Romans 3
Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?
Romans 3:1. Τί, what). Paul’s usual form of bringing in an objection.—οὖν) then. Since circumcision is unprofitable without observing the law, and since being a Jew outwardly is of no avail, what advantage does the latter possess, and of what profit is the former? It therefore must follow, that the Jews have no peculiar privileges whatever. Paul denies this conclusion. There are innumerable exceptions taken against the doctrine set forth in this epistle, by the perverseness of the Jews, and of mankind at large; but Paul sweeps them all away.—τὸ τερισσὸν, peculiar advantage), יתר, over [as compared with] the Gentiles. This point is taken up at Romans 3:2ὠφέλεια τῆς περιτομῆς, the profit of circumcision) See on this subject ch. Romans 2:25.

Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.
Romans 3:2. Πολύ, much) In the neuter gender; supply περισσίν. It rather refers to the concrete, concerning the Jew, than to the abstract, concerning circumcision, Romans 3:1; this will be treated of at ch. Romans 4:1; Romans 4:9, etc. So, ch. Romans 2:29, οὗ, viz. Ἰουδαίου, the Jew [instead of ἦς, though περιτομή had preceded].—πρῶτον) i.e. first, and therefore chiefly; the word signifying in the next place, does not always follow [after πρῶτον]. One privilege of the Jews, admirably adapted to Paul’s object, is set forth in this passage (the others will follow, ch. Romans 9:4-5); and by this very one, he is about, by and by, after he has ended this prefatory address of conciliation, so much the more to convict them.[33]—ἐπιστεύθησαν, they were intrusted with) He, to whom a treasure is intrusted, may manage it either faithfully and skilfully, or otherwise; and the Jews treated the Old Testament Scriptures in very different ways. But Paul says, that the oracles of God were intrusted to the Jews in such a manner [under this condition], that the good about to come, Romans 3:8, which they [the oracles] described, would belong to the Jews, if they would receive it by faith;—ideas extremely suggestive: God is true, faithful, intrusting His revelation to men, righteous; man is mendacious, perfidious, distrustful, unrighteous.—λόγια), a diminutive. The Divine answers were often brief, as in the Urim and Thummim: ΛΌΓΙΟΝ is also [God’s] saying [Romans 3:4], concerning circumcision, and the other privileges of the Israelites.

[33] On the προθεραπέιᾳ, i.e., precautionary address to disarm prejudices, when about to speak unwelcome truths. See Appendix.—ED.

For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?
Romans 3:3. Τί γὰρ, for what?), viz. shall we say Romans 3:5, where likewise μὴ, interrogative, follows; so, τί γάρ, LXX., Job 21:4.—ἐι, if) Thus might the Gentile rival easily object.—ἠπίστησαν) The words derived from a common root are, ἐπιστεύθησαν, ἠπίστησαν, ἀπιστία, πίστιν.—τινὲς, some) [for many, most of the Jews], a form of expression to avoid what is disagreeable [euphemy]. Moreover, unbelievers, though numerous, are considered as some indefinitely, because they do not very much come under enumeration, ch. Romans 11:17; 1 Corinthians 10:7; 1 Timothy 4:1.—πίστιν), the faithfulness, by which promises will be performed, and good will come [Romans 3:8]. This faithfulness remains, though all men should be unfaithful [unbelieving]; it remains, chiefly in respect of believers. They who deny universal grace, have but little [perception or] knowledge of the faithfulness of God in respect to unbelievers. With respect even to the reprobate, the antecedent will of God ought, indeed, to be held as of great account; for what they have not, they, nevertheless, might have had; and this very circumstance confers upon them an altogether great privilege; and even though they do not perceive it to be so [or uphold it], still this peculiar advantage [Romans 3:1, τὸ περισσόν] remains, that the glory of God, and the glory of the faithfulness of God, are illustrated in them. Comp. the expression, hath abounded, Romans 3:7. This, the peculiar advantage, is not to be held as of no account. The apostle, when he would vindicate our faith, with great propriety praises the faithfulness of God. Comp. 2 Timothy 2:13.—καταργήσει; shall it make of no effect?) The future, employed with great force in a negative address. The faithfulness of God is unchangeable.

