1. Romans was written by Paul (human instrument) from Corinth during his three‑month visit there in 58 AD (Acts 20:1‑3), just before going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. (Rom. 15:25)
2. The letter was sent by Phebe who was at Cenchrea. (Rom. 16:1)
3. This is the sixth epistle written by Paul, rightly placed first as II Tim. 3:16 bears out:
A. Doctrine = Romans ( the great doctrinal book of the NT); it reveals great truths, that had not been revealed before, to the saints at Rome and also applies to us.
B. Reproof = I & II Corinthians (where Paul reproves sin).
C. Correction = Galatians (where Paul corrects false teaching).
D. Instruction in righteousness = Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I & II Thess., I & II Timothy, Titus, and Philemon; in all these epistles Paul teaches holy living based on Christian doctrine.
4. The theme is the gospel of God which is the very widest possible designation of the whole body of redemption truth and reveals the Righteousness of God. (verses 16‑17)
5. Rome was the great center of the world in that day and was noted for road building, thus the phrase "all roads lead to Rome." These roads also led out of Rome and Paul knew if he could get the gospel there, it could be carried to all the known world.
6. The book deals with five principles we need to understand:
A. Principle of Sin V. 1:18‑3:20 (Righteousness needed)
B. Principle of Salvation V. 3:21‑5:21 (Righteousness imputed)
C. Principle of Sanctification V. 6:1‑8:39 (Righteousness imparted)
D. Principle of Sovereignty V. 9:1‑11:36 (Righteousness rejected)
E. Principle of Service V. 12:1‑15:33 (Righteousness practiced)
Introduction V. 1‑17
1. Salutation V. 1‑7
1. Paul (a Gentile name) at the onset places his name to identify the human instrument God used to write this letter. (II Peter 1:21) It was customary in those days to open a letter with the writer's name and greeting, rather than place them at the end, as we do today.
2. "Servant" = bondslave; the most despicable term used by the Greeks to denote slaves; word designated:
A. One who was born as a slave; Paul was born a slave of sin at his physical birth, and a bondslave of his Lord through regeneration (the new birth). The bondslave was owned and totally possessed by his master. (1 Cor. 6:19-20)
B. One who was bound to his master in chords so strong that only death could break them; the chords that bound him to his old master Satan, were rent asunder in his identification with Christ in His death.
C. One who served his master to the disregard of his own interest; Paul's will, at one time swallowed up in the will of Satan, now is swallowed up in the sweet will of God. The bondslave existed for his master and he had no other reason for existence.
3. "Called" = divinely selected and appointed; called in the sense that God summoned him to that position and placed him in it.
4. "Apostle" = one sent on a commission to represent another person, the person sent being given credentials and the responsibility of carrying out the orders of the one sending him; our word ambassador adequately translates it; Paul met the qualifications of Acts 1:21‑22 on the road to Damascus by special revelation as I Cor. 15:8 bears out.
5. "To be" = in italics, which means these words are not in the Greek text, but are supplied by the translators in an effort to clarify the thought for the English reader; with these words present it could refer to a future apostleship of which Paul was not then in possession, but he wished to emphasize that he was already in possession of the office and exercising the authority it conferred upon him, therefore, he identifies himself as "called an apostle."
6. There are many servants but not all are apostles.
7. "Separated" = to set one apart for some purpose; this is reflected in his words, "This one thing I do" (Phil 3:13); the tense speaks of a past completed action having present results (Gal. 1:15); the Pharisees used this word referring to their separation to the law and oral traditions; Paul may be referring to this here, meaning, where he was before separated unto the law or to the study of it, now he was separated unto the gospel of God; word has to do with "horizon" = to mark off by boundaries; for example, on a ship in the sea, you can see 10 1/2 miles to the horizon, but in an airplane 8‑10 miles high you can see 240 miles to the horizon; you are limited to what you can see, because there are boundaries; Jesus was Paul's horizon and He set his boundaries (the higher one gets with Jesus the more he can see); "separated" also carries meaning of "from and unto." (Col. 1:13)
8. "Gospel" = good news; called here the "gospel of God," in verse 9, "gospel of His son" and in verse 16 "gospel of Christ" all one and the same defined in I Cor. 15:1‑4 with the phrase "according to the scriptures" referring to the OT, thus using "gospel of God" at onset of this epistle would relate the gospel to the OT, thereby appeal to the Jewish readers; the good news of Jesus Christ's death, burial, and resurrection and everything involved around it such as His virgin birth, sinless life, vicarious death, burial, resurrection, ascension, ministry of intercession, and His bodily coming again.
1. Paul begins to praise the Lord Jesus Christ.
Christ, The Revealed One
2. "Promised afore" = to promise before; to announce before; indicates that Christ is the good news in fulfillment of God's promises.
3. "By" = by means of; intermediate agency; human instrument.
4. "Prophets" = one who speaks for another; does not limit the writers to those we know as the major and minor prophets, but includes Moses, David, Job, and all the other OT writers.
5. "Holy Scriptures" = OT scriptures; the Greek construction emphasizes quality or character; the OT books are in character holy, for they convey God's good news concerning His Son Jesus Christ the Lord." (verse 3a)
6. In this parenthesis, Paul is saying that the gospel is not a new religion or new thing. Therefore, with one stroke of his pen he cut away all objections to his message from the Jews who said he was introducing something new and opposed to the Mosaic economy.
Christ, The Reigning One
1. "Was Made" = signifies entrance into a new condition; to become (John 1:1,14); signified a special birth, the virgin birth. (Gal. 4:4)
2. "Seed" = that from which anything germinates; used in this context of the ancestry of David.
3. "Flesh" = refers to the physical body; Mary was a descendant of David (genealogy in Luke 3:23‑38) and Jesus was the "seed" of the woman in Gen. 3:15; therefore, the Lord Jesus Christ will set on His father David's throne and rule from Jerusalem during the millennium reign.
4. "Lord" = supreme in authority; Master; Paul called Him "our" Lord, signifying He is Lord of all saints (this occurs at point faith applied or when one is saved, not at a later time); a personal Lord and saints are His bondslaves.
Christ, The Resurrected One
1. "Declared" = to mark out the boundaries (root word for "separated" in verse 1).
2. "With power" = in power; refers to the power of God that raised our Lord from the dead.
3. "Spirit of holiness" = state of being holy; suggests that the Lord Jesus lived a life of victory over the power of sin; this is in contrast with "according to the flesh."
4. "Resurrection from the dead" = the raising of Christ to life again three days and nights after dying on the cross.
5. The Lord Jesus was the Son of God in His pre-incarnate state and still was after His Incarnation (Luke 1:35; John 1:34), but it was His resurrection from the dead that definitely marked Jesus as God's Son. The resurrection only declared Him to be what He truly was. The resurrection demonstrated His deity after assuming humanity.
1. "By whom" = refers to the Lord Jesus Christ who was declared to be the Son of God by His resurrection; Paul states again that his authority came from the Lord Jesus and not from man.
2. "We" = may refer to Paul only, since it was usual for those who were clothed with authority to express themselves in this manner; may also refer to all the apostles indicating that Paul received the commission the same as the others had; it does not refer to all saints.
3. "Grace" = undeserved favor; refers to the salvation that God gave him in response to faith. (I Tim. 1:15)
4. "Apostleship" = commission; refers to Paul's commission in context but we all have a commission; grace comes before service; commitment to the truth comes before commitment to the task; many have gotten this backward due to the powerless churches of our day which fail to teach the whole truth concerning salvation, causing misunderstanding, thus causing many to surrender to service who have never experience grace in salvation; an example is John Wesley who was on his way to the mission field before discovering that he himself was an unconverted man in need of a Saviour.
5. First "for" = preposition often speaking of purpose or result, here used in the sense of the words "in order to bring about."
6. "Obedience to the faith" = "obedience of faith" = since there is no definite article "the" in the Greek; Paul's commission was to try to persuade them to render obedience or submission to God, which springs from faith; to bring about a general obedience among the Gentiles that springs from faith (belief of the truth; II Thess. 2:13); those who do not obey will experience everlasting destruction. (II Thess 1:7‑9)
7. "Nations" = refers to the Gentiles to which Paul was commissioned to go when he was converted. (Acts 9:15)
8. Second "for" = for the sake of; in behalf of.
9. "His name" = an OT expression speaking of all that God is in His being, His majesty, glory, power, holiness, and righteousness; used in the sense of character or reputation; all that Paul did was in honor or recognition of all that He is and for His sake.
10. We, too, have a commission (Mark 16:15) and must go with an attitude of purpose‑‑"obedience of faith", an assignment‑‑"all nations", and an authority--"His name."
1. "Among whom" = refers to the Gentiles who had been obedient to the Christian faith in accordance with the design of the gospel. 2. "The called" = "called ones" = those summoned by an effectual call which secures conformity to the will of Him who calls. (Rom. 8:30)
3. "Of" = "to be" = indicates that they belonged to Him because they had heard and obeyed the gospel. (I Cor. 6:19‑20)
1. "To all that be in Rome" = refers to those who were saved, not all people in Rome; he makes this clear by addressing the recipients of this epistle to "beloved of God" and "called to be saints"; the Lord knows where each one of His are; these were in Rome (II Tim. 2:19); the "all" refers to each individual; therefore, the message is personal as if each were called by name.
2. "Beloved of God" = plural in the Greek thus "loved ones of God" or "God's loved ones."
3. "To be" = in italics, which means these words are not in the Greek text, but are supplied by the translators in an effort to clarify the thought for the English reader; with these words present it could refer to those saved becoming saints at a later time, but Paul was careful to say "called saints."
4. "Saints" = to set apart for God; the root idea is "separation from" to "separation to"; God's designation for believers; many have asked where these saints heard the gospel and were saved since Paul nor any of the other apostles were known to have gone to Rome. I am convinced that the first ones saved from Rome were on the day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:10)
5. "Called saints" = saints who were made saints by the effectual call of God into salvation; thus a saint was a sinner who in answer to his faith in the Lord Jesus has been set apart by the Holy Spirit for God, set apart from sin to holiness, from Satan to God, out of the first Adam into the Last Adam, to live a set apart life of separation.
6. This verse, properly translated, refutes Catholic teaching that the Catholic church confers sainthood upon those who they think merit it, usually 200 or 300 years after they are dead. Paul makes it clear that one becomes a saint the moment they respond to the effectual call.
7. "Grace" = sanctifying grace, not justifying, for he is writing to saints who were already justified; this grace enables the saints of God to overcome obstacles in their daily living and keep on keeping on for the glory of God; we have access (freedom to enter through the assistance or favor of another) into this grace by faith (Rom. 5:2); this word was also used as a greeting among the Greeks.
8. "Peace" = sanctifying peace, not justifying of Rom. 5:1, for he is writing to saints who were already justified; this peace is the peace of God that passes all understanding, even in troubled times (Phil. 4:6‑7); we are fighting from victory not for victory; a state of Christian tranquility; this word was used and is still used as the greeting among Hebrews.
9. Paul may have been using these terms only as a greeting to the Greeks and Hebrews, but I think he meant more than a greeting as we have just defined above.
10. This grace and peace comes from God whom he identifies as our Father (personal) and Lord who is Jesus Christ, not Caesar.
11. "Lord" = supreme in authority.
