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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Romans 2

Verse 1

Romans 2:1 . Διὸ , wherefore ). Paul passes from the Gentiles to the Jews, as the whole of the following discourse clearly shows; and yet he does not use the transitive, but the illative particle, of which two the latter, as being the more powerful, absorbs the former. The Gentile does evil; the Jew does evil. Then in the 6th and following verses, he comprehends both, Jews and Gentiles. ἀναπολόγητος , inexcusable .) Man seeks to defend himself. ἄνθρωπε , O man ) In ch. 1 he spoke of the Gentiles in the third person, but he deals with the Jew in the second person singular; even as the law itself deals with the Jew, not in the second, but in the third person singular; because it had no concern with any one but the Jew. Comp. ch. Romans 3:19 . But the apostle, who directs his discourse to Gentiles and Jews, addresses the Jew indeed in the second person singular, but calls him by the name [O man ] common to all. comp. ch. Romans 1:18 ; nor does he acknowledge the Jew , as such, Romans 2:17 ; Romans 2:28 . The same difference between the third and second persons occurs again, Romans 2:14 ; Romans 2:17 . It is a not dissimilar circumstance, that the Gentiles are put off [as to their condemnation] till the final judgment, Romans 2:16 ; but the Jews are threatened by the law with a present judgment also [besides the final one Romans 2:2 .] ὁ κρίνων , thou that judgest ) being removed [ i.e. wherein thou art distinguished] from those that have pleasure in evil-doers, Romans 1:32 . Paul uses a weighty expression. The Jew esteems himself superior to the Greek, Romans 2:19 , etc. Paul now calls that an act of judging , and by it opens up a way for himself, with a view to show the judgment of God. It is mere self-love in a man, that, in proportion as he thinks others worse than himself, he thinks the better of himself, Galatians 6:4 . The figure paregmenon [21] occurs here; for κατακρίνεις follows. Comp. ch. Romans 14:22-23 ; 1 Corinthians 4:3 , etc., Romans 11:29 , etc.; James 2:4 . ἓτερον , another ) who is of no concern to thee; whose more open unrighteousness profits thee nothing; a heathen.

[21] A joining together of conjugate forms, or of simples and compounds, ex. gr. here, κρίνεις , κατακρίνεις . ED.

Verse 2

Romans 2:2 . Οἴδαμεν ) we know; without thy teaching, O man, that judgest [we know]. τὸ κρίμα τοῦ Θεοῦ , the judgment of God); not thine, thou that exceptest thyself. κατὰ ἀλήθειαν ) according to the truth of the highest kind , without distinction; just as His judgment is called δἱκαιον , righteous , at Romans 2:5-6 ; Romans 2:11 ; not merely having respect to external acts, but also to internal thoughts Romans 2:16 [the secrets of men].

Verse 3

Romans 2:3 . σύ , thou ) as distinguished from the Gentile; every one, even without a cause, makes his own self an exception [as regards condemnation]; and flatters himself, although he knows not himself, on what grounds. ἐκφεύξη , shalt thou escape? ) through the loopholes, which thou seekest. Every one, that is arraigned, φεύγει , tries to escape [ ὁ φεύγων is the technical term for a defendant;διώκων , the accuser ]; he who is acquitted, ἐκφεύγει , escapes .

Verse 4

Romans 2:4 . Ἢ , or ). Men easily become despisers of goodness, while they are not sensible of the judgment of God. The particle ἤ , or , properly acts as a disjunctive between the vain thought [on their part] of escape , and the palpable treasuring up of wrath in consequence of their abuse of goodness itself. χρηστότητος , ἀνοχῆς , μακροθυμίας , goodness, forbearance, long-suffering ) since thou hast both sinned, and art now sinning, and wilt sin. [ By goodness , GOD restrains His wrath, Romans 2:5 : by forbearance, He as it were, keeps Himself unknown, until He is revealed, Romans 2:5 : by long-suffering He delays His righteous judgment, ibid . V. g.] Presently after, τὸ χρηστὸν , the goodness of God, implies all these three. Even those, who shall be condemned hereafter, had the power, and it was their duty, to have repented. ἀγνοῶν , ignorant ). Paul wonders at this ignorance. ἄγει ) leads pleasantly; does not compel by necessity.

