In certain passages one might be mislead to think that certain persons like Noah (Genesis 7:1), Job (Job 1:1), Zacharias and Elizabeth (Luke 1:5-6) were able to keep God's commandments.

Genesis 7:1

And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.

Job 1:1

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.

Luke 1:5-6

There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.

And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

How would you address their descriptions in the verses mentioned in light of passages like Romans 3:10 (where Paul is quoting Psalms 14:3)?

Romans 3:10

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Psalms 14:3

They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

  • As we are usually taught in high school, in logic class, general statements do not cover individual cases; e.g., Genesis 1:27 does not necessarily deny either the existence or the humanity of individuals who are neither male nor female. One could ask similar questions about, say, Hebrews 9:27 vis-a-vis the various cases of resurrections described in scripture; or deny Christ's sinlessness based on the aforementioned verses; or His humanity, based on, say, 1 John 2:1; etc.
    – Lucian
    Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 4:36
  • 1
    Except that there was no Law (commandments.) for Job and Noah.
    – Dave
    Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 20:51

1 Answer 1


This question was the whole point of the reformation 500 years ago. The Bible is very clear about this:

In Rom 3:10-18 we read:

There is no one righteous, not even one. There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The venom of vipers is on their lips.” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery lie in their wake, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

John also tells us in 1 John 1:8, 10 -

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. ... If we say we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar, and His word is not in us.

However, and this is the crux of the matter - Paul tells us in Rom 3:20-24 -

Therefore no one will be justified in His sight by works of the law. For the law merely brings awareness of sin. But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been revealed, as attested by the Law and the Prophets. And this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no distinction, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Thus, the declaring righteous of God is "apart from the law" - not because of keeping the commandments. Paul tells us more in Eph 2:8-10 -

For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance as our way of life.

That is, we keep the commandments of God (John 14:15, 15:10, etc) NOT to become or be righteous but because we love God and have already been saved.

John 14:15 - If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

John 15:10 - If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.

  • This question was the whole point of the reformation 500 years ago. The Bible is very clear about this - Were the Bible to have been as clear about this as you say, the humongous time span between Christ and the Protestant Reformation would have been utterly unexplainable.
    – Lucian
    Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 4:17
  • @Lucian - the reason for ignoring what the Bible actually said was entirely due to the supremacy of tradition over the authority of Scripture. Once that supremacy was challenged, the Bible doctrine of Grace was very quickly re-established. Note that in the above answer, there is very little interpretation - just quoting texts.
    – Dottard
    Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 5:18
  • (The same argument could be made for everything from the Trinity to same sex couples).
    – Lucian
    Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 5:19
  • @Lucian - not really - many Bible "teachings" (notably the Trinity and monogamy, etc) are NOT explicit. By contrast, Grace is very explicit - as is its related doctrines of Sola Scriptura, Sola Christus, Sola Fide, etc.
    – Dottard
    Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 5:21
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    @TiagoMartinsPeres李大仁 - I am not sure I understand your comment other than we keep the law and commandments because we are saved NOT to earn God's love and create righteousness.
    – Dottard
    Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 8:47

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