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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Romans 3

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 3

Romans 3:2. μὲν γάρ] Lachm. following B D* E G, min(723) vss(724), Chrys. Aug. reads ΄έν. The γάρ was easily lost in consequence of its seeming unnecessary, and of the recollection of Romans 1:8; but is supported by 1 Corinthians 11:18.

Romans 3:9. προεχό΄εθα] D* G 31, Syr(725) Erp. Chrys. ms. Theodoret have προκατέχο΄εν (or κατέχ.) περισσὸν, and, with several other authorities, omit οὐ πάντως. This προκατ. περισσ. is an erroneous gloss; and the omission of οὐ πάντως is explained by its being no longer suitable after the adoption of τί οὖν προκατέχο΄εν περισσόν; see Reiche, Comm. crit.

Romans 3:11. In important codices the article is wanting before συνίων and ἐκζητῶν. But see LXX. Psalms 14:2.

Romans 3:22. καὶ ἐπὶ πάντας] is wanting in A B C P א *, Copt. Aeth. Arm. Erp. Clem. Or. Cyr. Aug. Deleted by Lachm. and Tisch. 8. But when we consider that a gloss on εἰς πάντας was quite unnecessary, and on the other hand that καὶ ἐπὶ πάντας was equally unnecessary to complete the sense, we may assume that the twice repeated πάντας may have even at a very early date occasioned the omission of καὶ ἐπὶ πάντας.

Romans 3:25. τῆς πίστ.] τῆς is wanting in C* D* F G א, min(726), and several Fathers (A and Chrys. omit the whole διὰ τ. πίστ.). Suspected by Griesb., and deleted by Lachm. and Tisch. Still the omission of the article might easily occur if the copyist, as was natural, glanced back at διὰ πίστ., Romans 3:22.

Romans 3:26. πρὸς ἔνδειξ.] Following A B C D* P א, min(727), we should read with Lachm. and Tisch. πρὸς τὴν ἔνδειξ. The article was passed over in accordance with Romans 3:25.

ἰησοῦ is wanting in F G 52 It.; and is expanded in other authorities ( χριστοῦ ἰησοῦ, or τοῦ κυρίου ἡ΄. ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ). Notwithstanding the preponderating testimony in its favour, it is properly deleted by Fritzsche and Tisch. 7. Supplied from looking back to Romans 3:22.

Romans 3:28. γάρ] Elz. and Tisch. 7. read οὖν, against very preponderating testimony, by which also the arrangement δικ. πίστ. ἄνθρωπον (Elz.: π. δ. .) is confirmed. Since according to the different modes of apprehending the connection, the emendation might be οὖν as well as γάρ, external attestation only can here be regarded as decisive.

Romans 3:29. The reading ΄όνων (so Tisch. 7. instead of ΄όνον) is insufficiently attested by B, min(728) and Fathers; and arose easily out of the context.

οὐχὶ καί] Elz.: οὐχὶ δὲ καί, against decisive testimony. The δὲ was easily introduced into the text by the contrast, whether the two questions might be taken separately, or together as one.

ἐπείπερ] A B C D** א, min(729), Clem. Or. Cyr. Didym. Damasc.: εἴπερ . Recommended by Griesb.; adopted by Lachm. and Tisch. 8. But how easily may the ἐπείπερ, only occurring here in the N. T., and therefore unfamiliar to the copyists, have been exchanged for the familiar εἴπερ!


Verse 1

Romans 3:1,(731) 2. As an inference ( οὖν) from Romans 2:28-29, the objection might now be made from the Jewish standpoint against the Apostle, that he quite does away with the advantage of Judaism and the benefit of circumcision. This objection he therefore raises in his own person, in order to remove it himself immediately, Romans 3:2 ff.

τὸ περισσὸν κ. τ. λ(732)] the superiority (Matthew 5:47; Matthew 11:9; Plat. Ap. S. p. 20 C Lucian. Prom. 1; Plut. Demosth. 3) of the Jew, i.e. what he has as an advantage over the Gentile, the Jewish surplus. The following (or, to express it in other words) τίς ὠφέλ. τ. περιτ. presents substantially the same question in a more specific form.

πολύ] Much, namely, is the περισσόν of the Jew or the benefit of circumcision.(733) The neuter comprehends the answer to both; and it must not therefore be said that it applies only to the first question, leaving the second without further notice. It is moreover clear from what precedes and follows, that Paul meant the περισσόν not in a moral, but in a theocratic sense; comp Romans 9:4 f.

κατὰ πάντα τρόπον] in every way (Xen. Anab. vi. 6, 30), in whatever light the matter may be considered. See examples in Wetstein. The opposite: κατʼ οὐδένα τρόπον, 2 Maccabees 11:31; Polyb. iv. 84, 8, viii. 27, 2. It is an undue anticipation to take the expression as hyperbolical (Reiche), since we do not know how the detailed illustration, which is only begun, would be further pursued.

πρῶτον] first of all, firstly, it is a prerogative of the Jew, or advantage of circumcision, that etc. The Apostle consequently begins to illustrate the πολύ according to its individual elements, but, just after mentioning the first point, is led away by a thought connected with it, so that all further enumeration (possibly by εἶτα, Xen. Mem. iii. 6, 9) is dropped, and not, as Grotius strangely thinks, postponed to Romans 9:4. Compare on Romans 1:8; 1 Corinthians 11:18. As the μέν was evidently meant to be followed by a corresponding δέ, it was a mere artificial explaining away of the interruption of the discourse, to render πρῶτον praecipue (Beza, Calvin, Toletus, Estius, Calovius, Wolf, Koppe, Glöckler, and others; compare also Hofmann: “before all things”), or to say with Th. Schott, that it indicates the basis from which the πολύ follows.

ὅτι ἐπιστ. τ. λόγια τ. θεοῦ] that they (the Jews) were entrusted with the utterances of God, namely, in the holy Scriptures given to them, devoutly to preserve these λόγια as a Divine treasure, and to maintain them for all ages of God’s people as their and their children’s (comp Acts 2:39) possession. On the Greek form of expression πιστεύο΄αί τι (1 Corinthians 9:17; Galatians 2:7), see Winer, p. 244 [E. T. 326].

τὰ λόγια τ. θεοῦ] eloquia Dei. That by this general expression ( χρησμοὺς αὐτοίς ἄνωθεν κατηνεχθέντας, Chrysostom), which always receives its more precise definition from the context (Acts 7:38; Hebrews 5:12; 1 Peter 4:11; compare the passages from the Septuagint in Schleusner, Thes. III. p. 464, from Philo in Loesner, p. 248; and see especially Bleek on Heb. II. 2, p. 114 f.), Paul means here κατʼ ἐξοχὴν the Messianic prophetic-utterances, is shown by Romans 3:3, where the ἀπιστία of the Jews leaves no room for mistake as to the contents of the λόγια. Compare αἱ ἐπαγγελίαι, Romans 9:4. These λόγια τ. θεοῦ are contained not merely in the prophets proper (Acts 3:24), but even in the Pentateuch (covenant with Abraham, the promise of Moses); yet the law is not meant, nor even jointly included (Matthias), against which Romans 3:3 testifies. Just as little is there meant: all making known of God in the history of salvation” (Hofmann), which is too general, and is extended by Hofmann even to the New Testament revelations. Regarding the classic use of λόγια,(736) prophecies, see Krüger on Thuc. ii. 8, 2, and generally Locella, a(737) Xen. Eph. p. 152 f.


Verse 3

Romans 3:3. Not an objection to the preceding, but a guarantee of the ἐπιστεύθ. τὰ λόγια τ. θεοῦ just mentioned, as something that has not been cancelled and revoked through the partial unbelief of the people. “For how? what is the case?(738) If some refused the faith, will their unbelief make void the faithfulness of God?” will it produce the effect that God shall now regard the promises once committed to the Jews as void, and Himself as no longer bound to His word therein pledged? The ἠπίστησαν and the ἀπιστία are by the context necessarily referred to the λόγια τ. θεοῦ; the unbelief of a part of the Jews in the promises manifested itself, namely, by their rejecting the Messiah who had appeared according to the promise. So in substance also Matthias, who nevertheless apprehends the notion of ἀπιστ. as unfaithfulness towards what was entrusted to them, which the τίνες did not use for the purpose of letting themselves be led thereby to Christ. But ἀπιστεῖν and ἀπιστία (even in 2 Timothy 2:13) mean specifically throughout the N. T. (see in this Epistle Romans 4:20, Romans 11:20; Romans 11:23; compare Morison, p. 23) unbelief, not unfaithfulness, although Hofmann also ultimately comes to adopt this notion. This remark also applies against the supposition of Köllner, de Wette, Mehring, and older writers, that Paul meant the unfaithfulness (the disobedience) of the Jews in the times before Christ.(739) Such a view is opposed to the context; and must not the idea, that the earlier breaches of covenant on the part of the Jews might possibly annul the λόγια, have been wholly strange to Paul and his Jewish readers, since they knew from experience that, even when the Jews had heaped unfaithfulness upon unfaithfulness, God always committed to them anew, through His prophets, the promises of the Messiah? In the mind of the Apostle the idea of the πάρεσις τῶν προγεγονότων ἁμαρτημάτων was fixed (Romans 3:25; Acts 17:30). Therefore we cannot understand (with Philippi) unbelief in the promises shown in the period before Christ to be here referred to. But according to the doctrine of faith in the promised One who had come, as the condition of the Messianic salvation, the doubt might very easily arise: May not the partial unbelief of the Jews since the appearance of Christ, to whom the λόγια referred, possibly cancel the divine utterances of promise committed to the nation? Notwithstanding the simple and definite conception of ἀπιστεῖν throughout the N. T., Hofmann here multiplies the ideas embraced so as to include as well disobedience to the law as unbelief towards the Gospel and unbelief towards the prophetic word of promise—a grouping together of very different significations, which is the consequence of the erroneous and far too wide sense assigned to the λόγια τ. θεοῦ.

τὴν πίστιν τ. θεοῦ] The genitive is necessarily determined to be the genitive of the subject, partly by ἀπιστία αὐτῶν, partly by Romans 3:4, and partly by θεοῦ δικαιοσ. in Romans 3:5. Therefore: the fides Dei in keeping the λόγια, keeping His word, in virtue of which He does not abandon His promises to His people.(740) Compare 2 Timothy 2:13, and the frequent πιστὸς θεός, 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 1:18 al(741)

Observe further that Paul designates the unbelievers only by τινές, some, which is not contemptuous or ironical (Tholuck, Philippi; compare Bengel), nor intended as a milder expression (Grotius), but is rather employed to place in a stronger light the negation of the effect under discussion; and, considering the relative import of τινές, it is not at variance with the truth, for although there were many ( τινές καὶ πολλοί γε, Plat. Phaed. p. 58 D), still they were not all. Compare Romans 11:17, and on 1 Corinthians 10:7; Krüger, § 51, 16, 14.


Verse 4

Romans 3:4. Let it not be (far be it)! but God is to be truthful, i.e. His truthfulness is to be the actual result produced (namely, in the carrying out of His Messianic plan of salvation), and every man a liar. To this it shall come; the development of the holy divine economy to this final state of the relation between God and men, is what Paul knows and wishes.

μὴ γένοιτο] The familiar formula of negation by which the thing asked is repelled with abhorrence, corresponding to the חָלִילָה (Genesis 44:17; Joshua 22:29; 1 Samuel 20:2), is used by Paul particularly often in our Epistle, elsewhere in Galatians 2:17; Galatians 3:21, 1 Corinthians 6:15, always in a dialectic discussion. In the other writings of the N. T. it occurs only at Luke 20:16, but is current in later Greek authors (Raphel, Arrian. in loc(742); Sturz, de dial. Al. p. 204).

γινέσθω] not equivalent to φανερούσθω, ἀποδεικνύσθω (Theophylact), but the historical result which shall come to pass, the actual Theodicée that shall take place. This indeed in reality amounts to a φανεροῦσθαι, but it is expressed by γινέσθω, according to its objective reality, which demonstrates itself. In that which God (and man) does, He becomes actually what according to His nature He is.

πᾶς δὲ ἄνθρ. ψεύστ.] By no means unessential (Rückert), or merely a concomitant circumstance (Th. Schott), is designed, and that all the more forcibly without a preceding ΄έν, to appropriate the ἀλήθεια exclusively to God, in contrast to ἠπίστ. τινες, Romans 3:3, outbidding this τινές by πᾶς. Every man is a liar, if he does not perform the service to which he has become bound, as is brought to light in the case of the τινές by their ἀπιστία, since as members of the people of God they had bound themselves to faith in the divine promises. That Paul had Psalms 116:11 in view (Calvin, Wolf, and many others) is the more doubtful, seeing that he immediately quotes another passage.

