What then?  Are we better than they?  No, in no wise; for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles that they are all under sin”–Here Paul starts another objection in the name of the Jews: Some of them might say, “Are we not better than the Gentiles?  Do we not excel them in outward privileges?  Is not the knowledge of the law found with us, and the oracles of God committed to us?” 

Paul replies that while it is true that the Jews are better than theGentiles in respect of outward dispensations, but not in respect of inward qualifications.  Jews and Gentiles are alike by natural corruption; alike under sin by actual transgression, and so stand in need both alike of Justification by Faith; and the gospel righteousness is no less necessary for the one, than for the other.

“What then?
Literally: “What is the inference? What then shall we conclude? What follows? Are we to infer that we are better than others?” That is, in view of all that has been said (in 2:17-3:8).  Paul now resumes what he had previously said back in verse 1.

This is another remark supposed to be made by a Jewish objector. “What follows? or are we to infer that we are better than others?”  After all, have not we Jews a better claim to the privileges of the kingdom of God than the Gentiles have?  Paul has already dealt with this back in chapters 1-2 where he made the charge of sin against Gentile and Jew alike where he pointed out that the Jew was as lacking in regard to the written Law as the Gentile was lacking in regard to the unwritten.

“Are we better than they?”
Literally:  “Do we excel?”–Are we J
ews better than the Gentiles? Or rather, have we any preference, or advantage as to character and prospects, over the Gentiles?  Or rather, have we any preference, or advantage as to character and prospects, over the Gentiles?

            These questions refer only to the great point in debate, to wit, about justification before God. Paul had admitted (3:2) that the Jews had important advantages in some respects, but he now affirms that those advantages did not make a difference between them and the Gentiles about justification.  . Some expositors believe that the “we” actually refers to Christians.
            If J
ews shall be judged as well as Gentiles, are not we Jews, who have the oracles of God, better than they, and hence likely to be justified? The Jew is still supposed to be speaking. To this Paul replies:


“in no wise”
Literally:  “Not at all.”–Or as we might say it:  “No way, man.  I’ve already proved that   both Jews and Gentiles are under the guilt of sin;, that they are equally unworthy of the blessings of the Messiah's kingdom, and that they must both owe their salvation to the mere mercy of God. “

Paul had already shown (chapters 1 and 2) that both Jews and Gentiles were sinners before God.  The Jews have no preference or advantage over the Gentiles in regard to the subject of justification before God. They have failed to keep the law;  they are sinners; and if they are justified, it must be in the same way as the rest of the world. From this, to the end of the 26th verse, Paul proceeds to prove his assertion, that both Jews and Gentiles were all under sin; and, that he might enforce the conviction upon the heart of the Jew, he quotes his own Scriptures, which he acknowledged had been given by the inspiration of GOD, and consequently true.

            “proved both Jews and Gentiles that they are all under sin”
            Literally:  “For we before have charged both Jews and Greeks, all under sin.”  Sinners; under the power and dominion of sin. 

           PROVED:  (Grk.–proetiasametha)–The English word “proved” is a little too strong here.  The Greek word here translated as “we have before proved…” would have been better translated as, “we have charged…”  The reference is not so much as logical proof, but as an accusation.

Paul is not really saying, that he has “proved” anything.  He is not trying to prove man a sinner; rather, he is showing that God judges sin.  He assumes man is a sinner, and you don’t have to assume it—it is quite evident.  He is merely stating what is obvious.  Understand that some of the verses quoted by Paul in this chapter are not always exactly as they appear in the Hebrew O.T. text. Some of the quotes may be from the LXX (Septuagint)–the Greek translation of the O.T. that was in use in Paul’s day.  It is Paul’s practice to use the O.T. scriptures to prove the awful condition of those who are without Christ. 

                        ALL:  (Grk.–pantas)–You will not be able to find even one just or righteous person upon the earth.

            UNDER SIN:  (Grk.–hupo hamartian)–This is a stronger expression than saying, “guilty of sin,” or, “in bondage to sin” for it expression the state of a convict in a prison or   a disease-stricken people under quarantine.   

An even stronger expression will be found in 11:32–“For God hath concluded them all in unbelief that He might have mercy upon all.”  Also, in Gal. 22 we read, “the Scripture hath concluded all under sin…”


In this next section we see God give several descriptions of mankind.

            “As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, no not one.’”

