Romans 3:19
Now we know that what things soever the law said, it said to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeChrysostomClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerNewellParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTeedTTBVWSWESTSK
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(19) In order to bring home this testimony of Scripture more directly to the Jews, and to prevent any subterfuge by which they might attempt to shift the reference from themselves on to the Gentiles, the Apostle calls attention to the fact that the Law—i.e., the Old Testament, from which he has been quoting—speaks especially to those to whom it was given.

Saith . . . saith.—Different words are here used in the Greek; the first is applicable as much to the matter as to the utterance of that which is spoken, the second refers specially to the outward act by which it is enunciated or promulgated; this is addressed to certain persons.

Guilty before God.—Rather, guilty to God; the dative expresses the person to whom the penalty is due.

Romans

WORLD-WIDE SIN AND WORLD-WIDE REDEMPTION

Romans 3:19 - Romans 3:26
.

Let us note in general terms the large truths which this passage contains. We may mass these under four heads:

I. Paul’s view of the purpose of the law.

He has been quoting a mosaic of Old Testament passages from the Psalms and Isaiah. He regards these as part of ‘the law,’ which term, therefore, in his view, here includes the whole previous revelation, considered as making known God’s will as to man’s conduct. Every word of God, whether promise, or doctrine, or specific command, has in it some element bearing on conduct. God reveals nothing only in order that we may know, but all that, knowing, we may do and be what is pleasing in His sight. All His words are law.

But Paul sets forth another view of its purpose here; namely, to drive home to men’s consciences the conviction of sin. That is not the only purpose, for God reveals duty primarily in order that men may do it, and His law is meant to be obeyed. But, failing obedience, this second purpose comes into action, and His law is a swift witness against sin. The more clearly we know our duty, the more poignant will be our consciousness of failure. The light which shines to show the path of right, shines to show our deviations from it. And that conviction of sin, which it was the very purpose of all the previous Revelation to produce, is a merciful gift; for, as the Apostle implies, it is the prerequisite to the faith which saves.

As a matter of fact, there was a far profounder and more inward conviction of sin among the Jews than in any heathen nation. Contrast the wailings of many a psalm with the tone in Greek or Roman literature. No doubt there is a law written on men’s hearts which evokes a lower measure of the same consciousness of sin. There are prayers among the Assyrian and Babylonian tablets which might almost stand beside the Fifty-first Psalm; but, on the whole, the deep sense of sin was the product of the revealed law. The best use of our consciousness of what we ought to be, is when it rouses conscience to feel the discordance with it of what we are, and so drives us to Christ. Law, whether in the Old Testament, or as written in our hearts by their very make, is the slave whose task is to bring us to Christ, who will give us power to keep God’s commandments.

Another purpose of the law is stated in Romans 3:21, as being to bear witness, in conjunction with the prophets, to a future more perfect revelation of God’s righteousness. Much of the law was symbolic and prophetic. The ideal it set forth could not always remain unfulfilled. The whole attitude of that system was one of forward-looking expectancy. There is much danger lest, in modern investigations as to the authorship, date, and genesis of the Old Testament revelation, its central characteristic should be lost sight of; namely, its pointing onwards to a more perfect revelation which should supersede it.

II. Paul’s view of universal sinfulness.

He states that twice in this passage {Romans 3:20 - Romans 3:24}, and it underlies his view of the purpose of law. In Romans 3:20 he asserts that ‘by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified,’ and in Romans 3:23 he advances from that negative statement to the positive assertion that all have sinned. The impossibility of justification by the works of the law may be shown from two considerations: one, that, as a matter of fact, no flesh has ever done them all with absolute completeness and purity; and, second, that, even if they had ever been so done, they would not have availed to secure acquittal at a tribunal where motive counts for more than deed. The former is the main point with Paul.