ὅπως ἂν δικ. κ. τ. λ(743)] Psalms 51:6 exactly after the LXX. Independently of the more immediate connection and sense of the original text, Paul seizes on the type of the relation discussed by him, which is involved in the words of the Psalm, in the form in which they are reproduced by the LXX.(744) and that in the sense: that thou mayest be justified, i.e. acknowledged as faultless and upright, in thy words, and prevail (in substance the same as the previous δικαιωθῇς) when thou disputest, namely, with men against whom thou defendest and followest out thy right. From this second clause results that πᾶς δὲ ἄνθρ. ψεύστης. The exact appropriateness of this view in the connection is decisive against the explanation commonly adopted formerly after the Vulgate and Luther, and again preferred by Mehring, which takes κρίνεσθαί as passive (when thou art subjected to judgment). On the use of the middle, to dispute with, compare LXX. Job 9:3; Job 13:19, and other passages in Schleusner, Thes. III. p. 385 f. This use has been properly maintained by Beza, Bengel, and others; also Matthias, Tholuck, Philippi, van Hengel, Ewald, Hofmann, and Morison. Compare 1 Corinthians 6:1; Matthew 5:40.

ἐν τοῖς λόγοις σου] i.e. in that which thou hast spoken. And that is the category to which those λόγια belong, as to which the Apostle has just repelled the idea that God will not keep them on account of the ἀπιστία of the τινές and will thereby prove untrue. The sense “in sententia ferenda,” when thou passest a sentence (Philippi), cannot be taken out of ἐν τ. λόγ. σου, since God is not represented as judge, but as litigant, over whom the justifying judicial decision is pronounced. The view of Hofmann is also erroneous: that it denotes the accusations, which God may bring against men. For the text represents God indeed as the party gaining the verdict and prevailing, but not as the accuser preferring charges; and the λόγοι, in respect of which He is declared justified, point back so directly to the λόγια in Romans 3:2, that this very correlation has occasioned the selection of the particular passage from Psalms 51

νικᾶν, like vincere, used of prevailing in a process; compare Xen. Mem. iv. 4, 17; Dem. 1436, 18 al(745) The opposite: ἡττᾶσθαι

On ὅπως (here in order that in the event of decision) see Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 286, 289; Klotz, a(746) Devar. p. 685.


Verse 5-6

Romans 3:5-6. In Romans 3:3-4 it was declared that the unbelief of a part of the Jews would not make void the truthfulness of God, but that, on the contrary, the latter should be triumphantly justified. But how easily might this be misconstrued by a Jew of the common type as a pretext for his immorality: “the unrighteousness of man in fact brings out more clearly the righteousness of God, and therefore may not be righteously punished by God!” To preclude this misconception and false inference, which so abruptly run counter to his doctrine of universal human guilt, and to leave no pretext remaining (observe beforehand the τί οὖν; προεχόμεθα in Romans 3:9), Paul, having in view such thoughts of an antagonist, proposes to himself and his readers the question: “But if our unrighteousness show forth the righteousness of God, what shall we say (infer)? Is God then unrighteous, who inflicteth wrath?” And he disposes of it in the first instance by the categorical answer (Romans 3:6): No, otherwise God could not be judge of the world. The assumption, that this question is occasioned really and seriously by what goes before, and called forth from the Apostle himself (Hofmann), is rendered untenable by the very addition κατὰ ἄνθρωπον λέγω.

ἀδικία ἡμῶν] Quite general: our unrighteousness, abnormal moral condition. To this general category belongs also the ἀπιστία, Romans 3:3. Paul has regarded the possible Jewish misconception, the notion of which occasions his question, as a general, but for that reason all the more dangerous inference from Romans 3:3-4, in which the words ἀδικία and δικαιοσύνη are suggested by the passage from the Psalms in Romans 3:4.

ἡμῶν] is said certainly in the character of the ἀδικοί in general, and stands in relation to the πᾶς δὲ ἄνθρωπος ψεύστης in Romans 3:4. But as the whole context is directed against the Jews, and the application to these is intended in the general expressions, and indeed expressly made in Romans 3:19, Paul speaks here also in such a way that the Jewish consciousness, from which, as himself a Jew, he speaks, lies at the bottom of the general form of his representation.

The protasis εἰ.… συνίστησι is a concessum, which is in itself correct (Romans 3:4); but the inference, which the Jewish self-justification might draw from it, is rejected with horror. Observe in this protasis the emphatic juxtaposition ἡμῶν θεοῦ; and in the apodosis the accent which lies on ἄδικος and τὴν ὀργήν.

θεοῦ δικαιοσ. συνίστησι] proves God’s righteousness (comp Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 6:4; 2 Corinthians 7:11; Galatians 2:18; Susann. 61; frequently in Polyb. Philo, etc.); makes it apparent beyond doubt, that God is without fault, and such as He must be. The contrast to ἀδικία ἡ΄ῶν requires δικαιοσ. to be taken thus generally, and forbids its being explained of a particular attribute (truth: Beza, Piscator, Estius, Koppe, and others; goodness: Chrysostom, Theodoret, Grotius, Rosenmuller), as well as its being taken in the sense of Romans 1:17 (van Hengel).

The τί ἐρούμεν (3 Esr. 8:82) is used by Paul only in the Epistle to the Romans (Romans 4:1, Romans 6:1, Romans 7:7, Romans 8:31, Romans 9:14; Romans 9:30). Compare, however, generally on such questions arousing interest and enlivening the representation, Blomfield, Gloss. in Aesch. Pers. 1013, Dissen, a(748) Dem, de cor. p. 346 f.

΄ὴ ἄδικος θεὸς ἐπιφ. τ. ὀργήν] This question(749) is so put that (as in Romans 3:3) a negative answer is expected, since Paul has floating before his mind an impious objection conceived of κατὰ ἄνθρωπον. See Hermann, a(750) Viger. p. 789, 810; Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 159; Baeumlein, p. 302 f. Hence: God is not unrighteous then, who dealeth wrath? This in opposition to Rückert and Philippi, who make the questioner expect an affirmative answer, which can never be the case. In those passages in Greek authors, where an affirmative reply notwithstanding follows, it invariably does so contrary to the expectation of the questioner; see Kühner, II. 2, p. 1024. ἄδικος, prefixed with emphasis, is, on account of its relation to ἐπιφ. τ. ὀργήν, to be understood in the strict judicial signification unrighteous, which is confirmed by Romans 3:6-7. For examples of ἐπιφέρειν used to express the practical infliction of wrath or punishment see Raphel, Polyb.; Kypke, II. p. 160. The article with the participle indicates the relation as well-known; and τὴν ὀργήν (Sin.* adds αὐτοῦ) denotes the wrath definitely conceived of as judicial, inflicted at the judgment. Compare Ritschl, de ira Dei, p. 15.

κατὰ ἄνθρωπον λέγω] To preclude his being misunderstood, as if he were asking εἰ δὲ ἀδικία ἡμῶν.… μὴ ἄδικος κ. τ. λ(751) from his own enlightened Christian view, Paul remarks parenthetically that he says this according to a human standard (Bernhardy, p. 241), after the fashion of ordinary humanity, quite apart from his own higher standpoint of divine enlightenment, to which the idea expressed in that question would be foreign, and speaking only in accordance with mere human reason. Compare 1 Corinthians 9:8; Galatians 3:15; Soph. Aj. 761: κατʼ ἄνθρωπον φρονεῖ. “I say this just as an ordinary man, not under the influence of the divine Spirit, may well say it.” Respecting the expression κατὰ ἄνθρ., which is capable according to the context of great variety of meaning, compare Fritzsche in loc(752) It is wrongly inferred from κατὰ ἄνθρ. λέγω that the question ΄ὴ ἄδικος κ. τ. λ(753) was meant to receive an affirmative answer, because as a negative query it would not be κατὰ ἄνθρ. (see Philippi). But this view overlooks the fact that the whole thought, which is implied in the question calculated though it is for a negative reply,—the thought of the unrighteousness of God in punishing—can in fact only be put into expression κατὰ ἄνθρωπον; in the higher Christian insight a conception so blasphemous and deserving of abhorrence can find neither place nor utterance. The apology however, involved in κατὰ ἄνθρ. λέγω, is applicable only to what goes before, not to what follows, to which Mehring, Th. Schott and Hofmann refer it. This is the more obvious, since what immediately follows is merely a repudiating μὴ γένοιτο, and the ἐπεί κ. τ. λ(754), which assigns the ground for this repudiation, is by no means an idea outside the range of revelation, the application of which to a rational inference, and one too so plainly right, cannot transfer it to the lower sphere of the κατὰ ἄνθρ. λέγειν.

Romans 3:6. ἐπεί] gives the ground of the ΄ὴ γένοιτο; for (if the God who inflicts wrath is unrighteous) how will it be possible that He shall judge the world? The future is to be left in its purely future sense, since it refers to a future act taking place at any rate, as to which the only difficulty would be to see how it was to be accomplished, if, etc. On ἐπεί, for otherwise, see Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 308. κρινεῖ has the emphasis.

τὸν κόσ΄ον is to be taken, with most expositors, generally as meaning all mankind (compare Romans 3:19). To be judge of the world and yet, as ἐπιφέρων τ. ὀργ., to be ἄδικος, is a contradiction of terms; the certainty that God is the former would become an impossibility if He were the latter. Compare Genesis 18:25. Koppe, Reiche, Schrader, Olshausen, and Jatho, following older authorities, take it only of the Gentile world (Romans 11:12; 1 Corinthians 6:2; 1 Corinthians 11:32): “In that case God could not punish even the Gentile world for its idolatry, since it is only in contrast therewith that the true worship of God appears in its full value” (Reiche) But, in this explanation, the very essential idea: “since.… appears” has first of all to be imported, an expedient which, in presence of the simplicity and clearness of our view, cannot but seem arbitrary. Even the following proof, Romans 3:7 f., does not present a reference directly to the judgment of the Gentiles. The argument itself rests on the premiss that God can carry out the judgment of the world only as One who is righteous in His decreeing of wrath. The opposite would be impossible, not only subjectively, in God Himself (Th. Schott), but also objectively, as standing in contradiction to the notion of a world-judgment. See Romans 3:7 f. This proposition however is so perfectly certain to the consciousness of faith, out of which Paul asserts it, that there is no ground either for complaining of the weakness of the proof (Rückert), or for reading the thoughts that form the proof between the lines (Fritzsche and Mehring, with varying arbitrariness); the more especially as afterwards, in Romans 3:7, a still further confirmation of the ἐπεί.… κόσμον follows.


Verse 7

Romans 3:7 f. The ἐπεὶ πῶς κρινεῖ θεὸς τ. κόσμ. receives its illustrative confirmation; for as to the case of God, who would thus be unrighteous and nevertheless is to judge the world, every ground for judging man as a sinner must be superseded by the circumstance already discussed, viz. that His truth has been glorified by man’s falsehood (Romans 3:4 f.); and (Romans 3:8) as to the case of man himself, there would result the principle directly worthy of condemnation, that he should do evil in order that good might come. Comp Th. Schott, and in substance also Hofmann and Morison. The argument accordingly rests on the basis, that in the case put ( ἐπεί from Romans 3:6) the relation of God to the judgment of the world would yield two absurd consequences. (See this, as early as Chrysostom.) Another view is that of Calvin, Beza, Grotius, Wolf, and many others, including Rückert, Kollner, Tholuck, Philippi and Umbreit, that the objection of Romans 3:5 is here amplified. But it is quite as arbitrary and in fact impossible (hence Philippi resorts to the violent expedient of putting in a parenthesis not only κατὰ ἄνθρ. λέγω, but also ΄ὴ γένοιτο.… κόσ΄ον), with the reference of γάρ, to overleap entirely Romans 3:6, as it is strange to make the discourse so completely abrupt and to represent the Apostle as making no reply at all to the first part of the alleged amplification of the objection (to Romans 3:7), and as replying to the second part (Romans 3:8) only by an anathema, sit! ( ὧν τ. κρ. ἔνδ. .). Against the view of Reiche, who, following Koppe, Rosenmüller, and Flatt, thinks that the Gentile is introduced as speaking in Romans 3:7 (compare Olshausen), we may decisively urge the close connection therewith of Romans 3:8, where Paul includes himself also, but does not “take speech in hand again” (Reiche). See besides on τὸν κόσμον, Romans 3:6.

ἀλήθεια and ψεύσ΄ατι are terms chosen in reference to Romans 3:4, because the question proposed in Romans 3:5 was in fact suggested by that verse; but they represent, as Romans 3:5 proves, the ideas of δικαιοσύνη and ἀδικία; hence: the moral truth, i.e. the holy righteousness of God (see on John 3:21; Ephesians 5:9; Philippians 4:8), and the moral falsehood, i.e. the immorality (Revelation 22:15), wickedness of man.(756)

ἐπερίσσευσεν εἰς τ. δόξ. αὐτοῦ] has abounded richly to His glory, that is, has shown itself in superabundant measure, which redounds to His glory. The stress of this protasis lies on ἐν τῷ ἐμῷ ψεύσματι.

The aorist denotes the result of the having abounded, which subsists at the day of judgment (realised as present by τί.… κρίνομαι) as up to that point accomplished fact.

ἔτι] namely, after that assumed result has occurred.

