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Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges
Romans 3



Other Authors
Verse 1

1. τὸ περισσὸν = excess, good or bad. Matthew 5:37; cf. 1 Corinthians 8:8; 2 Corinthians 3:9. Here = advantage or relative gain.

Verses 1-20

1–20. A brief statement of the true nature of the Jew’s position, to be fully dealt with in chh. 9, 10. (See p. 55.) The argument is thrown into the form of a dialogue.

Verse 2

2. πρῶτον μὲν γὰρ.… The enumeration is not carried out, but cf. Romans 9:4-5. γὰρ simply introduces an explanation of the preceding statement. “γὰρ saepe ponitur ubi propositionem excipit tractatio,” Bengel on Lk. xii. 58, ap. Winer-M. p. 568 (b).

The drift of this very condensed argument is—the Jews received in charge the revelation of GOD’S will and purpose in the scriptures; the failure of some to believe, when Christ offered them the consummation of that revelation, does not affect the validity of the revelation or diminish the privilege of the Jew as offered to him by GOD. The scriptures are still there ready to be used and a charge upon believers; the advantage of the Jew is still for him to take. The failure of some only emphasises by contrast the faithfulness of GOD.

ἐπιστεύθησαν. This pass. only in S. Paul; cf. 1 Corinthians 9:17; 1 Thessalonians 2:4, alibi

τὰ λόγια τοῦ θεοῦ., Hebrews 5:12; 1 Peter 4:11; Acts 7:38 only. The last passage is a close parallel in argument.

On the meaning cf. Westcott, Hebr. l.c[95]; Lft, Supern. Rel. p. 172 ff.; Sanday, Gospels, etc. p. 155. Orig. = brief sayings, oracles; but by use the word came to mean the scriptures. Cf. Clem. R. 1 Cor. 53:1; and probably here it means the whole written record, but specifically as the utterance of GOD’S Mind and Will.

Verse 3

3. τί γάρ;, Philippians 1:18 only. Introduces an objection which must be met. The passage is closely condensed.

εἰ ἠπίστησαν. ἀπιστεῖν always = to disbelieve (from ἄπιστος = unbelieving), even prob. 2 Timothy 2:13. The aor. refers to the definite act of the rejection of the Gospel, the climax of τὰ λὸγια τοῦ θεοῦ; cf. Romans 11:20, and for the limitation in τινες cf. Romans 10:16 and Romans 9:6, Romans 11:25.

τὴν πίστιν τοῦ θεοῦ, the faithfulness of GOD—apparently the only place in N.T. where the gen. in this or cognate phrases is subjective; but the sense is determined by ἀλήθης infra; and the thought |[96], 1 Corinthians 1:9; Hebrews 10:23; 1 Thessalonians 5:24, alibi S. H. qu. Lamentations 3:23; Ps. Sol. 8:35 (only in LXX[98]). For πίστις in this sense cf. Matthew 23:23; Galatians 5:22; 1 Timothy 5:12 (?); Titus 2:10. See Lft, Gal. p. 157; Hort, 1 Pet. p. 81.

καταργήσει. This seems to be a ‘volitive’ future, near akin to the ‘deliberative’ subjunctive: ‘shall it really annul’ = ‘are we to allow it or suppose it to annul.’ Cf. Moulton, pp. 150, 239; cf. Romans 9:20, appy the only |[99]. For the thought cf. Romans 9:6, Romans 11:29. For καταργεῖν cf. Romans 4:14; Galatians 3:17, alibi Paul only exc. Lk. [1], Heb. [1]; from the literal sense ‘to make sterile or barren,’ Luke 13:7, the metaph. follows—’to deprive of effect, abrogate, annul.’

Verse 4

4. μὴ γὲνοιτο. Cf. S. H.; characteristic of S. Paul, and esp. of this group of epistles; expresses the vehement rejection of a possible but false inference.

γινέσθω δὲ κ.τ.λ. Let GOD prove or be proved.… ἀληθής, only here and John 3:33; John 8:26, of GOD = true to His word.

πᾶς ἄνθρ. ψ. Psalms 115:2 (Psalms 116:10).

