Romans 8:26–30
The Spirit of God further helps us trust in the to be revealed glory of v. 18.
#Spirit
Published August 5th, 2017
Author
Share / Groups / About Author
Diagram
Arc
Notes
Diagram
NT
Romans 8:26-30
Cf. Wallace, 238 and Robertson, 739)
Possessive
Association (Wallace, 159)
transitive verb; object implied
Intensive; predicate position
Fourth attributive position (Wallace, 310–311); anarthrous noun-adjective construction
Denotes correspondence or conformity (See Harris, 152–153); "appeals according to the standard/measure of God on behalf of the holy ones."
Telic εἰς (Harris, 88)
Article functions as a pronoun ( Going Deeper , 157–158)
come back
Double Accusative of Object-complement (See Wallace, 182–189; see esp. p. 184)
Purpose
spatial
Implied purpose infinitive (or even an implied telic preposition, such as εἰς)
text
δὲ
subjectverb
τὸ
πνεῦμα
solid
drop
equal
revrocket
line
pred
συναντιλαμβάνεται
Ὡσαύτως
καὶ
prepphrase
pstack
cword
τῇ
ἀσθενείᾳ
ἡμῶν
directobject
γὰρ
rocketship
vertical
οἴδαμεν
οὐκ
shelf
προσευξώμεθα
τί
δεῖ
καθὸ
τὸ
τὸ
πνεῦμα
αὐτὸ
ὑπερεντυγχάνει
στεναγμοῖς
ἀλαλήτοις
ἀλλʼ
δὲ
οἶδεν
ἐραυνῶν
τὰς
καρδίας
quoteshelf
τί
predicate
τὸ
φρόνημα
τοῦ
πνεύματος
obtuse
ἐντυγχάνει
κατὰ
θεὸν
ὑπὲρ
ἁγίων
ὅτι
vsnum
Romans 8:27
Romans 8:26
δὲ
Romans 8:28
Οἴδαμεν
πάντα
συνεργεῖ
εἰς
ἀγαθόν
τοῖς
ἀγαπῶσιν
τὸν
θεὸν
equals
τοῖς
κλητοῖς
οὖσιν
κατὰ
πρόθεσιν
προώρισεν
καὶ
προέγνω
οὓς
συμμόρφους
τῆς
εἰκόνος
τοῦ
υἱοῦ
αὐτοῦ
εἰς
αὐτὸν
infinitive
τὸ
εἶναι
πρωτότοκον
ἐν
ἀδελφοῖς
πολλοῖς
ὅτι
ὅτι
smartline
dashed
free
ttext
Romans 8:30
δὲ
ἐκάλεσεν
καὶ
τούτους
προώρισεν
οὓς
καὶ
ἐδικαίωσεν
καὶ
τούτους
ἐκάλεσεν
οὓς
δὲ
ἐδόξασεν
καὶ
τούτους
ἐδικαίωσεν
οὓς
[OR]
συμμόρφους
τῆς
εἰκόνος
τοῦ
υἱοῦ
αὐτοῦ
Romans 8:29
scripturetext
na28
diagram
Arc
editing
Romans 8:26-30
na28
mine
Ὡσαύτως δὲ καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα συναντιλαμβάνεται τῇ ἀσθενείᾳ ἡμῶν•
And likewise, the Spirit also comes to our aid when our weaknesses come upon us,
τὸ γὰρ τί προσευξώμεθα καθὸ δεῖ οὐκ οἴδαμεν ,
That is, [although] we do not even know what to pray as we should,
ἀλλʼ αὐτὸ τὸ πνεῦμα ὑπερεντυγχάνει στεναγμοῖς ἀλαλήτοις•
nevertheless [despite the reality of our weakness of prayer] the Spirit himself intercedes [for us] with unspeakable groanings.