κἀγώ] emphasising the contradictory relation to the contents of the protasis, according to which this ἐγώ seems actually to have deserved something of God: even I (Baeumlein, Partik. p. 150) who have notwithstanding glorified God through my ψεύσμα. So in substance (“just I” according to Hermann, a(757) Viger. p. 837) also Tholuck and Morison; compare Philippi: “even I still.” There lies in the expression something of boldness and defiance; but it is not equivalent to καὶ αὐτός, or αὐτός ἐγώ, to the meaning of which Th. Schott and Hofmann ultimately bring it (“even personally still”). We may add that this first person, individualising just like the preceding one ( ἐν τ. ἐμῷ ψ.), of course represents the sinner in general (with an intended application to the Jews, see on Romans 3:5 f), and not the Apostle himself, as Schrader and Fritzsche think. Against this latter theory it is decisive that κρίνομαι after Romans 3:6 must indicate, not the judgment of enemies, but necessarily the divine act of judging.

ὡς ἁμαρτ.] as a sinner, not “as a Gentile” (Reiche, Mehring), and others.

Romans 3:8. καὶ μή] Before μή we must again supply τί: and why should we not, etc. Respecting τί μή, quidni, see Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 162. Accordingly, as καί continues the question, only a comma is to be placed after κρίνομαι.

As regards the construction, Paul has dropped the plan of the sentence begun with καὶ μή (and why should we not do evil, etc.), being led away from it by the inserted remark, and has joined ὅτι ποιήσωμεν in direct address (let us do) to the λέγειν, so that ὅτι is recitative. But on account of this very blending there is no necessity either to make a parenthesis or to supply anything. For similar attractions (compare especially Xen. Anab. vi. 4, 18) in which the discourse is interrupted by an intervening clause, and then continued in a regimen dependent on the latter and no longer suitable to the beginning, see Hermann a(758) Viger. p. 745, 894; Bernhardy, p. 464; Dissen, a(759) Dem. de cor. p. 346, 418; Krüger, gramm. Unters. p. 457 ff. Many erroneous attempts have been made by commentators (see the various explanations in Morison) to bring out an unbroken construction, as e.g. the supplying of ἐροῦμεν or some such word after μή (Erasmus, Calvin, Wolf, Koppe, Benecke, and others, also van Hengel). Even the expedient of Matthias is untenable.(760) The same may be said of that of Hofmann, who supplies an ἐστίν after καὶ μή, and renders: “Why does it not happen to me according to that, as ( καθώς) we are slandered,” etc. But if it is quite gratuitous to supply ἐστί, it is still more so to make this ἐστί equivalent to γίνεται μοι. Besides the negation, which, according to our construction, harmonises with the deliberative sense, would necessarily be not μή but οὐ, since it would negative the reality of the εἶναι understood (1 Corinthians 6:7; Luke 19:23; Luke 20:5 al(761)). The correct view is held also by Winer and Buttmann (p. 235, 211), Philippi and Morison.

καθὼς βλασφημ.] as we (Christians) are calumniated, namely, as if we did evil in order that, etc. Then the following καὶ καθὼς.… λέγειν contains the accusation, current possibly in Rome also, that the Christians were in the habit of repeating this maxim even as a doctrinal proposition. As to the distinction between φημί (to assert) and λέγω, compare on 1 Corinthians 10:15. What may have occasioned such slanders against the Christians? Certainly their non-observance of the Mosaic law, to which they ventured to deem themselves not bound, in order to gain eternal life by the grace of God through faith in the redemptive work of Christ, which was an offence to the Jews. The plural is not to be referred to Paul alone, which would be arbitrary on account of the preceding singular; the Christians are conceived as Pauline (comp Acts 21:21); and on the part of Jews and Judaizers ( τινές, certain people, as in 1 Corinthians 15:12) are slanderously and falsely (for see Romans 5:20, Romans 6:1; Romans 6:15 ff.) accused of doing evil that good might come (might ensue as result). Under this general category, namely, the calumniators reduced the bearing of the Christians, so far as the latter, without regulating their conduct by the Mosaic law, were nevertheless assured, and professed, that they should through faith in Christ obtain the divine blessings of salvation. That general accusation was an injurious abstract inference thence deduced.

ὧν] i.e. of those, who follow this principle destructive of the whole moral order of God. They form the nearest logical subject. With just indignation the Apostle himself, having a deep sense of morality, makes us feel in conclusion by ὧν τὸ κρῖμα κ. τ. λ(763) how deserving of punishment is the consequence, which, if God be regarded as an unrighteous judge of the world, must ensue for moral conduct from the premiss that God is glorified by the sin of men. The reference of ὧν to the slanderers (Theodoret, Grotius, Tholuck, Mehring, Hofmann) is unsuitable, because it separates the weighty closing sentence from the argumentation itself, and makes it merely an accessory thought.

τὸ κρῖμα] The definite judicial sentence, decree of punishment at the last judgment.

ἔνδικον] accordant with justice, rightful. Compare Hebrews 2:2. Frequently used in classic writers.


Verse 9

Romans 3:9. When Paul, in Romans 3:6-8, has defended the righteousness of God as decreeing wrath (Romans 3:5) in the face of the proposition, correct in itself, that human sin turns out to God’s glory, he has thereby also deprived the sinner of all the defence, which he might derive from the misapplication of that proposition. This position of the case, as it results from Romans 3:6-8 ( οὖν), he now expresses, and that in the lively form of an interrogation, here accompanied by a certain triumph: What then? Are we in the position to apply a defence for ourselves? We cannot therefore with most expositors (including Tholuck, Philippi, Bisping) assume that Paul here reverts to Romans 3:1.

That the punctuation should not be τί οὖν προεχόμεθα; (as it is given by Oecumenius, l, Koppe, Th. Schott) is plain from the answer, which is not οὐδὲν πάντως. but οὐ πάντως. And that in adopting the general inclusive form Paul speaks from the standpoint of the Jewish consciousness, and not in the person of the Christians (Hofmann), is apparent from the context both before (see Romans 3:3; Romans 3:5; Romans 3:7) and after ( ʼιουδαίους τε καὶ ἕλλ., and see Romans 3:19).

τί οὖν] sc(764) ἐστί (Acts 21:22; 1 Corinthians 14:15; 1 Corinthians 14:26), what takes place then? how is then the state of the case? Compare Romans 6:15, Romans 11:7; frequent in classical writers; comp on Romans 3:3; Romans 3:5.

προεχό΄εθα] Do we put forward (anything) in our defence? Is it the case with us, that something serves us as a defence, that can secure us against the punitive righteousness of God? προέχειν, which in the active form means to hold before, to have in advance, to bring forward, and intransitively to be prominent, also to excel (see Wetstein, also Reiche, Comment. crit. I. p. 24), has in the middle simply the signification to hold before oneself, to have before oneself, either in the proper sense, e.g. of holding forth spears for defence (Hom. Il. xvii. 355), or of having oxen in front (Od. iii. 8), or of holding in front the ram’s head (Herod. ii. 42), etc., or in the ethical sense: to put forward, πρόσχημα ποιεῖθαι, to apply something for one’s own defence, as in Soph. Ant. 80: σὺ μὲν τάδʼ ἂν προὔχοιʼ, Thuc. i. 140, 5 and Krüger in loc(766), and also Valckenaer, a(767) fr. Callim. p. 227. More frequent in Greek writers is the form προΐσχεσθαι, in this sense, as e.g. Thuc. i. 26, 2. Compare also πρόφασιν προΐσχεσθαι, Herod. vi. 117, viii. 3; Herodian, iv. 14, 3; Dem. in Schol. Hermog. p. 106, 16 : προΐσχεσθαι νόμον. This sense of the word is therefore rightly urged by Hemsterhuis, Venema, Koppe, Benecke, Fritzsche (“utimurne praetextu?”), Krehl, Ewald, Morison; compare also Th. Schott. This explanation is the only one warranted by linguistic usage,(768) as well as suited to the connection (see above). The most usual rendering (adopted by Tholuck, Köllner, de Wette, Rückert, Baumgarten-Crusius, Philippi, Baur, Umbreit, Jatho, and Mangold) is that of the Peschito and Vulgate (praecellimus eos?), and of Theophylact: ἐχομέν τι πλέον.… καὶ εὐδοκιμοῦμεν οἱ ʼιουδαῖοι, ὡς τόν νόμον καὶ τὴν περιτομὴν δεξάμενοι. Compare Theodoret: τί οὖν κατέχο΄εν περισσόν; Philippi: “Have we any advantage for ourselves?” and now also Hofmann (who held the right view formerly in his Schriftbew. I. p. 501): “Do we raise ourselves above those, upon whom God decrees His judgment of wrath?” But the mere usus loquendi, affording not a single instance of the middle employed with the signification antecellere, raising oneself above, surpassing, or the like, decisively condemns this usual explanation in its different modifications.(769) And would not the answer οὐ πάντως, in whatever sense we take it, so long as agreeably to the context we continue to understand as the subject the Jewish, not the Christian we (as Hofmann takes it), be at variance with the answer πολὺ κατὰ πάντα τρόπον given in Romans 3:2? The shifts of expositors to escape this inconsistency (the usual one being that Paul here means subjective advantages in respect of justification, while in Romans 3:2 he treats of objective theocratic advantages) are forced expedients, which, not at all indicated by any clause of more precise definition on the part of Paul himself, only cast suspicion on the explanation. Wetstein, Michaelis, Cramer, Storr, and recently Matthias, take προεχ. as the passive: are surpassed: “Stand we (at all) at a disadvantage? Are we still surpassed by the Gentiles?” Compare Xen. Anab. iii. 2, 19; Plut. Mor. p. 1038 C. But how could this question be logically inferred from the foregoing without the addition of other thoughts? And in what follows it is not the sinful equality of the Gentiles with the Jews, but that of the Jews with the Gentiles which is made conspicuous. See also Romans 3:19. Mehring, in thorough opposition to the context, since not a single hint of a transition to the Gentiles is given, makes the question (comp Oecumenius, 2), and that in the sense “Are we at a disadvantage?” be put into the mouth even of a Gentile.

οὐ πάντως] Vulgate: nequaquam; Theophylact: οὐδαμῶς. This common rendering (compare the French point de tout) is, in accordance with the right explanation of προεχόμεθα, the only proper one. The expression, instead of which certainly πάντως οὐ might have been used (1 Corinthians 16:12), is quite analogous to the οὐ πάνυ, where it means in no wise,(771) as in Xen. Mem. iii. 1, 11; Anab. i. 8, 14; Herodian, vi. 5, 11; Dem. Ol. iii. 21; Plat. Lach. p. 189 C Lucian, Tim. 24 (see Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 87), so that the negative is not transposed, and yet it does not cancel the idea of the adverb, but on the contrary is strengthened by the adverb. By this means the emphatic affirmation, which would have been given by the πάντως alone, is changed into the opposite.(772) Compare Winer, p. 515 f. [E. T. 693]. The comparison with כללא (Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 334) is utterly foreign, since the expression is a pure Greek one. Compare Theognis, 305, Bekker: οἱ κακοὶ οὐ πάντως (by no means) κακοὶ ἐκ γαστρὸς γεγόνασιν. Ep. ad Diogn. 9 : οὐ πάντως ἐφηδό΄ενος (by no means rejoicing) τοῖς ἁ΄αρτή΄ασιν ἡ΄ῶν, ἀλλʼ ἀνεχό΄ενος. Perfectly similar is also the Homeric οὐ πά΄παν, decidedly not; see Nägelsbach on the Iliad, p. 146, ed. 3; Duncan, Lex. Hom. ed. Rost, p. 888. Compare οὐδὲν πάντως, Herod. v. 34, 65. The explanation, on which van Hengel also insists: not altogether, not in every respect (Grotius, Wetstein, Morus, Flatt, Köllner, Matthias, Umbreit, Mehring and Mangold), as in 1 Corinthians 5:10, fails to tally with the true explanation of προεχό΄εθα and the unrestricted character of the following proof.

προῃτιασά΄εθα] namely, not just from Romans 3:5 onward (Hofmann), but, in accordance with the following ἰουδαίους τε κ. ἕλληνας, in Romans 2:1 ff. as to the Jews, and in Romans 1:18 ff. as to the Gentiles.(773) It is therefore as in Romans 1:5 and frequently elsewhere, the plural of the author, not: we Christians (Hofmann). As to the construction, πάντας may either be joined as an adjective to ἰουδ. τ. κ. ἕλλ., or as a substantive to the infinitive, in either case expressing the idea of all collectively, nemine excepto. The latter mode of connection is preferable, because it gives a more marked prominence to the idea of totality, which harmonises with the following Romans 3:10-12. Hence: we have before brought the charge against Jews and Gentiles, that all, etc. Comp Hofmann and Morison. There is elsewhere no instance of the compound προαιτ.; the Greeks use προκατηγορεῖν.

ὑφʼ ἁ΄αρτ. εἶναι] They are—while still unregenerate, a more precise definition that is self-evident—all under sin, an expression denoting not merely a state of sin in general, but moral dependence on the power of sin. Compare Romans 7:25; Galatians 3:22. But if this be the case with Jews and Gentiles (not merely on the Gentile side), then the Jew, after the way of escape indicated in Romans 3:5 has been cut off by Romans 3:6-8, has no defence left to him as respects his liability to punishment any more than the Gentile.(775) Accordingly the idea of liability to punishment is not yet expressed in ὑφʼ ἁμαρτ. εἶναι, but is meant only to be inferred from it.


