Paraphrase of Romans 6

One way of studying and meditating on the Word of God is to attempt to write it out in your own words, making a personal paraphrase of the text. The following is just that, a personal paraphrase, sometimes amplified and illustrated by other quotations. My paraphrase is on the left, and the text of the King James Version on the right. I am sharing this to encourage others to also study God’s Word, possibly by attempting their own paraphrase. I also hope my paraphrase may help some to better understand what God has said.

Outline of Romans 6 -- A matter of LIFE and DEATH
1-10 Identified with Christ: death, burial, resurrection
11 Logical Conclusion: We were dead, now we are alive!
12-22 No longer slaves to sin, but to righteousness
23 Wages of sin is death, gift of God is life

Identified with Christ: death, burial, resurrection -- 6:1-10

1-2 Well, then: if “where sin abounds grace abounds much more” (last two verses of previous chapter), shall we persist in sin now that we are saved? Won’t that make God’s grace even greater? How ridiculous! How could we? We have now died to sin, so how could we possibly continue to purposely live in it? 1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3-5 Don’t you realize that all of us who have trusted Jesus Christ for salvation now are fully identified with Him? [ The technical word here is “baptism”: “baptized into Christ Jesus”, “baptized into His death”. The act of baptism is a symbol of our identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. ] We died with Him on the cross, we were buried with Him in the tomb, and we rose with Him the third day. 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
6-8 We are certain of this: our old sin nature, inherited from Adam, was killed on the cross with Jesus, so that sin might lose its dictatorial power over us and we need no longer be enslaved to it. And we also are certain that just as we died with Christ, we shall also live with Him forever. “Forever” includes the present daily grind. Our identification with Him changes everything! 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
9-10 We are also certain that because Christ was raised from the dead, He will never die again; death no longer has any authority over him. “He died” means he died to sin once-for-all; and “He lives” means He lives to God. 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

Logical Conclusion: We were dead, now we are alive! -- 6:11

Notice the logic: the three areas of definite knowledge (verses 3-5, 6-8, and 9-10) lead directly to the calculated conclusion of verse 11. Verse 11 is the first imperative in the book of Romans.
11 The logical consequence of all you know to be true is that you really are dead in relation to sin, and you really are alive in relation to God, because of your relationship to and identification with our Lord Jesus Christ. So count on it! Believe it! 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.


This chart makes Paul’s step-by-step logic
in verses 1-11 clearer to me:
Shall we continue in sin,
so that grace may abound?
How ridiculous! How can we?
We have died to sin! How can we
persist in living in sin?
Just as Christ was raised
from the dead by the glory
of the Father...
...even so we also should walk
in newness of life.
We who have been "baptized"
into Christ have also been
"baptized" into His death.
We were buried with Him
through baptism into death.
Just as Christ was raised
from the dead by the glory
of the Father...
...even so we also should walk
in newness of life.
We are united together with Him
in the likeness of His death.
We also shall be united together
with Him in His resurrection.
Our old man was
crucified with Him...
...that the whole ruling complex
of sin might lose its power over us.
Sin losing its power means... ...we are no longer slaves to sin.
One who has died... no longer sin’s subject.
We died with Christ... ...we shall also live with Him.
Christ was raised from the dead. He will never die again.
Death no longer rules over Him.
When He died,
He died to sin once for all.
The life that He now lives,
He lives to God.
Sin used to be your Master.
You used to be dead to God.
Now you are dead to sin.
Now you are alive to God,
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

No longer slaves to sin, but to righteousness -- 6:12-22

But this is not just philosophical argument, demanding a rational judgment; the next step is to let the truth have direct bearing on our everyday decisions: do not let sin reign, stop obeying its lusts, stop offering the members of your own body as tools or weapons of unrighteousness; instead, offer yourself to God, and offer your members to be instruments of righteousness.
12-14 Do not let sin take control (gain the upper hand) over your daily life here on earth, so that you start saying “yes” to the selfish desires of your body. Stop offering your strength, your hands, your feet, your mouth, your mind to the enemy, to work and fight for your own selfish interests. Instead, moment-by-moment, offer yourselves to God, no longer dead in sin, but alive in Christ, and offer each part of your body to work and fight for God’s interests. Sin is not your master any more, and your relationship to God does not depend on the law, but on His grace. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
15-16 It is possible that some might purposely misapply what I am saying, taking advantage of God’s grace to indulge in every kind of sin. Should we just go ahead and sin whenever we feel like it, because we depend on His mercy and grace instead of our own good deeds? Certainly not! Surely we all realize that whoever we serve and willingly obey is in effect our master; we are consequently his slaves. We have a clear choice: we can either obey sin, following our old habits and impulses, or we can obey God, and live the way He desires. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
17-18 I thank God, and I am sure you do too, that though you used to be the slaves of sin, you have chosen to obey with all your heart the true doctrine as it was brought to you. You are now free from sin’s dominion, and are willing slaves of righteousness. 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
19-22 Nevertheless, I am speaking this way, going over it again and again in great detail, because I know how weak and ignorant we all are. Let me say it yet once more: just as you used to yield your body-parts as slaves to uncleanness, with the ultimate result being lawlessness, so now yield your body-parts as slaves to righteousness, with the goal of holiness. Remember, as slaves to sin, you were not unduly influenced by righteousness. And the fruit of your past servitude (in spite of all its false promises) is nothing but death. In stark contrast, now being freed from sin and serving God, you have more and more beautiful fruit every day, demonstrated in a godly life, growing in holiness, and ending in never-ending life. 19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Wages of sin is death, gift of God is life -- 6:23

23 Because sin is a tyrant who rewards his slaves with DEATH, but God is gracious and loving to give freely eternal LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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