The Meaning of Romans 6:17 Explained

Romans 6:17

KJV: But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

YLT: and thanks to God, that ye were servants of the sin, and -- were obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which ye were delivered up;

Darby: But thanks be to God, that ye were bondmen of sin, but have obeyed from the heart the form of teaching into which ye were instructed.

ASV: But thanks be to God, that, whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered;

What does Romans 6:17 Mean?

Study Notes

sin Sin.
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

The form of teaching Paul had in mind was the teaching that the Lord Jesus Himself gave during His earthly ministry and then through His apostles (cf. Galatians 6:2), in contrast to the Mosaic Law. God had not forced Paul"s readers to yield to it as to law. They had willingly embraced it as law for themselves. They had committed themselves to it from their hearts. Paul was not stressing the fact that the Lord had committed His teachings to his readers, as the AV translation implies, but that they had committed themselves to it.

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 6:17

Whereas ye were [ητε]
Imperfect but no “whereas” in the Greek. Paul is not grateful that they were once slaves of sin, but only that, though they once were, they turned from that state. [source]
To that form of doctrine whereunto ye were delivered [εις ον παρεδοτητε τυπον διδαχης]
Incorporation of the antecedent (τυπον διδαχης — tupon didachēs) into the relative clause: “to which form of doctrine ye were delivered.” See note on Romans 5:14 for τυπον — tupon It is hardly proper to take “form” here to refer to Paul‘s gospel (Romans 2:16), possibly an allusion to the symbolism of baptism which was the outward sign of the separation. [source]
That ye were []
The peculiar form of expression is explained in two ways; either making the thanksgiving bear only on the second proposition, ye obeyed, etc., and regarding the first as inserted by way of contrast or background to the salutary moral change: or, emphasizing were; ye were the servants of sin, but are so no more. Rev. adopts the former, and inserts whereas. [source]
From the heart []
See on Romans 1:21. [source]
Form of doctrine [τύπον διδαχῆς]
Rev., form of teaching. For τύπον , see on 1 Peter 5:3. The Pauline type of teaching as contrasted with the Judaistic forms of Christianity. Compare my gospel, Romans 2:16; Romans 16:25. Others explain as the ideal or pattern presented by the gospel. Form of teaching, however, seems to point to a special and precisely defined type of christian instruction. [source]
Was delivered unto you [εἱς δν παρεδόθητε]
But this rendering is impossible. Render, as Rev., whereunto ye were delivered. For the verb, see on Romans 4:25. They had been handed over to the educative power of this form of teaching. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Romans 6:17

