2:14 For whenever the Gentiles, 1 who do not have the law, do by nature 2 the things required by the law, 3 these who do not have the law are a law to themselves. 2:15 They 4 show that the work of the law is written 5 in their hearts, as their conscience bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or else defend 6 them, 7
7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Absolutely not! Certainly, I 8 would not have known sin except through the law. For indeed I would not have known what it means to desire something belonging to someone else 9 if the law had not said, “Do not covet.” 10
7:9 And I was once alive apart from the law, but with the coming of the commandment sin became alive
7:11 For sin, seizing the opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it I died. 11
[2:14] 2 tn Some (e.g. C. E. B. Cranfield, Romans [ICC], 1:135-37) take the phrase φύσει (fusei, “by nature”) to go with the preceding “do not have the law,” thus: “the Gentiles who do not have the law by nature,” that is, by virtue of not being born Jewish.
[7:7] 8 sn Romans 7:7-25. There has been an enormous debate over the significance of the first person singular pronouns (“I”) in this passage and how to understand their referent. Did Paul intend (1) a reference to himself and other Christians too; (2) a reference to his own pre-Christian experience as a Jew, struggling with the law and sin (and thus addressing his fellow countrymen as Jews); or (3) a reference to himself as a child of Adam, reflecting the experience of Adam that is shared by both Jews and Gentiles alike (i.e., all people everywhere)? Good arguments can be assembled for each of these views, and each has problems dealing with specific statements in the passage. The classic argument against an autobiographical interpretation was made by W. G. Kümmel, Römer 7 und die Bekehrung des Paulus. A good case for seeing at least an autobiographical element in the chapter has been made by G. Theissen, Psychologische Aspekte paulinischer Theologie [FRLANT], 181-268. One major point that seems to favor some sort of an autobiographical reading of these verses is the lack of any mention of the Holy Spirit for empowerment in the struggle described in Rom 7:7-25. The Spirit is mentioned beginning in 8:1 as the solution to the problem of the struggle with sin (8:4-6, 9).