Verse 5

Romans 2:5 . Δὲ , but ) The antithesis is between the despising of the riches of His goodness , and the treasuring up of wrath . σκληρότητα , hardness ) Its antithesis is χρηστόν . ἀμετανόητον καρδίαν ) The antithesis is μετάνοιαν . He meant to say ἀμετανοησίαν : to which word, later writers show no aversion; but Paul avoided an unusual term. θησαυρίζεις , thou treasurest up), although thou, O man, thinkest, that thou art treasuring up all kinds of blessedness. O what a treasure may a man lay up, during so many hours of his life, on either side! [either for heaven, or else hell], Matthew 18:24 ; 1 Timothy 6:18 . σεαυτῷ ) for thyself , not for the other, whom thou judgest. ὀργὴν ὀργῆς , wrath of wrath ) The idea of Δεινότης [vehemence] of language is here conveyed with great force. Why is it, that many have no sense of wrath? [Because] The day of wrath is not yet; but it shall be. ἐν ἡμέρᾳ ). [22] When ἐν refers to time, it denotes the present; εἰς , the future. [23] That day is present to God [therefore ἐν ἡμέρᾳ , present, is used]. But this expression may also be construed with ὈΡΓΉΝ . [Beng. seems to have construed ἘΝ ἩΜΈΡᾼ with ΘΗΣΑΥΡΊΖΕΙς ]. ἈΠΟΚΑΛΎΨΕΩς , of the revelation ) When God shall be revealed, the secrets of man shall be revealed, Romans 2:16 . καὶ δικαιοκρίσιας ). By far the greatest weight of testimony, and the unquestionable antithesis between ἈΝΟΧῆς and ἈΠΟΚΑΛΎΨΕΩς , which is most worthy of the apostle (such as there is also between ἈΝΟΧῊΝ and ἜΝΔΕΙΞΙΝ , ch. Romans 3:26 ; Psa 50:21 ), confirm the reading of the particle ΚΑἸ , Romans 2:4 , Τῆς ΧΡΗΣΤΌΤΗΤΟς , ΚΑῚ Τῆς ἈΝΟΧῆς , ΚΑῚ Τῆς ΜΑΚΡΟΘΥΜΊΑς · Romans 2:5 , ὈΡΓῆς ΚΑῚ ἈΠΟΚΑΛΎΨΕΩς , ΚΑῚ ΔΙΚΑΙΟΚΡΙΣΊΑς . [24] ἈΝΟΧῊ and ἈΠΟΚΆΛΥΨΙς have respect to God, and are compared together, as ἈΝΟΧῊ and ἜΝΔΕΙΞΙς are at ch. Romans 3:25 ; ΜΑΚΡΟΘΥΜΊΑ and ΔΙΚΑΙΟΚΡΙΣΊΑ refer to the sinner, ΧΡΗΣΤΌΤΗς and ὈΡΓῊ are put generally. Wherefore the particle ΚΑῚ should not have been admitted, as it is by some; it is supported also by Orige [25] , in his work against Celsus, in the MS. at Bâle, as Sam. Battier informs us in his Biblioth. Brem., Class vi., p. 98. Instead of ἈΠΟΚΑΛΎΨΕΩς the Alex. MS. has ἈΝΤΑΠΟΔΌΣΕΩς . I formerly omitted to notice this various reading, which arose from its having the same letters at the beginning as the verb ἈΠΟΔΏΣΕΙ , and is quite out of place here; nor do I use it now to defend that ΚΑῚ which follows immediately after. Erasmus observes, that ΔΙΚΑΙΟΚΡΙΣΊΑς , was a word newly coined to express a thing not formerly known among [acknowledged on the part of] men.

[22] Wrath to be revealed in the day of wrath. ED.

[23] ἐις τὴν ἡμέραν would be against the coming day. ED.

[24] The later Syr. Version, and Origen in three passages, also the Λ MS., read the καί before δικαιοκρ . But ABG Vulg. Syr. Memph. fg . Origen in three other passages, and Lucifer, agree with Rec. Text, in omitting καί . ED.

