A number of quotations are advanced-mostly from the Septuagint or Greek version of the Old Testament-establishing the hopeless evil of man's condition. These apply, in the first place, to God's peculiar people, the Jews; but if true of them, how terrible must be the condition of the great heathen world! Every mouth will be stopped and all the world brought in guilty before God, Romans 3:19. Various organs of the body are enumerated, and in each ease some terrible affirmation is made of inbred depravity. What need for salvation! What can atone for such sin, or cleanse such hearts, save the redeeming grace of God?
Law here is obviously employed in the wide sense of conscience as well as Scripture. It is God's ideal held up before our faces, to show us from what we have fallen. The looking-glass is intended, not to wash the face, but to show how much it needs washing. You may commend your soap, and no one will use it; but if you reveal the discoloring filth, people will be only too glad to avail themselves of the cleansing power which otherwise they would neglect and despise. The way to fill the inquiry room is to hold up the divine standard before men's consciences. [source]
Chapter Summary: Romans 3
1The Jews prerogative; 3which they have not lost; 9howbeit the law convinces them also of sin; 20therefore no one is justified by the law; 28but all, without difference, by faith, only; 31and yet the law is not abolished
Greek Commentary for Romans 3:17
Wherever they go they leave a trail of woe and destruction (Denney). [source]
Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Romans 3:17
Primarily, destruction, ruin; but it also has the sense of deterioration, decay, as 1 Corinthians 15:42. Comp. Aristotle, Rhet. iii. 3,4: “And thou didst sow ( ἔσπειρας ) shamefully ( αἰσχρῶς ) and didst reap ( ἐθερίσας ) miserably ( κακῶς ).” See also Plato, Phaedrus, 260 D, and on defile, Romans 3:17. [source]