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Chapter 2

2:1 Wherefore [dio]. See 1:24, 26 for this relative conjunction, “because of which thing.” Without excuse [anapologētos]. See on 1:21. Whosoever thou art that judgest [pas ho krinōn]. Literally, “every one that judgest,” vocative case in apposition with [anthrōpe]. Paul begins his discussion of the failure of the Jew to attain to the God-kind of righteousness (2:1-3:20) with a general statement applicable to all as he did (1:18) in the discussion of the failure of the Gentiles (Lightfoot). The Gentile is readily condemned by the Jew when he sins and equally so is the Jew condemned by the Gentile in like case. [Krinō] does not of itself mean to condemn, but to pick out, separate, approve, determine, pronounce judgment, condemn (if proper). Another [ton heteron]. Literally, “the other man.” The notion of two in the word, one criticizing the other. Thou condemnest thyself [seauton katakrineis]. Note [kata] here with [krinō], to make plain the adverse judgment. For [gar]. Explanatory reason for the preceding statement. The critic practises [prasseis], not single acts [poieō], but the habit [prassō] the same things that he condemns.

2:2 Judgment [krima]. Decision rendered whether good or bad. According to [kata] with accusative). As the rule of measure. Cf. Joh 7:24.

2:3 And doest the same [kai poiōn auta]. “And doest them occasionally.” That thou shalt escape [su ekpheuxēi]. Emphasis on [su], “thou conceited Jew expecting to escape God’s [krima] because thou art a Jew.” Cf. Mt 3:8f. Paul justifies the bitter words of the Baptist to the Pharisees and Sadducees. The future middle of the old verb [ekpheugō] (cf. 1Th 5:3). The Jew posed as immune to the ordinary laws of ethics because a Jew. Alas, some Christians affect the same immunity.

2:4 Or despiseth thou? [ē kataphroneis?]. Another alternative, that of scorn of God’s kindness [chrēstotētos], 2Co 6:6) and forbearance [anochēs], old word, holding back from [anechō], only here in N.T.) and longsuffering [makrothumias], late word for which see 2Co 6:4,6). [Kataphroneō] is old verb to think down on [kata, phroneō] as in Mt 6:24; 1Co 11:22. This upstart Jew actually thinks down on God. And then “the riches” [tou ploutou] of all that comes from God. Leadeth thee to repentance [eis metanoian se agei]. The very kindness [to chrēston], the kindly quality) of God is trying to lead (conative present [agei] thee to a right-about face, a change of mind and attitude [metanoian] instead of a complacent self-satisfaction and pride of race and privilege.

2:5 After thy hardness [kata tēn sklērotēta sou]. “According to thy hardness (old word from [sklēros], hard, stiff, only here in N.T.) will God’s judgment be.” And impenitent heart [kai ametanoēton kardian]. See [metanoian] just before. “Thy unreconstructed heart,” “with no change in the attitude of thy heart.” Treasurest up for thyself [thēsaurizeis seautōi]. See for [thēsaurizō] on Mt 6:19f.; Lu 12:21; 2Co 12:14. Dative case [seautōi] (for thyself) with a touch of irony (Vincent). Wrath [orgēn]. For such a Jew as already stated for the Gentile (1:18). There is a revelation [apokalupseōs] of God’s wrath for both in the day of wrath and righteous judgment [dikaiokrisias], a late compound word, in LXX, two examples in the Oxyrhynchus papyri, only here in N.T.). See 2Th 1:5 for [dikaias kriseōs]. Paul looks to the judgment day as certain (cf. 2Co 5:10-12), the day of the Lord (2Co 1:14).

2:6 Who will render [hos apodōsei]. Paul quotes Pr 24:12 as in 2Ti 4:14. See also Mt 16:27; Re 22:12. The rendering will be in accord with the facts.