[25] rigen (born about 186 A.D., died 253 A.D., a Greek father: two-thirds of the N. Test. are quoted in his writings). Ed. Vinc. Delarue, Paris. 1733, 1740, 1759.

Verse 6

Romans 2:6 . Ὃς ἀποδώσει ἑκάστῳ κατὰ τὰ ἔργαυτο ͂ υ ). So the LXX. expressly in Proverbs 24:12 , and Ps. 62:13, συ ἀποδώσεις κτλ . This saying, and especially that below, Romans 2:11 , is often quoted. ἀποδώσει , will render ) not only will give , but will repay . [ See that you make this the rule of your plans . V. g.] κατὰ , according to ) Paul describes those, who shall obtain either life or death, generally, and according to the condition [or else in a way suited to the apprehension ] of those, with whom he is concerned in this place, cutting them off still from all special ground of obtaining or losing salvation. Therefore, this passage is of no advantage to the argument for the merit of good works.

Verse 7

Romans 2:7 . Τοῖς ) sc. οὖσι ; comp. the following verse; for κατὰ (see Acts 25:23 ,) is employed here nearly in the same sense as ἐξ , next verse; save that ἐξ implies a something natural to the sinner; κατὰ , a something supervenient [not natural, but super-induced ]. You will see the difference, if you interchange the particles with one another: ἐξ ὑπομονῆς κτλ . In this view, τοῖς and ζητοῦσι stand in apposition, the conjunction being omitted by the figure asyndeton. [26] ὑπομονὴν ἔργου , patience in work ) so the patience of hope, 1 Thessalonians 1:3 ; ὑπομονὴ , patience , includes, in this passage, obedience, steadiness, and that, too, with submission. ἔργου , in work . There is great force in the singular number here ( well-doing . Engl. Vers.; the good work is referred to, of which), Philippians 1:6 ; Revelation 22:12 . δόξαν , glory ) The construction is, τοῖς δόξαν κτλ ζητοῦσιν ( ἀποδώσει ) ζωήν , to those who seek for glory, etc . ( he will render ) life . Pure love does not exclude faith, hope, desire, 1 Corinthians 15:58 . ζητοῦσι , to them that seek ) Whereas thou, O Jew, thinkest, that thou hast no need of any seeking [ Industry is requisite . V. g.]

[26] Beng. construes it “to them who are animated by ( κατά ) patient continuance in well-doing, even those who seek glory, etc. ED.]

Verses 7-8

Romans 2:7-8 . Τοῖς μὲν τοῖς δέ , to these on the one hand but to them on the other ) a more important distinction, than many now think.

Verse 8

Romans 2:8 . Τοῖς δὲ ἐξ ἐριθείας , but unto them that are [influenced by contention] contentious . Paul shrunk from saying directly: God will render to them , that are contentious, death or everlasting destruction . He therefore leaves that matter to be supplied, by the conscience of the sinner, from the preceding antithesis; He will render , not certainly eternal life; and he turns the discourse to those things, which follow. Τοῖς here, has therefore the force of ל prefixed, and signifies as concerns. Comp. ch. Romans 4:12 , notes. Accordingly there follows, with great propriety, ἐπὶ πᾶσαν ; for we have also, Exodus 20:5 , ἐπὶ τέκνα , ἐπὶ τρίτην καὶ τετάρτην γενεὰν , τοῖς μισοῦσί με , upon the children, upon the third and fourth generation, as concerns them that hate me. Furthermore, ἐξ , from or of, as in Romans 2:27 , and often elsewhere, denotes a party or sect; in reference to those, who are of a contentious party or nation, like thee, O Jew, setting themselves in resistance to God. The character of false Judaism is disobedience, contumacy, impatience. τῇ ἀληθείᾳ , τῃ ἀδικίᾳ , truth, unrighteousness) These two are often opposed to each other, 1 Corinthians 13:6 ; 2Th 2:10 ; 2 Thessalonians 2:12 ; truth includes righteousness, and unrighteousness implies at the same time falsehood. θυμὸς καὶ ὀργή ) LXX., Psalms 78:0 (77):49, θυμὸν καὶ ὀργὴν καὶ θλίψιν ; θυμὸς inflicts punishment; ὀργή follows up an offence. The propriety respectively of these words is seen in Ephesians 4:31-32 , where τὸ χαρίζεσθαι is opposed to τῇ ὀργῇ , and εὔσπλαγχνον to θυμὸς . θυμὸς is defined by the Stoics to be ὀργὴ ἀρχομένη , the beginning of anger. Nor should we despise the explanation of Ammonius, θυμὸς μἐν ἐστι πρόσκαιρος , ὀργὴ δὲ πολυχρόνιος μνησικακία ; θυμὸς is only temporary; ὀργὴ is the lasting remembrance of injuries. [27]

