The Meaning of Romans 7:12 Explained

Romans 7:12

KJV: Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

YLT: so that the law, indeed, is holy, and the command holy, and righteous, and good.

Darby: So that the law indeed is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

ASV: So that the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and righteous, and good.

What does Romans 7:12 Mean?

Verse Meaning

Here is a concluding reaffirmation of the answer to Paul"s question in Romans 7:7. Far from being sinful, the Law is holy. It comes from a holy God and searches out sin. It is righteous because it lays just requirements on people and because it forbids and condemns sin. It is good because its purpose is to produce blessing and life ( Romans 7:10). [1]

Context Summary

Romans 7:1-13 - The Law Makes Sin Known
To make his meaning clear the Apostle now enters upon a parable drawn from domestic life. He says that we are married to the Law as our first husband, and seek, through union with it, to bring forth fruit unto God. Every convert earnestly endeavors, in the first impulse of the new life, to be good and to form, by incessant effort, a life that is pleasing to God. Like Cain we bring the fruit of the ground, extorted from the soil by the sweat of the brow.
But we are soon disappointed in the result. Our laborious care ends in failure. Sinful desires are too masterful. As Luther said, "The old Adam is too strong for the young Melanchthon." Then we see that the Cross has put death between us and our painful effort. We learn that the marriage contract which bound us to our first husband, the Law, has been dissolved. We are set free to enter into marriage union with the blessed Lord, and He, by His indwelling Spirit, effects in us what our own energies have failed to produce. We are joined to Him that was raised up from the dead, and bring forth fruit unto God. [source]

Chapter Summary: Romans 7

1  No law has power over a man longer than he lives
4  But we are dead to the law
7  Yet is not the law sin;
12  but holy, just and good;
16  as I acknowledge, who am grieved because I cannot keep it

Greek Commentary for Romans 7:12

Holy, and righteous, and good [αγια και δικαια και αγατη]
This is the conclusion (wherefore, ωστε — hōste) to the query in Romans 7:7. The commandment is God‘s and so holy like Him, just in its requirements and designed for our good. The modern revolt against law needs these words. [source]
Holy, just, good []
Holy as God's revelation of Himself; just (Rev., righteous ) in its requirements, which correspond to God's holiness; good, salutary, because of its end. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Romans 7:12