ὁ δὲ ἐραυνῶν τὰς καρδίας οἶδεν τί τὸ φρόνημα τοῦ πνεύματος ,
Even further , the One Who Searches Hearts knows [the very nature of] the mind of the Spirit,
ὅτι κατὰ θεὸν ἐντυγχάνει ὑπὲρ ἁγίων.
because [the Spirit] appeals on behalf of the holy ones according to God's will.
ground
progression
concessive
Οἴδαμεν δὲ ὅτι τοῖς ἀγαπῶσιν τὸν θεὸν πάντα συνεργεῖ εἰς ἀγαθόν,
And we know that for those who love God, all things work [to their utmost end] for good ,
τοῖς κατὰ πρόθεσιν κλητοῖς οὖσιν.
[i.e.,] for those called according [God's] purpose,
ideaexplanation
ὅτι οὓς προέγνω , καὶ προώρισεν
because [God] predestined those whom he foreknew
συμμόρφους τῆς εἰκόνος τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ,
[for the purpose of being in the] conformity of his son's image.
actionpurpose
εἰς τὸ εἶναι αὐτὸν πρωτότοκον ἐν πολλοῖς ἀδελφοῖς•
in order for [his son] to be the firstborn among many brothers.
οὓς δὲ προώρισεν, τούτους καὶ ἐκάλεσεν•
Further , he called those whom he predestined,
καὶ οὓς ἐκάλεσεν, τούτους καὶ ἐδικαίωσεν•
and justified those whom he called,
οὓς δὲ ἐδικαίωσεν, τούτους καὶ ἐδόξασεν.
and most of all , he glorified those whom he justified.
Here, I can see γάρ functioning twofold: as explicatory and grounding—both being explanatory at the core.
The referent is τοῦ πνεύματος. Why would God appeal to God? Further, the same lexeme is used in the previous verse with τό πνεῦμα as the subject.
Clarifies τοῖς ἀγαπῶσιν τὸν θεόν.
The unspeakable groanings by the Holy Spirit in v. 26c are intercessions that God himself approves (v. 27b). Therefore, because God approves the Spirit's intercessions, God therefore knows the mind of the Spirit. And this mind is God's very own mind. That is, according to vv. 26–27, the mind of God and the mind of the Spirit are one . The Spirit intercedes in such a way that accords with God's desires, and therefore, since the intercessions are κατἀ θεόν, God knows, and approves of, these Spirit's intercessions.
na28
discourse
Notes
vv. 26–30 The question now becomes, how does ὡσαύτως (“likewise”) relate to the preceding verses of 18–25. Remembering that v. 18 is the main point of vv. 18–30 (see above), we must seek to understand how these final five verses logically relate to the preceding ones. Cranfield notes that ὡσαύσως relates these sections by the Spirit’s groaning (v. 26) and the creation’s (v. 22) and believer’s groaning (v. 23). [1] Schreiner denies this, by saying “But the idea of the Spirit groaning is not the main idea of verses 26–27; what Paul stresses is the Spirit’s aid in our weakness, and the groaning of the Spirit is not the thematic center since it is relayed in a dative phrase near the end of verse 26.” [2] Yet, in my judgement, there is not a large distinction, for the Spirit helping us does in fact refer to our “earthly troubles”, [3] as well as the future hope that believers exercise amidst their groaning. [4] I’ve labelled v. 26a as an Idea and vv. 26b–30f as the Explanation (Id-Exp). I will now argue my case. Verses 26b–30f describe all the details of the Spirit’s aide (συναντιλαμβάνεται) of our weaknesses. I take ἀσθενείᾳ (“weakness” or “deficiency”) to specifically refer to the lack of knowledge that believers have in prayer (26b). [5] Verses 26b–7 function as a concessive. The logic is as follows: That is ( γάρ ) [ although ] we do not even know what to pray for as we should, [ nevertheless] ( ἀλλά ) [despite the reality of our weakness in prayer] the Spirit himself appeals [for us] with unspeakable groanings. Even further ( δέ ) the One Who Searches Hearts knows very intentions of the Spirit, because (ὅτι) [the Spirit] appeals on behalf of the holy ones according to God’s will. Despite us lacking a knowledge of what to pray for, [6] the Spirit appeals to God for us with unspeakable groanings. That is to say, the Spirit’s intercession is in no way frustrated by our weakness. Although we do not know ( οὐκ οἴδαμεν ) what to pray for, the One Who Searches Hearts knows (οἶδεν τἰ τὸ φρόνημα τοῦ πνεῦματος), because that which he knows is the very mind-set of the Spirit, who intercedes on our behalf. The Holy Spirit’s unspeakable groanings in v. 26c are