The Letter to the Romans
Copyright ©2004, Charles Hess, Lakeside,
In chapter 2, Paul indirectly challenged a Jew to come forward and meet him in
a logical discussion (see Ro 2:17-27). This is probably just teaching device, and
an excellent one. In chapter 3, a hypothetical Jew has accepted the challenge and
begins with a question to the apostle[ 1 ] (see charts ROMANS 3 OUTLINE; A JEW
CONTENDS WITH PAUL).
ROMANS 3 OUTLINE
1. Advantages of Jews (Ro 3:1-8).
2. All have sinned (Ro 3:9-20).
3. God's righteousness revealed (Ro 3:21-26).
4. Boasting excluded (Ro 3:27-31).
JEW: THEN WHAT ADVANTAGE HAS THE JEW?
3:1 What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision?
A JEW CONTENDS WITH PAUL
[A TEACHING DEVICE]
JEW:What advantage then has the Jew? (verse 1).
PAUL:Much in every way (verse 2).
JEW:Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of
God without effect? (verse 3).
PAUL:Certainly not! (verse 4).
JEW:But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the
righteousness of God? (verse 5).
PAUL:Certainly not! For then how will God judge
the world? (verse 6).
a. If the truth of God increased through "my
lie" to His glory, why am I also still judged
a sinner? (verse 7).
b. Why not say, "Let us do evil that good
may come?" (verse 8).
JEW:What then? Are we [Jews] better than they?
PAUL:Not at all. They are all under sin (verse 9b).
What advantage then has the Jew [then what advantage hath the Jew, what
then is the superiority of the Jew?].[ 2 ] Paul has already shown that the
unbelieving Gentiles as well as the disobedient Jews were lost (Ro 1:18-32; 2:1-29). Questions would arise logically in the minds of the Jews as to why God made
them His special people and why He gave them the covenant of circumcision?
Paul proceeds to answer the first question.
Or what is the profit of circumcision? [or what profit is there, the profit, is
the value, the benefit, of circumcision?].[ 3 ] The Jew posed two questions: Were
the Jews any better off in God's sight than uncircumcised Gentiles? Was
circumcision of any value at all? Paul will answer the question about circumcision
in Romans 4:11-13.
PAUL'S ANSWER: MUCH IN EVERY WAY!
3:2 Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles
Much in every way! [much every way, in every respect].[ 4 ] Paul implies Jews
have great advantages.
Chiefly because [to begin with, and first, first of all, indeed because].[ 5 ] The
chief advantage of the Jews had to do with the revealed word of God.
To them were committed [the Jews are, that they were, that unto them, was
were, entrusted, with, to them].[ 6 ] The Jews were entrusted with the oracles of
God in that they were allowed to write, copy, collect, compile and preserve them.
More importantly, they were given opportunity to learn, obey and teach the word
of God. They had numerous advantages because they had the OT Scriptures. As
is always the case, with advantages come corresponding responsibilities. Sadly,
only few appreciated their advantages to the extent of accepting the attendant
The oracles of God [the word of God]. [ 7 ] Although certain revelations were
made to Gentile peoples,[ 8 ] God gave His utterances to the Jews. The Hebrew
writer speaks of the "first principles of the oracles of God" (Heb 5:12). These
were, at least in part, the OT prophecies of Christ. Through them, for centuries,
the Jews had been instructed and prepared for the coming of the Messiah. Moses
received "living oracles" (Ac 7:38). What he received was the Law that made sin
"utterly sinful." It showed that the sinner is worthy of death (Ro 7:13). Jewish
sacrifices foreshadowed the redemption of the cross. Many types foretold Christ
and His church (see three charts at end of this chapter).
JEW: DOES OUR UNBELIEF NULLIFY GOD'S FAITHFULNESS?
3:3 For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness
of God without effect?
For what if some did not believe? [what if some have not believed, were
unfaithful, without faith].3[ 9 ] It has always been impossible to please God without
faith (see Heb 11:6). Some OT Jews, however, did not place a very high value
on faith. This was a major problem. Feel Paul's yearning for his Jewish kinsmen
as he writes:
What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness,
have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31 but Israel,
pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of
righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it
were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone
Will their unbelief? [will not, does their, shall their, faithlessness, want of
faith?].[ 10 ] Lack of faith was typical of many Jews. Jesus accused His own
contemporaries of being a "faithless and perverted generation" (see Mt 17:17; Mk
9:19; Lu 9:41). Paul called them "a disobedient and contrary people" (Ro 10:21;
compare Isa 65:2).
FAITHFUL OT SERVANTS
1. My servant Moses; he is faithful in all My house
2. I am among the peaceable and faithful in Israel
3. Hananiah . . . a faithful man and feared God more
than many (Ne 7:2).
4. [Abraham's] heart faithful before You (Ne 9:8).
5. Then they believed His words (Ps 106:12).
6. Because he [Daniel] was faithful (Da 6:4).
OT BELIEF (A)
1. And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to
him for righteousness (Ge 15:6).
2. Belief motivated the Israelites to follow Moses
(Ex 4:1, 8, 9).
3. Worship followed belief (Ex 4:31).
4. Thus Israel saw the great work which the LORD had
done in Egypt; so the people feared the LORD, and
believed the LORD and His servant Moses
(Ex 14:31; Ps 106:12).
OT BELIEF (B)
1. Behold, I come to you in the thick cloud, that the
people may hear when I speak with you, and believe
you forever (Ex 19:9).
2. I would have despaired unless I had believed that I
would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of
the living (Ps 27:13).
3. I believed, therefore I spoke. . . . for I believe Your
commandments (Ps 116:10; 119:66).
4. For I believe in Thy commandments (Ps 119:66).
OT BELIEF (C)
1. If you will not believe, surely you will not be
established (Isa 7:9).
2. Prophets foretold belief in the coming Christ
would be necessary (Isa 28:16; 53:1).
3. "You are My witnesses," says the LORD,
"And My servant whom I have chosen, that
you may know and believe Me, and under-
stand that I am He" (Isa 43:10).
4. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no
injury whatever was found on him, because he
believed in his God (Da 6:23).
OT BELIEF (D)
1. So the people of Nineveh believed God . . .
Then God saw their works, that they turned
from their evil way; and God relented from the
disaster that He had said He would bring upon
them (Jonah 3:5-10).
2. But the just shall live by his faith (Hab 2:4).
DISAPPOINTING UNBELIEF (A)
1. How long will these people reject Me? And how long
will they not believe Me? (Nu 14:11).
2. Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the
eyes of the children of Israel (Nu 20:12).
3. You did not believe the LORD your God (De 1:32).
4. Then you rebelled against the commandment of the
LORD your God, and you did not believe Him nor
obey His voice (De 9:23).
DISAPPOINTING UNBELIEF (B)
1. I will hide My face from them, I will see what their
end will be, for they are a perverse generation,
children in whom is no faith (De 32:20).
2. Nevertheless they would not hear, but stiffened their
necks, like the necks of their fathers, who did not
believe in the LORD their God (2Ki 17:14).
3. Because they did not believe in God, and did not
trust in His salvation (Ps 78:22).
4. Then they despised the pleasant land; they did not
believe His word (Ps 106:24).
Did God ever require belief or faith in the OT Jews? Yes. Over and over again,
He performed numerous faith-producing signs before them. Some believed and
served faithfully (see charts OT BELIEF A, B, C and D; FAITHFUL OT
SERVANTS). Many people, including Moses and Aaron, sometimes disappointed
God by not believing and not obeying His voice (see charts DISAPPOINTING
UNBELIEF A and B).
King Jehoshaphat commanded the people of Judah to believe:
So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of
Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, "Hear me, O
Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the LORD your God,
and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper"
Faith was a condition of acceptance with God in the OT as well as in the new
(see Heb 11, especially verse 6). All of God's OT spokesmen encouraged belief
(see chart BELIEF ENCOURAGED IN OT). Faithfulness was a condition of
God's favorable judgment of His OT people.
May the LORD repay every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness;
for the LORD delivered you into my hand today, but I would not stretch out
my hand against the LORD'S anointed (1Sa 26:23).
Several of the Psalms and Proverbs teach faith and faithfulness (see chart
FAITHFULNESS AN OT REQUIREMENT).[ 11 ]
GOD'S FAITHFULNESS OT (A)
1. For the word of the LORD is right, and all His work
is done in truth (Ps 33:4).
2. Your mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; your
faithfulness reaches to the clouds (Ps 36:5).
3. I have not hidden Your righteousness within my
heart; I have declared Your faithfulness and Your
salvation; I have not concealed Your lovingkindness
and Your truth from the great assembly (Ps 40:10).
4. For I have said, "Mercy shall be built up forever;
your faithfulness You shall establish in the very
heavens" (Ps 89:2).
5. O LORD God of hosts, who is mighty like You, O
LORD? Your faithfulness also surrounds You
(Ps 89:5; compare Ps 89:8).
Make the faithfulness of God without effect? [nullify, make of none effect,
the faith of God, God's faithfulness].[ 12 ] "The faithfulness of God" has to do
with His promises, the truth of His word and His good work. The faith is God's
word, the gospel, the doctrine of Christ. Unbelief does not affect its validity or
its truthfulness (see charts GOD'S FAITHFULNESS OT A, B and C; GOD'S
GOD'S FAITHFULNESS OT (B)
1. And My faithfulness and My lovingkindness will be
with him (Ps 89:24).
2. But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him,
nor deal falsely in My faithfulness (Ps 89:33).
3. In faithfulness Thou hast afflicted me (Ps 119:75).
4. Forever, O LORD, your word is settled in heaven.
Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you
established the earth, and it abides (Ps 119:89, 90).
GOD'S FAITHFULNESS OT (C)
1. Answer me in Thy faithfulness, in Thy righteousness
2. The Lord who is faithful (Isa 49:7).
3. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness (Ho 2:20).
4. Judah still walks with God, even with the Holy One
who is faithful (Ho 11:12).
5. Through the LORD'S mercies we are not consumed,
because His compassions fail not. They are new
every morning; great is Your faithfulness
(Lam 3:22, 23).
GOD'S FAITHFULNESS NT (A)
1. A merciful and faithful High Priest (Heb 2:17).
2. For He who promised is faithful (Heb 10:23).
3. Commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a
faithful Creator (1Pe 4:19).
4. Faithful and just to forgive us our sins (1Jo 1:9).
5. Jesus Christ, the faithful witness (Re 1:5; 3:14).
6. Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white
horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful
and True, and in righteousness He judges and
makes war (Re 19:11).
FAITHFULNESS ENCOURAGED IN OT
1. Thus you shall act in the fear of the LORD, faithfully
and with a loyal heart (2Ch 19:9).
2. Oh, love the LORD, all you His saints! For the LORD
preserves the faithful (Ps 31:23).
3. My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land, that
they may dwell with me (Ps 101:6).
4. A faithful man will abound with blessings (Pr 28:20).
5. I will restore your judges as at the first, and your
counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall
be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city
PAUL'S ANSWER: CERTAINLY NOT!
3:4 Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is
written: "That You may be justified in Your words, and may overcome when
You are judged."
Certainly not! [by no means! God forbid, let it not be, may it never be, far
be the thought!]. [ 13 ] Paul responds to the objection the Jew made in verse 3. He
totally disagrees with the suggestion that God's faithfulness would be nullified.
To that objection, he said, "Certainly not!" or "May it never be!"
GOD PUNISHES UNFAITHFUL JEWS (A)
1. But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the
voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all
His commandments and His statutes which I
command you today, that all these curses will come
upon you and overtake you (De 28:15).
2. And if by these things you are not reformed by Me,
but walk contrary to Me, then I also will walk
contrary to you, and I will punish you yet seven
times for your sins (Le 26:23, 24).
3. I will scatter you among the nations and draw out a
sword after you; your land shall be desolate and
your cities waste You, however, I will scatter among
the nations and (Le 26:33).
Indeed, let God be true [yea, let, but let, God be true, be found true].[ 14 ]
Paul knew that God was true to the promises He made to Abraham. He was true
to His covenant to Israel (see Ge 18:19; De 28:1-14). He will be true to His
salvation promise to His people.
But every man a liar [though every person false, be false]. [ 15 ] Even though
any man entrusted with the oracles of God (verse 2) might turn out to be without
faith (verse 3). Even though every Jew might be lost, let God be found true.
When the Jews proved to be faithless and disobedient, God promised them curses,
discomfiture and rebuke (see chart GOD PUNISHES UNFAITHFUL JEWS A and
B). When they were sent into captivity, His word was proved true. False
prophets and others preached "happy days" right up until the captivity (see Jer
28:1-4). Unbelieving Jews and others were called liars (Ps 116:11). Their
greatest lie was to say Christ was not the Son of God.
GOD PUNISHES UNFAITHFUL JEWS (B)
1. And the LORD will scatter you among the peoples
2. Then the LORD will scatter you among all peoples,
from one end of the earth to the other (De 28:64).
3. I will deliver them to trouble into all the kingdoms of
the earth, for their harm, to be a reproach and a
byword, a taunt and a curse, in all places where I
shall drive them (Jer 24:9).
4. And this whole land shall be a desolation and an
astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king
of Babylon seventy years (Jer 25:11).
Popularity has never been a valid test for truth. Copernicus was short on
followers, and Galileo did not have a crowd agreeing with him. Catering to the
rich by selecting questionable speakers for college lectureships because "that is
what they want to hear" is deplorable. Even Leonard Allen thought secularizing
in order to cater to the people was an evil in today's churches.[ 16 ] Right is right
even if only two or three are gathered together. Yea, if all men are sinners, God's
word is still right (Ps 33:4).
As it is written [according as it is written]. Students of Scripture will
immediately recognize Psalm 51 as David's prayer following his repentance of
adultery and murder (see 2Sa 11:4, 15).
Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight--
that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge
(Ps 51:4; (compare Ec 7:20).
That You may be justified in Your words [so that thou mayest, mightest,
shouldest, might, be justified in thy sayings]. [ 17 ] Because of the sin concerning
Bathsheba and Uriah, David acknowledged that God was clear and just in what He
said would happen to his family (2Sa 12:10-15). He realized too that the
punishment did not negate the promises made to him regarding his kingdom if he
remained faithful (2Sa 7:16; Ps 89:34-37).
And may overcome [and mightest, shouldest, prevail].[ 18 ] The word
"overcome "describes God's victory over every person, especially over every liar,
over every faithless and disobedient person. In hast, David supposed, "All men
are liars" (Ps 116:11).
When You are judged [when thou art judged, in judgment, comest into
judgment].[ 19 ] Normally, we think of man being on trial, but this verse pictures
God Himself being judged. God's case would be examined and heard fairly. He
would be judged on the basis of His faithfulness, His word and His works. He
would be exonerated and justified. His word would be found forever true.
Like verses 1, 3, 6, 7 and 9, the following verse is written as if spoken by an
unbelieving Jew in order that Paul may answer it.
JEW: BUT IF OUR UNRIGHTEOUSNESS . . .
3:5 But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what
shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.)
But if our unrighteousness [but if our wickedness].[ 20 ] In the OT, the greatest
sin of the Jews was idolatry. In the NT, their greatest unrighteousness was that
of rejecting and crucifying Christ and then refusing His gospel that they might be
saved (see Mk 16:16; compare 1Th 2:14-16).
Demonstrates [cause, serves to show, to bring out, brings out, commend,
commendeth, to stand out, more clearly].[ 21 ] In effect, the Jew asks, "If our
unrighteousness [in crucifying Christ] brought out the righteousness of God [in
saving man], what then?"