[27] θύμος Th. θύω , boiling indignation; ὀργή , abiding wrath , with a settled purpose of revenge, ἐπιθνμία τιμωρίας . ED.

Verse 9

Romans 2:9 . Θλίψις καὶ στενοχωρία , affliction and anxiety [ tribulation and anguish ]. θλίψις , affliction or tribulation for the present; στενοχωρίκ , anxiety or anguish , in regard to things future; θλίψις , affliction , or tribulation , presses down; στενοχωρία , frets and harasses [œstuat et urget], Job 15:20 , etc. In these words we have a proof of the avenging justice of God; for the anger of God has for its object, to teach the sinful creature, who is experiencing wrath and every species of adversity, to have himself, because in his whole conduct, he has set himself in opposition to God; and so long as the creature shrinks from this most just hatred of himself, he continues under punishment. πᾶσαν ψυχὴν , every soul ) This term adds to the universal character of the discourse, ch. Romans 13:1 . πρῶτον , first ). So Psalms 94:10 : He that chastiseth the nations , shall he not correct (you among the people?). The Greek is a partaker [in the judgment] along with the Jew.

Verses 9-10

Romans 2:9-10 . Κατεργαζομένου · ἐργαζομένῳ ). The distinction between these words is more easily felt, than explained, more easily ridiculed, than refuted. There is another distinction: ἐπὶ ψυχήν is said of the punishment; for punishment falls upon it , and the soul will bear it unwillingly; παντὶ τῳ ἐργαζομένῳ , the dative of advantage, is said of the reward.

Verse 10

Romans 2:10 . Δόξα δἐ καὶ τιμὴ , but glory and honour. Glory , originating in the Divine good pleasure; honour , originating in the reward bestowed by God; and peace , for the present and for ever. For the δὲ , but , expresses the opposition between wrath , and glory; indignation , and honour; affliction and anxiety [ tribulation and anguish ], and peace . Comp. ch. Romans 3:17 ; Romans 3:16 , of which catalogue the joys are viewed, as they proceed from God; the sorrows as they are felt by man; for the latter are put absolutely in the nominative, while the former, on the contrary, are put in the accusative in Romans 2:7 , as being such things, as God bestows. But why are honour and sorrow set in opposition to each other, since disgrace is the converse of honour, sorrow of pleasure? Ans.: In this passage, we must carefully attend to the word ἐιρήνη , peace , which is here opposed to sorrow , that is to say, to tribulation and anguish . But at Isaiah 65:13 , joy (and honour) is opposed to shame (and grief), each of the two parts of the sentence being expressed in abbreviated form, and requiring to be supplied from its own opposite. Besides, in the classification of goods, honour is the highest good, and, in the classification of punishments, sorrow is the greatest punishment; and the highest degree on the one side, including all below it, is opposed to the highest degree on the other; so we have glorying and woe , 1 Corinthians 9:16 .

Verse 12

Romans 2:12 . Ὅσοι γὰρ , for as many ) the Gentiles: and as many , the Jews. ἀνόμως ) This word occurs twice by antanaclasis, [28] in the sense, not in the law, not by the law , ( ὀυκ ἐν νόμῳ , ὀυ διὰ νόμου ) as is evident from the antithesis. ἥμαρτον ) sinned : the past tense, [past] in reference to the time of judgment [shall then be found to have sinned]. καὶπολο ͂ υνται , they shall also perish ) the word, also , denotes the correspondence between the mode of sinning, and the mode of perishing; he says, they shall also perish; for it was not convenient to say, in this instance, ἀνόμως , they shall be judged without law , as he presently after says aptly, they shall be judged by law . ἐν νόμῳ ) [ in , or] with the law , not, [as the heathen], ἀνόμως , without law, i.e. since they had the law. διὰ νόμου , by the law ) ch. Romans 3:20 .