Luke 1:30 Grace [χάριν]
From the same root as χαίρω ,to rejoice. I. Primarily that which gives joy or pleasure; and hence outward beauty, loveliness, something which delights the beholder. Thus Homer, of Ulysses going to the assembly: “Athene shed down manly grace or beauty upon him” (“Odyssey,” ii., 12); and Septuagint, Proverbs 1:9; Proverbs 3:22. Substantially the same idea, agreeableness, is conveyed in Luke 4:22, respecting the gracious words, lit., words of grace, uttered by Christ. So Ephesians 4:29. II. As a beautiful or agreeable sentiment felt and expressed toward another; kindness, favor, good-will. 2 Corinthians 8:6, 2 Corinthians 8:7, 2 Corinthians 8:9; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Luke 1:30; Luke 2:40; Acts 2:47. So of the responsive sentiment of thankfulness. See Luke 6:32, Luke 6:33, Luke 6:34:; Luke 17:9; but mostly in the formula thanks to God; Romans 6:17; 1 Corinthians 15:57; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Timothy 1:3. III. The substantial expression of good-will; a boon, a favor, a gift; but not in New Testament. See Romans 5:15, where the distinction is made between χάρις , grace, and δωρεὰ ἐν χάριτι , a gift in grace. So a gratification or delight, in classical Greek only; as the delight in battle, in sleep, etc. IV. The higher Christian signification, based on the emphasis offreeness in the gift or favor, and, as commonly in New Testament, denoting the free, spontaneous, absolute loving-kindness of God toward men, and so contrasted with debt, law, works, sin. The word does not occur either in Matthew or Mark. [source]
Luke 1:30 Favour [χαριν]
Grace. Same root as χαιρω — chairō (rejoice) and χαριτοω — charitoō in Luke 1:28. To find favour is a common O.T. phrase. Χαρις — Charis is a very ancient and common word with a variety of applied meanings. They all come from the notion of sweetness, charm, loveliness, joy, delight, like words of grace, Luke 4:22, growing grace, Ephesians 4:29, with grace, Colossians 4:6. The notion of kindness is in it also, especially of God towards men as here. It is a favourite word for Christianity, the Gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24) in contrast with law or works (John 1:16). Gratitude is expressed also (Luke 6:32), especially to God (Romans 6:17). [source]
John 8:34 Of sin []
A few authorities omit, and read whosoever committeth sin is a bond-servant. Compare Romans 6:17, Romans 6:20. [source]
John 8:34 Every one that committeth sin is the bondservant of sin [πας ο ποιων την αμαρτιαν δουλος εστιν της αμαρτιασ]
The Western class omits της αμαρτιας — tēs hamartias (sin), but that is the idea anyhow. Note the use of ποιων — poiōn (present active participle, continuous habit or practice), not ποιησας — poiēsas (aorist active participle for single act), precisely as in 1 John 3:4-8. Note also John 3:21 for ο ποιων την αλητειαν — ho poiōn tēn alētheian (the one who practises the truth). Sin, like the worst narcotic, is habit forming. Hence the problem today for criminologists for paroled or pardoned criminals nearly always go back to crime, sink again into sin, the slaves of sin. Xenophon has this notion of the slavery of sin (Memor. IV. 5. 3). So Paul clearly in Romans 6:17, Romans 6:20 “slaves of sin” (δουλοι της αμαρτιας — douloi tēs hamartias). [source]
Romans 4:25 Was delivered [παρεδόθη]
See on Matthew 4:12; see on 1 Peter 2:23. Used of casting into prison or delivering to justice, Matthew 4:12; Matthew 10:17, Matthew 19:21. Frequently of the betrayal of Christ, Matthew 10:4; Matthew 17:22; John 6:64, John 6:71. Of committing a trust, Matthew 25:14, Matthew 25:20, Matthew 25:22. Of committing tradition, doctrine, or precept, Mark 7:13; 1 Corinthians 11:2; 1 Corinthians 15:3; Romans 6:17; 2 Peter 2:21. Of Christ's yielding up His spirit, John 19:30. Of the surrender of Christ and His followers to death, Romans 8:32; 2 Corinthians 4:11; Galatians 2:20. Of giving over to evil, Romans 1:26, Romans 1:28; 1 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 4:19. [source]
Romans 1:21 Heart [καρδία]
The heart is, first, the physical organ, the center of the circulation of the blood. Hence, the seat and center of physical life. In the former sense it does not occur in the New Testament. As denoting the vigor and sense of physical life, see Acts 14:17; James 5:5; Luke 21:34. It is used fifty-two times by Paul. Never used like ψυχή , soul, to denote the individual subject of personal life, so that it can be exchanged with the personal pronoun (Acts 2:43; Acts 3:23; Romans 13:1); nor like πνεῦμα spiritto denote the divinely-given principle of life. -DIVIDER-
It is the central seat and organ of the personal life ( ψυχή ) of man regarded in and by himself. Hence it is commonly accompanied with the possessive pronouns, my, his, thy, etc. -DIVIDER-
Like our heart it denotes the seat of feeling as contrasted with intelligence. 2 Corinthians 2:4; Romans 9:2; Romans 10:1; 2 Corinthians 6:11; Philemon 1:7. But it is not limited to this. It is also the seat of mental action, feeling, thinking, willing. It is used - -DIVIDER-
1. Of intelligence, Romans 1:21; 2 Corinthians 3:15; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Ephesians 1:18. -DIVIDER-
2. Of moral choice, 1 Corinthians 7:37; 2 Corinthians 9:7. -DIVIDER-
3. As giving impulse and character to action, Romans 6:17; Ephesians 6:5; Colossians 3:22; 1 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 2:22. The work of the law is written on the heart, Romans 2:15. The Corinthian Church is inscribed as Christ's epistle on hearts of flesh, 2 Corinthians 3:2-3. -DIVIDER-
4. Specially, it is the seat of the divine Spirit, Galatians 4:6; Romans 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:22. It is the sphere of His various operations, directing, comforting, establishing, etc., Philemon 4:7; Colossians 3:15; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:5. It is the seat of faith, and the organ of spiritual praise, Romans 10:9; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16. -DIVIDER-
It is equivalent to the inner man, Ephesians 3:16, Ephesians 3:17. Its characteristic is being hidden, Romans 2:28, Romans 2:29; Romans 8:27; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 1 Corinthians 14:25. -DIVIDER-
It is contrasted with the face, 1 Thessalonians 2:17; 2 Corinthians 5:12; and with the mouth, Romans 10:8. -DIVIDER-