God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
Romans 3:4. Μὴ γένοιτο) Paul alone uses this form of expression, and only in his epistles to the Romans and the Galatians.—γινέσθω, let him be made) in judgement.—ὁ Θεὸς ἀληθὴς, God true) See Psalm 116:12, where God’s most faithful retribution is set in opposition to man’s perfidy. This fact, and the term lying, are referred to again, in verse 7.—πᾶς ἄνθρωπος, every man), not even excepting David. Psalm 116:11, the LXX. have πᾶς ἄνθρωπος ψεύστης, every man a liar. Hence David, 1 Samuel 24:9, speaks of man’s words, that is, falsehood.—ὄπωςκρίνεσθαί σε) So the LXX., Psalm 51:6 [4]. Those things are also [besides their application at David’s time] Prophetical, which David prayed in the agony [conflict] of his repentance.—ἂν), if only it [God’s faithfulness] were to be had recourse to, and if man would dare to put it to the test.—δικαιωθῇςνικήσῃς, thou mayest be justified—mayest overcome), in the name of faithfulness and truth. The human judge judges so, as that the offence of the guilty is the only consideration weighed [regarded] by him, nor is he otherwise concerned as regards [vindicating] his own righteousness; but God exercises judgement so, as that the unrighteousness of men is not more demonstrated thereby, than His own righteousness: νικᾷν is generally said of a victory after the hazard of war, or of a lawsuit for money, or of a contest in the public games. In this passage, it is said of a judicial victory, which cannot but come to God [i.e. God is sure to be the victor].—ἐν τοῖς λόγοις σου) Hebr. בדברך, in which one passage דבר occurs in Kal, without the participle, that is, when thou beginnest to speak, and judicially to answer man, who accuses thee, or to proceed against him. [In a general way, indeed, men acknowledge that GOD is just, but when the question refers to special cases, then they are wont [they love] to defend their own cause, V. g.]—ἐν τῷ κρίνεσθαί σε) Hebr. בשפטך God at once both Κρίνει and Κρίνεται. Κρίνεται [implead in judgment] has the meaning of the middle voice, such as verbs of contending usually have: κρίνοντας applies to those who dispute in a court of law. LXX., Isaiah 43:26; Jdg 4:5; Jeremiah 25:31. An instance in illustration is to be found in Micah 6:2, etc.; also in 1 Samuel 12:7. It is inexpressible loving-kindness in God to come down [condescend to stoop] to man for the purpose of pleading with him.

But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man)
Romans 3:5. Εὶ δὲ, but if) This new argument, urged through a Jewish person, is elicited from the verb thou mayest be justified, in the preceding verse.—ἡ ἀδικία, unrighteousness) of which a man is guilty through unbelief.—τι ἐροῦμεν, what shall we say) Paul shows that this, their peculiar advantage [Romans 3:1], does not prevent the Jews from being under sin.—ὁ ἐπιφέρων) the inflicter of wrath [taketh vengeance] upon the unbelieving Jews. The article has a particular force. The allusion is to Psalm 7:11, ὁ Θεὸς κριτὴς δίκαιος, και μὴ (אַל for אֵל; the LXX. from the similarity of letters, mistaking God for not], ἑπάγων ὀργὴν καθʼ ἑκάστην ἡμέραν: God is a just judge, and (not being substituted for God) a God inflicting wrath.—κατὰ ἄνθρωπον, as a man) Man, according to the principles of human nature, might reason thus: My wickedness is subservient to the Divine glory, and makes it the more conspicuous, as darkness doth the light; therefore, I should not be punished.

God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?
Romans 3:6. Ἐπεὶ, otherwise) The consequence is drawn [bound, connected] from the less to the greater, as it ought to be in the case of negatives. If God were to act unrighteously, in taking vengeance on the Jew who acts unrighteously, a thing too absurd to be mentioned, He certainly could not judge the whole world. Affirmatively, the process of reasoning would take this form: He who (justly) Judges the whole world, will doubtless also judge justly in this one particular case. [Vice versa] The conclusion is, in its turn, drawn from the greater to the less at 1 Corinthians 6:2.—τὸν κόσμον, the world) For even the unrightousness of the whole world (which is put in opposition to the Jews, at ch. Romans 11:12), commends the righteousness of God; and yet God pronounces, and with justice, the whole world to be unrighteous, Genesis 18:25. Nay, in the very judgment, the unrighteousness of man will greatly illustrate the righteousness of God. The Jew acknowledges the righteousness of the Divine judgment regarding the world; but Paul shows that there is the same ground for judgment regarding the unbelieving Jews.

For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?
Romans 3:7. Εἰ γὰρ, for if) An Ætiologia[34] [a sentiment, with the grounds on which it rests subjoined] set forth in the form of a dialogue, for the purpose of strengthening the objection which was introduced at the beginning of Romans 3:5. ψεύσματι, through my lie) The things which God says are true, and he who does not believe these, makes God a liar, being in reality himself the liar.—τί) that is, why do I even still excuse myself, as if I had some reason to fear? Comp. τί ἔτι, ch. Romans 9:19; Galatians 5:11.—κᾀγὼ) I also, to whom the truth of God has been revealed; not merely the heathen.—κρίνομαι) corresponds to κρίνεσθαι, Romans 3:4; Romans 3:6, LXX.; Job 2:9 (Job 40:4) τί ἔτι ἐγὼ κρίνομαι;

[34] See Appendix.

