18 But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: “Their sound has gone out to all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world.”
Some may ask questions about whether Israel had a fair opportunity to hear the gospel. Paul responds to that question by verses 10:18-21. In machinegun like fashion he again offers Scripture in rapid-fire style to show that Israel was culpable for rejecting the Messiah.
The “but” here is strong contrast to the idea that Israel was not exposed to divine revelation. Some may question whether the gospel message about the Messiah reached the Jews (v.14), however, Paul’s argument in verses 18-21 proves that was not so.
Paul proposes a hypothetical question about fairness in hearing the gospel. The hypothesis by some was that Israel may not have heard the gospel.
have they [Jews] not heard? [Greek gives a contrary answer; they did indeed hear]
The question here is did Israel have an adequate opportunity to hear what God had to say (10:16). The Greek for “not” rules out any possibility that Israel was not culpable to divine revelation. They heard and perceived clearly what God said about the Messiah.
Paul answers his own question by a quotation from Psalm 19:4. This Psalm makes reference to both general revelation in 19:1-6 and special revelation in 19:7-11. People can see God both in creation (cf. Ro 1:18-20) and in Scripture.
“Their sound has gone out to all the earth,
The testimony of revelation in creation goes throughout the design of the universe. Psalm 19:4 refers to general revelation, God revealing Himself by the created order.
And their words to the ends of the world.”
God’s truth will reach both Jews and Gentiles to the ends of the earth. God will send missionaries all over the world to spread the gospel in “words.” Note the words “to all the earth” in the previous phrase and “to the ends of the world” in this phrase. The gospel universally spread without discrimination to people everywhere.
In the days of the apostles Paul and Peter the gospel was indeed spreading throughout the Roman Empire. Israel could not plead ignorance about hearing the gospel.
Jn 12: 37 But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him,
Creation communicates both the existence and actions of God; the Bible reveals words of God.
People can never plead ignorance to God’s claims on their lives. He shows Himself clearly to each and every person who ever existed by creation. This kind of revelation reaches to every corner of the planet. Although this is not the gospel message it is a step in that direction. A person first needs to go positive toward knowing God before He sends the gospel to tell it in words.
Ro 1: 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,