The righteousness of God [the justice of God, God's righteousness].[ 22 ] God's
righteousness has several facets. First, He does no wrong. Secondly, He is
faithful and dependable. Thirdly, He has devised a plan to make sinful people
righteous through Christ and the gospel. I trust that the Jew was thinking about
the latter: God's righteous plan of salvation through Jesus Christ.
What shall we say?].[ 23 ] It seems that the Jew hesitates to bring out an
argument that he realizes is vulnerable.
Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? [that God is unrighteous to inflict who
taketh, inflicts, visiteth with, wrath on us, vengeance, punishment?].[ 24 ] "The"
wrath (with an article in Greek) has reference to "the"[ 25 ] wrath to come of which
John spoke (Mt 3:7; compare "the"[ 26 ] wrath in Ro 12:19). In asking if God is
unrighteous who inflicts wrath, the Jew's unexpressed admission is that the Jews
were unrighteous when they crucified Christ. He implies that, according to Paul's
teaching, they were really carrying out God's will when they committed that
terrible crime. In effect, his question is, "Those who carry out God's will should
not be punished, should they?" or "If people helped God work out His plan, they
would not be unrighteous, would they?" Paul answers in verse 6.
I speak as a man [I speak in a human way, after the manner of men,
according to man].[ 27 ] These words coming from the mouth of an unbelieving
Jew are somewhat carefree and nonchalant. Normally, he would not be expected
to speak of God in such an ordinary fashion,[ 28 ] so he begs umbrage by the phrase,
"I speak as a man" or "am speaking in human terms."
PAUL'S ANSWER: MAY IT NEVER BE!
3:6 Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world?
Certainly not! [by no means! God forbid, let it not be, far be the
thought!].[ 29 ]
For then how will God judge the world? [since how could, shall, he judge the
world?]. If God were unjust, Paul could see an "out" for every sinner if the Jew's
argument was valid. Any sinner could ask, "What about me? My sin also helped
bring Christ to the cross. Cannot I be excused from judgment the same as the Jew
speaking to Paul?" The Jew understood that God should and would punish evil
men, especially the Gentiles (see Isa 2:12-22; Da 12:l-3; Am 5:18-20). Solomon
understood there would be a universal judgment.
For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing,
whether good or evil (Ec 12:14; compare 11:9).
Abraham realized that God was a righteous judge when he asked, "Shall not the
Judge of all the earth do right?" (Ge 18:25). Not only did the Jew understand
what the Scriptures said about the righteous judgment of God but the very nature
of God made it imperative. Theologians say, because of God's absolute holiness,
He has to deal with every sin.
The Jew was in agreement that God should judge the world. He opted for an
"outside" chance that He would not condemn the Jews for doing something
[crucifying Christ] would ultimately bring glory to Him and his Son (see Joh 7:39;
12:16, 23; 13:31, 32; 16:14; 17:1, 4).
The argument of the Jew ran something like this. Did not the Jews' murder of
Christ cause God's faithfulness to shine even brighter? What an ingenious way to
justify sin! According to the "argument," their sin actually did God a favor!
Since they carried out His will in the crucifixion, how could they possibly be
punished for it (see Lu 22:22; Ac 2:23; 3:18; 4:28; 1Pe 1:18-21)? Paul's answer
was that they would be punished. Actually, he expressed his answer in the form
of another question that assumed the fact, "For then how shall God judge the
The principle that God could punish someone who "did Him a favor" should
have been well-known to the Jews. For example, God used Babylon as His
"battle-axe" to accomplish His purpose in punishing the idolatrous Jews (Jer
51:20). The Babylonians excused themselves, saying,
All who found them have devoured them; and their adversaries said, "We
have not offended, because they have sinned against the LORD, the
habitation of justice, the LORD, the hope of their fathers" (Jer 50:7).
God used the Babylonians to punish the sinful Jews. Then He turned around and
punished Babylon for the evil in their hearts when they did it (Jer 51:24). How
could He do this? Because God meant it for good but the Babylonians meant it for
evil (compare Ge 50:20). As Asaph wrote, "Surely the wrath of man shall praise
You" (Ps 76:10; compare Ro 9:14, 17). God condemned the unbelieving Jews.[ 30 ]
His judgment of His own special people showed His impartiality in judging the
Because of His perfect holiness, God must deal with sin. This makes the gospel
so necessary (see note on verse 26). The plan of salvation is crucial because of
man's sin. It became a reality because of God's loving nature.
PAUL'S ANSWER (CONTINUED)
3:7 For if the truth of God has increased through my lie to His glory, why am
I also still judged as a sinner?
For if the truth of God has increased through my lie [but if through my
falsehood God's truthfulness abounds, abounded, hath more abounded, more,
by my lie]. Paul responds to the Jew. Would his opponent allow him to turn the
Jew's argument around? He had called the gospel Paul preached "a lie." If
crucifying Christ according to God's plan justified their part in killing Him, would
not the preaching of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ [even if false],
also bring glory to God? Why did the Jews oppose Paul's preaching so much?
Even if wrong, he was no more wrong than they. If they brought God glory by
their crucifixion of Christ, his preaching of justification by faith also brought God
glory.[ 31 ]
To His glory [unto his glory].
Why am I also still judged as a sinner? [why am I still, why yet am I also,
condemned, being condemned, as a sinner?]. If the Jew pragmatically[ 32 ]
justified the cruel murder of Christ [since it carried out God's plan], how could he
condemn Paul for preaching the gospel "lie" [so-called by the Jews] that brought
untold blessings to man and caused multitudes of idolaters to praise the God of the
Can a lie do good? Several writers have observed that if Paul preached a lie, it
is marvelous that it resulted in the grossest of sinners reforming their lives and
becoming holy saints. Idolaters became believers in the one true God. Families
were united, women honored, children brought up in the nurture of the Lord. The
government was respected and God was praised by thousands upon thousands of
Gentiles. Even if what Paul preached were false, think how he benefitted the
world. Throughout the years, consider the benevolence, the hospitals, the social
reforms and improved lives. Consider the alcoholics and substance abusers going
straight. Admire the joy of worship and fellowship of millions of Christians.
Consider also the peace and comfort in the death of the faithful. If Christianity
is a lie, has not that "lie" done a lot of good? Of course, the NT is not false (see
Joh 8:31, 32).
3:8 And why not say, "Let us do evil that good may come"?-- as we are
slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation
And why not say? [and why not, and not rather, why should we not say?].
Let us do evil, that good may come.[ 33 ] Is it wrong to do evil that good may
come? Of course, it is. God does not need people to sin in order to accomplish
His purposes. He never encourages men to do evil in order to promote good.
When one accepts the false premise that he may do evil that good may come, the
door is opened for all kinds of crimes--from abortion to euthanasia. Even adultery
has been promoted in order to "spice up" and "save" a marriage. How many
unjust wars have been white-washed and encouraged in order to fulfill "good"
economic needs? How many lies have been told in order to make money or to
protect the innocent? Remember, all liars are condemned (Re 21:8).
As we are slanderously reported [as we be slanderously reported,
slanderously charge us, libellously report]. Some falsely accused Paul of saying
that he did evil that good may come. To say that he taught such a false idea was
equivalent to slander.
And as some affirm that we say [as some, as some people, affirm with
saying, me as saying]. Like the Jews who distorted the meaning of Christ's
words about the temple Paul's critics twisted his words (compare Mt 26:61; 27:40;
Joh 2:19). For example, they probably had a field day with such statements as:
Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin
abounded, grace abounded much more (Ro 5:20).
Their condemnation is just [whose damnation is just]. For God to condemn
libelous men such as these is surely no injustice . His condemnation against all sin
is just. His condemnation of those who "do evil that good may come" is therefore
just and right. His condemnation is just upon those who twist the truth as did
Paul's accusers. Not only that, but if Paul were guilty of saying, "Let us do evil
that good may come" those who condemned him would have been right.
Let this verse be a warning to any who advocates "ultra-freedom in Christ" who,
by a false emphasis, persuades or induces weak Christians to sin. To justify such
false teaching as "a different level of thinking" is vicious and reprehensible.[ 34 ]
JEW: ARE WE BETTER THAN THEY?
3:9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously
charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.
What then? The Jew asks what he is to conclude?
A TEXTUAL DIFFICULTY
Are we better than they? [are we Jews any better off, are we Jews better
than they?].[ 35 ] This is a difficult phrase because the verse is "text-critically"
uncertain. As one can see from the footnote, scholars have wrestled with it. It
probably means: Are we [Jews] better than they [Gentiles]?[ 36 ] When one reads
the conclusion, the intended meaning becomes a little clearer. The ultimate idea
is easily understood: "They are all under sin" (compare Ga 3:22).
PAUL: NOT AT ALL . . . ARE ALL UNDER SIN
Not at all [no, in no wise]. Consider the context (verses 10-20). Does Paul ask
if the Gentiles are worse off? If so, he shows the Jews were equally condemned.
Was Paul making excuses or protecting himself by his argument? We know he
was not. Neither was he excusing Gentiles or Jews.
For we have previously charged [I have, for we have, already shown before,
before laid to the charge, proved].[ 37 ] Paul had already shown that all were
under sin (see Ro 1:18-32; 2:1-29, especially 17-29).
Both Jews and Greeks [that, that all men, both of Jews and Greeks, and
Gentiles]. [ 38 ] Paul presented sin in the figure of a person. We might think of it
as an underworld power. Sin is a deadly power among humankind but it can be
overcome by Christ.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the
law of sin and death (Ro 8:2).
That they are all under sin [are all under sin]. All are under a contract for
condemnation. All accountable people have committed sin. They have violated
God's law. All who are out of Christ are lost. Yes, Gentiles were (are) sinners
too (Ga 2:15).
RELATIONSHIP OF MEN TO SIN
1. They miss the mark (see Eph 2:12).
2. There is none righteous (Ro 3:10).
3. Men serve sin (Ro 6:6).
4. They are slaves to it (Ro 6:17).
5. They are sold into its service (Ro 7:14).
6. They may be set free from it (Ro 6:22).
PAUL'S SCRIPTURE-CLUSTER ABOUT SINNERS
3:10-12 As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is
none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all
turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does
good, no, not one."
As it is written [just as it is written]. Paul's OT references begin with Psalms
14:1-3; 53:1-3. These Psalms are duplicates. Both begin by a statement about the
atheistic fool. "The fool has said in his heart, `There is no God.'" Paul continues
to establish the case that Jews are sinners. He uses a total of seven OT Scriptures
from the OT (Ps 5:9; 10:7; 14:1-3; 36:1; 53:1-3; 140:3; Isa 59:7, 8). Notice the
Lord's condemnation of the lawyers. They frustrated others from gaining saving
knowledge and were themselves guilty of not accepting the truth.
Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You
did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered
(Lu 11:52; compare Mt 23:13).
THE RIGHTEOUS (A)
1. Congregation of the righteous (Ps 1:5).
2. Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job,
were in it, they would deliver only themselves by
their righteousness (Eze 14:14, 20).
3. He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good,
and sends rain on the just and on the unjust
4. Many prophets and righteous men (Mt 13:17).
5. Adorn the monuments of the righteous (Mt 23:29).
THE RIGHTEOUS (B)
1. The blood of righteous Abel (Mt 23:35; Heb 11:4).
2. Enoch pleased God (Heb 11:5).
3. Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and
holy man (Mk 6:20).
4. Spirits of just men made perfect (Heb 12:23).
5. And delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by
the filthy conduct of the wicked (2Pe 2:7).
There is none righteous [none is righteous].[ 39 ] Some Jews trusted in
themselves that they were righteous (Lu 18:9). Although Paul's statement may be
hyperbolic,[ 40 ] the fact stands that all needed the salvation offered via the blood of
UNDERSTANDING AND OBEDIENCE
1. A man who wanders from the way of understanding
will rest in the assembly of the dead (Pr 21:16;
compare Jer 50:6).
2. Whoever is wise will observe these things
3. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep
Your precepts (Ps 119:100).
4. Lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their
ears, and understand with their heart, and return and
be healed (Isa 6:10; Mt 13:13-15; Joh 12:39, 40).
No, not one [no, not even one].[ 41 ] This is not to say there were no OT people
whom God through His mercy counted as righteous (see footnote on verse 12;
charts THE RIGHTEOUS A and B).
[3:11] There is none who understands [no one that understandeth].[ 42 ]
Understanding and obedience go together (see chart UNDERSTANDING AND
SEEKING THE LORD VITAL (A)
1. But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the
LORD God of Israel with all his heart (2Ki 10:31).
2. Their heart is divided; now they are held guilty
3. Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge, who eat
up my people as they eat bread, and do not call
upon God? (Ps 53:4).
4. But you have not called upon Me, O Jacob; and you
have been weary of Me, O Israel (Isa 43:22).
5. And there is no one who calls on Your name, who
stirs himself up to take hold of You (Isa 64:7).
6. For the shepherds have become dull-hearted,
and have not sought the LORD (Jer 10:21).
SEEKING THE LORD VITAL (B)
1. Yet we have not made our prayer before the LORD
our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and
understand Your truth (Da 9:13).
2. All their kings have fallen. None among them calls
upon Me (Ho 7:7).
3. Those who have turned back from following the
LORD, and have not sought the LORD, nor inquired
of Him (Zep 1:6).
4. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because
you do not ask (Jas 4:2).
5. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your
hearts, you double-minded (Jas 4:8).
There is none who seeks after God [no one is seeking, seeks, that seeketh,
God, for God].[ 43 ] Did not the Jews search for God (see Ro 10:2)? Did they not
keep the Sabbath and add thirty-six extra rules just to be safe? Did they not refuse
to eat cheese with meat? Did they not keep a kosher[ 44 ] house? Did they not
search the Scriptures (see Joh 5:39)? Did they not listen to the reading of the Law
on the Sabbath? Did not their very Law foretell that Gentiles would seek after the
Lord (Am 9:11, 12; compare Ac 15:17)? Nevertheless, according to Paul, the
Jews as a whole did not seek Him as they should. They did not seek Him by faith
(Ro 9:32). Many of them did not come to Him in faith (see Heb 11:6).
But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him
if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul (De 4:29).
The Bible gives several examples of those who did not seek the Lord (see charts
SEEKING THE LORD VITAL A and B). In the church age, the Jews were not
the only ones who did not seek after God. We read of others who "will turn away
their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to fables" (2Ti 4:4).
They have all turned aside [all, all have, they are all, gone out of the
way].[ 45 ] Paul quotes a verse to prove the sinfulness of man. It also answers a
question: Are babies born totally depraved? Note that they are not born "away"
or "aside" from God. They turn aside from His way. They do so after they reach
the age of accountability.[ 46 ] If babies were born sinners, they would already be
"away" or "aside." If they were not born sinners (aside, or out of the way) how
could they turn aside or go out of it? The only manner one can harmonize his
thinking with the Scriptures on this point is to come to understand the truth that
babies are not born sinners.[ 47 ] Calvinists, please think about this.
Did the Jews not give lip service to following God? Sometimes they did. "Let
us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD" (Ho 6:3; chart JEWS' LIP
SERVICE TO SEEKING GOD)?
JEWS' LIP SERVICE TO SEEKING GOD
1. Sought to be justified before men (Lu 16:15;
2. Studied Scriptures (Joh 5:39).
3. Received glory one of another (Joh 5:44).
4. Loved men's praises (Joh 12:42, 43).
Jewish leaders were like shepherds who did not focus on God's way. The people
were like lost sheep (see chart JEWS WERE LIKE LOST SHEEP).
JEWS WERE LIKE LOST SHEEP (A)
1. All we like sheep have gone astray (Isa 53:6).
2. My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds
have led them astray (Jer 50:6).