2. Explanation V. 8‑17
Paul's Benediction (Prayer) V. 8‑13
1) Prayer of Thanksgiving V. 8
1. "First" = is not followed by a "second, third," etc.; the rush of the apostle's thoughts prevents any orderly secession of points here.
2. "Thank" = to express gratitude toward; the expression of thanks to God was fitting to prepare them for the truths which he was about to communicate to them; it showed the deep interest he had in their welfare. (I Thess. 5:18)
3. "My God" = the God I worship and serve.
4. "Through" = as a mediator or medium; we are not to approach God directly, but through a mediator at all times, depending on Him to present our cause before the mercy seat, to plead for us there, and to offer the desires of our souls; that mediator is Jesus Christ. (I Tim. 2:5)
5. "For you all" = on account of each one of you.
6. "Faith" = refers to the fact that they were Christians and to the lives they lived; speaks of their pure lives and mission endeavor. 7. "Spoken" = proclaimed openly, plainly, and aloud; carries the idea of being known up and down the land.
8. "World" = Roman Empire.
2) Prayer of Intercession V. 9
1. "Witness" = one who supplies or gives evidence of; the reason for this strong appeal to God is to show to the Romans the deep interest which he felt in their welfare; a deep interest shown in this way, would prepare them to receive what he had to say to them.
2. "Serve" = hireling; to serve for hire; the believer's labor and service is bought and paid for by the precious blood of Christ, therefore, he owes his labor and service to the Lord; refers to spiritual service.
3. "With my spirit" = "in my spirit" = the part of man made alive when saved; the spirit controls the body; what the spirit does, the body does; thus Paul was wholly devoted spirit and body to the service of God.
4. "In the gospel of his Son" = in making known the gospel, or as a minister of the gospel.
5. "Without ceasing" = without letting up or leaving off; constantly; without intermission; Paul urges us to follow in his steps (I Thess. 5:17); how can one pray without ceasing?; prayer to the soul is like breath to the body and we do not have to stop work to breathe or pray; means to be in an attitude of prayer at all times.
6. "Make mention" = to practice remembrance.
7. "Always" = at all times.
8. This means Paul never left the Roman saints out of his prayers. He seems to have had a prayer list thus never omitting the Romans.
3) Prayer of Petition V. 10‑13
1. "Making request" = one word in the Greek; to petition; to beg; to make request of; Paul had an earnest desire to visit them.
2. "If by any means" = by whatever manner; Paul went to Rome as a prisoner thus God answered his prayer.
3. "Now at length" = he had purposed to go for a long time, but had been hindered (verse 13); this expression implies an earnest wish that this long cherished purpose might be accomplished before long.
4. "Prosperous journey" = one word in the Greek; succeed in reaching.
5. "By the will of God" = if God would grant it; Paul did not desire to go anywhere it was not God's will.
6. Someone has said:
A. To find the will of God is the greatest discovery.
B. To know the will of God is the greatest knowledge.
C. To do the will of God is the greatest achievement.
1. "Long" = to desire earnestly; to intensely crave.
2. Paul was anxious to visit them for three reasons:
A. That he might help establish them in the faith. V. 11
B. That he might be encouraged together with them. V. 12
C. That he might "have some fruit" among them. V. 13
3. "Impart" = to share with one.
4. "Some spiritual gift" = refers to the truths of the grace of God; this expression in context does not denote the power of working miracles; it simply means to share the truths of the gospel with the believers in Rome; gifts are placed in one from his mother's womb by the foreknowledge and predetermined council of God and are without repentance (Rom. 11:29); these gifts lie dormant till God's Spirit stirs them up in an individual; Paul is saying he has something to tell them and it is fresh from God, sharp, and powerful and would stir up dormant gifts to be used for God. (I Cor. 2:4)
5. "To the end" = indicates the point of a purpose reached which is that "ye may be established."
6. "Be established" = to fit, set, make fast, strengthen.
1. "That is" = an explanatory correction; instead of only saying that he had a spiritual gift for them, he adds that they also have one for him.
2. "Comforted together" = one word in the Greek; to strengthen with others.
3. "Mutual" = possessed in common; they both possessed the same belief or faith in the same person, the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. "Would" = wish; desire.
2. "Ignorant" = not to know through lack of information.
3. "I would not have you ignorant" = is Paul's way of saying, "I want you to know."
4. "Brethren" = from the same womb; refers to those who were saved.
5. "Oftentimes" = many times; one of these times is recorded in Acts 19:21.
6. "Purposed" = determined; indicates he made plans to do so.
7. "Let" = hindered; obstructed.
8. "Hitherto" = until the present.
9. "Have fruit" = means to obtain success in bringing men to the knowledge of Christ.
10. Paul desired to see some saved at Rome just as he had seen in other Gentile nations where he had been. This desire was in obedience to what our Lord said in John 15:16; all that was endured by Paul‑‑scorching suns, raging seas, weary nights, and bitter persecutions‑‑was not for friends, fame, or fortune, but for fruit; Paul has been dead 1900 years and his work still goes on and fruit is still being added to his account. (Rev. 14:13)
1. "Debtor" = to owe; to be obligated; to be bound by duty; this does not mean that they had conferred some favor on him, which bound him to make this statement; Paul was a debtor because:
A. Christ had done so much for him (saved him).
B. Christ had called him to preach (given him a task to do) Acts 9:15; he did not feel that he had discharged the obligation until he had made the gospel known as far as possible among all the nations of the earth.
2. "Greeks" = a term synonymous with the polished, the refined, the wise, as opposed to barbarians.
3. "Barbarians" = denotes one who speaks a foreign language; a foreigner; a term the Greeks applied to all who did not use their tongue or language; to the Greeks, all men were barbarians who did not speak their language.
4. "Wise" = learned; intelligent; applied to those who esteemed themselves to be wise.
5. "Unwise" = unlearned; unintelligent; applied to those regarded by society as the ignorant and unpolished part of mankind.
6. Paul was saying he was in debt to all mankind, thus being like God in one way, no respecter of persons. (John 3:16)
7. For one to be saved, it bankrupted heaven for 33 years, thus all saints are debtors and if one recognizes his debt, his burden will come. An honest Christian attempts to pay his debt.
1. "So" = in the same manner.
2. "As much as in me is" = as far as opportunity may be offered and according to my ability.
3. "Ready" = urgent willingness as well as ready; eagerness; zeal for the gospel.
4. "Preach the gospel" = one word in the Greek; to evangelize; to announce the good news of the Lord Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection; some say preach the gospel to the lost and the Word to the saved, but Paul preached the gospel to the saints. (verse 7)
5. "At Rome also' = indicates he had no fear for his life (Phil. 1:21); at Athens, the intellectual center, he was mocked; at Jerusalem, the religious center, he was mobbed; at Rome, he did not know what he would face, but he was ready even though here he later was to be martyred.
1. "Ashamed" = to feel shame for; a painful feeling brought about by a strong sense of embarrassment, unworthiness, or disgrace; negated by "not"; Paul was not ashamed because he knew what and who he had believed (II Tim. 1:12); if one is ashamed of the Lord, the Lord said He would be ashamed of that person. (Mark 8:38)
2. "Gospel" = good news; called here "the gospel of Christ" = the good news of Jesus Christ's death, burial, and resurrection (I Cor. 15:1‑4) and everything around it such as His virgin birth, sinless life, vicarious death, burial, resurrection, ascension, ministry of intercession, and His bodily coming again.
3. Paul was not ashamed of the Gospel because:
1) Of Its Nature = "The Power of God."
1. "Power" = might, energy, force, and strength that is within God; where we get our word "dynamite" from; the gospel can blast the devil and sin out of a hard human heart.
2. "Of God" = implies:
A. That it is God's plan, or His appointment, not the device of man.
B. It is adapted to the end, which means it is fitted to overcome the obstacles in the way, thus fitted to accomplish salvation in man.
C. It is mighty, not a feeble and ineffectual instrumentality. (Jer. 23:29; I Cor. 1:18)
2) Of Its Aim = "Unto Salvation."
1. "Salvation" = deliverance; preservation; refers to the deliverance of man's soul from sin and wrath. (Rom. 6:23a; I Thess. 1:10)
2. "Unto" = indicates a point reached of place and time; refers to complete salvation, thus eternal life.
A. Spirit = justification = deliverance from the penalty of sin.
B. Soul = sanctification (the saint's walk of progression toward perfection that will be gained at the first resurrection) = deliverance from the power of sin.
C. Body = glorification = deliverance from the presence of sin.
3) Of Its Scope = "Everyone, To The Jew First, And Also To The Greek."
1. "Every one" = whosoever of John 3:16 and Rev. 22:17; the "one" indicates that the gospel is manifested to individuals, to each one separately and individually, not to nations as a whole.
2. "Jew first" = first in order of time; to them had been committed the oracles (Word) of God (Rom. 3:2); the Messiah had come through them; they had the law, the temple, and the service of God, therefore, it was natural for them to have the gospel first; some use this scripture, in error, to teach that we need Jewish missions first when in reality they have already had the gospel first but rejected it. (John 1:11)
3. "Greek" = those not Jews.
4. The Jews had light, the Greek had logic, and the Romans had law, but Paul had the gospel. The gospel is light and logic, and overrides the law, therefore the gospel is above what the Jews and Greeks had.
4) Of Its Condition = "Believeth."
1. "Believeth" = to trust or confide in; to commit to one's trust; refers to saving faith or believing with one's heart.
2. One who really believes commits himself to what he believes and if a man does not commit himself he does not believe.
5) Of Its Revelation = "The Righteousness Of God."
1. "Therein" = refers to the gospel of Christ of verse 16.
2. "Righteousness" = the state acceptable to God which becomes a sinner's possession through that faith by which he embraces the grace of God offered him in the expiatory (means of atonement) death of Jesus Christ; refers to the Lord Jesus Christ who was made unto us righteousness (I Cor. 1:30) and reproved unto sinners as the way, truth, and life. (John 16:8,10; 1:4; I John 5:12)
3. "Of God" = refers to God's plan of justifying men as opposed to man's plan. (Mat. 5:20; Rom. 10:1-3)
4. "Revealed" = to take off the cover; to remove a cover to expose to open view what was hidden; to make manifest or reveal a thing previously secret or unknown.
5. "From faith to faith" = a phrase referring to "from the initial act of saving faith to the issuing act of living faith.
6. God's plan of justifying men by faith, not by deeds of the law, is revealed in the gospel. Also the gospel reveals that the justified are to live by faith.
7. "It is written" = tense reveals a completed action in past time and stands on record today. (Hab. 2:4)
8. "Just" = righteous; upright; refers to the saved.
9. "Shall live" = refers to saints' manner of living, daily trusting in the Lord for their victory; Paul's quotation of this OT passage makes it clear that it has always been the faith way, whether justification or sanctification, whether in the OT time or NT time; once the gospel is received by faith, faith will continue to work. (II Cor. 5:7; Heb. 11:6; Rom. 14:23; James 2:17; Phil. 2:12; Eph. 2:10)
Principle of Sin: (Righteousness Needed) V. 1:18-3:20
1. The Heathen & His Perverted Religion Under Sin V. 18-32
1) They Knew God V. 18-20
1. "Wrath" = anger; indignation; not an agitated outburst of violence but a decisive anger that has risen from a thoughtful decision and stands against sin and evil, violence and slaughter, immorality and injustice of men; an anger that abhors and hates sin and evil and dishes out a just revenge and equal justice; when used of God, it is always an anger that is righteous and just and good.
