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PARALLEL BIBLE - Romans 3:20

CHAPTERS: Romans 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16     

VERSES: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31




King James Bible - Romans 3:20

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

World English Bible

Because by the works of the law, no flesh will be justified in his sight. For through the law comes the knowledge of sin.

Douay-Rheims - Romans 3:20

Because by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified before him. For by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Webster's Bible Translation

Therefore by the deeds of the law, there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Greek Textus Receptus

1360 CONJ εξ 1537 PREP εργων 2041 N-GPN νομου 3551 N-GSM ου 3756 PRT-N δικαιωθησεται 1344 5701 V-FPI-3S πασα 3956 A-NSF σαρξ 4561 N-NSF ενωπιον 1799 ADV αυτου 846 P-GSM δια 1223 PREP γαρ 1063 CONJ νομου 3551 N-GSM επιγνωσις 1922 N-NSF αμαρτιας 266 N-GSF

Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge

VERSE (20) -
:28; 2:13; 4:13; 9:32 Ac 13:39 Ga 2:16,19; 3:10-13; 5:4 Eph 2:8,9

SEV Biblia, Chapter 3:20

porque por las obras de la ley ninguna carne se justificar delante de l; porque por la ley es el conocimiento del pecado.

Clarke's Bible Commentary - Romans 3:20

Verse 20. Therefore, by the
deeds of the law] On the score of obedience to this moral law, there shall no flesh, ou pasa sarx, no human being, be justified; none can be accepted in the sight of God. And why? Because by the law is the knowledge of sin: it is that which ascertains what sin is; shows how men have deviated from its righteous demands; and sentences them to death because they have broken it. Thus the law is properly considered as the rule of right; and, unless God had given some such means of discovering what SIN is, the darkened heart of man could never have formed an adequate conception of it. For, as an acknowledged straight edge is the only way in which the straightness or crookedness of a line can be determined, so the moral obliquity of human actions can only be determined by the law of God; that rule of right which proceeds from his own immaculate holiness.

John Gill's Bible Commentary

Ver. 20. Therefore by the
deeds of the law , etc..] Hence it most clearly appears, that there can be no justification before God by the law, since it stops the mouths of men, and pronounces them guilty: by the deeds of the law are meant, works done in obedience to it, as performed by sinful men, which are very imperfect; not as performed by Adam in innocence or by Christ in our nature whose works were perfect; but as performed by sinful men and of themselves, and not as performed in and by Christ for them who is the fulfilling end of the law for righteousness to all believers: now by such works as these whether wrought before or after conversion, with or without the strength and grace of Christ, there shall no flesh be justified in his sight : that is, no one person: flesh designs men, and men as corrupt and carnal, in opposition to God, who is a Spirit pure and holy; and may have respect to the vain opinion of Jews and Gentiles, who were vainly puffed up in their fleshly mind; the one on account of their wisdom and learning, the other on account of their righteousness; and includes all the individuals of human nature:, the word justified, does not signify being made righteous by the infusion of righteousness, for the infusion of a righteousness, or holiness, is sanctification, which is a work of the Spirit of God, is internal, and imperfect, and so not justifying; but it is a forensic word, or legal term, and stands opposed to a being condemned; and signifies to be acquitted, discharged, and made righteous in a legal sense, which can never be done by an imperfect obedience to the law: men may be justified hereby in their own sight, and in the sight of others, but not in his sight; in the sight of God, who is omniscient, and sees not as man seeth; who is pure, holy, and righteous, and whose judgment is according to truth: this is said in direct contradiction to the Jews f47 , who say, a man is not justified for ever, but by the words of the law: but in his sight none can be justified, but by the perfect obedience and righteousness of Christ. The reason for it is, for by the law is the knowledge of sin ; it discovers to a man, by the light of the Spirit of God, and as under his influence, and attended with his power, the sins both of his heart and life; and so he is convinced by it as a transgressor and finds himself guilty, and liable to condemnation and death; wherefore he can never hope for and expect justification by it. The Jews ascribe such an use as this to the law, which they suppose it performs in a very gentle manner; he that rises in the night (say they f48 ), and studies in the law, hbwj hyl a[dwm aq atyrwa , the law makes known to him his sin, but not in a way of judgment, but as a mother makes known to her son in tender language: but this is generally done in a rougher way, for the law works wrath.