And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.
Romans 3:8. Καὶ μὴ, and not) supply, Acts so, as [and why should I not act so, as, ect.]; but a change of number or person is introduced, such as in ch. Romans 4:17.—καθὼς, as) Some were in the habit of calumniating Paul; others were of this way of thinking, and said that their opinions were approved by Paul.—φασί τινες, some say) who make our support the pretext to cover over [justify] their own perverseness. This epistle was principally written for the purpose of Paul’s confuting such as these.—ἡμᾶς, that we) who maintain the righteousness of God.—ὅτι) This depends strictly [absolutely] on λέγειν.—ποιήσωμεν, let us do) without fear. τὰ χαχὰ, evil) sins.—ἔλθῃ, τὰ ἀγαθὰ, good may come) The same phrase occurs with the LXX. int. Jeremiah 17:6. Those calumniators mean to say this: Good is at hand, ready to come; but evil should prepare the way for it.—τὰ ἀγαθὰ, good) the glory of God.—ἇν, of whom) that is of those who do evil, or even say that we ought to do evil, in order that good may come.—τὸ κρίμα) the judgment, which these unprincipled men endeavour to escape by a subterfuge, as unjust [unrighteous], will peculiarly [in an especial degree] overtake them—ἔνδικον, just) Thus Paul removes to as great a distance as possible that conclusion, and abruptly repels such disputers.

What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
Romans 3:9. Τί οὖν; what then?) He resumes the question with which he began at Romans 3:1.—προεχόμεθα;) have we any advantage as compared with the Gentiles?—οὐ πάντως[35]) the Jew would say πάντως: but Paul contradicts him. In the beginning of this passage, he speaks gently (for, in other places, where μηδαμῶς is used, οὐ πάντως cannot be substituted for it; and in this passage the expression, by no means [μηδαμῶς, had it been used], would take away the concession which he made to them at Romans 3:2); but he afterwards speaks with greater severity.—προῃτιασάμεθα) we have proved, before that I had mentioned the peculiar privilege of the Jews. Paul deals, in Chapters 1 and 2, as a stern Administrator [Procurator] of divine justice; but yet he was unwilling to use the singular number. By the plural number, he expresses the assent of his believing readers: πάντας, all the Jews [as well as] all the Greeks.—ὑφ ἁμαρτίαν) ὑπό denotes subjection, as if under the tyranny of sin.

[35] Beng. seems to translate “not altogether;” quite different from “in no wise.”—ED.

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Romans 3:10. Καθως, as) That all men are under sin, is very clearly proved from the vices which always, and everywhere, have been prevalent [have stalked abroad] among mankind; just as, also, the internal holiness of Christ is displayed in [pourtratyed by means of] the innocency of His words and actions. Paul therefore quotes, with propriety, David and Isaiah, although it is concerning the people of their own times that they complain, and that accompanied with an exception in favour of the godly [some of whom are always to be found], Psalm 14:4, etc. For that complaint describes men such as God looking down from heaven finds them to be, not such as He makes them by His grace.

Romans 3:10. Ὅτι οὐκ ἔστι δίκαιος οὐδὲ εἷς κτλ.) Psalm 14:2, etc. The LXX., ὀυκ ἔστι ποιῶν χρηστότητα, οὐκ ἔστιν ἕως ἑνός.—εἰ ἔστι συνιῶν ἢ ἐκζητῶν τὸν Θεόν.—ἑνός, The general phrase is, there is none righteous; the parts follow: the dispositions and pursuits, Romans 3:11-12; the conversation, Romans 3:13-14; the actions, Romans 3:15-17; the general demeanour, (gestus et nutus), ver.18.—δίκαιος, righteous) a suitable word in a discourse on righteousness.—οὐδὲ εἷς, not even one) who can except any one here? Romans 3:23, not so much as one under heaven. The exception, even of one, or at least of a few, might procure [conciliate] favour to all; as it is, wrath is on that account the greater.

There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
Romans 3:11. ὀὺκ ἒστιν ὁ συνιῶν, there is none that understandeth) They are without understanding in relation to what is good.—ὀὺκ ἔστιν ὁ ἐκζητῶν, there is none that seeketh after) They are without the will to do good. To seek after, implies that God is מסתתר hidden, Isaiah 45:15.