ὅπως ἄν κ.τ.λ., Psalms 50:6 (51.) (here νικὴσεις for νικὴσῃς). N. that LXX[101] mistranslate the Hebrew = ‘when thou judgest.’ S. Paul adopts the mistranslation, which puts it as though GOD Himself were on trial. Cf. S. H. δικαιωθῇς = be acquitted. For coord. of aor. subj. and fut. indic. see Blass, p. 212. Burton, §§ 198, 199.

Verse 5

5. εἰ δὲ introduces, in order to remove, a difficulty suggested by this argument: if the confession of man’s sin has for its result the vindication of GOD’S righteousness, is not that a justification of the sin? It is met by an appeal [1] to a fundamental postulate of GOD’S judgment, [2] to a fundamental axiom of man’s conduct (Romans 3:8). It is not examined in its own elements till ch. 11.

ἡμῶν, of us men.

θ. δικ., righteousness in GOD here of the character of GOD as a righteous judge.

συνίστησιν establishes by way of proof (cf. Romans 5:8, Galatians 2:18) from the literal sense ‘construct a whole of various parts.’

τί ἐροῦμεν. Characteristic of this Ep.; cf. μὴ γένοιτο, above.

μὴ, can it really be that …? Puts a question with the implication of a decided negative. Is it a wrong thing to punish that conduct which brings into greater clearness the righteousness of GOD?

τὴν ὀργήν. The wrath which has been already described (Romans 1:18 f.) in judgment.

κατὰ ἄνθρωπον. In S. Paul only; cf. esp. 1 Corinthians 9:8; Galatians 3:15; cf. the vocative in Romans 9:20 : = after a merely human manner, so here ‘after an ordinary way of men’s speaking, in their bold blaming of GOD.’ Common in classical Greek (cf. Wetstein), but with a different reference: in class. Gk = the normal, truly human, what is right and proper for man; in S. Paul = the merely human, what men do and say when uninfluenced by the divine grace and not responding to their true destiny. So it strikes a note of apology.

Verse 6

6. ἐπεὶ, ‘or else,’ ‘otherwise’; cf. Field on Romans 11:22; cf. Romans 11:6; 1 Corinthians 14:16; 1 Corinthians 15:29; Hebrews 9:17. A good classical use; cf. Wetstein. Only in S. Paul and Heb.

πῶς κρινεῖ κ.τ.λ. It is a fundamental postulate that GOD is the Judge.

Verse 7

7. εἰ δὲ. The difficulty is restated more fully and is shown to imply the principle that ‘the end justifies the means’; and that is a reductio ad absurdum of the argument.

ἐν τῷ ἐ. ψ. = in the fact of, or by, my lie.

ψεῦσμα. Only here = acted lie, falseness to trust, etc.

ἐπερίσσευσεν. The aor. used for a single typical case.

ἔτι, after that result. κἀγὼ, just I, whose conduct has led to that result.

Verse 8

8. καὶ μὴ. In loose construction after τί; strictly τί μὴ ποιήσωμεν κ.τ.λ. is required; but the insertion of the statement that this was actually charged against S. Paul breaks the construction.

καθὼς βλασφημούμεθα. S. Paul’s polemic against the obligation of the law brought upon him the charge of antinomianism; cf. Romans 6:1 f.

ὧν τὸ κρίμα. The clear statement of the position furnishes its own condemnation, and the subject is for the time dismissed.

Verse 9

9. τί οὖν; well then, this being so, what follows? Cf. John 1:21; infra, Romans 6:15, Romans 11:7 only. Cf. above on μὴ γένοιτο, τί οὗν ἐροῦμεν;

προεχόμεθα; ‘are we surpassed? are we at a disadvantage?’ So R.V. (not margin, not A.V.); see Field, ad loc[103] He shows [1] that there is no example of the mid. = the active ‘are we better than these?’

[2] that προέχεσθαι = to excuse oneself, always requires an accus.;

[3] that προέχεσθαι = pass. of προέχειν, to surpass, is supported by a |[104], and natural; qu. Plut. T. II. p. 1038 c after Wetstein.

