Amplified: And so, since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or approve of Him or consider Him worth the knowing, God gave them over to a base and condemned mind to do things not proper or decent but loathsome, (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: Just as they have given themselves over to a kind of knowledge that rejects the idea of God, so God has given them over to the kind of mind that all reject. The result is that they do things which it is not fitting for any man to do. (Daily Study Bible)
KJV: And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
NCV: People did not think it was important to have a true knowledge of God. So God left them and allowed them to have their own worthless thinking and to do things they should not do.
NLT: When they refused to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their evil minds and let them do things that should never be done. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Moreover, since they considered themselves too high and mighty to acknowledge God, he allowed them to become the slaves of their degenerate minds, and to perform unmentionable deeds. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: And even as after putting God to the test for the purpose of approving Him should He meet their specifications, and finding that He did not, they disapproved of holding Him in their full and precise knowledge, God gave them up to a mind that would not meet the test for that which a mind was meant, to practice those things which were not becoming or fitting (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: And, according as they did not approve of having God in knowledge, God gave them up to a disapproved mind, to do the things not seemly;
|Romans — 3:21-5:21||Romans — 6:1-8:39||Romans — 9:1-11:36||Romans — 12:1-16:27|
Jew and Gentile
|Demonstration of Salvation|
|Power Given||Promises Fulfilled||Paths Pursued|
Restored to Israel
|Slaves to Sin||Slaves to God||Slaves Serving God|
|Life by Faith||Service by Faith|
Modified from Irving L. Jensen's excellent work "Jensen's Survey of the NT"
AND JUST AS THEY DID NOT SEE FIT TO ACKNOWLEDGE GOD ANY LONGER: Kai kathos ouk edokimasan (3PAAI) ton theon echein (PAN) en epignosei: (Ro 1:18,21; Job 21:14,15; Pr 1:7,22,29; 5:12,13; 17:16; Jer 4:22; 9:6; Hosea 4:6; Acts 17:23,32; Ro 8:7,8; 1Cor 15:34; 2Cor 4:4, 5, 6; 10:5; 2Th 1:8; 2:10,11, 12; 2Pe 3:5) (Jer 6:30; 2Co 13:5, 6, 7; 2Ti 3:8; Titus 1:16)
And so, since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or approve of Him or consider Him worth the knowing (Amplified)
And, according as they did not approve of having God in knowledge (Literal)
And even as after putting God to the test for the purpose of approving Him should He meet their specifications, and finding that He did not (Wuest)
Just as (2531) (kathos) means in accordance with a degree as specified by the context or in proportion as. Godet explains that this "indicates anew the exact correlation between this unrighteousness and the punishment about to be described."
Here for the third and last time our attention is focused on the correlation between man’s rejection of God and God’s rejection of man.
Not (3756) (ou, ouk) indicates absolute negation of whatever it modifies, in this case the verb dokimazo. They absolutely did not approve of God after testing Him to see if He was genuine! How absurd!
See fit (1381) (dokimazo from dokimos = tested, proved or approved, tried as metals by fire and thus purified from dechomai = to accept, receive) (Click study of dokimazo) means to assay, to test, to prove, to put to the test, to make a trial of, to verify, to discern to approve. Dokimazo involves not only testing but determining the genuineness or value of an event or object. That which has been tested is demonstrated to be genuine and trustworthy.
Dokimazo was used in classic Greek to describe the assaying of precious metals (especially gold or silver coins), usually by fire, to prove the whether they were authentic and whether they measured up to the stated worth. That which endures the test was called dokimos and that which fails is called adokimos.
There are 20 uses of dokimazo in the NT -- Lk. 12:56; 14:19; Rom. 1:28; 2:18; 12:2; 14:22; 1 Co. 3:13; 11:28; 16:3; 2 Co. 8:8, 22; 13:5; Gal. 6:4; Eph. 5:10; Phil. 1:10; 1 Thess. 2:4; 5:21; 1 Tim. 3:10; 1 Pet. 1:7; 1 Jn. 4:1
Dokimazo was used in a manuscript of 140AD which contains a plea for the exemption of physicians, and especially of those who have "passed the examination (dokimazo)". Dokimazo was thus used as a technical expression referring to the action of an examining board putting its approval upon those who had successfully passed the examinations for the degree of Doctor of Medicine.
Dokimazo was also used to describe the passing of a candidate as fit for election to public office.
