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Romans Chapter​​ 2

Rick Moffett​​ 


Note –​​ Paul continues his declaration that all men, both Jew and Gentile are sinners. This section of scripture focuses more on the Jew and the Law, but again, is true of both Jews and Gentiles. Paul continues this line of reasoning through chapter three. Remember, chapter and verse numbers were added after the inspired scriptures were complete. To assume that chapter three​​ begins​​ with​​ a new line of reasoning would cause you to misunderstand what Paul is saying​​ here in​​ chapter two.​​ 



V1​​  Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; For you who judge practice the same things.

Summary –​​ Paul states that they (Jews) have no excuse for their sin. Because when they judge others, such as those ungodly and unrighteous ones mentioned in​​ v1:20-31,​​ they are condemning themselves, because they also practice the same sinful activities.  ​​ ​​​​ 


Note –​​ The word translated “another” in this verse, means “another of a different kind”, which​​ likely refers to the Gentiles.​​ 

According to Josephus Flavius,​​ a​​ first-century Jewish Historian, the Jews of that age were notoriously guilty of most of the crimes attributed to the Greeks and Romans (Gentiles) described in the first chapter.​​ 


The Jews tended to look down on all non-Jews. They felt “entitled”, because God chose them as​​ His own, gave them​​ His Law, and made a covenant with them via Abraham. Because of these things, they believed their place in heaven was secure.


Comments –​​ Why do they have no excuse? ​​ Presumably,​​ because the Jews acknowledged God and knew his ways (the Law); furthermore, many of them were​​ teachers of God’s Law. Paul begins to explicitly bring the Law into his discussion beginning in​​ v12.​​ 


All have sinned. Our sinful acts may not be the same as another’s, but all sin is still dishonoring to God and results in death​​ (Rom. 6:23). ​​ 


Man is not capable of judging others because we cannot see a person’s heart, i.e., his motive.​​ 


Every man's way is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts.​​ Proverbs 21.2​​ 


Additional Notes



V2​​ And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.​​ 


Summary –​​ God’s judgments against sin are always just and fair.


Comments –​​ It is God alone who decides what is right and what is wrong. And, he does not show partiality. ​​ 


There is a way​​ which seems​​ right to a man, But its end is the way of death.​​ Proverbs 14.12​​ 

For there is no partiality with God.​​ Romans 2.11,​​ also​​ Deut. 10:17; Acts 10:34.​​ 


No Additional Notes




V3​​  But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same​​ yourself,​​ that you will escape the judgment of God?​​ 


Summary –​​ Do you then conclude that you who judge others while doing the same sinful acts, will not also be judged by God?​​ ​​ 


Comments –​​ That would be a poor conclusion! Because of God’s character (holy, righteous,​​ and just), he must judge sin.​​ See​​ Rom. 3:21-26​​ for more on this topic.​​ 

We can be so blind to our own sin while being so sure of the sin of others.​​ 


"Do not judge so that you will not be judged. "For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.​​ Matthew 7.1-5​​ 


Do we have an “eye” problem or an “I” problem; or both?


Consider –​​ Read the story of David –​​ 2 Sam. 12:1-15.

No Additional Notes




V4​​ Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?​​ 


Summary –​​ Have you misunderstood God’s abundant kindness and patience toward your sin? Do you not know that God has withheld his punishment​​ for​​ your sin so that you might change your mind about it?​​ 


Comments –​​ Man is often blinded to God’s goodness and kindness. We are so focused on our own selfish goals that we fail to see how God is at work in our life. He loves us and desires that we see the destruction of our sinfulness and therefore, change our thinking about it. His goodness towards us never fails.​​ 


Additional Notes



V5​​  But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart​​ you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,​​ 


Summary –​​ Because of your hardness of heart and failure to change your thinking about sin, you (and all mankind apart from those in Christ) will suffer God’s wrath at an appointed time. Your sinfulness is continually accruing God’s wrath and at a designated time, you will be judged by a righteous God.​​ See​​ Rom. 3:21-26​​ for more on this topic.


Note -​​ Keeping this in context, from​​ v1:18​​ until​​ v3:23, Paul discusses the sinfulness of both the Jew and the Greek (Gentile), i.e., all mankind. Thus,​​ Paul continues to explain why all men are in need of a savior.


Comments –​​ Spurgeon said, "God's wrath, though it come not on you yet, is like a stream that is dammed up. Every moment it gathers force. It bursts not the dike, yet every hour it is swelling it.​​ Each moment of each day in which you remain an unbeliever you are treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath when the measure of your iniquity is full.” 


