Romans 1:19 MEANING

Romans 1:19
(19) The Apostle goes on to show how the Gentiles came to have such a knowledge of right, and how they repressed and contravened it.

They had it, because all the knowledge that mankind generally possessed of God they also possessed. So much as could be known without special revelation they knew.

That which may be known.--Rather, that which is (generally and universally) known--the truths of so-called "natural religion."

Is manifest in them.--Manifest or imprinted upon their consciences, because God had so imprinted it upon them. The marginal rendering, "to them," is hardly tenable.

Verse 19. - Because that which is known (not, as in the Authorized Version, "may be known;" for, though the force of the word γνωστὸν suggests this sense, it certainly means known, not knowable, in the many passages of the New Testament where it elsewhere occurs) of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it to them; rather than hath manifested, as in the Authorized Version. He manifested it, as appears from the following verse, in creation. In it to them from the first he manifested it; but in them (ἐν αὐτοῖς) also, through the capacity of the human soul to see Divine power in creation.

1:18-25 The apostle begins to show that all mankind need the salvation of the gospel, because none could obtain the favour of God, or escape his wrath by their own works. For no man can plead that he has fulfilled all his obligations to God and to his neighbour; nor can any truly say that he has fully acted up to the light afforded him. The sinfulness of man is described as ungodliness against the laws of the first table, and unrighteousness against those of the second. The cause of that sinfulness is holding the truth in unrighteousness. All, more or less, do what they know to be wrong, and omit what they know to be right, so that the plea of ignorance cannot be allowed from any. Our Creator's invisible power and Godhead are so clearly shown in the works he has made, that even idolaters and wicked Gentiles are left without excuse. They foolishly followed idolatry; and rational creatures changed the worship of the glorious Creator, for that of brutes, reptiles, and senseless images. They wandered from God, till all traces of true religion must have been lost, had not the revelation of the gospel prevented it. For whatever may be pretended, as to the sufficiency of man's reason to discover Divine truth and moral obligation, or to govern the practice aright, facts cannot be denied. And these plainly show that men have dishonoured God by the most absurd idolatries and superstitions; and have degraded themselves by the vilest affections and most abominable deeds.Because that which may be known of God,.... There are some things which could not be known of God by the light of nature; as a trinity of persons in the Godhead; the knowledge of God in Christ as Mediator; the God-man and Mediator Jesus Christ; his incarnation, sufferings, death, and resurrection; the will of God to save sinners by a crucified Jesus; the several peculiar doctrines of the Gospel, particularly the resurrection of the dead, and the manner of worshipping of God with acceptance: but then there are some things which may be known of God, without a revelation. Adam had a perfect knowledge of him; and his sons, though fallen, even the very Heathens have some notion of him, as that there is a God; and by the light of nature it might be known that there is but one God, who is glorious, full of majesty, and possessed of all perfections, as that he is all powerful, wise, good and righteous: and this

is manifest in them, or "to them"; by the light that is given them: it is light by which that which may be known of God is manifest; and this is the light of nature, which every man has that comes into the world; and this is internal, it is in him, in his mind and conscience, and is communicated to him by God, and that by infusion or inspiration; see Job 32:8;

for God hath showed it unto them; what may be known of him by that light; and which is assisted and may be improved by a consideration of the works of creation and Providence.

Courtesy of Open Bible