2. "Revealed" = made known and communicated to the Jews by their law, and to the Gentiles in their reason.
3. "From heaven" = this expression means that the divine displeasure against sin is made known by a divine appointment.
4. "Ungodliness" = irreligion; lack of reverence toward God; means ungod-like in action or life and heart; a condition of direct opposition to God; the basic idea is irreverence, disregard for God's law and disregard for God's person; men deny the character of God through idolatry; this is dealt with in verses 19‑23.
5. "Unrighteousness" = lack of right conduct toward men; legal injustice; moral wrongfulness; men destroy the character of fellowmen through immorality; this is dealt with in verses 24‑32.
6. "Hold" = to hold down; restrain; keep back.
7. "Truth" = refers to the truth of God, in whatever way made known, and particularly as Paul says in the conscience (verse 19) and creation (verse 20).
8. Men, so to speak, put truth in a box and sit on the lid and hold it down in unrighteousness (immorality). Their evil deeds conceal the open truth of God from men.
9. Truth can survive swords. It can battle down ignorance and overcome prejudice, but it is defeated in immorality.
10. Truth can only live in the minds of people as it lives in the lives of people.
11. To pervert, cover, change, conceal, or withhold truth is to lie. 12. To hold down truth is the biggest lie. God is the biggest truth, and to live as if there were no God is to live the biggest lie.
13. The wrath of God is only the reaction of the love of a Holy God in the presence of sin.
14. John 3:36 reveals this wrath abides (remains) on those who have never believed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. But thank the Lord for His longsuffering, forbearance, and goodness (all part of His love) which operates and holds back that revealed and abiding wrath giving man a space of repentance. (Rom. 2:4)
15. God is so good!
a. Conscience Inside
1. "Because" = on this account; Paul gives one reason for the revelation of God's wrath.
2. "Known" = well known; refers basically that God is, that He exists.
3. "That which may be known of God" = this expression implies that there may be many things concerning God which cannot be known but there are many things that are certain, primarily that God exists.
4. "Is manifest" = made visible or known.
5. "In them" = in their conscience.
6. "Shewed" = same word as "manifest"; made evident, clear, and plain; He has endowed men with reason and conscience (Rom. 2:14‑15); He had made them capable of seeing and investigating His works; He had spread before them the proofs of His wisdom, goodness, and power, and had given them the means of learning His will. (John 1:9)
7. God gave man a conscience inside that is "God‑shaped" and cannot be filled with sex, alcohol, drugs, materialism, things, hobbies, nor religion. In other words God stamped the knowledge of Himself upon human conscience. He also gave him light (truth) and if man will step in light that God "is" than God will give him more light. But instead of stepping in more light, man as a whole has chosen to take the light (truth) that is within him and hold it down. In essence he rejects the knowledge of God that is within him which causes God to have to reveal His wrath toward him.
b. Creation Outside
1. "Invisible things" = refers to those things which cannot be perceived by the sense; refers to "His eternal power and Godhead."
2. "Creation" = original formation; the forming of everything from nothing; refers to the things created.
3. "From" = by means of.
4. "Clearly seen" = to behold fully; and made manifest; Psa. 19:1‑4a verifies this statement. (Job 12:7)
5. "Being understood" = to exercise the mind; to perceive with the mind.
6. "The things that are made" = the works of God as Creator; they are evidences submitted to our intellects, by which we may arrive at the true knowledge of God, even His eternal power and Godhead.
7. "Eternal" = enduring.
8. "Power" = exhibition of divine power; the works of creation are proof of power which existed from eternity even though that power was not always exerted.
9. "Godhead" = deity; refers to the divine nature of God; different word translated "Godhead" in Col. 2:9 where there it means the personality of God which involves the Trinity.
10. "Without excuse" = indefensible; means that man will be defenseless on judgment day; man has been given every evidence imaginable in "creation outside" directing him toward God, yet man as a whole rejected the knowledge of God in creation which caused God to have to reveal His wrath toward him.
11. Conscience and creation will not convict man of unrighteousness. It takes the gospel and Holy Spirit to do the convicting. (John 16:8-11)
2) They Glorified Him Not As God V. 21‑23
1. "Because that" = on this account; Paul is showing that it was right to condemn men for their sins.
a. Man's Indifference
2. "Knew" = to know by personal experience; man has this personal experience of the existence of God by a conscience within and creation without.
3. "Glorified" = to render glorious; implies worship; negated by "not"; in other words they did not obey, honor, reverence, love, nor serve Him as God, because they were indifferent (not really concerned) concerning God; the root idea here is "value"; they did not recognize the value of God.
4. Their practice was corrupted.
b. Leads To Ingratitude
5. "Thankful" = to be grateful; also in the negative (I Thess. 5:18); they did not praise, magnify, or express appreciation of God.
A. Makes man's heart hard and unsensible.
B. Causes man to forget God.
7. Their thinking was corrupted.
c. Leads To Ignorance
8. "Became vain" = to render foolish, senseless, worthless. (I Tim. 1:4)
9. Imaginations" = thoughts; reasonings; deliberations; conclu-sions; speculations; implies that their thoughts and reasonings were not of the serious nature, the effect of which was to lead the mind farther and farther from the truth concerning God; they begin to think thing weird and way out.
10. "Foolish" = that which is without understanding; unintelligent; not able to put together the manifest evidence about God.
11. "Heart" = the faculty and seat of intelligence; refers here to the understanding.
12. "Darkened" = blinded; unable to see; not clearly expressed, so that they did not perceive and comprehend the truth.
1. "Professing" = to assert; they were claiming to be wise.
2. "Wise" = having wisdom or discernment; of what is true, right, or lasting; had the connotation among the Greeks of persons of culture and learning; it was their boast that they were wise. (Pro. 14:12)
3. "Became fools" = to make as a simpleton; to become foolish; moral denseness is implied; they became foolish in their opinions and conduct; this word is the source of the English word "moron"; a sharp saying‑‑true and one that cuts to the bone.
4. The Bible has much to say about fools. (Psa. 14:1; Pro. 1:7; 3:35; 10:18; 12:15; 14:9,16; 15:5; 26:4; 28:26; 29:11; Luke 12:19-20; 24:25; Eph 5:15)
5. Wilful Blindness leads to wicked unbelief.
d. Resulting In Idolatry
1. "Changed" = to exchange one for another; they did this in their view of God; changed Him as an object of worship for idols.
2. "The glory" = the majesty; the honor; the concentration and expression of His perfections; this word stands opposed to the degrading nature of their worship which degraded in four stages: worship of man, of birds, of beast, and at the lowest level, creeping things; instead of adoring a Being clothed with majesty and honor, they bowed down to reptiles.
3. "Uncorruptible" = "incorruptible" = non‑decaying; imperish-able; unchanging; unaging; this word here is applied to God in opposition to man; God is not subject to passing away while man is; He is eternal.
4. "Image" = figure; likeness; a representation or likeness of anything, whether made by painting, or from wood, stone, or etc.; this applies to all four categories mentioned here.
5. "Made like" = a likeness; form; double emphasis.
6. "Corruptible" = decaying; perishable; changing; aging; stands opposed to incorruptible God.
7. "Man" = general word for man‑kind or a human being; some idols were made after the likeness of corruptible woman as well; by this process man sought to deify himself which resulted in degrading his concept of God = humanism = makes an idol out of man and worships man as the "god" of his own destiny.
8. "Birds" = flying animals; pagan idolatry adored all objects from which important benefits were derived.
9. "Fourfooted beasts" = today two of the most sacred objects of worship are the cow and the monkey.
10. "Creeping things" = reptiles; animals that have no feet or such short ones that they seem to creep or crawl on the ground; such as lizards, snakes, crocodiles, alligators, and etc.
11. An idol is anything that usurps God's rightful place in one's life.
12. Their worship was corrupted.
3) They Changed The Truth Of God V. 24‑25
1. "Wherefore" = on which account; refers to man choosing to worship idols.
2. "Gave up" = to hand over to one's power or use; to give into the hands of another; He abandoned them, or ceased to restrain them, and allowed them to act out the desires of their hearts; this does not imply that God exerted any positive influence that enticed them to sin, but He left them to their own self‑determination and self‑destruction (James 1:13); they had already willfully deserted God; the withdrawal of God's restraint send men deeper down, retrogression downward, from illumination to futility to folly; Paul uses this word three times, not three stages in the given order but a repetition of the same withdrawal.
3. "Uncleanness" = impurity; moral defilement; filthiness; pollu-tion; contamination; any unnatural pollution (defilement) whether acted out by one's self or with another; Paul list some of these in verses 26‑32.
4. "Lusts" = a longing for that which is forbidden; passionate cravings; desires; urges; this passionate desire was for forbidden pleasure, a desire that defied all reason; those who are taken up with such evil, cease to be aware of God and give themselves to shameless cravings.
5. "Hearts" = the center and seat of moral nature, the soul and mind, as it is the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, and endeavors; sin takes place in the heart before it takes place by act. (Mark 7:20‑23)
6. "Dishonour" = to disgrace; put to shame; to treat with contempt; to treat disrespectfully by word or deed which is done by:
A. Exposing nakedness for others to look at and desire.
B. Modeling for pornography magazines and such like.
C. Committing fornication or adultery.
D. Shacking up and living like a bunch of dogs; a female dog does not care which male dog comes to her.
7. Christians have a new sense of dignity for the body. (I Cor. 6:19‑20; I Thess. 4:3-4)
8. "Between themselves" = mutually among themselves; they did it by unlawful and impure connections with one another.
9. Idolatry of the mind leads to immorality of the body.
10. Dealing with the principle of sin causes us to realize that we are guilty before God and we cannot help ourselves out of our condition.
1. "Changed" = to exchange one thing for another; you cannot change truth. (John 17:17; Psa. 119:89; Mat. 24:35)
2. "Truth of God" = refers to the one real and true God.
3. "Into" = for.
4. "Lie" = falsehood; refers to idols because they are not true representations of God. (Jer. 13:25)
5. "Worshipped" = to honor religiously.
6. "Served" = to render religious service or homage.
7. "Creature" = the sum total of what is created; refers not only to man but animals, sun, stars, moon, and etc.
8. "More than" = word indicates passing by the Creator altogether; placing the Creator and creature side by side, they preferred the creature.
9. "Creator" = God.
10. "Blessed" = to speak well or good of; eulogize; this is one of Paul's doxologies or ascription of praise to God which may come at any moment when he is greatly stirred; it was not uncommon to add a doxology when His name was mentioned. (Gal. 1:5)
11. "Amen" = a Hebrew word denoting strong affirmation; means to let it be.
12. Man abandons God so that he can live the unclean life he craves; therefore, God judges man and abandons him to live in his uncleanness.
4) They Become Unnatural V. 26‑27
1. "For this cause" = on account of what had been specified in verses 21‑23 such as being unthankful, idolaters, and not glorifying God.
2. "Gave up" = to hand over to one's power or use; to give into the hands of another.
3. "Affections" = disgraceful passions; described as "vile" = dishonor; thus referred to as passions of dishonor; "affections" is a more narrow and more intense word than "lusts" in verse 24; refers to the diseased condition out of which lust springs.