[28] See Appendix.

Verse 13

Romans 2:13 . Οὑ γαρ , for not ) A Proposition [Statement of Subject] clearly standing forth, the words of which have respect also to the Gentiles, but are particularly adapted to the Jews; concerning the former, Romans 2:14 , etc. treats; concerning the latter, Romans 2:17 , etc.; wherefore, also, Rom 2:16 depends on Romans 2:15 , not on Romans 2:12 . They have caused much confusion, who enclosed within a parenthesis the passage beginning at the 14th, nay, rather at the 13th verse, and ending with the 15. οἱ ἀκροαταὶ , hearers ), inactive, however sedulous [in hearing] they may be. παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ , before [with] God ) Romans 2:2 . ποιηταὶ , doers ) namely, if men have shown themselves to be doers , ch. Romans 10:5 . They may do things pertaining to the law , but they cannot prove [warrant] themselves to be the doers of the whole law . δικαιωθήσονται , shall be justified ) This verb, in contradistinction to the noun δίκαιοι , which denotes men actually righteous , involves a condition, which is to be performed, and then [the condition being fulfilled] the declaration of their being righteous, as about to follow [as the consequence] in the day of the divine judgment.

Verse 14

Romans 2:14 . Ὅταν , when ) After Paul has finished the refutation of the perverse judgment of the Jews against the Gentiles, he next proceeds to show the true judgment of God against the latter. He treats here of the Gentiles more directly, for the purpose of convicting them; and yet, what is granted to them in passing, is granted with this end in view, that the Jew may be dealt with the more heavily; but Rom 2:26 treats of the Gentiles quite incidentally, in order to convict the Jew. Wherefore, ὅταν , when , is used here [ Rom 2:14 ]; ἐὰν , if , there [ Rom 2:26 ]. γὰρ for ) He gives the reason, why the Gentiles should also be required to be the doers of the law; for when they do ever so little of it, they recognise their obligations to obey it. And yet he shows, that they cannot be justified by the law of nature, or by their ownselves. There are four sentences beginning with the words: when these who the conscience bearing witness along with . The second is explained by the third, the first by the fourth. ἔθνη ) Not, τὰ ἔθνη ; some individuals of the Gentiles; and yet there is no man, who does not fulfil some of the requirements of the law ( ἐκ τῶν τοῦ νόμου ). He did not choose to say ἐθνικοὶ , which is usually taken rather in a bad sense. μὴ νόμον · νόμον μὴ , not the law: the law not ) Not even here is the change in the arrangement of the words without a reason; in the former place, the not is the emphatic word, so that greater force may be given to the, have not; in the latter place, the word νόμον , the law , contains the emphasis, thus forming an antithesis to the ἑαυτοις , unto themselves . So also, νὁμος , law , has sometimes the article, and sometimes not, and not without a good reason in each instance, Romans 2:13 ; Romans 2:23 ; Romans 2:27 ; Romans 3:19-21 ; Romans 7:1 ., etc. φύσει , by nature ) The construction is, μὴ νόμον ἔχοντα φύσει , not having the law by nature . [29] [But Engl. vers. joins nature with do , not with having ] precisely as in Romans 2:27 , ἡ ἐκ φύσεως ἀκροβυστία , the uncircumcision by nature , contrary to the Syriac version of Romans 2:27 , which connects the word nature with doing , “ doing by nature the law .” The Gentiles are by nature (that is, when left to themselves, as they are born, not as individuals, but as nations), destitute of the (written) law; the Jews are by nature Jews, Galatians 2:15 , and therefore have by nature the (written) law, ch. Romans 11:24 , the end of the verse. Nor yet, however, is there any danger, that the force of the construction, which most follow, do by nature those things, which are of [contained in] the law , should be lost; for what the Gentiles, who have not the law, do, they in reality do by nature . The term law , in the writings of the apostle, does not occur in the philosophical, but in the Hebrew use; therefore, the phrase, natural law , is not found in sacred Scripture; Rom 2:12 shows, that the thing itself is true. ποιῇ do ), not only in actual performance, but also in their inmost thoughts, Romans 2:15 , at the end. οὗτοι , these ) This little word turns the collective noun ἔθνη , Gentiles , to a distributive sense [so far to wit as they really do it . V. g.] νόμος , a law ) What the law is to the Jews, that the Gentiles are to their ownselves.

