Romans 5:13

(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
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AD 400
Before the law was given, men thought that they could sin with impunity before God but not before other men. For the natural law, of which they were well aware, had not completely lost its force, so that they knew not to do to others what they did not want to suffer themselves. For sin was certainly not unknown among men at that time. How is it then that sin was not imputed, when there was no law? Was it all right to sin, if the law was absent? There had always been a natural law, and it was not unknown, but at that time it was thought to be the only law, and it did not make men guilty before God. For it was not then known that God would judge the human race, and for that reason sin was not imputed, almost as if it did not exist in God’s sight and that God did not care about it. But when the law was given through Moses, it became clear that God did care about human affairs and that in the future wrongdoers would not escape without punishment, as they had done up to then. Commentary on ...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Paul said this in opposition to those who thought that sin could be taken away through the law. He says that sins were made apparent by the law, not abolished. He says not that there was no sin but only that it was not counted. Once the law was given, sin was not taken away, but it began to be counted. –.

Cyril of Alexandria

AD 444
The law of Moses was the power constraining the weakness of sinners. It proved to be not the answer to sin but rather a provocation to wrath. For it was necessary for transgressors to undergo the punishments prescribed by the law, and wherever there was transgression, there was also sin. So if sin brought death in its wake, it may undoubtedly be said that death, having been born of sin, was strengthened by this very thing. But when sin was taken away death was also weakened, and it disappeared along with its parent. Therefore there was death in the world until the coming of the law. For as long as the law was valid, the crime of transgression could be laid against those who had fallen, but once the law was removed, the accusation of transgression disappeared as well. Therefore when the guilt ceased, death also came to an end. .

Diodorus of Tarsus

AD 390
Sin was in the world before the law of Moses came, and it was counted, though not according to that law. Rather it was counted according to the law of nature, by which we have learned to distinguish good and evil. This was the law of which Paul spoke above. .

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Until the law, sin was in the world. That is, from Adam's fall, both original sin and actual sins truly infected all mankind. (Witham) Not imputed. That is, men knew not, or made no account of sin; neither was it imputed to them, in the manner it was afterwards, when they transgressed the known written law of God. (Challoner) All were conceived and born in sin, in what we call original sin, and liable to death, even infants, who were not come to the use of reason, and consequently could not sin after the similitude of the transgression of Adam, or by imitating his sin, but were born in sin: and besides this, all manner of actual sins, which men committed by their own perverse will, reigned every where in the world. But before the law these sins were not imputed, that is, were not declared sins, that deserved such punishments as were ordained by the law. Adam, who is a figure of him that was to come. That is, of Christ, whom the apostle calls the last Adam, 1 Corinthians xv. 45. But ...


AD 990
When Paul uses the word sin here he is thinking primarily of the transgression of the law of Moses and its commandments, e.g., circumcision, sabbath observance, the food laws, etc. Nevertheless, sin in general already existed in human nature, and it was counted. By this I mean things like murder, robbery, child abuse and so on…. For there was a law of nature which covered things like that. .

Thomas Aquinas

AD 1274
After tracing the origin of sin and death and their entry into the world [n. 406], the Apostle now clarifies what he has said. First, he explains his statement; secondly, he clarifies the comparison he suggested (in v. 12), when he said: "as sin…so death"; thirdly, he explains it, there [v. 14b; n. 429] at who is a figure of the one who was come. 217 Now he had stated that sin and death passed on to all men. Here, in line with Augustine’s exposition [n. 418], he intends to explain this by the fact that sin remained even under the Law, implying that it was unable to expel it. In regard to this he does two things: first, he explains his statement as far as sin is concerned; secondly, as far as death is concerned [v. 14; n. 424]. In regard to the first he does two things: first, he shows that sin existed under the Law; secondly, what the Law did in regard to sin [v. 13b; n. 423]. 422. First, therefore, he says: It has been stated that all have sinned in Adam, because even the Law did not ...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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