4. To honor someone is to evaluate the worth of that person and to treat him with consideration, respect, and love due his character and position. To dishonor a person is to either put an incorrect estimate upon his worth and treat him accordingly, or, having properly evaluated his character, to refuse to treat him with the respect and deference which is his due. The passions controlling these of whom Paul is speaking caused them to put an incorrect estimate upon the sacredness, dignity, and purity of the physical body and thus use it in a way which dishonored it.
5. "Women" = females; females are mentioned first, because they are considered to be the more pure of the sexes; they should be the bulwark of society, but when they yield to the sinful desires of homosexual indulgence, the home and the nation are doomed.
6. "For even" = language of surprise that they would do such a thing!
7. "Change" = to exchange one thing for another.
8. "Use" = refers to the sexual use of a women described as "natural" = produced by nature; inborn; sex is not a dirty word, but an appetite given by God to mankind to replenish the earth, reward love, and to be used in realm of God's Word. (Heb. 13:4)
9. "Against nature" = against nature's law or God's Word.
1. "Likewise" = similarly; refers now to men exchanging the natural use into that which is against nature, the same as the females had done (also).
2. "Men" = males as distinguished from females.
3. "Leaving" = put aside.
4. "Use" = refers to the sexual use of a "women" = female; again described as natural as in verse 26; desire for the opposite sex is natural and is ok in the realm of God's Word.
5. "Burned" = inflamed; set ablaze; the meaning is that men were "consumed" with the passion of lust.
6. "Lust" = eager desire or appetite, especially seeking the object of gratification in order to make it one's own; a stronger word than "lusts" in verse 24 or "affections" in verse 26; it was an all out endeavor to satisfy their totally depraved (corrupt) nature.
7. "Men with men" = males with males; refers to homosexuality which is against nature.
8. "Working" = perform; achieve; to carry to its ultimate conclusion.
9. "Unseemly" = shameful; disgraceful; an indecency.
10. "Recompense" = a reward given in compensation; refers to that natural result of their sin which pays them back for what they have done, such as weakening the body and producing premature old age, disease, decay, and early death.
11. "Error" = a straying from truth; a deviation.
12. "Was meet" = a necessity in the nature of the case.
13. When a person burns after unnatural affection, God abandons them to passions of dishonor that cannot be controlled or governed and that run loose and wild no matter how much a person tries to control them. He is given over to burn more and more and is enslaved and held in bondage to it, psychologically and physically. Therefore, God judges them by giving them up to live in their vile affections.
4) They Rejected The Knowledge Of God V. 28‑32
1. "Like" = approve; to put to the test for the purpose of approving, and finding that the person tested meets the specifications prescribed; to put one's approval upon him; negated by "not."
2. "Retain" = possess or have; to think of God, or to serve and adore Him.
3. The human race put God to the test for the purpose of approving Him to see if He met the specifications which they laid down for a God who would be to their liking, and finding that He did not meet those specifications, they refused to approve Him as the God to be worshipped or have in their knowledge.
4. "Knowledge" = precise and correct knowledge; a more thorough knowledge than just the understanding of facts or truth; refers to the knowledge which enables one to avoid error.
5. They knew there was a God, that God is righteousness, and that God is a God of judgment. (verse 32) They knew God would judge the wicked, but in spite of their knowledge they continued in their ungodliness and refused God in their thinking. They just put Him out of their minds. (Pro. 23:7; Psa. 14:1)
6. "Even as" = just as; means just as they rejected God, He rejected them.
7. "Gave over" = same as "gave up" in verses 24 and 26; to hand over to one's power or use; to give into the hand of another.
8. "Mind" = the organ of moral thinking and knowing; control center.
9. "Reprobate" = rejected; unapproved; worthless; void of judgment; a mind that cannot stand the test of judgment and is totally depraved (morally corrupt); a mind which is really no mind and cannot discharge the function of one; a mind in which divine distinctions of right and wrong are confused and lost, so that God's condemnation has no choice but to fall on it at last; Paul referred to this in I Tim. 4:2 as a conscience seared with a hot iron (hard and beyond feeling).
10. This gives room for demons to move in, in full force causing them to practice naturally (to do) "those things which are not convenient." (Mat. 12:43‑45)
11. "Convenient" = fitting; proper; becoming; negated by "not"; someone said, they are like the nightclubs of modern cities and the dives and dens of the underworld, without God and in the darkness of unrestrained animal impulses, of which a representative list of 22 is given in verses 29‑32.
12. Scientists want us to believe that man has "evolved" from primitive, ignorant, beast‑like forms to the marvelous creature he is today, but the opposite is true. Man began as the highest of God's creatures, but has made himself into a beast.
13. Moral perversion brings mental perversion, and man becomes more and more enslaved in their depravity and unsuitable behaviour.
14. Were it not for the grace and goodness of God, every one of us would be in this slavery of sin ourselves. (Rom. 2:4)
15. God gave them up in their conduct, condition, and control center.
1. "Being filled with" = "filled to the brim with" = the tense speaks of a past completed action having present results; those who had disapproved of holding God in their knowledge were completely filled as a consequence, with all (every kind of) unrighteousness.
2. "Unrighteousness" = lack of right conduct toward man = speaks of immorality of the body that destroys the character of their fellowman.
3. This list is divided into 4 categories of sins:
A. Injustice to the well-being and property of others‑‑just do not care about fellowmen.
1) "Fornication" = a broad word including all forms and kinds of immoral and sexual acts; premarital sex; adultery; abnormal sex (homosexuality; beastiality; sex with corpse); all kinds of sexual vices; we get our word pornography from this Greek word.
2) "Wickedness" = to be depraved; to be actively evil; to do mischief; to trouble others and cause harm; to be malicious; to be dangerous and destructive; it is malice, hatred, and ill‑will; denotes a desire of injuring others.
3) "Covetousness" = a lust for more and more; an appetite for something; a love of possessing; a grasping, craving after and for possessions, pleasure, power, and fame; a lust and craving of the flesh which cannot be satisfied; a lust and craving so deep that a person finds his happiness in things and pleasure instead of God; ruthless, aggressive self assertion of one's own interest and not concerned with others.
4) "Maliciousness" = malice; inward viciousness of disposition; denotes evil in general with a desire to injure.
B. Injustice whereby neighbors are injured:
1) "Full" = stuffed full off; applies to all five in this section.
2) "Envy" = a feeling of discontent, uneasiness, and pain excited by another's prosperity accompanied with some degree of hatred or malice and often with a desire or an effort to depreciate the person, and with pleasure in seeing him depressed; kin to "jealousy," that green eyed monster that destroys homes, churches, and character of men.
3) "Murder" = man‑slaughter; the taking of human life, except that which occurs as the punishment of crime (capital punishment which should be enforced today); Cain was so meek and religious that he offered his carrots and "tators" and did not like blood shed, but killed his brother when he got away from the altar; the religious crowd will act pious but will cut your throat (they did Jesus'); he who hates is well on his way to murder (I John 3:15), a sin against the sixth commandment (Exo. 20:13; Mat. 19:18).
4) "Debate" = contention; strife; quarreling connected with anger and heated zeal; fighting in a dishonest and evil way.
5) "Deceit" = fraud; lying; to bait, mislead, beguile, snare; to be crafty and deceitful; to mislead or to give a false impression by word, act, or influence; the act of representing as true what is known to be false; refers to a man who connives and twists the truth to get his own way or plots and deceives, doing whatever has to be done to get what he is after.
6) "Malignity" = evil disposition; evil in nature; labels everything with an evil connotation and gives a malicious interpretation of the actions of others; refers to a person so full of evil that he is always ruining others either by word or violence.
C. Vices of all sinners in pride. (Pro. 13:10)
1) "Whisperers" = secret gossipers; secret slanderers; backbiters; murmurers; a person pouring poison against neighbors into a listening ear.
2) "Backbiters" = an open slanderer; an evil speaker; a defamer; people who blacken reputations; to speak evil of or slander with whatever words come to one's mouth without giving thought to them; this word is different from "whisperers" in that it is loud, open slander instead of being in secret as "whisperers" are.
3) "Haters of God" = one word in the Greek; hating and being hateful to God; refers to people:
a. Who turned against God, accusing Him and also His providence when a calamity befell them.
b. Who see that His justice stands in the way of their wickedness; refers to a person who says I wish that wasn't in the Bible, so he can do what he wants.
c. Who wants to be the god of his own life, doing his own thing as he wishes.
4) "Despiteful" = an insulter; refers to one who delights in arrogant, overbearing, wrongdoing towards others and finds pleasure in such acts; the sin of despite is the spirit that hurts and harms others in order to do what one wants.
5) "Proud" = self‑exaltation; conceit; arrogance; being haughty; putting oneself above others and looking down upon others; describes one who thinks too highly of himself and seeks to attract admirations by claiming advantages that do not exist.
6) "Boasters" = braggarts; pretenders; one who tells great things concerning his own achievements or superior ability, with many of his claims being false.
D. Extinction of all natural feelings of humanity such as loyalty, affection, tenderness, and pity.
1) "Inventors of evil things" = discoverer of worthless, injurious, and wicked things; inventors of new sins, or more sensational forms of excitement and vice; refers to a person who is tired of the old forms of sin and feels the need to seek out new ways and forms of vice.
2) "Disobedient to parents" = refusing to do what one's parents say; rebelling against one's parents; showing disrespect to parents; rejecting parental instruction; dishonoring parental example; a child who disobeys his parents is wide open to all forms of evil. (Eph. 6:1-3)
3) "Without understanding" = senseless; foolish; without conscience; without insight; describes a person who refuses to listen to counsel or heed advice.
4) "Covenantbreakers" = breakers of promises or agreements; untrustworthy; faithless; treacherous; untruthful; refers to a person who does not keep his word or promise.
5) "Without natural affections" = hard‑hearted toward kindred; without family love; refers to love of parents for children, children for parents, husband for wife, and wife for husband; destruction of all feeling of natural tenderness; Example: mothers deserting babies; Dad's deserting families, also moms as well; children running away from home.
6) "Implacable" = incapable of giving in or being appeased; truceless; refers to one who refuses to agree to any term or suggestion of peace; implies a state of discord and strife; indicates a person who is not satisfied or content and cannot be pacified. (Isa. 57:20‑21)
7) "Unmerciful" = merciless; destitute of compassion; unwilling to show mercy; without pity in family circles.
1. "Knowing" = recognize; to know by experience.
2. "Judgment of God" = denotes the declared sentiment of God that such things deserved death, separation from God; it means that God thought or judged that they which did such things ought to die. (Rom. 6:23)
3. "Commit" = to practice; perform repeatedly or habitually.
4. "Worthy" = deserving.
5. "Death" = often used in the Scriptures to denote punishment; they knew they were evil, and offensive to God, and deserving of punishment from His hand; implied is capital punishment which is from the hand of God through government, His ministers. (Rom. 13:3‑4)
6. "Do the same" = practice these sins mentioned.
7. "Have pleasure in them" = they give their consent and delight in those who commit (do; practice repeatedly and habitually) sin; we might not think of doing such things but if we are not careful we are just as guilty as these who commit such things because we have pleasure in them that do such, when we enjoy watching TV shows and etc. that promote such sins; Lord, help us!
8. A climax is reached here as this verse sums up all that has been written, beginning with verse 18. The most corrupt person is not destitute of the knowledge of God and of His righteous judgment.