Additional Notes





Summary –​​ This verse contains a quote from​​ Psalms 62:12. It is a continuation​​ of​​ the previous verse, which refers to God’s righteous judgment.​​ More specifically, God’s judgment is based on a person’s works (if you are under the Law).​​ 


Comments –​​ Paul continues to lay out his argument as a​​ lawyer.​​ He is showing them the results of being judged by the Law.​​ 


Note –​​ Be sure to keep these verses in context! If you interpret the rest of this chapter before reading through chapter three, you might conclude that man is justified and declared righteous by his works. Paul’s​​ writings have repeatedly stated that man is justified and declared righteous by faith and NOT by his works​​ (Gal. 2:15-16, 21, 3:11; Rom. 1:17, 3:20).​​ 


Throughout the end of this chapter and through most of chapter three, Paul is showing the Jews (who had been under the Law) the result of being judged by the Law.​​ The bottom line​​ – the Law condemns all who are under it! The Law was given to make the Jew (and all who place themselves under it) aware of​​ their​​ sin​​ (Rom. 3:20). However, most of the Jews did not get it!​​ 


Additional Notes



V7-10​​ 7to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life;​​ 8 But to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.​​ 9​​ There will be​​ tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek,​​ 10 But glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.


Summary –​​ Paul is​​ contrasting two different groups of people​​ –​​ 


  • Verses 7​​ and​​ 10​​ refer to those (both Jew and​​ Greek​​ <Gentiles>) who persist in doing good. This group will receive honor, glory, immortality, and eternal life.​​ 


  • Verses 8​​ and​​ 9​​ refer to those (both Jew and​​ Greek​​ <Gentiles>)​​ who do not obey God, who persist in their selfish unrighteous behavior,​​ and do evil. This group will receive wrath, tribulation, and distress.​​ 


Comments –​​ Keep in mind what Paul is doing here. He is discussing “Law living”. Notice something about both of these two groups – the outcomes of both groups are based on their doing, i.e., their works.​​ 


Here’s the problem​​ - no one qualifies for the group that receives glory, honor, and peace, i.e., the group that does good​​ (v10). But everyone qualifies for the other group that receives tribulation and distress, i.e., those that do evil​​ (v9).​​ 


Here’s what Paul says about this in chapter three –​​ 

 ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ 

9​​ What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin,​​ 10​​ as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;​​ 11​​ no one understands; no one seeks for God.​​ 12​​ All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;​​ no one does good, not even one.”​​ 13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.”​​ 14​​ “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”​​ 15​​ “Their feet are swift to shed blood;​​ 16​​ in their paths are ruin and misery,​​ 17​​ and the way of peace they have not known.”​​ 18​​ “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”​​ Romans 3.9-18 (ESV)​​ 


Law living​​ is about what I​​ do. And we are told that NO ONE DOES GOOD!​​ 


Grace living​​ is about what Christ has done (and is doing). Do you want to base your eternal destiny on your​​ performance​​ or the finished work*​​ of Jesus?


*“finished work” refers to Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.​​ 


No Additional Notes




V11 For there is no partiality with God.​​ 


Summary –​​ God does not show favoritism. He loves us all, even while we were yet sinners! His righteous judgment is also free from partiality.​​ 


Comments –​​ This is one of Paul’s recurring themes in this letter.​​ Paul goes to great lengths to emphasize that both the Jew and the Gentile will receive fair and just treatment with God​​ on the day of judgment.​​ 


Consider –​​ Eph. 6:9; Col. 3:25.


No Additional Notes




V12 For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law;​​ 

Summary –​​ Here Paul explains what he said in the previous verse.​​ He compares two groups of sinners, the Gentiles (those without the Mosaic Law) with the Jews (those under the​​ Mosaic​​ Law). Each group will be judged based on the “light”​​ that​​ they were given. ​​ 


Comments –​​ God does not judge us on that which we have no knowledge. His judgments are always just and fair. ​​ 


Additional Notes




V13 For it is​​ not the hearers of the Law​​ who​​ are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified


Summary –​​ Having the Mosaic Law and knowing what it says is of no value in and of itself; one must obey what it says to be​​ justified.


Comments​​ – Paul is speaking hypothetically of course.​​ For we know, no person​​ can keep the Law perfectly, thus, no person can be justified by the Law!​​ 


nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.​​ Galatians 2.16​​ 


No Additional Notes




V14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,​​ 


Summary –​​ Although the Gentiles were never given the Mosaic Law, nor were they ever under it, they instinctively knew right and wrong. This basic instinct serves a similar purpose​​ as did​​ the Mosaic Law, i.e., it sets the boundaries for man’s actions.​​ 


Comments –​​ We all know that certain things are wrong and should be avoided; even those who have never read the​​ Bible. As Paul said in​​ Rom. 1:19-20, men are without excuse!


Note –​​ Verses 14-16​​ comprise one long sentence and are addressing the Gentiles.​​ 


No Additional Notes




V15​​ in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,​​ 


Summary –These Gentiles show that this instinctive sense of right and wrong is written in their hearts, therefore their conscience​​ accuses their wrong-thinking/actions and defends their right-thinking/actions. ​​ 


Comments –​​ The Jews have the Mosaic Law to either condemn their wrong-thinking/behavior or approve their right-thinking/behavior; while the Gentiles have a God-given inner sense of right and wrong to do the same.​​ 


No Additional Notes




V16​​ on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.


