The Meaning of Romans 6:12 Explained

Romans 6:12

KJV: Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

YLT: Let not then the sin reign in your mortal body, to obey it in its desires;

Darby: Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body to obey its lusts.

ASV: Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey the lusts thereof:

What does Romans 6:12 Mean?

Study Notes

Sin, Summary: The literal meanings of the Heb. and (Greek - ἀλεκτοροφωνία sin," "sinner," etc)., disclose the true nature of sin in its manifold manifestations. Sin is transgression, an overstepping of the law, the divine boundary between good and evil Psalms 51:1 ; Luke 15:29 , iniquity, an act inherently wrong, whether expressly forbidden or not; error, a departure from right; Psalms 51:9 ; Romans 3:23 , missing the mark, a failure to meet the divine standard; trespass, the intrusion of self-will into the sphere of divine authority Ephesians 2:1 , lawlessness, or spiritual anarchy 1 Timothy 1:9 , unbelief, or an insult to the divine veracity John 16:9 .
Sin originated with Satan Isaiah 14:12-14 , entered the world through Adam Romans 5:12 , was, and is, universal, Christ alone excepted; Romans 3:23 ; 1 Peter 2:22 , incurs the penalties of spiritual and physical death; Genesis 2:17 ; Genesis 3:19 ; Ezekiel 18:4 ; Ezekiel 18:20 ; Romans 6:23 and has no remedy but in the sacrificial death of Christ; Hebrews 9:26 ; Acts 4:12 availed of by faith Acts 13:38 ; Acts 13:39 . Sin may be summarized as threefold: An act, the violation of, or want of obedience to the revealed will of God; a state, absence of righteousness; a nature, enmity toward God.

Verse Meaning

Paul had expounded the reality and implications of the believer"s union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection ( Romans 6:1-10). He had also urged his readers, therefore, to consider themselves dead to sin and alive to God ( Romans 6:11). He now proceeded to call on them to present themselves to God in a decisive act of self-dedication ( Romans 6:12-23).
"Therefore" draws a conclusion on the basis of what has preceded. Since believers know that we are no longer subject to sin"s domination, and since we believe that is true, we should not let sin reign in our bodies (selves) any longer. Sin is no longer our master, so we can and should stop carrying out its orders. Paul undoubtedly was giving a general prohibition, not implying that the Roman Christians in particular were letting sin reign over them (cf. Romans 15:14-15). When temptation comes, we do not have to yield.
". . . "passions" would include not only the physical lusts and appetites but also those desires that reside in the mind and will: the desire to have our own way, the desire to possess what other people have (cf. Romans 7:7-8), the desire to have dominance over others." [1]

Context Summary

Romans 6:12-23 - "sin Shall Not Have Dominion"
Standing with Christ on the resurrection side of death, we must present our whole being to God for His use. We have left forever behind, nailed to the Cross, the body of sin, Colossians 2:14, and henceforth must see to it that every faculty shall become a weapon in God's great warfare against evil. Let your powers be monopolized by God, so that there shall be no room left for the devil, Ephesians 4:27.
All serve some higher power, but which? Our real owner and master, whatever we may say to the contrary, is indicated by our life. We belong to the one whom, in a crisis, we obey. Service to sin leads to uncleanness, iniquity, and death. Service to God leads to righteousness, and that to sanctification, and that to eternal life. Run your life into the mold of holy precept, as the obedient metal into the sand-cast, Romans 6:17, r.v. We have our reward in the present consciousness of the life which is life indeed. [source]

Chapter Summary: Romans 6

1  We may not live in sin;
2  for we are dead unto it;
3  as appears by our baptism
12  Let not sin reign anymore;
18  because we have yielded ourselves to the service of righteousness;
23  and because death is the wages of sin

Greek Commentary for Romans 6:12

Reign [βασιλευετω]
Present active imperative, “let not sin continue to reign” as it did once (Romans 5:12). [source]
Mortal [τνητοι]
Verbal adjective from τνησκω — thnēskō subject to death. The reign of sin is over with you. Self-indulgence is inconsistent with trust in the vicarious atonement. That ye should obey (εις το υπακουειν — eis to hupakouein). With a view to obeying. [source]
That ye should obey [εις το υπακουειν]
With a view to obeying. [source]
Reign [βασιλευέτω]
The antithesis implied is not between reigning and existing, but between reigning and being deposed. [source]
Body []
Literal, thus according with members, Romans 6:13. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Romans 6:12