Verses 10-18

Romans 3:10-18. Conformity with Scripture of the charge referred to, ἰουδαίους τε καὶ ἕλλην. πάντ. ὑφʼ ἁμ. εἶναι, so far (Romans 3:19) as this charge cuts off from the Jews every προέχεσθαι of Romans 3:9.

The recitative ὅτι introduces citations from Scripture very various in character, which after the national habit (Surenhusius, καταλλ. thes. 7) are arranged in immediate succession. They are taken from the LXX., though for the most part with variations, partly due to quotation from memory, and partly intentional, for the purpose of defining the sense more precisely. The arrangement is such that testimony is adduced for—1st, the state of sin generally (Romans 3:10-12); 2nd, the practice of sin in word (Romans 3:13-14) and deed (Romans 3:15-17); and 3rd, the sinful source of the whole (Romans 3:18). More artificial schemes of arrangement are not to be sought (as e.g. in Hofmann), not even by a play on numbers.(776)

οὐκ ἔστι δίκαιος οὐδὲ εἷς] There exists not a righteous person (who is such as he ought to be), not even one. Taken from Psalms 14:1, where the Sept. has ποιῶν χρηστότητα instead of δίκαιος; Paul has put the latter on purpose at once, in accordance with the aim of his whole argument, prominently to characterise the ὑφʼ ἁμαρτ. εἶναι as a want of δικαιοσύνη. Michaelis regards the words as the Apostle’s own, “under which he comprehends all that follows.” So also Eckermann, Koppe, Köllner and Fritzsche. But it is quite at variance with the habit of the Apostle, after using the formula of quotation, to prefix to the words of Scripture a summary of their contents; and this supposition is here the more improbable, seeing that the Apostle continues in Romans 3:11 in the words of the same Psalm, with the first verse of which our passage substantially agrees.

Regarding οὐδὲ εἷς see on 1 Corinthians 6:5, and Stallbaum, a(777) Plat. Symp. p. 214 D.

Romans 3:11 is from Psalms 14:2, and so quoted, that the negative sense which results indirectly from the text in the Hebrew and LXX. is expressed by Paul directly: there exists not the understanding one (the practically wise, i.e. the pious one; see Gesenius, Thes. s. v. חָכָם ): there exists not the seeker after God (whose thoughts and endeavours are directed towards God, Hebrews 11:6, and see Gesenius, s. v. דָרַשׁ ). The article denotes the genus as a definite concrete representing it. Compare Buttmann’s neut. Gr. p. 253 f. On the idea, which is also classical, of sin as folly, see Nägelsbach, Hom. Theol. VI. 2.

The form συνίων (so accentuated by Lachmann; compare Buttmann, I. p. 543), or συνιῶν (though the former is the more probable; compare Winer, p. 77 f. [E. T. 97], also Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 768), is the usual one in the Sept. (instead of συνιείς, Psalms 33:15). Psalms 41:1; Jeremiah 30:12; 2 Chronicles 34:12 et al(778)

ἐκζητ.] stronger than the simple form; compare 1 Peter 1:10; very frequent in the LXX.

Romans 3:12. From Psalms 14:3 closely after the LXX. ἐξέκλιναν, namely from the right way, denotes the demoralisation (see Gesenius, s. v. םוּד ), as does also ἠχρειώθησαν, נֶאֱלָחוּ : they have become useless, corrupt, good for nothing, ἀχρεῖοι (Matthew 25:30); Polyb. i. 14, 6, i. 48, 9. The following ποιῶν χρηστότητα is correlative. This ἅμα (altogether) ἠχρειώθ. has still πάντες for its subject.

ἕως ἑνός] The οὐκ ἔστιν holds as far as to one (inclusively), so that therefore not one is excepted. Compare Judges 4:16. Hebraism, see Ewald, Lehrb. § 217, 3. The Latin ad unum omnes is similar.

Romans 3:13 as far as ἐδολ. is from Psalms 5:10, and thence till αὐτῶν from Psalms 140:4, both closely after the LXX.(779)

τάφος ἀνεῳγμ. λάρ. αὐτ.] Estius: “Sicut sepulcrum patens exhalat tetrum ac pestiferum foetorem, ita ex ore illorum impuri, pestilentes noxiique sermones exeunt.” Comp Pelagius, Bengel, Tholuck, Mehring and Hofmann. But it is more in harmony with the further description, as well as the parallel in Jeremiah 5:16 (where the quiver of the Chaldeans is compared with an open grave), to find the comparison in the point that, when the godless have opened their throats for lying and corrupting discourse, it is just as if a grave stood opened (observe the perfect) to which the corpse ought to be consigned for decay and destruction.(781) So certainly and unavoidably corrupting is their discourse. Moreover λάρυγξ, which is here to be taken in its original sense, (as organ of speech, not equivalent to φάρυγξ, the gullet) is more forcibly graphic than στόμα, representing the speech as passionate crying. Compare λαρυγγίζειν, Dem. 323, 1, and λαρυγγισμός, of crying lustily.

ἐδολιοῦσαν] they were deceiving. The imperfect denotes what had taken place as continuing up till the present time; and on this form of the third person plural, of very frequent occurrence in the LXX., see Sturz, Dial. Al. p. 60; Ahrens, Dial. II. p. 304, I. p. 237.

ἰὸς ἀσπίδων] The poison of asps, a figure for the insidiously corrupting. See similar passages in Alberti, Obss. p. 301.

Romans 3:14 is from Psalms 10:7, taken freely from the LXX., who however with their πικρίας deviate from the Hebrew מִרְמו ̇ ת, because they either read it otherwise or translated it erroneously.

πικρία, figurative designation of the hateful nature. Comp Ephesians 4:31; Acts 8:23; James 3:14; see Wetstein.

Romans 3:15-17 are from Isaiah 59:7-8, quoted freely and with abbreviations from the LXX.

ἐν ταῖς ὁδοῖς αὐτῶν] Where they go, is desolation (fragments שֹׁד ) and misery, which they produce.

ὁδὸν εἰρ. οὐκ ἔγν.] i.e. a way on which one walks peacefully (the opposite of the ὁδοί, on which is σύντριμμα κ. ταλαιπ.), they have not known (2 Corinthians 5:21), it has remained strange to them.

Romans 3:18 is from Psalms 36:1. The fear of God, which would have preserved them from such conduct and have led them to an entirely different course, is not before their eyes. “There is objectivity ascribed to a condition which is, psychologically, subjective.” Morison.


Verse 19

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.

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; 2 Maccabees 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 νόμος, which forms the first, and for Israel most important, portion of it, was here occasioned by τοῖς ἐν τῷ νό΄ῳ, 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; Psalms 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 ἀνα΄πλάκητος, 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 κόσ΄ος] 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)


Verse 20

Romans 3:20. διότι] propterea quod, i. 19, not propterea (Beza, Rosenmüller, Morus, Tholuck), is to be divided from the preceding only by a comma, and supplies the objective reason of that ἵνα κ. τ. λ(796) of the law: because the relation of righteousness will accrue to no flesh from works of the law. For if δικαιοσύνη should come from works of the law, the law would in fact open up the way of righteousness, and therefore that ἵνα πᾶν κ. τ. λ(797) would not be correct.(798) As to πᾶσα σάρξ, equivalent to πᾶς ἄνθρωπος, but conveying the idea of moral imperfection and sinfulness in presence of God, see on Acts 2:17; 1 Corinthians 1:20; and compare generally on Galatians 2:16. That with regard to the Gentiles Paul is thinking of the natural law (Romans 2:14) cannot be admitted, seeing that in the whole connection he has to do with the law of Moses. But neither may the thought be imported into the passage with reference to the Gentiles: “if they should be placed under the law and should have ἔργα νόμου” (Rückert, comp Philippi and Mehring), since, according to the context, it is only with reference to the Jews (Romans 3:19) that the question is dealt with as to no flesh being righteous—a general relation which, as regards the Gentiles, is perfectly self-evident, seeing that the latter are ἄνομοι, and have no ἔργα νόμου in the proper sense whatever.

Respecting ἔργα νόμου,(800) works in harmony with the law of Moses, the ἔργα being the prominent conception, works which are fulfilments of its precepts, comp on Romans 2:15. Moreover that it is not specially the observance of the ritual portions of the law (Pelagius, Cornelius à Lapide, Semler, Ammon), but that of the Mosaic law in general which is meant, is clear partly from the expression itself, which is put without limitation, partly from the contextual relation of the clause to what goes before, and partly from the following διὰ γὰρ νόμου κ. τ. λ(802), from which the ethical law is so far from being excluded,(803) that it is on the contrary precisely this aspect of the νόμος which is specially meant.

οὐ δικαιωθήσ.] See on Romans 1:17. The future is to be understood either of the moral possibility, or, which is preferable on account of Romans 3:20, purely in the sense of time, and that of the future generally: “In every case in which justification (i.e. the being declared righteous by God) shall occur, it will not result from,” etc., so that such works should be the causa meritoria. The reference to the future judgment (Reiche) is controverted by the fact that throughout the entire connection justification is regarded as a relation arising immediately from faith, and not as something to be decided only at the judgment. See Romans 3:21 ff. and chap. 4. For this reason there is immediately afterwards introduced as the counterpart of the δικαιοσύνη, which comes directly from faith, the ἐπίγνωσις ἁ΄αρτίας, which comes directly from the law. It is certain, moreover, that in οὐ δικαιωθ. κ. τ. λ(804) Paul had Psalms 143:2 in view, but instead of πᾶς ζῶν he put πᾶσα σάρξ as more significant for the matter in hand.

In what sense now shall no one from works of the law become righteous before God, i.e. such that God looks upon him as righteous?(805) Not in the sense that perfect compliance with the law would be insufficient to secure justification, against which the fundamental law of the judge: οἱ ποιηταὶ νόμου δικαιωθήσονται (Romans 2:13), would be decisive; but in the sense that no man, even with an outwardly faultless observance of the law (comp on Philippians 3:6), is in a position to offer to it that full and right obedience, which alone would be the condition of a justification independent of extraneous intervention; in fact, it is only through the law that man comes to a clear perception and consciousness of his moral imperfection by nature (his unrighteousness). See Luther’s preface. That this was the Apostle’s view, is proved by the reason which follows: διὰ γὰρ νόμου κ. τ. λ(807) See, besides, especially chs. 7 and 8; Galatians 3:10. There is here no mention of the good works of the regenerate, which however are only the fruits of justification, ch. 6, Romans 8:2 ff.; Ephesians 2:10 al(808) Comp Philippi and Morison.

διὰ γὰρ νό΄ου ἐπίγν. ἁ΄.] The law, when it places its demands before man, produces in the latter his first proper recognition of his moral incongruity with the will of God. “With these words Paul strikes at the deepest root of the matter,” Ewald. Respecting γάρ Calvin’s note is sufficient: “a contrario ratiocinator.… quando ex eadem scatebra non prodeunt vita et mors.” The propriety of the argument however rests on the fact that the law does not at the same time supply the strength to conquer sin (Romans 8:3), but stops short at the point of bringing to cognition the “interiorem immunditiem” which it forbids; “hanc judicat et accusat coram Deo, non tollit,” Melancthon. It is different in the case of civil laws, which are designed merely to do away with the externa scelera, and to judge the works in and for themselves, Romans 13:3 ff.


Verse 21

Romans 3:21.(810) νυνί is usually interpreted here as a pure adverb of time (“nostris temporibus hac in parte felicissimis,” Grotius). So also Tholuck, Reiche, Rückert, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, Winzer, Reithmayr, Philippi, van Hengel, Mehring, Th. Schott, and others. But since what precedes was not given as a delineation of the past, there appears here not the contrast between two periods, but that between two relations, the relation of dependence on the law and the relation of independence on the law ( διὰ νόμου.… χωρίς νόμου). Hence with Beza, Pareus, Piscator, Estius, Koppe, Fritzsche, de Wette, Matthias, and Hofmann, we render: but in this state of the case. See regarding this dialectic use of the νῦν Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 25; Baeuml. Part. p. 95; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 181. Comp Romans 7:17; 1 Corinthians 5:11; 1 Corinthians 12:18; 1 Corinthians 13:13, al(812); 4 Maccabees 6:33; 4 Maccabees 13:3. By Greek authors νυνί is not thus used, only νῦν.

χωρίς νό΄ου] placed with full emphasis at the beginning as the opposite of διὰ νό΄ου, belongs to πεφαν. Aptly rendered by Luther: “without the accessory aid of the law,” i.e. so that in this revelation of the righteousness of God the law is left out of account. Reiche (following Augustine, de grat. Chr. 1, 8, and de spir. et. lit. 9, Wolf, and others) joins it with δικαιοσ.: “the righteousness of God as being imparted to the believer without the law, without the Mosaic law helping him thereto.” Compare also Winzer, Klee, Mehring. But apart from the coactior constructio, with which Estius already found fault, we may urge against this view the parallel of διὰ νόμου, Romans 3:20, which words also do not belong to ἐπίγνωσις ἁ΄αρτ. but to the verb to be supplied.