In Romans 3:23 the same fact of universal experience is contemplated as both positive sin and negative falling short of the ‘glory’ {which here seems to mean, as in John 5:44, John 12:43, approbation from God}. ‘There is no distinction,’ but all varieties of condition, character, attainment, are alike in this, that the fatal taint is upon them all. ‘We have, all of us, one human heart.’ We are alike in physical necessities, in primal instincts, and, most tragically of all, in the common experience of sinfulness.

Paul does not mean to bring all varieties of character down to one dead level, but he does mean to assert that none is free from the taint. A man need only be honest in self-examination to endorse the statement, so far as he himself is concerned. The Gospel would be better understood if the fact of universal sinfulness were more deeply felt. Its superiority to all schemes for making everybody happy by rearrangements of property, or increase of culture, would be seen through; and the only cure for human misery would be discerned to be what cures universal sinfulness.

III. So we have next Paul’s view of the remedy for man’s sin.

That is stated in general terms in Romans 3:21 - Romans 3:22. Into a world of sinful men comes streaming the light of a ‘righteousness of God.’ That expression is here used to mean a moral state of conformity with God’s will, imparted by God. The great, joyful message, which Paul felt himself sent to proclaim, is that the true way to reach the state of conformity which law requires, and which the unsophisticated, universal conscience acknowledges not to have been reached, is the way of faith.

The message is so familiar to us that we may easily fail to realise its essential greatness and wonderfulness when first proclaimed. That God should give righteousness, that it should be ‘of God,’ not only as coming from Him, but as, in some real way, being kindred with His own perfection; that it should be brought to men by Jesus Christ, as ancient legends told that a beneficent Titan brought from heaven, in a hollow cane, the gift of fire; and that it should become ours by the simple process of trusting in Jesus Christ, are truths which custom has largely robbed of their wonderfulness. Let us meditate more on them till they regain, by our own experience of their power, some of the celestial light which belongs to them.

Observe that in Romans 3:22 the universality of the redemption which is in Christ is deduced from the universality of sin. The remedy must reach as far as the disease. If there is no difference in regard to sin, there can be none in regard to the sweep of redemption. The doleful universality of the covering spread over all nations, has corresponding to it the blessed universality of the light which is sent forth to flood them all. Sin’s empire cannot stretch farther than Christ’s kingdom.

IV. Paul’s view of what makes the Gospel the remedy.

In Romans 3:21 - Romans 3:22 it was stated generally that Christ was the channel, and faith the condition, of righteousness. The personal object of faith was declared, but not the special thing in Christ which was to be trusted in. That is fully set forth in Romans 3:24. We cannot attempt to discuss the great words in these verses, each of which would want a volume. But we may note that ‘justified’ here means to be accounted or declared righteous, as a judicial act; and that justification is traced in its ultimate source to God’s ‘grace,’-His own loving disposition-which bends to unworthy and lowly creatures, and is regarded as having for the medium of its bestowal the ‘redemption’ that is in Christ Jesus. That is the channel through which grace comes from God.

‘Redemption’ implies captivity, liberation, and a price paid. The metaphor of slaves set free by ransom is exchanged in Romans 3:25 for a sacrificial reference. A propitiatory sacrifice averts punishment from the offerer. The death of the victim procures the life of the worshipper. So, a propitiatory or atoning sacrifice is offered by Christ’s blood, or death. That sacrifice is the ransom-price through which our captivity is ended, and our liberty assured. As His redemption is the channel ‘through’ which God’s grace comes to men, so faith is the condition ‘through’ which {Romans 3:25} we make that grace ours.

Note, then, that Paul does not merely point to Jesus Christ as Saviour, but to His death as the saving power. We are to have faith in Jesus Christ {Romans 3:22}. But that is not a complete statement. It must be faith in His propitiation, if it is to bring us into living contact with His redemption. A gospel which says much of Christ, but little of His Cross, or which dilates on the beauty of His life, but stammers when it begins to speak of the sacrifice in His death, is not Paul’s Gospel, and it will have little power to deal with the universal sickness of sin.

