NIV Romans 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.

What, in this context does παρέδωκεν ("gave them over") indicate that God did? Did he change the people in some way? Did he promote behaviors? Did he break off communications?

4 Answers 4


The words "gave them up" appear 3 times in this passage:

KJV Rom 1:24  Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:  Rom 1:25  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.  Rom 1:26  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:  Rom 1:27  And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.  Rom 1:28  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

The phrase "give one up" is often used of prisoners:

KJV Mat 5:25  Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.

Paul doesn't develop the idea here but later on he'll personify sin as a slave owner who keeps the Jew incapable of NOT sinning by the commandments. See Romans 6-8. For example:

KJV Rom 6:12  Let not [Mr.] sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it [Mr. Sin] in the lusts thereof.  Rom 6:13  Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto [Mr.] sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.  Rom 6:14  For [Mr.] sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

So it appears to me that Paul is saying that God gave men as slaves to sin personified (ie: "Mr. Sin").


A few things spring to mind. One potential answer is that maybe where in the old testament for example Israel is repeatedly disciplined, a by product of which is they turn from their sin or are unable to continue sinning in a specific way, here he allowed (presumably after warning/previous intervention) it to continue as a further judgement; not unlike a father who after punishing a child holds back as the previous method is 'uneffective'.

Another option is that where he might have turned their hearts or given prophet's to persuade them against their desires after repeated rejections he stops or leaves them to it.

  • So might you say that God stopped disciplining sinners and just let mankind suffer by their own devices? Is Paul's point that he abandoned mankind in their sin? Please note that on this site you are expected to do more than simply opine. Each assertion should be backed up with some kind of evidence, IE from a primary source such as a lexicon, commentary, history, encyclopedia, etc.
    – Ruminator
    Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 6:08

The word παραδίδωμι means "to give over" and is often used for handing one over to be arrested; thus, also used as betrayed (of course not here with God). Look at this in contrast to Hebrews 12:6,


God withdrew his guidance and protection, and gave them over to following their own desires. God didn't need to change them. Their own desires lead them in those directions without God's protection.

Think what would happen if we didn't protect our children from doing dangerous things. Think what would happen if God didn't discipline and direct our lives, but he handed us over to our desires run wild. God handed them over to insatiable desires, because their desires can be fulfilled only in God. Insatiable desires never stop trying new things, to no avail.

           4      Delight yourself in the LORD;
     And He will give you the desires of your heart.
           5      Commit your way to the LORD,
     Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
           6      He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
     And your judgment as the noonday.

New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Ps 37:4–6). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

           5      Trust in the LORD with all your heart
     And do not lean on your own understanding.
           6      In all your ways acknowledge Him,
     And He will make your paths straight.
           7      Do not be wise in your own eyes;
     Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.

New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Pr 3:5–7). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Jews and Christians aren't the only ones to realize people have a desire problem. For Buddhists the solution is to stop desiring. Our solution is to desire God's will.

Here is a graph showing the frequency of how παραδίδωμι is translated in NASB95:

enter image description here

  • @Ruminator Can you see the answer now?
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Jun 30, 2018 at 16:26
  • @Ruminator Yes, we are more dependent of God that most people are willing to admit.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Jun 30, 2018 at 17:11
  • What action was God taking before He gave them over? God withdrew his guidance and protection - what did that look like? Concerning the people about whom Paul was talking, what did it look like before God gave them over and after He gave them over? Commented Oct 20, 2022 at 21:39

I see Romans 1:24-25 as a text book use of Mathew 18 and 1 Cor 5 and 2 Cor 2 (repentance and forgiveness). Here God is essentialy doing what Paul does to the immoral man in the Church at Corinth in 1 Cor. 5:5, where Paul says: "hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the Day of the Lord." Notice the use of the same greek verb: παραδοῦναι "to deliver" used here by Paul.

As I understand this, the reason is to allow this man to come to repentance and realize his need for God, which we eventually see in 2 Cor 2, where this man has repented and is accepted back into the church - this is the forgivess part.

In a way, this is a text book case of God's discipline to drive us to repentance and return to God. After all we have Mathew 25, where God tells us that hell was created for satan and his demons and Heaven was created for us. Couple this with Ezequiel 18 where God clearly states that if the ungodly turn from their impious ways they will surely live, for God does not want any to perish Ezek 18:21-32.

Bible references come from Berean Study Bible (BSB) 2020 BY BIBLE HUB.

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