Romans 6:6 The body of sin [τὸ σῶμα τῆς ἁμαρτίας]
Σῶμα in earlier classical usage signifies a corpse. So always in Homer and often in later Greek. So in the New Testament, Matthew 6:25; Mark 5:29; Mark 14:8; Mark 15:43. It is used of men as slaves, Revelation 18:13. Also in classical Greek of the sum-total. So Plato: τὸ τοῦ κόσμου σῶμα thesum-total of the world (“Timaeus,” 31). The meaning is tinged in some cases by the fact of the vital union of the body with the immaterial nature, as being animated by the ψυξή soulthe principle of individual life. Thus Matthew 6:25, where the two are conceived as forming one organism, so that the material ministries which are predicated of the one are predicated of the other, and the meanings of the two merge into one another. -DIVIDER-
In Paul it can scarcely be said to be used of a dead body, except in a figurative sense, as Romans 8:10, or by inference, 2 Corinthians 5:8. Commonly of a living body. It occurs with ψυχή soulonly 1 Thessalonians 5:23, and there its distinction from ψυχή rather than its union with it is implied. So in Matthew 10:28, though even there the distinction includes the two as one personality. It is used by Paul:-DIVIDER-
1. Of the living human body, Romans 4:19; 1 Corinthians 6:13; 1 Corinthians 9:27; 1 Corinthians 12:12-26. -DIVIDER-
2. Of the Church as the body of Christ, Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 1:23; Colossians 1:18, etc. Σάρξ fleshnever in this sense. -DIVIDER-
3. Of plants and heavenly bodies, 1 Corinthians 15:37, 1 Corinthians 15:40. -DIVIDER-
4. Of the glorified body of Christ, Philemon 3:21. -DIVIDER-
5. Of the spiritual body of risen believers, 1 Corinthians 15:44. -DIVIDER-
It is distinguished from σάρξ fleshas not being limited to the organism of an earthly, living body, 1 Corinthians 15:37, 1 Corinthians 15:38. It is the material organism apart from any definite matter. It is however sometimes used as practically synonymous with σάρξ , 1 Corinthians 7:16, 1 Corinthians 7:17; Ephesians 5:28, Ephesians 5:31; 2 Corinthians 4:10, 2 Corinthians 4:11. Compare 1 Corinthians 5:3with Colossians 2:5. An ethical conception attaches to it. It is alternated with μέλη membersand the two are associated with sin (Romans 1:24; Romans 6:6; Romans 7:5, Romans 7:24; Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5), and with sanctification (Romans 12:1; 1 Corinthians 6:19sq.; compare 1 Thessalonians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:23). It is represented as mortal, Romans 8:11; 2 Corinthians 10:10; and as capable of life, 1 Corinthians 13:3; 2 Corinthians 4:10. -DIVIDER-
In common with μέλη membersit is the instrument of feeling and willing rather than σάρξ , because the object in such cases is to designate the body not definitely as earthly, but generally as organic, Romans 6:12, Romans 6:13, Romans 6:19; 2 Corinthians 5:10. Hence, wherever it is viewed with reference to sin or sanctification, it is the outward organ for the execution of the good or bad resolves of the will. -DIVIDER-
The phrase body of sin denotes the body belonging to, or ruled by, the power of sin, in which the members are instruments of unrighteousness (Romans 6:13). Not the body as containing the principle of evil in our humanity, since Paul does not regard sin as inherent in, and inseparable from, the body (see Romans 6:13; 2 Corinthians 4:10-12; 2 Corinthians 7:1. Compare Matthew 15:19), nor as precisely identical with the old man, an organism or system of evil dispositions, which does not harmonize with Romans 6:12, Romans 6:13, where Paul uses body in the strict sense. “Sin is conceived as the master, to whom the body as slave belongs and is obedient to execute its will. As the slave must perform his definite functions, not because he in himself can perform no others, but because of His actually subsistent relationship of service he may perform no others, while of himself he might belong as well to another master and render other services; so the earthly σῶμα bodybelongs not of itself to the ἁμαρτία sinbut may just as well belong to the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:13), and doubtless it is de facto enslaved to sin, so long as a redemption from this state has not set in by virtue of the divine Spirit” (Romans 7:24: Dickson).DestroyedSee on Romans 3:3.He that is dead ( ὁ ἀποθανὼν )Rev., literally, he that hath died. In a physical sense. Death and its consequences are used as the general illustration of the spiritual truth. It is a habit of Paul to throw in such general illustrations. See Romans 7:2. [source]