2:7 To them that seek [tois men—zētousin]. Dative plural of the articular present active participle of [zēteō] with [men] on the one hand. Eternal life [zōēn aiōnion]. Accusative case object of [apodōsei] above.

2:8 But unto them that are factious and obey not the truth but obey unrighteousness [tois de ex eritheias kai apeithousin tēi alētheiāi peithomenois de adikiāi]. The other side with [de] and the articular present participles in the dative again, only with [ex eritheias], there is no participle [ousin]. But the construction changes and the substantives that follow are not the object of [apodōsei] like [zōēn ainōnion] above, but are in the nominative as if with [esontai] (shall be) understood (anger and wrath, both [orgē] and [thumos], tribulation and anguish, again a pair [thlipsis kai stenochōria] on which see 2Co 5:4; 12:10).

2:9 Every soul of man [pasan psuchēn anthrōpou]. See 13:1 for this use of [psuchē] for the individual. Of the Jew first and also of the Greek [Ioudaiou te prōton kai Hellēnos]. See on 1:16. First not only in penalty as here, but in privilege also as in 2:11; 1:16.

2:11 Respect of persons [prosōpolēmpsia]. Milligan (Vocabulary) considers this word (in N.T. only here, Col 3:25; Eph 6:9) and [prosōpolēmptēs] (Ac 10:34) and [prosōpolēmpteō] (Jas 2:9) the earliest definitely known Christian words, not in LXX or non-Christian writings. See on Ac 10:34 for the formation in imitation of the Hebrew to take note of the face [prosōpon, lambanō], to judge by the face or appearance.

2:12 Have sinned [hēmarton]. Constative aorist active indicative, “sinned,” a timeless aorist. Without law [anomōs]. Old adverb “contrary to law,” “unjustly,” but here in ignorance of the Mosaic law (or of any law). Nowhere else in N.T. Shall also perish without law [anomōs kai apolountai]. Future middle indicative of [apollumi], to destroy. This is a very important statement. The heathen who sin are lost, because they do not keep the law which they have, not because they do not have the Mosaic law or Christianity. Under law [en nomōi]. In the sphere of the Mosaic law. By the law [dia nomou]. The Jew has to stand or fall by the Mosaic law.

2:13 Not the hearers—but the doers [ou gar hoi akroatai—all’ hoi poiētai]. The law was read in the synagogue, but there was no actual virtue in listening. The virtue is in doing. See a like contrast by James between “hearers” and “doers” of the gospel (Jas 1:22-25). Before God [para tōi theōi]. By God’s side, as God looks at it. Shall be justified [dikaiōthēsontai]. Future passive indicative of [dikaioō], to declare righteous, to set right. “Shall be declared righteous.” Like Jas 1:22-25.

2:14 That have no law [ta mē nomon echonta]. Better, “that have not the law” (the Mosaic law). By nature [phusei]. Instrumental case of [phusis], old word from [phuō], to beget. The Gentiles are without the Mosaic law, but not without some knowledge of God in conscience and when they do right “they are a law to themselves” [heautois eisin nomos]. This is an obvious reply to the Jewish critic.

2:15 In that they [hoitines]. “The very ones who,” qualitative relative. Written in their hearts [grapton en tais kardiais autōn]. Verbal adjective of [graphō], to write. When their conduct corresponds on any point with the Mosaic law they practise the unwritten law in their hearts. Their conscience bearing witness therewith [sunmarturousēs autōn tēs suneidēseōs]. On conscience [suneidēsis] see on 1Co 8:7; 10:25f.; 2Co 1:12. Genitive absolute here with present active participle [sunmarturousēs] as in 9:1. The word [suneidēsis] means co-knowledge by the side of the original consciousness of the act. This second knowledge is personified as confronting the first (Sanday and Headlam). The Stoics used the word a great deal and Paul has it twenty times. It is not in the O.T., but first in this sense in Wisdom 17:10. All men have this faculty of passing judgment on their actions. It can be over-scrupulous (1Co 10:25) or “seared” by abuse (1Ti 4:12). It acts according to the light it has. Their thoughts one with another accusing or also excusing them [metaxu allēlōn tōn logismōn katēgorountōn ē kai apologoumenōn]. Genitive absolute again showing the alternative action of the conscience, now accusing, now excusing. Paul does not say that a heathen’s conscience always commends everything that he thinks, says, or does. In order for one to be set right with God by his own life he must always act in accord with his conscience and never have its disapproval. That, of course, is impossible else Christ died for naught (Ga 2:21). Jesus alone lived a sinless life. For one to be saved without Christ he must also live a sinless life.