9. Those who enjoy seeing others sin show that they hate their fellowman, because they know that such sins risk damnation. Rebellious human beings are not only bent on damning themselves but also stay busy seeing to it that others will also be damned. Thus, they judge themselves worthy of eternal death.
2. The Hypocrite & His Pretended Religion Under Sin
1. "Therefore" = because of which thing; in view of; refers to Paul's proof that the heathen and his perverted religion in Chapter 1 was under sin; now he begins his case to prove that the hypocrite and his pretended religion, whether it be Gentile, Jew, or Baptist, was also under sin.
2. "Inexcusable" = without an excuse; without an apology (used in the sense of talking one's self off from a charge) or defence; just as the heathen in Rom. 1:20.
3. "Man" = human being; general word for mankind.
4. "Judgest" = to pick out; to criticize; to find fault; to condemn; refers to a derogatory appraisal of another's character or the forming of an opinion or judgement of his character.
5. "Condemnest" = to pronounce sentence against; to judge worthy of punishment.
6. "Doest" = to practice repeatedly or habitually.
7. Paul never speaks against their judging as far as the word "judgest" means, but he does say that the hypocrite has condemned himself by forming an opinion about others while he practiced the same thing. Example: The hypocrite may not commit adultery like the heathen, but he lusts in his heart. (Mat. 5:27-28)
8. In other words, the hypocrite did not live up to the same moral standard he set for others. A legalist falls in this category.
9. No doubt when the hypocrite read Paul's indictment of the heathen in Chapter 1, he smiled and said, "Serves them right."
10. Their attitude would be that of the Pharisee in Luke 18:11‑12. But he proves they are under sin, just as the heathen was, by showing the basis of God's judgement on them.
1) According To Truth V. 2‑5
1. "Sure" = know; absolute knowledge.
2. "Judgment" = decision rendered; he regards those who do these things as guilty.
3. "According to" = as the rule of measure.
4. "Truth" = the Word of God (John 17:17; 12:47‑48); the Word of God is a moral standard that will judge and by which we also judge our own self so that we may be ready to face the Judgement Seat (Rom. 14:11‑12; Amos 7:8); also implied is that God will judge men according to the real nature of their conduct, and not as their conduct may appear unto men.
5. "Against them" = against every man, no matter of what age or nation or religion.
6. "Commit" = to practice repeatedly and habitually.
7. "Such things" = refers to those sins listed in Chapter 1; the hypocrite may be externally moral but they may be guilty of cherishing evil desires in their hearts, therefore, just as guilty as the heathen.
8. Fallen man can no more stop sinning then he can stop breathing.
1. "Thinkest" = to reckon; compute; calculate; to take into account; to deliberate; weigh; implies a process of reasoning; this is an appeal to their common sense.
2. "Thou" = has a strong emphasis in the Greek; refers to the Jews who thought they were privileged by birth to the extent that his birth would ensure his entrance into the kingdom of God (Mat. 3:8‑9); in John 3:1‑5 Nicodemus came depending on his first birth and Jesus said, "Ye must be born again."
3. The answer to this question is an emphatic, "No."
4. Rom. 1:18 says the wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness whether heathen or hypocrite and your self righteousness will not let you escape the judgement of God. (Mat. 5:20)
1. "Or" = introduces another alternative.
2. "Despisest" = to think against; to disesteem; to treat with neglect; it does not mean they professedly treated God's goodness and etc. with neglect, but they perverted and abused it; they did not regard it as fitted to lead them to repentance; the Greek construction implies they were despising God's goodness.
3. "Riches" = wealth; abundant; great; implies physical and spiritual (light).
4. "Goodness" = kindness; refers to God's grace and love; this refers not only to spiritual things but to physical things as well, because all things we receive at His hand is due to His grace and love. (Rom. 5:6,8,10)
5. "Forbearance" = self‑restraint; a holding back; refers to God refraining, abstaining, and controlling His justice; implies something temporary which may pass away under new conditions; a word for cessation of hostility, but with a limit, giving an opportunity for repentance.
6. "Longsuffering" = patience under provocation; endurance toward people; slowness in avenging wrongs; a long holding of the mind before it gives room to action or passion; kin to forbearance; refers to His suffering a long time, being patient and slow in judging sin.
7. "Not knowing" = ignore; disregard; not recognize due to blindness and deceitfulness of heart. (II Cor. 4:4; Jer. 17:9)
8. "Goodness" = root word for the first "goodness"; gentle and easy; summarizes all three "goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering."
9. "Leadeth" = to bring; to induce; the tense shows continuous action; God is working when you know it not.
10. "Repentance" = to change one's mind, attitude, heart, and direction; this will come only as God grants (to give) it (John 3:27); this is a work of God worked by Godly sorrow. (II Cor. 7:10)
11. God's goodness (kindness in grace and love) is always active in the pursuit of repentance.
12. The goodness of God is not to approve of your sins, not to give assurance you are saved or give a license to sin, but to lead you to repentance.
1. "After" = according to; in respect to.
2. "Heart" = the seat of one's personal character and of one's moral and spiritual life; described by the words "hardness and impenitent."
3. "Hardness" = mulish; obstinacy; stubbornness; determined to have its own way.
4. "Impenitent" = unrepentant; not willing to change one's mind, attitude, heart, or direction; an apex of sin.
5. "Treasurest" = to store up; to heap up; to gather and lay up; accumulate.
6. "Wrath" = anger; indignation; not an agitated outburst of violence but decisive anger that has arisen from a thoughtful decision and stands against sin and evil, violence and slaughter, immorality and injustices of men; an anger that abhors and hates sin and evil and dishes out a just revenge and equal justice; an anger that is righteous and just and good.
7. "Unto thyself" = for thyself, and not another. (Rom. 14:11‑12).
8. "Against" = refers to the man who hardens his heart and refuses to repent and stores up more and more wrath against himself in the day of wrath.
9. "Day of wrath" = the day when God shall show or execute his wrath against sinners. (John 3:36; I Thess. 1:10; Rev. 6:17)
10. "Revelation" = disclosure; an uncovering; refers to the time when the righteous judgment of God will be revealed or made known.
11. "Righteous judgment" = one word in the Greek; means just, fair, impartial, correct, exact; refers to God's judgment that should be, that should and will take place.
12. The one who rejects the goodness of God and stores up to himself wrath is bound to have greater judgment on him than the person who never had the privilege of hearing about the goodness of God. (Luke 12:47‑48)
13. These same two excuses are heard today:
A. "I'm better than others, so I don't need Christ." (verse 3)
B. "God has been good to me and will certainly never condemn me." (verse 4)
14. But God's final judgment will not be according to man's opinion and evaluation but according to TRUTH.
15. If one does not meet the judgment of God's Word (truth), His plumbline, then he is under the wrath of God now and the goodness of God is leading him to repentance.
2) According To Deeds (Works) V. 6‑10
1. "Render" = to pay off or discharge what is due; to recompense; to reward or retaliate as the case may require; the word has in it the idea of reimbursing a person for doing something; speaks of two things:
A. Rewarding the righteous. (verses 7, 10)
B. Punishing the evil. (verses 8‑9)
2. "Deeds" = works; says "according to" not "on account of"; refers to the justice of the judgment, not to the divine provision of eternal life (salvation).
3. "According to truth" = deals with the inward (Heb. 4:12):
A. The reality of man.
B. The condition of man.
C. The nature of man.
D. Showing the inward presence of sin, thereby showing man sinful.
4. "According to deeds" = deals with the outward:
A. The external manifestations.
B. The practice of man.
C. The issues of man's nature.
D. Dealing with the practice of sin.
5. What a man is determines what he does.
1. "Patient continuance" = one word in the Greek; patience; endurance; steadfastness; patient waiting for; perseverance; the quality of an individual that does not surrender to circumstances or succumb under trials; refers to one who always has the goal in view and presses toward it.
2. "Well doing" = good works; walking in the light God was gracious enough to give.
3. "Seek" = to desire; wish for; to try to find; search for; to look for; denotes the act when one earnestly strives, or desires to obtain anything and puts forth his efforts to accomplish it (Mat. 6:33; Luke 13:24); does not mean simply the desire of a sinner to be happy or the efforts of those who are not willing to forsake their sins and yield to God, but the intense effort of those who are willing to forsake all their sins, submit to the Lord, and obey His Word.
4. "Glory" = to dwell in perfect light, brilliance, splendor, brightness, luster, and magnificence with God; favorable recognition from God; manifestation of that which brings forth praise; denotes the highest happiness, as expressing everything that shall be splendid, rich, and grand.
5. "Honour" = to be acknowledged, recognized, approved, accepted, esteemed, and exalted by God; honor appearing in the rewards of future life; here they are despised by men, but there they will be honored by God.
6. "Immorality" = that which is not corruptible or subject to decay; means to be free from pain and tears, from being tired and weary, from trials and sin, from defilement, weakness, frailty, sickness, suffering, and death. (Rev. 21:4)
7. "Eternal life" = life that never ends; unending existence; the life of God in one's heart; it is said to be the inheritance of a world of glory, honor, and peace.
8. A lost man does seek God, but only after the seed has been planted by the Holy Ghost and he has been awakened to his condition and need. God will render eternal life to those who seek it in this manner.
1. "But" = contrast of the evil doer.
2. "Contentious" = to wrangle and wrestle; to struggle and fight against God; factious; strife; self seeking; governed by selfish ambition.
3. "Do not obey" = to disbelieve; to refuse belief; to disobey; to be disloyal to the truth; always resisting the right.
4. "Truth" = denotes the divine revealed will of God; the light of truth. (I Tim. 2:4)
5. "Obey" = to influence by persuasion; to yield by persuasion. 6. "Unrighteousness" = lack of right conduct toward man; moral wrongfulness; immorality.
7. They were not persuaded by truth, but were easily persuaded by immorality; therefore, God will render unto them:
A. "Indignation" = anger; denotes anger which has arisen gradually and become more settled; denotes the internal emotions of short duration, temporary in nature.
B. "Wrath" = impulsive turbulent anger; denotes the external manifestations of indignation of long duration of continued expression of hatred of evil.
C. "Tribulation" = grievous affliction or distress; pressed down by punishment or pain inflicted for sins; refers to being put in some strait (between the rock and hard place).
D. "Anguish" = to be put in a narrow place; kin to tribulation; denotes affliction arising from cramping circumstances; refers to the anxiety and distress of mind which a man experiences who is pressed on every side by afflictions and punishment.
1. "Tribulation and anguish" is the human side of suffering and signifies the effect of God's indignation and wrath.
2. "Soul" = denotes the man himself indicating the punishment would not just be physical, on the body, but spiritual, a punishment of the real individual; the Scripture is true. (Pro. 13:15)
3. "Man" = general word for mankind, thus indicating men and women.
4. "Doeth" = to work fully; accomplish; achieve an end; carry something to a conclusion; the contentious spent their energy and time in evil carrying evil to its conclusion.
5. "Evil" = worthless; injurious; depraved; morally corrupt; refers to the absence of the qualities which constitute a person or thing, what it should be, or what it claims to be; the hypocrite with his pretended religion claims to be saved, but there is the absence of the qualities that should constitute or make up a saved person.
6. "Of the Jew first" = because he had been favored with more light than the Gentile because the oracles (Word) of God. (Rom. 3:2)
7. "Gentile" = all who were not Jews; same word as Greeks in Rom. 1:14 and Greek in Rom. 1:16.