3. Israel is like scattered sheep (Jer 50:17).
4. They wandered blind in the streets (Lam 4:14).
5. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and
on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over
the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking
or searching for them (Eze 34:6).
JEWS WERE LIKE LOST SHEEP (B)
1. Weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd
2. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel
3. I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house
of Israel (Mt 15:24).
4. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now
returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your
souls (1Pe 2:25).
They have together become unprofitable [together they have become corrupt,
useless, worthless, gone wrong].[ 48 ] There is none doing good, not even one.
The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they
have done abominable works, there is none who does good. The LORD
looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any
who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, they have
together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one (Ps
14:1-3; compare Ps 53:1-3).
A non-fruit-bearing tree is unprofitable. A car with a cracked block is as
useless as a blown out tire. A television set with a bad picture tube is as worthless
as a power mower that will not start. Anything not serving its purpose is
unprofitable. Some things are only marginally profitable. For example, bodily
exercise or discipline, profits a little (1Ti 4:8; compare 6:6; see charts
BECOMING UNPROFITABLE; UNFRUITFUL UNPROFITABLE A and B).
1. Israel, an unfruitful vine (Ps 80:8-16; Isa 5;1-7;
Jer 2:21; Eze 15:1-8; 17:6-10; 19:10-14; Ho 10:1).
2. Treasures of wickedness profit nothing
(Pr 10:2; 24:20).
3. Those who make an image, all of them are useless,
and their precious things shall not profit (Isa 44:9).
4. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees.
Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit
is cut down and thrown into the fire
(Mt 3:10; Lu 13:6-9).
5. If the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?
UNFRUITFUL UNPROFITABLE (A)
1. The cares of this world and the deceitfulness of
riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful
2. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole
world, and is himself destroyed or lost?
(Mt 16:26; Lu 9:25).
3. Burying one's "mina" [spiritual opportunity]. And he
said to those who stood by, "Take the mina from
him, and give it to him who has ten minas"
UNFRUITFUL UNPROFITABLE (B)
1. Failure to abide in Christ, the vine (Joh 15:2).
2. For the earth which drinks in the rain that often
comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those
by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from
God; but if it bears thorns and briars, it is
rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to
be burned (Heb 6:7, 8).
There is none who does good, [no one does good, there is none that doeth
good].[ 49 ] This extreme statement does not imply that all men and women in the
pre-church age are totally depraved or lost. It simply means that they are not good
enough to be saved without Christ.
There is not even one [no, not one, not one not even one, so much as one.[ 50 ]
We understand that there is no person saved without Christ but I take verse as an
hyperbole.[ 51 ] In my opinion, the present verse does not convey the idea that
absolutely no one in OT times was saved. In Jewish expressions, to say "not even
one" when "a few" was intended was not considered a contradiction (see verse
JESUS THE RIGHTEOUS ONE
1. Centurion: Certainly this was a righteous Man!
2. And they killed those who foretold the coming of
the Just One (Ac 7:52).
3. The God of our fathers has chosen you that you
should know His will, and see the Just One, and
hear the voice of His mouth (Ac 22:14).
4. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for
the unjust (1Pe 3:18).
5. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the
Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1Jo 2:1).
DECEIT, CURSING AND BITTERNESS
3:13, 14 "Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have
practiced deceit"; "The poison of asps is under their lips"; 14 "Whose mouth
is full of cursing and bitterness."
Their throat is an open tomb [their throat is an open grave, sepulchre].[ 52 ]
The words of the rebellious Jews were as aggressively destructive as death itself.
For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is destruction;
their throat is an open tomb;[ 53 ] they flatter with their tongue (Ps 5:9).
Jeremiah used the same figure to describe the destructive force of the
Babylonians. He said, "Their quiver is like an open tomb; they are all mighty
men" (Jer 5:16).
With their tongues they have practiced deceit [with their tongue, they use
their tongues, to deceive, they have used deceit, they are deceiving].[ 54 ]
Contrast the open-tomb deception with the oily smoothness of the pretenders
described in the next paragraph.
The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his
heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords (Ps
Isaiah warned against smooth seekers who refused to listen to instruction:
Who say to the seers, "Do not see," and to the prophets, "Do not prophesy
to us right things; speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits" (Isa 30:10).
The poison of asps is under their lips [the venom of asps, the poison of an
asp, is under their lips].[ 55 ] Paul alludes to several Scriptures to skillfully
establish his point that Jews are sinners, especially by the use of their tongues.
Their poison is like the poison of a serpent; they are like the deaf cobra that
stops its ear, 5 Which will not heed the voice of charmers, Charming ever
so skillfully (Ps 58:4, 5).
They sharpen their tongues like a serpent; the poison of asps is under their
lips. Selah (Ps 140:3).
But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison
[3:14] Whose mouth is full [their mouth is full].[ 56 ]
Of cursing and bitterness [of curses and bitterness].[ 57 ]
His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and oppression; under his tongue is
trouble and iniquity (Ps 10:7; compare 50:12; 109:17; Ec 7:22; Jas 3:9).
SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD
3:15-17 "Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 Destruction and misery are in
their ways; 17 And the way of peace they have not known."
Their feet are swift to shed blood. When Christ was on trial, the Jews would
not enter the Praetorium "lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the
Passover" (Joh 18:28). They were so careful about rules of cleanliness but, at the
same time, were willing to take part in murder. The chief priests and officers
cried out saying, "Crucify Him, crucify Him!" (Joh 19:6). They could justify
killing the Son of God but had to remain "pure" of defilement so they could eat
the Passover! Jesus said of them:
Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those
who murdered the prophets (Mt 23:31; see verse 37; Ac 7:52, 53).
Paul quotes from Isaiah.
Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their
thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths
[3:16] Destruction [ruin].[ 58 ]
And misery.[ 59 ] Jews meted out destruction and misery for others (such as
Christ, Stephen and Paul). They themselves received ruin, suffering and misery
from the Romans in AD 70.[ 60 ]
Are in their ways [are in their paths].
[3:17] And the way of peace [the way of peace ].[ 61 ]
The way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their
ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way
shall not know peace (Isa 59:8).
They have not known [they do not know, have they not known].[ 62 ]
NO FEAR OF GOD
3:18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes."
There is no fear of God [there is no respect, reverence, for God].[ 63 ] The
farthest thing from the mind of the Jews was the fear of God (compare Ec 12:13;
Isa 8:13). It had not entered their thoughts.
An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked: there
is no fear of God before his eyes (Ps 36:1).
Before their eyes.[ 64 ]
ALL THE WORLD MAY BECOME GUILTY
3:19, 20 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are
under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may
become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will
be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Now we know [but we know].[ 65 ] Paul begins to comment on the Scripture-cluster he has just quoted. He uses a strong Greek word for "we know" that
means "we fully know." He appeals to the common understanding that his readers
possessed concerning the Law of Moses. He had fired away at the Jews with
volley of a seven-fold Scripture cluster (verses 10-18). Every verse proved his
point that the Jews (and Gentiles) were under sin.
That whatever [what things soever, everything].[ 66 ] The Law of Moses proved
all under it were sinners. Everything in that Law was applicable to Jews who
lived before the cross. Modern Jews, however, who claim to live under the Law
but omit the animal sacrifices are inconsistent.
Note that if one binds any part of the OT as law on Christians, he must bind it
all (Ga 5:3). Many denominational preachers attempt to bring over from the OT
such things as incense burning, instrumental music and a robed priesthood. Some
even try to bring over plural marriages to the church age.
The Law says [the law saith].[ 67 ] As used here, "the Law" means "the OT
Scriptures." Paul includes all the OT as the Law, especially the Psalms and
Prophets just quoted (see chart INCLUSIVENESS OF THE TERM LAW at Ga
It says [it speaks, speaketh, saith, is spoken].[ 68 ] Both the words and meaning
of the Law spoke to the Jew. Paul wrote,
Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? (Ga
The submission of the Galatian Christians to circumcision as a religious
requirement obligated them to hear and obey the entire law of Moses.
And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a
debtor to keep the whole law (Ga 5:3).
To those who are under the Law [to them that are in subjection to the Law,
within the pale of the law].[ 69 ] The Jews are identified here as "those who are
under the Law." They had "sinned in the law" (Ro 2:12). Since the Law had
been taken out of the way at the cross (Col 2:14-16), they were technically not
under it but, as Jews, they did not generally recognize this fact. In their own way
of thinking, they were still under the Mosaic Law. The hypothetical Jew with
whom Paul was arguing was under the Law in that sense (compare 1Co 9:20).
That every mouth may be stopped [so that every mouth may be stopped].[ 70 ]
Stopped mouths implies the Jews had nothing more to say. Their arguments had
been completely refuted. They were silenced. They could not answer back
without denying their own Scriptures. The debate was over. Jews were under sin.
And all the world may become guilty before God [and the whole world held
responsible, may be held accountable, to God, brought under the judgment
of God].[ 71 ] Paul's task was easy as pie as he convinced Jews that Gentiles were
under the judgment of God. From the Scripture-cluster in verses 10-18, he proved
beyond appeal that the Jews also were guilty before Him. His reasoning is clear
as day. It is unanswerable. All are arraigned. All are indicted. None are
acquitted. Without Christ all are lost.
[3:20] Therefore by the deeds of the law [for by works of the Law, because
by the works of the law].[ 72 ] Although there is no article in the Greek, this is the
Law of Moses (compare Ac 13:39; Ro 7:7; see charts LAW OF MOSES A and
B [ABSENCE OF GREEK ARTICLE] at Ro 2:12). Paul will explain the purpose
of the Law in Romans 7:7-25. Some think he means any law but they are wrong.
I agree that there is no law that can justify sinners. Civil law, moral law, the law
of conscience and even a law written on man's heart cannot save (see Ro 2:15).
In the context of the chapter, however, Paul is discussing the Law of Moses. One
should not read into the verse some non-contextual meaning.
Works of the Law presented a real problem in the early church (see Ac 15:1-9;
Ga 1:7-9; 5:1-4). Some of the Jewish Christians wanted to impose works of the
Law on the Gentile Christian as well. This is one of the burdens of Paul's letter
to the Romans. The Law is now dead and Christians are dead to it (Ro 7:1-6; 8:1,
2; Col 2:14-16).
In the church age, Christians are under the NT law, the law of Christ (1Co
9:21). It is the law of faith (Ro 3:27). It is the perfect law of liberty (Jas 1:25;
2:12). In no way does it contradict the doctrines of salvation by grace and faith.
It goes hand in hand with them. Christ's meritorious sacrifice is a part of it. The
law of Christ should never be down-played or put into a category with inferior
No flesh will be justified [no human being, shall no flesh, there shall no
flesh, will be justified].[ 73 ] The reason no one was justified by Law of Moses is
that no one kept it perfectly (Ro 3:23; 11:32; Ga 3:10, 11, 22).
Do not enter into judgment with Your servant, for in Your sight no one
living is righteous (Ps 143:2).
The Law of Moses was incapable of making sinners righteous.
I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the
law, then Christ died in vain (Ga 2:21; also Ga 3:21).
No person can be declared righteous or justified without Christ's atonement. The
gospel solves the sin-problem that the Law could not.
Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is
preached to you the forgiveness of sins; 39 and by Him everyone who
believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by
the law of Moses" (Ac 13:38, 39; compare Ga 2:16; 3:11).
In His sight [in his presence].[ 74 ]
For by the law [since through the law, for through the Law].[ 75 ] Although
there is no definite article "the" in the Greek, keep in mind that the Law of Moses
is under consideration (see notes on Ro 2:12, 13, 25).
Is the knowledge of sin [comes, cometh, knowledge of sin].[ 76 ] The Law of
Moses identified and condemned sin. It could not pardon it (Ga 3:21). It
(including the Ten Commandments) was the only Law before Christ that gave a
clear and complete knowledge of sin. David spoke of this very Law. It not only
gave him a knowledge of sin but it inspired in him a repulsion of every false way.
Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way
Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I
hate every false way (Ps 119:128; compare 119:130).
ALL HAVE SINNED AND FALL SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD
3:21-26 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed,
being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of
God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is
no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24
being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ
Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith,
to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed
over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present
time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who
has faith in Jesus.
But now.[ 77 ] Paul has made his argument. All are under sin. Now he can and
does say there is salvation in Christ apart from the Law of Moses (see note on But
God in Eph 2:4). James Burton Coffman explains:
These words are the pivot between the old and the new, the hinge upon
which the door closes upon the old and shameful darkness of human history,
and opens upon the new and living way in Jesus Christ.[ 78 ]
BUT NOW APART FROM THE LAW
1. Apart from the law of Moses (Ro 3:21).
2. Righteousness of God revealed (Ro 3:21).
3. Through faith in Jesus Christ (Ro 3:22).
4. Unto all them who believe (Ro 3:22).
The righteousness of God [a, the, righteousness of God, God's justice].[ 79 ]
The "righteousness of God" is what the gospel is all about. By it, God makes men
and women righteous. He does this by forgiving sins through His grace by the
merits of Christ's shed blood. He forgives when man responds to the gospel in
faith and obedience (Ro 6:17; compare Ac 2:38; 22:16; 1Pe 3:21).
Apart from the law [apart from law, without the Law].[ 80 ] Again, there is no
article in the Greek before the word "Law." Some render the phrase, "apart from
law"[ 81 ] but, in context, Paul is discussing the Law that God gave through Moses.
It was a divinely inspired Law. Nevertheless, it could not make men and women
righteous. Certainly no human law can do better. On the other hand, God's
gospel can and does save (Ro 1:16). Human institutions, creeds, plans, doctrines
and schemes cannot. The gospel is also known as the law of Christ (1Co 9:21;
15:1-4). It is the only saving message in the world. There is salvation in no other
name than Christ (Ac 4:12). There is no message other than His gospel that can
bring salvation from sin. "Apart from the law" does not mean that Christians are
without law of any kind. They are without the Law of Moses. In the present
chapter Paul shows that boasting is voided by the law of faith (verse 27). He also
maintains that through TEES PISTEOOS the faith we establish law (Ro 3:30, 31).
Is revealed [is, has been, hath been, manifested, shown forth].[ 82 ] The saving
gospel was once hidden (Eph 3:9; Col 1:26). It is now made known or revealed
(Eph 3:10; Col 1:26-28).
OT WITNESS TO CHRIST (A)
1. All things that are written by the prophets
concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished
2. And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He
expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things
concerning Himself (Ac 17:2, 3).
3. That all things must be fulfilled which were written
in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the
Psalms concerning Me (Lu 24:44).
OT WITNESS TO CHRIST (A)
1. All things that are written by the prophets
concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished
2. And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He
expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things
concerning Himself (Ac 17:2, 3).
3. That all things must be fulfilled which were written
in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the
Psalms concerning Me (Lu 24:44).
OT WITNESS TO CHRIST (B)
1. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you
have eternal life; and these are they which testify of
Me (Joh 5:39).
2. It is written in the prophets, "And they shall all be
taught of God,: Therefore everyone who has heard
and learned from the Father comes to Me
3. For David says concerning Him: "I foresaw the Lord
always before my face"
(Ac 2:25; compare 2:30, 31).
OT WITNESS TO CHRIST (C)
1. For Moses truly said to the fathers, "The Lord your
God will raise up for you a Prophet like me"
2. But now has been made manifest, and by the
prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all
nations, according to the commandment of the ever-
lasting God, for obedience to the faith (Ro 16:26).
3. Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and
searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace
that would come to you . . . testified beforehand
the sufferings of Christ and the glories that
would follow (1Pe 1:10, 11).