Dokimazo in the present verse means ungodly men presumptuously put God to the test for the purpose of approving Him. In so doing they determined that He did not meet (the absolute negative particle "ou" modifies dokimazo) the specifications which they laid out for a God Who would be to their liking. They refused to put their "stamp of approval" upon Him. They refused to approve Him as God Who should be worshipped and thus they did not hold Him in their knowledge! Although it sounds absurd that sinful men would test the holy God, that is exactly what Paul is saying they did. They tested the infinitely precious God as they would a mere coin, and chose to turn aside from Him!
Hendriksen explains that...
Hodge writes that...
And so fallen mankind rejected God after testing just as one would reject worthless coins after testing. They rejected the only One Who is Worthy as ''worthless''! When you are deceived and depraved you will call 'white, black', good, evil and evil good. Woe to those whose minds are so depraved.
As Isaiah said
Cranfield says that such a mind is
To acknowledge God - literally "of having God in knowledge"
Knowledge (1922) (epignosis) (Click in depth study of epignosis) refers to a strengthened form of "gnosis" and conveys the thought of a more full, larger and thorough knowledge. It also conveys the idea of a more intimate and personal relationship than the simple term gnosis. Epignosis then is clear and exact knowledge and is the type of knowledge which powerfully influences the form of one's religious life. This is the character of knowledge they refused to "hold" or grasp after testing God and finding He did not pass their test or meet with their approval.
Vincent remarks that these individuals...
Hodge comments that "the phrase to retain the knowledge is stronger than simply “to know.” The text means “to retain in accurate or practical knowledge.” It was the practical recognition of the only true God, whose eternal power and Godhead are revealed in his works, that men were constantly unwilling to make." (Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans - online)
R C Sproul - How excited are you about mastering theology? The word ‘theology’ is often repugnant to people’s ears. They say, ‘I am not interested in theology,’ for they associate it with speculative or purely academic research into the things of God. But, at its simplest, theology means ‘a knowledge of God’.
Haldane - The heathens are thus said to have known God, but, knowing Him, they did not wish to retain that knowledge. This is a crime in the sight of God which subjects men to the most awful judgments of His justice; for it is on this account that the Apostle adds, that God also gave them up to a reprobate mind. This pointedly refers to the word applied to them, as not approving the retaining of the knowledge of God. It denotes a mind judicially blinded, so as not to discern the difference between things distinguished even by the light of nature. Thus the dark eclipse of their understanding concerning Divine things, which they had despised and rejected, had been followed by another general eclipse respecting things human, to which they had applied themselves, and in this consisted the proportion which God observed in their punishment. They did not act according to right reason and judgment towards God,—this is their crime; they did not act according to it among themselves in society,—this was the effect of the abandonment of God, and became their punishment. This passage clearly shows that all that remains of moral uprightness among men is from God, who restrains and sets bounds to the force of their perversity." (Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans)
The man who turns from the truth will be allowed to have his way, will fall deeper and deeper into error, and will reap all the evil consequences of loving darkness rather than light. Those who hate the truth are "given over" to a reprobate mind. Their reprobate minds were tested and found wanting and thus rejected by God.
The basic reason for all evolutionary religion, from atheism and humanism to ancient Babylonian paganism to modern New Age pantheism is that men and women did not like to believe in the God of creation. They are forced then to find some evolutionary explanation for the world with which they could be more comfortable to explain so wondrous a Creation.
Vine writes that...
GOD GAVE THEM OVER: paredoken (3SAAI) autous o theos: (Ge 6:3, Jdg 2:14, 13:1)
Gave...over (3860) (paradidomi from para = beside + didomi = to give so literally to give beside) is a very strong Greek verb meaning to hand someone over to the power and authority of another. It is that act of God whereby He hands over the entire human race for judgment because of their sins.
God gave them over is the third of three occurrences of paradidomi in Romans 1. The restraint of God that might have kept people living in pure relationships with each other was removed. This phrase "God gave them over" should put the fear of the Lord into the heart and mind of every thinking person. We may even be so deceived that we think we are in control but sin deceives and when we think we are not in the grips or power of sin we are completely deceived.
William Barclay - There is hardly any passage which so clearly shows what happens to a man when he leaves God out of the reckoning. It is not so much that God sends a judgment on a man, as that a man brings a judgment on himself when he gives no place to God in his scheme of things. When a man banishes God from his life he becomes a certain kind of man, and in this passage is one of the most terrible descriptions in literature of the kind of man he becomes. Let us took at the catalogue of dreadful things which enter into the godless life. Such men do things which are not fitting for any man to do. The Stoics had a phrase. They talked of ta kathekonta, by which they meant the things it befits a man to do. Certain things are essentially and inherently part of manhood, and certain things are not. As Shakespeare has it in Macbeth: "I dare do all that may become a man;Who dares do more is none." The man who banishes God not only loses godliness; he loses manhood too. Then comes the long list of terrible things. Let us take them one by one. (Romans 1 - William Barclay's Daily Study Bible - Commentaries)
Frederick Godet explains it this way...
