- In verses 1-8 the apostle answers four objections which he found that men raised against the gospel. (The objections are sated in verses 1, 3, 5 and 7, 8a; the answer are given in verses 2, 4, 6 and 8b.) These will repay careful study; in particular note how Paul describes the Old Testament scriptures, to what two attributes of God he holds fast, and what kind of conduct he strenuously repudiates.
- In verses 10-18 Paul gives the general verdict of Scripture on man in his fallen condition.
What does Scripture say:
(a) about the general trend of human life (verses 10-12, cf. Is. 53:6a);
(b) about man’s speech (verses 13, 14); and
(c) about his conduct and inner attitude to God (verses 15-18)? How does this witness confirm the verdict of experience already given in 1:18-32 and 2:17-29 and lead to the conclusion of 3:19, 20?
- Do you assent to the truth that it is impossible for anyone, by their own efforts, to escape condemnation at the bar of God’s judgment?
- The answer to the question how guilty man can be saved is found in the revelation of a righteousness of God, i.e., a righteousness provided by God (see Study 1, Note).
It will help greatly to clarify what is said about this righteousness in this all-important paragraph (verses 21-26) if the various points are written down and appreciated one by one. There are twelve to fifteen of them.
- What two inferences follow? See verses 27, 28 and verses 29, 30. Cf. 1 Cor. 1:29-31; Gal. 3:28.
What is Paul’s answer to an objector who might say that the gospel of salvation by faith, which Paul preached, made the law of no account?