Being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets [although the law and the
prophets bear witness to it, being testified by the Law and the Prophets].[ 83 ]
The Law and the Prophets bear witness to the need of salvation through Christ (see
the "Scripture-cluster" in verses 10-18). For us today, this is a major function of
the OT (see charts OT WITNESS OF CHRIST A, B and C). Jews and proselytes
in Rome respected the Law and the Prophets. If they listened to Judaizing teachers
who said the righteousness of the gospel was not enough, they had a problem. If
they followed the false teachers and attempted to add OT requirements to the
gospel, they would lose everything (see Ac 15:1; Ga 1:7-9).
The gospel was "promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy
Scriptures" (Ro 1:2). Not only was redemption prophesied and promised but many
facets of the gospel were foretold. A great amount of information about the
church and the Christian life are depicted by OT types (see charts at the end of this
Even the righteousness of God [the, but the, righteousness of God, God's
righteousness].[ 84 ] The way God makes men righteous is revealed in the gospel.
His plan of salvation is His righteousness. "In it the righteousness of God is
revealed" (Ro 1:17). That is, in the gospel it is shown how He makes sinful men
and women righteous.
RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD REVEALED IN OT
A facet of God's righteousness is revealed in the OT (see note on Ro 1:17). For
example, Ezra prayed,
O LORD God of Israel, You are righteous, for we are left as a remnant, as
it is this day. Here we are before You, in our guilt, though no one can stand
before You because of this! (Ezr 9:15).
The fullness of God's righteousness in the saving gospel is revealed in the NT.
David came close to that when he equated God's righteousness to His faithfulness
I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have declared Your
faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your lovingkindness
and Your truth from the great assembly (Ps 40:10; compare 89:14; 97:2;
Righteous are You, O LORD, and upright are Your judgments (Ps 119:137;
compare 129:4; 145:17; Isa 41:10; Jer 12:1 23:6; Lam 1:18; Da 9:4, 7,
When the OT Levites confessed the sins of the Jews, they said:
You found his heart faithful before You, and made a covenant with him to
give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites,
the Jebusites, and the Girgashites-- to give it to his descendants. You have
performed Your words, for You are righteous (Ne 9:8; compare De 2:7; Jos
21:43-45; 23:14; 1Ki 8:56).
Through faith in Jesus Christ [which is by faith, through the faith, of Jesus
Christ].[ 85 ] Is this "faith alone"?[ 86 ] Hardly! W. Sanday thought "faith" in the
present verse means strong belief that produces a change of character. He
Faith in St. Paul's writings implies an intense attachment and devotion. It
has an intellectual basis, necessarily involving a belief in the existence and
in certain attributes of the Person for whom it is entertained; but it is moral
in its operation, a recasting of the whole emotional nature in accordance
with this belief, together with a consequent change in character and
practice.[ 87 ]
To all and on all who believe [for all, unto all, unto all them, is unto all, and
upon all them, that believe].[ 88 ] If Paul thought salvation was by "faith alone"
why did he write about the necessity of confessing Christ as Lord (Ro 10:9, 10)
and being baptized into Christ (Ro 6:3, 4)?
For there is no difference [for there is no distinction].[ 89 ] All need salvation.
All who will obey the gospel may receive it.
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over
all is rich to all who call upon Him (Ro 10:12).
Everyone must come to Christ the same way--through faith (see Ro 5:1, 8, 9;
6:3, 4, 17).
[3:23] For all have sinned [since all have sinned].[ 90 ] If any responsible person
could ever have been saved without the forgiveness of Christ then another way of
salvation is possible. If another way of salvation is possible, then the death of
Christ would not have been necessary (see Ac 4:11, 12). Since there is no other
way of salvation, the language of this verse has to be taken literally. Each and
every accountable person under the searchlight of God has sinned and is lost
without Christ. No one attains the stature of the glory of God. Through Jesus
Christ they attain union with God (Eph. 3:17-19) and become partakers of the
divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4).
And fall short [and come short].[ 91 ] The Greek present tense implies that those
who sinned are still coming short. Past sinning prompts people to continue to fall
short. Time does not erase sin nor its consequences. Without Christ, they still
Of the glory of God [of the divine splendor].[ 92 ] The dominant meanings of
DOXA glory in NT Greek are recognition, honor, fame, renown, magnificence and
splendor. In Eden, before sin entered into the world, the righteousness of Adam
and Eve was recognized as God's glory. His glory still is seen in the
righteousness of babies when born into the world. His glory may be contemplated
in the perfect way He desires man to live. Such a life would merit His approval
and that is glory too. The glory of God has to do with His personal righteousness
that was reflected in human beings created in His image until that image was
marred by sin.
Salvation in Christ is glory and it looks toward future glory in heaven. In the
context of Romans, glory is depicted as the eternal life (Ro 2:7) for which we seek
(Ro 2:7, 10) and for which we hope (Ro 5:2). Salvation from sin in baptism is
by the glory of the Father. In view of His glorious resurrection-power this is
accomplished (Ro 6:4). Glory is also synonymous with salvation (Ro 9:23).
Paradise lost is coming short of God's glory. Heaven gained is the glory of God.
[3:24] Being justified [are, and are, they are, justified].[ 93 ] Justification and
redemption are in Christ. Those out of Christ are not saved. There is no
salvation apart from Jesus Christ and His blood (Ac 4:11, 12; Ro 3:25; 2Ti 2:10).
A perfect doer of the law is said to be justified (Ro 2:13). Unfortunately, no one
except Christ has lived up to that ideal (Ro 3:9, 23). Fortunately, God revealed
another way for man to be justified. That is the way of grace through faith by the
merits of Christ's atoning blood (Eph 2:8, 9). Justification is constantly taking
place by the grace of God. Those baptized into Christ are cleansed by His blood
(see Ac 22:16; Ro 6:3, 4). In the body of Christ (the church), His blood
continues to cleanse[ 94 ] from sin (1Jo 1:7).
Freely [as a gift].[ 95 ] Salvation is a gift not earned. It is freely given and
graciously received by those being saved.
By His grace [of his grace].[ 96 ] In an effort to magnify the wonderful grace of
God, the NEB translators went too far and supplied the word "alone" which is not
in the Greek text.[ 97 ]
BY HIS GRACE
1. By his grace [TEE AUTO CHARITI by his grace].
2. Versions with "By his grace alone" add a word not
in the Greek.
3. Addition of words to the Scriptures in order to
support denominational doctrine makes a version
Through the redemption.[ 98 ]
That is in Christ Jesus [which is in Christ Jesus].[ 99 ] In the book of Romans,
Paul uses the phrase "in Christ" thirteen times (see chart IN CHRIST [IN BOOK
OF ROMANS]).[ 100 ]
[IN BOOK OF ROMANS]
1. Baptized into Christ Jesus (Ro 6:3).
2. Alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Ro 6:11).
3. The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord
4. No condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus
(Ro 8:1; compare 8:11).
5. Nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing,
shall be able to separate us from the love of
God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Ro 8:39).
In other letters, Paul uses the same phrase (see chart BLESSINGS IN CHRIST;
also at Eph 1:3; compare Eph 2:6, 10, 13; Php 3:9; 4:1; 1Ti 1:14; 2Ti 1:1, 13;
2:1; 1Pe 3:16; 5:10). The plain teaching of Scripture is that penitent believers are
baptized into Christ (Ro 6:3; Ga 3:27).
BLESSINGS IN CHRIST (A)
[OTHER THAN ROMANS]
1. Sanctified in Christ Jesus (1Co 1:2).
2. The grace of God which was given to you by Christ
Jesus (1Co 1:4).
3. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus (1Co 1:30).
4. Who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which
we have in Christ Jesus (Ga 2:4).
BLESSINGS IN CHRIST (B)
[OTHER THAN ROMANS]
1. That the blessing of Abraham might come upon the
Gentiles in Christ Jesus (Ga 3:14).
2. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ
Jesus (Ga 3:26).
3. For you are all one in Christ Jesus (Ga 3:28).
4. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor
uncircumcision avails anything, but faith
working through love (Ga 5:6).
[3:25] Whom God set forth [whom God put forward, has, hath, set forth,
presented].[ 101 ] God brought forth Christ and presented Him publicly to the
people of earth (see Mt 1:21; 3:17).
1. God, HILASTHEETI be merciful, have mercy, be
propitious (Lu 18:13).
2. HILASKESTHAI to make propitiation, reconciliation,
atonement, to expiate the sins, to atone (Heb 2:17).
3. And He Himself is the HILASMOS propitiation,
atoning sacrifice, remedy for the defilement
4. Sent His Son to be the HILASMON propitiation for
our sins, atoning sacrifice, remedy for the defilement
As a propitiation [as an expiation, to be a propitiation, a sacrifice of
atonement, a mercy-seat].[ 102 ] In Hebrews 9:5 the word "propitiation" is
appropriately translated as "mercy seat." The mercy seat was the covering of the
Ark of the Covenant where God met the High Priest yearly. From a word study
(see footnote), it appears that the Jewish idea of "propitiation" was purging,
reconciliation, atonement and forgiveness. Christ is our propitiation in that He
atoned for sin. He sacrificed Himself for our cleansing, for our reconciliation, for
By His blood [in his blood].[ 103 ] God set forth Christ as a propitiation to shed
His blood and to die for us. The Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own
way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isa 53:6).
Through faith [to be received by faith].[ 104 ] The benefits of Christ's blood are
appropriated by faith, together with faith's actions: repentance, confession of
Christ as Lord and baptism into Christ. None of these actions, however, merit
CHRIST, A PROPITIATION
1. God's holiness.
a. Cannot ignore sin; must punish it.
2. God's love.
a. So loved the world (Joh 3:16).
b. Yearns for fellowship with man.
3. Both His holiness and love demonstrate His
a. Makes possible salvation By Christ's atoning
To demonstrate His righteousness [to show, to declare, this was to show, for
the shewing forth, God's, his own, of his, righteousness]. [ 105 ] God showed his
righteousness in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (1Co 15:1-4). This is
revealed in the gospel. In this way God made a way for sinners to be saved from
the awfulness of sin and its consequences. His holiness prevented Him from
continuing to overlook sin. His love required Him to provide a way of salvation
(see chart CHRIST, A PROPITIATION).
Because in His forbearance [in, for in, through the, forbearance of God, his
divine forbearance].[ 106 ] God could not forget about sin. However, through
Christ, He can actually forgive it. Yet, in OT days, in His mercy, He found a
way to pretermit sin, holding back its full punishment.
God had passed over [he passed over, because of the, for the, in respect of
the, passing over, passing by, remission].[ 107 ] Pretermission is the letting go
without mention or without punishment. Suppose a widow leases a house but
cannot pay the rent. The landlord does not evict her, nor does he mention the
debt. He simply pretermits it. God is too holy to behold evil (Hab 1:13). Some
may have thought the passing over of sins in OT times would negate His perfect
holiness. On the contrary, it showed His righteousness as He mercifully left sins
unpunished until the fullness of time when Christ would die on the cross.
Prophecies of the Messiah, such as Isaiah 53 should have told the Jews that
something greater than animal sacrifices was necessary to take away sin.
The sins that were previously committed [former, past, sins, of sins, of the
sins done aforetime, that are past, that had taken place before].[ 108 ] In
generations gone by, God "allowed all nations to walk in their own ways" (Ac
Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men
everywhere to repent (Ac 17:30).
There has never been any real forgiveness without the atonement of Christ, but
there was a "passing over," a pretermission, an overlooking of sins. The blood
of Christ atoned for sins before Calvary as well as for sins committed afterward
(see Heb 9:15).WHY CHRIST HAD TO DIE
[3:26] To demonstrate [to declare, I say, it was to prove, for the showing, for
[the] shewing forth].[ 109 ]
At the present time [at this time, present season, in the present age].[ 110 ]
God dealt with sins past, present and future by the cross. He did not just forget
about the former sins committed under His forbearance (verse 25). He corrected
the sin problem of the past by allowing the blood of Christ to flow backward to
cover "the transgressions under the first covenant" (see Heb 9:15).
His righteousness [that he himself is righteous, of his righteousness].[ 111 ]
God's righteousness [justice] is shown in two ways: (1) His own justice in dealing
with sin is demonstrated. (2) His ability to make sinners righteous through Christ
is shown. Although the latter is a delight for man to contemplate, the former is
the dominant thought in this verse. How could God collect the debt of sin and
also save the sinner? Only by His own Son paying the price for the redemption
That He might be just [so as to be, so that, in order that, he might himself,
he himself might, he should, be just, he is both himself just].[ 112 ] "Just" does
not mean kind and loving although God is that. It means rightness in judgment,
strictness in condemning sin.
A great theological problem is how could God be right in justifying sinners in
the church age and, at the same time, in passing over or pretermitting the sins of
the Mosaic and patriarchal ages. The only way this can be comprehended is by
contemplating the meaning of the death of Christ. How was it possible for God
to be just and to save sinful man at the same time? Only by the sacrifice of
Christ. Because of the very nature of God, He could not eternally overlook sin.
Yet, because of His infinite love He could not condemn everyone eternally. The
cross provided the answer. It allowed Him to be just and, at the same time, be the
justifier of sinful man.
And the justifier [and, and that he, justify, justifies, him].[ 113 ] In this verse,
we see three things: (1) The personal nature of God, His justice and His desire
to save sinners. (2) The redemptive work of Christ. (3) Man's response through
faith in Jesus Christ.
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become
the righteousness of God in Him (2Co 5:21).
Of the one who has faith in Jesus [of him with faith, that hath faith, which
believeth, in Jesus, that is of the faith of Jesus].[ 114 ] God does not universally
save mankind. Man must respond by faith in Jesus Christ. This phrase implies
that those of "the works of the Law" are not justified. Jews and others who think
to build up righteous points before God by keeping the OT law are sadly mistaken.
Only through Christ and the gospel can they be saved. Lest someone think this
great passage implies salvation by faith alone.
Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men
everywhere to repent (Ac 17:30).
JEW: WHERE IS BOASTING THEN?
3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but
by the law of faith.
Where is boasting then? [then what becomes of our boasting, where then is
the glorying?].[ 115 ] The Jew who kept innumerable ceremonies "rested" upon the
law and "boasted" in God (see Ro 2:17; compare 4:2).
PAUL: IT IS EXCLUDED
It is excluded [it has been, eliminated].]. .[ 116 ] Boasting is excluded because
there is no way a person can earn or merit salvation by works.
JEW: BY WHAT LAW?
By what law? [through what, on what principle, manner of law?].[ 117 ] The
Jew asks what kind of law excludes boasting? One might answer that any kind of
law should exclude it because of man's inability to keep it perfectly, but Paul has
in mind the gospel, the law of faith.
Of works? [on the principle of works, the Law of works?].[ 118 ] A law that
required perfect obedience could not exclude boasting by those who kept it. No
one kept the OT Law to the extent that he could boast of it saving him.
Therefore, the Law of Moses was not a practical means of justification (see Ro
PAUL: NO, BUT BY THE LAW OF FAITH
No, but by the law of faith [nay, but on the principle, but through law, a
law, of faith].[ 119 ] Boasting is excluded by the law of faith. The law of faith is
the law that requires faith. There is no boasting in the gospel because when one
believes, repents, confesses his faith and is baptized, he is only accepting the offer
of God's grace. Such actions can never merit salvation.
LAW OF FAITH AND OBEDIENCE (A)
1. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of
Christ (Ga 6:2).
2. Let us do good to all, especially to those who are of
the household of faith (Ga 6:10).
3. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling
4. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works,
ready to give, willing to share (1Ti 6:18).
LAW OF FAITH AND OBEDIENCE (B)
1. In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good
works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence,
incorruptibility (Tit 2:7).
2. And purify for Himself His own special people,
zealous for good works (Tit 2:14).