           AS IT IS WRITTEN:  (Grk —gegraptai)–Literally:  “Even as it has been written.”–Usual formula of quotation as in verse 4.  See Psalm 14:1-3; from which this and the two    following verses are taken.   Paul here uses a catena or chain of quotations to prove his   point in verse 9 that Jews are in no better fix than the Greeks for all are under sin.


             “There is not a righteous man, not even one.” This sentence is like a motto for all the rest, a summary for what follows.  That all men are under sin appears from the vices which have raged in all ages.  Paul therefore cites David and Isaiah, though they spoke primarily of their own age, and expressed what manner of men God sees, when He looks down from heaven; not what He makes them by His grace.
            Paul is reasoning with the Jews; and he proceeds to show, from their own Scriptures, that what he had been telling them was true. The point to be proved was that the Jews, in the matter of justification, had no advantage or preference over the Gentiles; that the Jew had failed to keep the Law which had been given him, as the Gentile had failed to keep the law which had been given him; and that both therefore were incapable of being justified and saved by their works and equally dependent on the mercy of God.  To show this he puts forward texts from the O.T. Scriptures to show what was the real character of the Jewish people; or to show that, according to their own Scriptures, they were sinners no less than the Gentiles. The passages which follow are taken from various parts of the O.T.  
            The purpose of this is to show that this characteristic of sin was not confined to any particular period of the Jewish history, but pertained to them as a people; that it had characterized them throughout their existence as a nation. Most of the passages are quoted in the language of the Septuagint. (LXX).   The quotation in verses10-12 is from Psa. 14:1-3, and from Psa. 53:1-3. The fifty-third psalm is basically the same as the fourteenth, with some slight variations.

“there is none righteous”– This is the general proposition.  The particulars follow: their dispositions and designs, (vv. 11,12); their discourse, (vv. 13-14); their actions, (vv.16-18. Psa. 14:1, etc.  None are free from sin.  The Hebrew (Psa. 14:1) is, “there is none that doeth good.”  The LXX has the same reading. Paul quotes this according to the sense of the passage.  

This is true, not only of the Jews, but of the Gentiles; of every soul of man, considered in his natural and practical state, previously to his receiving the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.  There is no righteous principle in them, and, consequently, no righteous act can be expected from them; see on Ro 3:12.

             RIGHTEOUS:  (Grk.–dikaios)–Literally: “a righteous one.”  This should read, “It is written that there is none righteous…” because it is really a free rendering of Psalm 14:1, where David makes the statement that “none…doeth good.”
         This is true, not only of the Jews, but also of the Gentiles; i.e., of every soul of man, considered in his natural and practical state, previously to his receiving the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.  There is no righteous principle in them, and, consequently, no righteous act can be expected from them; see on v. 12.  God Himself is represented as looking down from heaven to see if there were any that feared and sought after Him; and yet He, who cannot be deceived, could find even one!  And therefore we may safely conclude there was none to be found.

         What does it mean to be righteous?  It means to be right—that is, with GodAnd if we are going to be right with God, it is different from being right with your fellow man.  If we are to be right with God, we are going to go according to His rules.  God’s salvation is simply a “take it or leave it” proposition.  He is not forcing anyone to take His salvation. 
           SINNER UNDERSTAND THIS EXTREMELY POINT:  You don’t have to be saved.  No one is forcing you to!  You can turn down God’s gracious offer..  God is saying, “This is MY universe.  You are living on MY little world, using MY sunshine, My water and MY air, and I have worked out a Plan of Salvation that is true to MY character and nature.  MY plan is one that is going to be carried out.  You are a sinner, and I want to save you because I love.  Here it is.  Take it or leave it.”  If you take it you are eternally blessed.  If you leave it you are eternally damned.  The consequences either way is up to you.

 “no, not one”
Literally:  “not even one.”– This is not in the Hebrew text, but is in the Septuagint
(LXX)   It is a strong universal expression, denoting the state of almost universal corruption which existed in the time of the psalmist.

The expression should not be interpreted to mean that there was not literally one pious man in the nation; but that the characteristic of the nation was, at that time, that it was exceedingly corrupt. Instead of being righteous, as the Jew claimed, because they were Jews, the testimony of their own Scriptures was that they were universally wicked.

In these verses we will find God speaking regarding the true state of all men.  Here we see God:

1.      As Judge (vv. 11-12)
2.      As a Physician (vv. 13-15)
3.      As  a Divine Historian (vv. 16-18)

“There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.”