The last verses of the passage set forth another purpose attained by Christ’s sacrifice; namely, the vindication of God’s righteousness in forbearing to inflict punishment on sins committed before the advent of Jesus. That Cross rayed out its power in all directions-to the heights of the heavens; to the depths of Hades {Colossians 1:20}; to the ages that were to come, and to those that were past. The suspension of punishment through all generations, from the beginning till that day when the Cross was reared on Calvary, was due to that Cross having been present to the divine mind from the beginning. ‘The judge is condemned when the guilty is acquitted,’ or left unpunished. There would be a blot on God’s government, not because it was so severe, but because it was so forbearing, unless His justice was vindicated, and the fatal consequences of sin shown in the sacrifice of Christ. God could not have shown Himself just, in view either of age-long forbearance, or of now justifying the sinner, unless the Cross had shown that He was not immorally indulgent toward sin.Romans 3:19-20. Now what things soever the law saith — That is, the Old Testament, for these quotations are not made from any part of the five books of Moses, but from the Psalms and Prophets; it saith to them that are under the law — That is, to those who own its authority, to the Jews, and not to the Gentiles. The apostle quoted no scripture against them, knowing it would have answered no end to do so, as they did not acknowledge the authority of the Scriptures; but he pleaded with them only from the light of nature; that every mouth — Full of cursing and bitterness: Romans 3:14, and yet of boasting, Romans 3:27, may be stopped — And have nothing to plead; and the whole world — Not only the Gentiles, but the Jews also; may become guilty — May be fully convicted as guilty, and evidently liable to most just condemnation. These things were written of old, and were quoted by Paul, not to make men guilty, but to prove them so. Therefore by the deeds of the law — By works of complete obedience to the law of God, whether natural or revealed; there shall no flesh be justified — Or pronounced righteous. That the word law must here be taken in this extent, appears evidently from the conclusion which the apostle here draws, and from the whole tenor of his subsequent argument; which would have had very little weight, if there had been room for any to object: Though we cannot be justified by our obedience to the law of Moses, we may be justified by our obedience to God’s natural law. And nothing can be more evident, than that the premises from which this conclusion is drawn refer to the Gentiles as well as the Jews; and consequently that law has here, and in many subsequent passages, that general sense. “Every one failing,” says Locke, “of an exact conformity of his actions to the immutable rectitude of that eternal rule of right, mentioned Romans 1:32, will be found unrighteous, and so incur the penalty of the law. That this is the meaning of the expression here used, εργα νομου, works of law, is evident, because the apostle’s declaration is concerning πασα σαρξ, all flesh. But we know the heathen world were not under the law of Moses.” For by the law — By that written on man’s heart, as well as by that revealed, is the knowledge of sin — Of our sinfulness and guilt, of our weakness and wretchedness. This strongly implies the broken and disordered state of human nature; in consequence of which, the precepts which God gives us, even the moral precepts, serve only, or at least chiefly, to convict us of guilt, and not to produce an obedience by which we can finally be acquitted and accepted. Whereas, were we not fallen and depraved creatures, by his holy law we should have the knowledge of our being righteous; for when weighed in the balance of it, we should not be found wanting.3:19,20 It is in vain to seek for justification by the works of the law. All must plead guilty. Guilty before God, is a dreadful word; but no man can be justified by a law which condemns him for breaking it. The corruption in our nature, will for ever stop any justification by our own works.Now we know - We all admit. It is a conceded plain point.

What things soever - Whether given as precepts, or recorded as historical facts. Whatever things are found in the Law. "The law saith." This means here evidently the Old Testament. From that the apostle had been drawing his arguments, and his train of thought requires us here to understand the whole of the Old Testament by this. The same principle applies, however, to all law, that it speaks only to those to whom it is expressly given.

