Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Romans 3:19

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

What things soever the law saith - That the word law, here, does not mean the pentateuch, is evident from the preceding quotations, not one of which is taken from that work. Either the term law must here mean the Jewish writings in general, or that rule of moral conduct which God had given to both Jews and Gentiles: to the former in their own Scriptures; to the latter in that law written in their hearts by his own Spirit, and acknowledged in their written codes, and in their pleadings in every civil case. Now, according to this great law, this rule of moral conduct, whether given in a written revelation, as to the Jews, or by the secret inspiration of his Spirit, as in certain cases to the Gentiles, every mouth must be stopped, and the whole world, πας ο κοσμος, both Jews and Gentiles, stand convicted before God: for all mankind have sinned against this law.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Now we know - We all admit. It is a conceded plain point.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
It is in vain to seek for justification by the works of the law. All must plead guilty. Guilty before God, is a dreadful word; but no man can be justified by a law which condemns him for breaking it. The corruption in our nature, will for ever stop any justification by our own works.
Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 338

Polygamy was practiced at an early date. It was one of the sins that brought the wrath of God upon the antediluvian world. Yet after the Flood it again became widespread. It was Satan's studied effort to pervert the marriage institution, to weaken its obligations and lessen its sacredness; for in no surer way could he deface the image of God in man and open the door to misery and vice. PP 338.1

From the opening of the great controversy it has been Satan's purpose to misrepresent God's character and to excite rebellion against His law, and this work appears to be crowned with success. The multitudes give ear to Satan's deceptions and set themselves against God. But amid the working of evil, God's purposes move steadily forward to their accomplishment; to all created intelligences He is making manifest His justice and benevolence. Through Satan's temptations the whole human race have become transgressors of God's law, but by the sacrifice of His Son a way is opened whereby they may return to God. Through the grace of Christ they may be enabled to render obedience to the Father's law. Thus in every age, from the midst of apostasy and rebellion, God gathers out a people that are true to Him—a people “in whose heart is His law.” Isaiah 51:7. PP 338.2

It was by deception that Satan seduced angels; thus he has in all ages carried forward his work among men, and he will continue this policy to the last. Should he openly profess to be warring against God and His law, men would beware; but he disguises himself, and mixes truth with error. The most dangerous falsehoods are those that are mingled with truth. It is thus that errors are received that captivate and ruin the soul. By this means Satan carries the world with him. But a day is coming when his triumph will be forever ended. PP 338.3

God's dealings with rebellion will result in fully unmasking the work that has so long been carried on under cover. The results of Satan's rule, the fruits of setting aside the divine statutes, will be laid open to the view of all created intelligences. The law of God will stand fully vindicated. It will be seen that all the dealings of God have been conducted with reference to the eternal good of His people, and the good of all the worlds that He has created. Satan himself, in the presence of the witnessing universe, will confess the justice of God's government and the righteousness of His law. PP 338.4

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1069-70
Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW), 986

Conduct Befitting the Bride of a King—The church is the bride, the Lamb's wife. She should keep herself pure, sanctified, holy. Never should she indulge in any foolishness; for she is the bride of a King. Yet she does not realize her exalted position. If she understood this, she would be all-glorious within (Letter 177, 1901). 7BC 986.1

(Chs. 3:4; 7:14; 16:15.) Clean Garments—The church is the bride of Christ, and her members are to yoke up with their Leader. God warns us not to defile our garments (Letter 123a, 1898). 7BC 986.2

11-16. See EGW on ch. 16:13-16. 7BC 986.3

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1070-3

What a scene that will be! No pen can describe it! The accumulated guilt of the world will be laid bare, and the voice of the Judge will be heard saying to the wicked, “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” 6BC 1070.1

Then those who pierced Christ will remember how they slighted His love and abused His compassion; how they chose in His stead Barabbas, a robber and murderer; how they crowned the Saviour with thorns, and caused Him to be scourged and crucified; how, in the agony of His death on the cross, they taunted Him, saying, “Let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.” “He saved others; himself he cannot save.” They will seem to hear again His voice of entreaty. Every tone of solicitude will vibrate as distinctly in their ears as when the Saviour spoke to them. Every act of insult and mockery done to Christ will be as fresh in their memory as when the satanic deeds were done. 6BC 1070.2

They will call on the rocks and mountains to fall on them and hide them from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. “The wrath of the Lamb”—One who ever showed Himself full of tenderness, patience, and long-suffering, who, having given Himself up as the sacrificial offering, was led as a lamb to the slaughter, to save sinners from the doom now falling upon them because they would not allow Him to take away their guilt (The Review and Herald, June 18, 1901). 6BC 1070.3

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