Matthew Henry Commentary

Verses 19, 20 - 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 ma can be justified by a law which condemns him for breaking it. The corruption in our nature, will for ever stop any justification by ou own works.

Greek Textus Receptus

1360 CONJ εξ 1537 PREP εργων 2041 N-GPN νομου 3551 N-GSM ου 3756 PRT-N δικαιωθησεται 1344 5701 V-FPI-3S πασα 3956 A-NSF σαρξ 4561 N-NSF ενωπιον 1799 ADV αυτου 846 P-GSM δια 1223 PREP γαρ 1063 CONJ νομου 3551 N-GSM επιγνωσις 1922 N-NSF αμαρτιας 266 N-GSF

Vincent's NT Word Studies

20. Works of the law. Not the Mosaic law in its ritual or ceremonial aspect; but the law in a deeper and more general sense, as written both in the decalogue and in the
hearts of the Gentiles, and embracing the moral deeds of both Gentiles and Jews. The Mosaic law may indeed be regarded as the primary reference, but as representing a universal legislation and including all the rest. The moral revelation, which is the authoritative instruction of God, may be viewed either indefinitely and generally as the revelation of God to men; or authoritatively, as to the duty incumbent on man as man; or with reference to the instruction as to the duty incumbent on men as sinful men under a dispensation of mercy; or as instruction as to the duty of Jews as Jews. Ver. 20 relates to the instruction regarding the duty incumbent on men as men. "It is the law of commandments which enjoins those outer acts and inner choices and states which lie at the basis and constitute the essence of all true religion. In the background or focal point of these commandments he sees the decalogue, or duologue, which is often designated 'the moral law by way of pre-eminence" (Morison, from whom also the substance of this note is taken). By the phrase works of the law is meant the deeds prescribed by the law.

Flesh (sarx). Equivalent to man. It is often used in the sense of a living creature - man or beast. Compare 1 Pet. i. 24; Matt. xxiv. 22; Luke iii. 6. Generally with a suggestion of weakness, frailty, mortality; Septuagint, Jer. xvii. 5; Psalm lxxvii. 39; Eph. vi. 12. The word here has no doctrinal bearing.

Be justified (dikaiwqhsetai). For the kindred adjective dikaiov righteous, see on i. 17. 1. Classical usage. The primitive meaning is to make right. This may take place absolutely or relatively. The person or thing may be made right in itself, or with reference to circumstances or to the minds of those who have to do with them. Applied to things or acts, as distinguished from persons, it signifies to make right in one's judgment. Thus Thucydides, ii. 6, 7. "The Athenians judged it right to retaliate on the Lacedaemonians." Herodotus, i., 89, Croesus says to Cyrus: "I think it right to shew thee whatever I may see to thy advantage."

A different shade of meaning is to judge to be the case. So Thucydides, iv., cxxii. "The truth concerning the revolt was rather as the Athenians, judged the case to be." Again, it occurs simply in the sense to judge. Thucydides, v., xxvi. "If anyone agree that the interval of the truce should be excluded, he will not judge correctly "In both these latter cases the etymological idea of right is merged, and the judicial element predominates.

In ecclesiastical usage, to judge to be right or to decide upon in ecclesiastical councils.

Applied to persons, the meaning is predominantly judicial, though Aristotle ("Nichomachaean Ethics," v., 9) uses it in the sense of to treat one rightly. There is no reliable instance of the sense to make right intrinsically; but it means to make one right in some extrinsic or relative manner. Thus Aeschylus, "Agamemnon," 390-393: Paris, subjected to the judgment of men, tested (dikaiwqeiv) is compared to bad brass which turns black when subjected to friction. Thus tested or judged he stands in right relation to men's judgments. He is shown in the true baseness of his character.

Thus the verb acquires the meaning of condemn; adjudge to be bad. Thucydides, iii., xl. Cleon says to the Athenians, "If you do not deal with the Mitylenaeans as I advise, you will condemn yourselves." From this readily arises the sense of punish; since the punishment of a guilty man is a setting him in right relation to the political or moral system which his conduct has infringed. Thus Herodotus, i., c. "Deioces the Mede, if he heard of any act of oppression, sent for the guilty party and punished him according to his offense." Compare Plato, "Laws," ii., 934. Plato uses dikaiwthria to denote places of punishment or houses of correction ("Phaedrus," 249). According to Cicero, dikaiow was used by the Sicilians of capital punishment: "Edikaiwqhsan, that is, as the Sicilians say, they were visited with punishment and executed" ("Against Verres," v., 57).