It saith to them ... - It speaks to them for whom it was expressly intended; to them for whom the Law was made. The apostle makes this remark in order to prevent the Jew from evading the force of his conclusion. He had brought proofs from their own acknowledged laws, from writings given expressly for them, and which recorded their own history, and which they admitted to be divinely inspired. These proofs, therefore, they could not evade.

That every mouth may be stopped - This is perhaps, a proverbial expression, Job 5:15; Psalm 107:42. It denotes that they would be thoroughly convinced; that the argument would be so conclusive as that they would have nothing to reply; that all objections would be silenced. Here it denotes that the argument for the depravity of the Jews from the Old Testament was so clear and satisfactory, that nothing could be alleged in reply. This may be regarded as the conclusion of his whole argument, and the expressions may refer not to the Jews only, but to all the world. Its meaning may, perhaps, be thus expressed, "The Gentiles are proved guilty by their own deeds, and by a violation of the laws of nature. They sin against their own conscience; and have thus been shown to be guilty before God Romans 1. The Jews have also been shown to be guilty; all their objections have been silenced by an independent train of remark; by appeals to their own Law; by arguments drawn from the authority which they admit. Thus, the mouths of both are stopped. Thus, the whole world becomes guilty before God." I regard, therefore, the word "that" here ἵνα hina as referring, not particularly to the argument from the Law of the Jews, but to the whole previous train of argument, embracing both Jews and Gentiles. His conclusion is thus general or universal, drawn from arguments adapted to the two great divisions of mankind.

And all the world - Both Jews and Gentiles, for so the strain of the argument shows. That is, all by nature; all who are out of Christ; all who are not pardoned. All are guilty where there is not some scheme contemplating forgiveness, and which is not applied to purify them. The apostle in all this argument speaks of what man is, and ever would be, without some plan of justification appointed by God.

May become - May "be." They are not made guilty by the Law; but the argument from the Law, and from fact, proves that they are guilty.

Guilty before God - ὑπόδικος τῷ Θεῷ hupodikos tō Theō. Margin, "subject to the judgment of God." The phrase is taken from courts of justice. It is applied to a man who has not vindicated or defended himself; against whom therefore the charge or the indictment is found true; and who is in consequence subject to punishment. The idea is that of subjection to punishment; but always because the man personally deserves it, and because being unable to vindicate himself, he ought to be punished. It is never used to denote simply an obligation to punishment, but with reference to the fact that the punishment is personally deserved." This word, rendered "guilty," is not used elsewhere in the New Testament, nor is it found in the Septuagint. The argument of the apostle here shows,

(1) That in order to guilt, there must be a law, either that of nature or by revelation Rom. 1; 2; 3; and,

(2) That in order to guilt, there must be a violation of that law which may be charged on them as individuals, and for which they are to be held personally responsible.

19. Now we know that what … the law—that is, the Scriptures, considered as a law of duty.

saith, it saith to them that are under the law—of course, therefore, to the Jews.

that every mouth—opened in self-justification.

may be stopped, and all the world may become—that is, be seen to be, and own itself.

guilty—and so condemned

before God.

Another anticipation of an objection, to this purpose: All these testimonies (might the Jews say) do not concern us, they concern the impure and Gentile world only, unless possibly some profane wretches amongst ourselves also. But to this the apostle says; We know (which some think hath the force of an asseveration) that whatsoever the law of God, more especially the Mosaical law, or more generally all that is contained in the Scripture, saith of the wickedness and defection of mankind, it saith to the Jews more particularly, to whom the law was given, and who are under the conduct of it; much the same with that phrase, Romans 2:12: see Romans 6:15 1 Corinthians 9:20.

That every mouth may be stopped; i.e. hindered from boasting, to which the Jews were so prone; or rather, that conscience might so press them, that they should silently, or as it were speechless, expect their own damnation. without being able to frame any excuse: see Psalm 63:11 Ezekiel 16:63 Matthew 22:12.

