Romans 8:23 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 8:23, NIV: Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.

Romans 8:23, ESV: And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Romans 8:23, KJV: And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

Romans 8:23, NASB: And not only that, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons and daughters, the redemption of our body.

Romans 8:23, NLT: And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.

Romans 8:23, CSB: Not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits--we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

What does Romans 8:23 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Christians—God's children through faith in Christ (Romans 3:26)—can experience love, joy, peace, and hope in the power of Holy Spirit. At the same time, we should also expect to experience suffering (John 16:33). This is not just the suffering of persecution (2 Corinthians 5:1–5). It includes the way we all suffer, along with all of creation, thanks to the consequences of sin. We live in a world subjected by God to futility and decay, as a way to bring about His perfect plan (Romans 8:20–22).

Paul has described all of creation as expressing this frustration, sorrow, and longing. He uses the term "groaning," from the root word sustenazo, applied to the sounds made by a woman in labor, about to deliver a baby, as she endures the waves of pain that come and go.

Now Paul refers to Christians as those who have God's Spirit with us: the "firstfruits of the Spirit" or "the Spirit as a first result of being in Christ." Such saved believers also groan inwardly in this waiting. But while the creation is waiting for God's children to be revealed in glory, we are waiting for something more specific. We wait eagerly for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

The picture Paul paints here ties together several things he has written in Romans 8 so far. He has said that God has given us in the Holy Spirit what he called the "Spirit of adoption" (Romans 8:15). We have already been adopted and have become the full children of God through faith in Christ. So what are we waiting for if the adoption is complete?

Paul has written about a disconnect between our spirits and our bodies: "…although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness" (Romans 8:10). It's true that we are fully God's children right now through faith in Christ, but we have yet to meet our Father in person. We have been freed from the eternal penalty for sin, but our bodies continue to experience the temporary consequence of sin: death. We are dying, and these bodies will die.

So what are we adopted children of God waiting for? We're waiting for our bodies to be redeemed after we die physically and are then resurrected as Christ was. Or as someone put it: Our adoption is complete; we're just waiting for our father to come and pick us up so that we can be with Him.