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Romans 1:23

    Romans 1:23 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And by them the glory of the eternal God was changed and made into the image of man who is not eternal, and of birds and beasts and things which go on the earth.

    Webster's Revision

    and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.

    World English Bible

    and traded the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.

    Clarke's Commentary on Romans 1:23

    They changed the glory, etc. - The finest representation of their deities was in the human figure; and on such representative figures the sculptors spent all their skill; hence the Hercules of Farnese, the Venus of Medicis, and the Apollo of Belvidere. And when they had formed their gods according to the human shape, they endowed them with human passions; and as they clothed them with attributes of extraordinary strength, beauty, wisdom, etc., not having the true principles of morality, they represented them as slaves to the most disorderly and disgraceful passions; excelling in irregularities the most profligate of men, as possessing unlimited powers of sensual gratification.

    And to birds - As the eagle of Jupiter among the Romans, and the ibis and hawk among the Egyptians; which were all sacred animals.

    Four-footed beasts - As the apis or white ox among the Egyptians; from which the idolatrous Israelites took their golden calf. The goat, the monkey, and the dog, were also sacred animals among the same people.

    Creeping things - Such as the crocodile and scarabeus, or beetle, among the Egyptians.

    Barnes' Notes on Romans 1:23

    And changed - This does not mean that they literally "transmuted" God himself; but that in their views they exchanged him; or they changed him "as an object of worship" for idols. They produced, of course, no real change in the glory of the infinite God, but the change was in themselves. They forsook him of whom they had knowledge Romans 1:21, and offered the homage which was due to him, to idols.

    The glory - The majesty, the honor, etc. This word stands opposed here to the "degrading" nature of their worship. Instead of adoring a Being clothed with majesty and honor, they bowed down to reptiles, etc. They exchanged a glorious object of worship for what was degrading and humiliating. The glory of God, in such places as this, means his essential honor, his majesty, the concentration and expression of his perfections, as the glory of the sun, 1 Corinthians 15:41 means his shining, or his splendor; compare Jeremiah 2:11; Psalm 106:20.

    The uncorruptible God - The word "uncorruptible" is here applied to God in opposition to "man." God is unchanging, indestructible, immortal. The word conveys also the idea that God is eternal. As he is incorruptible, he is the proper object of worship. In all the changes of life, man may come to him, assured that he is the same. When man decays by age or infirmities, he may come to God, assured that he undergoes no such change, but is the same yesterday, today, and forever; compare 1 Timothy 1:17.

    Into an image - An image is a representation or likeness of anything, whether made by painting, or from wood, stone, etc. Thus, the word is applied to "idols," as being "images" or "representations" of heavenly objects; 2 Chronicles 33:7; Daniel 3:1; Revelation 11:4, etc. See instances of this among the Jews described in Isaiah 40:18-26, and Ezekiel 8:10.

    To corruptible man - This stands opposed to the "incorruptible" God. Many of the images or idols of the ancients were in the forms of men and women. Many of their gods were heroes and benefactors, who were deified, and to whom temples, altars, and statues were erected. Such were Jupiter, and Hercules, and Romulus, etc. The worship of these heroes thus constituted no small part of their idolatry, and their images would be of course representations of them in human form. It was proof of great degradation, that they thus adored human beings with like passions as themselves; and attempted to displace the true God from the throne, and to substitute in his place an idol in the likeness of men.

    And to birds - The "ibis" was adored with special reverence among the Egyptians, on account of the great benefits resulting from its destroying the serpents which, but for this, would have overrun the country. The hawk was also adored in Egypt, and the eagle at Rome. As one great principle of pagan idolatry was to adore all objects from which important benefits were derived, it is probable that all birds would come in for a share of pagan worship, that rendered service in the destruction of noxious animals.

    And fourfooted beasts - Thus, the ox, under the name "apis," was adored in Egypt; and even the dog and the monkey. In imitation of the Egyptian ox, the children of Israel made their golden calf, Exodus 22:4. At this day, two of the most sacred objects of worship in Hindostan are the cow and the "monkey."

    And creeping things - Reptiles. "Animals that have no feet, or such short ones that they seem to creep or crawl on the ground." "(Calmet.)" Lizards, serpents, etc. come under this description. The "crocodile" in Egypt was an object of adoration, and even the serpent so late as the second century of the Christian era, there was a sect in Egypt, called "Ophites" from their worshipping a serpent, and who ever claimed to be Christians, (Murdock's Mosheim, vol. i. p. 180, 181). There was scarcely an object, animal or vegetable, which the Egyptians did not adore. Thus, the leek, the onion, etc. were objects of worship, and people bowed down and paid adoration to the sun and moon, to animals, to vegetables, and to reptiles. Egypt was the source of the views of religion that pervaded other nations, and hence, their worship partook of the same wretched and degrading character. (See "Leland's" "Advantage and Necessity of Revelation.")

    Wesley's Notes on Romans 1:23

    1:23 And changed - With the utmost folly. Here are three degrees of ungodliness and of punishment: the first is described, Rom 1:21 - 24; the second, Rom 1:25 - 27; the third, in Rom 1:28, and following verse s. The punishment in each case is expressed by God gave them up. If a man will not worship God as God, he is so left to himself that he throws away his very manhood. Reptiles - Or creeping things; as beetles, and various kinds of serpents.