And all the world may become guilty before God; that Jews and Gentiles and all mankind, as depraved, might be obnoxious to the judgment and condemnation of God: see Romans 3:9, and John 3:18. Now we know that what things soever the law saith,.... By "the law" is meant, not the law of nature, nor the civil law of nations, nor the ceremonial law of the Jews, nor barely the five books of Moses, nor the book of Psalms, of the Prophets, or the writings of the whole Old Testament; but the moral law, as it appears in the whole word of God, which every man is bound to observe, of which all are transgressors, by which is the knowledge of sin, which no man can be justified by, and which Christ was made under, and came to fulfil. This law is represented as a person speaking, and saying many things, some of which are here mentioned; so, , "the law says" so and so, is an usual phrase with Jewish writers (y). The persons it speaks to, are

them that are under the law; the Jews were in a peculiar sense under it, as it was given to them by Moses; all mankind are under it, as to the matter of it; they are under obligation to obedience to it, and, through disobedience, come under its sentence of condemnation. The elect of God themselves were, and are in some sense under it; not indeed as a covenant of works, or as in the hands of Moses, nor as a yoke of bondage; nor are they obliged to seek for justification by it, and are entirely delivered from the curse and condemnation of it by Christ. They were under it, and that as a covenant of works, as in Adam, the federal head and representative of all mankind; and came under its sentence of condemnation and death, for his sin, and their own actual transgressions; which is consistent with the everlasting love of God to them in Christ, the covenant of grace made with them in him, as their head and surety, and their justification by him: and they are now under it, as in the hands of Christ; and look upon themselves as obliged, by the love of Christ, to yield a cheerful obedience to it: here it means such as are transgressors of the law, and so under obligation to punishment, without any regard to Jew or Gentile, or any distinction God has made in his own breast: and the things it says to such are, it charges them with sin, and convicts them of it, both of its pollution and guilt: so

that every mouth may be stopped; and have nothing to say of the purity of their nature, which appears to be so sadly stained; nor of their works of righteousness, which are so few, and so very imperfect. The law makes such a representation of things to them, that their mouths are stopped from glorying in themselves, and in their works, which are far from being adequate to the demands of the law; and from complaining against the righteous judgment of God, should he proceed against them in the most rigorous manner:

and all the world may become guilty before God; Jews and Gentiles; all the individuals of mankind are guilty before God, and will be found to be so, sooner or later: some read it, "subject to God", and understand it of a subjection to his grace, being brought to see their need of it, and of salvation by it; but this is not the case of all the world, rather signifies a subjection to that justice, vengeance, and wrath of God, to which all men are liable in their own persons; since they are all found guilty by the law, and will appear to be so, and therefore can never be justified by their obedience to it; which is what the apostle is aiming at in all he here says, as appears from what follows; all which "we know" to be true, and are fully assured of, who know the nature and spirituality of the law, and to whom it has come with light and power.

(y) T. Bab. Roshhashanah, fol. 16. 1. Taanith, fol. 21. 2.

{5} Now we know that what things soever the {m} law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that {6} every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become {n} guilty before God.

(5) He proves that this grievous accusation which is uttered by David and Isaiah correctly refers to the Jews.

(m) The Law of Moses.

(6) A conclusion of all the former discussions, from Ro 1:18 on. Therefore, says the apostle, no man can hope to be justified by any law, whether it be that general law, or the particular law of Moses, and therefore to be saved: seeing it appears (as we have already proved) by comparing the law and man's life together, that all men are sinners, and therefore worthy of condemnation in the sight of God.