[29] It may be thought by this interpretation, that the clause which precedes the words , von Natur, in the German version should be omitted to avoid the ambiguity, although, perhaps , the Author knowingly and willingly made use of the ambiguous [equivocal] punctuation. E. B.

Verse 15

Romans 2:15 . Ἐνδείκνυνται , they show ) [demonstrate] to themselves, to others, and, in some respects, to God Himself. τὸ ἔργον τοῦ νόμου , the work of the law ), the law itself, with its practical [active] operation. It is opposed to the letter, which is but an accident [not its essence]. γραπτὸν , written ), a noun, not a participle, much less an infinitive [ to be written ]. Paul, by way of contrast, alludes to the tables of Moses. This writing is antecedent to the doing of those things, which are contained in the law; but afterwards, when any one has done, or (has not done) the things commanded, [ the demonstration, or ] the showing [of the work of the law] follows, and that permanent writing [viz., that on the heart] becomes more clearly apparent συμμαρτυρούσης , simultaneously bearing witness ) An allegory; the prosecution, the criminal, the witnesses are in court; conscience is a witness; the thoughts accuse, or also defend. Nature, and sin itself, bear witness : conscience bears witness along with them . αὐτῶν ) of themselves , or their own . τῆς συνειδήσεως , the conscience ) The soul has none of its faculties less under its own control, than conscience. So συνείδησις and λογισμός are joined, Wis 17:11-12 . μεταξὺ ἀλλήλων , between one another ) as prosecutor and criminal. This expression is put at the beginning of the clause for the sake of emphasis, inasmuch as thoughts implicated in the trial with thoughts , are opposed to conscience referred to the law . τῶν λογισμῶν κατηγορούντων , their thoughts accusing ) Some explain [analyse] the words thus: the thoughts, which accuse, testifying simultaneously [taken from συμμαρτυρούσης ]; but thoughts accusing [ τῶν λογισμῶν κατηγορούντων ] is an expression, which stands by itself. ἤ καὶ , or even ) The concessive particle, even , shows that the thoughts have far more to accuse, than defend, and the defence itself (comp. 2 Corinthians 7:11 , defending or clearing of yourselves ) does not extend to the whole, but only to a part of the conduct, and this very part in turn proves us to be debtors as to the whole, Romans 1:20 . ἀπολογουμένων , [excusing] defending ). We have an example at Genesis 20:4 .

Verse 16

Romans 2:16 . Ἐν ἡμέρᾳ , in the day ) It is construed with show , for the present tense is no objection; Rom 2:5 employs the present in the same general way. And Paul often says, in the day of the Lord , which implies more than against [or unto the day ] 1Co 5:5 comp. before , or in the presence of 1 Timothy 5:21 , note. Such as each thing was, such it shall then be seen, be determined, and remain. In that day, that writing of the law on the hearts of men will be manifest, having also joined with it some defence of upright acts, although the man be condemned [fall] in the judgment , himself being his own accuser, on account of other offences. And that circumstance implies, as a consequence, [infers] (reasoning, from the greater to the less, i.e. , from the final judgment, to the judgments of conscience in the present life), accusation, or even defence, exercised in this life also, as often as either the future judgment itself is vividly presented before a man, or its anticipations, without the man’s own privity (consciousness), are at work in the conscience. Comp. 1 John 4:17 . And Scripture often speaks so of the future, especially of the last things, as that it presupposes those which precede them. The Jews at Romans 2:5 , as the Gentiles in this passage, are threatened with the future judgment. τὰ κρυπτὰ , the secrets ) the conscience , and the thoughts . Comp. 1 Corinthians 4:5 . This confirms the connection of this verse with the preceding. The true quality of actions, generally unknown even to the agents themselves, depends on the secrets. See Romans 2:29 . Men judge by outward manifestations, even concerning themselves. Outward manifestations of good or evil will also be judged, but not then for the first time; for they are judged, even from the time in which they are wrought; deeds, that are secret, are then at length brought to judgment. τῶν ἀνθρώπων , of men ) even of the Gentiles. κατὰ , according to ) i.e. as my Gospel teaches. Paul adds this short clause, because he is here dealing with a man, who does not yet know Jesus Christ. The Gospel is the whole preaching as to Christ; and Christ will be the Judge; and the judgment in regard to the Gentiles, is not so expressly declared in the Old, as in the New Testament. And it is called the Gospel of Paul, as it was preached by Paul, even to the Gentiles. Acts 17:31 . All the articles of evangelical doctrine, and the article concerning the final judgment, greatly illustrate one another; and moreover, this very article, even in respect of believers, is altogether evangelical. Acts 10:42 ; 1 Peter 4:5 .