3. That those who have believed in God should be
careful to maintain good works (Tit 3:8).
4. And let us consider one another in order to stir up
love and good works (Heb 10:24).
LAW OF FAITH AND OBEDIENCE (C)
1. Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works,
is dead (Jas 2:17).
2. They may, by your good works which they observe,
glorify God in the day of visitation (1Pe 2:12).
3. I know your works, your labor, your patience
But did not the OT also require faith? Yes (see note on Ro 3:3). Those who say
the old Law required only works are mistaken if they mean works ruled out faith
(see Joh 6:29). The same reasoning applies to the NT. Does it require faith?
Yes, of course. Vine speaks of "a principle which demands only faith on man's
part."[ 120 ] It is an error to say that the OT required only works. Does the gospel
demand only faith? Not at all. Works and right living are a distinctly enjoined
in the law of faith (see charts LAW OF FAITH AND OBEDIENCE A, B and C).
JUSTIFIED BY FAITH APART FROM WORKS OF THE LAW
3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the
deeds of the law.
Therefore we conclude [for we hold, reckon, we reckon therefore].[ 121 ]
That a man is justified [that a person is justified].[ 122 ] In the present context,
"justified" means one is made right or righteous in the sight of God.
By faith.[ 123 ] Does anyone see in the Greek verse any word that corresponds
to alone? I certainly do not. Arndt and Ginrich and other scholars who make
such rash statements need to produce the proof (see footnote). They offer none
in their lexicon. Therefore, I must reject the addition of the word "alone" by
Luther[ 124 ] and others. I will stay with standard versions until proof is
forthcoming. That proof will have to be the finding of the Greek "only" or
"alone" in the Greek text. Salvation is by faith but not by faith alone (see Jas
When one is said to be justified by faith, the faith involves obedience to the
gospel. Justification embraces every blessing offered by the gospel of Christ. The
Holy Spirit knew what should be in the NT. Whatever He inspired is correct.
Luther and others need not add words to it.
Apart from the deeds of the law [without works, the works, of law, of the
Law].[ 125 ] Justification is not by virtue of keeping the law of Moses. It is
separate and apart from that. This does not negate any gospel commands nor does
it discourage Christians from doing good works.
THE GOD OF JEWS AND GENTILES
3:29, 30 Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the
Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30 since there is one God who will justify
the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.
Or is He the God of the Jews only? [is he, is God, or is God, the God of Jews
only]. The answer to that question is no.
Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? [is he not also of the Gentiles, is he
not of the nations also?]. The answer is yes.
Yes, of the Gentiles also [yea, of nations, also of the Gentiles]. Both Jews and
Gentiles look to God as Creator and Father (see Ac 10:34, 35; Ro 9:24; 10:12;
15:9-12; Ga 3:28). "Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?"
Yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for
Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through
whom we live (1Co 8:6).
One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all
(Eph 4:6; compare De 32:6; Pr 22:2; Heb 12:9).
[3:30] Since there is one God [since indeed it is, if so be that, God is one,
seeing it is, one God].[ 126 ] Since, without a doubt, God is one, He should relate
to all men. That is to say, there is not one God of the Jews and another of the
Who will justify [which shall, and he shall, justify].[ 127 ]
The circumcised by faith [the circumcision out of faith, on the ground, on
the principle, of faith, their faith].[ 128 ] In verse 30, the first "faith" does not
have the article in the Greek but the second "faith" does.
And the uncircumcised through faith [the, and, uncircumcision, by their, the
faith].[ 129 ] The first "faith" in verse 30 speaks of faith in the heart of a Jew. The
second "faith" with the article refers to the gospel of Christ. The two prepositions
"by" and "through" differ no more in Greek than in English. There is only one
plan of salvation for Jews and Gentiles. It is through "the faith" that the
uncircumcised (non-Jews) are justified. In Romans 3:31 it is "the faith" by which
law is not nullified but rather established.[ 130 ]
JEW: DO WE THEN MAKE VOID THE LAW THROUGH FAITH?
3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the
contrary, we establish the law.
Do we then make void the law [do we then overthrow law, the law, do we
then make law, the law, of none effect, null and void?]. [ 131 ] Later Paul will
speak of Christ:
KATARGEESAS having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law
of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one
new man from the two, thus making peace (Eph 2:15; compare 2Co 3:13).
The purpose of the Law was to point out sin and to lead men and women to
Christ (see Ro 7:7; 15:4; 1Co 10:11; Ga 3:19, 24). If Christ abolished the OT
Law, how could Paul establish it? Christ abolished it as a rule of faith and
practice. Paul established something else entirely: the law of Christ.
Through faith [by this, the, faith].[ 132 ] Some modern commentators have
overlooked the meaning of the Greek article. Notice it is "through the faith" or
through the gospel of Christ. Through the faith sinners become children of God
(Ga 3:26, 27). "The Faith" is Christ's law (1Co 9:21), His doctrine in which
Christians must abide in order to "have God" (2Jo 9). And they are to contend
for it (Jude 3)!
PAUL: CERTAINLY NOT!
Certainly not! [by no means! God forbid, let it not be, far be the
thought!].[ 133 ]
On the contrary [nay, no, yea rather, instead].[ 134 ] The law of faith is
established (see verse 27). It is the law of liberty, the law of God and Christ's law
(see Jas 1:25; 2:12).
To those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward
God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without
law (1Co 9:21).
We establish the law [we uphold, but we establish law].[ 135 ] The gospel
confirms that the Law of Moses was true and inspired. It foretold Christ (De
18:18-20; Ro 1:2; 3:21). But the Law of Moses cannot save (see verses 20, 27,
Did Paul establish the OT Law? Some have observed that the Law that foretold
Christ's sacrifice for sins was established. That the Law that showed man cannot
be saved by law-keeping was established. That the Law was established as a tutor
to lead people to Christ (see note on Ga 3:24). That the Law that makes man
conscious of the awfulness of sin was established. In spite of all of this
establishing, the Law of Moses is not the rule of life for Christians.
Some propose that faith makes void the law of faith (see verse 27). This is
preposterous! How can one NT Scripture make void another? The same logic
would have Christ make void the law of Christ (see 1Co 9:21; Ga 6:2). Nothing
could be farther from the truth. By definition, law is something one is obligated
to obey. The fact that the NT message is called the law of Christ enforces its
commands. It strengthens its requirements. Nevertheless, everyone saved by
faith should humbly realize that he can never merit salvation. He should accept
God's grace with sincere thankfulness. What about the obligation to obey OT law?
No one today is obligated to obey any of it for the simple reason that it is no
longer in force. Paul established law, yes, the law of Christ.
The main ideas taught by Paul in this chapter are that the Gentiles and Jews,
without Christ, are both lost in sin and deserve the punishment of a holy and just
God. It also teaches that God provided a way that He can forgive sins through the
merits of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. When one is saved by faith he has no
grounds for boasting.
Following are three charts dealing with OT types and their corresponding NT
[TYPE AND ANTITYPE]
1. Moses - Christ.
2. Leaving Egypt - Repentance.
3. Passover lamb - Christ, the lamb of God.
4. Crossing the Red Sea - Baptism (1Co 10:1, 2).
5. Pillar of cloud and fire (Ex 14:19, 20) - Christ with
us (Mt 28:20).
6. Song of Moses (Ex 15:1-19) - Victory in Christ.
[TYPE AND ANTITYPE]
1. Canaan - heaven (or the Christian life, warfare,
2. Canaanites - our spiritual enemies (Eph 6:12).
3. Warfare of Israel - fight of faith (1Ti 6:12; 2Ti 4:7).
4. Israel's rest after the conquest - rest of the soul
5. Canaanites not entirely subdued - sin unconquered
(Eph 4:25-32; Heb 12:1).
CAPTIVITY AND RETURN
[TYPE AND ANTITYPE]
1. Walls broken down (Ne 1:3) - Apostasy of church.
2. Rebuilding the walls - Restoration.
3. All classes used in the work - Every member serves
according to his ability (Ro 12:4; 1Co 12:12, 20-22;
[ 1 ]The basic text in this chapter is the NKJV. Scripture taken from the New King James Version.
Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Alternate phrases in brackets are from ASV, Darby, ESB, KJV and RSV and occasionally another
version. Greek transliteration approximates the BibleSoft method.
[ 2 ]TI OUN TO PERISSON TOU 'IOUDAIOU, what therefore the advantage of the Jew (Marshall
609); literally, surplus, hence prerogative or pre-eminence (Vincent 3.31); primarily what is above and
over, super-added, hence came to denote what is superior and advantageous (Vine 25); as substantive,
pre-eminence, superiority, advantage (Thayer 506); what, then, is the thing over and above of a Jew?
(Lenski 208); the advantage of the Jew (Arndt 651); what special privilege [a play on meaning of
Hebrew word for Jew, a praised one] (Williams).
[ 3 ]EE TIS HEE OOPHELEIA TEES PERITOMEES, or what is the profit of circumcision?
(Marshall 609); primarily denotes assistance, then advantage, benefit, "profit (Vine 890); or what
benefit does circumcision confer? (Williams); or what the benefit of circumcision (Lenski 208); see note
on Romans 2:25.
[ 4 ]POLU KATA PANTA TROPON, much by every way (Marshall 609); they are great from every
point of view (Williams); much every way (Lenski 208).
[ 5 ]PROOTON MEN [GAR] HOTI, firstly indeed for because (Marshall 609); first in order (Vincent
3.31); of order (Vine 434); in enumerating several particulars, first, then, etc. (Thayer 555); in the first
place (Williams); in the first place, because (Lenski 208); see note on 1 Corinthians 15:3.
[ 6 ]EPISTEUTHEESAN, they were entrusted [with] (Marshall 609; Lenski 208); third person plural,
first aorist passive indicative of PISTEUOO (Han 300); passive voice, entrusted with (Vine 599; Thayer
512; Arndt 662); the Jews are entrusted with (Williams).
[ 7 ]TA LOGIA TOU THEOU, the oracles of God (Marshall 609); diminutive; strictly brief
utterances, both in classical and biblical Greek of divine utterances (Vincent 3.31); in the NT the words
or utterances of God; of [God's] commands in the Mosaic law and his Messianic promises (Thayer
379); of God's promises to the Jews (Arndt 479); all the written utterances of God through OT writers
(Vine 816); the sayings of God (Lenski 208); the utterances of God (Williams); see 1 Peter 4:11.
[ 8 ]During the Mosaic age, divine revelation was given to several Gentile people. Sometimes, but
not always, the information from God came by way of a Jew. An example of revelations made to
Gentiles is Balaam's prophecy (Nu 22-24). Then the Babylonians knew that the Jews had sinned against
the Lord (Jer 50:7). Nebuchadnezzar was given instructions in his wars (2Ki 24:2, 3). Well-known
are his dreams interpreted by Daniel (Dan 2:3). There were also the wise men from the East who were
warned of God in a dream (Mt 2:12).
[ 9 ]TI GAR; EI EEPISTEESAN TINES, For what? if disbelieved some (Marshall 609);
EEPISTEESAN is third person plural, first aorist active indicative of PISTEUOO (Han 300); without
faith. "Unfaithful" is contrary to NT usage [see Mk 16:11, 16; Lu 24:11, 41; Ac 28:24; Ro 4:20].
Perhaps "without faith" is a better choice in matching their want of faith with the faithfulness of God
(see Vincent 3.32); for what if some proved unfaithful? (Lenski 213); what then, if some of them have
proved unfaithful? (Williams).
[ 10 ]MEE HEE APISTIA AUTOON, not the unbelief of them (Marshall 609); unfaithfulness (Arndt
85); unfaithfulness, faithlessness, [of persons betraying a trust] (Thayer 57); want of faith (Vine 401);
can their unfaithfulness? (Williams); certainly, their unfaithfulness will not (Lenski 213).
[ 11 ]Several examples may be found where people were faithful in the sense of being dependable.
For example, "They did not require an accounting . . . for they dealt faithfully" (2Ki 12:15; 22:7; 2Ch
34:12; Ne 13:13). "They faithfully brought in the contributions and the tithes" (2Ch 31:12).
[ 12 ]TEEN PISTIN TOU THEOU KATARGEESEI, the faith of God will destroy? (Marshall 609);
KATARGEESEI is third person singular, future active indicative of KATARGEOO (Han 300); nullify
the faithfulness of God (Arndt 662); deprive of force, influence, power; one who keeps his promises
(Thayer 336, 514); trustworthiness; the ASV corrects the KJV "faith" to "faithfulness" reduce to
inactivity, render useless (Vine 348, 401, 403); the radical meaning is make inert or idle . . . negatives
the idea of agency or operation, rather than of result or effect. It is rather to make inefficient, than to
make without effect; compare "prophecies . . . shall fail," that is, have no more work to do; the good
faith of God, His fidelity to his purposes (Vincent 3.32); make null and void God's faithfulness
(Williams); abolish the faithfulness of God (Lenski 213); see verse 31.
[ 13 ]MEE GENOITO, May it not be (Marshall 609); GENOITO is third person singular, second
aorist middle optative of GINOMAI (Han 300); literally may it not have come to pass . . . indicates
a feeling of strong aversion: "Away with the thought" (Vincent 3.32); [MEE negative, GINOMAI to
become], literally let it not be, is idiomatically translated "God forbid" (Vine 447); [you will not wish
to say that.] perish the thought (Lenski 213); not at all (Williams).
[ 14 ]GINESTHOO HO THEOS ALEETHEES, but let be God true (Marshall 609); GINESTHOO
is third person singular, present middle imperfect of GINOMAI (Han 300); "let God be found true,"
thus giving the force of GINOMAI to become . . . Let God turn out to be or be found to be by His
creatures (Vincent 3.33); [A negative, LEETHOO to forget, equivalent to LANTHANOO to escape
notice], hence actual, true to fact . . . truthful (Vine 1170); no, let God be true (Lenski 213); let God
prove true (Williams).
[ 15 ]PAS DE ANTHROOPOS PSEUSTEES, and every man a liar (Marshall 609); a liar (Vine 663);
a faithless man (Thayer 676); liar (Arndt 892);though every man be false (Williams); but every man
a liar (Lenski 213).
[ 16 ]Leonard Allen, The Worldly Church.
[ 17 ]HOPOOS AN DIKAIOOTHEES EN TOIS LOGOIS SOU, so as thou mayest be justified in the
sayings of thee (Marshall 609, 610); DIKAIOOTHEES is second person singular, first aorist passive
subjunctive of DIKAIOOO (Han 300); acknowledged righteous. The figure is forensic, God's justice
is put on trial (Vincent 3.33); primarily to deem right, signifies in the NT to show to be right or
righteous; in the passive voice, to be justified . . . to declare to be righteous, to pronounce righteous
(Vine 615); evinced to be righteous as to his spiritual [divine] . . . nature (Thayer 150); God is proved
to be right (Arndt 198); in order that thou mayest be declared righteous in thy words (Lenski 213); that
you may prove yourself upright in words you speak (Williams).
[ 18 ]KAI NIKEESEIS, and will overcome (Marshall 610); NIKEESEIS is second person singular,
future active indicative of NIKAOO (Han 300); gain the case (Vincent 3.33); conquer, prevail, used
as a law term (Vine 881); when one is arraigned or goes to law, to win the case, maintain one's cause
(Thayer 426); and mayest conquer (Lenski 213); and win your case (Williams).
[ 19 ]EN TOO KRINESTHAI SE, in the to be judged thee (Marshall 610); KRINESTHAI is the
present passive infinitive of KRINOO (Han 300); passive, to be judged, that is, summoned to trial that
one's case may be examined and judgment passed upon it (Thayer 361); when thou art being judged
(Lenski 213); when you go to court (Williams).
