O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then I myself with the mind truly serve the Law of God, and with the flesh the law of sin.Romans 7:24-25
Let’s look at how the different versions handle this concept. τοῦ σώματος τοῦ θανάτου τούτου
All of the following versions translate “this body of death” literally. – AMP, ASV, BBE, EMTV, ESV, ISV, KJV, LITV, MKJV, Murdock, NASB, RV, Webster, YLT
- (CEV) What a miserable person I am. Who will rescue me from this body that is doomed to die?
- (GNB) What an unhappy man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is taking me to death?
- (GW) What a miserable person I am! Who will rescue me from my dying body?
- (NLT) Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?
It is a very graphic image that Paul uses. His point is no doubt summed up in the four translations above. I think Paul’s point is more than just rescue me from my dying body. Take me out of this life and beam me up Lord. No I don’t think Paul is thinking simply about leaving this earth and going to heaven. He tells us his perspective in Philippians 1:21-24. His point appears to be more in line with the translation of either the NLT or the GNB. It is Paul’s cry over the desperate plight sin has us in. But I like the translation of GNB the best. Why? It captures the meaning of body of death the best.
ISBE – Body of Death
There may be a distant reference here to the dreadful punishment of the ancients of chaining the living body to a corpse, that the constant corruption of death might extinguish the life of the victim of this horrific torture. Binding a dead body to a living person, and making them carry the corpse about meant the contagions from the putrid body would ultimately take away their life! This was indeed the practice of the ancient Romans – called “the body of death”. What a gruesome way to die.
Paul has chosen his illustration well. It is the corruption that comes as a result of sin that then infects the healthy body. Just like the GNB suggests. Who will rescue me from this body that is taking me to death? Good question and sums up well the influence of sin in our lives. Not only that but Paul’s use of the Roman practice by using the words “body of death” adds a graphic dimension. I won’t spell it out for you. I will leave you to think on the illustration and the nature of corruption inherent in the act to work out the link to Paul relating it to the work of sin within us.
Now wonder he says wretched man that I am. I couldn’t think of anything more wretched than to be attached to a rotting dead body. Is that any worse than the effect of sin in this world of God’s creation? What a pointed way for Paul to close the discussion related to our battle with sin.
God can turn your mess into a message.Joyce Meyer
It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.Mark Twain