8. The hypocrite will be judged according to deeds (works) whether Jew, Gentile, or Baptist, because they had more light than the heathen.
9. The final outcome of verses 8‑9 will be the Great White Throne of Judgment. (Rev. 20:11‑12)
1. "But" = contrasting the seeker to the contentious.
2. "Glory, honour" = same as notes in verse 7.
3. "Peace" = tranquility of soul and spirit based on the consciousness of a right relation with God; to bind together with God; to bind together that which was separated (separated in Adam, joined in Christ; Rom. 5:1); absence or end of strife in the soul; a person (Jesus), not absence of outward trials and turmoil. (Eph. 2:14a)
4. "Every man" = all.
5. "Worketh" = to be engaged in or with; the tense reveals continuous action.
6. "Good" = profitable; useful; upright; the only way any person can do anything "good" is by the help of the Lord; one bad act spoils all "good" acts. (James 2:10; Rom. 3:12b)
7. The final outcome of verses 7 and 10 will be the Judgement Seat of Christ for the saved. (II Cor. 5:10)
3) Without Respect Of Persons V.11-15
1. "For" = a preposition used to confirm what was said before.
2. "Respect of persons" = one word in the Greek; partiality; favoritism; negated by "not," therefore, meaning God has no human preferences, shows no favoritism, pays no attention to this world's distinctions; means God does not accept the outside surface (the mask for the person) for the inner reality.
3. Whatever advantages certain races of mankind seem to have above others, all men stand on an equal footing at the bar of God's justice. Whether Jew or Gentile (or Baptist), none have a monopoly of divine favor with regard to judgment.
1. "For" = used to give a reason for what he had just said, or to show on what principles God would treat man, so as not to be a respecter of persons.
2. "As many" = whosoever; a universal, sweeping declaration, obviously including all.
3. "Have sinned" = have been guilty of crimes of any kind toward God or man; sin is the transgression of a rule of conduct, however made known to mankind.
4. "Without law" = one word in the Greek; refers to the law of Moses, the 10 commandments and the ceremonial law which the Gentiles did not possess.
5. "Perish" = to destroy fully; to die; refers to the second death, separation from God, and an eternity in hell.
6. "In the law" = under law; refers to the Law of Moses and the ceremonial law which the Jews had.
7. "Judged" = condemned; punish.
8. Those who have the law have much more light than those without it, but light is light no matter how dim or bright it may be. Judgment and doom await all who reject the light, but those who have more light have less excuse and a greater measure of guilt.
9. The law consist of:
A. The 10 commandments given to condemn man and let him see he could not save himself.
B. The ceremonial law given with all its types and shadows, so sinful man could get to God, through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Lambs just pointed to the Lamb.
10. Whether man has the law or not, each one has a responsibility to God and all will be dealt with fairly, without respect of persons.
1. Verses 13‑15 is enclosed in parenthesis ( ) which is a further explanation of the statements just made. This may also be added to meet the objection of the Jews which Paul, being a Jew, knew they would raise.
2. "Hearers" = not the usual word which refers to the act of hearing but used of pupils who hear, constant hearers who are educated in the law; the law was read with consistency in the Jewish synagogues.
3. "Just" = right; upright; righteous.
4. "Before God" = in His sight.
5. "Doers" = a performer; one who complies entirely with its demands.
6. "Shall be justified" = to render just or innocent; to pronounce not guilty of breaking any law; could be pronounced "just‑if‑I'd" never sinned.
7. This does not imply works to be saved, but when the Jew of the OT offered his sacrifices, he had to have faith in the coming Lamb of God, who is the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation has always been through faith in every dispensation. (John 1:29; Rom. 5:1; James 1:22‑25)
1. "Gentiles" = all who are not Jews.
2. "Do" = to practice naturally and habitually.
3. "By nature" = refers to their being guided by their natural sense of what is right and proper; denotes simply in that state which is without the revealed will of God; they had the light of conscience (Rom. 1:19) and help from tradition, reason, and the observation of the dealings of divine Providence, so that to a considerable extent they knew what was right and what was wrong.
4. "Law unto themselves" = a standard of conduct; they have a law, but it is inferior to the written law.
1. "Shew" = show; indicate; this verse gives an explanation of the phrase, "Are a law unto themselves."
2. "The work of the law" = the design, purpose, or object which is contemplated by the revealed law.
3. "Written" = inscribed; not inscribed on tables of stone as the law of Moses was but inscribed in their hearts.
4. "Hearts" = the seat of men's nature and therefore the source of all his conduct.
5. "Conscience" = the mental faculty by which man judges his actions and passes judgment on those actions; the judgment of the mind respecting right and wrong; the part of man that comforts him when he does good and torments him when he does evil; this all depends on the standard of conduct he has been exposed to; it acts according to the light it has.
6. "Also bearing witness" = "bearing witness together with" = one word in the Greek; to testify jointly; means their conscience bore witness with the works they did by nature.
7. "Thoughts" = reasonings; decisions; opinions; sentiments; this is the third witness.
8. "The mean while" = between themselves.
9. "Accusing" = to charge or accuse one another; this was done if the actions were evil.
10. "Excusing" = to speak in one's own defense; this was done if the actions were good.
11. All men stand on an equal footing before God's judgment. God loves and cares for all, but He has no favorites and shows no partiality. All will be judged by the same rule and by the same principle. Sin will be the basis of judgment. Of course those who are saved will have no sin, because all their sins will have been charged to Jesus' account the moment they trust Him as their Lord and Saviour.
4) According To The Gospel V. 16
1. "In the day" = refers to same day as in verse 5 (John 5:28-29; Mat. 25:31‑32). This verse is connected with verse 12 as verses 13‑15 are interjected as an explanation.
2. "Judge" = pronounce condemnation.
3. "Secrets" = concealed; hidden; denotes the hidden desires, lusts, passions, and motives of men; also the thoughts of the heart, as well as the outward actions of life done behind closed doors; in a physical sense the concealed, hidden things are shut up in the vaults and cellars of the heart of man, jealously guarded and secretly protected; the sinner feel those secrets are safe from any eye, judgment, or penalty, but in that day when God shall judge He shall raid the cellars of man's heart, force open the vaults of man's heart and reveal the hidden and secret things of life. (Psa. 44:21; Luke 12:2; I Cor. 4:5; Mat. 12:36; Pro. 28:13)
4. Thank the Lord and praise Him, because those secret things (sins) covered by the blood are hid as far as east is from west.
5. "Of men" = of all mankind, whether Jew or Gentile, infidel or Christian.
6. "By Jesus Christ" = the fact that He is appointed by God the Father to judge the world is taught in the Bible. (John 5:22; Acts 10:42; 17:31; II Tim. 4:1; Rev. 1:7; 6:15‑17).
7. "Gospel" = good news; refers to the basic facts of the death, burial, and the resurrection of Christ, and the interpretation of these facts. (I Cor. 15:1‑4)
8. "My" = personal possession of Paul, because he had experienced it and it had been entrusted unto him to make it known (I Tim. 1:11); means the gospel which I preach (I Cor. 9:16) is the standard, man will be judged by. (John 12:47‑48)
9. What have you done with the gospel? It is not enough that His blood was shed for you, it must be applied by faith.
10. The heathen with his perverted religion and the hypocrite with his pretended religion are both declared to be under sin and will one day have the wrath of God destroy them unless they recognize that God's goodness to them is to bring them to repentance so they can believe and be saved.
3. The Hebrew and His Powerless Religion Under Sin
1) Pride Of The Jews V. 17‑20b
1. "Behold" = interjection to denote surprise; the use of this word calls their attention to what he is about to speak (an important subject), then with great skill and address, he states their privileges before he shows them how those privileges might increase their condemnation.
2. "Called" = to be named; implies that name is one of very high honor.
3. "Jew" = a name used to denote a person belonging to Judah; a designation for the national religion of the Jews in its self‑conscious distinctiveness and fierce loyalty to the law and the traditional customs; first called in II Kings 16:6 in King Ahaz's day; the national name for God's people distinguishing them from all other nations, thus building up their pride.
4. "Restest in" = to rely on; to lean upon; indicates a picture of blind and mechanical reliance on the Mosaic law.
5. "The law" = the entire Mosaic economy; all the rules and regulations which Moses had given; may also include the whole of the OT.
6. The Jew (typical Jew) rested upon the fact that he possessed God's Word which caused him to feel he had God's acceptance and approval‑‑another pride builder!
7. "Makest boast" = one word in the Greek; means to glory or brag; they boasted that they had the knowledge of the true God, while other nations were in darkness, thus lifted up with pride, elevating himself above other people, and despised them; it was true that they had the true knowledge of God, and that He had declared Himself to be their God (Deut. 4:7; Psa. 147:19‑20), but this was not a ground for boasting, but for gratitude, a thankfulness which leads us not to despise others, but to desire that they may have the same privilege.
1. "Knowest" = to know by experience; clearly revealed and well understood.
2. "Will" = a determination; choice; refers to God's purpose for mankind.
3. "Approvest" = to test for the purpose of approving and finding that the person or thing tested meets the specifications laid down; to put one's approval upon; to establish beyond doubt.
4. "More excellent" = to excel; to surpass; denotes those things that differ from others; refers to the unwritten will of God; the Jews not only knew the written will of God, but the unwritten will as well, because they were being instructed out of the law.
5. "Being instructed" = to teach orally; from childhood the Jew was taught in the synagogue, indoctrinated in the law, kept the Sabbath, was aware of the need of sacrifices, and kept himself separate.
6. The Jew was a keen discriminator of truth.
1. "Art confident" = to persuade; to be sure; the tense is perfect which refers to a process of thought in past time that has been completed, in which the person has come to a settled persuasion regarding something; the Jew was persuaded they were superior to the Gentile dogs.
2. "Guide" = a conductor; a leader.
3. "Blind" = dull of apprehension; speaks of blind mentally.
4. "Light" = a figurative expression to denote a teacher.
5. "In darkness" = a common expression to denote the ignorance of the Gentile world.
6. The Jews were meant by God to be guides of the Gentiles, for salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22), but this intention of God had resulted in conceited arrogance on their part.
1. "Instructor" = corrector or chastiser; emphasizes the element of discipline or training; translated "corrected" in Heb. 12:9.
2. "Foolish" = without reason; senseless; stupid; without intelligence; denotes those who are void of understanding; the Jew esteemed himself qualified to instruct those without knowledge.
3. "Teacher" = an instructor.
4. "Babes" = figurative expression denoting those who are spiritually immature. (I Cor. 3:1)
2) Practice Of The Jew V. 20c‑24
5. "Form" = semblance; the form befitting the thing or truly expressing the fact; denotes the appearance of the object; refers to the external appearance as distinguished from the internal.
6. "Knowledge" = experiential knowledge, not a mere passing acquaintance.
7. "Truth" = freedom from error.
8. "Law" = refers to the Scriptures of the OT.
9. The Jew had a form of knowledge and truth, but he was powerless just like many Baptist today. (II Tim. 3:5)
1. To make his point clear, Paul asked the Hebrews some stirring, thought provoking questions that caused them to analyze themselves. These questions demanded affirmative answers.
2. "Teachest" = instruction designed to shape the will of the one taught by the communication of facts.