intercessions that God himself approves of (v. 27b). Therefore, since God approves of the Spirit’s intercessions, God knows the intentions of the Spirit’s mind. In other words, according to vv. 26b–27b, the mind of God and the mind of the Spirit are one . The Spirit intercedes in such a way that accords with God’s will, and therefore, since the intercessions are κατὰ θεόν, [7] God knows, and approves of, the Spirit’s intercessions. [8] The point of all this is simply that the Spirit’s prayers are unfailingly answered . “The desires produced by the Spirit of God himself are, of course, agreeable to the will of God, and secure of being approved and answered.” [9] Where we lack the knowledge to pray, the Spirit of God takes it upon himself to fulfill in us that which we lack (cf. Rom 8:4). [10] Hodge continues, This is the great consolation and support of believers. They know not either what is best for themselves or agreeable to the will of God; but the Holy Spirit dictates those petitions and excites those desires which are consistent with the divine purposes, and which are directed towards the blessing best suited to our wants. Such prayers are always answered. [11] Verses 28–30 further add to the explanation of how the Spirit aids us in our weaknesses (v. 26a)—namely, by confirming in us what John Piper calls “four pillars of a precious promise”: [12] God’s predestination (v.29), calling (v. 29d), justification (v. 30e), and glorification (v. 30f). In other words, “the central goal of the Spirit’s prayers” is to confirm in us the to be revealed glory of our redemptive bodies (v. 23): a perfect conformity into the image of his Son (v. 30b). [13] The confident hope in the Christian—the very hope for which creation was subjected (v. 20)—is this: the telicity of all things mysteriously turns out for their good . And we know that God is orchestrating all of this, because the implied subject of the verb συνεργεῖ is God himself. The εἰς is a telic εἰς , [14] denoting the end result or goal of πάντα (“all things”). Τοῖς κατὰ πρόθεσιν κλητοῖς προὠρισεν (“to those called according to purpose”) should be taken in apposition to τοῖς ἀγαπῶσιν τὸν θεόν. Those who love God are only those called according to pupose. [15] And later, in 9:11 we see this “purpose” in greater light: it is the according to election purpose (ἡ κατ᾽ἐκλογὴν πρόθεσις). Paul is securing hope into the hearts of his readers. For, the πάντα seems to have a close tie with the παθήματα of v. 18—which is directly connected with the συμπάσχομεν of v. 17, suggesting that suffering always precedes the to be revealed glory. Further, there is another parallel that mustn’t’ be missed. In v. 17, the condition and purpose for glorification with Christ is suffering ( εἴπερ συμπάσχομεν, ἵνα καὶ συνδοξασθῶμεν). And although the neuter adjective πάντα translates “all things,” if Paul’s emphasis is on the necessary sufferings that must come (v. 18)— which cause so much groaning (v. 22, 23, 26)— before glorification, then that fits nicely with our text: the reason we know all things find their telicity in benefit for believers is because we have already been glorified with Jesus (ἐδόξασεν; v. 30f). In other words, the εἴπερ συμπάσχομεν, ἵνα καὶ συνδοξασθῶμεν of v. 17 is being clarified in vv. 28–30. The reason suffering must precede glory is because its ultimate purpose is to shape us into the conformity of the image of Jesus Christ himself (v. 30b). Thus, the realities—the “four pillars” [16] —of vv. 29–30 ground the “precious promise” of v. 28. [17] The overall logic, working backwards and turning the main proposition (v. 28) into an inference, is as follows: Since we were foreknown and predestined, called, justified, and [ultimately] glorified, therefore we know that God works all things for good, for those who are called according to his pupose. There are three questions that arise: (1) What significance is there in the four pillars being all in the aorist tense (προώρισεν; ἐ κάλεσεν; ἀδικαίωσεν; ἐδόξασεν)? (2) What is the relationship between the four pillars and our knowing (οἴδαμεν)? (3) What is the relationship between πάντα συνεργεῖ εἰς ἀγαθόν and the four