William Newell observes that...
God's response to this worldwide "disloyalty and treason" is not, first, to send us to hell, but to see that we sink into the swamp of our own making.
John Piper notes that...
In an illustration from Our Daily Bread of someone who did not not acknowledge God any longer, we read the story of...
TO A DEPRAVED (an unqualified, worthless, rejected, failing the test) MIND: eis adokimon noun, (Jer 6:30; 2Co 13:5, 6, 7; 2Ti 3:8; Titus 1:16)
A depraved mind -- Vincent notes that "There is a play upon the words. As they did not approve, God gave them up unto a mind disapproved."
Depraved (96) (adokimos) refers to that which is rejected after examination. The basic meaning of adokimos is that not standing the test or failing to meet the test and hence worthless, base or unqualified. Adokimos was the term commonly used of metals that were rejected by refiners because of impurities. The impure metals were discarded, and adokimos therefore came to include the ideas of worthlessness and uselessness. Adokimos marks the thing tested as not being proved to be such as it ought.
Here in Romans 1:28 Paul is saying that the mind that finds God worthless becomes worthless itself. The rejecting mind becomes a rejected mind and thereby becomes spiritually depraved, worthless and useless!
Adokimos was used to describe a counterfeit coin that fell below the standard weight, a cowardly soldier who failed the test in the hour of battle, a candidate for office who the citizens regarded as useless and finally a stone rejected by builders because of a flaw which made it unfit for construction, the rejected stone being clearly marked by a capital "A" on it's surface. It is as if these men who test God and find He does not meet with their approval have a giant "A" stamped on their head and heart. They are tried and rejected by the Master Architect and of no eternal value to Him in building His kingdom. This should break our hearts that these men and women in Romans 1:28 are so depraved.
Here are the 8 NT uses of adokimos: (Adokimos is used twice in the Septuagint - Prov. 25:4; Is 1:22)
For many years John Wesley professed to be a Christian and yet when he truly examined himself realized he was not "in the faith" as illustrated by this brief excerpt from his sermon entitled "The Almost Christian":
These men and women were given over to a mind that God tests but finds wanting and is thus rejected by Him as worthless because it does not stand the test. These men had ''tested'' God and did not want to believe in Him. The ultimate test of life is usefulness, and the man whose influence is ever towards that which is unclean is of no use to God or to his fellow-men. Instead of helping God's work in the world, he hinders it and uselessness always invites disaster. It speaks of a mind that is so clouded by sin that it is no longer able to make reliable moral judgments. Here we have gone beyond deliberate iniquity to something much more frightening. At this stage man has lost the desire and the ability to think clearly. He has "lost his mind" (morally or spiritually speaking) and doesn't even know it.
The NKJV translates adokimos as "Debased" a word that was used by a blacksmith who, when he’d finished forming a horseshoe, would place it on his anvil and hit it with his hammer to test whether it was tempered correctly. If it failed the test it was said to be debased, i.e. not quite right. The word debase also conveys the meaning of reduction of the intrinsic value of (a coin) by increasing the base-metal content and implies a loss of position, worth, value, or dignity.
So the idea in Romans 1:28 is of a mind that isn’t quite right, that has some flaw in it that affects its ability to make right judgments. It speaks of a mind that is so clouded by sin that it is no longer able to make reliable moral judgments. Here we have gone beyond deliberate iniquity to something much more frightening. At this stage man has lost the desire and the ability to think clearly. He has lost his mind and doesn't even know it. The result is a world that has left God far behind. It is a society with all restraints removed, a culture devoid of all sense of right and wrong, where every man is doing what is "right in his own eyes." (Deut 12:8 Jdg 17:6 Jdg 21:25 Pr 12:15 Pr 21:2).
In a parallel passage in the OT, Jehovah appointed His prophet Jeremiah to assay His people Israel declaring:
Jehovah concludes that because the "impurities" cannot be removed from His people, they will be called
This is exactly what God has done to these ungodly men and women in Romans 1:28.
The hymn writer William Hyde (Creation’s Lord, We Give Thee Thanks) catches some of what Paul is saying...