3. Paul words this question as if it were undeniable that they were grossly ignorant. They did not practice what they taught. (Mat. 23:3) Paul practiced what he taught. (Phil. 4:9)
4. "Preachest" = proclaim; to herald forth.
5. "Steal" = to take that which does not belong to you; the Jew would accuse the heathen of stealing someone else's chicken or the hypocrite of cheating on a business deal, but he was just as guilty if he robbed God of tithes, time, or talent. (Baptist also)
1. "Commit adultery" = to have unlawful sex relations with another's mate.
2. The heathen committed adultery by living with someone he was not married to, while the hypocrite did so by having an affair, but the Hebrew did so by lusting. (Mat. 5:27‑28) This was no doubt common among the Jews. (Mat. 12:39)
3. "Abhorrest" = to render foul; to be disgusted; detest; carries the idea of physical dislike and drawing back or turning away in horror from idols.
4. "Idols" = false gods worshipped in an image.
5. "Commit sacrilege" = to rob temples; to take for one's private use what is consecrated to God; appropriating to common purposes what has been devoted to the service of religion; withholding from the true God that which was His due, and bestowing their affections upon something else; the Jews were guilty of this. (Mal 1:8, 12‑14; 3:8‑9)
1. "Makest boast" = one word in the Greek; means to glory or brag; to do so implies that they had a conviction that the law was from God and that it was of excellence.
2. "Breaking" = violation; transgression; overstepping the fence or line into forbidden territory.
3. "Dishonourest" = to render infamous; maltreat by word or deed; put to shame.
4. By boasting they claimed that law was from God, but by breaking it they denied it being from God. Our actions speak louder than words. Man's practice will do more to disgrace religion than his profession does to honor it. This is always the case.
1. This verse gives the result of the Jew's practice.
2. "Name of God" = refers to the character of God as well as His name.
3. "Blasphemed" = to speak abusively; to rail; to speak evil of; it is used of those who by contemptuous speech intentionally come short of the reverence due to God or to sacred things.
4. "Among the Gentiles" = refers to those who were not Jews, yet the Jews lived in the midst of them and they heard their talk but also saw their walk (practice).
5. "Through" = a preposition denoting the channel of an act; because of; on account of; by means of; the Jews were to a great extent responsible for causing the Gentiles to blaspheme God.
6. "As it is written" = the tense indicates it was written down in time past and is still on record today; refers to Isa. 52:5; an example is King David in II Sam. 12:13‑14.
7. Today, so called "Christians" whose walk does not match their talk are the cause of many in the world not wanting any part of God and His church. "They don't hear what we are saying because of seeing what we are doing." Lord help us!
3) Praise Of The Jew V. 25‑29
1. The Jew wanted the praise of men which was based on outward ceremony but Paul builds his case against the Hebrew and his powerless religion establishing the fact that the praise of God is more important and that is based upon inward reality.
2. "Circumcision" = the seal (rite or token) of the covenant made with Abraham and his descendants; a sign that faith had been applied in a coming Redeemer or in Christ (Gen. 17:9‑11).
3. "Verily" = truly.
4. "Profiteth" = to be useful; to be of benefit or valid.
5. "Keep" = to practice; to perform repeatedly or habitually; also a requirement given Abraham in Gen. 17:9.
6. "Breaker" = a transgressor; one who oversteps the boundaries of the law.
7. "Uncircumcision" = denotes Gentile character or the unregenerate nature.
8. "Is made" = has become; with the resulting state of the individual being a settled one.
9. The Jew affixed a high importance to the rite of circumcision but if faith (a faith that caused him to keep the law; James 2:20) in a coming Redeemer had not been active in him then the rite of circumcision was only an outward ceremony and not an inward reality, thus that Jew was like the Gentile, with no privilege at all.
10. God requires the obedience of heart.
11. The same is true today. If one has the outward ceremony of baptism but no inward reality of faith applied in the Redeemer who has come and died on Calvary, then that individual's baptism becomes un‑baptism and he still possesses the unregenerate nature.
1. "Uncircumcision" = refers to the Gentiles.
2. "Keep" = different word from verse 25; means to guard; to guard the commandments of God by carefully observing them.
3. "Righteousness of the law" = refers to the moral law.
4. "Counted" = to put to one's account; it means simply that a man shall be treated as if it were so.
5. Paul is building a case against the Jew to show him unless faith was applied from the heart in Christ and His finished work, his rites, signs, and legalism was of no value. He is teaching that acceptance with God does not depend on outward ceremony but on inward reality, the state of the heart.
6. No son of Adam can keep the law because of his depraved nature that was inherited from Adam, thus the "if" is a supposition to drive home to the Hebrew that the law does not save or justify. (Gal. 2:16)
1. "Uncircumcision" = Gentiles.
2. "By" = accomplished by; with the advantage of.
3. "Nature" = refers to the Gentiles being guided by their natural sense of what is right and proper; denotes simply in that state which is without the revealed will of God; they had the light of conscience (Rom. 1:19) and help from tradition, reason, and the observation of the dealings of Divine Providence, so that to a considerable extent they knew what was right and what was wrong.
4. "Fulfil" = to finish; the Greek construction is supposition (if) of continually fulfilling to the end which would be necessary; only Jesus did so.
5. "Judge" = condemn as guilty.
6. "Who" = refers to the Hebrew (Jew).
7. "Letter" = the written revelation of the Word.
8. "Circumcision" = rite or seal of the covenant.
9. The Jew possessed the written revelation of God and he bore the seal of the covenant yet he transgressed the law.
10. "Dost transgress" = a violator; one who deviated from recognized truth and stepped into forbidden territory. (II Cor. 3:6)
11. Paul proves the Hebrew was just as guilty as the heathen and hypocrite.
1. "Outwardly" = apparent; manifest; evident; known; refers to that which one can observe on the outside.
2. "Circumcision" = refers to the rite of circumcision.
3. Being a physical son of Abraham does not make a Hebrew a child of God.
1. "He is a Jew" = manifest truly what it is to be a Jew.
2. "Inwardly" = hidden; secret; concealed; speaks of the soul‑life of a man.
3. "Circumcision is that of the heart" = that circumcision which is acceptable to God; the cutting off of sins; cutting off of every thing that was offensive to God; the design of circumcision was to be a sign of separation from the heathen world and of consecration to a holy God. (Jer. 4:4)
4. "In the spirit" = an expression explaining further what he had just said; does not mean the Holy Spirit, but that the work was to take place in the spirit of man and not in body only; it was to be an internal spiritual work, and not merely an external service.
5. "Not in the letter" = not only according to the literal, external command.
6. "Whose praise is not of men but of God" = reads in the Greek, "Whose praise is not out of men but from God."
7. This means when we are saved, we are circumcised in the heart, thus becoming a Jew and in on the promise given Abraham because by faith we are in the seed (singular) who is Jesus Christ. (Rom. 4:13)
8. All praise comes forth because of Him, from Him, and all goes back to Him because He is worthy. Salvation is of the Lord, not outward ceremony but inward reality. (I Sam. 16:7)
9. The praise of God can be bestowed only on those who conform really inwardly and not externally only to His requirement.
4) Problem of the Jews = Unbelief V. 1‑8
1. Paul understood the Jew's thinking was because he had once been in the same condition. The Hebrew was in the same boat as the heathen and the hypocrite and he objected. His mind was filled with questions which Paul now ask and then answers.
2. "Advantage" = refers to a favorable condition.
3. "Profit" = benefit.
1. "Much every way" = in every respect; answer to questions in verse 1.
2. "Chiefly" = first; refers to the principle advantage or main benefit.
3. "Because" = on account of.
4. "Committed" = intrusted.
5. "Oracles" = an utterance; refers to the scriptures, the OT which was all that had been uttered at this time.
6. This fact should stir the Jew to gratitude and lead them to endeavour to extend them also to other nations. (Deut. 4:7‑8)
1. "Did not believe" = verb meaning they were without faith; to disbelieve; from same root word as "unbelief".
2. "Faith of God" = faithfulness or fidelity of God to His promises.
3. "Without effect" = to render inactive; to render invalid; to paralyze; to make powerless; to abolish; to become void; refers to the promises of God.
4. Paul is asking, "If you do not believe the promises of God, is that going to change God's promises to those who do believe them?"
1. "God forbid" = let not this be; may it not come to pass; horrors to even think such a thing. (Heb 13:8; Mal. 3:6; Mark 13:31)
2. "True" = faithful; truthful; let God be esteemed true and faithful, whatever consequences may follow.
3. "Man" = general word for mankind.
4. "Liar" = a falsifier.
5. "But" = reveals a contrast, "though every man be found a liar let God continue to be true and faithful."
6. "As it is written" = tense reveals it has been written and is still on record today. (Psa. 51:4b)
7. "Justified" = to render just; to show to be righteous.
8. "Sayings" = words spoken.
9. "Overcome" = be victorious; to win a victory.
10. "When thou art judged" = the Hebrew has, "When thou judgest" since David is referring to God in Psa. 51:4b; refers to God's judgment pronounced on this crime.
11. The meaning as expressed by David is, that God is to be esteemed right and just in condemning men for their sins. (II Sam. 12:7‑14)
12. The meaning as expressed by Paul is that it is to be held as a fixed, unwavering principle, that God is right and true, whatever consequences it may involve, whatever doctrine it may overthrow, or whatever man it may prove to be a liar.
1. "Unrighteousness" = moral wrongfulness; sin which had been specified in verse 3 as unbelief; the Jew's unrighteousness consisted of national disobedience to the law given at Sinai, neglect of the law, and ignorance of the spiritual meaning of the OT Scriptures.
2. "Commend" = to place together; demonstrate; show; prove; establish; used in the sense of putting together with a view to showing, proving, or establishing; refers to placing their unrighteousness beside the righteousness of God, thus proving or establishing His righteousness by its very contrast with that sin.
3. "Righteousness of God" = God's uprightness or standard.
4. The Jew's thinking was if they were unrighteous, it reveals God's righteousness more (His character of holiness and purity.) 5. "What shall we say?" = what follows; this is a mode of speech as if the objector hesitated about expressing a conclusion which would seem to follow, but which was horrible in its character.
6. "Unrighteous" = wicked.
7. "Taketh vengeance" = inflicts punishment; God's righteous anger with sin; it is a Holy wrath.
8. Paul is saying, "Is God unrighteous in punishing? Does it not follow that if God is honored by sin, that it would be wrong for Him to inflict punishment?"
9. "I speak as a man" = I speak after the manner of men, as it would strike the human mind (as the Jew was thinking); this phrase indicates the subject at hand is not even worthy to be brought up.
1. "God forbid" = away with that thought: let not such a thing be considered.
2. "How" = how is it possible for God to judge the world if such a thought (verse 5) be true?
3. The Jews understood that God was Judge of the world by what Abraham said in Gen. 18:25.
1. "If" = this is an objection similar to verse 5.
2. "Truth of God" = truth; a personal excellence; free from falsehood.
3. "Hath more abounded" = to be at hand in abundance; become more manifest.
4. "Lie" = falsehood; deceitfulness; unfaithfulness; Paul is dealing with his own sinful condition as a lost Hebrew when he thought he had done God a favor when he persecuted the Christians. (Acts 23:1); "good conscience" = free from guilt; he had done what he believed to be right, when he persecuted the Christians and now even following Christ.)