They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Romans 3:12. Ἐξέκλιναν, they have turned aside) they have gone out of the way. Declension supposes, that all had formerly been in the right path.—ἅμα, together) at the same time.—ἠχρειώθησαν. They have become unprofitable) They have not the power of returning to do good. And on the contrary, in all these particulars they cling to what is evil, either secretly, or even openly. They have become unfit for any useful purpose (ἀχρεῖοι). The conjugate word χρηστότης presently after follows.

Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
Romans 3:13. Τάφοςιὂςἀυτῶν) so the LXX., Psalm 5:10; Psalm 140:4.—ἀνεῳγμένος) a sepulchre lately opened, and therefore very fetid.—ὁ λάρυγξ, their throat) Observe the course of the conversation, as it flows from the heart, by the avenue of their throat, their tongues, and their lips—the whole is comprised in the mouth; a great part of sin consists in words.—ὑπὸ τὰ χείλη) under theirlips; for on their lips is the sweetness of honey.

Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
Romans 3:14. ὧν τὸ στόμα ἀρᾶς καὶ πικρίας γέμει) Psalm 10:7, LXX., οὗ ἀρᾶς τὸ στόμα ἀυτοῦ γέμει καὶ πικρίας καὶ δόλου.—τὸ στόμα, the mouth) In this and the following verse violence is described, as, in Romans 3:13, deceit.—ἀρᾶς, cursing) directed against God.—πικρίας, bitterness) against their neighbour.

Their feet are swift to shed blood:
Romans 3:15-18. Ὀξεῖςοὐκ ἔγνωσαν) Isaiah 59:7-8, LXX., οἱ δὲ πόδες αὐτῶνταχινοὶ ἐκχέαι αἷμασύντριμμα οὐκ οἰδασι. So of the feet, Proverbs 1:16.

Destruction and misery are in their ways:
Romans 3:16. Σύντριμμα καὶ ταλαιπαρία), שר ושבר, wasting and destruction.

And the way of peace have they not known:
Romans 3:17. Οὐκ ἔγνωσαν, they have not known) they neither know, nor wish to know.

There is no fear of God before their eyes.
Romans 3:18. Οὐκ αὐτῶν) so the LXX., Psalm 36:2, οὐκἀυτοῦςφόβος, fear), not to say love, of which man in his natural state knows much less. Of several passages, in which human depravity is expressed, either in the complaint of God and of the saints, or else in the confessions of the penitent, Paul has written out a part of the words, and intimates that all the rest are to be sought for out of the same places.—ὀφθαλμῶν, their eyes) The seat of reverential awe is in the eyes.

Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
Romans 3:19. Ὄσα) whatsoever. He has just now accumulated many testimonies from the law.—νόμος, the law) Therefore the testimony, Romans 3:10, etc., brought forward from the Psalms, arraigns [strikes] the Jews; nor ought they to think, that the accusations therein contained are against the Gentiles. Paul has brought no declaration of Scripture against the Gentiles, but has dealt with them by arguments drawn from the light of nature.—νόμοςνόμῳ) An instance of Δεινοτης,[36] [impressive vehemence in words]—ἹΝΑ, that) He presses this home to the Jews.—στόμα) mouth, bitter, Romans 3:14, and yet given to boasting, Romans 3:27. The Jews are chiefly intended here, as the Gentiles by the term world.—γένηται, may be made) [become] The world is always guilty, but it is made guilty, when the law accuses and condemns it.—πᾶς, all) not even excepting the Jews. The guilt of the Gentiles, as being manifest, is presupposed; the Jews are prosecuted to condemnation by arguments out of the law. These are guilty; and their condemnation completes the condemnation of the whole world as guilty.

[36] See Appendix.

