The Meaning of Romans 8:7 Explained

Romans 8:7

KJV: Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

YLT: because the mind of the flesh is enmity to God, for to the law of God it doth not subject itself,

Darby: Because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God; for neither indeed can it be:

ASV: because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be:

What does Romans 8:7 Mean?

Context Summary

Romans 8:1-9 - New Life In The Spirit
This may fitly be called the "chapter of the Holy Spirit." The Apostle has carefully kept this great theme in the background till he has well prepared the ground, by showing us our inability to attain our ideals apart from reinforcements of divine energy. Here is the motive power to drive our machinery! Here is the life-giving power of spring, which shall cause the seeds buried within us to burst forth in the garden of the Lord! See Isaiah 61:10-11.
There is no need to live in perpetual self-condemnation. As the living bird, obeying the laws of flight, is superior to the down-pull of gravitation, so where the life of Jesus is wrought and sustained in the heart by the incessant communications of the Holy Spirit, victory is given us over the perpetual down-pull of sin. We can only hate the spirit that crucified our Lord. The believer reckons himself dead to it, but alive to each prompting of God's Holy Spirit. Life, and peace, and righteousness dwell in the temple within. A more perfect goodness is thus produced in us than any external obedience to Sinai's code could ever have achieved. [source]

Chapter Summary: Romans 8

1  Those who are in Christ are free from condemnation
5  What harm comes of the flesh;
13  and what good of the Spirit
19  The glorious deliverance the creation longs for,
29  was beforehand decreed from God
38  Nothing can sever us from his love

Greek Commentary for Romans 8:7

Is not subject [ουχ υποτασσεται]
Present passive indicative of υποτασσω — hupotassō late verb, military term for subjection to orders. Present tense here means continued insubordination. [source]
Neither indeed can it be [ουδε γαρ δυναται]
“For it is not even able to do otherwise.” This helpless state of the unregenerate man Paul has shown above apart from Christ. Hope lies in Christ (Romans 7:25) and the Spirit of life (Romans 8:2). [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Romans 8:7