πεφανέρωται] is made manifest and lies open to view, so that it presents itself to the knowledge of every one; the present of the completed action, Hebrews 9:26. The expression itself presupposes the previous κρυπτόν (Colossians 3:3 f.; Mark 4:22), the having been hidden, in accordance with which the righteousness of God has not yet been the object of experimental perception. To men it was an unknown treasure. The mode of the πεφανέρωται however consists in the δικαιοσ. θεοῦ having become actual, having passed into historical reality, and having been made apparent, which has been accomplished without mixing up the law as a co-operative factor in the matter.

μαρτυρ. ὑπὸ τ. νόμ. κ. τ. προφ.] An accompanying characteristic definition of δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ, so far as the latter is made manifest: being witnessed, etc. If it is thus the case with regard to it, that in its πεφανέρωται it is attested by the witness of the law and the prophets, then this precludes the misconception that the δικαιοσύνη revealed χωρίς νό΄ου is opposed or foreign to the O. T., and consequently an innovation without a background in sacred history. Comp Romans 16:26; John 5:39. “Novum testamentum in vetere latet, vetus in novo patet,” Augustine. In this case we are not to think of the moral requirements (Th. Schott), but of the collective Messianic types, promises and prophecies in the law and the prophets, in which is also necessarily comprised the δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ as that which is necessary to participation in the Messianic salvation. Comp Romans 1:2, Romans 3:2; Acts 10:43; Acts 28:23; Luke 24:27; from the law, the testimony of Abraham, Romans 4:3 ff. and the testimonies quoted in Romans 10:6 ff.

Observe further that ΄αρτυρου΄. has the emphasis, in contrast to χωρίς, not ὑπὸ τοῦ νό΄ου (Bengel, Fritzsche and others). We may add Bengel’s apt remark: “Lex stricte (namely, in χωρίς νόμου) et late (in ὑπὸ τοῦ νόμου) dicitur.”


Verses 21-30

Romans 3:21-30. Paul has hitherto been proving that all men are under sin, and guilty before God. This was the preparatory portion of the detailed illustration of the theme set forth in ch. Romans 1:17; for before anything else there had to be recognised the general necessity of a δικαιοσύνη not founded on the law—as indeed such a legal righteousness has shown itself to be impossible. Now however he exhibits this δικαιοσύνη provided from another source—the righteousness of God which comes from faith to all without distinction, to believing Jews and Gentiles. Hofmann rejects this division, in consequence of his having erroneously taken προεχόμεθα in Romans 3:9 as the utterance of the Christians. He thinks that the Apostle only now comes to the conclusion, at which he has been aiming ever since the fifth verse: as to what makes Christians, as distinguished from others, assured of salvation.


Verse 22

Romans 3:22. A righteousness of God, however, (mediated) through faith in Jesus Christ. On δέ, with the repetition of the same idea, to be defined now however more precisely, the δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ (not merely δικαιοσύνη, as Hofmann insists contrary to the words); comp Romans 9:30. See on Philippians 2:8.

The genitive . χ. contains the object of faith(816) in accordance with prevailing usage (Mark 11:22; Acts 3:16; Galatians 2:16; Galatians 2:20; Galatians 3:22; Ephesians 3:12; Ephesians 4:13; Philippians 3:9; James 2:1). The article before διὰ πίστ. was not needed for the simple reason that δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ is without it. Therefore, and because the point at issue here was not the mode of becoming manifest, but the specific characterising of the righteousness itself that had become manifest, neither διὰ πίστ. (Fritzsche, Tholuck) nor the following εἰς πάντας κ. τ. λ(817) (de Wette, Fritzsche, Tholuck, Winer, Mehring and others) is to be made dependent on πεφανέρωται.

εἰς πάντας κ. ἐπὶ π. τ. πιστ.] scil. οὖσα; see Bornemann, a(818) Xen. Symp. 4, 25. The expression is an earnest and significant bringing into prominence of the universal character of this δικαιοσύνη διὰ πίστ. . χ.: which is for all, and upon all who believe. Both prepositions denote the direction of aim, in which the δικαιοσύνη presents itself, though with the special modification that under the εἰς lies the notion of destination (not “the immanent influx,” Reithmayr), under the ἐπί that of extending itself over all. On the peculiar habit, which the Apostle has, of setting forth a relation under several aspects by different prepositional definitions of a single word, see Winer, p. 390 [E. T. 521]; compare generally Kühner, II. 1, p. 475 f. While recent expositors (including Rückert, Reiche, Köllner, de Wette) have often arbitrarily disregarded the distinction in sense between the two prepositions,(819) and have held both merely as a strengthening of the idea all (“for all, for all without exception,” Koppe), the old interpreters, on the other hand, forced upon the εἰς and ἐπί much that has nothing at all in common with the relation of the prepositions; e.g. that εἰς π. applies to the Jews and ἐπὶ π. to the Gentiles; ‘thus Theodoret, Oecumenius, and many others, who have been followed by Bengel, Böhme and Jatho (and conversely by Matthias, who explains ἐκ and εἰς in Romans 1:17 in the same way).

οὐ γάρ ἐστι διαστ.] Ground assigned for the πάντας τ. πιστ. “For there is no distinction made, according to which another way to the δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ would stand open for a portion of men, perchance for the Jews,” and that just for the reason that (Romans 3:23) all have sinned, etc.


Verse 23

Romans 3:23. ἥμαρτον] The sinning of every man is presented as a historical fact of the past, whereby the sinful state is produced. The perfect would designate it as a completed subsisting fact. Calvin, moreover, properly remarks that according to Paul there is nulla justitia “nisi perfecta et absoluta,” and “si verum esset, nos partim operibus justificari, partim Dei gratia, non valeret hoc Pauli argumentum.” Luther aptly observes: “They are altogether sinners, etc., is the main article and the central point of this Epistle and of the whole Scripture.”

καὶ ὑστερ.] They have sinned, and in consequence of this they lack, there is wanting to them, etc. This very present expression, as well as the present participle δικαιούμενοι, ought to have kept Hofmann from understanding πάντες of all believers; for in their case that ὑστερεῖσθαι no longer applies (Romans 5:1 f., Romans 8:1 al(820)), and they are not δικαιούμενοι but δικαιωθέντες; but, as becoming believers, they would not yet be πιστεύοντες.

τῆς δόξης τ. θεοῦ] The genitive with ὑστερεῖσθαι (Diod. Sic. xviii. 71; Joseph. Antt. xv. 6, 7) determines for the latter the sense of destitui. See Lobeck, a(821) Phryn. p. 237. Comp on 1 Corinthians 1:7. They lack the honour which God gives,(823) they are destitute of the being honoured by God, which would be the case, if the ἥμαρτον did not occur; in that case they would possess the good pleasure of God, and this, regarded as honour, which they would have to enjoy from God: the δόξα τοῦ θεοῦ. Comp Romans 2:29; John 12:43, compared with John 5:44. Köllner’s objection to this view, which first offers itself, of τ. θεοῦ as the genitive auctoris, which is also held by Piscator, Hammond, Grotius, Fritzsche, Reiche, de Wette, Tholuck, and others, following Chrysostom (comp Philippi), that it is not the fault of men if they should not have an honour, which proceeds from God, is of no weight; since it certainly is the fault of men, if they render it impossible for a holy God to give them the honour which proceeds from Him. Moreover, Köllner’s own explanation: honour before God (quite so also Calvin; and comp Philippi), which is said according to the analogy of human relations, in point of fact quite coincides with the above view, since in fact honour before God, or with God (Winzer), is nothing else than the honour that accrues to us from God’s judgment. Comp Calvin: “ita nos ab humani theatri plausu ad tribunal coeleste vocat.” Accordingly, the genitive is here all the less to be interpreted coram, since in no other passage (and especially not in δικαιοσ. θεοῦ, see on. Romans 1:17) is there any necessity for this interpretation. This last consideration may also be urged against the interpretation of others: gloriatio coram Deo; “non habent, unde coram Deo glorientur,” Estius. So Erasmus, Luther, Toletus, Wolf, Koppe, Rosenmüller, Reithmayr, and others. It is decisive against this view that in all passages where Paul wished to express gloriatio, he knew how to employ the proper word, καύχησις (Romans 3:27; 2 Corinthians 7:14; 2 Corinthians 8:24 al(828)). Others, again, following Oecumenius (Chrysostom and Theophylact express themselves too indefinitely, and Theodoret is altogether silent on the matter), explain the δόξα τ. θεοῦ to mean the glory of eternal life, in so far as God either has destined it for man (Glöckler), or confers it upon him (Böhme, comp Morison); or in so far as it consists in partaking the glory of God (Beza, comp Bengel and Baumgarten-Crusius). Mehring allows a choice between the two last definitions of the sense. But the following δικαιού΄ενοι proves that the δόξα τοῦ θεοῦ cannot in reality be anything essentially different from the δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ, and cannot be merely future. Utterly erroneous, finally, is the view of Chemnitz, Flacius, Sebastian Schmid, Calovius,(831) Hasaeus, Alting, Carpzov, Ernesti, recently revived by Rückert, Olshausen, and Mangold, that the δόξα τοῦ θεοῦ is the image of God;a godlike δοξα,” as Rückert puts it, and thus gets rid of the objection that δόξα is not synonymous with εἰκών. But how arbitrarily is the relation of the genitive thus defined, altogether without the precedent of a similar usage (2 Corinthians 11:2 is not a case in point)! That the idea of the image of God is not suggested by anything in the connection is self-evident, since, as the subsequent δικαιούμενοι κ. τ. λ(832) abundantly shows, it is the idea of the want of righteousness that is under discussion. Hofmann and Ewald have explained it in the same way as Rückert, though they take the genitive more accurately (a δόξα such as God Himself possesses). The latter(833) understands “the glory of God which man indeed has by creation, Psalms 8:8, but which by sin he may lose for time and eternity, and has now lost.” Compare Hofmann: “Whatsoever is of God has a share, after the manner of a creature, in the glory of God. If this therefore be not found in man, the reason is that he has forfeited the relation to God in which he was created.” But even apart from the fact that such a participation in the glory of God had been lost already through the fall (Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:22), and not for the first time through the individual ἥμαρτον here meant, it is decisive against this exposition that the participation in the divine δόξα nowhere appears as an original blessing that has fallen into abeyance, but always as something to, be conferred only at the Parousia (Romans 5:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:12) as the συνδοξασθῆναι with Christ (Romans 8:17 f.; Colossians 3:4); as the glorious κληρονο΄ία of God (comp also 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 5:4); and consequently as the new blessing of the future αἰών (1 Corinthians 2:9). That is also the proleptic ἐδόξασε in Romans 8:30, which however would be foreign to the present connection.


Verse 24

Romans 3:24. δικαιούμενοι] does not stand for the finite tense (as even Rückert and Reiche, following Erasmus, Calvin and Melancthon, think); nor is, with Ewald, Romans 3:23 to be treated as a parenthesis, so that the discourse from the accusative in Romans 3:22 should now resolve itself more freely into the nominative, which would be unnecessarily harsh. But the participle introduces the accompanying relation, which here comes into view with the ὑστεροῦνται τῆς δόξης τ. θεοῦ, namely, that of the mode of their δικαίωσις: so that, in that state of destitution, they receive justification in the way of gift. Bengel aptly remarks: “repente sic panditur scena amoenior.” The participle is not even to be resolved into καὶ δικαιοῦνται (Peschito, Luther, Fritzsche), but the relation of becoming justified is to be left in the dependence on the want of the δόξα θεοῦ, in which it is conceived and expressed. Against the Osiandrian misinterpretations in their old and new forms see Melancthon, Enarr. on Romans 3:21; Kahnis, Dogm. I. p. 599 ff.; and also Philippi, Glaubenslehre, IV. 2, p. 247 ff.

δωρεάν] gratuitously (comp v. 17, and on the adverb in this sense Polyb. xviii. 17, 7; 1 Maccabees 10:33; Matthew 10:8; 2 Thessalonians 3:8; 2 Corinthians 11:7) they are placed in the relation of righteousness, so that this is not anyhow the result of their own performance; comp Ephesians 2:8; Titus 3:5.

τῇ αὐτοῦ χάρ. διὰ τῆς ἀπολ. τῆς ἐν χ. .] in virtue of His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. This redemption is that which forms the medium of the justification of man taking place gratuitously through the grace of God. By the position of the words τῇ αὐτοῦ χάριτι, the divine grace, is, in harmony with the notion of δώρεαν, emphasised precisely as the divine, opposed to all human co-operation; comp Ephesians 2:8. In ἀπολύτρωσις (comp Plut. Pomp. 24, Dem. 159, 15) the special idea of ransoming (comp on Ephesians 1:7; 1 Corinthians 6:20; Galatians 3:13) is not to be changed into the general one of the Messianic liberation (Romans 8:23; Luke 21:28; Ephesians 1:14; Ephesians 4:30; and see Ritschl in the Jahrb. f. d. Theol. 1863, p. 512); for the λύτρον or ἀντίλυτρον (Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6) which Christ rendered, to procure for all believers remission of guilt and the δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ, was His blood, which was the atoning sacrificial blood, and so as equivalent accomplished the forgiveness of sins, i.e. the essence of the ἀπολύτρωσις. See Romans 3:25; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; Hebrews 9:15; comp on Matthew 20:28; 1 Corinthians 6:20; Galatians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21. Liberation from the sin-principle (from its dominion) is not the essence of the ἀπολύτρωσις itself (Lipsius, Rechtfertigungsl. p. 147 f.), but its consequence through the Spirit, if it is appropriated in faith (Romans 8:2). Every mode of conception, which refers redemption and the forgiveness of sins not to a real atonement through the death of Christ, but subjectively to the dying and reviving with Him guaranteed and produced by that death (Schleiermacher, Nitzsch, Hofmann, and others, with various modifications), is opposed to the N. T.—a mixing up of justification and sanctification. Comp on Romans 3:26; also Ernesti, Ethik d. Ap. P. p. 27 f.