(n) Be found guilty before God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Romans 3:19. The preceding quotations (“in quibus magna est verborum atrocitas,” Melancthon) were intended to prove that Jews and Gentiles are collectively under the dominion of sin (Romans 3:9); but how easily might it be imagined on the part of the conceited Jews (see especially Eisenmenger’s entdecktes Judenthum, I. p. 568 ff.) that the above passages of Scripture (of which those in Romans 3:10-12, taken from Psalms 14, really refer originally to the Gentiles, to Babylon), however they might affect the Gentiles, could have no application to themselves, the Jews, who had no need therefore to take them to themselves, as if they also were included in the same condemnation. Such a distinction, however, which could only promote a self-exaltation and self-justification at variance with the divine purpose in those declarations of His word, they were to forego, seeing that everything that the Scripture says has its bearing for the Jews. The Apostle therefore now continues, and that with very emphatic bringing out of the ὅσα in the first half of the verse and of the πᾶν and πᾶς in the second: we know however (as in Romans 2:2) that whatsoever the law saith, it speaketh to those that are in the law, consequently that the Jews may not except themselves from the reference of any saying in Scripture.

ὅσα] whatsoever, therefore also what is expressed in such condemnatory passages as the above, without exception.

ὁ νόμος] in accordance with its reference to Romans 3:10-18, is necessarily to be taken here as designation of the O. T. generally (comp 1 Corinthians 14:21; John 10:34; John 12:34; John 15:25; 2Ma 2:18); not, with Hunnius, Calovius, Balduin, and Sebastian Schmid, of the law in the dogmatic sense (comp Matthias); or of the Mosaic law, as Ammon and Glöckler, Th. Schott and Hofmann take it, confusing in various ways the connection.[785] So also van Hengel, who quite gratuitously wishes to assume an enthymeme with a minor premiss to be understood (but the law condemns all those sinners). The designation of the O. T. by ὁ νόμος, which forms the first, and for Israel most important, portion of it, was here occasioned by ΤΟῖς ἘΝ Τῷ ΝΌΜῼ, i.e. those who are in the law as their sphere of life.

λέγει.… λαλεῖ] All that the law says (materially, or respecting its contents, all λόγοι of the law), it speaks (speaks out, of the outward act which makes the λόγοι be heard, makes known through speech) to those who, etc. Comp on John 8:43; Mark 1:34; 1 Corinthians 9:8; 1 Corinthians 12:3. The dative denotes those to whom the ΛΑΛΕῖΝ applies (Krüger, § 48, 7, 13). Those who have their state of life within the sphere of the law are to regard whatsoever the law says as addressed to themselves, whether it was meant primarily for Jews or Gentiles. How this solemnly emphatic quaecunque heaps upon the Jews the Divine sentence of “guilty,” and cuts off from them every refuge, as if this or that declaration did not apply to or concern them!

ἵνα πᾶν στόμα Κ.Τ.Λ[787]] in order that every mouth (therefore also the Jew) may be stopped (Hebrews 11:33; Psalm 107:42; Job 5:16; and see Wetstein), etc. This, viz. that no one shall be able to bring forward anything for his justification, is represented in ἵνα—which is not ita ut—as intended by the speaking law, i.e. by God speaking in the law. Reiche unjustly characterises this thought as absurd in every view and from every standpoint; the ἵνα πᾶν κ.τ.λ[788] does not announce itself as the sole and exclusive end, but on the contrary, without negativing other and higher ends, merely expresses one single and special teleological point, which is however the very point which the connection here required to be cited. The time to be mentally supplied for φραγῇ and ΓΈΝΗΤΑΙ is the future generally reckoned from the present of λαλεῖ, not that of the final judgment, which does not harmonise with the thought in Romans 3:9 to which the series of Scripture testimonies in Romans 3:10-18 is appended.

ὑπόδικος] punishable, κατάκριτος, ἀπαῤῥησίαστος, Theophylact; frequently used by classic writers, but elsewhere neither in the N. T. nor in the LXX. or Apocrypha.

