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Romans 2:1-3

Context
The Condemnation of the Moralist

2:1 1 Therefore 2  you are without excuse, 3  whoever you are, 4  when you judge someone else. 5  For on whatever grounds 6  you judge another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge practice the same things. 2:2 Now we know that God’s judgment is in accordance with truth 7  against those who practice such things. 2:3 And do you think, 8  whoever you are, when you judge 9  those who practice such things and yet do them yourself, 10  that you will escape God’s judgment?

Romans 2:21-25

Context
2:21 therefore 11  you who teach someone else, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 2:22 You who tell others not to commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor 12  idols, do you rob temples? 2:23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by transgressing the law! 2:24 For just as it is written, “the name of God is being blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” 13 

2:25 For circumcision 14  has its value if you practice the law, but 15  if you break the law, 16  your circumcision has become uncircumcision.

1 sn Rom 2:1-29 presents unusual difficulties for the interpreter. There have been several major approaches to the chapter and the group(s) it refers to: (1) Rom 2:14 refers to Gentile Christians, not Gentiles who obey the Jewish law. (2) Paul in Rom 2 is presenting a hypothetical viewpoint: If anyone could obey the law, that person would be justified, but no one can. (3) The reference to “the ones who do the law” in 2:13 are those who “do” the law in the right way, on the basis of faith, not according to Jewish legalism. (4) Rom 2:13 only speaks about Christians being judged in the future, along with such texts as Rom 14:10 and 2 Cor 5:10. (5) Paul’s material in Rom 2 is drawn heavily from Diaspora Judaism, so that the treatment of the law presented here cannot be harmonized with other things Paul says about the law elsewhere (E. P. Sanders, Paul, the Law, and the Jewish People, 123); another who sees Rom 2 as an example of Paul’s inconsistency in his treatment of the law is H. Räisänen, Paul and the Law [WUNT], 101-9. (6) The list of blessings and curses in Deut 27–30 provide the background for Rom 2; the Gentiles of 2:14 are Gentile Christians, but the condemnation of Jews in 2:17-24 addresses the failure of Jews as a nation to keep the law as a whole (A. Ito, “Romans 2: A Deuteronomistic Reading,” JSNT 59 [1995]: 21-37).

2 tn Some interpreters (e.g., C. K. Barrett, Romans [HNTC], 43) connect the inferential Διό (dio, “therefore”) with 1:32a, treating 1:32b as a parenthetical comment by Paul.

3 tn That is, “you have nothing to say in your own defense” (so translated by TCNT).

4 tn Grk “O man.”

5 tn Grk “Therefore, you are without excuse, O man, everyone [of you] who judges.”

6 tn Grk “in/by (that) which.”

7 tn Or “based on truth.”

8 tn Grk “do you think this,” referring to the clause in v. 3b.

9 tn Grk “O man, the one who judges.”

10 tn Grk “and do them.” The other words are supplied to bring out the contrast implied in this clause.

11 tn The structure of vv. 21-24 is difficult. Some take these verses as the apodosis of the conditional clauses (protases) in vv. 17-20; others see vv. 17-20 as an instance of anacoluthon (a broken off or incomplete construction).

12 tn Or “detest.”

13 sn A quotation from Isa 52:5.

14 sn Circumcision refers to male circumcision as prescribed in the OT, which was given as a covenant to Abraham in Gen 17:10-14. Its importance for Judaism can hardly be overstated: According to J. D. G. Dunn (Romans [WBC], 1:120) it was the “single clearest distinguishing feature of the covenant people.” J. Marcus has suggested that the terms used for circumcision (περιτομή, peritomh) and uncircumcision (ἀκροβυστία, akrobustia) were probably derogatory slogans used by Jews and Gentiles to describe their opponents (“The Circumcision and the Uncircumcision in Rome,” NTS 35 [1989]: 77-80).

15 tn This contrast is clearer and stronger in Greek than can be easily expressed in English.

16 tn Grk “if you should be a transgressor of the law.”



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