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  • ROBERTSON'S NT WORD STUDIES
    & BIBLE COMMENTARY - ROMANS 3

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    3:1 {What advantage qen hath the Jew?} (ti oun to perisson tou Ioudaiou?). Literally, "What qen is the overplus of the Jew?" What does the Jew have over and above the Gentile? It is a pertinent question after the stinging indictment of the Jew in chapter 2. {The profit} (he wfelia). The help. Old word, only here in N.T. See #Mr 8:36 for "phelei, the verb to profit.

    3:2 {Much every way} (polu kata panta). polu points back to to perisson. So it means the overplus of the Jew is much from every angle. {First of all} (prwton men). As in #1:8; 1Co 11:18 Paul does not add to his "first." He singles out one privilege of the many possessed by the Jew. {They were intrusted with} (episteuthˆsan). First aorist passive indicative of pisteuw, to intrust, with accusative of the thing and dative of the person in the active. In the passive as here the accusative of the thing is retained as in #1Th 2:4. {The oracles of God} (ta logia tou qeou). In the accusative case, therefore, the object of episteuthˆsan. logion is probably a diminutive of logos, word, though the adjective logios also occurs (#Ac 18:24). The word was early used for "oracles" from Delphi and is common in the LXX for the oracles of the Lord. But from Philo on it was used of any sacred writing including narrative. It occurs four times in the N.T. (#Ac 7:38, which see; #Ro 3:2; Heb 5:12; 1Pe 4:11). It is possible that here and in #Ac 7:38 the idea may include all the Old Testament, though the commands and promises of God may be all.

    3:3 {For what if?} (ti gar ei?). But Westcott and Hort print it, Ti gar? ei. See #Php 1:18 for this exclamatory use of ti gar (for how? How stands the case?). {Some were without faith} (epistesan). First aorist active indicative of apistew, old verb, to disbelieve. this is the common N.T. meaning (#Lu 24:11,41; Ac 28:24; Ro 4:20). Some of them "disbelieved," these "depositaries and guardians of revelation" (Denney). But the word also means to be unfaithful to one's trust and Lightfoot argues for that idea here and in #2Ti 2:13. The Revised Version renders it "faithless" there. Either makes sense here and both ideas are true of some of the Jews, especially concerning the Messianic promises and Jesus. {The faithfulness of God} (tˆn pistin tou qeou). Undoubtedly pistis has this sense here and not "faith." God has been faithful (#2Ti 2:13) whether the Jews (some of them) were simply disbelievers or untrue to their trust. Paul can use the words in two senses in verse #3, but there is no real objection to taking ˆpistˆsan, apistian, pistin, all to refer to faithfulness rather than just faith.

    3:4 {Let God be found true} (ginesth" ho qeos aleqes). "Let God continue to be true" (present middle imperative). {But every man a liar} (pas de anqrwpos yeustes). The contrast in de really means, "though every man be found a liar." Cf. #Ps 116:12. {As it is written} (kaqws gegraptai). #Ps 51:6. {That thou mightest be justified} (hopws an dikai"thˆis). hopws rather than the common hina for purpose and an with the first aorist passive subjunctive of dikaiow. Used of God this verb here has to mean "declared righteous," not "made righteous." {Mightest prevail} (nikˆseis). Future active indicative with hopws of nikaw, to win a victory, though B L have nikˆsˆis (first aorist active subjunctive, the usual construction). {When thou comest into judgement} (en twi krinesthai se). "In the being judged as to thee" (present passive infinitive or, if taken as middle, "in the entering upon trial as to thee"). Common construction in the LXX from the Hebrew infinitive construct.