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Romans 3:20. Διότι) for this reason, because) [Beng. connects this verse with Romans 3:19. But Eng. vers. ‘therefore’).—νόμου, of the law) indefinitely put, but chiefly referring to the moral law, Romans 3:19, ch. Romans 2:21-26; which [the moral law] alone is not made void; Romans 3:31; for it was the works of it that Abraham was possessed of, before he received circumcision. Paul, in affirming that we are not justified by the works of the law, as opposed to faith, not to any particular law, means the whole law, of which the parts, rather than the species, were the ceremonial and the moral; and of these the former, as being even then abrogated, was not so much taken into account; the latter does not bind us [is not obligatory] on the same principle [grounds] as it was [when] given by Moses. In the New Testament we have absolutely no works of the law without [independently of] grace; for the law confers no strength. It is not without good reason, that Paul, when he mentions works, so often adds, of the law; for it was on these that his opponents were relying: and were ignorant of those better works, which flow as results from faith and justification.—οὐ δικαιωθήσεται, shall not be justified) on the signification of this word, see Luke 7:35. In the writings of Paul at least, the judicial meaning is quite manifest, Romans 3:19; Romans 3:24, etc., ch. Romans 4:5, taken in connection with context. Concerning the future tense, comp. v. 30, note.—πᾶσα σὰρξ, all flesh) synonymous with the world, Romans 3:19, but with the accompanying notion implied of the cause: the world with its righteousness is flesh; therefore it is not justified [by works flowing] out of itself.—ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ, in His sight) ch. Romans 4:2, Romans 2:29.—νόμου, law) which was given for that very purpose.—ἐπίγνωσις), the knowledge of sins does not justify by itself, but it feels and confesses the want of righteousness.—ἀμαρτίας, of sin) Sin and righteousness are directly and commensurately opposed to each other [adequate; so that one on its side is exactly commensurate with the other on its side]; but sin implies both guilt and depravity; therefore righteousness denotes the reverse of both. Righteousness is more abundant, ch. Romans 5:15; Romans 5:17. Apol. A. C. says well, Good works in the saints are the fruits of [appertain to] righteousness, and are pleasing on account of faith; on this account they are the fulfilling of the law. Hence δικαιοῦν is to make a man righteous, or in other words, to justify; a notion quite in accordance with the form of the verb in οω: nor is there any difficulty in the derivative verb, but in δίκαιος. He then, who is justified, is brought over [translated] from sin to righteousness, that is, from guilt or criminality to a state of innocence, and from depravity and corruption to spiritual health. Nor is there a homonymy,[37] or twofold idea, [when by analogy things different by nature are expressed by one word], but a signification at once simple, and pregnant in the terms sin and righteousness, the same as also everywhere prevails in the term ἄφεσις, forgiveness, [remission], and in the words, by which it is implied, ἁγιάζω, to sanctify, ἀπολούω, to wash away, καθαρίζω, to purify, etc., 1 Corinthians 6:11, notes; Psalm 103:3; Micah 7:18, etc. And this pregnant [suggestive] signification itself of the verb to justify, implying the whole of the divine benefit, by which we are brought from sin to righteousness, occurs also, for example, in Titus 3:7; with which comp. 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 8:4; with which comp. ch. Romans 5:16. But elsewhere, according as the subject under discussion demands, it is restricted to some particular part, and especially to deliverance from sin, so far as guilt is regarded in it: and Paul always uses it so, when, according to his design, he is treating of God justifying the sinner by faith.

[37] See Appendix.

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Romans 3:21. Νυνί) now [as it is] forms the antithesis, including the idea of time, Romans 3:26.—χωρὶς νόμουὑπο τοῦ νόμου καὶ τῶν προφητῶν, without the law—by the law and the prophets) A sweet antithesis. The law is taken both in a limited and extended sense [David, for instance, must be reckoned among the prophets, ch. Romans 4:6.—V. g.].—πεφανέρωται, has been manifested) by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.—μαρτυρουμένη, being witnessed by, having the testimony of) according to [by] promise.

Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Romans 3:22. Δὲ [even] but) An explanation is here given of the righteousness of God, Romans 3:21.—διὰ πίστεως Ἰησο͂υ κριστο͂υ, by faith of Jesus Christ) by faith in Jesus.—See Galatians 2:16, notes.—εἰς, unto) To be connected with the righteousness, Romans 3:21.—εἰς πάντας, unto all) the Jews, who are, as it were, a peculiar vessel.—ἐπὶ πάντας, upon all) the Gentiles, who are as a soil which receives an exceedingly abundant rain of grace, comp. Romans 3:30.—οὐ γάρ ἐστι διαστολή, for there is no difference) Jews and Gentiles are both accused and justified in the same way. The same phrase occurs in ch. Romans 10:12.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 3:23. Ἥμαρτον, have sinned) that is, they have contracted the guilt of sin. Both the original act of sin in paradise is denoted, and the sinful disposition, as also the acts of transgression flowing from it. The past tenses often have an inchoative meaning along with the idea of continued action; such as ἐπίστευσα, ἤλπικα, ἠγάπηκα, ὑπήκουσα, ἓστηκα, I have believed, and still continue to believe; I have hoped, and still continue to hope; I have loved, and still continue to love; I have obeyed, and still continue to obey; I have established myself, and still establish myself.—καὶ ὑστεροῦνται, and come short) From the past tense, have sinned, flows this present, come short, and by this word the whole peculiar advantage [Romans 3:1] of the Jews, and all the boasting of all flesh, are taken away; the former is a thing done [past], and the latter is a thing now established; each of them [ᾕμαρτον and ὑστεροῦνται] denotes deficiency; they do not attain, ch. Romans 9:31.—τῆς δόξης τοῦ Θεο͂υ, of the glory of God) The glory of the living God Himself is signified, which bestows life, ch. Romans 6:4; and to this, access was open to man if he had not sinned; but, as a sinner, he fell short of this end of his being; nor does he now attain to it, nor is he able, by any means, to endure that glory which would have [but for sin] shone forth in him, Hebrews 12:20, etc.: Psalm 68:2. Hence he has become subject to death; for glory and immortality are synonymous terms, and so, also, are death and corruption; but Paul does not more expressly mention death itself, until after the process of justification, and its going forth even to [its issue in] life, have been consummated; he then looks at death as it were from behind. ch. Romans 5:12. Therefore, the whole state of sin is most exquisitely pourtrayed thus, in this masterly passage: They come short of, or are far from the glory of God; that is, they have missed [aberrarunt a: erred from] the chief end of man; and in this very fact is implied [included], at the same time, every lesser aberration. But those who are justified recover the hope of that glory, along with most immediately realized glorying [viz., in Christ] in the meanwhile (of which [i.e. of boasting] in themselves, they had been deprived, Romans 3:27), and [recover] the kingdom in life. See, by all means, ch. Romans 5:2; Romans 5:11; Romans 5:17, Romans 8:30, at the end of the verse. Wherefore, the antithetic idea to they have sinned, is explained at Romans 3:24, and the following verses; and ch. 4 throughout, on justification; the antithetic idea to they have come short, is set forth in ch. 5, with which, comp. ch. Romans 8:17, and the following verses.