John 6:44 Except the Father draw him [εαν μη ελκυσηι αυτον]
Negative condition of third class with εαν μη — ean mē and first aorist active subjunctive of ελκυω — helkuō older form ελκω — helkō to drag like a net (John 21:6), or sword (John 18:10), or men (Acts 16:19), to draw by moral power (John 12:32), as in Jeremiah 31:3. Συρω — Surō the other word to drag (Acts 8:3; Acts 14:19) is not used of Christ‘s drawing power. The same point is repeated in John 6:65. The approach of the soul to God is initiated by God, the other side of John 6:37. See Romans 8:7 for the same doctrine and use of ουδε δυναται — oude dunatai like ουδεις δυναται — oudeis dunatai here. [source]
John 14:17 The Spirit of truth [το πνευμα της αλητειας]
Same phrase in John 15:27; John 16:13; 1 John 4:6, “a most exquisite title” (Bengel). The Holy Spirit is marked by it (genitive case), gives it, defends it (cf. John 1:17), in contrast to the spirit of error (1 John 4:6). Whom Grammatical neuter gender He is a person, not a mere influence. Cannot receive Left to itself the sinful world is helpless (1 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 8:7.), almost Paul‘s very language on this point. The world lacks spiritual insight It failed to recognize Jesus (John 1:10) and likewise the Holy Spirit. Ye know him Emphatic position of υμεις — humeis (ye) in contrast with the world (John 15:19), because they have seen Jesus the Revealer of the Father (John 14:9). Abides Timeless present tense. With you “By your side,” “at home with you,” not merely “with you” In your hearts. So note μετα — meta (John 14:16), παρα εν — para class="translit"> en f0). [source]
Romans 7:5 In the flesh [ἐν τῇ σαρκί]
Σάρξ fleshoccurs in the classics in the physical sense only. Homer commonly uses it in the plural as denoting all the flesh or muscles of the body. Later the singular occurs in the same sense. Paul's use of this and other psychological terms must be determined largely by the Old-Testament usage as it appears in the Septuagint. 1. In the physical sense. The literal flesh. In the Septuagint τὰ κρέα flesh(plural) is used where the reference is to the parts of animals slain, and αἱ σάρκες , flesh (plural) where the reference is to flesh as the covering of the living body. Hence Paul uses κρέα in Romans 14:21; Romans 9:3-87 of the flesh of sacrificed animals. Compare also the adjective σάρκιμος fleshy 2 Corinthians 3:3; and Ezekiel 11:19; Ezekiel 36:26, Sept. -DIVIDER-
2. Kindred. Denoting natural or physical relationship, Romans 1:3; 1638904060_95; Romans 11:14; Galatians 4:23, Galatians 4:29; 1 Corinthians 10:18; Philemon 1:16. This usage forms a transition to the following sense: the whole human body. Flesh is the medium in and through which the natural relationship of man manifests itself. Kindred is conceived as based on community of bodily substance. Therefore:-DIVIDER-
3. The body itself. The whole being designated by the part, as being its main substance and characteristic, 1 Corinthians 6:16; 1 Corinthians 7:28; 2 Corinthians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 10:3; 2 Corinthians 12:7. Romans 2:28; Galatians 6:13, etc. Paul follows the Septuagint in sometimes using σῶμα bodyand sometimes σάρξ fleshin this sense, so that the terms occasionally seem to be practically synonymous. Thus 1 Corinthians 6:16, 1 Corinthians 6:17, where the phrase one body is illustrated and confirmed by one flesh. See Genesis 2:24; Ephesians 5:28, Ephesians 5:31, where the two are apparently interchanged. Compare 2 Corinthians 4:10, 2 Corinthians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 5:3, and Colossians 2:5. Σάρξ , however, differs from σῶμα in that it can only signify the organism of an earthly, living being consisting of flesh and bones, and cannot denote “either an earthly organism that is not living, or a living organism that is not earthly” (Wendt, in Dickson). Σῶμα not thus limited. Thus it may denote the organism of the plant (1 Corinthians 15:37, 1 Corinthians 15:38) or the celestial bodies (1 Corinthians 15:40). Hence the two conceptions are related as general and special: σῶμα bodybeing the material organism apart from any definite matter (not from any sort of matter), σάρξ , flesh, the definite, earthly, animal organism. The two are synonymons when σῶμα is used, from the context, of an earthly, animal body. Compare Philemon 1:22; 2 Corinthians 5:1-8. -DIVIDER-
Σῶμα bodyand not σάρξ fleshis used when the reference is to a metaphorical organism, as the church, Romans 12:4sqq.; 1 Corinthians 10:16; 12:12-27; Ephesians 1:23; Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 1:18, etc. -DIVIDER-
The σάρξ is described as mortal (2 Corinthians 4:11); subject to infirmity (Galatians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 12:7); locally limited (Colossians 2:15); an object of fostering care (Ephesians 5:29). -DIVIDER-
4. Living beings generally, including their mental nature, and with a correlated notion of weakness and perishableness. Thus the phrase πᾶσα σάρξ allflesh (Genesis 6:12; Isaiah 49:26; Isaiah 49:23). This accessory notion of weakness stands in contrast with God. In Paul the phrase all flesh is cited from the Old Testament (Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16) and is used independently (1 Corinthians 1:29). In all these instances before God is added. So in Galatians 1:16, flesh and blood implies a contrast of human with divine wisdom. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:50; Ephesians 6:12. This leads up to-DIVIDER-
5. Man “either as a creature in his natural state apart from Christ, or the creaturely side or aspect of the man in Christ.” Hence it is correlated with ἄνθρωπος man 1 Corinthians 3:3; Romans 6:19; 2 Corinthians 5:17. Compare Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9; Galatians 5:24. Thus the flesh would seem to be interchangeable with the old man. -DIVIDER-
It has affections and lusts (Galatians 5:24); willings (Ephesians 2:3; Romans 8:6, Romans 8:7); a mind (Colossians 2:18); a body (Colossians 2:11). -DIVIDER-
It is in sharp contrast with πνεῦμα spirit(Galatians 3:3, Galatians 3:19; Galatians 5:16, Galatians 5:17, Galatians 5:19-24; Galatians 6:8; Romans 8:4). The flesh and the spirit are thus antagonistic. Σάρξ fleshbefore or in contrast with his reception of the divine element whereby he becomes a new creature in Christ: the whole being of man as it exists and acts apart from the influence of the Spirit. It properly characterizes, therefore, not merely the lower forms of sensual gratification, but all - the highest developments of the life estranged from God, whether physical, intellectual, or aesthetic. -DIVIDER-
It must be carefully noted:-DIVIDER-
1. That Paul does not identify flesh and sin. Compare, flesh of sin, Romans 8:3. See Romans 7:17, Romans 7:18; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Galatians 2:20. -DIVIDER-
2. That Paul does not identify σάρξ withthe material body nor associate sin exclusively and predominantly with the body. The flesh is the flesh of the living man animated by the soul ( ψυχή ) as its principle of life, and is distinctly used as coordinate with ἄνθρωπος manAs in the Old Testament, “it embraces in an emphatic manner the nature of man, mental and corporeal, with its internal distinctions.” The spirit as well as the flesh is capable of defilement (2 Corinthians 7:1; compare 1 Corinthians 7:34). Christian life is to be transformed by the renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2; compare Ephesians 4:23). -DIVIDER-
3. That Paul does not identify the material side of man with evil. The flesh is not the native seat and source of sin. It is only its organ, and the seat of sin's manifestation. Matter is not essentially evil. The logical consequence of this would be that no service of God is possible while the material organism remains. See Romans 12:1. The flesh is not necessarily sinful in itself; but as it has existed from the time of the introduction of sin through Adam, it is recognized by Paul as tainted with sin. Jesus appeared in the flesh, and yet was sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21).The motions of sins ( τὰ παθήματα τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν )Motions used in earlier English for emotions or impulses. Thus Bacon: “He that standeth at a stay where others rise, can hardly avoid motions of envy” (“Essay” xiv.). The word is nearly synonymous with πάθος passion(Romans 1:26, note). From πάθειν tosuffer; a feeling which the mind undergoes, a passion, desire. Rev., sinful passions: which led to sins.Did work ( ἐνηργεῖτο )Rev., wrought. See 2 Corinthians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 4:12; Ephesians 3:20; Galatians 5:6; Philemon 2:13; Colossians 1:29. Compare Mark 6:14, and see on power, John 1:12. [source]