    3:5 {What shall we say?} (ti eroumen?). Rhetorical question, common with Paul as he surveys the argument. {Commendeth} (sunistesin). this common verb sunistemi, to send together, occurs in the N.T. in two senses, either to introduce, to commend (#2Co 3:1; 4:2) or to prove, to establish (#2Co 7:11; Ga 2:18; Ro 5:8). Either makes good sense here. {Who visiteth the wrath} (ho epiferwn ten orgen). "Who brings on the wrath,"the inflicter of the anger" (Vaughan). {I speak as a man} (kata anqrwpon). See #Ga 3:15 for same phrase. As if to say, "pardon me for this line of argument." Tholuck says that the rabbis often used kata anqrwpon and ti eroumen. Paul had not forgotten his rabbinical training.

    3:6 {For qen how} (epei pws). There is a suppressed condition between epei and pws, an idiom occurring several times in the N.T. (#1Co 15:29; Ro 11:6,22). "Since, if that were true, how."

    3:7 {Through my lie} (en twi emwi yeusmati). ] Old word from yeudomai, to lie, only here in N.T. Paul returns to the imaginary objection in verse #5. The MSS. differ sharply here between ei de (but if) and ei gar (for if). Paul "uses the first person from motives of delicacy" (Sanday and Headlam) in this supposable case for argument's sake as in #1Co 4:6. So here he "transfers by a fiction" (Field) to himself the objection.

    3:8 {And why not} (kai me). We have a tangled sentence which can be cleared up in two ways. One is (Lightfoot) to supply genetai after me and repeat ti (kai ti mˆ genetai, deliberative subjunctive in a question): And why should it not happen? The other way (Sanday and Headlam) is to take me with poiˆs"men and make a long parenthesis of all in between. Even so it is confusing because hoti also (recitative hoti) comes just before poiˆs"men. The parenthesis is necessary anyhow, for there are two lines of thought, one the excuse brought forward by the unbeliever, the other the accusation that Paul affirms that very excuse that we may do evil that good may come. Note the double indirect assertion (the accusative and the infinitive hemas legein after phasin and qen the direct quotation with recitative hoti after legein, a direct quotation dependent on the infinitive in indirect quotation. {Let us do evil that good may come} (poiˆs"men ta kaka hina elqei ta agaqa). The volitive aorist subjunctive (poieswmen) and the clause of purpose (hina and the aorist subjunctive elqei). It sounds almost uncanny to find this maxim of the Jesuits attributed to Paul in the first century by Jews. It was undoubtedly the accusation of Antinomianism because Paul preached justification by faith and not by works.

    3:9 {What qen?} (ti oun?). Paul's frequent query, to be taken with verses #1,2. {Are we in worse case than they?} (proecomeqa?). The American Revisers render it: "Are we in better case than they?" There is still no fresh light on this difficult and common word though it occurs alone in the N.T. In the active it means to have before, to excel. But here it is either middle or passive. Thayer takes it to be middle and to mean to excel to one's advantage and argues that the context demands this . But no example of the middle in this sense has been found. If it is taken as passive, Lightfoot takes it to mean, "Are we excelled" and finds that sense in Plutarch. Vaughan takes it as passive but meaning, "Are we preferred?" this suits the context, but no other example has been found. So the point remains unsettled. The papyri throw no light on it. {No, in no wise} (ou pantws). "Not at all." See #1Co 5:10. {We before laid to the charge} (proˆitiasametha). First aorist middle indicative of proaitiaomai, to make a prior accusation, a word not yet found anywhere else. Paul refers to #1:18-32 for the Greeks and #2:1-29 for the Jews. The infinitive einai with the accusative pantas is in indirect discourse. {Under Sin} (hupo hamartian). See #Ga 3:22; Ro 7:14.