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Romans 3:24. Δικαιούμενοι, Those who are justified) Suddenly, a more pleasant scene is thus spread before us.—τῇ αὐτο͂υ χάριτι) by His own grace, not inherent in us, but has it were inclining of its own accord towards us; which is evident from the conjugate verbs χαρίζομαι and χαριτόω. Melancthon, instead of grace, often uses the expression favour and mercy. His own is emphatic. Comp. the following verse.—ἀπολυτρώσεως)—ἀπολύτρωσις, redemption from sin and misery. Atonement [expiation] or propitiation (ἱλασμὸς) and ἀπολύτρωσις, redemption, are fundamentally one single benefit and no more, namely, the restoration of the lost sinner. This is an exceedingly commensurate and pure idea, and adequately corresponds to the name JESUS. Redemption has regard to enemies (and on this point the positive theology of Koenig distinctly treats in the passage where he discusses Redemption), and reconciliation refers to God; and here, again, there is a difference between the words ἱλασμὸς and καταλλαγὴ. Ἱλασμὸς, propitiation takes away the offence against God: καταλλαγὴ may be viewed from two sides; it removes (α) God’s indignation against us, 2 Corinthians 5:19; (β) and our alienation from God, 2 Corinthians 5:20.—ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησο͂ν, in Christ Jesus) It is not without good reason that the name Christ is sometimes put before Jesus. According to the Old Testament [From Old Testament point of view], progress is made from the knowledge of Christ to the knowledge of Jesus; in the experience of present faith [From the New Testament point of view, the progress is] from the knowledge of Jesus to the knowledge of Christ. Comp. 1 Timothy 1:15, notes.