“There is none that understandeth”
 Literally:  {There is} none  understanding.”–That is, the things of God.  That is, there is none who acts on the knowledge that he has.  No one is the person he should be or would     like to be.  If people really understood the consequences of sin they would not live as they do.

            To understand is used in the sense of being wise; or of having such a state of moral feeling as to dispose them to serve and obey God. The word is often used in the Bible, not to denote a mere intellectual operation of the mind, but the state of the heart inclining the mind to obey and worship God (Psa. 107:43; 119:27,100; Prov. 2:5; Isa. 6:10): “Lest they should understand with their heart,” etc.
            In the Hebrew, (Psa.14:2), God is represented as looking down from heaven to see, that is, to make investigation, whether there were any that understood or sought after Him God, the Searcher of hearts, is represented as making investigation on this very point; He looks down from heaven for this very purpose, to ascertain whether there were any righteous. In the Hebrew it is not actually stated, though it is clearly and strongly implied, that none such were found. That fact Paul does say. None could escape the notice of the eye of God; and if there had been any, the benevolence of God’s heart would have led Him to record it.


            “none that seeketh after God”
            Literally:  “Not {one} is seeking God.”  A general statement of the sinfulness of Jew as well as Gentile. 
1.      God is not concealed.  He is not playing hide-and-seek with man. 
         a      He has revealed Himself in many ways.  
         b.      Paul told the Athenians, “And in the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts. 17:30). 

2.      God is not “winking” at sin any more.
3.      God is out in the open telling man that he is a sinner and offering him salvation. 

The “religious” leaders of today are saying that men are seeking for God.  HOW FALACIOUS THEY ARE!  It is claimed that in the “evil-lutionary process” religion is man’s search for God.  Is religion really man’s search for God.  NO!!!  ABSOLUTELY NOT!  That’s not what the Bible teaches!

                        SEEKETH AFTER:  (Grk.–ekzētō)–Literally:  “to seek out; to search for.” 

           A disposition not to seek after God, that is, to neglect and forget Him, is one of the most decided proofs of depravity. None who endeavors to know and do God’s will, and to be acquainted with His character.  A man can indulge in wickedness only by forgetting God. Hence a disposition not to seek God is full proof of depravity.  A righteous man counts it his highest privilege and honor to know God, and to understand His will.
           When Adam sinned he turned his back on God and attempted to hide from Him.  This forced God to become the Seeker; and so it has been ever since.  No sinful, human being, who is conscious of his creature weakness, and his responsibility and guilt, and filled with his terrors of conscience, has ever sought out this holy God.

            CAUTION:  Banish forever from you mind that any sinful human being has ever had a holy thought, or love for a holy God, in his natural heart. 

“They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”


            “They are all gone out of the way”
            Literally:  “All turned away.”  Turned from the good way.

           GONE OUT OF THE WAY:   (Grk.--ekklinō)-Literally:  “to lean out,” therefore,“to turn aside, to deviate” from the right way.  They have declined from the true path of  piety and virtue. They have all diverged from the right way, they have either abandoned or corrupted the worship of God: the Jews, in forsaking the law and the prophets, and the   Gentiles, in acting contrary to the law which God had written on their hearts.  And the departure of both from the truth proves the evil  tendency of human nature in general.


            “they are together become unprofitable”
           Literally: “Together become worthless.” They have at the same time; or they have equally become unprofitable.

           UNPROPHITABLE: (Grk.-achreioō)–Literally:  “to make useless; to render    unserviceable.”  The equivalent Hebrew word literally means, “to go bad, to become sour like milk.”

They are as one; they are joined, or united, in this declension. The expression denotes union or similarity. They are useless, good for nothing; or, as the Hebrew has it, “they are putrid,”   God views the whole mass of mankind as slain and thrown together, to putrefy in heaps. This is what is termed the corruption of human nature; they are infected and infectious. This is what is termed the corruption of human nature; they are infected and infectious.


            “there is none that doeth good”        
            Literally:  “Not {one} is doing kindness.”  If there be no righteousness within, there will be no acts of goodness without.

             GOOD:  (Grk.–chrēstotēs)–Meaning, “moral goodness, integrity, kindness,”  In v. 10 it is said, There is none righteous; here, There is none that doeth good: the first may refer to the want of a righteous principle; the second, to the necessary consequence of the absence of such a principle. If there be no righteousness within, there will be no acts of goodness without.