περισσος — perissos abundant, exceeding), only four times in N.T., in 2 Corinthians 8:2 with χαρας — charas (of joy), in Romans 5:17 with χαριτος — charitos (of grace). Κακια — Kakia (from κακος — kakos evil) can be either general like ρυπαρια — ruparia (filthiness, naughtiness), or special like “malice.” But any of either sense is a “superfluity.”With meekness (εν πρατητι — en praūtēti). In docility. “The contrast is with οργη — orgē rather than κακιας — kakias ” (Ropes).The implanted word This old verbal adjective (from εμπυω — emphuō to implant, to grow in), only here in N.T., meaning properly ingrown, inborn, not εμπυτευτον — emphuteuton (engrafted). It is “the rooted word” (James 1:18), sown in the heart as the soil or garden of God (Matt 13:3-23; Matthew 15:13; 1 Corinthians 3:6).Able to save (δυναμενον σωσαι — dunamenon sōsai). Cf. 1 Peter 1:9; James 2:14; James 4:12; James 5:20; Romans 1:16. Ultimate salvation (effective aorist active infinitive σωσαι — sōsai from σωζω — sōzō). [source]

What do the individual words in Romans 5:17 mean?

If for by the of the one trespass - death reigned through the one how much more those the abundance - of grace and of the gift of righteousness receiving in life will reign Jesus Christ
εἰ γὰρ τῷ τοῦ ἑνὸς παραπτώματι θάνατος ἐβασίλευσεν διὰ τοῦ ἑνός πολλῷ μᾶλλον οἱ τὴν περισσείαν τῆς χάριτος καὶ τῆς δωρεᾶς δικαιοσύνης λαμβάνοντες ἐν ζωῇ βασιλεύσουσιν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ

τῷ  by  the 
Parse: Article, Dative Neuter Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
τοῦ  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἑνὸς  one 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: εἷς  
Sense: one.
παραπτώματι  trespass 
Parse: Noun, Dative Neuter Singular
Root: παράπτωμα  
Sense: to fall beside or near something.
  - 
Parse: Article, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
θάνατος  death 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: θάνατος 
Sense: the death of the body.
ἐβασίλευσεν  reigned 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: βασιλεύω  
Sense: to be king, to exercise kingly power, to reign.
διὰ  through 
Parse: Preposition
Root: διά  
Sense: through.
ἑνός  one 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: εἷς  
Sense: one.
πολλῷ  how  much 
Parse: Adjective, Dative Neuter Singular
Root: πολύς  
Sense: many, much, large.
μᾶλλον  more 
Parse: Adverb
Root: μᾶλλον  
Sense: more, to a greater degree, rather.
οἱ  those 
Parse: Article, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
περισσείαν  abundance 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: περισσεία  
Sense: abundance, superabundantly, superfluously.
τῆς  - 
Parse: Article, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
χάριτος  of  grace 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: χάρις  
Sense: grace.
τῆς  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
δωρεᾶς  gift 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: δωρεά  
Sense: a gift.
δικαιοσύνης  of  righteousness 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: δικαιοσύνη  
Sense: in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God.
λαμβάνοντες  receiving 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: λαμβάνω  
Sense: to take.
ζωῇ  life 
Parse: Noun, Dative Feminine Singular
Root: ζωή  
Sense: life.
βασιλεύσουσιν  will  reign 
Parse: Verb, Future Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: βασιλεύω  
Sense: to be king, to exercise kingly power, to reign.
Ἰησοῦ  Jesus 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: Ἰησοῦς  
Sense: Joshua was the famous captain of the Israelites, Moses’ successor.
Χριστοῦ  Christ 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: Χριστός  
Sense: Christ was the Messiah, the Son of God.