pillars? First, why is the aorist tense important for the four pillars? There is a simple explanation for the first three; the fourth (ἐδόξασεν) warrants further clarification. Προώρισεν (“predestined”) refers to God’s pre-determination of our salvation in eternity past (cf. Eph 1:4). The foreknowledge mentioned ( προέγνω ) has led some to believe that predestination is merely God looking ahead into the future to see who will believe in him by their own free will. This is not the case, for προὠρισεν further clarifies προέγνω . “Those whom he foreknew , he also predestined .” In other words, only those whom God foreknows are predestined beforehand for glory. Schreiner notes that this knowledge is a “covenantal love in which he sets his affection on those whom he has chosen (cf. Gen. 18:19; Exod. 33:17; 1 Sam. 2:12; Ps. 18:43; Prov. 9:10; Jer. 1:5; Hose. 13:5; Amos 3:2). [18] Thus, the foreknowledge is an effective one. The ἐκάλεσεν likewise refers to God’s effective summoning of a believer through faith in the gospel. The ἐδικαίωσεν refers to the fact that God has made believing sinners right with himself by transferring the righteousness of his Son, through their faith in him, onto them, as if they lived Christ’s righteous life. What causes some confusion at first glance is the fact that the future event of glorification is in the aorist tense ( ἐδόξασεν ), which, according to most scholars, indicates a past temporal reference (past time). [19] In this instance does the aorist indicate past-time? How? If the aorist is supposed to encode past-tense , what is happening here? This is just one example where we see the flexibility of the aorist with reference to tense (cf. Mark 3:17). Ἐ δόξασεν here does not refer to a literal past event, wherein God has already glorified us, but to a sure and unbreakable future reality. [20] God has decided in eternity past (προέγνω; προώρισεν; ἐκάλεσεν) that we will be glorified in the future. [21] That is why in v. 18, Paul in uses μέλλω (“destined” or “inevitable”) when speaking of the coming glory. The to be revealed glory is most certainly coming. Second, what is the relationship between these four pillars and our knowing in v. 28? In v. 29, the ὅτι , unlike the ὅτι of v. 28, signals a ground. Thus, the reason we know that all things find their telicity in utmost benefit for the believer is because we have been foreknown and predestined, called, justified, and glorified. What does this mean? On the surface at least, it means that only those to whom God grants the four pillars know this glorious reality. But the thrust of these verses isn’t knowing ( οἴδαμεν ), but in the fact that all things are working (συνεργεῖ) for the utmost benefit of the believer, which brings us to the third question. Third , what is the relationship between πάντα συνεργεῖ εἰς ἀγαθόν and the four pillars? The fullness of the answer to this question will not be revealed until we examine the last nine verses of Romans 8 (vv. 31–39), for Paul himself asks this very question: Τί οὖν ἐροῦμεν πρὸς ταῦτα! Let us now proceed to the final nine verses, and then the answer to this last question will be manifest. [1] Cranfield, Epistle to the Romans , 420 [2] Schreiner, Romans , 442; So Hodge, Romans , 278. [3] Morris, The Epistle to the Romans , 326. [4] “Perhaps we should see a reference also to the hope of which Paul has just been speaking. The Spirit’s help [also] preserves and enlarges the hope in which we live,” ibid.; Although Stott, The Message of Romans , 244 takes ὡσαύτως to refer to the hope just explained in vv. 18–25, he nevertheless implies that ir refers to our groaning as well when he says, “ In the same way, Paul beings (26) probably meaning that as our Christian hope sustains us, so does the Holy Spirit. In general, The Spirit helps us in our weakness (26a), that is, in the ambiguity and frailty of our ‘already-not yet’ existence,” emphasis original. [5] So Schreiner, Romans , 443; Stott, The Message of Romans , 244; Cranfield, Epistle to the Romans, 420; Contra Morris, The Epistle to the Romans , 326; Calvin Calvin’s Commentaries, on Romans 8:26. [6] The τί in v. 26b reveals that what is in view