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Romans 5:20

    Romans 5:20 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    And the law came in besides, that the trespass might abound; but where sin abounded, grace did abound more exceedingly:

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And the law came in addition, to make wrongdoing worse; but where there was much sin, there was much more grace:

    Webster's Revision

    And the law came in besides, that the trespass might abound; but where sin abounded, grace did abound more exceedingly:

    World English Bible

    The law came in besides, that the trespass might abound; but where sin abounded, grace abounded more exceedingly;

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    And the law came in beside, that the trespass might abound; but where sin abounded, grace did abound more exceedingly:

    Definitions for Romans 5:20

    Grace - Kindness; favor.

    Clarke's Commentary on Romans 5:20

    The law entered that (ἱνα) the offense might abound - After considering various opinions concerning the true meaning of this verse, (see under Romans 5:12 (note)), I am induced to prefer my own, as being the most simple. By law I understand the Mosaic law. By entering in, παρεισηλθεν, or, rather, coming in privily, see Galatians 2:4, (the only place where it occurs besides), I understand the temporary or limited use of that law, which was, as far as its rites and ceremonies are considered, confined to the Jewish people, and to them only till the Messiah should come; but considered as the moral law, or rule of conscience and life, it has in its spirit and power been slipped in - introduced into every conscience, that sin might abound - that the true nature, deformity, and extent of sin might appear; for by the law is the knowledge of sin: for how can the finer deviations from a straight line be ascertained, without the application of a known straight edge? Without this rule of right, sin can only be known in a sort of general way; the innumerable deviations from positive rectitude can only be known by the application of the righteous statutes of which the law is composed. And it was necessary that this law should be given, that the true nature of sin might be seen, and that men might be the better prepared to receive the Gospel; finding that this law worketh only wrath, i.e. denounces punishment, forasmuch as all have sinned. Now, it is wisely ordered of God, that wherever the Gospel goes there the law goes also; entering every where, that sin may be seen to abound, and that men may be led to despair of salvation in any other way or on any terms but those proposed in the Gospel of Christ. Thus the sinner becomes a true penitent, and is glad, seeing the curse of the law hanging over his soul, to flee for refuge to the hope set before him in the Gospel. On the meaning of ἱνα, in various places, see Chrysost. vol. iii. p. 241. See also Hammond on the word in his notes on the New Testament.

    But where sin abounded - Whether in the world, or in the heart of the individual, being discovered by this most pure and righteous law, grace did much more abound: not only pardon for all that is past is offered by the Gospel, so that all the transgressions for which the soul is condemned to death by the law, are freely and fully forgiven; but also the Holy Spirit, in the abundance of his gifts and graces, is communicated, so as to prepare the receiver for an exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Thus the grace of the Gospel not only redeems from death, and restores to life, but brings the soul into such a relationship with God, and into such a participation of eternal glory, as we have no authority to believe ever would have been the portion even of Adam himself, had he even eternally retained his innocence. Thus, where sin abounded, grace doth much more abound.

    Barnes' Notes on Romans 5:20

    Moreover - But. What is said in this verse and the following, seems designed to meet the Jew, who might pretend that the Law of Moses was intended to meet the evils of sin introduced by Adam, and therefore that the scheme defended by the apostle was unnecessary. He therefore shows them that the effect of the Law of Moses was to increase rather than to diminish the sins which had been introduced into the world. And if such was the fact, it could not be pled that it was adapted to overcome the acknowledged evils of the apostasy.

    The law - The Mosaic laws and institutions. The word seems to be used here to denote all the laws which were given in the Old Testament.

    Entered - This word usually means to enter secretly or surreptitiously. But it appears to be used here simply in the sense that the Law came in, or was given. It came in addition to, or it supervened the state before Moses, when people were living without a revelation.

    That sin ... - The word "that" ἵνα hina in this place does not mean that it was the design of giving the Law that sin might abound or be increased, but that such was in fact the effect. It had this tendency, not to restrain or subdue sin, but to excite and increase it. That the word has this sense may be seen in the lexicons. The way in which the Law produces this effect is stated more fully by the apostle in Romans 7:7-11. The Law expresses the duty of man; it is spiritual and holy; it is opposed to the guilty passions and pleasures of the world; and it thus excites opposition, provokes to anger, and is the occasion by which sin is called into exercise, and shows itself in the heart. All law, where there is a disposition to do wrong, has this tendency. A command given to a child that is disposed to indulge his passions, only tends to excite anger and opposition. If the heart was holy, and there was a disposition to do right, law would have no such tendency. See this subject further illustrated in the notes at Romans 7:7-11.

    The offence - The offence which had been introduced by Adam, that is, sin. Compare Romans 5:15.

    Might abound - Might increase; that is, would be more apparent, more violent, more extensive. The introduction of the Mosaic Law, instead of diminishing the sins of people, only increases them.

    But where sin abounded - Alike in all dispensations - before the Law, and under the Law. In all conditions of the human family before the gospel, it was the characteristic that sin was prevalent.

    Grace - Favor; mercy.

    Did much more abound - Superabounded. The word is used no where else in the New Testament, except in 2 Corinthians 7:4. It means that the pardoning mercy of the gospel greatly triumphed over sin, even over the sins of the Jews, though those sins were greatly aggravated by the light which they enjoyed under the advantages of divine revelation.

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