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28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind and to things that should not be done.


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28. And as they chose not, etc. There is an evident comparison to be observed in these words, by which is strikingly set forth the just relation between sin and punishment. As they chose not to continue in the knowledge of God, which alone guides our minds to true wisdom, the Lord gave them a perverted mind, which can choose nothing that is right. 5353     There is a correspondence between the words οὐκ ἐδοκίμασαν — they did not approve, or think worthy, and ἀδόκιμον — unapproved, or worthless, which is connected with νοῦν, mind. The verb means to try or prove a thing, as metal by fire, then to distinguish between what is genuine or otherwise, and also to approve of what is good and valuable. To approve or think fit or worthy seems to be the meaning here. Derived from this verb is ἀδόκιμος, which is applied to unapproved or adulterated money, — to men unsound, not able to bear the test, not genuine as Christians, 2 Corinthians 13:5, — to the earth that is unfit to produce fruits, Hebrews 6:8. The nearest alliteration that can perhaps be presented is the following, “And as they did not deem it worth while to acknowledge God, God delivered them up to a worthless mind,” that is, a mind unfit to discern between right and wrong. Beza gives this meaning, “Mentem omnis judicii expertem — a mind void of all judgment.” Locke’s “unsearching mind,” and Macknight’s “unapproving mind,” and Doddridge’s “undiscerning mind,” do not exactly convey the right idea, though the last comes nearest to it. It is an unattesting mind, not capable of bringing things to the test — δοκίμιον not able to distinguish between things of the most obvious nature.
   “To acknowledge God” is literally “to have God in recognition τὸν θεὸν ἔχειν ἐν ἐπιγνώσει.” Venema says, that this is a purely Greek idiom, and adduces passages from Herodotus and Xenophon; from the first, the following phrase, ἐν αλογίῃ ἔχειν — to have in contempt, i.e., to contemn or despise. — Ed.
And by saying, that they chose not, (non probasse - approved not,) it is the same as though he had said, that they pursued not after the knowledge of God with the attention they ought to have done, but, on the contrary, turned away their thoughts resignedly from God. He then intimates, that they, making a depraved choice, preferred their own vanities to the true God; and thus the error, by which they were deceived, was voluntary.

To do those things which were not meet As he had hitherto referred only to one instance of abomination, which prevailed indeed among many, but was not common to all, he begins here to enumerate vices from which none could be found free: for though every vice, as it has been said, did not appear in each individual, yet all were guilty of some vices, so that every one might separately be accused of manifest depravity. As he calls them in the first instance not meet, understand him as saying, that they were inconsistent with every decision of reason, and alien to the duties of men: for he mentions it as an evidence of a perverted mind, that men addicted themselves, without any reflection, to those vices, which common sense ought to have led them to renounce.

But it is labor in vain so to connect these vices, as to make them dependent one on another, since this was not Paul’s design; but he set them down as they occurred to his mind. What each of them signifies, we shall very briefly explain.




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