5. "Unto his glory" = to His praise, or so as to show His character in such a way as to excite the praise and admiration of His intelligent creation.
6. "Judged" = condemned.
7. Paul is saying, "If truth increased and resulted in God getting more glory because of the lie I followed, why am I condemned as a sinner."
1. "And not rather" = "and why not"; if what he had stated in verse 7 was true, "Why not do evil, that good may come?"
2. "Do" = to practice.
3. "Evil" = refers to wicked, injurious things.
4. "Good" = refers to profitable, useful, honourable things.
5. "Slanderously reported" = one word in the Greek; mean to blaspheme; rail against; to speak abusively about; injuriously charged.
6. "We" = refers to Paul and perhaps the apostles.
7. "Affirm" = to make known one's thoughts; Paul had been charged that he had preached that man needs to do evil so that good may come.
8. It is true he taught that "where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." (Rom. 5:20) He was teaching that the sins of men were the occasion of promoting God's glory in the plan of salvation. But men misrepresented and abused this truth when they said he was teaching that men ought to sin in order to promote God's glory.
9. Paul does not attack the slanderous report except to say, "Their damnation is just."
10. "Damnation" = condemnation; judgment.
11. "Just" = right.
12. Condemnation in the judgment shall be just for those who reason that God is glorified by their sins and who "do evil that good may come."
13. This is "warped" thinking which is exactly what the Hebrew had in his powerless religion, thus condemned just as the Heathen & Hypocrite.
4. Conclusion: All Under Sin V. 9‑20
1) Character V. 9‑12
1. "What then?" = "What follows?" = a particle expressing sequence or consequence; Paul states 2 more questions on the mind of the Hebrew.
2. "We" = Jews.
3. "They" = Gentiles.
4. "Better" = to have before or in advance of another; to have preeminence; to excel; surpass.
5. Paul answers his own questions, "No, in no wise."
6. "In no wise" = altogether; in any and every way; when placed with "no" means "Not at all."
7. "Before proved" = to bring a charge against previously; this was done to the Gentiles in Rom. 1:18‑32 and to the Jews in Rom. 2:1‑29.
8. "Under sin" = under the condemnation of sin since all are born sinners (Psa. 51:5), thus being sinners by nature; we are also sinners by choice; therefore, all (Heathen, Hypocrite, and Hebrew; Jew or Gentile) are justly and rightly condemned as sinners before God, no matter what anyone thinks.
9. Paul uses the words "none, all, they, and their" to prove his case.
1. Verse 10 begins an extended quotation from the OT which runs through verse 18 where he quotes from six of the Psalms and Isa. 59:7‑8.
2. "It is written" = the tense indicates it was written down in time past and it still stands on record today (Psa. 119:89); Paul is quoting from OT because that was what was available to him (what had been written at this time except Matthew and his writings).
3. "Righteous" = just and right with God; refers to those who are in a perfect right relation with God.
4. Paul quotes Psa. 14:1,3 stating there exists not one righteous person whether Heathen, Hypocrite, or Hebrew.
5. This sentence is like a motto for all the rest or a summary for what follows.
1. "Understandeth" = to put together and make sense out of it; to group; to comprehend; denotes the collecting together of the single features of an object into a whole, as collecting the pieces of a puzzle and putting them together; refers not to a mere intellectual operation of the mind, but the state of the heart inclining the mind to obey and worship God.
2. "Seeketh after" = to seek out, to search for; speaks of a determined search after something or someone, in this case, God.
3. Paul quotes Psa 14:2. Isa. 64:7 implies the same condition.
4. "None" not even one, understands or seeks God; this reveals the total depravity (totally corrupted) of men.
5. This verse in no way contradicts Mat. 6:33 or Isa. 55:6 which tells one to seek the Lord and His kingdom. This verses refers to a lost man seeking, but how can he when this verse says "none seek?" He only seeks the Lord after the Holy Spirit plants the seed (Word) in man's spirit, conception takes place, and man is awakened to his real condition and need. Therefore he has the understanding he needs (even as a lost sinner) because it has been revealed to him by the Spirit. (Psa. 25:8; John 6:44-45,37)
1. "Gone out of the way" = to turn aside or deviate from the right way.
2. "Become unprofitable" = to make useless; render unservice-able (Psa. 14:3); the Hebrew word means to become putrid and offensive, like fruit that is spoiled; when applied to man, it means to become corrupt and useless.
3. "Together" = at the same time; equally; refers to all three (Hebrew, Hypocrite, and Heathen) being equally corrupt and useless and they became so at the same time, in Adam.
4. Paul then repeats almost the same phrase as he did in verse 10, "There is none that doeth good, no, not one."
5. "Doeth" = practice habitually.
6. "Good" = moral goodness; integrity; kindness; usefulness.
7. "None" = emphasizes totality, not one exception.
2) Conduct V. 13‑18
1. Paul quotes Psa. 5:9 and 140:3.
2. "Throat is an open sepulchre" = refers to their mouth (words), like the odor of a newly opened grave with a decaying body in it; the grave is not corrupt but the decaying body is; likewise, the mouth is not corrupt but what comes out of it is. (Mark 7:20‑23)
3. "Open" = the tense reveals that the grave has been opened with the result that it stands open; those who lived in hot climates like the middle east where they did not embalm the bodies, understand well the meaning of this phrase (John 11:38‑39); this could also refer to the fact that as the grave is ever open to receive all into it, that is, into destruction, so the mouth or the throat of the slanderer is ever open to swallow up the peace and happiness of all.
4. The psalmist has the sin of deceit, falsehood, and slander in mind when he wrote Psa. 5:9, therefore, the expressions here are to be interpreted in accordance with that.
5. "Tongues" = refers to their conversation and their promises.
6. "Have used deceit" = the act or practice of deceiving (misleading; to cause to believe what is not true); the tense reveals this is a continuous on going occurrence, not a one time past experience as the English implies by using the word "have."
7. The Hebrew says, "They make smooth their tongue." Implies our modern day phrases, "smooth talker" and "slick tongue." Their tongues glide in flattery, in order to conceal the rottenness of their heart coming up through their throat, as the foul odor from a dead corpse lying at the bottom of an unfilled grave.
8. "Poison" = venom.
9. "Asps" = the Egyptian cobra; a deadly serpent.
10. "Under their lips" = refers to the poison of the asp being in a bag under its lips at the base of its fangs.
11. Just as the bite of an asp kills almost the instant that it penetrates (deadly and rapid in its execution) and that without remedy, the words of the slanderer (the most poisonous form of speech used for injecting deadly corruption in others, James 3:8) are deadly, quickly destroying the reputation and happiness of man.
1. Paul gives the sense of Psa. 10:7.
2. "Full" = means to be filled full.
3. "Cursing" = reproachful and disgraceful language; denotes profanity.
4. "Bitterness" = reproachful and malicious words; denotes severity, harshness, cruelty, hate, anger, and strife that always accompanies and follows in the wake of profane speech.
1. Paul quotes part of Isa. 59:7.
2. "Swift" = quick.
3. "Shed blood" = to pour forth blood; refers to murder; denotes an eagerness to commit crime, particularly deeds of injustice and cruelty; speaks of man thirsting for the blood of innocence, and hastening to shed it, to gratify their malice, or to satisfy their vengeance. (An example is Cain in Gen. 4:3‑8; in worship to God, Cain could not slay an animal, but in anger he could slay his brother.)
4. In verses 13‑15, there are four different bodily organs connected with speech and one connected with the feet. This illustrates how man's sinfulness is exemplified in his words. Poisonous words do untold damage to God's work, to others, and to the speaker himself.
1. Paul refers to Isa 59:7‑8.
2. "Destruction" = ruin; refers to the fact that men cause the destruction or ruin of the reputation, happiness, and peace of others.
3. "Misery" = wretchedness; calamity.
4. "Their ways" = wherever they go; sin leaves a tragic trail whether it be committed by a well‑known criminal such as Hitler or by an unknown sinner.
5. The tendency of their conduct is to destroy the virtue, happiness, and peace of all with whom they come in contact.
1. Paul refers again to Isa. 59:7‑8.
2. "Peace" = tranquility of soul and spirit based on the consciousness of a right relation with God.
3. "Known" = to know by experience; they never had an inner experience of peace. (Rom. 5:1; Isa. 57:21)
4. "Way" = singular here, while plural in verse 16; speaks of the many human ways compared to the one way to heaven (John 14:6); the "way" that leads to peace goes in the opposite direction to the "ways" which lead to destruction and misery.
1. Paul refers to Psa. 36:1.
2. "Fear" = reverence; awe; refers to the reverential awe of God with a hatred for evil (Pro. 8:13); natural man in his conduct has no regard or reverence for the character, authority and honor of God thus he is not restrained from sin.
3. "Before their eyes" = indicates that fear is lacking every way they turn, they completely ignore God and act as though He was non existent.
4. Man is totally depraved (corrupted) and that depravity extends to every part of man, the tongue, the mouth, the feet, the lips, all are involved in committing sin.
3) Condemnation V. 19‑20
1. "Know" = absolute, positive knowledge of the facts; denotes a knowledge by eyewitness.
2. "What things soever" = whatever things are found in the law whether given as precepts or recorded as historical facts.
3. "Law" = refers to the OT, the Word of God; goes beyond the Mosaic law.
4. "Saith to them who are under the law" = refers to them whom the law was expressly intended. (I Tim. 1:9‑10)
5. "That every mouth may be stopped" = denotes that they would be thoroughly convinced; that the argument would be so conclusive as that they would have nothing to reply; that all objections would be silenced.
6. "All the world" = both Jews & Gentiles without Christ; includes the Hebrew right along with the heathen and hypocrite.
7. "May become" = may be; they are not made guilty by the law but the argument from the law proves they are guilty. (Gal. 3:19; Rom. 7:7)
8. "Guilty" = under sentence of condemnation and subject to the judgment of God.
1. "Therefore" = in view of what he had just said.
2. "Deeds" = works; refers to such deeds as the law requires.
3. "No flesh" = no man; no human being either among the Jews or the Gentiles; a strong expression, denoting the absolute universality of his conclusion.
4. "Be justified" = be regarded and treated as righteous; in right state before God.
5. "In his sight" = before God; He sits as a Judge to determine the character of men and He shall not declare any to have kept the law.
6. "Knowledge" = precise, correct, exact, and clear knowledge; it is not mere revelation, but a reality of sin which works toward repentance and faith.
7. The law was designed not to save, but to condemn and cause sin to become a reality to the sinner; therefore, when one recognizes the principle of sin within, that they are guilty before God, and helpless within themselves, then the law has fulfilled its purpose.
8. I can see the Hebrew and his powerless religion setting with the heathen and his perverted religion and the hypocrite and his pretended religion and realizing he is in the same boat‑‑guilty.
9. Paul does not stop his letter by dealing with the principle of sin only but begins to deal with the principle of salvation. He does not leave them in the hopeless and helpless condition but points them to the Door. (John 10:9)
10. Some may ask, "Why deal with the principle of sin?" Because all must realize they are a sinner, lost, and separated from God and in a hopeless and helpless condition before they will turn to the Lord Jesus (the Door) who is the only avenue of escape.
11. Has the Word of God (truth about sin) ever backed you into a corner and showed you your real condition and then pointed you to the Door? If not, you need to get honest with yourself and God.
12. "Let God be true but every man a liar!"