ἐν χ. ἰησοῦ] i.e. contained and resting in Him, in His person that has appeared as the Messiah (hence the χριστῷ is placed first). To what extent, is shown in Romans 3:25.

Observe further that justification, the causa efficiens of which is the divine grace ( τῇ αὐτοῦ χαρίτι), is here represented as obtained by means of the ἀπολύτρωσις, but in Romans 3:22 as obtained by means of faith, namely, in the one case objectively and in the other subjectively (comp Romans 3:25). But even in Romans 3:22 the objective element was indicated in πίστ. ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ, and in Romans 3:24 f. both elements are more particularly explained.


Verse 25

Romans 3:25. See on Romans 3:25 f. Ritschl, in the Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theol. 1863, p. 500 ff.; Pfleiderer in Hilgenfeld’s Zeitschr. 1872, p. 177 ff.; the critical comparison of the various explanations in Morison, p. 268 ff.

ὃν προέθετο κ. τ. λ(843)] whom God has openly set forth for Himself.(844) This signification, familiar from the Greek usage (Herod. iii. 148, vi. 21; Plat. Phaed. p. 115 E Eur. Alc. 667; Thuc. ii. 34, 1, 64, 3; Dem. 1071, 1; Herodian, viii. 6, 5; also in the LXX.), is decidedly to be adopted on account of the correlation with εἰς ἔνδειξιν κ. τ. λ(845) (Vulgate, Pelagius, Luther, Beza, Bengel and others; also Rückert, de Wette, Philippi, Tholuck, Hofmann and Morison); and not the equally classic signification: to propose to oneself, adopted by Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Toletus, Pareus, de Dieu, Elsner, Heumann, Böhme, Flatt and Fritzsche (Romans 1:13; Ephesians 1:9; 3 Maccabees 2:27): “quem esse voluit Deus piaculare sacrificium,” Fritzsche.(846) In that case an infinitive must have been required; and it was with the publicity of the divine act before the whole world that the Apostle was here concerned, as he has already indicated by πεφανέρωται in Romans 3:21. Matthias explains it: whom He caused to be openly made known, to be preached. But the classical use of προτίθημι, in the active and middle, in the sense of promulgare is here foreign, since it refers to the summoning or proclamation of assemblies (Soph. Ant. 160, and Hermann in loc(847); Lucian, Necyom. 19, and Hemsterhuis in loc(848); Dion. Hal. vi. 15 al(849); see Schoem. Comit. p. 104; Dorvill. a(850) Charit. p. 266 f.) or to the promulgation of laws. Besides the ἔνδειξις τῆς δικαιοσύνης of God rests, in fact, not on the preaching of the atoner, but on the work of atonement itself, which God accomplished by the προέθετο κ. τ. λ(851)

God’s own participation therein (for it was His ἱλαστήριον, willed and instituted by Himself) which is expressed by the middle, is placed beyond question by the εἰς ἔνδειζιν κ. τ. λ(852), and decisively excludes Hofmann’s conception of the death of Christ as a befalling. Compare on Romans 3:26.

ἱλαστήριον] is the neuter of the adjective ἱλαστήριος, used as a substantive, and hence means simply expiatorium in general, without the word itself conveying the more concrete definition of its sense. The latter is supplied by the context. Thus, for example, in the LXX. (in the older profane Greek the word does not occur) the lid of the ark of the covenant, the Kapporeth, as the propitiatorium operculum, is called τὸ ἱλαστήριον (see below), which designation has become technical, and in Exodus 25:17; Exodus 37:6 receives its more precise definition by the addition of ἐπίθε΄α. They also designate the ledge (choir) of the altar for burnt offerings, the עֲזָרָה (Ezekiel 43:15; Ezekiel 43:17; Ezekiel 43:20) in the same way, because this place also was, through the blood of reconciliation with which it was sprinkled, and generally as an altar-place, a place of atonement. When they render כַּפְת̇ ר in Amos 9:1 (knob) by ἱλαστήριον, it is probable that they read בַּפֹּרֶת . See generally Schleusner, Thes. III. p. 108 f. The word in the sense of offerings of atonement does not occur in the LXX., though it is so used by other writers, so that it may be more specially defined by ἱερόν or θῦ΄α. Thus in Dio Chrys. Orat. xi. 1, p. 355 Reiske: ἱλαστήριον ἀχαιοὶ τῇ ἀθηνᾷ τῇ ἰλιάδι, where a votive gift bears this inscription, and is thereby indicated as an offering of atonement, as indeed votive gifts generally fall under the wider idea of offerings (Ewald, Alterth. p. 96; Hermann, gottesd. Alterth. § 25, 1); again in Nonnus, Dionys. xiii. p. 383: ἱλαστήρια (the true reading instead of ἱκαστήρια) γοργοῦς. 4 Maccabees 17:22 : διὰ τοῦ αἵματος τῶν εὐσεβῶν ἐκείνων καὶ τοῦ ἱλαστηρίου τοῦ(853) θανάτου αὐτῶν. Hesych.: ἱλαστήριον· καθάρσιον. Comp Schol. Apoll. Rhod. ii. 487, where λωφήϊα ἱερά is explained by ἐξιλαστήρια; also the corresponding expressions for sacrifices, σωτήριον (Xen. Anab. iii. 2, 9; v. 1, 1; LXX. Exodus 20:24); καθάρσιον (Herod. i. 35; Aeschin. p. 4, 10); καθαρτήριον (Poll. i. 32); χαριστήριον (Xen. Cyr. iv. 1, 2; Polyb. xxi. 1, 2); εὐχαριστήριον (Polyb. v. 14, 8). Compare also such expressions as ἐπινίκια θύειν; and see generally Schaefer, a(855) Bos. Ell. p. 191 ff. Even in our passage the context makes the notion of an atoning sacrifice (comp Leviticus 17:11) sufficiently clear by ἐν τ. αὐτοῦ αἴματι; compare Pfleiderer l.c(857) p. 180. The interpretation expiatory sacrifice is adopted by Chrysostom (who at least represents the ἱλαστήρ. of Christ as the antitype of the animal offerings), Clericus, Bos, Eisner, Kypke, and others, including Koppe, Flatt, Klee, Reiche, de Wette, Köllner, Fritzsehe, Tholuck, Messner and Ewald; Weiss (bibl. Theol. p. 324) is in doubt between this and the following explanation.(858) Others, as Moms, Rosenmüller, Rückert, Usteri and Glöckler, keep with the Vulgate (propitiationem) and Castalio (placamentum), to the general rendering: means of propitiation. So also Hofrnann (comp Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 338 f.), comparing specially 1 John 4:10, and σωτήριον, Luke 2:30; and Rich. Schmidt, Paul. Christol. p. 84 ff. But this, after the προέθετο which points to a definite public appearance, is an abstract idea inappropriate to it (as “propiatition”), especially seeing that ἐν.… αἵματι belongs to προέθετο, and seeing that the view of the death of Jesus as the concrete propitiatory offering was deeply impressed on and vividly present to the Christian consciousness (Ephesians 5:2; 1 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 9:14; Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 1:19; John 1:29; John 17:19 al(860)). Origen, Theophylact, Erasmus, Luther, Calvin, Piscator, Pareus, Hammond, Grotius, Calovius, Wolf, Wetstein, and others; also Olshausen, Tholuck (ed. 5), Philippi, Umbreit, Jatho, Ritschl in the Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theol. 1863, p. 247, and altkathol. Kirche, p. 85; Weber, vom Zorne Gottes, p. 273; Delitzsch on Heb. p. 719, and in the illustrations to his Hebrew translation, p. 79; Märcker, and others, have rendered ἱλαστήριον in quite a special sense, namely, as referring to the canopy-shaped cover suspended over the ark of the covenant (see Ewald, Alterth. p. 164 ff.), on which, as the seat of Jehovah’s throne, the blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled by the high priest on the great day of atonement (Exodus 25:22; Numbers 7:89; Leviticus 16:13 ff.; Keil, Arch. I. § 84, and generally Lund, Jüd. Heiligth. ed. Wolf, p. 37 ff.), and which therefore, regarded as the vehicle of the divine grace (see Bähr, Symbolik, I. p. 387 ff.; Hengstenberg, Authent. des Pentateuches, II. p. 642; Schulz, alttest. Theol. I. p. 205), typified Christ as the atoner.(861) That the Kapporeth was termed ἱλαστήριον is not only certain from the LXX.(862) (Exodus 25:18-20; Exodus 31:7 al(863)), but also from Hebrews 9:5, and Philo (vit. Mos. p. 668, D and E; de profug. p. 465 A), who expressly represents the covering of the ark as a symbol of the ἵλεω δυνάμεως of God. Compare also Joseph. Antt. iii. 6, 5. There is consequently nothing to be urged against this explanation, either as respects the usus loquendi or as respects the idea, in accordance with which Christ, the bearer of the divine glory and grace, sprinkled with His own sacrificial blood, would be regarded as the antitype of the Kapporeth. But we may urge against it: (1) that τὸ ἱλαστηρ. does not stand with the article, as in the Sept. and Hebrews 9:5, although Christ was to be designated as the realised idea of the definite and in fact singly existing כפרת ( τὸ ἀληθινὸν ἱλαστήριον, Theodoret); (2) that even though the term ἱλαστήριον, as applied to the cover of the ark, was certainly familiar to the readers from its use by the LXX., nevertheless this name, in its application to Christ, would come in here quite abruptly, without anything in the context preparing the way for it or leading to it; (3) that προέθετο would in that case be inappropriate, because the ark of the covenant, in the Holy of Holies, was removed from the view of the people; (4) that, if Christ were really thought of here as כפרת, the following εἰς ἔνδειξιν τῆς δικαιοσύνης αὐτοῦ would be inappropriate, since the כפרת must have appeared rather as the ἔνδειξις of the divine grace (comp Hebrews 4:16); (5) and lastly, that the conception of Christ as the antitype of the cover of the ark is found nowhere else in the whole N. T., although there was frequent opportunity for such expression; and it is therefore to be assumed that it did not belong to the apostolic modes of viewing and describing the atoning work of Christ. Moreover, if it is objected that this interpretation is unsuitable, because Christ, who shed His own blood, could not be the cover of the ark sprinkled with foreign blood, it is on the other hand to be remembered that the Crucified One sprinkled with His own blood might be regarded as the cover of the ark with the same propriety as Christ offering His own blood is regarded in the Epistle to the Hebrews as High Priest. If, on the other side, it is objected to the interpretation expiatory offering (see Philippi), that it does not suit προέθετο because Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice to God, but God did not present Him as such to humanity, the objection is untenable, since the idea that God has given Christ to death pervades the whole N. T.—not that God has thereby offered Christ as a sacrifice, which is nowhere asserted, but that He has set forth before the eyes of the universe Him who is surrendered to the world by the very fact of His offering Himself as a sacrifice in obedience to the Father’s counsel, as such actually and publicly, namely, on the cross. An exhibition through preaching (as Philippi objects) is not to be thought of, but rather the divine act of redemption, which took place through the sacrificial death on Golgotha.

διὰ τῆς πίστεως] may be connected either with προέθετο (Philippi, following older writers) or with ἱλαστήριον (Rückert, Matthias, Ewald, Hofmann, Morison, and older expositors). The latter is the right construction, since faith, as laying hold of the propitiation, is the very thing by which the ἱλαστήριον set forth becomes subjectively effective; but not that whereby the setting forth itself, which was an objective fact independent of faith, has been accomplished.(865) Hence: as a sacrifice producing the ἱλάσκεσθαι through faith. Without faith the ἱλαστήριον would not be actually and in result, what it is in itself; for it does not reconcile the unbeliever.