1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you [και ταυτα τινες ητε]
A sharp homethrust. Literally, “And these things (ταυτα — tauta neuter plural) were ye (some of you).” The horror is shown by ταυτα — tauta but by τινες — tines Paul narrows the picture to some, not all. But that was in the past (ητε — ēte imperfect indicative) like Romans 6:17. Thank God the blood of Jesus does cleanse from such sins as these. But do not go back to them. [source]
Philippians 3:17 Mark [σκοπειτε]
Old verb from σκοπος — skopos (Phlippians 3:14). “Keep your eyes on me as goal.” Mark and follow, not avoid as in Romans 16:17. An ensample (τυπον — tupon). Originally the impression left by a stroke (John 20:25), then a pattern (mould) as here (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:7; 1 Corinthians 10:6, 1 Corinthians 10:11; Romans 5:14; Romans 6:17). [source]
Philippians 3:17 An ensample [τυπον]
Originally the impression left by a stroke (John 20:25), then a pattern (mould) as here (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:7; 1 Corinthians 10:6, 1 Corinthians 10:11; Romans 5:14; Romans 6:17). [source]
1 Thessalonians 1:7 An ensample [τυπον]
So B D, but Aleph A C have τυπους — tupous (plural). The singular looks at the church as a whole, the plural as individuals like υμας — humās Τυπος — Tupos is an old word from τυπτω — tuptō to strike, and so the mark of a blow, print as in John 20:25. Then the figure formed by the blow, image as in Acts 7:43. Then the mould or form (Romans 6:17; Acts 23:25). Then an example or pattern as in Acts 7:44, to be imitated as here, Philemon 3:17, etc. It was a great compliment for the church in Thessalonica to be already a model for believers in Macedonia and Achaia. Our word type for printers is this same word with one of its meanings. Note separate article with both Macedonia (τηι Μακεδονιαι — tēi Makedoniāi) and Achaia (τηι Αχαιαι — tēi Achaiāi) treated as separate provinces as they were. [source]
2 Timothy 1:11 A teacher of the Gentiles [διδάσκαλος ἐθνῶν]
Omit of the Gentiles. Comp. 1 Timothy 2:7, from which the words were probably transferred when the three Epistles were jointly edited. Paul calls himself an apostle, and describes himself as preaching ( κηρύσσων ); but he nowhere calls himself διδάσκαλος ateacher, although he uses διδάσκειν toteach, of himself, 1 Corinthians 4:17; Colossians 1:28. He also uses διδαχή teachingof matter given by him to the converts, Romans 6:17; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 14:6. He distinguishes between the apostle and the teacher, 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11. [source]
2 Timothy 1:3 I thank [χαριν εχω]
“I have gratitude.” As in 1 Timothy 1:12. Robinson cites examples of this phrase from the papyri. It occurs also in Luke 17:9; Acts 2:47. Χαρις — Charis in doxologies Paul uses (1 Corinthians 15:57; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 8:16; 2 Corinthians 9:15; Romans 6:17; Romans 7:25). His usual idiom is ευχαριστω — eucharistō (1 Corinthians 1:4; Romans 1:8; Philemon 1:4; Philemon 1:3) or ευχαριστουμεν — eucharistoumen (1 Thessalonians 1:2; Colossians 1:3) or ου παυομαι ευχαριστων — ou pauomai eucharistōn (Ephesians 1:16) or ευχαριστειν οπειλομεν — eucharistein opheilomen (2 Thessalonians 1:3). [source]
Hebrews 8:5 Serve [λατρευουσιν]
Present active indicative of λατρευω — latreuō for which verb see note on Matthew 4:10. A copy Dative case after λατρευουσιν — latreuousin See note on John 13:15 and note on Hebrews 4:11 for this interesting word. Shadow Dative case. Old word for which see note on Matthew 4:16; note on Mark 4:32; and note on Colossians 2:17. See same idea in Hebrews 9:23. For difference between σκια — skia and εικων — eikōn see Hebrews 10:1. Here “copy and shadow” form a practical hendiadys for “a shadowy outline” (Moffatt). Is warned of God Perfect passive indicative of χρηματιζω — chrēmatizō old verb (from χρημα — chrēma business) for which see note on Matthew 2:12, note on Matthew 2:22, and note on Luke 2:26. The word “God” is not used, but it is implied as in Acts 10:22; Hebrews 12:25. So in lxx, Josephus, and the papyri. For saith he Argument from God‘s command (Exodus 25:40). See that thou make Common Greek idiom with present active imperative of οραω — horaō and the volitive future of ποιεω — poieō without ινα — hina (asyndeton, Robertson, Grammar, p. 949). The pattern The very word used in Exodus 25:40 and quoted also by Stephen in Acts 7:44. For τυπος — tupos see note on John 20:25; note on Romans 6:17, and etc. The tabernacle was to be patterned after the heavenly model. [source]