2:16 According to my gospel [kata to euaggelion mou]. What Paul preaches (1Co 15:1) and which is the true gospel

2:17 Bearest the name [eponomazēi]. Present passive indicative in condition of first class of [eponomazō], old word, to put a name upon [epi], only here in N.T. “Thou art surnamed Jew” (Lightfoot). Jew as opposed to Greek denoted nationality while Hebrew accented the idea of language. Restest upon the law [epanapauēi nomōi]. Late and rare double compound, in LXX and once in the Didache. In N.T. only here and Lu 10:6 which see. It means to lean upon, to refresh oneself back upon anything, here with locative case [nomōi]. It is the picture of blind and mechanical reliance on the Mosaic law. Gloriest in God [kauchāsai en theōi]. Koinē vernacular form for [kauchāi] [kauchaesai, kauchāsai] of [kauchaomai] as in verse 23; 1Co 4:7 and [katakauchāsai] in Ro 11:18. The Jew gloried in God as a national asset and private prerogative (2Co 10:15; Ga 6:13). Approvest the things that are excellent [dokimazeis ta diapheronta]. Originally, “Thou testest the things that differ,” and then as a result comes the approval for the excellent things. As in Php 1:10 it is difficult to tell which stage of the process Paul has in mind. Instructed out of the law [katēchoumenos ek tou nomou]. Present passive participle of [katēcheō], a rare verb to instruct, though occurring in the papyri for legal instruction. See on Lu 1:4; 1Co 14:19. The Jew’s “ethical discernment was the fruit of catechetical and synagogical instruction in the Old Testament” (Shedd).

2:19 A guide of the blind [hodēgon tuphlōn]. Accusative [hodēgon] in predicate with [einai] to agree with [seauton], accusative of general reference with infinitive [einai] in indirect discourse after [pepoithas]. Late word (Polybius, Plutarch) from [hodos], way, and [hēgeomai], to lead, one who leads the way. [Tuphlōn] is objective genitive plural. The Jews were meant by God to be guides for the Gentiles, for salvation is of the Jews (Joh 4:22). A light [phōs]. “A light for those in darkness” [tōn en skotei], objective genitive again). But this intention of God about the Jews had resulted in conceited arrogance on their part.

2:20 A corrector of the foolish [paideutēn aphronōn]. Old word (from [paideuō] for instructor, in Plato, and probably so here, though corrector or chastiser in Heb 12:9 (the only N.T. instances). See Lu 23:16. Late inscriptions give it as instructor (Preisigke). [Aphronōn] is a hard word for Gentiles, but it is the Jewish standpoint that Paul gives. Each termed the other “dogs.” Of babes [nēpiōn]. Novitiates or proselytes to Judaism just as in Ga 4:1. Paul used it of those not of legal age. The form [tēn morphōsin]. Rare word only in Theophrastus and Paul (here and 2Ti 3:5). Pallis regards it as a Stoical term for education. Lightfoot considers the [morphōsis] as “the rough-sketch, the pencilling of the [morphē],” the outline or framework, and in 2Ti 3:5 “the outline without the substance.” This is Paul’s picture of the Jew as he sees himself drawn with consummate skill and subtle irony.

