Note: this is a revised proposal of a complex passage. The first section deals with the nature and purpose of the law – to reveal sin. The second part addresses our innate inability to do good. The problem is not with the law of God but with human nature. The third part identifies the solution!
A. 7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay,
I had not known sin, but by the law:
for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
B. 8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence (lust).
C. For without the law sin was dead. 9 For I was alive without the law once:
D. but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
C. 10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
B’. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
A’. 12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. 13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.
A. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
B.16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
C. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
A’. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
B’. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
C’. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
A. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
B. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
B’. 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
A’. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.