    3:10 {As it is written} (kaqws gegraptai hoti). Usual formula of quotation as in verse #4 with recitative hoti added as in verse #8. Paul here uses a catena or chain of quotations to prove his point in verse #9 that Jews are in no better fix than the Greeks for all are under Sin. Dr. J. Rendel Harris has shown that the Jews and early Christians had _Testimonia_ (quotations from the Old Testament) strung together for certain purposes as proof-texts. Paul may have used one of them or he may have put these passages together himself. Verses #10-12 come from #Ps 14:1-3; first half of #13 as far as edoliousan from #Ps 4:9, the second half from #Ps 140:3; verse #14 from #Ps 10:7; #15-17 from an abridgment of #Isa 59:7f.; verse #18 from #Ps 35:1. Paul has given compounded quotations elsewhere (#2Co 6:16; Ro 9:25f.,27f; 11:26f.,34f.; 12:19f.). Curiously enough this compounded quotation was imported bodily into the text (LXX) of #Ps 14 after verse 4 in Aleph B, etc. {There is none righteous, no, not one} (ouk estin dikaios oude heis). "There is not a righteous man, not even one." this sentence is like a motto for all the rest, a summary for what follows.

    3:11 {That understandeth} (suniwn). Present active participle of suniw, late omega form of -mi verb suniemi, to send together, to grasp, to comprehend. Some MSS. have the article ho before it as before ekzˆt"n (seeking out).

    3:12 {They are together become unprofitable} (hama ecrewqesan). First aorist passive indicative of achreo". Late word in Polybius and Cilician inscription of first century A.D. Some MSS. read ˆchrei"thˆsan from achreios, useless (a privative and creios, useful) as in #Lu 17:10; Mt 25:30, but Westcott and Hort print as above from the rarer spelling achreos. Only here in N.T. The Hebrew word means to go bad, become sour like milk (Lightfoot). {No, not so much as one} (ouk estin hews henos). "There is not up to one."

    3:13 {Throat} (larugx). Old word, larynx. {Open sepulchre} (tafos anewigmenos). Perfect passive participle of anoigw, "an opened grave." Their mouth (words) like the odor of a newly opened grave. "Some portions of Greek and Roman literature stink like a newly opened grave" (Shedd). {They have used deceit} (edoliousan). Imperfect (not perfect or aorist as the English implies) active of dolio", only in LXX and here in the N.T. from the common adjective dolios, deceitful (#2Co 11:13). The regular form would be edolioun. The -osan ending for third plural in imperfect and aorist was once thought to be purely Alexandrian because so common in the LXX, but it is common in the Boeotian and Aeolic dialects and occurs in eichosan in the N.T. (#Joh 15:22,24). "They smoothed their tongues" in the Hebrew. {Poison} (ios). Old word both for rust (#Jas 5:3) and poison (#Jas 3:8). {Of asps} (aspid"n). Common word for round bowl, shield, qen the Egyptian cobra (a deadly serpent). Often in LXX. Only here in the N.T. The poison of the asp lies in a bag under the liy (cheilˆ), often in LXX, only here in N.T. Genitive case after gemei (is full).

    3:15 {To shed} (ekceai). First aorist active infinitive of ekcew, to pour out, old verb with aorist active exechea.

    3:16 {Destruction} (suntrimma). Rare word from suntribw, to rub together, to crush. In #Le 21:19 for fracture and so in papyri. Only here in N.T. {Misery} (talaipwria). Common word from talaipwros (#Ro 7:24), only here in the N.T.

    3:17 {The way of peace} (hodon eirenes). Wherever they go they leave a trail of woe and destruction (Denney).

    3:18 {Before} (apenanti). Late double compound (apo, en, anti) adverbial preposition in LXX and Polybius, papyri and inscriptions. With genitive as here.

    3:19 {That every mouth may be stopped} (hina pan stoma fragei). Purpose clause with hina and second aorist passive subjunctive of frassw, old verb to fence in, to block up. See #2Co 11:10. Stopping mouths is a difficult business. See #Tit 1:11 where Paul uses epistomizein (to stop up the mouth) for the same idea. Paul seems here to be speaking directly to Jews (tois en twi nom"i), the hardest to convince. With the previous proof on that point he covers the whole ground for he made the case against the Gentiles in #1:18-32. {May be brought under the judgement of God} (hupodikos genetai twi qewi). "That all the world (Jew as well as Gentile) may become (genetai) answerable (hupodikos, old forensic word, here only in N.T.) to God (dative case twi qewi)." Every one is "liable to God," in God's court.