With the meaning settled, it remains to ask, who are we? and what is the connexion? The question must be taken, dramatically, as put into the mouth of Jews. It has been just shown that while they had an exceptional privilege, their use of this privilege brought them under judgment. The privilege itself might then appear to be a penalty, the greater call only an occasion of greater condemnation (cf. closely Romans 6:15). The answer given does not go to the root of the matter—that again is reserved for chh. Romans 9:30 to Romans 10:13—but deals with it only for the purpose of the immediate argument; all have sinned, and as sinners all are equally condemned; yet in a certain sense (n. οὐ πάντως) Jews are in a worse state, because they have sinned against clearer light; yet, again, not to such an extent as to put them at a disadvantage in regard to the new dispensation of the Gospel. The universality of grace covers the universality of sin, and is for all adequate and complete (Romans 3:21 f.).

This horror-struck question of the Jews, then, rises immediately out of the preceding verses, and the answer completes the statement of their case in comparison with Gentiles. The vigorous dramatic form of expression is due to the depth of feeling with which S. Paul sympathises with his brethren after the flesh.

οὐ πάντως., 1 Corinthians 5:10 only; not altogether that, either. See above.

προῃτιασάμεθα only here in Greek appy. So προενάρχομαι, 2 Corinthians 8:6; προελπίζω, Ephesians 1:12 (first); προκυροῦν, Galatians 3:17. The ref. is esp. to Romans 1:18, Romans 2:1; Romans 2:9.

ὑφ' ἁμαρτίαν. cf. Moulton, p. 63, for the disuse of the dative after ὑπό. Cf. Romans 7:14; Matthew 8:9. = in subjection to sin and therefore needing deliverance. The whole object of these chapters is to show the universal need of the Gospel.

πάντας includes on this side the παντί of Romans 1:16.

Verses 10-18

10–18. This string of quotations is adduced to justify from Scripture the assertion of Romans 3:9. On the Rabbinic practice of stringing quotations cf. S. H., who instance also Romans 9:25 f., 2 Corinthians 7:16, alibi The references are (W. H.) Psalms 14 [13] 1 ff., Psalms 5:9; Psalms 140:3, Romans 10:7 (Romans 9:28); Isaiah 59:7 f.; Psalms 36 [35] 1. The quotation is free in 10, 14, 15–17. On the reaction of this passage on text of Psalms cf. S. H.

Verse 11

11. συνίων, for form, as from συνίω, cf. Moulton, pp. 38, 55, Hort, Introduction to App. i. 167, Thackeray, Gr. of O.T. Gk, pp. 244, 250.

Verse 12

12. ἠχρεώθησαν. Cf. Luke 17:10 (ἄχρειος). Lost their use, became good for nothing.

Verse 13

13. ἐδολιοῦσαν. Hebr. ‘make smooth their tongue,’ R.V. margin, Psalms 5:9 only, in Gk Bible. Prop. = deceived; form = imperf. with aor. term. cf. Thackeray, op. cit[107] p. 214.

Verse 19

19. οἴδαμεν δὲ. What is the connexion? The disadvantage of the Jew has been shown not to be complete—Scripture being adduced to support the statement that all are under sin. So far Jew and Gentile are equal. But the Jew is brought more signally and definitely under GOD’s judgment, just because of his possession of the law: the utterance of the law is in a special degree addressed to him; and he is less able, consequently, even than the Gentile to maintain any plea against GOD. These verses, then, explain the qualification contained in οὐ πάντως. In a certain sense he is at a disadvantage as compared with the Gentile. Greater privilege involves greater responsibility. (So with Gifford, practically, though not in detail.) We may say then, also, that we have here the final answer to τί τὸ περισσὸν τοῦ Ἰ. (Romans 3:1). It was a true advantage to have fuller light, even though it brought greater condemnation (cf. ἐν δὲ φάει καὶ ὄλεσσον).

οἴδαμεν δὲ. δὲ carries us back to Romans 3:9, οὐ πάντως.

οἴδαμεν. Almost = of course.

ὁ νόμος. Not = τὰ λόγια, Romans 3:2, but in its common sense ‘the Mosaic law.’ S. Paul presses the point that the injunctions of the law are meant for those who receive them, and by them the Jew is condemned, as against the plea of the Jew that his privileged position exempts him from judgment. Cf. Gifford, ad lo[108]. and on Romans 2:3.