Romans 8:20 Was subjected [υπεταγη]
Second aorist passive indicative of υπατασσω — hupatassō (cf. Romans 8:7). [source]
1 Corinthians 2:12 Received [ελαβομεν]
Second aorist active indicative of λαμβανω — lambanō and so a definite event, though the constative aorist may include various stages. Not the spirit of the world (ου το πνευμα του κοσμου — ou to pneuma tou kosmou). Probably a reference to the wisdom of this age in 1 Corinthians 2:6. See also Romans 8:4, Romans 8:6, Romans 8:7; 1 Corinthians 11:4 (τε πνευμα ετερον — the pneuma heteron). But the spirit which is of God Rather, “from God” Second perfect subjunctive with ινα — hina to express purpose. Here is a distinct claim of the Holy Spirit for understanding (Illumination) the Revelation received. It is not a senseless rhapsody or secret mystery, but God expects us to understand “the things that are freely given us by God” (τα υπο του τεου χαριστεντα ημιν — ta hupo tou theou charisthenta hēmin). First aorist passive neuter plural articular participle of χαριζομαι — charizomai to bestow. God gave the revelation through the Holy Spirit and he gives us the illumination of the Holy Spirit to understand the mind of the Spirit. The tragic failures of men to understand clearly God‘s revealed will is but a commentary on the weakness and limitation of the human intellect even when enlightened by the Holy Spirit. [source]
1 Corinthians 2:12 Not the spirit of the world [ου το πνευμα του κοσμου]
Probably a reference to the wisdom of this age in 1 Corinthians 2:6. See also Romans 8:4, Romans 8:6, Romans 8:7; 1 Corinthians 11:4 (τε πνευμα ετερον — the pneuma heteron). [source]
1 Corinthians 2:14 Receiveth not [ου δυναται γνωναι]
Does not accept, rejects, refuses to accept. In Romans 8:7 Paul definitely states the inability Today one notes certain of the intelligentsia who sneer at Christ and Christianity in their own blinded ignorance. He cannot know them (πσυχικοι — ou dunatai gnōnai). He is not able to get a knowledge (ingressive second aorist active infinitive of πσυχη — ginōskō). His helpless condition calls for pity in place of impatience on our part, though such an one usually poses as a paragon of wisdom and commiserates the deluded followers of Christ. They are spiritually judged Paul and Luke are fond of this verb, though nowhere else in the N.T. Paul uses it only in I Corinthians. The word means a sifting process to get at the truth by investigation as of a judge. In Acts 17:11 the Beroeans scrutinized the Scriptures. These psuchikoi men are incapable of rendering a decision for they are unable to recognize the facts. They judge by the psuchē (mere animal nature) rather than by the pneuma (the renewed spirit). [source]
Galatians 5:10 Will be - minded [φρονήσετε]
The word denotes a general disposition of the mind rather than a specific act of thought directed at a given point. Comp. Philemon 3:15, Philemon 3:19; Philemon 4:2; Romans 8:5; Romans 11:20; 1 Corinthians 13:11: and φρόνημα mind Romans 8:6, Romans 8:7, Romans 8:27. In Class. often with εὖ well καλῶς honorably ὀρθῶς rightly κακῶς mischievously Τά τινος φρονεῖν is to be of one's party. [source]
Colossians 2:18 By his fleshly mind [ὑπὸ τοῦ νοὸς τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ]
Lit., by the mind of his flesh. The intellectual faculty in its moral aspects as determined by the fleshly, sinful nature. See on Romans 8:23. Compare Romans 7:22-25; Romans 8:7. The teachers boasted that they were guided by the higher reason. Paul describes their higher reason as carnal. [source]
Colossians 1:21 Being in time past alienated [ποτε οντας απηλλοτριωμενους]
Periphrastic perfect passive participle (continuing state of alienation) of απαλλοτριοω — apallotrioō old word from Plato on, to estrange, to render αλλοτριος — allotrios (belonging to another), alienated from God, a vivid picture of heathenism as in Romans 1:20-23. Only other N.T. examples in Ephesians 2:12; Ephesians 4:18. Ενεμιες — Enemies Old word from εχτος — echthos (hatred). Active sense here, hostile as in Matthew 13:28; Romans 8:7, not passive hateful (Romans 11:28). In your mind (τηι διανοιαι — tēi dianoiāi). Locative case. Διανοια — Dianoia (δια νους — diaεν τοις εργοις τοις πονηροις — nous), mind, intent, purpose. Old word. It is always a tragedy to see men use their minds actively against God. In your evil works Hostile purpose finds natural expression in evil deeds. [source]
Colossians 1:21 hostile []
as in Matthew 13:28; Romans 8:7, not passive hateful (Romans 11:28). In your mind (τηι διανοιαι — tēi dianoiāi). Locative case. Διανοια — Dianoia (δια νους — diaεν τοις εργοις τοις πονηροις — nous), mind, intent, purpose. Old word. It is always a tragedy to see men use their minds actively against God. In your evil works Hostile purpose finds natural expression in evil deeds. [source]
Titus 2:5 Obedient [ὑποτασσομένας]
Better, subject or in subjection. Frequent in Paul, but not often in the active voice. See on James 4:7; see on Romans 8:7; see on Philemon 3:21; and comp. 1 Corinthians 14:34; Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18. [source]
James 4:4 Enmity with God [εχτρα του τεου]
Objective genitive τεου — theou with εχτρα — echthra (predicate and so without article), old word from εχτρος — echthros enemy (Romans 5:10), with εις τεον — eis theon (below and Romans 8:7).Whosoever therefore would be (ος εαν ουν βουλητηι — hos ean oun boulēthēi). Indefinite relative clause with ος — hos and modal εαν — ean and the first aorist passive (deponent) subjunctive of βουλομαι — boulomai to will (purpose).A friend of the world Predicate nominative with infinitive ειναι — einai agreeing with ος — hos See note on James 2:23 for πιλος τεου — philos theou (friend of God).Maketh himself (κατισταται — kathistatai). Present passive (not middle) indicative as in James 3:6, “is constituted,” “is rendered.”An enemy of God Predicate nominative and anarthrous and objective genitive (τεου — theou). [source]