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Romans 3:25. Προέθετο) hath set forth before the eyes of all. Luke 2:31. The πρὸ in προεθετο does not carry with it the idea of time, but is much the same as the Latin proponere, to set forth.—ἱλαστήριον, a propitiatory [Eng. vers. not so strictly, “propitiation”]) The allusion is to the mercy-seat [propitiatory] of the Old Testament, Hebrews 9:5; and it is by this Greek term that the LXX generally express the Hebrew בפדח, Exodus 25:17-22. Propitiation goes on the supposition of a previous offence, which opposes the opinion of the Socinians.—ἐν τῷ αὐτο͂υ αἳματι, in His own blood) This blood is truly propitiatory. Comp. Leviticus 16:2; Leviticus 16:13, etc.—εἰς ἔνδειξιν τῆς δικαιοσύνης ἀυτο͂υ, to the declaration of [for the demonstration of] His righteousness) This is repeated in the following verse, as if it were after a parenthesis, for the purpose of continuing the train of thought; only that instead of ἐις, Latin in, there is used in the following verse προς, ad, which implies a something more immediate,[38] ch. Romans 15:2. Ephesians 4:12.—ἔνδειξιν [demonstration], declaration) Comp. notes at ch. Romans 1:17.—διὰ τὴν πάρεσιν, for [Engl. Vers.] the pretermission [passing by]) Paul, in the Acts, and epistles to Ephesians, Colossians, and Hebrews, along with the other apostles, often uses ἄφεσιν, remission: None but he alone, and in this single passage, uses πάρεσιν, pretermission; and certainly not without some good reason. There was remission even before the advent and death of Christ, ch. Romans 4:7; Romans 4:3; Matthew 9:2, in so far as it implies the application of grace to individuals; but pretermission in the Old Testament had respect to transgressions, until (ἀπολύτρωσις) redemption of [or from] them was accomplished in the death of Christ, Hebrews 9:15; which redemption, ἀπολύτρωσις, itself is, however, sometimes also called ἄφεσις, Ephesians 1:7. Παρίεναι is nearly of the same import as ὑπεριδε͂ιν, Acts 17:30. Hence, in Sir 23:3 (2) μὴ φεὶδεσθαι and μὴ παριέναι are parallel; for both imply the punishment of sin. Ed. Hoeschel, p. 65, 376. πάρεσις, pretermission [the passing over or by sins] is not an imperfect ἄφεσις, remission; but the distinction is of quite a different sort; abolition or entire putting away is opposed to the former (as to this abolition, ἀθέτησις, see Hebrews 9:26), retaining to the latter, John 20:23. Paul, at the same time, praises God’s forbearance. The object of pretermission are sins; the object of forbearance are sinners, against whom God did not prosecute His claim. So long as the one and other of these existed, the justice [righteousness] of God was not so apparent; for He did not seem to be so exceedingly angry with sin as He really is, but appeared to leave the sinner to himself, ἀμελεῖν, to regard not. Hebrews 8:9 [ἠμέλησα, “I regarded them not”]; but in the blood and atoning death of Christ, God’s justice [righteousness] was exhibited, accompanied with His vengeance against sin itself, that He might be Himself just, and at the same time accompanied with zeal for the deliverance of the sinner, that He might be Himself [at the same time also] the justifier; and therefore very frequent mention of this vengeance and of this zeal is made by the prophets, and especially by Isaiah, for example, Isaiah 9:6, and Isaiah 61:2. And διὰ, on account of [not for, as Eng. vers.] that pretermission in the forbearance of God, it was necessary that at some time there should be made a demonstration [a showing forth, ἔνδεοξιν] of His justice [righteousness].—προγεγονότων) of sins which had been committed, before atonement was made for them by the blood of Christ. Comp. again Hebrews 9:15.

[38] εἰς, towards, with a view to; πρός, for, with the effect of.—ED.

To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Romans 3:26. [Romans 3:25, Engl. Vers.] Ἐν, in marks the time of forbearance [but Engl. Vers., through]. The antithesis [to that, the time of forbearance] is, in the present time [ἐν τῷ νῦν καιρῷ] where also the νῦν, present, corresponds to the προ, before, in προγεγονότωνεἰς τό εἷναι αὐτόν δίκαιον καὶ δικαιοῦντα, that He might be just and the justifier) The justice of God not merely appeared, but really exercised itself in the blood-shedding of Christ. Comp. the notes on the preceding verse, αὐτὸν, He Himself, in antithesis to the person to be justified. We have here the greatest paradox, which the Gospel presents; for, in the law, God is seen as just and condemning; in the Gospel, He is seen as being just Himself, and, at the same time, justifying the sinner.—τὸν ἐκ πίστεως) him who is of faith [who believeth, Engl. Vers.] comp. the ἐκ, ch. Romans 2:8, [ἐξ ἐριθείας, influenced by contention].

Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
Romans 3:27. Ποῦ, where) A particle showing the argument to be complete and unanswerable. 1 Corinthians 1:20; 1 Corinthians 15:55; comp. 2 Peter 3:4.—ἡ χαύχησις, boasting) of the Jew, over the Gentiles, towards God, ch. Romans 2:17, etc., Romans 4:2. He may boast, who can say, I am such as [all that] I ought to be, having fully attained to righteousness and life. The Jews sought for that ground for boasting in themselves.—διὰ ποίον νόμου) by what law, supply ἐξεκλείσθη ἡ καύχησις, is boasting excluded; or rather, by what law is the thing [justification] accomplished? A similar ellipsis is found at ch. Romans 4:16, [διὰ τοῦτο ἐχ πίστεως, therefore it is accomplished of or by faith].—οὐχὶ, nay) Although a man, according to the law, might have [i.e., supposing he might have] righteousness and a reward, yet he could not boast before God; comp. Luke 17:10; now as it is, seeing that there is no righteousness to be had by the law, there remains much less room for boasting; and boasting is much more excluded by the law of faith, than by the law of works.—νόμον πίστεως, the law of faith) An appropriate catachresis [change[39] in the application] of the word law. This [justification by faith] is also a law, inasmuch as being of Divine appointment, to which subjection [submission] is due, ch. Romans 10:3. [They have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God].

[39] See Appendix.

