The Meaning of Romans 7:20 Explained

Romans 7:20

KJV: Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

YLT: And if what I do not will, this I do, it is no longer I that work it, but the sin that is dwelling in me.

Darby: But if what I do not will, this I practise, it is no longer I that do it, but the sin that dwells in me.

ASV: But if what I would not, that I do, it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me.

What does Romans 7:20 Mean?

Context Summary

Romans 7:14-25 - The Conflict Within
The Apostle gives a further statement of his personal experience of the inability of the soul to realize the divine ideal which has been revealed to it as the norm and type of its attainment. Life does not run smoothly. There are effort, strain, failure, the consciousness of sin, the dazzling glory of sunlight on inaccessible peaks. Why is this? It is due to the lack of "power unto salvation." We are not strong enough to win any victory. We are weak through the flesh. There is a leakage through which our good desires vanish, as water through a cracked vessel.
Self is ever the difficulty. Before we find Christ, or are found of Him, we try to justify ourselves, and afterward to sanctify ourselves. Notice how full these verses are of I, and how little is said of the Holy Spirit. As the corpse of a criminal that was, in the old barbarous days, hung around the neck of a living man, so the flesh is to us, with all its evil promptings. But this background of dark experience, ending in vanity, vexation, disappointment, and misery leads to the following chapter, which is saturated with Pentecostal power. The distant anticipation of this revives us, like the scent of land to animals sick with a long voyage; and we thank our 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 7:20

It is no more I that do it [ουκετι εγω κατεργαζομαι αυτο]
Just as in Romans 7:17, “no longer do I do it” (the real Εγο — Ego my better self), and yet there is responsibility and guilt for the struggle goes on. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Romans 7:20

Romans 7:8 Wrought [κατειργάσατο]
The compound verb with κατά downthrough always signifies the bringing to pass or accomplishment. See 1 Timothy 2:9; 1 Corinthians 5:3; 2 Corinthians 7:10. It is used both of evil and good. See especially Romans 7:15, Romans 7:17, Romans 7:18, Romans 7:20. “To man everything forbidden appears as a desirable blessing; but yet, as it is forbidden, he feels that his freedom is limited, and now his lust rages more violently, like the waves against the dyke” (Tholuck). [source]

What do the individual words in Romans 7:20 mean?

If now what not I do want I this do [it is] no longer who do it but - dwelling in me sin
εἰ δὲ οὐ θέλω ἐγὼ τοῦτο ποιῶ οὐκέτι κατεργάζομαι αὐτὸ ἀλλὰ οἰκοῦσα ἐν ἐμοὶ ἁμαρτία

δὲ  now 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: δέ  
Sense: but, moreover, and, etc.
θέλω  I  do  want 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 1st Person Singular
Root: θέλω  
Sense: to will, have in mind, intend.
τοῦτο  this 
Parse: Demonstrative Pronoun, Accusative Neuter Singular
Root: οὗτος  
Sense: this.
οὐκέτι  [it  is]  no  longer 
Parse: Adverb
Root: οὐκέτι  
Sense: no longer, no more, no further.
κατεργάζομαι  who  do 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Middle or Passive, 1st Person Singular
Root: κατεργάζομαι  
Sense: to perform, accomplish, achieve.
Parse: Article, Nominative Feminine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
οἰκοῦσα  dwelling 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: οἰκέω  
Sense: to dwell in.
ἐμοὶ  me 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Dative 1st Person Singular
Root: ἐγώ  
Sense: I, me, my.
ἁμαρτία  sin 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: ἁμαρτία  
Sense: equivalent to 264.

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