Τῷ ΘΕῷ] belongs, not to ΦΡΑΓῇ (Matthias), but, after the manner of the more closely defining parallelism, merely to ὙΠΌΔΙΚ. ΓΈΝΗΤΑΙ: to God, as the Being to whom the penalty is to be paid. The opposite is ἀναίτιος ἀθανάτοισιν, Hesiod, ἜΡΓ. 825, and ΘΕΟῖς ἈΝΑΜΠΛΆΚΗΤΟς, Aesch. Agam. 352. Comp Plat. Legg. viii. p. 816 B: ὑπόδικος ἔστω τῷ βλαφθέντι, p. 868 D, 11, p. 932; Dem. 518, 3 a[790].

ΓΈΝΗΤΑΙ] The result which is to manifest itself, as in Romans 3:4.

Πᾶς Ὁ ΚΌΣΜΟς] quite generally (Romans 3:9); comp Ephesians 2:3. And if Paul has described[792] this generality (comp also Romans 3:23) thus “insigni figura et verborum emphasi” (Melancthon), the result extending to all humanity is not contradicted by the virtue of individuals, such as the patriarchs; for from the ideal, but at the same time legally true (comp Galatians 3:10), standpoint of the Apostle this virtuousness is still no ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣΎΝΗ (but only a minor degree of the want of it), and does not therefore form an exception from the category of the ὙΠΌΔΙΚΟΝ ΕἾΝΑΙ Τῷ ΘΕῷ. See Romans 3:20. Though different as respects degree, yet all are affected and condemned by the declarations quoted; every one has a share in this corruption.[795]

[785] According to Hofmann (compare his Schriftbeweis, I. p. 623 f.; so too, in substance, Th. Schott) the train of thought is: after ver. 9 ff. the only further question that could be put is, whether anything is given to Christians that exempts them from the general guilt and punishment. The law possibly? No, “they know that this law has absolutely (ὅσα) no other tenor than that which it presents to those who belong to its domain, for this purpose, that the whole world, in the same extent in which it is under sin, must in its own time (this idea being conveyed by the aorists φραγῇ and γένηται), when it comes to stand before God its Judge, be dumb before Him and recognise the justice of His condemning sentence.” This interpretation, obscuring with a far-fetched ingenuity the plain sense of the words, and wringing out of it a tenor of thought to which it is a stranger, is a further result of Hofmann’s having misunderstood the προέχομεθα in ver. 9, and having referred it, as also the subsequent προῃτιασάμεθα, to the Christians as subject, an error which necessarily deranged and dislocated for him the entire course of argument in vv. 9–20. At the same time it would not be even historically true that the law has absolutely no other tenor, etc.

[787] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[788] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[790] l and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[792] From the poetic tenor of the passage ἵνα πᾶν κ.τ.λ. Ewald conjectures that it reproduces a passage from the O. T. that is now lost. But how readily may it be conceived that Paul, who was himself of a deeply poetic nature, should, in the vein of higher feeling into which he had been brought by the accumulated words of psalm and prophecy, spontaneously express himself as he has done! That ὑπόδικος does not again occur in his writings, matters not; ἔνδικος also in ver. 8 is not again used.