Verse 17

Romans 2:17 . Εἰ δὲ , but if ) If comp. when , Rom 2:14 has some resemblance to an Anaphora, [30] with the exception that ὅταν , when , having reference to the Gentiles, asserts more; εἰ , if , used with respect to the Jews, concedes less. After if , οὖν , therefore [ Rom 2:21 ], follows, like ἀλλὰ , but, (ch. Rom 6:5 ) [31] and ΔῈ , truly Acts 11:17 . [32] Comp. Matthew 25:27 . Moreover, the ΟὐΝ , therefore , in a subsequent verse ( Rom 2:21 ), brings to a conclusion the somewhat long protasis, which begins with εἰ , if . Ἰουδαῖος , a Jew ) This, the highest point of Jewish boasting (a farther description of it being interposed at Romans 2:17-20 , and its refutation being added, Rom 2:21-24 ), is itself refuted at the 25th and following verses. Moreover, the description of his boasting consists of twice five clauses, of which the first five, from thou restest ( Rom 2:17 ), to, out of the law ( Rom 2:18 ), show what the Jew assumes to himself; the rest, as many in number as the former, thou art confident ( Rom 2:19 ), to, in the law ( Rom 2:20 ), show, what more the Jew, from this circumstance, arrogates to himself, in reference to others. On both sides [in both series], the first clause of one corresponds to the first of the other, the second to the second, and so on in succession; and as the fifth clause in the former series, instructed , Romans 2:18 , so the fifth in the latter, having , Romans 2:20 [the form of knowledge] denotes a cause: because thou art instructed , [answering to] because thou hast . ἐπονομάζῃ ) in the middle voice: thou callest thyself by this name, and delightest to be so called . ἐπαναπαύῃ ) thou restest in that, which threatens to put thee in a strait; thou hast in the law a schoolmaster, instead of a father [as you fancy the law to be]. Τῷ νόμῳ , in the law ) Paul purposely [knowingly] makes frequent use of this name. ἐν Θεῷ , in God ), as though He were One, who is peculiarly thy God.

[30] See Appendix.

[31] ABC Λ read ἀλλά there. G fg Vulg. read ἅμα , simul.

[32] EG e Rec. Text, Theb. Vers. read δέ , who truly was I , etc. ABC d Vulg. omit δέ . ED.

Verse 18

Romans 2:18 . Τό θέλημα ) the will , that is, whatever has been ratified by the law; so, the will , absolutely, Matthew 18:14 ; 1 Corinthians 16:12 . But this will is nothing else, than the will of God; but a strong feeling of piety [ εὐλάβεια , pious caution] prevented Paul from adding, of God . δοκιμαζεὶς ) provest , approvest.

Verse 19

Romans 2:19 . Ἐν σκότει , in the darkness of congenital ignorance [ignorance, accompanying the heathen from birth].

Verse 20

Romans 2:20 . μόρφωσιν ) The word is taken here in a good sense, in reference to the Jew, who is boasting: the form , or correct outline . τῆς γνώσως καὶ τῆς ἀληθείας , of knowledge and of the truth ) a Hendiadys; the truth in this passage expresses accuracy in established doctrine, in our days called orthodoxy .

