The Meaning of Romans 7:24 Explained

Romans 7:24

KJV: O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

YLT: A wretched man I am! who shall deliver me out of the body of this death?

Darby: O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of this body of death?

ASV: Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of the body of this death?

What does Romans 7:24 Mean?

Study Notes

from the body
Or, out of this body of death. Romans 8:11 ; 1 Corinthians 15:51 ; 1 Corinthians 15:52 ; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 .

Verse Meaning

The agony of this tension and our inability to rid ourselves of our sinful nature that urges us to do things that lead to death come out even more strongly here. What Christian has not felt the guilt and pain of doing things that he or she knows are wrong? We will never escape this battle with temptation in this life. Eugene Peterson recast Paul"s thought in this verse as follows.
"I"ve tried everything and nothing helps. I"m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me?" [1]

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 7:24

O wretched man that I am [ταλαιπωρος εγω αντρωπος]
“Wretched man I.” Old adjective from τλαω — tlaō to bear, and πωρος — pōros a callus. In N.T. only here and Revelation 3:17. “A heart-rending cry from the depths of despair” (Sanday and Headlam). [source]
Out of the body of this death [εκ του σωματος του τανατου τουτου]
So the order of words demands. See Romans 7:13 for “death” which finds a lodgment in the body (Lightfoot). If one feels that Paul has exaggerated his own condition, he has only to recall 1 Timothy 1:15 when he describes himself a chief of sinners. He dealt too honestly with himself for Pharisaic complacency to live long. [source]
Wretched [ταλαίπωρος]
Originally, wretched through the exhaustion of hard labor. [source]
Who [τίς]
Referring to a personal deliverer. [source]
Body of this death [τοῦ σώματος τοῦ θανάτου τούτου]
The body serving as the seat of the death into which the soul is sunk through the power of sin. The body is the literal body, regarded as the principal instrument which sin uses to enslave and destroy the soul. In explaining this much-disputed phrase, it must be noted: 1. That Paul associates the dominion and energy of sin prominently with the body, though not as if sin were inherent in and inseparable from the body. 2. That he represents the service of sin through the body as associated with, identified with, tending to, resulting in, death. And therefore, 3. That he may properly speak of the literal body as a body of death - this death, which is the certain issue of the abject captivity to sin. 4. That Paul is not expressing a desire to escape from the body, and therefore for death. Meyer paraphrases correctly: “Who shall deliver me out of bondage under the law of sin into moral freedom, in which my body shall no longer serve as the seat of this shameful death?” Ignatius, in his letter to the Smyrnaeans, speaks of one who denies Christ's humanity, as νεκροφόρος onewho carries a corpse. [source]
I myself []
The man out of Christ. Looking back and summing up the unregenerate condition, preparatory to setting forth its opposite in ch. 8. Paul says therefore, that, so far as concerns his moral intelligence or reason, he approves and pays homage to God's law; but, being in bondage to sin, made of flesh, sold under sin, the flesh carries him its own way and commands his allegiance to the economy of sin. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Romans 7:24