φραγῇ. 2 Corinthians 11:10, Hebrews 11:33 only. ἐμφράττειν more common w. στόμα; cf. Wetst.

ὑπόδικος. Only here in N.T.; = liable to an action. The dative seems always to be used of the person injured, not of the judge. The metaphor, then, suggests a trial as between GOD and His people.

Verse 20

20. διότι explains how law produces this effect. This sentence, while having particular reference to the Jew, is thrown into the most general form, so as to bring the Jew into line with the Gentile, and then to sum up in one conclusion Romans 1:18 to Romans 3:19.

ἐξ ἔργω ν., put in the most general form: if works done in obedience to law are taken as the basis of judgment.

οὐ δικαιωθήσεται, forensic. Cf. Galatians 2:16, as ὑπόδικος; will not be acquitted when judged. Qu. Psalms 143 [142] 2.

ἐπίγνωσις. See n. on Romans 1:28. Realisation of sin as sin is the specific effect of law. Law is therefore educational, cf. Galatians 3:24, but not in itself a moral or spiritual force, cf. Romans 1:32. The sentence here is not strictly wanted for the argument, but crops up as an element in S. Paul’s view of law. It anticipates and is developed in c. 7 It is important to observe that in Romans 1:19 to Romans 3:20 S. Paul bases his assertion of the universality of sin and the consequent universal need of man, not upon theory but on observation—his experience of human life, both in Jewish and Gentile circles, generalised by the help of history. It is a historical justification of the need of the Gospel, confirmed by the testimony of scripture and by general experience. In c. 7 he reaches the same conclusion by the searching analysis of his own inner experience, treated as typical—what may be called the psychological justification. Cf. Giff. on Romans 3:18 ad fin.

Verse 21

21. νυνὶ = ἐν τῷ νῦν καιρῷ, Romans 3:26, as things now are, under the Gospel dispensation.

χωρὶς νόμου, apart from law. The idea is that man no longer has to look to law as GOD’s revelation of Himself, but to the Person and character of Jesus Christ, not against or inconsistent with law but fulfilling it; cf. Hort, Jud. Chr. p. 19; 2 Corinthians 3:12-18.

δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ. GOD’s righteousness as characteristic of Him, and therefore the norm for human character; cf. Matthew 5:48.

πεφανέρωται, has been made manifest, and stands there for all to see; of. Romans 16:26; 2 Timothy 1:10; Titus 1:3; esp. 1 Peter 1:20; cf. John 1:11; John 1:14; 1 John 1:2.

μαρτυρουμένη κ.τ.λ., so Romans 16:26 marks the continuity of GOD’s self-revelation: pres. part., because the law and the prophets still speak in the scriptures. The phrase sums up the O.T. revelation, the positive law and the comments of the prophets; cf. Matthew 5:17; Matthew 11:13; John 1:45; Acts 28:23.

Verses 21-31

21–31. The failure of Jew and Gentile alike is met by the new dispensation of the Gospel, with the condition it demands of man, faith. The argument having explained ‘the revelation of wrath,’ returns to the statement of Romans 1:16-17, and amplifies it in a series of summary propositions, which are developed and explained in cc. 5 ff. [21] Under the present dispensation, in the absence of law, there has been an open declaration of GOD’s righteousness, not in itself new because it is the same righteousness as the law and the prophets declare, but new in the clearness of the declared condition by which it is to be attained by man, i.e. faith in Jesus Christ, and in its extension to all who have that faith, without distinction of race or person; [23] for as sin is found in all and all fall short of that divine likeness which GOD propounds to man, [24] so all are now declared righteous, without merit on their part, by GOD’s free act of grace, by means of that redemption and deliverance which is in Christ Jesus. [25] He is indeed GOD’s appointed agent of propitiation, on condition of faith, by the instrumentality of His Blood, shed to exhibit GOD’s righteousness which His patient endurance of men’s sins through so long a time had obscured, as the characteristic message of the present season, that in the knowledge of all He may be righteous and declare righteous all who begin with faith in Jesus. [27] So there is no resting on privilege, where faith is the one condition of acceptance with GOD, [28] a condition open to all mankind [29] corresponding to the fact that there is but one GOD for all men, who from covenanted and uncovenanted alike demands nothing but faith. [31] This view of GOD’s revelation, so far from annulling law, alone establishes it.

