The Meaning of Romans 7:23 Explained

Romans 7:23

KJV: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

YLT: and I behold another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of the sin that is in my members.

Darby: but I see another law in my members, warring in opposition to the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which exists in my members.

ASV: but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members.

What does Romans 7:23 Mean?

Study Notes

sin
Sin.
grace
Grace (in salvation). ( Romans 5:2 ); ( Romans 5:15-21 ); ( Romans 11:5-6 ); ( Romans 3:24 ).
( See Scofield John 1:17 ).
"Sin" in Romans 6, 7 is the nature in distinction from "sins," which are manifestations of that nature.
Compare ( 1 John 1:8 ) with ( 1 John 1:10 ), where this distinction also appears.
grace
Grace (in salvation). ( Romans 5:2 ); ( Romans 5:15-21 ); ( Romans 11:5-6 ); ( Romans 3:24 ).
( See Scofield John 1:17 ).

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 7:23

A different law [ετερον νομον]
For the distinction between ετερος — heteros and αλλος — allos see note on Galatians 1:6. [source]
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]
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]
Bringing me into captivity [αιχμαλωτιζοντα]
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]
I see [βλέπω]
See on John 1:29. Paul is a spectator of his own personality. [source]
Warring against [ἀντιστρατευόμενον]
Only here in the New Testament. Taking the field against. [source]
The law of my mind [τῷ νόμῳ τοῦ νοός μου]
Νοῦς mindis a term distinctively characteristic of Paul, though not confined to him. See Luke 24:45; Revelation 13:18; Revelation 17:9. Paul's usage of this term is not based, like that of spirit and flesh, on the Septuagint, though the word occurs six times as the rendering of lebh heart, and once of ruach spirit. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
He uses it to throw into sharper relief the function of reflective intelligence and moral judgment which is expressed generally by καρδία heartkey to its Pauline usage is furnished by the contrast in 1 Corinthians 14:14-19, between speaking with a tongue and with the understanding ( τῷ νοΐ́ ), and between the spirit and the understanding (1 Corinthians 14:14). There it is the faculty of reflective intelligence which receives and is wrought upon by the Spirit. It is associated with γνωμή opinionresulting from its exercise, in 1 Corinthians 1:10; and with κρίνει judgethin Romans 14:5. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
Paul uses it mainly with an ethical reference - moral judgment as related to action. See Romans 12:2, where the renewing of the νοῦς mindis urged as a necessary preliminary to a right moral judgment (“that ye may prove,” etc.,). The νοῦς which does not exercise this judgment is ἀδόκιμος notapproved, reprobate. See note on reprobate, Romans 1:28, and compare note on 2 Timothy 3:8; note on Titus 1:15, where the νοῦς is associated with the conscience. See also on Ephesians 4:23. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
It stands related to πνεῦμα spiritas the faculty to the efficient power. It is “the faculty of moral judgment which perceives and approves what is good, but has not the power of practically controlling the life in conformity with its theoretical requirements.” In the portrayal of the struggle in this chapter there is no reference to the πνεῦμα spiritwhich, on the other hand, distinctively characterizes the christian state in ch. 8. In this chapter Paul employs only terms pertaining to the natural faculties of the human mind, and of these νοῦς mindis in the foreground. [source]

Law of sin []
The regime of the sin-principle. sin is represented in the New Testament as an organized economy. See Ephesians 6. The conflict between the worse and the better principle in human nature appears in numerous passages in the classics. Godet remarks that this is the passage in all Paul's epistles which presents the most points of contact with profane literature. Thus Ovid: “Desire counsels me in one direction, reason in another.” “I see and approve the better, but I follow the worse.” Epictetus: “He who sins does not what he would, and does what he would not.” Seneca: “What, then, is it that, when we would go in one direction, drags us in the other?” See also the passage in Plato (“Phaedrus,” 246), in which the human soul is represented as a chariot drawn by two horses, one drawing up and the other down. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
[source]

Another [ἕτερον]
See on Matthew 6:24. [source]
Bringing into captivity [αἰχμαλωτίζοντα]
Only here, 2 Corinthians 10:5, and Luke 21:24. See on captives, Luke 4:18. The warlike figure is maintained. Lit., making me prisoner of war. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Romans 7:23