[ 20 ]EI DE HEE ADIKIA HEEMOON, now if the unrighteousness of us (Marshall 610);
unrighteousness of heart and life, opposed to HEE DIKAIOSUNEE [the state of being righteous]
(Thayer 12, 149);; but if our wrongdoing (Williams); yet if our unrighteousness (Lenski 218).
[ 21 ]SUNISTEESIN, commends (Marshall 610); third person singular, present active indicative of
SUNISTEEMI (Han 300); literally, places together . . . commends; also puts together with a view of
showing, proving or establishing (Vincent 3.33); shows, proves, establishes, exhibits (Thayer 605);
places into proper light (Lenski 218); brings to light (Williams); compare usage in 2 Corinthians 6:4;
7:11; Galatians 2:8.
[ 22 ]THEOU DIKAIOSUNEEN, of God a righteousness (Marshall 610); the uprightness of God
(Williams); God's righteousness (Lenski 218).
[ 23 ]TI EROOMEN, what shall we say? (Marshall 610); EROOMEN is first person plural, future
active indicative of LEGOO (Han 300); what shall we infer? (Williams); what shall we say [to that]?
(Lenski 218); see note on Romans 6:1.
[ 24 ]MEE ADIKOS HO THEOS HO EPIPHEROON TEEN ORGEEN, not unrighteous God the
[one] inflicting wrath? (Marshall 610); EPIPHEROON is the present active participle, nominative
singular masculine of EPIPHEROO (Han 300); literally bringeth the anger to bear (Vincent 3.33); lays
upon, inflicts (Thayer 246); imposes upon, inflicts, visits upon (Vine 143); is it wrong for God to inflict
punishment? (Williams); certainly not that God, he who imposes the wrath is unrighteous? [you do not
wish to say that] (Lenski 218); the article TEEN the is singular feminine accusative.
[ 25 ]TEES, singular, feminine, genitive.
[ 26 ]TEE, the, singular feminine dative.
[ 27 ]KATA ANTHROOPON LEGOO, according to man I say (Marshall 610); I use a mode of
speech drawn from human affairs (Vincent 3.33); speak according to human modes of thinking (Thayer
46); [of] the laws that govern the administration of justice among men (Vine 705); I am using everyday
human terms (Williams); in human fashion do I speak (Lenski 218).
[ 28 ]Due to a misinterpretation of Leviticus 24:16 Jews avoided pronouncing JHVH or YAHWEH,
the supreme name of God. Instead they would say ADHONAY, Lord (Cohen 24; Zondervan 490).
[ 29 ]MEE GENOITO, not May it be (Marshall 610); GENOITO is third person singular, second
aorist middle optative of GINOMAI (Han 300); perish the thought (Lenski 218); not at all! (Williams);
see note on verse 4.
[ 30 ]Witness the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.
[ 31 ]Some commentators take his verse as words of the Jew in the following sense: Even though the
Jews lie about Christ, their rejection of and crucifixion of Him brought blessings to the world. How
could they be condemned for that? Although there is some merit in the idea, I do not think it is
intended here because a similar argument was already made in verse 5.
[ 32 ]Pragmatism is the doctrine that truth is to be tested by the practical outcome of it, not by its
[ 33 ]HOTI POIEESOOMEN TA KAKA HINA ELTHEE TA AGATHA, Let us do evil things that
may come good things (Marshall 610); POIEESOOMEN is first person plural, first aorist active
subjunctive of POIEOO; ELTHEE is third person singular, second aorist active subjunctive of
ERCHOMAI (Han 300); let us do the base things in order that there may come the good (Lenski 221);
let us do evil that good may come from it (Williams).
[ 34 ]Beck; see also Romans 14:23.
[ 35 ]PROECHOMETHA, Do we excel? (Marshall 610); first person plural, present middle indicative
of PROECHOO (Han 300); are we excelled? (Harrison 512); first person plural, present tense, middle
voice, surpass in excellencies which can be passed to one's credit (Thayer 539); are we in worse case
than they? (Vincent 3.34); is it that we Jews are better than they? (Williams); the middle [voice] either
has the same meaning as the active voice, in which case it could be translated have an advantage
[Vulgate], or with its customary sense hold something before oneself for protection. In that case, if the
"we" in PROECHOMETHA refers to the Jews, then the OU PANTOOS that follows rejects the idea
that they possess shield from God's wrath. However, if the "we" in 9a is the same as that in 9b, that
is, Paul himself, he is still dealing with the opponents whom he has in mind in verses 7, 8. If so, he
asks ironically: Am I protecting myself? or Am I making excuses? He is able to answer this question
with a flat "no", since his explanation in verse 9b is no less clear and decisive than his earlier
statements for PROCHESTHAI is equivalent to "put up as a defense" (Arndt 705, 706); is it that we
Jews are better than they? (Williams); have we advantage for ourselves? (Lenski 227).
[ 36 ]Another possible meaning might be: "Or Are we (Paul) in better case than they (Jews)?"
[ 37 ]PROEETIASAMETHA GAR, for we previously accused (Marshall 610); first person plural,
first aorist middle indicative of PROAITIAOMAI (Han 300); not logical proof but to forensic
accusation. The simple verb means to charge as being the cause [AITIA] of some evil: hence, to
accuse, impeach(Vincent 3.35); for we are already charged (Williams); for we already charged (Lenski
[ 38 ]'IOUDAIOUS TE KAI HELLEENAS PANTAS HUPH' HAMARTIAN EINAI, Jews both and
Greeks all under sin to be (Marshall 610); EINAI is the present active infinitive of EIMI (Han 300);
all under sin to be; of power, rule, sovereignty, command, etc., under [sin] (Arndt 843); that Jews and
Greeks alike are all under the sway of sin (Williams); both Jews and Greeks that all are under sin
(Lenski 227); see Romans 6:14; 7:14; Galatians 3:22.
[ 39 ]OUK ESTIN DIKAIOS, there is not a righteous man (Marshall 610); ESTIN is third person
singular, present active indicative of EIMI (Han 301); just, without prejudice or partiality (Vine 969);
upright, righteous, with emphasis on the religious aspect: not violating the sovereignty of God, and
keeping his laws (Arndt 195); preeminently of him whose way of thinking, feeling and acting is wholly
conformed to the will of God, and who therefore needs no rectification in heart or life; in the sense that
Christ alone can be called DIKAIOS . . . among the rest of mankind it is rightly denied that one
KIKAIOS can be found (Thayer 149); there is not a righteous person, not one (Lenski 230); not a single
human creature [Greek, not any flesh] is upright (Williams).
[ 40 ]"Hyperbolic" has to do with exaggeration.
[ 41 ]OUDE HEIS, not one (Marshall 610; Lenski 230).
[ 42 ]OUK ESTIN HO SUNIOON, there is not the [one] understanding (Marshall 610); SUNIOON
is the present active participle, nominative singular masculine of SUNIEEMI (Han 301); present
participle with the article is used as a noun, literally, there is not the understanding [one], in a moral
and spiritual sense (Vine 1180); [none] understands, comprehends, gains [an] insight into something
(Arndt 790); no one understands (Williams); there is not he that understands (Lenski 230); see note on
Foolish at Romans 1:21.
[ 43 ]OUK ESTIN HO EKZEETOON TON THEON, there is not the [one] seeking God (Marshall
301); EKZEETOON is the present active participle, nominative singular masculine of EKZEETEOO
(Han 301); [none that] seeks out [EK] or after, searches for [God] (Vine 1012); [none that] seeks the
Lord to serve him (Arndt 240); seeks the favor of God, worships him (Thayer 195); seeketh out
(Vincent 3.35); there is not he that seeks out God (Lenski 231); no one is searching for God (Williams).
[ 44 ]"Kosher" is from the Hebrew KASHER fit, proper. It refers to that which is ritually fit for use,
[ 45 ]PANTES EXEKLINAN, all turned away (Marshall 610); EXEKLINAN is third person plural,
first aorist active indicative of EKKLINOO (Han 301); turned aside [EK from, KLINOO to lean] (Vine
1175); turn aside from the way . . . turn aside! (Arndt 241); turn [one's self] away . . . from the path
of rectitude (Thayer 196); they have all turned aside (Williams); all did turn aside (Lenski 231).
[ 46 ]Paul considered a time when he was spiritually "alive" before he reached the age of
accountability (see Ro 7:9).
[ 47 ]It is true that the NIV teaches babies are born sinners but this is a mistaken idea "Surely I was
sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me" (Ps 51:5 NIV).
[ 48 ]HAMA EECHREOOTHEESAN, together became unprofitable (Marshall 610);
EECHREOOTHEESAN is third person plural, first aorist passive indicative of ACHREIOOO (Han
301); the Hebrew of the Psalms 14:3; 53:3 means have become corrupt; the Greek word is to become
useless (Vincent 3.35); passive voice, have been [made] useless, "they have become unprofitable" (Vine
1185; passive voice, became depraved, worthless (Arndt 128); made useless, rendered unserviceable
[of character] (Thayer 91); they became worthless (Lenski 231); all have become corrupt (Williams).
[ 49 ]OUK ESTIN HO POIOON CHREESTOTEETA, there is ot the [one] doing kindness (Marshall
610); the radical idea is profitableness . . . wholesomeness . . . kindness . . . a kindly disposition to
one's neighbor, not necessarily taking a practical form (Vincent 3.35); goodness in the sense of what
is upright, righteous (Vine 495); [none] do what is right (Arndt 886); moral goodness, integrity (Thayer
672); there is, as doing goodness (Lenski 231); no one does good (Williams); for word usage, see
Romans 2:4; 11:22.
[ 50 ]OUK ESTIN HEOOS HENOS, not there is so much as one (Marshall 610); ESTIN is third
person singular, present active indicative of EIMI (Han 301); [not] a single [one], to the exclusion of
others (Vine 809); not even one (Williams); there is not as much as one (Lenski 231).
[ 51 ]An "hyperbole" is a figure of speech using exaggerated language to emphasize a point. An
example of this usage is when John said of Christ, "No man receives His witness" (Joh 3:32). Did he
mean that everyone, without exception, rejected the witness of Christ? No. In the very next verse, he
said, "He who has received His witness."
[ 52 ]TAPHOS ANEOOGMENOS HO LARUNX AUTOON, a grave having been opened the throat
of them (Marshall 610); ANEOOGMENOS is the perfect passive participle, nominative singular
masculine of ANOIGOO (Han 301); literally a sepulchre opened or standing open (Vincent 3.36); a
place for burial, a tomb, metaphorically (Vine 1018); grave, tomb, of sinful men (Arndt 806); their
speech threatens destruction to others, it is death to someone whenever they open their mouths (Thayer
616); their throats are just like open graves (Williams); an opened sepulcher their larynx (Lenski 231).
[ 53 ]The Hebrew for "an open grave" is thought by some to mean "a yawning gulf."
[ 54 ]TAIS GLOOSSAIS AUTOON EDOLIOUSAN, with the tongues of them they acted deceitfully
(Marshall 611); EDOLIOUSAN is third person plural, imperfect active indicative of DOLIOOO (Han
301); imperfect tense denotes perseverance in their hypocritical professions, Hebrew they smoothed
their tongues (Vincent 3.36); lure as by a bait (Vine 271); deceive (Arndt 203); deceive, use deceit
(Thayer 155); with their tongues they kept deceiving (Lenski 231); with their tongs they have spoken
[ 55 ]IOS ASPIDOON HUPO TA CHEILEE AUTOON, poison of asps under the lips of them
(Marshall 611); poison of asps, acting destructively on living tissues, figuratively of the evil use of the
lips as the organs of speech (Vine 863); venom, poison [of] asps, Egyptian cobras generally of
venomous snakes (Arndt 117, 378); an asp, a small and most venomous serpent, the bite of which is
fatal unless the part bitten be immediately cut away (Thayer 81); the poison of asps is under their lips
(Williams); poison of asps under their lips (Lenski 231).
[ 56 ]HOON TO STOMA GEMEI, of whom the mouth is full (Marshall 611); GEMEI is third person
singular, present active indicative of GEMOO (Han 301); whose mouth is packed full (Lenski 131);their
mouths are full (Williams).
[ 57 ]ARAS KAI PIKRIAS, of cursing and bitterness (Marshall 611; Lenski 231); malediction,
cursing, and bitterness, of evil speaking (Vine 121, 254); the mouth is full of curses and of bitter words
(Arndt 103, 657); metaphorically, bitterness of speech (Thayer 509); imprecation, curse, malediction
(Thayer 71); of bitter cursing (Williams).
[ 58 ]SUNTRIMMA, ruin (Marshall 611; Williams); a dashing to pieces (Vincent 3.36); a breaking
in pieces, shattering, metaphorically, of destruction (Vine 296); destruction, ruin (Arndt 793; that which
is broken or shattered, a fracture . . . tropically calamity, ruin, destruction (Thayer 607); things crushed
(Lenski 231); see Isaiah 59:7.
[ 59 ]TALAIPOORIA, misery (Marshall 611); hardship, suffering, distress, misery (Vine 749);
wretchedness, distress, trouble, misery (Arndt 803); hardship, trouble, calamity, misery (Thayer 613,
614); and wretchedness (Lenski 231; Williams).
[ 60 ]Following are some brief quotes selected from hundreds from Josephus. I do not advise
everyone to read this footnote. "The upper rooms were full of women and children that were dying
by famine and the lanes of the city were full of the dead bodies of the aged; the children also and the
young men wandered about the market-places like shadows, all swelled with the famine, and fell down
dead wheresoever their misery seized them" (Wars 5.12.1). "When Titus, in going his rounds along
those valleys, saw them full of dead bodies and thick putrification running about them, he gave a groan;
and spreading out his hands to heaven, called God to witness that this was not his doing; and such was
the sad end of the city itself" (Wars 5.12.4). "Carried out through that one gate . . . no fewer than
115,880 dead bodies" (Wars 5.12.7). "Thus did the miseries of Jerusalem grow worse and worse every
day" (Wars 6.1.1). "Now of those that perished by famine in the city, the number was prodigious, and
the miseries they underwent were unspeakable" (Wars 6.3.3). "She slew her son, and then roasted him,
and eat [sic] the one half of him," (Wars 6.3.4). "Now the number of those that were carried captive
during this whole war was collected to be 97,000; as was the number of those that perished during the
whole siege 1,100,000" (Wars 6.9.3). Fewer than one out of eleven escaped death.
[ 61 ]KAI HODON EIREENEES, and a way of peace (Marshall 611); the sense of rest and
contentment consequent upon harmonized relationships between God and man (Vine 842); the way of
peace, that leads to peace (Arndt 227); way leading to peace, a course of life promoting harmony
(Thayer 182); and peace's way (Lenski 231); the way of peace (Williams).
[ 62 ]OUK EGNOOSAN, they knew not (Marshall 611); EGNOOSAN is third person plural, second
aorist active indicative of GINOOSKOO (Han 301); [had not] come to know, recognize, understand,
or to understand completely (Vine 617); they do not know (Williams); they did not know (Lenski 231).
[ 63 ]OUK ESTIN PHOBOS THEOU, There is not fear of God (Marshall 611); ESTIN is third person
singular, present active indicative of EIMI (Han 301); [no] fear of God as the controlling motive of life,
in matters spiritual and moral, not a mere fear of His power and righteous retribution, but a wholesome
dread of displeasing Him, a fear which banishes the terror that shrinks from his presence, and which
influences the disposition and attitude of one whose circumstances are guided by trust in God through
the indwelling Spirit of God (Vine 414); reverence, respect (Arndt 863; Thayer 656); there is no fear
of God (Lenski 231); there is no reverence for God (Williams).