    3:20 {Because} (dioti, again, dia, hoti). {By the works of the law} (ex ergwn nomou). "Out of works of law." Mosaic law and any law as the source of being set right with God. Paul quotes #Ps 43:2 as he did in #Ga 2:16 to prove his point. {The knowledge of Sin} (epignwsis hamartias). The effect of law universally is rebellion to it (#1Co 15:56). Paul has shown this carefully in #Ga 3:19-22. Cf. #Heb 10:3. He has now proven the guilt of both Gentile and Jew.

    3:21 {But now apart from the law} (nuni de cwris nomou). He now (nuni emphatic logical transition) proceeds carefully in verses #21-31 the {nature} of the God-kind of righteousness which stands manifested (dikaiosune qeou pephaner"tai, perfect passive indicative of fanerow, to make manifest), the {necessity} of which he has shown in #1:18-3:20. this God kind of righteousness is "apart from law" of any kind and all of grace (cariti) as he will show in verse #24. But it is not a new discovery on the part of Paul, but "witnessed by the law and the prophets" (marturoumenˆ, present passive participle, hupo tou nomou kai t"n prophˆt"n), made plain continuously by God himself.

    3:22 {Even} (de). Not adversative here. It defines here. {Through faith in Jesus Christ} (dia pistews [iesou] cristou). Intermediate agency (dia) is faith and objective genitive, "in Jesus Christ," not subjective "of Jesus Christ," in spite of Haussleiter's contention for that idea. The objective nature of faith in Christ is shown in #Ga 2:16 by the addition eis criston iesoun episteusamen (we believed in Christ), by tˆs eis criston pistews humwn (of your faith in Christ) in #Col 2:5, by en pistei tˆi en Christ"i iesou (in faith that in Christ Jesus) in #1Ti 3:13, as well as here by the added words "unto all them that believe" (eis pantas tous pisteuontas) in Jesus, Paul means. {Distinction} (diastolˆ). See on ¯1Co 14:7 for the difference of sounds in musical instruments. Also in #Ro 10:12. The Jew was first in privilege as in penalty (#2:9f.), but justification or setting right with God is offered to both on the same terms.

    3:23 {Sinned} (hˆrmarton). Constative second aorist active indicative of hamartanw as in #5:12. this tense gathers up the whole race into one statement (a timeless aorist). {And fall short} (kai husterountai). Present middle indicative of husterew, to be husteros (comparative) too late, continued action, still fall short. It is followed by the ablative case as here, the case of separation.

    3:24 {Being justified} (dikaioumenoi). Present passive participle of dikaiow, to set right, repeated action in each case, each being set right. {Freely} (dwrean). As in #Ga 2:21. {By his grace} (tei autou cariti). Instrumental case of this wonderful word caris which so richly expresses Paul's idea of salvation as God's free gift. {Through the redemption} (dia tˆs apolutrwsews). A releasing by ransom (apo, lutrwsis from lutrow and that from lutron, ransom). God did not set men right out of hand with nothing done about men's sins. We have the words of Jesus that he came to give his life a ransom (lutron) for many (#Mr 10:45; Mt 20:28). lutron is common in the papyri as the purchase-money in freeing slaves (Deissmann, _Light from the Ancient East_, pp. 327f.). {That is in Christ Jesus} (tˆi en Christ"i iesou). There can be no mistake about this redemption. It is like #Joh 3:16.