Verse 22

22. δικαιοσύνη δὲ, the phrase repeated with a qualification (not of law but by faith), introducing the distinctive condition, and so bringing into emphasis the fact that GOD’s righteousness is the true aim which man must set before himself for realisation in his own life, so far as he may.

διὰ πίστεως Ἰ. Χρ. Philippians 3:9; Galatians 2:16. Gen. obj. = faith in Jesus Christ as the manifestation of GOD’s righteousness; see n. on Romans 1:17. Both this and the next phrase (εἰς π. τ. π.) qualify δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ.

εἰς π. τ. π., Romans 1:16, shows that faith is not one condition but the only condition imposed on man.

οὐ γάρ ἐστιν διαστολή. Romans 10:12.

Verse 23

23. πάντες γὰρτ. θ. resumes Romans 1:19 to Romans 3:20. ἥμαρτον is the ‘constructive’ or summary aorist, “which regards the whole action simply as having occurred, without distinguishing any steps in its progress” (Moulton, p. 109; cf. Burton, M. T. § 54), and so should be translated by the perfect ‘have sinned,’ and is naturally coordinate with the durative present, describing the actual state; see on Romans 2:12.

ὑστεροῦνται. The middle of this verb seems to imply, not merely to fall short of a goal (act.), but to be lacking in something of which the need is felt or at least obvious. Cf. Matthew 19:20 with 1 Corinthians 8:8 and 2 Corinthians 11:5 with Philippians 4:12; Hebrews 12:15 : ‘comes short of, A.V., ‘fall short of, R.V. both therefore seem inadequate translations. Perhaps ‘lack’ will do. Their lives and characters obviously show the lack of ‘the glory of GOD.’

τῆς δόξης τοῦ θεοῦ consequently = that exhibition of GOD in their own character, which is man’s proper work: implying the idea of Genesis 1:26-27; cf. 1 Corinthians 11:7; 2 Corinthians 3:18, and Irenaeus, “vivens homo gloria Dei,” and probably infra, Romans 5:2 and n. 1 Corinthians 6:20. See S. H. ad lo[109] GOD is not seen in them as He ought to be seen. The same thought is expressed by the verb in Romans 1:21. See n. on Romans 2:7.

Verse 24

24. δικαιούμενοι δωρεὰν κ.τ.λ., ‘being declared righteous (so far as they are so declared) by a free act of GOD.’ The participle adds a third element to the description of the universal state, and returns to the thought of Romans 3:22, εἰς πάντας τ. π., introducing the further specification of the means of ‘justification.’ δωρεάν is the emphatic word and is therefore expanded by τῇ α. χάριτι, |[110] χωρὶς νόμου, Romans 3:21.

τῇ αὐ. χ. The free grace of GOD is the source of justification; πἱστις, the human condition; ἡ ἀπολ. the means: αὐτοῦ is emphatic—by His gift, not by their desert.

διὰ τῆς ἀπολυτρώσεως. Cf. Hebrews 9:15; Westcott, ib[111] p. 295. The scriptural idea of ἀπολύτρωσις is redemption from an alien yoke: orig. of Egypt, then of any yoke other than that of GOD here the yoke of sin. The word implies the cost of redemption to him that brings it about; and does not involve (as used) a price paid to the alien master. The whole class of words is specially characteristic of S. Paul, in accordance with the essentially historical and experimental character of his religious position. The point here is, then, that man is delivered from that general state of sin by the free act of GOD working through Jesus Christ, and requiring only trust on the part of man for its realisation.

τῆς ἐν Χρ. . ἐν Χρ. . and ἐν Χρ. always relate to the glorified Christ, not to the historic Jesus, S. H.

Verse 25

25. ὃν προἑθετο κ.τ.λ., explains in a very condensed way how GOD redeems man by Christ Jesus.