To sum up the classical usage, the word has two main references:

1, to persons;

2, to things or acts. In both the judicial element is dominant.

The primary sense, to make right, takes on the conventional meanings to judge a thing to be right, to judge, to right a person, to treat rightly, to condemn, punish, put to death.

2. New Testament usage. This is not identical with the classical usage. In the New Testament the word is used of persons only. In Matt. xi. 19; Luke vii. 35, of a quality, Wisdom, but the quality is personified. It occurs thirty-nine times in the New Testament; 29 twenty-seven in Paul; eight in the Synoptists and Acts; three in James; one in the Revelation.

A study of the Pauline passages shows that it is used by Paul according to the sense which attaches to the adjective dikaiov, representing a state of the subject relatively to God. The verb therefore indicates the act or process by which a man is brought into a right state as related to God. In the A.V. confusion is likely to arise from the variations in translation, righteousness, just, justifier, justify. See Rom. iii. 24, 26, 28, 30; iv. 2; v. 1, 9; Gal. ii. 16; iii. 8, 11, 24; Tit. iii. 7.

The word is not, however, to be construed as indicating a mere legal transaction or adjustment between God and man, though it preserves the idea of relativity, in that God is the absolute standard by which the new condition is estimated, whether we regard God's view of the justified man, or the man's moral condition when justified. The element of character must not only not be eliminated from it; it must be foremost in it. Justification is more than pardon. Pardon is an act which frees the offender from the penalty of the law, adjusts his outward relation to the law, but does not necessarily effect any change in him personally. It is necessary to justification, but not identical with it. Justification aims directly at character. It contemplates making the man himself right; that the new and right relation to God in which faith places him shall have its natural and legitimate issue in personal rightness. The phrase faith is counted for righteousness, does not mean that faith is a substitute for righteousness, but that faith is righteousness; righteousness in the germ indeed, but still bona fide righteousness. The act of faith inaugurates a righteous life and a righteous character. The man is not made inherently holy in himself, because his righteousness is derived from God; neither is he merely declared righteous by a legal fiction without reference to his personal character; but the justifying decree, the declaration of God which pronounces him righteous, is literally true to the fact in that he is in real, sympathetic relation with the eternal source and norm of holiness, and with the divine personal inspiration of character. Faith contains all the possibilities of personal holiness. It unites man to the holy God, and through this union he becomes a partaker of the divine nature, and escapes the corruption that is in the world through lust (2 Pet. i. 4). The intent of justification is expressly declared by Paul to be conformity to Christ's image (Rom. viii. 29, 30). Justification which does not actually remove the wrong condition in man which is at the root of his enmity to God, is no justification. In the absence of this, a legal declaration that the man is right is a fiction. The declaration of righteousness must have its real and substantial basis in the man's actual moral condition.

Hence justification is called justification of life (Rom. v. 18); it is linked with the saving operation of the life of the risen Christ (Rom. iv. 25; v. 10); those who are in Christ Jesus "walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Rom. viii. 1); they exhibit patience, approval, hope, love (Romans v. 4, 5). Justification means the presentation of the self to God as a living sacrifice; non-conformity to the world; spiritual renewal; right self-estimate - all that range of right practice and feeling which is portrayed in the twelfth chapter of this Epistle. See, further, on ch. iv. 5. Knowledge (epignwsiv). Clear and exact knowledge. Always of a knowledge which powerfully influences the form of the religions life, and hence containing more of the element of personal sympathy than the simple gnwsiv knowledge, which may be concerned with the intellect alone without affecting the character. See Rom. i. 28; x. 2; Ephesians iv. 13. Also Philip. i. 9, where it is associated with the abounding of love; Col. iii. 10; Philemon 6, etc. Hence the knowledge of sin here is not mere perception, but an acquaintance with sin which works toward repentance, faith, and holy character.

Robertson's NT Word Studies

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

CHAPTERS: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16
VERSES: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31


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