What does Romans 7:2 mean?
ESV: For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage.
NIV: For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him.
NASB: For the married woman is bound by law to her husband as long as he is alive; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband.
CSB: For example, a married woman is legally bound to her husband while he lives. But if her husband dies, she is released from the law regarding the husband.
NLT: For example, when a woman marries, the law binds her to her husband as long as he is alive. But if he dies, the laws of marriage no longer apply to her.
KJV: 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.
Verse Commentary:
This passage in Romans explores the relationship between the law and human sinfulness. The prior section discussed the idea of servitude, either to sin and death, or to righteousness and life through Christ. Here, and the following verse, Paul is illustrating the statement he made in verse 1. There he wrote that the law of Moses remains in effect only for the living. In the same way, the law of marriage binds together two living people. If a woman's husband dies, legal obligation no longer applies to that relationship. Death is the condition which nullifies that law.

Paul will go on to show that, as he wrote in the previous chapter, those who trust in Christ for the forgiveness of their sin experience a kind of spiritual death and resurrection. Earlier, this was demonstrated as a reason Christians should not—really, cannot—continue to live in sin after being saved. Here, Paul notes that this death, our death with Christ, is what frees us from our obligation to the law.
Verse Context:
Romans 7:1–6 contains Paul's teaching that those in Christ have been released from following the law of Moses. Why? Our association with Christ's death on the cross created in us a kind of spiritual death that led to a new spiritual life. Paul illustrates his point by pointing to the law of marriage. A woman whose husband has died is released from her commitment to that husband. In the same way, we are released from our obligation to the law and freed up to serve in the new way of the Spirit.
Chapter Summary:
In Romans 7, Paul describes the relationship between Christians and law of Moses and between the law and human sinfulness. Because we died spiritually when we came to faith in Christ, Christians have been freed from our obligation to follow the law. Paul insists, though, that the law is holy and good in the sense that it reveals to all who try to follow it just how very sinful we are. The law shows us that no matter how good our intentions, we still end up in sin and in need of the deliverance available only through faith in Jesus.
Chapter Context:
Romans 6 revealed that those in Christ have died to sin and are no longer slaves to it. Romans 7 begins by showing that, in Christ, we have also died to our obligation to follow the law of Moses. Paul makes clear, though, that the law is holy and good because it reveals to us just how sinful we are. Paul describes how his failed attempts to follow the law convinced him more fully of his need to be delivered from his sinfulness by God through faith in Christ. Romans 8 will explore many of the benefits of being in Christ.
Book Summary:
The book of Romans is the New Testament's longest, most structured, and most detailed description of Christian theology. Paul lays out the core of the gospel message: salvation by grace alone through faith alone. His intent is to explain the good news of Jesus Christ in accurate and clear terms. As part of this effort, Paul addresses the conflicts between law and grace, between Jews and Gentiles, and between sin and righteousness. As is common in his writing, Paul closes out his letter with a series of practical applications.
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