ἐν τῷ αὐτοῦ αἵ΄ατι] belongs to προέθετο κ. τ. λ(866) God has set forth Christ as an effectual expiatory offering through faith by means of His blood; i.e. in that He caused Him to shed His blood, in which lay objectively the strength of the atonement.(867) Observe the position of αὐτοῦ: “quem proposuit ipsius sanguine.” Krüger, § 47, 9, 12. Comp Romans 11:11; Titus 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; Hebrews 2:4 al(869) Comp Romans 3:24. Still ἐν τ. αὐτ. αἵ΄. is not to be joined with ἱλαστήριον in such a way as to make it the parallel of διὰ τ. πίστ. (Wolf, Schrader, Köllner, Reithmayr, Matthias, Mehring, Hofmann, Mangold, and others); for εἰς ἔνδειξιν κ. τ. λ(871) requires that ἐν τ. αὐτ. αἵμ. shall be the element defining more closely the divine act of the προέθετο κ. τ. λ(872), by which the divine righteousness is apparent; wherefore also ἐν. τ. αὐτ. αἵ΄. is placed immediately before εἰς ἔνδειξιν κ. τ. λ(873), and not before ἱλαστήριον (against Hofmann’s objection). Other writers again erroneously make ἐν.… αἵματι dependent on πίστεως (Luther, Calvin, Beza, Seb. Schmid, and others; also Koppe, Klee, Flatt, Olshausen, Tholuck, Winzer, and Morison), joining διὰ τ. πίστ. likewise to ἱλαστήριον: through faith on His blood. In that case ἐν would not be equivalent to εἰς, but would indicate the basis of faith (see on Galatians 3:26); nor can the absence of the article after πίστ. be urged against this rendering (see on Gal. l.c(874)): but the ἐν τῷ αὐτ. αἵμ. becomes in this connection much too subordinate a point. Just by means of the shedding of His blood was the setting forth of Christ for a propitiatory offering accomplished; in order that through this utmost, highest, and holiest sacrifice offered for the satisfaction of the divine justice—through the blood of Christ—that justice might be brought to light and demonstrated. From this connection also we may easily understand why ἐν τῷ αὐτ. αἵμ., which moreover, following ἱλαστήριον, was a matter of course, is added at all; though in itself unnecessary and self-evident, it is added with all the more weight, and in fact with solemn emphasis. For just in the blood of Christ, which God has not spared, lies the proof of His righteousness, which He has exhibited through the setting forth of Christ as an expiatory-sacrifice; that shed blood has at once satisfied His justice, and demonstrated it before the whole world. On the atoning, actually sin-effacing power of the blood of Christ, according to the fundamental idea of Leviticus 17:11 (compare Hebrews 9:22), see Romans 5:9; Matthew 26:28; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; Revelation 5:9 al(875); 2 Corinthians 5:14; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13 al(876) Comp Kahnis, Dogm. I. p. 270 ff., 584 f. Reiche considers that διὰ τῆς πίστ. should be coupled with δικαιούμ., and ὃν.… ἱλαστ. should be a parenthesis, whilst ἐν τ. αὐτ. αἵμ. is to be co-ordinated with the διὰ τ. πίστ. But by this expedient the discourse is only rendered clumsy and overladen.

εἰς ἔνδειξ. τ. δικ. αὐτοῦ] purpose of God in the προέθετο.… αἵματι The δικαιοσύνη is righteousness, as is required by the context ( διὰ τ. πάρεσιν.… ἐν τῇ ἀνοχῇ τ. θεοῦ), not: truth (Ambrosiaster, Beza, Turretin, Hammond, Locke, Böhme), or goodness (Theodoret, Grotius, Semler, Koppe, Rosenmüller, Morus, Reiche, also Tittmann, Synon. p. 185)—significations which the word never bears. It does not even indicate the holiness (Fritzsche, Reithmayr, Klaiber, Neander, Gurlitt in the Stud. u. Krit. 1840, p. 975; Lipsius, Rechtfertigungsl. p. 146 ff.); or the righteousness, including grace (Ritschl); or generally the Divine moral order of justice (Morison); or the self-equality of God in His bearing (Hofmann); but in the strict sense the opposite of ἄδικος in Romans 3:5, the judicial (more precisely, the punitive) righteousness (comp Ernesti, Urspr. d. Sünde, I. p. 169 ff.), which had to find its holy satisfaction, but received that satisfaction in the propitiatory offering of Christ, and is thereby practically demonstrated and exhibited. On ἔνδειξις, in the sense of practical proof, comp 2 Corinthians 8:24, and on εἰς, Ephesians 2:7 : ἵνα ἐνδείξηται. Following Romans 3:26, Chrysostom and others, including Krehl and Baumgarten-Crusius, take it unsatisfactorily as justifying righteousness. Anselm, Luther, Eisner, Wolf, and others, also Usteri, Winzer, van Hengel and Mangold, hold that it is, as in Romans 3:21, the righteousness, that God gives. On the other hand, see the immediately following εἰς.… δικαιον.

διὰ τὴν πάρεσιν κ. τ. λ(880)] on account of the passing by of sins that had previously taken place, i.e. because He had allowed the pre-Christian sins to go without punishment, whereby His righteousness had been lost sight of and obscured,(881) and therefore came to need an ἔνδειξις for men.(882) Thus the atonement accomplished in Christ became “the divine Theodicée for the past history of the world” (Tholuck), and, in view of this ἔνδειξις, that πάρεσις ceases to be an enigma.

πάρεσις, which occurs only here in the N. T. (see however Dionys. Hal. vii. 37; Phalar. Epist. 114; Xen. de praef. eq. 7, 10; and Fritzsche in loc(883); Loesner, p. 249); erroneously explained by Chrysostom as equivalent to νέκρωσις, is distinguished from ἄφεσις in so far as the omission of punishment is conceived in πάρεσις as a letting pass ( ὑπεριδών, Acts 17:30; comp Romans 14:16), in ἄφεσις (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14) as a letting free. Since Paul, according to Acts l.c(885), regarded the non-punishment of pre-Christian sins as an “overlooking” (comp Wisdom of Solomon 11:23), we must consider the peculiar expression, πάρεσις, here as purposely chosen. Comp παριέναι, Sirach 23:2. If he had written ἄφεσις, the idea would be, that God, instead of retaining those sins in their category of guilt (comp John 20:23), had let them free, i.e. had forgiven them.(889) He has not forgiven them, however, but only let them go unpunished (comp 2 Samuel 24:10), neglexit. The wrath of God, which nevertheless frequently burst forth (comp Romans 1:17 ff.) in the ages before Christ over Jews and Gentiles (for Paul, in his perfectly general expressions, has not merely the former in view), was not an adequate recompense counterbalancing the sin, and even increased it (Romans 1:24 ff.); so that God’s attitude to the sin of the time before Christ, so long as it was not deleted either by an adequate punishment, or by-atonement, appears on the whole as a letting pass (comp Acts 14:16) and overlooking. As the correlative of πάρεσις, there is afterwards appropriately named ἀνοχή (comp Romans 2:4), not χάρις, for the latter would correspond to ἄφεσις, Ephesians 1:7.

The pre-Christian sins are not those of individuals prior to their conversion (Mehring and earlier expositors), but the sum of the sins of the world before Christ. The ἱλαστήριον of Christ is the epoch and turning-point in the world’s history (comp Acts 17:30; Acts 14:16.

ἐν τῇ ἀνοχῇ τ. θεοῦ] in virtue of the forbearance (tolerance, comp Romans 2:4) of God,(896) contains the ground which is the motive of the πάρεσις. It is not to be attached to προγεγ. (Oecumenius, Luther, and many others; also Rückert, Gurlitt, Ewald, van Hengel, Ritschl, and Hofmann), which would yield the sense with or “during the forbearance of God.” Against this view we may urge the very circumstance that the time when the sins referred to took place is already specified by προγεγονότων, and expressed in a way simply and fully corresponding with the contrast of the νῦν καιρός that follows, as well as the special pertinent reason, that our mode of connecting ἐν τ. ἀνοχῇ τ. θ. with διὰ τ. πάρεσιν κ. τ. λ(897) brings out more palpably the antithetical relation of this πάρεσις to the divine δικαιοσύνη. Moreover, as ἀνοχή is a moral attribute, the temporal conception of ἐν is neither indicated nor appropriate. What is indicated and appropriate is simply the use, so common, of ἐν in the sense of the ethical ground. Reiche connects ἐν τῇ ἀνοχῇ τ. θεοῦ with εἰς ἔνδ. τ. δικ. αὐτ., making it co-ordinate with the διὰ.… ἁμαρτ.: “the δικαιοσύνη showed itself positively in the forgiveness of sins, negatively in the postponement of judgment.” Incorrect, on account of the erroneous explanation of διά and δικαιοσ. thus necessitated.

Our whole interpretation of the passage from διὰ τ. πάρεσιν to θεοῦ is not at variance (as Usteri thinks) with Hebrews 9:15; for, if God has allowed pre-Christian sins to pass, and then has exhibited the atoning sacrifice of Christ in proof of His righteousness, the death of Christ must necessarily be the λύτρον for the transgressions committed under the old covenant, but passed over for the time being. But there is nothing in our passage to warrant the reference to the sins of the people of Israel, as in Heb. l.c(898) (in opposition to Philippi).


Verse 26

Romans 3:26. πρὸς τὴν ἔνδειξιν] Resumption of the εἰς ἔνδειξιν in Romans 3:25, and that without the δέ, Romans 3:22 (comp on Luke 1:71); while εἰς is exchanged for the equivalent πρός unintentionally, as Paul in Romans 3:30, and also frequently elsewhere (comp on Ephesians 1:7 and Galatians 2:16) changes the prepositions.(901) The article, however (see the critical notes), serves to set forth the definite, historically given ἔνδειξις, which is in accord with the progress of the representation; for Paul desires to add now with corresponding emphasis the historical element ἐν τῷ νῦν καιρῷ not previously mentioned. The resumption is in itself so obvious, and also in such entire harmony with the emphasis laid upon the ἔνδειξις τῆς δικαιοσύνης αὐτοῦ as the chief point, that for this very reason the interpretation of Rückert and Gurlitt (comp Beza), which joins πρὸς τὴν ἔνδειξιν κ. τ. λ(903) with διὰ τ. πάρεσιν.… θεοῦ, and takes it as the aim of the πάρεσις or the ἀνοχή (Baumgarten-Crusius; comp Hofmann and Th. Schott), at once falls to the ground. Mehring, rendering πρός in reference to or in view of, understands the δικαιοσύνη in Romans 3:26 to mean imputed righteousness, and finds the ἔνδειξις of the latter, Romans 3:26, in the resurrection of Jesus; but a decisive objection to his view is that Paul throughout gives no hint whatever that his expressions in Romans 3:26 are to be taken in any other sense than in Romans 3:25; and a reference to the resurrection in particular is here quite out of place; the passage goes not beyond the atoning death of Christ.

εἰς τὸ εἶναι κ. τ. λ(905) cannot stand in an epexegetical relation to the previous εἰς ἔνδειζιν κ. τ. λ(906) because that ἔνδειζις has in fact already been doubly expressed, but now the further element καὶ δικαιοῦντα κ. τ. λ(907) is added, which first brings into full view the teleology of the ἱλαστήριον. εἰς τὸ εἶναι κ. τ. λ(908) is therefore the definition presenting the final aim of the whole affirmation from ὃν προέθετο to καιρῷ. It is its keystone: that He may be just and justifying the believers, which is to be taken as the intended result (comp on Romans 3:4): in order that, through the ἱλαστήριον of Christ, arranged in this way and for this ἔνδειξις, He may manifest Himself as One who is Himself righteous, and who makes the believer righteous (comp ἱλαστήρ. διὰ τ. πίστεως, Romans 3:25). He desires to be both, the one not without the other. The εἶναι however is the being in the appearance corresponding to it. The “estimation of the moral public” (Morison) only ensues as the consequence of this. Regarding τὸν ἐκ πίστ. comp on οἱ ἐξ ἐριθείας, Romans 2:8. The αὐτόν however has not the force of ipse or even alone (Luther), seeing it is the subject of the two predications δίκαιον κ. δικαιοῦντα; but it is the simple pronoun of the third person. Were we to render with Matthias and Mehring(912) καὶ δικαιοῦντα: even when He justifies, the καί would be very superfluous and weakening; Paul would have said δίκαιον δικαιοῦντα, or would have perhaps expressed himself pointedly by δίκαιον κ. δικαιοῦντα ἀδίκους ἐν πίστεως ʼι. Observe further that the justus et justificans, in which lies the summum paradoxon evangelicum as opposed to the O. T. justus et condemnans (according to Bengel), finds its solution and its harmony with the O. T. in τὸν ἐκ πίστεως (see chap. 4, Romans 1:17). The Roman Catholic explanation of inherent righteousness (see especially Reithmayr) is here the more inept. It is also to be remarked that according to Romans 3:24-26 grace was the determining ground in God, that prompted Him to permit the atonement. He purposed thereby indeed the revelation of His righteousness; but to the carrying out of that revelation just thus, and not otherwise, namely through the ἱλαστήριον of Christ, He was moved by His own χάρις. Moreover the ἔνδειξις of the divine righteousness which took place through the atoning death of Christ necessarily presupposes the satisfactio vicaria of the ἱλαστήριον. Hofmann’s doctrine of atonement (compensation)(913) does not permit the simple and—on the basis of the O. T. conception of atoning sacrifice—historically definite ideas of Romans 3:25-26, as well as the unbiassed and clear representation of the ἀπολύτρωσις in Romans 3:24 (comp the λύτρον ἀντί, Matthew 20:28, and ἀντίλυτρον, 1 Timothy 2:6) to subsist alone with it. On the other hand these ideas and conceptions given in and homogeneously pervading the entire N. T., and whose meaning can by no means be evaded, exclude the theory of Hofmann, not merely in form but also in substance, as a deviation evading and explaining away the N. T. type of doctrine, with which’ the point of view of a “befalling,” the category in which Hofmann invariably places the death of Jesus, is especially at variance. And Faith in the atoning death has not justification merely “in its train” (Hofmann in loc(915)), but justification takes place subjectively through faith (Romans 3:22; Romans 3:25), and indeed in such a way that the latter is reckoned for righteousness, Romans 4:5, consequently immediately ( ἐξαίφνης, Chrysostom).