[ 64 ]APENANTI TOON OPHTHALMOON AUTOON, before the eyes of them (Marshall 611); in
the sight of, before [their eyes] (Vine 100, 394); to neglect a thing [compare our leave, put, out of
sight] (Thayer 470); before their eyes (Williams; Lenski 231).
[ 65 ]OIDAMEN DE, we know But (Marshall 611); OIDAMEN is first person plural, perfect active
indicative of OIDA (Han 301); a thing generally conceded (Vincent 3.36); we fully know (Vine 628);
it is well known, acknowledged (Thayer 174); now we know (Williams); now we know (Lenski 238).
[ 66 ]HOTI HOSA, that whatever things (Marshall 611); as many as, all [that] (Thayer 456); that what
things soever (Lenski 238); that everything (Williams).
[ 67 ]HO NOMOS LEGEI, the law says (Marshall 611; Williams); LEGEI is third person singular,
present active indicative of LEGOO (Han 301); contemplates the substance (Vincent 3.36); refers to
the meaning and substance of what is spoken; one is said to speak, LEGEIN, not only when he uses
language orally, but also when he expresses himself in writing (Thayer 368, 374); the law, by
metonymy, of the books which contain the Psalms and Isaiah (Vine 644); the Law states (Lenski 238).
[ 68 ]LALEI, it speaks (Marshall 611); third person singular, present active indicative of LALEOO
(Han 301); [contemplates] the expression of the law (Vincent 3.36); what it commands (Thayer 369);
it utters (Lenski 238); is spoken (Williams).
[ 69 ]EN TOO NOMOO, to the [ones] in the law (Marshall 611); subject to the control of the law
(Thayer 212); those who are subject to the law, in the wider sense, equivalent to the Holy Scripture
generally, on the principle that the most authoritative part gives its name to the whole . . [preceded by
a cluster of quotations from Psalms and prophets (Arndt 260, 543); to those who are under its authority
[literally, those in the law] (Williams); to those in connection with the Law (Lenski 238).
[ 70 ]HINA PAN STOMA PHRAGEE, in order that every mouth may be stopped (Marshall 611);
PHRAGEE is third person singular, second aorist passive subjunctive of PHRASSOO (Han 301);
literally fenced up; the effect of overwhelming evidence upon an accused party in court (Vincent 3.36);
metaphorically of preventing all excuse from Jew and Gentile, as sinners (Vine 1090); tropically put
to silence ( Thayer 657); close or stop the mouth, so that the man must remain silent (Arndt 865); that
every mouth may be stopped (Williams); so that every mouth is stopped (Lenski 238).
[ 71 ]KAI HUPODIKOS GENEETAI PAS HO KOSMOS TOO THEOO, and under judgment may
become all the world to God (Marshall 611); GENEETAI is third person singular, second aorist middle
subjunctive of GINOMAI (Han 301); HUPODIKOS [under judgment] occurs only here . . . [God] is
to be regarded as the injured party. Not God's judgments, but his rights are refereed to . . . liable to
pay penalty to God (Vincent 3.36); [HUPO under, DIKEE justice], brought to trial, answerable to (Vine
612); with a dative of the person debtor to one, owing satisfaction to THEOO [God], that is, liable to
punishment from God (Thayer 643); liable to judgment or punishment, answerable, accountable (Arndt
844); and all the world is become subject to punishment for God (Lenski 238); and the whole world
be held responsible to God (Williams).
[ 72 ]DIOTI EX ERGOON NOMON, because by works of law (Marshall 611); the deeds prescribed
by the law (Vincent 3.37); because by observing the law (Williams); because as a result of works of
law (Lenski 238).
[ 73 ]OU DIKAIOOTHEESETAI PASA SARX, not will be justified all flesh (Marshall 611);
DIKAIOOTHEESETAI is third person singular, future passive indicative of DIKAIOOO (Han 301);
justification is more than pardon. It means the presentation of the self to God as a living sacrifice; non-conformity to the world; spiritual renewal, right self-estimate--all that range of right practice and feeling
which is portrayed in the twelfth chapter of this epistle (Vincent 3.39, 40); be acquitted, be pronounced
and treated as righteous and thereby become DIKAIOS [upright, righteous], receive the divine gift of
DIKAIOSUNEE [righteousness] . . . be justified (Arndt 197); no human creature can be brought into
right standing [Greek, will be justified] (Williams); no flesh will be declared righteous (Lenski 238);
see note on verse 13.
[ 74 ]ENOOPION AUTOU, before him (Marshall 611; Lenski 238); with God (Williams).
[ 75 ]DIA GAR NOMOU, for through law [is] (Marshall 611); [only] recognition of sin comes
through the law (Arndt 180); for through law [only] (Lenski 238); for all the law can do (Williams).
[ 76 ]EPIGNOSIS HAMARTIAS, clear and exact knowledge (Vincent 3.40); exact or full knowledge
(Vine 631); recognition of sin [singular] (Arndt 180); is to make men conscious of sin [through the law
is the consciousness of sin] (Williams); sin's realization (Lenski 238).
[ 77 ]NUNI DE, but now (Marshall 611; Williams); logical, not temporal. In this state of the case
(Vincent 3.41; [DE] is joined to terms which are repeated with a certain emphasis, and with such
additions as tend to explain and establish them more exactly; in this use of the particle we may supply
a suppressed negative clause [and give its force in English by inserting I say, and that, so then, etc.]
(Thayer 125); moreover now (Lenski 245).
[ 78 ]Coffman 114.
[ 79 ]DIKAIOSUNEE THEOU, a righteousness of God (Marshall 611); the righteousness which God
ascribes, what God declares to be righteousness (Thayer 149); righteousness bestowed by God (Arndt
197); God's righteousness (Lenski 245); God's way of giving men right standing with Himself [literally
God's righteousness, but here God's way of giving men right standing with Himself] (Williams); see note
on Romans 1:17.
[ 80 ]CHOORIS NOMOU, without law (Marshall 611); in a sphere different from that in which the
law says, "Do this and live" (Vincent 3.41); apart from, without, separate from (Vine 54); without the
intervention [participation or co-operation] of [the law] (Thayer 675); without regard to the observance
of the law (Arndt 891); a way without connection with the law, apart from the law (Williams); apart
from God's law (Lenski 245).
[ 81 ]NIV, RSV.
[ 82 ]PEPHANEROOTAI, has been manifested (Marshall 611); third person singular, perfect passive
indicative of PHANEROOO (Han 301); perfect tense, hath been manifested and now lies open to view
. . . the word implies a previous hiding (Vincent 3.41); passive, made known in the gospel (Thayer
648); has been made manifest (Lenski 245); the righteousness which is sufficient from God has been
revealed (Arndt 853); has come to light (Williams); see note on Colossians 1:26, 27.
[ 83 ]MARTUROUMENEE HUPO TOU NOMOU KAI TOON PROPHEETOON, being witnessed
by the law and the prophets (Marshall 611); MARTUROUMENEE is the present passive participle,
nominative singular feminine of MARTUREOO (Han 301); present participle, borne witness to;
attested; this testimony is now being borne by the OT to the new dispensation (Vincent 3.41); bear
witness to, testify, of prophets and apostles [sic] to the righteousness of God (Vine 1238); passive, a
righteousness such as the Scriptures testify that God ascribes to believers (Thayer 391); the witness of
the law and prophets point to God's righteousness (Arndt 493); to which the law and the prophets testify
(Williams); witnessed by the Law and the Prophets (Lenski 245).
[ 84 ]DIKAIOSUNEE DE THEOU, a righteousness of God (Marshall 611); God's own way of giving
men right standing with Himself (Williams); yea God's righteousness (Lenski 245).
[ 85 ]DIA PISTEOOS ['IEESOU] CHRISTOU, through faith of [in] Jesus Christ (Marshall 611); a
common [term] for faith in Jesus Christ (Vincent 3.41); with genitive of the object, [faith in], the
conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of eternal
salvation through Christ (Thayer 513); the faith is clearly designated as faith in Christ by the addition
of certain words. By the objective genitive PISTIS 'IEESOU CHRISTOU [faith in Jesus Christ, and
similar expressions] Romans 3:11, 26; Ga 2:16a, b, 20; 3:22; Eph 3:12; Php 3:9a; Jas 2:1; Re 14:12;
compare 2:13 [HEE PISTIS MOU=faith in me, the Son of Man (Arndt 663); through faith in Jesus
Christ (Lenski 245); is through faith in Jesus Christ (Williams).
[ 86 ]In his comments, Lenski (page 254), a Lutheran, says "God's act of 'ransoming in connection
with Christ Jesus' is so vital for his declaring us righteous whooly apart from law (v. 21) and works
of the law (v. 20), through faith alone."
[ 87 ]Ellicott 4.217; compare above footnote.
[ 88 ]EIS PANTAS TOUS PISTEUONTAS, to all the [ones] believing (Marshall 611);
PISTEUONTAS is the present active participle, accusative plural masculine of PISTEUOO (Han 301);
reliance upon, not mere credence (Vine 108); of those who acknowledge Jesus as the Savior and devote
themselves to him (Thayer 512); used almost substantively . . . [the] believers, [the] Christians (Arndt
661;) for all those believing (Lenski 245); see note on Romans 1:16. The words KAI EPI PANTAS
and upon all carried in the Received Text appear in the KJV but are omitted in most versions. They
do not appear in the "best manuscripts." The Westcott-Hort and UBS3 Greek texts do not have these
[ 89 ]OU GAR ESTIN DIASTOLEE, for not there is difference (Marshall 611); ESTIN is third person
singular, present active indicative of EIMI (Han 301); a setting under, [DIA as under, STELLOO to
set, place, arrange], hence [no] distinction (Vine 302); [no] distinction, difference, Thayer 142; [no]
difference, distinction (Arndt 188); for no distinction at all is made (Williams); for there is no
distinction (Lenski 248).
[ 90 ]PANTES GAR HEEMARTON, for all sinned (Marshall 611); HEEMARTON is first person
singular, or third person plural, second aorist active indicative of HAMARTANOO (Han 301); aorist
tense: sinned, looking back to a thing definitely past--the historic occurrence of sin (Vincent 3.41);
"missed the mark," done wrong, sinned, of offenses against the religious and moral law of God (Arndt
42); wandered from the law of God, violated God's law, sinned (Thayer 30); sinned [from
HAMARTANOO to miss the mark], to be in error (Littrell); for all did sin (Lenski 248); for everybody
has sinned (Williams).
[ 91 ]KAI HUSTEROUNTAI, and come short (Marshall 611); HUSTEROUNTAI is third person
plural, present middle indicative of HUSTEREOO (Han 301); passive voice with genitive of the thing,
lack, be lacking, go without, come short (Arndt 849); be devoid, [fall short] of (Thayer 646); present
tense . . . they sinned and they are lacking . . . implies want under the aspect of shortcoming (Vincent
3.41); and are short (Lenski 248); and everybody continues to come short (Williams).
[ 92 ]TEES DOXEES TOU THEOU, the glory of God (Marshall 611); praise or honor coming from
[God] (Thayer 155); of God's glory (Williams); of the acknowledgment of God [the word "glory" is
used in its very first meaning: "good opinion" [Abbott-Smith] (Lenski 248, 249).
[ 93 ]DIKAIOUMENOI being justified (Marshall 611); DIKAIOUMENOI third person plural, present
middle indicative of HUSTEREOO (Han 301); present continuous tense, indicating the constant process
of justification in the succession of those who believe and are justified (Vine 615); with the positive idea
predominant, to judge, declare, pronounce righteous and therefore acceptable to [God] . . . respecting
God who judges and declares such men as put faith in Christ to be righteous and acceptable to him, and
accordingly fit to receive the pardon of their sins and eternal life (Thayer 150); [from DIKAIOOO to
be held as guiltless], accepted as righteous in Christ (Littrell); but anybody may have right standing
with God (Williams); being declared righteous (Lenski 248); the NEB supplies the word all from all
have sinned (verse 23) to make verse 24 read, "and all are justified." It is wrong to assume all are
[ 94 ]"And the blood of Jesus His Son continues to cleanse us from every sin" (1Jo 1:7 translation by
Charles B. Williams).
[ 95 ]DOOREAN, freely [from DOOREA a gift], used as an adverb, freely (Vine 461); justified,
declared upright, as a gift (Arndt 210); freely, for nought, gratis, gratuitously (Thayer 161); as a free
gift (Williams); gratuitously (Lenski 248).
[ 96 ]TEE AUTOU CHARITI, by the of him grace (Marshall 611); instrumental case denoting the
means (Dana 82, 309); of God's [undeserved] gifts to man (Arndt 877); that kindness by which God
bestows favors even upon the ill-deserving, and grants to sinners the pardon of their offenses and bids
them accept of eternal salvation through Christ (Thayer 666); of His undeserved favor (Williams); by
his grace (Lenski 248).
[ 97 ]The New English Bible reads, "and all are justified by God's free grace alone." If this is correct,
it would rule out faith, repentance, confession, baptism and even the death of Christ. It is far better
to translate the words of the Holy Spirit than to supply words of human origin in order to bolster a
shaky, denominational doctrine. Blunders such as this make the NEB an unreliable version.
[ 98 ]DIA TEES APOLUTROOSEOOS, through the redemption (Marshall 611); a strengthened form
of LUTROOSIS [a redemption], literally a releasing, for [that is, payment of] used of forgiveness and
justification, redemption as a result of expiation, deliverance from the guilt of sins, a ransom (Vine
936); redemption, acquittal, also the state of being redeemed (Arndt 96); metaphorically, which is
deliverance effected through the death of Christ from the retributive wrath of a holy God and the
merited penalty of sin (Thayer 65); through the ransom (Williams); through the ransoming (Lenski 248);
compare redemption of or from the transgressions, Hebrews 9:15; see Luke 21:28.
[ 99 ]TEES EN CHRISTOO 'IEESOU, in Christ Jesus (Marshall 611, 612); ingrafted as it were in
Christ, in fellowship and union with Christ, with the Lord (Thayer 211); redemption through Christ
(Arndt 260); the one in connection with Christ Jesus (Lenski 248); provided in Christ Jesus (Williams).
[ 100 ]The NIV translators followed Arndt and Ginrich and removed the beautiful phrase "that is in
Christ Jesus" and replaced it with "that came by Christ Jesus." The NEB dilutes the force of the
original with "through his act of liberation in the person of Christ Jesus." Note the addition of four
words: "in the person of."
[ 101 ]HON PROETHETO HO THEOS, whom set forth God (Marshall 612); PROETHETO is third
person singular, second aorist middle indicative of PROTITHEEMI (Han 301); publicly, openly [PRO
before, TITHEEMI to put, place, set], correlated with to declare. He brought him forth and put Him
before the public (Vincent 3.43); middle voice which lays stress upon the personal interest which God
had in so doing; either meaning, to set forth or to purpose would convey a Scriptural view, but the
context bears out the former as being intended here, set before, "set forth," margin proposed,
foreordained (Vine 906; 1022); for God publicly offered Him (Williams); whom God set forth (Lenski
[ 102 ]HILASTEERION, a propitiation (Marshall 612); an expiatory sacrifice; a piacular [adverb, from
Latin PIARE to expiate, expiatory, having power to atone], victim [Vulgate PROPITIATIO]: Romans
3:25 [after the analogy of the words CHARISTERIA sacrifices expressive of gratitude, thank-offerings,
SOTERIA sacrifices for safety obtained. On the other hand, in Dion Chrys. or. 11, 121, page 355 ed.