Romans 6:13 Instruments [ὅπλα]
The word is used from the earliest times of tools or instruments generally. In Homer of a ship's tackle, smith's tools, implements of war, and in the last sense more especially in later Greek. In the New Testament distinctly of instruments of war (John 18:3; 2 Corinthians 6:7; 2 Corinthians 10:4). Here probably with the same meaning, the conception being that of sin and righteousness as respectively rulers of opposing sovereignties (compare reign, Romans 6:12, and have dominion, Romans 6:14), and enlisting men in their armies. Hence the exhortation is, do not offer your members as weapons with which the rule of unrighteousness may be maintained, but offer them to God in the service of righteousness. [source]
Romans 15:15 In some sort [ἀπὸ μέρους]
See on Romans 11:25. Rev., in some measure, qualifying I write, and referring to some passage in which he had spoken with especial plainness; as Romans 6:12, Romans 6:19; Romans 8:9; Romans 11:17; Romans 14:3, Romans 14:4, Romans 14:10, Romans 14:13, Romans 14:15, Romans 14:20, etc. [source]
Romans 15:15 The more boldly [τολμηροτερως]
Old comparative adverb from τολμηρως — tolmērōs Most MSS. read τολμηροτερον — tolmēroteron Only here in N.T. In some measure (απο μερους — apo merous). Perhaps referring to some portions of the Epistle where he has spoken plainly (Romans 6:12, Romans 6:19; Romans 8:9; Romans 11:17; Romans 14:3, Romans 14:4, Romans 14:10, etc.). As putting you again in remembrance Delicately put with ως — hōs and επι — epi in the verb, “as if calling back to mind again” This rare verb is here alone in the N.T. [source]
Romans 15:15 In some measure [απο μερους]
Perhaps referring to some portions of the Epistle where he has spoken plainly (Romans 6:12, Romans 6:19; Romans 8:9; Romans 11:17; Romans 14:3, Romans 14:4, Romans 14:10, etc.). [source]

What do the individual words in Romans 6:12 mean?

Not therefore let reign - sin in the mortal of you body in order - to obey the desires of it
Μὴ οὖν βασιλευέτω ἁμαρτία ἐν τῷ θνητῷ ὑμῶν σώματι εἰς τὸ ὑπακούειν ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις αὐτοῦ

βασιλευέτω  let  reign 
Parse: Verb, Present Imperative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: βασιλεύω  
Sense: to be king, to exercise kingly power, to reign.
Parse: Article, Nominative Feminine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἁμαρτία  sin 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: ἁμαρτία  
Sense: equivalent to 264.
θνητῷ  mortal 
Parse: Adjective, Dative Neuter Singular
Root: θνητός  
Sense: liable to death, mortal.
ὑμῶν  of  you 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive 2nd Person Plural
Root: σύ  
Sense: you.
σώματι  body 
Parse: Noun, Dative Neuter Singular
Root: σῶμα  
Sense: the body both of men or animals.
εἰς  in  order 
Parse: Preposition
Root: εἰς  
Sense: into, unto, to, towards, for, among.
τὸ  - 
Parse: Article, Accusative Neuter Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ὑπακούειν  to  obey 
Parse: Verb, Present Infinitive Active
Root: ὑπακούω  
Sense: to listen, to harken.
ἐπιθυμίαις  desires 
Parse: Noun, Dative Feminine Plural
Root: ἐπιθυμία  
Sense: desire, craving, longing, desire for what is forbidden, lust.
αὐτοῦ  of  it 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive Neuter 3rd Person Singular
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.