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Romans 7 King James Version (KJV)

7 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?

2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.

3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

I have two questions as regards this passage 1. Who is the "husband" in that passage? 2. What is the meaning of the words "married to another"

Paul says that the link between "those who know the Law" (v. 1) -- Jews -- and the Law (given Moses) was done away with by the death of the "husband." Paul says of a wife that "if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband." (Romans 7:2.) "As long as the man (anthropos) lives" (v.1), i.e., the husband lives, the law formed by their marriage binds the two. But the "law of her husband" is thus "loosed" or "abrogated" by the death of the husband. Paul's Greek in verse 2 meant the Law has been "rendered null and void" by the death of the husband in the marriage covenant that established the Law. (See Leon Morris, The Epistle to the Romans (1988) at 270.) Paul means "you are released from the Law as to its demands and penalties...." (The Epistle ... to the Romans; with notes by H.J. Ripley (edited by Henry Jones Ripley) (1857) at 73.) Paul says this particular husband's death killed off the Law between the parties. It is clear in Paul's illustration that the one who dies is the "anthropos" (man) -- the "husband."
First, Paul says the Law binds the husband and wife as long as the "anthropos (man) lives." Finally, in Romans 7:3 Paul specifies who died in the relationship: "if her husband be dead, she is free from that law;...." Paul is not talking about the wife dying in order to make his point. Paul is only talking about the husband / the anthropos (man) having died whose death then effectuates dissolution of the Law. Henry explains that by the death of the husband in Paul's lesson, this frees us from the Law, making the Law dead to us (as this husband's death brought about). As a consequence, we are "free from" our "master" -- the husband who died. Henry explains: Our second marriage is to Christ: and how comes this about?.... We are dead to the law ...[and] have no more to do with it than the dead servant, that is free from his master, hath to do with his master's yoke. Locke concurs that it was the death of the husband that Paul envisions as what supposedly frees us from the Law, not the death of the woman (or the death of the Law): " ye have been made dead to the law," the phrase here used to express that freedom, seems to refer rather to the 1st verse, where he says, "the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth," implying, and no longer, rather than to the two intervening verses, where he says, "not the death of the woman, but the death of the husband, sets the woman free," of which more by and by. (John Locke, Works of John Lock (1823) Vol. 8 at 311.)

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    Are you asking, or answering, a question? It's perfectly OK to answer your own question (assuming that the question meets the criteria for this site, which are rather stringent) - but you need to put the question in the question space, and the answer in the answer space. Also, if you're referring to a passage of Scripture, you should quote the passage directly. – Matt Gutting Mar 5 at 11:57
  • I think you are asking about the spiritual interpretation of the passage. Am I right in saying that you want to know who the 'husband' is - spiritually seen ? And that you want to know what the spiritual union is, that is called a 'marriage' ? In which case, good question +1. – Nigel J Mar 5 at 14:41
  • What I want to know is what the phrase "married to another" means and who is the "husband " that died in that passage – Faith Mendel Mar 12 at 14:17
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    'husband' has the obvious meaning of the person the woman was married to. Paul is describing the case where a woman is married to someone - her 'husband' - then is divorced by him and marries 'another' man. Was that what you wanted to know? – DJClayworth Mar 12 at 15:32
  • Exegesis questions like this should be asked at Biblical Hermeneutics. – curiousdannii Mar 13 at 2:05
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“Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.” (Romans 7:1–3, KJV 1900)

Husband is Carnal Nature and wife is the mind

How do we know this?

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24, KJV 1900)

Me meaning the inner man or the mind and the husband being the body of death

The law mandates that a wife cannot leave the husband - If she does this when the husband is alive, she commits sin and is therefore worthy of Death (Deuteronomy 22:22-30)

Therefore, we who are slaves of sin, married to sinful nature are mandated by the law to obey the same. We must commit sin, just as a slave is compelled to obey his master - to not obey is a sin!

Sin taking hold of the commandment - God's pure and Holy nature - has become exceeding sinful by doing that which God hates!

“For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.” (Romans 7:5, KJV 1900)

“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.” (Romans 7:7–11, KJV 1900)

Sin takes occasion by the commandment - the commandment that a wife cannot leave her husband - and forces me to commit all sorts of sin.

“Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.” (Romans 7:13, KJV 1900)

I can escape only if there is no law - For without the law sin was dead (vs 8)

So what God does? - An amazing solution

“But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” (Romans 7:6, KJV 1900)

God kills us in Jesus!

“Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?” (Romans 7:1, KJV 1900)

So once we are dead, now we can legally be bound to another - Jesus Christ. Thus we escape the condemnation of the law. But now being bound to Jesus, we are mandated by the law to obey Jesus and not commit adultery

“For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.” (Romans 7:2, KJV 1900)

“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” (Romans 7:4, KJV 1900)

  • This is not the case, even as analogy. The husband represents the law, and the woman the Jews. Paul pretty much says that. – DJClayworth Mar 14 at 14:38
  • The verse 27 makes it clear that the husband is not the law of God. The mind wants to obey the law of God but there is a law of sin in the body - which is the carnal nature, which prevents the mind from obeying the law of God. The conclusion being, when we are married to Christ, we are able to love sinless by obeying the law of God – One Face Mar 15 at 2:07
  • See comments below your answer for more – One Face Mar 15 at 2:15
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The meaning of the words you ask about are the obvious ones. 'Husband' means the person a woman is married to and 'another' means a man who is not her husband.

So verses 2 and 3 mean

If a woman is married to a man, then she and that man are legally married for as long as he lives, and she is not allowed to marry someone else while he is alive. But is he dies, then she is allowed to marry someone else.

Paul is using this situation as an analogy to say that while the Jews were legally bound to the Law, the death of Jesus ends that bond, just as the death of the husband ends a marriage.

  • KJV Romans 7 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. The law of sin is the carnal nature to which we are married by birth. The law of God mandates that we must obey the law of sin as we are bound to it. Unless freed by Christ to obey the law of God, we cannot help but commit sin. When we die in CHRIST, we are now free to be married to Christ. This we can now obey the law of God – One Face Mar 15 at 2:09
  • The war is clearly between the law of the body and the law of God unlike what you are saying. Paul longed to obey the law of God, but sinful nature dwelling in the body prevented him from doing so. So he says he longs to be delivered from this sinful body "who shall deliver me from this body of death?" – One Face Mar 15 at 2:14
  • You seem to be saying that because Paul is writing about one thing in another passage, he must also be writing about that thing in this passage. – DJClayworth Mar 15 at 13:22
  • Some anxious to deflect the meaning of this passage insist Paul is talking about "law" in general and not the Mosaic Law. However, Paul in this passage of Romans specifically addresses Jews about the Mosaic Law: "for I speak to them that know the law" (Romans 7:1.) The Greek word nomos translated as law can mean a law generically, but also it is the only term used to refer to the Law given Moses throughout the NT. Which is it here? This is important to determine because it impacts who Paul says is the husband whose death abrogates – Faith Mendel Mar 16 at 14:20

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