Romans 7:23 The law of my mind [τωι νομωι του νοος]
The reflective intelligence Paul means by νοος — noos “the inward man” of Romans 7:22. It is this higher self that agrees that the law of God is good (Romans 7:12, Romans 7:16, Romans 7:22). [source]
Romans 7:23 Warring against [αντιστρατευομενον]
Rare verb (Xenophon) to carry on a campaign against. Only here in N.T. The law of my mind (τωι νομωι του νοος — tōi nomōi tou noos). The reflective intelligence Paul means by νοος — noos “the inward man” of Romans 7:22. It is this higher self that agrees that the law of God is good (Romans 7:12, Romans 7:16, Romans 7:22). Bringing me into captivity See note on this late and vivid verb for capture and slavery Luke 21:24; note on 2 Corinthians 10:5. Surely it is a tragic picture drawn by Paul with this outcome, “sold under sin” (Romans 7:14), “captivity to the law of sin” (Romans 7:23). The ancient writers (Plato, Ovid, Seneca, Epictetus) describe the same dual struggle in man between his conscience and his deeds. [source]
Galatians 3:19 In the hand of a mediator [ἐν χειρὶ μεσίτου]
Ἑν χειρὶ bythe agency of. A Hebraism. In this sense, not elsewhere in N.T. See lxx, Genesis 38:20Leviticus 16:21. In the hand of Moses, Leviticus 26:46; Numbers 4:37, Numbers 4:41, Numbers 4:45, Numbers 4:49. Comp. σὺν χειρὶ ἀγγέλου withthe hand of the angel, Acts 7:35. For μεσίτης mediatorsee on 1 Timothy 2:5, and comp. Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 12:24. It is a later Greek word signifying also umpire, arbitrator, and appears in lxx only in Job 9:33. The mediator here is Moses, who is often so designated by rabbinical writers. The object is not (as Meyer) to enable the reader to realize the glory of the law in the dignity and formal solemnity of its ordination, but to indicate the inferior, subordinate position held by the law in comparison with the promise, not the gospel. A glorification of the law cannot be intended, since if that were contemplated in the mention of angels and the mediator, the statement would tend to the disparagement of the promise which was given without a mediator. Paul, in the section Galatians 3:6-9, Galatians 3:7, aims to show that the law does not, as the Judaisers assume, stand in a relation to the divine plan of salvation as direct and positive as does the promise, and that it has not, like the promise and its fulfillment, an eternal significance. On the contrary, it has only a transitory value. This estimate of the law does not contradict Paul's assertions in Romans 7:12-25. In representing the law as subordinate and temporary he does not impugn it as a divine institution. [source]
1 Thessalonians 3:6 Good remembrance [μνείαν ἀγαθὴν]
Better kindly remembrance. Comp. Romans 5:7(see note); Romans 7:12; Titus 2:6; 1 Peter 2:18. See on 1 Thessalonians 1:3. [source]
James 1:25 The perfect law [νομον τελειον]
For τελειον — teleion see James 1:17. See Romans 7:12 for Paul‘s idea of the law of God. James here refers to the word of truth (James 1:18), the gospel of grace (Galatians 6:2; Romans 12:2).The law of liberty (τον της ελευτεριας — ton tēs eleutherias). “That of liberty,” explaining why it is “perfect” (James 2:12 also), rests on the work of Christ, whose truth sets us free (John 8:32; 2 Corinthians 3:16; Romans 8:2).And so continueth First aorist active articular participle again of παραμενω — paramenō parallel with παρακυπσας — parakupsas Παραμενω — Paramenō is to stay beside, and see Philemon 1:25 for contrast with the simplex μενω — menō Rather, “having become” (second aorist middle participle of γινομαι — ginomai to become).Not a hearer that forgetteth (ουκ ακροατης επιλησμονης — ouk akroatēs epilēsmonēs). “Not a hearer of forgetfulness” (descriptive genitive, marked by forgetfulness). Επιλησμονη — Epilēsmonē is a late and rare word (from επιλησμων — epilēsmōn forgetful, from επιλαντομαι — epilanthomai to forget, as in James 1:24), here only in N.T.But a doer that worketh “But a doer of work,” a doer marked by work (descriptive genitive εργου — ergou), not by mere listening or mere talk.In his doing (εν τηι ποιησει αυτου — en tēi poiēsei autou). Another beatitude with μακαριος — makarios as in James 1:12, like the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-12. Ποιησις — Poiēsis is an old word (from ποιεω — poieō for the act of doing), only here in N.T. [source]
2 Peter 2:21 Not to have known [μη επεγνωκεναι]
Perfect active infinitive of επιγινωσκω — epiginōskō (cf. επιγνωσει — epignōsei 2 Peter 2:20) to know fully.The way of righteousness (την οδον της δικαιοσυνης — tēn hodon tēs dikaiosunēs). For the phrase see Matthew 21:33, also the way of truth (2 Peter 2:2), the straight way (2 Peter 2:15).After knowing it Second aorist active participle of επιγινωσκω — epiginōskō (just used) in the dative plural agreeing with αυτοις — autois (for them).To turn back (υποστρεπσαι — hupostrepsai). First aorist active infinitive of υποστρεπω — hupostrephō old and common verb, to turn back, to return.From Out of. So in Acts 12:25 with υποστρεπω — hupostrephō With ablative case. See Romans 7:12 for αγια — hagia applied to η εντολη — hē entolē (cf. 1 Timothy 6:14). 2 Peter strikes a high ethical note (2 Peter 1:5.).Delivered (παραδοτεισης — paradotheisēs). First aorist passive participle feminine ablative singular of παραδιδωμι — paradidōmi f0). [source]
2 Peter 2:21 After knowing it [επιγνουσιν]
Second aorist active participle of επιγινωσκω — epiginōskō (just used) in the dative plural agreeing with αυτοις — autois (for them).To turn back (υποστρεπσαι — hupostrepsai). First aorist active infinitive of υποστρεπω — hupostrephō old and common verb, to turn back, to return.From Out of. So in Acts 12:25 with υποστρεπω — hupostrephō With ablative case. See Romans 7:12 for αγια — hagia applied to η εντολη — hē entolē (cf. 1 Timothy 6:14). 2 Peter strikes a high ethical note (2 Peter 1:5.).Delivered (παραδοτεισης — paradotheisēs). First aorist passive participle feminine ablative singular of παραδιδωμι — paradidōmi f0). [source]
2 Peter 2:21 From [εκ]
Out of. So in Acts 12:25 with υποστρεπω — hupostrephō With ablative case. See Romans 7:12 for αγια — hagia applied to η εντολη — hē entolē (cf. 1 Timothy 6:14). 2 Peter strikes a high ethical note (2 Peter 1:5.).Delivered (παραδοτεισης — paradotheisēs). First aorist passive participle feminine ablative singular of παραδιδωμι — paradidōmi f0). [source]

What do the individual words in Romans 7:12 mean?

So - indeed the law [is] holy and the commandment [is] holy righteous good
Ὥστε μὲν νόμος ἅγιος καὶ ἐντολὴ ἁγία δικαία ἀγαθή

Ὥστε  So 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: ὥστε  
Sense: so that, insomuch that.
  - 
Parse: Article, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
μὲν  indeed 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: μέν  
Sense: truly, certainly, surely, indeed.
νόμος  the  law  [is] 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: νόμος  
Sense: anything established, anything received by usage, a custom, a law, a command.
ἅγιος  holy 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ἅγιος  
Sense: most holy thing, a saint.
ἐντολὴ  commandment  [is] 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: ἐντολή  
Sense: an order, command, charge, precept, injunction.
ἁγία  holy 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: ἅγιος  
Sense: most holy thing, a saint.
δικαία  righteous 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: δίκαιος  
Sense: righteous, observing divine laws.
ἀγαθή  good 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: ἀγαθός 
Sense: of good constitution or nature.