Shining a light on the weekly Bible Lessons published in the Christian Science Quarterly®

Everlasting Punishment

I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Paul has just posed an escalating series of rhetorical questions (see vv. 31–35). In this text he answers the last one, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” Some scriptural experts point out that his mention of height and depth debunks the fear that stars hold sway over individual lives. 

Principalities” is a reference to anyone in a position of authority. In Ephesians 6:12, it has a dark sense: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world.” For the purposes of the verse in Romans, the word serves to emphasize that not even the most formidable being or agency can interrupt God’s love, manifested in Christ.

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Resources cited in this issue

RR: Peterson, Eugene H. Conversations: The Message with Its Translator. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress Publishing Group, 2007.

Cit. 4: Barclay, William. The Daily Study Bible: The Gospel of John, Vol. 1. Edinburgh: Saint Andrew, 1955. Revised and updated by Saint Andrew, 2001. Reprinted as The New Daily Study Bible: The Gospel of John, Vol. 1. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2001–04; Barker, Kenneth L., John R. Kohlenberger, Verlyn Verbrugge, and Richard Polcyn. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004.

Cit. 11: Hill, Andrew E. Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary. Baker Publishing Group, 2012.

Cit. 20: Radmacher, Earl D., Ronald Barclay Allen, and H. Wayne House. The NKJV Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007.

Letters & Conversations
April 29, 2024

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