Romans 7:22 The inward man [τὸν ἔσω ἄνθρωπον]
The rational and moral I, the essence of the man which is conscious of itself as an ethical personality. Not to be confounded with the new man (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10). It is substantially the same with the mind (Romans 7:23). [source]
Romans 12:2 Mind [νοός]
See on Romans 7:23. Agreeing with reasonable service. [source]
Romans 12:1 Bodies []
Literally, but regarded as the outward organ of the will. So, expressly, Romans 6:13, Romans 6:19; 2 Corinthians 5:10. Compare Romans 7:5, Romans 7:23. Hence the exhortation to glorify God in the body (1 Corinthians 6:20; compare Philemon 1:20; 2 Corinthians 4:10). So the body is called the body of sin (Romans 6:6; compare Colossians 2:11). In later Greek usage slaves were called σώματα bodiesSee Revelation 18:13. [source]
Romans 7:23 Bringing me into captivity [αιχμαλωτιζοντα]
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]
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]
1 Corinthians 2:16 Mind [νοῦν]
See on Romans 7:23. The understanding of the Lord. The divine counsels or purposes which are the results of the divine thought. See on Romans 11:34. [source]
1 Corinthians 14:14 Understanding [νοῦς]
See on Romans 7:23. [source]
1 Corinthians 1:10 Mind [νοΐ̀]
See on Romans 7:23. [source]
Galatians 3:1 Foolish [ἀνόητοι]
See on Luke 24:25. In N.T. and lxx always in an active sense. See Luke 24:25; Romans 1:14; 1 Timothy 6:9; Titus 3:3. Νοῦς is used by Paul mainly with an ethical reference, as the faculty of moral judgment. See on Romans 7:23. Ἀνόητος therefore indicates a folly which is the outgrowth of a moral defect. Paul is not alluding to a national characteristic of the Galatians. [source]
Ephesians 4:17 Vanity of their mind [ματαιότητι τοῦ νοὸς αὐτῶν]
For vanity see on Romans 1:21; see on Romans 8:20. For mind, see on Romans 7:23. [source]
Ephesians 3:16 In the inward man [εἰς τὸν ἔσω ἄνθρωπον]
The force of the preposition is into: might entering into the inmost personality. Inward man: compare outward man, 2 Corinthians 4:16. It is the rational and moral I; the essence of the man which is conscious of itself as a moral personality. In the unregenerate it is liable to fall under the power of sin (Romans 7:23); and in the regenerate it needs constant renewing and strengthening by the Spirit of God, as here. Compare the hidden man of the heart, 1 Peter 3:4. [source]
Philippians 4:7 Which passeth all understanding [ἡ ὑπερέχουσα πάντα νοῦν]
Either, which passes all power of comprehension, compare Ephesians 3:20; or, better, which surpasses every (human ) reason, in its power to relieve anxiety. Compare Matthew 6:31, Matthew 6:32. For understanding, see on Romans 7:23. [source]
Colossians 3:23 Heartily [ἐκ ψυχῆς]
Lit., from the soul. With a personal interest. Note that the apostle uses both heart ( καρδίας , Colossians 3:22) and soul ( ψυχῆς ); and in Ephesians 6:7, adds μετ ' εὐνοίας withgood disposition (A.V., good will ). See on Romans 11:3; see on Romans 7:23; see on Romans 1:21. Compare σύμψυχοι ofone accord, Philemon 2:2; ἰσόψυχον like-minded Philemon 2:20; μιᾷ ψυχῇ withone mind, Philemon 1:27. [source]
1 Thessalonians 5:23 Spirit, soul, body [πνεῦμα, ψυχὴ σῶμα]
It is useless to attempt to draw from these words a technical, psychological statement of a threefold division of the human personality. If Paul recognized any such technical division, it was more probably twofold; the body or material part, and the immaterial part with its higher and lower sides - πνεῦμα and ψυχὴ . See on Romans 6:6; see on Romans 7:5, Romans 7:23; see on Romans 8:4; see on Romans 11:3and footnote. [source]
2 Thessalonians 2:2 In mind [ἀπὸ τοῦ νοὸς]
More correctly, from your mind. Νοῦς signifies the judgment, sober sense. Comp. 1 Corinthians 14:15, and see on Romans 7:23. They are to “keep their heads” under the temptation to fanatical extravagances concerning the Lord's appearing. [source]
2 Timothy 3:6 Take captive [αιχμαλωτιζοντες]
“Taking captive.” Present active participle of αιχμαλωτιζω — aichmalōtizō for which see note on 2 Corinthians 10:5; Romans 7:23. Silly women (γυναικαρια — gunaikaria). Literally, “little women” (diminutive of γυνη — gunē), found in Diocles (comedian of 5 century b.c.) and in Epictetus. The word here is neuter (grammatical gender) plural. Used contemptuously here (only N.T. example). Ramsay suggests “society ladies.” It is amazing how gullible some women are with religious charlatans who pose as exponents of “new thought.” Laden with sins Perfect passive participle of σωρευω — sōreuō old word from Aristotle down (from σωρος — sōros a heap) to heap up. In N.T. only here and Romans 12:20. Associative instrumental case αμαρτιαις — hamartiais Divers (ποικιλαις — poikilais). Many coloured. See note on Titus 3:3. One has only to recall Schweinfurth, the false Messiah of forty odd years ago with his “heavenly harem” in Illinois and the recent infamous “House of David” in Michigan to understand how these Gnostic cults led women into licentiousness under the guise of religion or of liberty. The priestesses of Aphrodite and of Isis were illustrations ready to hand. Αγομενα — Agomena (present passive participle) means “continually led astray or from time to time.” [source]
Titus 1:15 Mind and conscience [ὁ νοῦς καὶ ἡ συνείδησις]
For νοῦς see on Romans 7:23: for συνείδησις , see on 1 Peter 3:16. [source]
Hebrews 7:16 The law of a carnal commandment [νόμον ἐντολῆς σαρκίνης]
The phrase N.T.o Νόμον thenorm or standard, as Romans 7:21, Romans 7:23. Εντολῆς, the specific precept of the Mosaic law regarding Levitical priests. Comp. Ephesians 2:15. Σαρκίνης fleshlyindicates that the conditions of the Levitical priesthood had reference to the body. Fitness for office was determined largely by physical considerations. The priest must be of proper descent, without bodily blemish, ceremonially pure. See Hebrews 9:1-5, Hebrews 9:10, and comp. Romans 8:3. Such a priesthood cannot be eternal. [source]
James 4:1 That war [στρατευομένων]
The thought of wars and rightings is carried into the figurative description of the sensuality which arrays its forces and carries on its campaign in the members. The verb does not imply mere fighting, but all that is included in military service. A remarkable parallel occurs in Plato, “Phaedo,” 66: “For whence come wars and rightings and factions? Whence but from the body and the lusts of the body?” Compare 1 Peter 2:11; Romans 7:23. [source]
Revelation 17:9 The mind [ὁ νοῦς]
I. Νοῦς is the organ of mental perception and apprehension - of conscious life, the mind, comprising the faculties of perceiving and understanding, of feeling, judging, determining. (a) The intellectual faculty or understanding (Luke 24:45). So here, according to some. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
(b) The reason, regarded as the faculty of perceiving divine things: of recognizing goodness and hating evil (Romans 1:28; Romans 7:23; Ephesians 4:17). -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
(c) The power of calm and impartial judgment (2 Thessalonians 2:2). -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
II. Νοῦς isa particular mode of thinking and judging: moral consciousness as a habit of mind or opinion. Hence thoughts, feelings, purposes (Romans 14:5; 1 Corinthians 1:10). Some render here meaning. [source]