Verse 27

Romans 3:27. Paul now infers ( οὖν) from Romans 3:21-26—in lively interchange of question and answer, like a victor who has kept the field—that Jewish boasting (not human boasting generally, Fritzsche, Krehl, Th. Schott) is excluded.(916) The article indicates that which is known, and has been before mentioned (Romans 2:17 ff.), looking back to Romans 3:9; Romans 3:1.

ποῦ] As it were, seeking that which has vanished from the sphere of vision, Luke 8:25; 1 Corinthians 1:20; 1 Corinthians 15:55; 1 Peter 4:18; 2 Peter 3:4; also frequently used thus by classic writers.

The καύχησις is not the object of boasting (Reiche), which would be καύχημα, but the vaunting itself, which is presented with vivid clearness as that which no longer exists.

ἐξεκλείσθη] οὐκ ἔτι χώραν ἔχει, Theodoret.

διὰ ποίου νόμου;] scil. ἐξεκλείσθη, not δικαιούμεθα, which Mehring, following Michaelis, wholly without logical ground wishes to be supplied. The exclusion, namely, must necessarily have ensued through a law no longer allowing the καύχησις; but through what sort of a law? of what nature is it? Is it one that demands works? No, but a law of faith. In these attributes lies the ποιότης of the law, which is the subject of inquiry. This cannot have the quality of the Mosaic law, which insists upon works, but thereby fosters and promotes the parade of work-righteousness (Romans 2:17); it must, on the contrary, be a law that requires faith, as is done by the Christian plan of salvation, which prescribes the renunciation of all merit through works, and requires us to trust solely in the grace of God in Christ. The Christian plan of salvation might be included under the conception of a νόμος, because the will of God is given in it by means of the Gospel (comp 1 John 3:23), just as in the O. T. revelation by means of the Mosaic law. And the expression was necessary in the connection, because the question διὰ ποίου νόμου; required both the old and new forms of the religious life to be brought under the one conception of νόμος. Therefore the literal sense of νόμος remains unchanged, and it is neither doctrine (Melancthon and many others) nor religious economy. Comp Romans 9:31.


Verse 28

Romans 3:28 gives the ground of the οὐχί κ. τ. λ(919)

λογιζό΄εθα] οὐκ ἐπὶ ἀ΄φιβολίας λέγεται (Theodore of Mopsuestia): censemus, we deem, as in Romans 2:3, Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 11:5. The matter is set down as something that has now been brought between Paul and his readers to a common ultimate judgment, whereby the victorious tone of Romans 3:27 is not damped (as Hofmann objects), but is on the contrary confidently sealed.

πίστει] On this, and not on δικαιοῦσθαι (Th. Schott, Hofmann), lies the emphasis in accordance with the entire connection; χωρὶς ἔργ. νό΄ου is correlative. Paul has conceived λογ. γ. δικ. together, and then placed first the word which has the stress; compare the critical observations. The dative denotes the procuring cause or medium, just like διὰ πίστεως. Bernhardy, p. 101 f. The word “alone,” added by Luther—formerly an apple of discord between Catholics and Lutherans (see the literature in Wolf)—did not belong to the translation as such,(920) but is in explanation justified by the context, which in the way of dilemma “cuts off all works utterly” (Luther), and by the connection of the Pauline doctrinal system generally, which excludes also the fides formata. See Form. Conc. p. 585 f., 691. Comp on Galatians 2:16, Osiander in the Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theol. 1863, p. 703 f.; Morison in loc(922) All fruit of faith follows justification by faith; and there are no degrees in justification.(923)

χωρὶς ἒργ. νόμου] Without the co-operation therein of works of the law (Romans 3:20), which, on the contrary, remain apart from all connection with it. Comp Romans 3:21.

On the quite general ἄνθρωπον, a man, comp Chrysostom: τῇ οἰκου΄ένῃ τὰς θύρας ἀνοίξας τῆς σωτηρίας, φησὶν, ἄνθρωπον, τὸ κοινὸν τῆς φύσεως ὄνο΄α θείς. See afterwards περιτο΄ὴν.… καὶ ἀκροβυστ., Romans 3:30. Comp Galatians 2:16.


Verse 29

Romans 3:29. Or—in case what has just been asserted in Romans 3:28 might still be doubted—is it only Jews to whom God belongs? and not also Gentiles? He must, indeed, have only been a God for the Jews, if He had made justification conditional on works of the law, for in that case it could only be destined for Jews,(927) insomuch as they only are the possessors of the law. Consequently Romans 3:29-30 contain a further closing thought, crowning the undoubted accuracy of the confidently expressed λογιζό΄εθα κ. τ. λ(928) in Romans 3:28. The supplying of a predicative θεός (Hofmann, Morison, and earlier expositors) is superfluous, since the prevailing usage of εἶναι τίνος is amply sufficient to make it intelligible, and it is quite as clear from the context that the relationship which is meant is that of being God to the persons in question.

How much the ναὶ καὶ ἐθνῶν, said without any limitation whatever—in their case, as with ἰουδαίων, God is conceived as protecting them, and guiding to salvation—run counter to the degenerate theocratic exclusiveness; see on Matthew 3:9, and in Eisenmenger’s entdeckt. Judenth. I. p. 587 f. But Paul speaks in the certain assurance, which had been already given by the prophetic announcement of Messianic bliss for the Gentiles, but which he himself had received by revelation (Galatians 1:16), and which the Roman church, a Pauline church, itself regarded as beyond doubt.


Verse 30

Romans 3:30 is to be divided from the previous one merely by a comma. Regarding ἐπείπερ, whereas (in the N. T. only here) introducing something undoubted, see Hermann, a(929) Viger. p. 786; Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 342 f.; Baeumlein, p. 204

The unity of God implies that He is God, not merely of the Jews, but also of the Gentiles; for otherwise another special Deity must rule over the Gentiles, which would do away with monotheism.

ὃς δικαιώσει] who shall (therefore) justify. This exposition contains that which necessarily follows from the unity of God, in so far as it conditions for both parties one mode of justification (which however must be χωρὶς ἔργων, Romans 3:28). For Jews as well as for Gentiles He must have destined the way of righteousness by faith as the way of salvation. The future is neither put for δικαιοῖ (Grotius, and many others), nor to be referred with Beza and Fritzsche to the time of the final judgment, nor to be taken as the future of inference (Rückert, Mehring, Hofmann), but is to be understood as in Romans 3:20 of every case of justification to be accomplished. Erasmus rightly says, “Respexit enim ad eos, qui adhuc essent in Judaismo seu paganismo.”

The exchange of ἐκ and διὰ is to be viewed as accidental, without real difference, but also without the purpose of avoiding misconception (Mehring). Comp Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:8; Ephesians 2:8. Unsuitable, especially for the important closing thought, is the view of Calvin, followed by Jatho, that there is an irony in the difference: “Si quis vult habere differentiam gentilis a Judaeo, hanc habeat, quod ille per fidem, hic vero ex fide justitiam consequitur.” Theodore of Mopsuestia, Wetstein, Bengel, Hofmann, and others explain it by various other gratuitous suggestions;(931) van Hengel is doubtful.

The interchange of πίστεως and τῆς πίστ. (from faith—through the faith), in which the qualitative expression advances to the concrete with the article, is also without special design, as similar accidental interchanges often occur in parallel clauses (Winer, p. 110 [E. T. 149]).


Verse 31

Romans 3:31. οὖν] The Apostle infers for himself from his doctrine of justification ἐκ πίστεως.… χωρὶς ἔργων νόμου—just discussed—a possible objection and reproach: Do we then make away with the law (render it invalid) through faith?

νόμον] emphatically put first, and here also to be understood neither of the moral law, nor of every law in general, nor of the entire O. T., but, as is proved by the antithesis between νόμον and πίστις and the reference as bearing on Romans 3:28, of the Mosaic law. Comp Acts 21:28, Galatians 4:21 f.

διὰ τῆς πίστ.] i.e. thereby, that we assert faith as the condition of justification.

νόμον ἱστῶμεν] Not: we let the law stand (Matthias), but: we make it stand, we produce the result that it, so far from being ready to fall, in reality stands upright ( βεβαιοῦμεν, Theodoret) in its authority, force, and obligation. Comp 1 Maccabees 14:29; 1 Maccabees 2:27; Sirach 44:20-22. This ἱστάνειν of the law, whereby there is secured to it stability and authority instead of the καταργεῖσθαι, takes place by means of (see ch. 4) the Pauline doctrine demonstrating and making good the fact that, and the mode in which, justification by the grace of God through faith is already taught in the law, so that Paul and his fellow teachers do not come into antagonism with the law, as if they desired to abolish and invalidate it by a new teaching, but, on the contrary, by their agreement with it, and by proving their doctrine from it, secure and confirm it in its position and essential character.(936)

The νόμον ἱστῶμεν, however, is so little at variance with the abrogation of the law as an institute of works obligatory in order to the becoming righteous, which has taken place through Christianity (Romans 10:4; 2 Corinthians 3:7; Galatians 3; Romans 7:4; Galatians 2:19; Colossians 2:14), that, on the contrary, the law had to fall in this aspect, in order that, in another aspect, the same law, so far as it teaches faith as the condition of the δικαιοσύνη, might be by the gospel imperishably confirmed in its authority, and even, according to Matthew 5:17, fulfilled. For in respect of this assertion of the value of faith the law and the gospel appear one.

If the νόμον ἱστῶμεν and its relation to the abrogation of the law be defined to mean that “from faith proceeds the new obedience, and the love develops itself, which is the πλήρωμα νόμου, Romans 13:10” (Philippi; comp Rückert, Krehl, Umbreit, Morison), as Augustine, Melancthon, who nevertheless mixes up with it very various elements, Luther, Calvin, Beza, Vatablus, Calovius, and others assumed (comp also Apol. C. A. p. 83, 223), the further detailed illustration of ch. 4 is quite as much opposed to this view, as it is to the interpretations which conceive the law as pedagogically leading to Christ (Grotius, Olshausen), or as fulfilled in respect of its object, which is justification by faith (Chrysostom, Oecumenius, Theophylact, and others(939)). In the case of the two latter views, faith appears as something added to the law, which is just what Paul combats in ch. 4. On the form ἱστῶμεν, from ἱστάω, see Matthiae, p. 482, Winer, p. 75 [E. T. 93]. Still the ἱστάνομεν, recommended by Griesbach and adopted by Lachmann and Tischendorf, has preponderant attestation (so also א *; but א** has ἱστῶμεν), which is here decisive (in opposition to Fritzsche), especially when we take into account the multitude of other forms in MSS. ( στάνομεν, ἵσταμεν, συνιστῶμεν, συνιστάνομεν et al(940)).


Verse 31

Romans 3:31 to Romans 4:24. The harmony of the doctrine of justification by faith with the law, illustrated by what is said in the law regarding the justification of Abraham.

The new chapter should have begun with Romans 3:31, since that verse contains the theme of the following discussion. If we should, with Augustine, Beza, Calvin, Melancthon, Bengel, and many others, including Flatt, Tholuck, Köllner, Rückert, Philippi, van Hengel, Umbreit, and Mehring, assume that at Romans 4:1 there is again introduced something new, so that Paul does not carry further the νόμον ἱστῶμεν, v. 31, but in Romans 4:1 ff. treats of a new objection that has occurred to him at the moment, we should then have the extraordinary phenomenon of Paul as it were dictatorially dismissing an objection so extremely important and in fact so very naturally suggesting itself, as νόμον οῦν καταργοῦμεν κ. τ. λ(932), merely by an opposite assertion, and then immediately, like one who has not a clear case, leaping away to something else. The more paradoxical in fact after the foregoing, and especially after the apparently antinomistic concluding idea in Romans 3:30, the assertion νόμον ἱστῶμεν must have sounded, the more difficult becomes the assumption that it is merely an anticipatory declaration abruptly interposed (see especially Philippi, who thinks that it is enlarged on at Romans 8:1 ff.); and the less can Romans 3:20, διὰ γ. νόμου ἐπίγνωσις ἁμαρτ. be urged as analogous, since that proposition had really its justification there in what preceded. According to Th. Schott, νόμος is not meant to apply to the Mosaic law at all, but to the fact that, according to Romans 3:27, faith is a νόμος, in accordance with which therefore Paul, when making faith a condition of righteousness, ascribes to himself not abrogation of the law, but rather an establishment of it, setting up merely what God Himself had appointed as the method of salvation. The discourse would thus certainly have a conclusion, but by a jugglery(933) with a word ( νό΄ος) which no reader could, after Romans 3:28, understand in any other sense than as the Mosaic law. Hofmann explains substantially in the same way as Schott. He thinks that Paul conceives to himself the objection that in the doctrine of faith there might be found a doing away generally of all law, and now in opposition thereto declares that that doctrine does not exclude, but includes, the fact that there is a divine order of human life (?).

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Romans 3:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/romans-3.html. 1832.

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