What do the individual words in Romans 6:17 mean?

Thanks [be] however - to God that you used to be slaves - of sin you have become obedient now from [the] heart to which you were handed over to the form of teaching
χάρις δὲ τῷ Θεῷ ὅτι ἦτε δοῦλοι τῆς ἁμαρτίας ὑπηκούσατε δὲ ἐκ καρδίας εἰς ὃν παρεδόθητε τύπον διδαχῆς

χάρις  Thanks  [be] 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: χάρις  
Sense: grace.
δὲ  however 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: δέ  
Sense: but, moreover, and, etc.
τῷ  - 
Parse: Article, Dative Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Θεῷ  to  God 
Parse: Noun, Dative Masculine Singular
Root: θεός  
Sense: a god or goddess, a general name of deities or divinities.
ὅτι  that 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: ὅτι  
Sense: that, because, since.
ἦτε  you  used  to  be 
Parse: Verb, Imperfect Indicative Active, 2nd Person Plural
Root: εἰμί  
Sense: to be, to exist, to happen, to be present.
δοῦλοι  slaves 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: δοῦλοσ1 
Sense: a slave, bondman, man of servile condition.
τῆς  - 
Parse: Article, Genitive Feminine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἁμαρτίας  of  sin 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: ἁμαρτία  
Sense: equivalent to 264.
ὑπηκούσατε  you  have  become  obedient 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 2nd Person Plural
Root: ὑπακούω  
Sense: to listen, to harken.
δὲ  now 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: δέ  
Sense: but, moreover, and, etc.
ἐκ  from  [the] 
Parse: Preposition
Root: ἐκ 
Sense: out of, from, by, away from.
καρδίας  heart 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: καρδία  
Sense: the heart.
παρεδόθητε  you  were  handed  over 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Passive, 2nd Person Plural
Root: παραδίδωμι  
Sense: to give into the hands (of another).
τύπον  to  the  form 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: τυπικῶς 
Sense: the mark of a stroke or blow, print.
διδαχῆς  of  teaching 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: διδαχή  
Sense: teaching.