What do the individual words in Romans 8:7 mean?

because the mind of the flesh [is] hostility toward God to for [the] law - of God not it is subject nor even can it [be]
διότι τὸ φρόνημα τῆς σαρκὸς ἔχθρα εἰς Θεόν τῷ γὰρ νόμῳ τοῦ Θεοῦ οὐχ ὑποτάσσεται οὐδὲ δύναται

διότι  because 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: διότι  
Sense: on this account that, because.
φρόνημα  mind 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Neuter Singular
Root: φρόνημα  
Sense: what one has in the mind, the thoughts and purposes.
τῆς  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Feminine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
σαρκὸς  flesh 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: σάρξ  
Sense: flesh (the soft substance of the living body, which covers the bones and is permeated with blood) of both man and beasts.
ἔχθρα  [is]  hostility 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: ἔχθρα  
Sense: enmity.
εἰς  toward 
Parse: Preposition
Root: εἰς  
Sense: into, unto, to, towards, for, among.
Θεόν  God 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: θεός  
Sense: a god or goddess, a general name of deities or divinities.
νόμῳ  [the]  law 
Parse: Noun, Dative Masculine Singular
Root: νόμος  
Sense: anything established, anything received by usage, a custom, a law, a command.
τοῦ  - 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Θεοῦ  of  God 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: θεός  
Sense: a god or goddess, a general name of deities or divinities.
ὑποτάσσεται  it  is  subject 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Middle or Passive, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ὑποτάσσω  
Sense: to arrange under, to subordinate.
οὐδὲ  nor  even 
Parse: Adverb
Root: οὐδέ  
Sense: but not, neither, nor, not even.
δύναται  can  it  [be] 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Middle or Passive, 3rd Person Singular
Root: δύναμαι  
Sense: to be able, have power whether by virtue of one’s own ability and resources, or of a state of mind, or through favourable circumstances, or by permission of law or custom.