Reiske, the reference is not to a sacrifice but to a monument, as the preceding words show:
KATALEIPSEIN GAR AUTOUS ANATHEEMA KALLISTON KAI MEGISTON TEE 'ATHEEMA
KAI EPIGRAPSEIN HILASTEERION 'ACHAIOI TEE 'ILIADI] (Thayer 301); that which expiates
or propitiates, concrete, a means of expiation, gift to procure expiation (Arndt 375). The compound
EXILASKOMAI, which is not found in the NT, but is frequent in the Septuagint and is rendered purge,
cleanse, reconcile, make atonement. Septuagint usage. These words mostly represent the Hebrew verb
KAPHAR to cover or conceal, and its derivatives. With only seven exceptions [out of 60 or 70
passages in the OT] where the Hebrew is translated by atone or atonement, the Septuagint employs
some part or derivative of HILASKOMAI or EXILASKOMAI. [These Greek words are] the usual
Septuagint translation for KIPPURIM covering for sin AV, [atonement]. Thus sin-offerings of
atonement, day of atonement, ram of atonement [see Ex 29:36; 30:10; Le 23:27; Nu 5:8, etc.]. They
are also used for CHATTATH sin-offering (Eze 44:27; 45:19) and for SELICAH forgiveness [Ps 129:4;
Da 9:9] (Vincent 3.43, 44); HILASTEERION is rendered "propitiation" in several versions (Littrell);
as cover of the mercy seat (Lenski 254); as a sacrifice of reconciliation (Williams).
[ 103 ]EN TOO AUTOU HAIMATI, by the of him blood (Marshall 612); construe with set forth .
. . by His blood, that is, in that He caused Him to shed His blood (Vincent 3.47; of the blood of Jesus
as a means of expiation (Arndt 23); in His death [literally, in His blood (that is, His death)] (Williams);
in his blood (Lenski 234).
[ 104 ]DIA PISTEOOS, through faith (Marshall 612; Williams); connect with propitiation (mercy-seat). The sacrifice of Christ becomes effective through the faith which appropriates it (Vincent 3.47);
DIA [through] probably goes not with faith but with HILASTEERION [propitiation] (Arndt 663); the
KJV wrongly links "faith" with "in His blood," as if faith is reposed in the blood [that is, the Death]
of Christ; the EN is instrumental; faith rests in the living Person; hence the ASV rightly puts a comma
after "through faith" and renders the next phrase "by His blood," which is to be connected with
"propitiation" (Vine 401); through the faith (Lenski 254).
[ 105 ]EIS ENDEIXIN TEES DIKAIOSUNEES AUTOU, for a showing forth of the righteousness
of him (Marshall 612); a noun, literally for a showing . . . for practical proof or demonstration . . .
. The showing of the cross is primarily the showing of God's love and yearning to be at one with man
[Joh 3:14-17] (Vincent 3.47); demonstration, proof, manifestation [of] his holiness (Thayer 213); [EN
in, DEIKNUMI to show], of the showing forth of God's righteousness, speaks of his righteousness as
exhibited in the Death of Christ, which is sufficient to show man that God is neither indifferent to sin
nor regards it lightly. On the contrary, it demonstrates that quality of holiness in Him which must find
expression in His condemnation of sin (Vine 274; 970); proof [perhaps] demonstration (Arndt 262); for
demonstration of his righteousness (Lenski 254); to demonstrate His own justice (Williams).
[ 106 ]EN TE ANOCHEE TOU THEOU, in the forbearance of God (Marshall 612); [ANECHOO to
hold up], holding back [to the divine method of dealing with sin] . . . held back the redeeming agency
. . . until the fullness of time (Vincent 3.48); [ANA up, ECHOO to have or hold], a holding back,
denotes forbearance, a delay of punishment (Vine 446); see Romans 2:4; toleration, forbearance . . .
In Greek writings a holding back, delaying (Thayer 49); in connection with the forbearance of God
(Lenski 254); holding back, delay, pause (Arndt 72); for in His forbearance (Williams).
[ 107 ]DIA TEEN PARESIN, because of the passing by (Marshall 612); primarily, a letting go,
dismissal [akin to PARIEMI to let alone, loosen], denotes a passing by or pretermission [of sin], a
suspension of judgment, or withholding of punishment (Vine 838); pretermission, passing over, letting
pass, neglecting, disregarding . . . because God had patiently let pass the sins committed previously
[to the expiatory death of Christ], that is, had tolerated, had not punished [and so man's conception of
his holiness was in danger of becoming dim, if not extinct] (Thayer 488); because of the passing over,
letting go unpunished (Arndt 81, 626); God had passed over (Williams); because of his passing over
[ 108 ]PROGEGONOTOON, having previously occurred (Marshall 612); perfect active participle,
genitive plural neuter of PROGINOMAI (Han 301); that are past, HAMARTEMATOON, the collective
sins of the world before Christ (Vincent 3.48); [PRO before, GINOIMAI to become, come to pass],
[sins] that happened before, of sins committed in times previous to the atoning sacrifice of Christ (Vine
839); became or arose before, happened before, sins previously committed (Thayer 538); sins that were
committed in former times, that is, when God showed forbearance (Arndt 703); the sinful acts
previously done (Lenski 254); men's former sins (Williams).
[ 109 ]PROS TEEN ENDEIXIN, for the showing forth (Marshall 612); vindication, proof; W. G.
Kummel favors demonstration (Arndt 262); to show (Goodspeed 144); demonstration, proof (Thayer
213); to demonstrate (Williams); in view of the demonstration (Lenski 254).
[ 110 ]EN TOO NUN KAIROO, in the present time (Marshall 612); literally, in the now season; the
construction is with the past, not with the future (Vincent 3.48); the present age (Arndt 546); the
present, fixed and definite time (Thayer 318, 430); at the present period (Lenski 254); at the present
[ 111 ]TEES DIKAIOSUNEES AUTOU, of the righteousness of him (Marshall 612); the character
or quality of being right or just, of His righteousness as exhibited in the Death of Christ, which is
sufficient to show men that God is neither indifferent to sin nor regards it lightly (Vine 970); his justice
(Goodspeed 144); the righteousness bestowed by God (Arndt 197); his holiness (Thayer 149); his own
justice (Williams); of his righteousness (Lenski 254); see note on verse 24.
[ 112 ]EIS TO EINAI AUTON DIKAION, for the to be him=that he should be just (Marshall 612);
EINAI is the present active infinitive of EIMI (Han 301); the perfect agreement between [God's] nature
and His acts [in which He is the standard for all men] (Vine 613); that he is upright himself (Goodspeed
144); just, righteous with reference to his judgment of men and nations (Arndt 195); to prove that He
is right Himself (Williams); so as to be righteous (Lenski 254).
[ 113 ]KAI DIKAIOUNTA, and justifying (Marshall 612); DIKAIOUNTA is the present active
participle, accusative singular masculine of DIKAIOOO (Han 301); and making believers righteous
(Vincent 3.49); present participle of the verb, literally "justifying" (Vine 615); of God's judgment
[especially of His] activity (Arndt 197); and that he makes those who have faith in Jesus upright also
(Goodspeed 144); respecting God who judges and declares such men as put faith in Christ to be
righteous and acceptable to him, and accordingly fit to receive the pardon of their sins and eternal life
(Thayer 150). How can God be strict in condemning sin and at the same time make sinful man
righteous? Through the death of Christ. "He showed that he had so great a regard for [his law] that
he would not pardon one sinner without an atonement" (Barnes 4.91); and that He considers right with
Himself (Williams); and declaring righteous (Lenski 254).
[ 114 ]TON EK PISTEOOS 'IEESOU, the [one] of faith of [in] Jesus (Marshall 612); literally, him
which is of faith in Jesus (Vincent 3.49); objective genitive, faith in Jesus (Arndt 663); him who is of
faith in Jesus (Lenski 254); the man who has faith in Jesus (Williams).
[ 115 ]POU OUN HEE KAUCHEESIS, where therefore the boasting (Marshall 612); not the ground
of boasting which would be KAUCHEEMA (Vincent 3.49); denotes the act of boasting (Vine 485); the
act of glorying (Thayer 342); so where has human boasting gone? (Williams); where then, the glorying?
[ 116 ]EXEKLEISTHEE, It was shut out (Marshall 612; Lenski 265); third person singular, first aorist
passive indicative of EKKLEIOO (Han 301); a peculiarly vivid use of the aorist tense. It was excluded
by the coming in of the revelation of righteousness by faith (Vincent 3.49); shut out, said of glorying
in works as a means of justification (Vine 388); passive, shut out, the same as turned out of doors: to
prevent the approach of one (Thayer 195); it was completely shut out (Williams).
[ 117 ]DIA POIOU NOMOU, through what law? (Marshall 612); literally, by what kind of a law
(Vincent 3.49); of what sort or nature [of law] (Thayer 527); generic of any kind of law, by what kind
of law ( Arndt 542); by what manner of law? that is, by what sort of principle [has the glorying been
excluded]? (Vine 643); through what kind of law (Lenski 265); on what principle? [literally, through
what sort of law (in the sense of principle of operation)] (Williams); NEB, NIV and Williams follow
Vine with "on what principle." Bear in mind that these are paraphrases and not translations of the
[ 118 ]TOON ERGOON, of works? (Marshall 612); literally, the works, of which the Jew makes so
much. Is it a law that enjoins these works? Nay, but a law which enjoins faith (Vincent 3.49, 50);
works demanded by and agreeing with the law, the law demanding works (Thayer 248, 428); of the
works? (Lenski 265); on that of doing something? (Williams); Williams, a Baptist, paraphrases the
Greek to rule out the necessity of baptism for remission of sins (see Ac 2:38); the NIV with "on that
of observing the law" fails to translate a single Greek word but supplies six words here that are not in
the Greek. Is the Holy Spirit pleased with this treatment of the words He inspired Paul to write?
[ 119 ]OUCHI, ALLA DIA NOMOU PISTEOOS, no, but through a law of faith (Marshall 612); a
law which enjoins faith (Vincent 3.50); a law of faith (Vine 644); the law demanding faith (Thayer
428); the [a] law requiring faith (Arndt 543); no, but through faith's law (Lenski 265).
[ 120 ]Vine 644.
[ 121 ]LOGIZOMETHA GAR, For we reckon (Marshall 612); LOGIZOMETHA is first person plural,
present middle indicative of LOGIZOMAI (Han 301); of numerical calculation, metaphorically, by a
reckoning of characteristics or reason, take into account, "we conclude" (Vine 930); think, believe, be
of the opinion with, we hold that man is justified (Arndt 476); followed by an accusative with infinitive
suppose, deem, judge (Thayer 379); we reckon therefore (Lenski 265); for we hold (Williams).
[ 122 ]DIKAIOUSTHAI . . . ANTHROOPON, to be justified . . . a man (Marshall 612);
DIKAIOUSTHAI is the present passive infinitive of DIKAIOOO (Han 301); equivalent simply to "a
person," or "one," [is justified] whether man or woman (Vine 705); one (Arndt 69); equivalent to the
German indefinite man, one (Thayer 46); that a man is brought into right standing with God (Williams);
a man to be declared righteous (Lenski 265).
[ 123 ]PISTEI, by faith (Marshall 612; Williams; Lenski 265); passive, DIKAIOUSTHAI PISTEI
(Thayer 513); "Luther's addition of the word `alone' in verse 28 is hard to contest from the viewpoint
of language" (Arndt 663). It would not be so hard to contest if Arndt and Ginrich would only read
[ 124 ]In my German translation of the NT by Martin Luther, the word "alone" appears in this verse.
[ 125 ]CHOORIS ERGOON NOMOU, without works of law (Marshall 612); apart from, without,
separate from (Vine 54); without regard to the observance of the law (Arndt 891); without the
intervention, participation or cooperation of [the works of the law] (Thayer 675); that observance of
the law has no connection with it (Williams); apart from works of law (Lenski 265).
[ 126 ]HEIPER HEIS HO THEOS, since [there is] one God (Marshall 612); if at least, if, as we are
sure is the case, Ellicott 4.219).
[ 127 ]HOS DIKAIOOSEI, who will justify (Marshall 612); DIKAIOOSEI is third person singular,
future active indicative of DIKAIOOO (Han 301); who will justify; Especially it is so used, in the
technical phraseology of Paul, respecting God who judges and declares such men as put faith in Christ
to be righteous and acceptable to him, and accordingly fit to receive the pardon of their sins and eternal
life . . . with the addition of EK [in consequence of] (Thayer 150); he who will declare righteous
[ 128 ]PERITOMEEN EK PISTEOOS, circumcision by faith (Marshall 612); who will consider the
Jews in right standing with Himself, only on condition of their faith (Williams); circumcision as the
result of faith (Lenski 272).
[ 129 ]EK PISTEOS KAI . . . DIA TES PISTEOS, some make the prepositions [EK, DIA] equivalent.
The difference may be explained from the fact that the real Jew has already a germinating faith from
the completion of which justification arises as fruit from a tree . . . "The Jews are justified out of [EK]
the faith which their father Abraham had, and which they are supposed to have in him. The Gentiles
must enter that door and pass through it in order to be justified" (Vincent 3.50); and the heathen
peoples on the same condition (Williams); and foreskin through that faith (Lenski 273); see Ephesians
[ 130 ]Littrell.
[ 131 ]NOMON OUN KATARGOUMEN, Law therefore do we destroy? (Marshall 612);
KATARGOUMEN is first person plural, present active indicative of KATARGEOO (Han 301); cause
[the law] to cease, put an end to, do away with, annul, abolish [it] (Thayer 336); reduce to inactivity,
render useless (Vine 348); are we, then, abolishing law (Lenski 273); do we then make null and void
the law? (Williams).
[ 132 ]DIA TEES PISTEOOS, through the faith (Marshall 612); of the instrument used to accomplish
a thing, or of the instrumental cause in the stricter sense . . . where a subject expressly mentioned is
said to do or to have done a thing by some . . . thing (Thayer 133); through this faith (Lenski 273);
through faith (Williams).
[ 133 ]MEE GENOITO, May it not be (Marshall 612); GENOITO is third person singular, second
aorist middle optative of GINOMAI (Han 301); far be it! God forbid! (Thayer 115); not at all
(Williams); perish the thought! (Lenski 273); see note on verse 4.
[ 134 ]ALLA, but (Marshall 612); but, to mark contrast or opposition (Vine 775); instead (Williams);
on the contrary (Lenski 273).
[ 135 ]NOMON HISTANOMEN, law we establish (Marshall 612); HISTANOMEN is first person
plural, present active indicative of HISTANOO (Han 301); [we] establish, cause to stand, that is,
uphold or sustain the authority or force of [the law], opposite of KATARGOO [to make void] (Thayer
308); cause to stand (Vine 371); figurative, establish, confirm, make or consider valid (Arndt 382).
Macknight sees, in this verse, the establishment of the moral law. "Wherefore law, in this passage,
does not signify the law of Moses in general, but that more ancient and universal law just now
described, the precepts of which are written in the law of Moses, and established in the strongest
manner by the gospel, as a rule of duty" (Macknight 73; see Ro 6:14). Christ obeyed the moral law
and the law of Moses perfectly and without sin (1Pe 2:22); we are establishing law (Lenski 273); we
confirm it (Williams).
Copyright ©2004, Charles Hess, Lakeside, California,
This material may be copied for personal study only.
It may not be distributed or published in any form whatever
without the copyright
owner's written permission.
This copyright notice must be included on all copies
The basic text, and all quotations not designated otherwise,
are from the New King James Version, copyrighted ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
All rights reserved. Used by permission. Bracketed alternatives are drawn from various
sources such as the ASV, Darby, KJV and RSV.
Greek transliteration follows the BibleSoft method.
Published in The Old Paths Archive
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