is “the thing prayed for,” Cranfield, Epistle to the Romans , 421; So Schreiner, Romans , 443. [7] See Harris, Prepositions , 152–153. [8] In a footnote, Schreiner provides some helpful insight into the doctrine of the Holy Spirit with reference to personality: “The personality of the Holy Spirit is emphasized in this text. In both verses 26 and 27 he ‘intercedes’ for the saints and this is possible only for a person. His personality is evident also in the word φρόνημα , for only a person possesses a mind. The text also indicates distinctions between the Father and the Spirit … The Spirit intercedes to the Father for the saints, and it is the Spirit’s mind that the Father discerns when he searches the hearts of believers,” Schreiner , Romans , 447, n.8. [9] Hodge, Romans , 279–230. [10] “[The One Who Searches Hearts] is the one who discerns the groanings in the hearts of believers and discerns in them ‘the mind-set of the Spirit,’” Schreiner, Romans , 446, emphasis mine. [11] Ibid., 230. [12] Piper, Future Grace , 117–125. [13] Schreiner, Romans , 448: “ … the central goal of the Spirit’s prayers is that believers become conformed to the image of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.” [14] See Harris, Prepositions , 88. [15] Schreiner, Romans , 450: “The believers’ love for God is ultimately due to God’s purpose in calling them to salvation.” So Hodge, Romans , 280–281: “The word called … is never, in the epistles of the New Testament, applied to those who are the recipients of the mere external invitation of the gospel. It always means effectually called , i.e., it is always applied to those who are really brought to accept of the blessing to which they are invited”; Morris, The Epistle to the Romans , 332: “In the Gospels we sometimes read ‘many are called, but few chosen’, but Paul is not using the term ‘call’ in that sense. He means ‘effectual call’; he is speaking of those who have not only heard the call but have responded. He goes on to link this with God’s purpose , which means God’s saving purpose. It is that purpose which we see in the sending of Jesus, in his life, death, resurrection, and ascension, and in the preaching of the gospel whereby people are brought out of their darkness into God’s marvellous light”; Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries , on Romans 8:28: “This clause seems to have been added as a modification, lest any one should think that the faithful, because they love God, obtain by their own merit the advantage of deriving such fruit from their adversities. We indeed know that when salvation is the subject, men are disposed to begin with themselves, and to imagine certain preparations by which they would anticipate the favor of God. Hence Paul teaches us, that those whom he had spoken of as loving God, had been previously chosen by him. For it is certain that the order is thus pointed out, that we may know that it proceeds from the gratuitous adoption of God, as from the first cause, that all things happen to the saints for their salvation.” [16] Piper, Future Grace , 119. [17] Ibid. [18] Schreiner, Romans , 452. [19] See Christopher J. Thomson, “What is Aspect: Contrasting Definitions in General Linguistics and New Testament Studies” in The Greek Verb Revisted: A Fresh Approach for Biblical Exegesis (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016); See esp. Christopher Fresch, “Typology, Polysemy, and Prototypes: Situating Nonpast Aorist Indicative” in ibid. [20] Cf. Wallace, Grammar , 563–564. [21] So Schreiner, Romans , 454–455; Cranfield, Epistle to the Romans , 433; Morris, The Epistle to the Romans , 333–334; So Bruce, Romans , 177, who notes that “Perhaps [Paul] is imitating the Hebrew use of the ‘prophetic past’, by which a predicted event is marked out as so certain of fulfilment that it is described as though it had already taken place. As a matter of history, the people of God have not yet been glorified; so far as the divine decree is concerned, however, their glory has been determined from all eternity, hence – ‘those whom he justified he also glorified.’”
notes
Comments
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.