What do the individual words in Romans 7:23 mean?

I see however another law in the members of me warring against the law of the mind and making captive me to - of sin - being
βλέπω δὲ ἕτερον νόμον ἐν τοῖς μέλεσίν μου ἀντιστρατευόμενον τῷ νόμῳ τοῦ νοός καὶ αἰχμαλωτίζοντά με ἐν τῆς ἁμαρτίας τῷ ὄντι

βλέπω  I  see 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 1st Person Singular
Root: βλέπω  
Sense: to see, discern, of the bodily eye.
δὲ  however 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: δέ  
Sense: but, moreover, and, etc.
ἕτερον  another 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: ἀλλοιόω 
Sense: the other, another, other.
νόμον  law 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: νόμος  
Sense: anything established, anything received by usage, a custom, a law, a command.
μέλεσίν  members 
Parse: Noun, Dative Neuter Plural
Root: μέλος  
Sense: a member, limb: a member of the human body.
μου  of  me 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive 1st Person Singular
Root: ἐγώ  
Sense: I, me, my.
ἀντιστρατευόμενον  warring  against 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Middle or Passive, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: ἀντιστρατεύομαι  
Sense: to make a military expedition, or take the field, against anyone.
νόμῳ  law 
Parse: Noun, Dative Masculine Singular
Root: νόμος  
Sense: anything established, anything received by usage, a custom, a law, a command.
τοῦ  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
νοός  mind 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: νοῦς  
Sense: the mind, comprising alike the faculties of perceiving and understanding and those of feeling, judging, determining.
αἰχμαλωτίζοντά  making  captive 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: αἰχμαλωτίζω  
Sense: to lead away captive.
με  me 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Accusative 1st Person Singular
Root: ἐγώ  
Sense: I, me, my.
τῆς  - 
Parse: Article, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἁμαρτίας  of  sin 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: ἁμαρτία  
Sense: equivalent to 264.
τῷ  - 
Parse: Article, Dative Masculine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ὄντι  being 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Dative Masculine Singular
Root: εἰμί  
Sense: to be, to exist, to happen, to be present.