[795] Compare Ernesti, Urspr. d. Sünde, II. p. 152 f.Romans 3:19. At this point the first great division of the epistle closes, that which began with chap. Romans 1:18, and has been occupied with asserting the universal prevalence of sin. “We know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are in the law,” i.e., to the Jews. For the distinction of λέγειν (in which the object is the main thing) and λαλεῖν (in which the speaker and the mode of utterance are made prominent), see Trench, Synonyms, § lxxvi., and commentary on John 8:43. It is most natural to suppose that by “the things the law says” Paul means the words he has just quoted from the O.T. These words cannot be evaded by the very persons to whom the O.T. was given, and who have in it, so to speak, the spiritual environment of their life. In this case, ὁ νόμος is used in the wider sense of the old revelation generally, not specifically the Pentateuch, or even the statutory part of Scripture. For this use of the word, cf. 1 Corinthians 14:21, where ἐν τῷ νόμῳ introduces a quotation from Isaiah 28:11 : and John 10:34 (your law), Romans 15:25 (their law), both prefacing quotations from Psalms (Psalm 82:6, Psalm 35:19). At first sight there seems a disparity between the two parts of the verse. How does the fact that those who are under the law are impeached and condemned by such utterances of the law as those just quoted subserve the Divine intention to stop every mouth and make all the world answerable to God? We must suppose that all other men—that is, the Gentiles, who are not under the law—are convicted already; and that what is needed to prepare the way for the universal Gospel of grace is that those who have been under law should admit concerning themselves, what they are prompt enough to assert of all others (“sinners of the Gentiles”: Galatians 2:15), that they have not a word to say, and are liable to God’s judgment. ὑπόδικος is a classical word, found here only in the N.T. Sanday and Headlam remark its “forensic” character.19. the law] Here not the Pentateuch, but the O. T. as a whole. So John 10:34; John 15:25. The O. T. does indeed predict and reveal much of redeeming mercy; but its main characteristic work (apart from prophecy) is to reveal the preceptive will of God and the sin of man.

under the law] Lit. in the law; within its precincts, its dominion. These persons are here the Jews, the primary objects of the O. T. message. The Gentiles are otherwise convicted; and the Jews being now also thus convicted (from the very title-deeds of their privileges) both of sin and of exposure to its doom, “the whole world is found guilty.” We must remember that the Apostle has had in view the Pharisaic prejudice that the only really endangered sinners were the “sinners of the Gentiles.” See Appendix A.

guilty] The original word occurs here only in N. T. A common classical meaning is “liable to legal process, actionable.” Every human soul owes to God the awful forfeit for sin. Strong, indeed, is the language of this verse, but no conscience that ever really awoke to the holiness of God thought it at last too strong.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.Verses 19, 20. - Now we know that what things soever the Law (ὁ νόμος here for the Old Testament generally as the embodiment and exponent of the Law) saith, it speaketh to them that are under the Law (not to the world outside, but to those within its own sphere): that every mouth (the Jew's as well as the Gentile's) may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Because by works of law (νόμος here suitably without the article; see on Romans 2:13) shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for through law is knowledge of sin. In this concluding verse the apostle briefly intimates the reason of law's inefficacy for justification, anticipating, after a manner usual with him, what is afterwards to be more fully set forth, as especially in ch. 7. The reason is that law in itself only defines sin and makes it sinful, but does not emancipate from it. We know

Often in Paul, of a thing generally conceded.

Saith - speaketh (λέγει - λαλεῖ)

See on Matthew 28:18. The former contemplates the substance, the latter the expression of the law.

May be stopped (φραγῇ)

Lit., fenced up. The effect of overwhelming evidence upon an accused party in court.

May become guilty before God (ὑπόδικος γένηται τῷ Θεῷ)

Rev., brought under the judgment of God. Ὑπόδικος under judgment, occurs only here. In classical Greek it signifies brought to trial or liable to be tried. So Plato, "Laws," 846, of a magistrate imposing unjust penalties. "Let him be liable to pay double to the injured party." Id., 879, "The freeman who conspired with the slave shall be liable to be made a slave." The rendering brought under judgment regards God as the judge; but He is rather to be regarded as the injured party. Not God's judgments, but His rights are referred to. The better rendering is liable to pay penalty to God.

Links
Romans 3:19 Interlinear
Romans 3:19 Parallel Texts


Romans 3:19 NIV
Romans 3:19 NLT
Romans 3:19 ESV
Romans 3:19 NASB
Romans 3:19 KJV

Romans 3:19 Bible Apps
Romans 3:19 Parallel
Romans 3:19 Biblia Paralela
Romans 3:19 Chinese Bible
Romans 3:19 French Bible
Romans 3:19 German Bible

Bible Hub






Romans 3:18
Top of Page
Top of Page