προέθετο, cf. πεφανέρωται, Romans 3:21; cf. Hebrews 9:26. V[112] occurs only Romans 1:13, Ephesians 1:9; means [1] to purpose, [2] to publish: here, only, the latter, ‘set forth on His part’; cf. Polyb. II. 19. 1; III. 62. 1 (= proponere, ob oculos ponere, Schweigh.). The whole passage dwells on the new revelation given by GOD, for the purpose of doing what could not be done by the emphasised elements of the former revelation; so it is not so much yet the purpose of GOD as the revelation of that purpose which is in question. The ‘publication’ was given (aor.) in the Resurrection and Ascension as the act of GOD (cf. Romans 1:4).

ἱλαστήριον. The thought of the redemption of man from his subjection to sin raises the question of GOD’s dealing with sin: the fact of permitted sin affects both man’s conception of the righteousness of GOD, and his actual relation towards GOD. Here, then, S. Paul cuts deeper; but still all is summary and here unexplained (see Romans 8:1). ἱλαστ. consequently expresses the character of the ascended Lord, as making acceptable to GOD those who were not in and by themselves acceptable. He in His Person and Work is the agent of propitiation. And the way in which He has achieved propitiation vindicates the righteousness of GOD (ἐν τῷ αὐ. αἱ.) and offers righteousness to men (διὰ πίστεως). The context, then, leads us to take ἱλ. as an adjective (accus. masc.), and this is justified by use current at the time, and by the true interpretation of LXX[113] (cf. Deismann, B. S. I. p. 128; S. H., ad loc[114]; cf. Westcott, Epp. Joh. pp. 39, 83 f.; Hebrews 2:17).

διὰ πίστεως, the means by which man makes the propitiation his own.

ἐν τῷ αὐ. αἵματι, the means by which He effects propitiation. Ephesians 2:13 (cf. Colossians 1:20), Ephesians 1:7 (cf. 1 John 1:7; 1 Peter 1:19), explain the idea: the Blood shed on the Cross and offered from the Throne is that which makes man acceptable to GOD, puts away his sin (ἄφεσις, not πάρεσις), brings him home from the far country, makes him at peace where he was at enmity. So that the Blood indicates not only the Death, but always also the Life offered to GOD and communicated to man; this is indicated here by in ἐν Χρ. Ἰης., Romans 3:24, see above; cf. Westcott, Epp. Joh. pp. 34 f. ἐν τῷ θανάτῳ could not be substituted here; cf. Acts 20:28. ἐν, instrumental = διὰ w. gen. The two phrases διὰ πίστεως, ἐν τῷ α. αἱ. are |[115].

εἰς ἔνδειξιν κ.τ.λ. This phrase depends on προέθ. ἱλ.: while δοὰ τὴν πάρεσινκαιρῷ all go together, and explain the need of ἔνδειξιν.

τῆς δικαιοσύνης αὐτοῦ. The character of GOD as righteous might seem to be impugned by His allowance of sin, and required to be vindicated. It was vindicated, because the Cross showed GOD’s eternal hostility to sin; cf. S. H.

διὰ τὴν πάρεσιν κ.τ.λ. πάρεσις only here = letting go, passing by; cf. Acts 14:16; Acts 17:30; cf. Acts 2:4; Mark 9:19; Luke 18:7; 2 Peter 3:15.

ἐν τῇ ἀνοχῇ explains τὴν πάρεσιν.

Verse 26

26. πρὸς τὴν ἔνδειξιν, the exhibition already referred to, Romans 1:17.

τῆς δικαιοσύνης αὐτοῦ. Here in the wider sense of Romans 1:17, etc., His righteousness in itself and as offered to man.

εἰς τὸ εἰναι κ.τ.λ. sums up both strains. καὶ δικαιοῦντα = even when He justifies.

τὸν ἐκ πίστεως. See Romans 3:30.

πίστεως Ἰησοῦ. Cf. Revelation 14:12, the only other place where the exact phrase occurs. The simple name . is relatively rare (after Evv. and Acts). In S. Paul, its use always emphasises ‘the Humanity’—generally in reference to the Resurrection (e.g. Romans 8:11), but also in reference to the whole Life and Character exhibited on earth. So the Christian confession is Κύριος Ἰησοῦς and the denial of it ἀνάθεμα Ἰησοῦς (1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 11:4; Philippians 2:10); the manner of the Life on earth is a precedent for and vindication of the manner of the Apostles’ lives (2 Corinthians 4:5-11; cf. Galatians 4:17); truth is there seen as man can see it (Ephesians 4:21); parallel in thought, though not in expression, are 1 John 4:3; 1 John 4:15; Revelation 1:9; John 14:1. So here = faith in Jesus as, in His human Life and Character, revealing as man can see it the righteousness of GOD.