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Romans 3:28. Λογιζόμεθα γὰρ) γὰρ for οὖν, in this sense: So far as regards these things; for we wished to set it forth as fully proved, that it is by faith, etc. Most copies read οὖν,[40] but it seems to have been repeated from Romans 3:27, and ΓᾺΡ serves the purpose of the argument against boasting, which is now deduced from justification through faith, Romans 3:22.—ΠΊΣΤΕΙ, by faith) Luther, allein durch den glauben; by faith alone, or rather only by faith, as he himself explains, T. V. Jen. f. 141. Arithmetically expressed the demonstration stands thus:—

[40] BC and both Syr. Versions with Rec. Text οὖν. But AΛGfg Vulg. and Memph. Vers. read γάρ.—ED.

The matter in dispute involves two elements,

Faith and Works,


Works are excluded,


Faith alone remains,


If one be subtracted from two, one remains [comp. ch. Romans 11:6]. So the μόνον, only, is expressed at Romans 3:29; and so the LXX. added μόνον, only in Deuteronomy 6:13, in accordance with [to complete] the Sense: with which comp. Matthew 4:10. The Vulgate has solum, only, Job 17:1, etc., πίστει μόνη, by faith alone, Basil., hom. 22, On Humility. In short, James, in discussing this very subject, and refuting the abuse of the doctrine of Paul, adds μόνον, only, ch. Romans 2:24. [And, in fact, volumes are on sale, abounding with testimonies of persons who used the word allein, only, before the time of Luther.—V. g.] Justification takes place through faith itself, not in so far as it is faith [not in the fact of its being faith; as if there were merit in itself] or a work of the law, but, in so far as it is faith of Christ, laying hold of Christ; that is, in so far as it has in it something apart from the works of the Law. Galatians 3:12. [Take care, however, lest this point should be misunderstood. Faith alone justifies; but it neither is, nor does it remain alone; it is constantly working inwardly and outwardly.—V. g.]—ἄνθρωπον) איש, any man whatever, Jew and Greek, with which comp. the following verse. So ἄνθρωπος, a man, 1 Corinthians 4:1.

Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
Romans 3:29. Ναὶ καὶ ἐθνῶν, yea also of the Gentiles [although they are without the law.—V. g.], as nature teaches, and the Old Testament prophecies.

Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
Romans 3:30. Επεἱπὲρ,[41] seeing that indeed) The inference is: if justification be by the law, then the Gentiles, who are without the law, cannot be justified; and yet they also rejoice in God, as a justifier, ch. Romans 4:16.—εἷς) ΕἿς, Ὁ ΘΕῸς, one, namely God; the relative who depends on one, as its antecedent.—δικαιώσει, shall justify) The future, as we find it in many other passages, ch. Romans 1:17, Romans 3:20, v. 19, 27; 2 Corinthians 3:8, therefore, we have in express terms, μέλλοντος, that was to come, ch. Romans 5:14; μέλλει, will be, ch. Romans 4:24. Paul speaks as if he were looking forward out of the Old Testament [from the Old Testament stand-point] into the New. It is to this that those expressions refer, ex. gr., foreseeing, Galatians 3:8; the promise, ib. 14; the hope, ib. Romans 5:5. So John is said to be about to come, Matthew 11:14; Matthew 17:11; the wrath to come, Matthew 3:7, where we have the discourse of the forerunner, which presupposes the threatenings.[42]—ἘΚ ΔΙᾺ, of or out of [by, Engl. Vers.]—through) The Jews had been long ago in the faith; the Gentiles had lately obtained faith from them. So through is used, Romans 3:22; Ephesians 2:8; of or out of [by, ἐκ] in a number of passages. It is well [right] by all means to compare the same difference in the particles in ch. Romans 2:27; and difference in the thing signified [i.e., the different footing of the Jew and Gentile] ch. Romans 11:17, etc.—διὰ τῆς) He does not say, ΔΙᾺ ΤῊΝ ΠΊΣΤΙΝ, on account of faith, but through faith.

[41] So ΛG; “quoniam quidem unus,” fg Vulg. Iren. 186, 259. But ABC Orig. 4,228a, read ἐιπερ εἷς; “si quidem unus,” in g.—ED.

[42] i.e., the wrath to come is taken for granted from the Old Testament; John’s part is to warn them to flee from it.—ED.

Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
Romans 3:31. Νόμον, the law) This declaration is similar to the declaration of our Lord, Matthew 5:17.—ἱστῶμεν, we establish) while we defend [uphold] that which the law witnesseth to, Romans 3:20-21, and while we show, how satisfaction is truly made to the law through Christ.

Gnomon of the New Testament by Johann Bengel

Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bible Hub
Romans 2
Top of Page
Top of Page