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Romans 9:20

    Romans 9:20 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    No but, O man, who are you that reply against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why have you made me thus?

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why didst thou make me thus?

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    But, O man, who are you, to make answer against God? May the thing which is made say to him who made it, Why did you make me so?

    Webster's Revision

    Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why didst thou make me thus?

    World English Bible

    But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed ask him who formed it, "Why did you make me like this?"

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why didst thou make me thus?

    Definitions for Romans 9:20

    Art - "Are"; second person singular.
    Nay - No.

    Clarke's Commentary on Romans 9:20

    Nay but, O man, who art thou - As if he had said: Weak, ignorant man, darest thou retort on the infinitely good and righteous God? Reflect on thyself; and tell me, after thou hast abused the grace of God, and transgressed his laws, wilt thou cavil at his dispensations? God hath made, created, formed the Jewish nation; and shall the thing formed, when it hath corrupted itself, pretend to correct the wise and gracious Author of its being, and say, Why hast thou made me thus? Why hast thou constituted me in this manner? Thou hast done me wrong in giving me my being under such and such conditions.

    Old John Goodwin's note on this passage is at least curious: "I scarce (says he) know any passage of the Scripture more frequently abused than this. When men, in the great questions of predestination and reprobation, bring forth any text of Scripture which they conceive makes for their notion, though the sense which they put upon it be ever so uncouth and dissonant from the true meaning of the Holy Ghost, yet, if any man contradict, they frequently fall upon him with - Nay but, O man; who art thou? As if St. Paul had left them his heirs and successors in the infallibility of his spirit! But when men shall call a solid answer to their groundless conceits about the meaning of the Scriptures, a replying against God, it savours more of the spirit who was seen falling like lightning from heaven, than of His, who saw him in this his fall."

    Barnes' Notes on Romans 9:20

    Nay but, O man ... - To this objection the apostle replies in two ways; first, by asserting the sovereignty of God, and affirming that he had a right to do it Romans 9:20-21; and secondly, by showing that he did it according to the principles of justice and mercy, or that it was involved of necessity in his dispensing justice and mercy to mankind; Romans 9:22-24.

    Who art thou ... - Paul here strongly reproves the impiety and wickedness of arraigning God. This impiety appears,

    (1) Because man is a creature of arraigning God. This impiety appears, Because man is a creature of God, and it is improper that he should arraign his Maker.

    (2) he is unqualified to understand the subject. "Who art thou?" What qualifications has a creature of a day, a being just in the infancy of his existence; of so limited faculties; so perverse, blinded, and interested as man, to sit in judgment on the doings of the Infinite Mind? Who gave him the authority, or invested him with the prerogatives of a judge over his Maker's doings?

    (3) even if man were qualified to investigate those subjects, what right has he to reply against God, to arraign him, or to follow out a train of argument tending to involve his Creator in shame and disgrace? No where is there to be found a more cutting or humbling reply to the pride of man than this. And on no subject was it more needed. The experience of every age has shown that this has been a prominent topic of objection against the government of God; and that there has been no point in the Christian theology to which the human heart has been so ready to make objections as to the doctrine of the sovereignty of God.

    Repliest against God - Margin, "Answerest again; or, disputest with God." The passage conveys the idea of answering again; or of arguing to the dishonor of God. It implies that when God declares his will, man should be still. God has his own plans of infinite wisdom, and it is not ours to reply against him, or to arraign him of injustice, when we cannot see the reason of his doings.

    Shall the thing formed ... - This sentiment is found in Isaiah 29:16; see also Isaiah 45:9. It was especially proper to adduce this to a Jew. The objection is one which is supposed to be made by a Jew, and it was proper to reply to him by a quotation from his own Scriptures. Any being has a right to fashion his work according to his own views of what is best; and as this right is not denied to people, we ought not to blame the infinitely wise God for acting in a similar way. They who have received every blessing they enjoy from him, ought not to blame him for not making them different.

    Wesley's Notes on Romans 9:20

    9:20 Nay, but who art thou, O man - Little, impotent, ignorant man. That repliest against God - That accusest God of injustice, for himself fixing the terms on which he will show mercy? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus - Why hast thou made me capable of honour and immortality, only by believing?