2:21 Thou therefore that teachest another [ho oun didaskōn heteron]. Paul suddenly breaks off (anacoluthon) the long sentence that began in verse 17 and starts over again with a phrase that gathers it all up in small compass (teachest) and drives it home (therefore) on the Jew (thyself). Not to steal [mē kleptein]. Infinitive with [] in indirect command (indirect discourse) after [kerussōn]. Dost thou steal? [klepteis?]. The preaching [kerussōn] was fine, but the practice? A home-thrust. Should not commit adultery [mē moicheuein]. Infinitive in direct command again after [legōn]. “The Talmud charges the crime of adultery upon the three most illustrious Rabbins” (Vincent).

2:22 That abhorrest [ho bdelussomenos]. Old word to make foul, to stink, to have abhorrence for. In LXX, in N.T. only here and Re 21:8. The very word used by Jesus to express their horror of idols [eidōla], see on Ac 7:41; 1Co 12:2). See Mt 24:15 for “abomination.” Dost thou rob temples? [hierosuleis?]. Old verb from [hierosulos] (Ac 19:37) and that from [hieron], temple, and [sulaō], to rob. The town clerk (Ac 19:37) said that these Jews (Paul and his companions) were “not robbers of temples,” proof that the charge was sometimes made against Jews, though expressly forbidden the Jews (Josephus, Ant. IV. 8, 10). Paul refers to the crime of robbing idol temples in spite of the defilement of contact with idolatry.

2:23 Through thy transgression of the law [dia tēs parabaseōs tou nomou]. Old word for stepping across a line. Trench calls attention to “the mournfully numerous group of words” for the varieties of sin like [agnoēma], ignorance, [anomia], violation of law, [hamartia], missing the mark, [hettēma], falling short, [parabasis], passing over the line, [parakoē], disobedience to a voice, [paranomia], putting the law aside, [paraptōma], falling down, [plēmmeleia], discord.

2:24 Because of you [di’ humas]. Free quotation from the LXX of Isa 52:5. The Jews were jealous for the Name of God and would not pronounce the Tetragrammaton and yet acted so that the Gentiles blasphemed that Name.

2:25 If thou be a doer of the law [ean nomon prasseis]. Condition of third class and the present (continued action) subjunctive of [prassō], a verb meaning to do as a habit. Is become uncircumcision [akrobustia gegonen]. The Jew is then like the Gentile, with no privilege at all. Circumcision was simply the seal of the covenant relation of Israel with God.

2:26 Keep [phulassēi]. Present subjunctive with [ean], condition of third class, mere supposition like that in verse 25, “keep on keeping” perfectly, Paul means. For [eis]. As often in N.T.

2:27 If it fulfill the law [ton nomon telousa]. Present active participle (conditional use of the participle) of [teleō], to finish, continually fulfilling to the end (as would be necessary). Judge thee [krinei—se]. Unusual position of [se] (thee) so far from the verb [krinei]. With the letter and circumcision [dia grammatos kai peritomēs]. [Dia] means here accompanied by, with the advantage of.

2:28 Which is one outwardly [ho en tōi phanerōi]. [Ioudaios] (Jew) has to be repeated (ellipse) with the article, “the in the open Jew” (circumcision, phylacteries, tithes, etc.). Likewise repeat [peritomē] (circumcision).

2:29 Who is one inwardly [ho en tōi kruptōi]. Repeat [Ioudaios] (Jew) here also, “the in the inward part Jew” (circumcision of the heart [peritomē kardias] and not a mere surgical operation as in Col 2:11, in the spirit [en pneumati], with which compare 2Co 3:3, 6). This inward or inside Jew who lives up to his covenant relation with God is the high standard that Paul puts before the merely professional Jew described above. Whose praise [hou ho epainos]. The antecedent of the relative [hou] is [Ioudaios] (Jew). Probably (Gifford) a reference to the etymology of Judah (praise) as seen in Ga 49:8.

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