on Romans 8 :26
The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities - The same Spirit, το πνευμα, mentioned before as bearing witness with ours that we are the children of God; and consequently it is not a disposition or frame of mind, for the disposition of our mind surely cannot help the infirmities of our minds.
The word συναντιλαμβανεται is very inadequately expressed by helpeth. It is compounded of συν, together, αντι, against, and λαμβανομαι, to support or help, and signifies such assistance as is afforded by any two persons to each other, who mutually bear the same load or carry it between them. He who prays, receives help from the Spirit of God; but he who prays not receives no such help. Whatever our strength may be, we must put it forth, even while most implicitly depending on the strength of God himself.
For we know not what we should pray for as we ought - And should therefore be liable to endless mistakes in our prayers, if suitable desires were not excited by the Holy Spirit and power received to bring these desires, by prayer, before the throne of grace.
But the Spirit itself - Αυτο το πνευμα, The same Spirit, viz. the Spirit that witnesses of our adoption and sonship, Romans 8:15, Romans 8:16, makes intercession for us. Surely if the apostle had designed to teach us that he meant our own sense and understanding by the Spirit, he never could have spoken in a manner in which plain common sense was never likely to comprehend his meaning. Besides, how can it be said that our own spirit, our filial disposition, bears witness with our own spirit; that our own spirit helps the infirmities of our own spirit; that our own spirit teaches our own spirit that of which it is ignorant; and that our own spirit maketh intercession for our own spirit, with groanings unutterable? This would have been both incongruous and absurd. We must therefore understand these places of that help and influence which the followers of God receive from the Holy Ghost; and consequently, of the fulfillment of the various promises relative to this point which our Lord made to his disciples, particularly in John 14:16, John 14:17, John 14:26; John 15:26, John 15:27; John 16:7; and particularly John 16:13, John 16:14 : Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.
on Romans 8 :26
Likewise the Spirit - This introduces a new source of consolation and support, what is derived from the Spirit. It is a continuation of the argument of the apostle, to show the sustaining power of the Christian religion. The "Spirit" here undoubtedly refers to the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us, and who strengthens us.
Helpeth - This word properly means, to sustain with us; to aid us in supporting. It is applied usually to those who unite in supporting or carrying a burden. The meaning may be thus expressed: "he greatly assists or aids us."
Our infirmities - Assists us in our infirmities, or aids us to bear them. The word "infirmities" refers to the weaknesses to which we are subject, and to our various trials in this life. The Spirit helps us in this,
(1) By giving us strength to bear them;
(2) By exciting us to make efforts to sustain them;
(3) By ministering to us consolations, and truths, and views of our Christian privileges, that enable us to endure our trials.
For we know not ... - This is a specification of the aid which the Holy Spirit, renders us. The reasons why Christians do not know what to pray for may be,
(1) That they do not know what would be really best for them.
(2) they do not know what God might be willing to grant them.
(3) they are to a great extent ignorant of the character of God, the reason of his dealings, the principles of his government, and their own real needs.
(4) they are often in real, deep perplexity. They are encompassed with trials, exposed to temptations, feeble by disease, and subject to calamities. In these circumstances, if left alone, they would neither be able to bear their trials, nor know what to ask at the hand of God.
But the Spirit itself - The Holy Spirit; Romans 8:9-11.
Maketh intercession - The word used here ὑπερεντυνγχάνει huperentungchanei, occurs no where else in the New Testament. The word ἐντυνγχάνω entungchanō, however, is used several times. It means properly to be present with anyone for the purpose of aiding, as an advocate does in a court of justice; hence, to intercede for anyone, or to aid or assist in any manner. In this place it simply means that the Holy Spirit greatly assists or aids us; not by praying for us, but in our prayers and infirmities.
With groanings - With sighs, or that deep feeling and intense anxiety which exists in the oppressed and burdened heart of the Christian.
on Romans 8 :26
8:26 Likewise the Spirit - Nay, not only the universe, not only the children of God, but the Spirit of God also himself, as it were, groaneth, while he helpeth our infirmities, or weaknesses. Our understandings are weak, particularly in the things of God our desires are weak; our prayers are weak. We know not - Many times. What we should pray for - Much less are we able to pray for it as we ought: but the Spirit maketh intercession for us - In our hearts, even as Christ does in heaven. With groanings - The matter of which is from ourselves, but the Spirit forms them; and they are frequently inexpressible, even by the faithful themselves.