Verse 27

27. ποῦ οὖν ἡ καύχησις; Cf. Romans 2:17; Romans 2:22. This whole practice and temper of mind is here set aside, as inconsistent with the truth of man’s common relation to GOD. The class of words is almost confined to S. Paul.

διὰ ποίου νόμου; under what kind of law? So better than by …; cf. Romans 4:3; n. on Romans 3:27. The law which required for its satisfaction works might leave room for assertion of personal superiority; but a law of which the only requirement is faith or trust can leave no room for such; all that is done in that case is done by GOD. With τῶν ἔργων τοῦ νόμου must be supplied, and the reference is to the claim of the Jew. But in νόμου π. a wider sense of νόμος is introduced.

διὰ νόμου πίστεως. A unique phrase. S. Paul cuts to the nerve of νόμος here, as = GOD’s revealed will. That will is now revealed in Christ Jesus; He is now GOD’s law. Man does law only as Christ is it and does it in him, and this requires faith in Christ; so it is a law requiring not works but faith. The essence of faith as a basis of morals is the acceptance of Another’s works and a recognition that all personal achievement is due to that Other. For a similar appeal, as it were, to the deepest meaning of the word, cf. Romans 8:1, as startling after the argument of c. 7, as it is here. Cf. for a similar paradox James 1:25; John 6:29; 1 John 3:23.

Verse 28

28. γὰρ. Context is decisive in favour of this reading: the clause refers to the argument of Romans 1:17, Romans 3:20, as supporting the statement that boasting is excluded, and is not a fresh conclusion from Romans 3:27.

Verse 29

29. ἢ Ἰουδαίων κ.τ.λ. presses the argument deeper; not only is righteousness a matter of faith which all men can exercise, but GOD is one—one and the same for all mankind; all men are in the same relation to Him, and He will justify all on the same condition.

Verse 30

30. εἴπερ, if as is the fact; cf. Romans 8:9; Romans 8:17; 2 Thessalonians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 5:3 (v.l.); diff. 1 Corinthians 15:15 = if as they maintain (with ἄρα).

εἷς ὁ θεός. Cf. 1 Corinthians 8:4; Galatians 3:20; Ephesians 4:6; 1 Timothy 2:5; James 2:19 : always in S. Paul as giving the ground for the unity of mankind and the universality of the Gospel.

ἐκ, διὰ. No essential difference: ἐκ = as the result of, in implied contrast with ἐξ ἔργων νόμου; cf. Romans 9:31 : διὰ = by means of the exercise of faith, which is now open to them.

Verse 31

31. νόμον οὖν κ.τ.λ. An anticipatory caution, worked out in ch. 6. The Gospel does not abolish law by insisting on faith as man’s sole contribution; it represents law as fulfilled in Christ, and in man if he has faith in Christ; see above on νόμου πίστεως. Practically a summary of the treatment of law in Matthew 5 νόμος here is not limited to, though it includes, the Mosaic law.

ἱστάνομεν. A later form of ἵστημι; cf. Thackeray, p. 247; Moulton, p. 55. Only here simpl.; cf. Acts 17:15 (καθ.); 1 Corinthians 13:2 (μεθ.). συνιστάνω, 2 Corinthians 3:1; 2 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 5:12; 2 Corinthians 6:4; 2 Corinthians 10:12; Galatians 2:18.

The difficulty of this passage lies in its condensation; the clue is found when we see in it a return to Romans 1:17, and amplification of that passage, with a view to fuller exposition in chh. 5 ff.; in fact it restates the subject of the Epistle. In interpreting, we must bear in mind, as we saw on Romans 1:17, that Christ Jesus is throughout the concrete righteousness of GOD.


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Bibliography Information
"Commentary on Romans 3:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". 1896.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 26th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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