Mind (3563) (nous) is the mind as the organ of mental perception and apprehension. It is the seat of understanding and represents the thinking faculty. Believers have a new mind "the mind (nous) of Christ" (1 Cor 2:16) which can be renewed as we believers chose not to be conformed to this world's way of thinking but to be radically transformed (see Ro 12:2-note). The mind (nous) Paul is describing in this verse is what he refers to elsewhere as the "fleshly mind" or as Marvin Vincent phrases it "the intellectual faculty in its moral aspects as determined by the fleshly, sinful nature" (Click exposition of Colossians 2:18-note)
Here are the 22 uses of nous in the NT - Lk. 24:45; Rom. 1:28; 7:23, 25; 11:34; 12:2; 14:5; 1 Co. 1:10; 2:16; 14:14f, 19; Eph. 4:17, 23; Phil. 4:7; Col. 2:18; 2 Thess. 2:2; 1 Tim. 6:5; 2 Tim. 3:8; Titus 1:15; Rev. 13:18; 17:9. The NAS translates nous as - composure (1), comprehension(1), mind(20), minds(1), understanding(1).
TO DO THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE NOT PROPER: poiein (PAN) ta me kathekonta (PAPNPA): (Ephesians 5:4-note; Philemon 1:8)
Boice terms this "insanity, of course—moral insanity."
R C Sproul observes that...
To do (4160) (poieo) means to do, expressing an action as continued or not yet completed and so what one does repeatedly or habitually. The present tense amplifies this meaning as it speaks of continual or habitual action. This is not just an occasional "slipup" but represents their lifestyle. Beloved, praying a prayer to "receive Jesus into your heart" is a "dangerous" thing. If you have (or if you know someone who has) prayed this prayer and yet exhibits ABSOLUTELY NO CHANGE in their life (no change of language, places they go, things they watch, no desire for things holy - Word, Worship, fellowship, etc), then you can be fairly sure that such a person has not been truly repented and believed and been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. They are like the person who takes the flu shot so they won't get the "real disease." Such a state is a dangerous deception, for Jesus said "that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe (see discussion of genuine, saving belief) that I am He, you shall die in your sins.” (Jn 8:24). Belief alone saves, but the belief that saves is never alone, but is accompanied by fruit in keeping with repentance!
Hodge notes that...
Not proper - The negative particle "me" plus the verb katheko. The present tense emphasizes that these things are continually not proper or fitting.
In the negative use (as in this verse) katheko refers to “what is unfitting or improper” and was a technical word used by the Stoic philosophers. It was used by the philosophers in the sense of “what is fitting or demanded” as dictated by nature, custom, or piety.
A T Robertson writes that...
TDNT writes that by using katheko in this verse...
Katheko is used 2 times in the NT, here and in Acts 22:22...
There are 13 uses in the non-apocryphal Septuagint - Gen. 19:31; Exod. 5:13, 19; 16:16, 18, 21; 36:1; Lev. 5:10; 9:16; Deut. 21:17; 1 Sam. 2:16; Ezek. 21:27; Hos. 2:5
Katheko is used here of what befits the nature of man as God’s creature and his responsibility toward his Creator. God lets men do what they want and if they continually choose to rebel against His rightful rule over His creation, He let's them have their way, even if the result is even greater unrighteousness. Why? Because God wants man to realize that by ourselves we’re totally unable to do the right thing. There is none righteous and none capable of righteous behavior (Ro 3:10). Rather our natural fallen, sinful inclination is to do that which is diametrically opposed to righteousness. Our natural "Adamic" thinking, in the end, will lead us astray.
Haldane comments on the KJV rendering of "not proper" as "not convenient" writing that...
Wuest summarizes this section:
Vine adds that the
Harry Ironside notes that....
An Emperor Given Over To
Haters Of God - Recently, I listened to an audiobook by a militant advocate for atheism. As the author himself read his own work with spiteful sarcasm and contempt, it made me wonder why he was so angry.
The Bible tells us that a rejection of God can actually lead to a more hateful attitude toward Him: “Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind . . . [to become] haters of God” (Ro 1:28-30).
Turning one’s back on God does not lead to secular neutrality. Indeed, recent militant atheists have shown their desire to remove any reference to a Creator from culture.
When we hear about atheists trying to remove crosses or the Ten Commandments from society, it’s easy to respond to their hatred of God with our own hatred. But we’re exhorted to defend the truth with an attitude of love, “in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth” (2 Tim. 2:25).
The next time you see the works or hear the words of a hater of God, do an attitude check. Then ask God for a spirit of humility and pray that the offender might come to the knowledge of the truth. — by Dennis Fisher