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-
-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-
-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-
-DIVIDER-
3. Of plants and heavenly bodies, 1 Corinthians 15:37, 1 Corinthians 15:40. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
4. Of the glorified body of Christ, Philemon 3:21. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
5. Of the spiritual body of risen believers, 1 Corinthians 15:44. -DIVIDER-
-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-
-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-
-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 3:16 Misery [ταλαιπωρια]
Common word from ταλαιπωρος — talaipōros (Romans 7:24), only here in the N.T. [source]
1 Timothy 1:15 Acceptation [πρωτος]
Genitive case with ην — axios (worthy of). Late word (Polybius, Diod., Jos.) in N.T. only here and 1 Timothy 4:9. Chief (ειμι — prōtos). Not ελαχιστος των αποστολων — ēn (I was), but τωι ελαχιστοτερωι παντων αγιων — eimi (I am). “It is not easy to think of any one but St. Paul as penning these words” (White). In 1 Corinthians 15:9 he had called himself “the least of the apostles” (elachistos tōn apostolōn). In Ephesians 3:8 he refers to himself as “the less than the least of all saints” (tōi elachistoterōi pantōn hagiōn). On occasion Paul would defend himself as on a par with the twelve apostles (Galatians 2:6-10) and superior to the Judaizers (2 Corinthians 11:5.; 2 Corinthians 12:11). It is not mock humility here, but sincere appreciation of the sins of his life (cf. Romans 7:24) as a persecutor of the church of God (Galatians 1:13), of men and even women (Acts 22:4.; Acts 26:11). He had sad memories of those days. [source]
1 Timothy 1:15 Chief [ειμι]
Not ελαχιστος των αποστολων — ēn (I was), but τωι ελαχιστοτερωι παντων αγιων — eimi (I am). “It is not easy to think of any one but St. Paul as penning these words” (White). In 1 Corinthians 15:9 he had called himself “the least of the apostles” In Ephesians 3:8 he refers to himself as “the less than the least of all saints” On occasion Paul would defend himself as on a par with the twelve apostles (Galatians 2:6-10) and superior to the Judaizers (2 Corinthians 11:5.; 2 Corinthians 12:11). It is not mock humility here, but sincere appreciation of the sins of his life (cf. Romans 7:24) as a persecutor of the church of God (Galatians 1:13), of men and even women (Acts 22:4.; Acts 26:11). He had sad memories of those days. [source]
James 4:9 Be afflicted [ταλαιπωρησατε]
First aorist active imperative ταλαιπωρεω — talaipōreō old verb from ταλαιπωρος — talaipōros (Romans 7:24), to endure toils, here only in N.T. Cf. ταλαιπωριαις — talaipōriais in James 5:1. [source]
James 5:1 For your miseries [επι ταις ταλαιπωριαις υμων]
Old word from ταλαιπωρος — talaipōros (Romans 7:24) and like ταλαιπωρεω — talaipōreō in James 4:9 (from τλαω — tlaō to endure and πωρος — pōros a callus). [source]
James 5:1 Weep and howl [κλαυσατε ολολυζοντες]
“Burst into weeping (ingressive aorist active imperative of κλαιω — klaiō as in James 4:9), howling with grief” (present active participle of the old onomatopoetic verb ολολυζω — ololuzō here only in N.T., like Latin ululare, with which compare αλαλαζω — alalazō in Matthew 5:38.For your miseries (επι ταις ταλαιπωριαις υμων — epi tais talaipōriais humōn). Old word from ταλαιπωρος — talaipōros (Romans 7:24) and like ταλαιπωρεω — talaipōreō in James 4:9 (from τλαω — tlaō to endure and πωρος — pōros a callus).That are coming upon you Present middle participle of the old compound επερχομαι — eperchomai to come upon, used here in futuristic prophetic sense. [source]
Revelation 3:17 The wretched one [ο ταλαιπωρος]
Old adjective from τλαω — tlaō to endure, and πωρος — pōros a callus, afflicted, in N.T. only here and Romans 7:24. Note the one article in the predicate with all these five adjectives unifying the picture of sharp emphasis on “thou” (συ — su), “thou that boastest.” [source]
Revelation 3:17 Have gotten riches [πεπλουτηκα]
Perfect active indicative of πλουτεω — plouteō old verb from πλουτος — ploutos used here of imagined spiritual riches which the church did not possess, just the opposite of church in Smyrna (poor in wealth, rich in grace). This church was in a rich city and was rich in pride and conceit, but poor in grace and ignorant of its spiritual poverty Old adjective from τλαω — tlaō to endure, and πωρος — pōros a callus, afflicted, in N.T. only here and Romans 7:24. Note the one article in the predicate with all these five adjectives unifying the picture of sharp emphasis on “thou” (συ — su), “thou that boastest.”Miserable Pitiable as in 1 Corinthians 15:19.Poor (πτωχος — ptōchos). See Revelation 2:9 for spiritual poverty. Perhaps some local example of self-complacency is in mind.Blind Spiritual blindness as often (Matthew 23:17), and note “eye-salve” in Revelation 3:18.Naked (γυμνος — gumnos). “The figure completes the picture of actual poverty” (Beckwith). See Revelation 3:15, Revelation 3:16. [source]

What do the individual words in Romans 7:24 mean?

O wretched I am man Who me will deliver out of the body - of death this
Ταλαίπωρος ἐγὼ ἄνθρωπος τίς με ῥύσεται ἐκ τοῦ σώματος τοῦ θανάτου τούτου

Ταλαίπωρος  O  wretched 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ταλαίπωρος  
Sense: enduring toils and troubles.
ἐγὼ  I  am 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Nominative 1st Person Singular
Root: ἐγώ  
Sense: I, me, my.
ἄνθρωπος  man 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ἄνθρωπος  
Sense: a human being, whether male or female.
με  me 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Accusative 1st Person Singular
Root: ἐγώ  
Sense: I, me, my.
ῥύσεται  will  deliver 
Parse: Verb, Future Indicative Middle, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ῥύομαι  
Sense: to draw to one’s self, to rescue, to deliver.
ἐκ  out  of 
Parse: Preposition
Root: ἐκ 
Sense: out of, from, by, away from.
σώματος  body 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Neuter Singular
Root: σῶμα  
Sense: the body both of men or animals.
τοῦ  - 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
θανάτου  of  death 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: θάνατος 
Sense: the death of the body.
τούτου  this 
Parse: Demonstrative Pronoun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: οὗτος  
Sense: this.