    3:25 {Set forth} (proetheto). Second aorist middle indicative. See on ¯1:13 for this word. Also in #Eph 1:9, but nowhere else in N.T. God set before himself (purposed) and did it publicly before (pro) the whole world. {A propitiation} (hilasterion). The only other N.T. example of this word is in #Heb 9:5 where we have the "cherubim overshadowing the mercy seat" (to hilasterion). In Hebrews the adjective is used as a substantive or as "the propitiatory place " But that idea does not suit here. Deissmann (_Bible Studies_, pp. 124-35) has produced examples from inscriptions where it is used as an adjective and as meaning "a votive offering" or "propitiatory gift." Hence he concludes about #Ro 3:25: "The crucified Christ is the votive gift of the Divine Love for the salvation of men." God gave his Son as the means of propitiation (#1Jo 2:2). hilasterion is an adjective (hilasterios) from hilaskomai, to make propitiation (#Heb 2:17) and is kin in meaning to hilasmos, propitiation (#1Jo 2:2; 4:10). There is no longer room for doubting its meaning in #Ro 3:25. {Through faith, by his blood} (dia pistews en twi autou haimati). So probably, connecting en toi haimati (in his blood) with proetheto. {To show his righteousness} (eis endeixin tˆs dikaiosunˆs autou). See #2Co 8:24. "For showing of his righteousness," the God-kind of righteousness. God could not let Sin go as if a mere slip. God demanded the atonement and provided it. {Because of the passing over} (dia tˆn paresin). Late word from pariemi, to let go, to relax. In Dionysius Hal., Xenophon, papyri (Deissmann, _Bible Studies_, p. 266) for remission of punishment, especially for debt, as distinct from afesis (remission). {Done aforetime} (progegonot"n). Second perfect active genitive participle of proginomai. The sins before the coming of Christ (#Ac 14:16; 17:30; Heb 9:15). {Forbearance} (anochˆi). Holding back of God as in #2:4. In this sense Christ tasted death for every man (#Heb 2:9).

    3:26 {For the shewing} (pros ten endeixin). Repeats point of eis endeixin of #25 with pros instead of eis. {At this present season} (en twi nun kairwi). "In the now crisis," in contrast with "done aforetime." {That he might himself be} (eis to einai auton). Purpose with eis to and the infinitive einai and the accusative of general reference. {Just and the justifier of} (dikaion kai dikaiounta). " this is the key phrase which establishes the connection between the dikaiosune qeou and the dikaiosune ek pistews" (Sanday and Headlam). Nowhere has Paul put the problem of God more acutely or profoundly. To pronounce the unrighteous righteous is unjust by itself (#Ro 4:5). God's mercy would not allow him to leave man to his fate. God's justice demanded some punishment for Sin. The only possible way to save some was the propitiatory offering of Christ and the call for faith on man's part.

    3:27 {It is excluded} (exekleisthˆ). First aorist (effective) passive indicative. "It is completely shut out." Glorying is on man's part. {Nay; but by a law of faith} (ouci, alla dia nomou pistews). Strong negative, and note "law of faith," by the principle of faith in harmony with God's love and grace.

    3:28 {We reckon therefore} (logizomeqa oun). Present middle indicative. Westcott and Hort read gar instead of oun. "My fixed opinion" is. The accusative and infinitive construction occurs after logizometha here. On this verb logizomai, see #2:3; 4:3f.; 8:18; 14:14. Paul restates verses #21f.

    3:29 {Of Gentiles also} (kai eqnwn). Jews overlooked it qen and some Christians do now.

    3:30 {If so be that God is one} (eiper heis ho qeos). Correct text rather than epeiper. It means "if on the whole."By a species of rhetorical politeness it is used of that about which there is no doubt" (Thayer. Cf. #1Co 8:5; 15:15; Ro 8:9. {By faith} (ek pistews). "Out of faith," springing out of. {Through faith} (dia tes pistews). "By means of the faith" (just mentioned). ek denotes source, dia intermediate agency or attendant circumstance.

    3:31 {Nay, we establish the law} (alla nomon histanomen). Present indicative active of late verb histan" from histemi. this Paul hinted at in verse #21. How he will show in chapter 4 how Abraham himself is an example of faith and in his life illustrates the very point just made. Besides, apart from Christ and the help of the Holy Spirit no one can keep God's law. The Mosaic law is only workable by faith in Christ.

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