Verse 21

Romans 2:21 . Οὐ διδάσκεις , dost thou not teach ) a Metonymy for the consequent (that is, substituting the antecedent for the consequent), he, who doth not practise, doth not teach his own self. κηρύσσων , preaching ) loudly, clearly.

Verses 21-22

Romans 2:21-22 . Κλέπτεις , μοιχεύεις , ἱεροσυλεῖς , dost thou commit theft, adultery, sacrilege? ) Thou sinnest most heinously against thy neighbour, against thyself, and against God. Paul had shown to the Gentiles, that their sins were first against God, secondly against themselves, and thirdly against others; he now inverts the order; for sins against God are very openly practised among the Gentiles; not so, in the case of the Jew. ὁ βδελυσσόμενος , thou that abhorrest ) even in speaking. τα εἴδωλα , idols ) The Jews, from the Babylonish captivity even to the present day, abhor idolatry, to which they had been formerly addicted: nevertheless they even put Christ to death, and [still] oppose the Gospel and the glory of God. ἱεροσυλεῖς , dost thou commit sacrilege? ) because thou dost not give God the glory, which peculiarly belongs to God.

Verse 24

Romans 2:24 . Τὸ γὰρ ὄνομα ) Isaiah 52:5 , in the LXX., διʼ ὑμᾶς διὰ παντὸς τὸ ὀνομά μον βλασφημεῖται ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσι , through you My name is continually blasphemed among the Gentiles . Comp. Ezekiel 36:20 , etc. καθὼς γἐγραπται , as it is written ) This short clause is fittingly placed at the end, as it refers to a thing evident of itself, but it is set down for the sake of the Jews, ch. Romans 3:19 .

Verse 25

Romans 2:25 . Ὠφελεῖ , profiteth ) He does not say justifieth; the profit is described chap. 3 and 4 Circumcision was still practised among the (believing) Jews. ἐὰν , if ) Paul not only speaks, using the ad hominem argument [argument on his adversary’s own principles to confute him], but also speaks according to his own sentiments, and shows, that they are deceiving themselves, who are trusting to circumcision, though they have violated the law. παραβάτης , a transgressor ) A word abhorred by a Jew, Romans 2:27 .

Verse 26

Romans 2:26 . Ἡ ἀκροβυστία , uncircumcision ) that is, a person uncircumcised, for to this the αὐτοῦ , his , is referred. λογισθήσεται ) The future; shall be counted , by a righteous judgment. In Romans 2:25 , γέγονεν , the preterite, implies, is now made .

Verse 27

Romans 2:27 . Κρινεῖ , shall judge ) Those, whom thou now judgest, will in their turn judge thee at the day of judgment, Romans 2:16 . Mat 12:41 ; 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 . τελοῦσα , keeping (if it fulfil): a word of large meaning. Therefore ἐὰν , if , Romans 2:26 , has a conditional meaning, and does not positively assert. σὲ , thee ), who art its judge [the self-constituted judge of the uncircumcised]. τὸν ) the article does not properly belong to παραβάτην , but τὸν διὰ is used as ἡ ἐκ . διὰ [ by , or] with ) Thou hast the letter, but thou even abusest it; there is an antithesis between by nature , and with the letter; then follows a Hendiadys, by the letter and circumcision . Concerning the letter and spirit, see ch. Romans 7:6 .

Verse 28

Romans 2:28 . Ὁ ἐν ), a periphrasis for the adjective. ἐν σαρκί , in the flesh ) opposed to [that] of the heart , Romans 2:29 .

Verse 29

Romans 2:29 . Οο ͂, whose ), who seeks praise and has it, not from men, etc. ἔπαινος , praise ) The allusion is to the name Jew [ Judah ], יודוך , they shall praise thee, Genesis 49:8 . He therefore adds, οὗ , not ἧς [ περιτομῆς ]. This is the solution: The Jew who is one inwardly, he is the Jew, who has praise; as much as to say, this is true Judaism. It is opposed to the judging [ Rom 2:3 ]. οὐκ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων , not of men), who, when they praise themselves, boast, Romans 2:17 . Θεοῦ , of God), who sees the heart.

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Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Romans 2". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.