Summary –​​ Referring to the day of wrath​​ (v2:5),​​ when God will judge, through Jesus, all​​ the inner secrets of man​​ (Heb. 4:12-13; Rev. 20:12). Paul says this judgment is according to his gospel, i.e., the gospel he preached.​​ 


Comments –​​ Isn’t this true of all of us, that we have “two lives”? One is on display for all to see. It is the one we fashion to fit our circumstances. It is the one we use to impress others as the need arises. Then there is our secret life, the one we go to great lengths to hide. We have developed many ways to cover this life so none will see it. No surprise, for we come by it naturally. It all started in the garden when Adam and Eve​​ attempted to​​ cover their shame with fig leaves.​​ 


While we may be able to hide this secret life from man, we cannot hide it from Jesus, the one who will one day judge this life​​ (John 5:22,27;​​ 2 Tim 4:1). The gospel that Paul preached proclaims that Jesus died for the sin of mankind, was buried, and rose from the grave on the third day. It offers payment for all of our sins, which frees us from this judgment of which Paul speaks. Reject Christ and receive judgment. Receive Christ and be released from this judgment. Your choice.​​ 


No Additional Notes




V17-20​​ 17 But if you bear the name "Jew" and rely upon the Law and boast in God,​​ 18​​ and know​​ His​​ will and approve the things that are essential,​​ being instructed out of the Law,​​ 19​​ and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,​​ 20​​ a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,​​ 


Note –​​ Verses 17-20​​ are addressing the Jews in contrast with the Gentiles​​ (v14-16).


Summary –​​ 


Facts about the Jews that made them proud –

V17 -

1.​​ bear the name “Jew”​​ ​​ Jew – distinct from a Gentile; refers to one’s​​ ethnicity. Jews thought they were safe from God’s judgment because they were descendants of Abraham with whom God had made a covenant. They were God’s chosen people.​​ 


2. relied upon the Law​​ –​​ as a means to be right with God.​​ 


3. boast in God –​​ The Jews boasted in God to “prove” they were better than the Gentiles.​​ 

V18 –

4.​​ and know his (God’s) will​​ –​​ because they were instructed by the Law.​​ 


5.​​ and are thus able to approve the things that are essential –​​ again,​​ because they were instructed by the Law.​​ 


6. being instructed out of the Law,​​ - Beginning at an early age, the Jews were taught the Law and its importance,​​ especially​​ Jewish boys. The Law was taught at home and in the synagogues. The Jewish life centered around the Law.

V19 –​​ 

7. and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, -​​ The Jews had all confidence and even a feeling of superiority, about their ability to teach those “less fortunate”, i.e., the Gentiles. More often than not, this was a case of the spiritually blind leading the spiritually blind.​​ 


Recall what the Lord said to Paul on the Damascus road –​​ 


16​​  'But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you;​​ 17​​ rescuing you from the​​ Jewish​​ people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you,​​ 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they​​ may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.'​​ Acts 26.16-18​​ 


Without Christ, all men are in darkness! It is Jesus that is the light, not the Law!​​ 


9​​ But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.​​ 10​​ Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.​​ 1 Peter 2.9-10 (ESV)​​ 

V20 –​​ 

8. a corrector of the foolish,​​ -​​ an instructor, one who disciplines the person who lacks common​​ sense or is ignorant.


9. a teacher of the immature, -​​ teacher​​ of a child or a simple-minded person.​​ 


10. having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, -​​ again, it was in the Law that most Jews put their hope and it was the Law that made them believe they were something special compared to others.​​ 


Comments –​​ The Jews​​ were proud of their heritage and the fact they were chosen by God and given​​ His Law. But sadly, these are the very things that Paul uses to convict them of their sinfulness​​ (v21-29).


Surely it was hard for the Jews to understand that the New Covenant of grace had replaced the Old Covenant of Law. Many of them had lived their entire life under the Law. It seems that the most religious people​​ (those who focus primarily on external behavior), then and now, have the greatest difficulty seeing their need for a savior.​​ 


Additional Notes



V21​​ You, Therefore ,​​ who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal?​​ 


Note –​​ Paul now asks a series of questions to the Jews​​ (v21-23). If they would humble themselves and answer the questions honestly, they would find themselves guilty and see their need for a savior.​​ 

There is a saying I heard once that went something like this – “If I say something about you, you can disagree; however if you say something about yourself, you own it!” Paul was asking questions rather than directly accusing the Jews. Jesus often did the same thing when talking to others. It is a very effective way to help someone see something about themselves without accusing them.


Summary –​​ As a result, you teach others, but do you hear what you are teaching? You preach against stealing, but do you steal?​​ 


Comments –​​ Paul asks a question that would hopefully cause them to examine their own actions.


No Additional Notes




V22​​ You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?​​ 


Summary –​​ You declare that no one should commit adultery, but do you commit adultery? You say you hate idolatry, but do you rob temples?​​ 


Comments –​​ It is not exactly clear what “rob temples” means; however, the point is that somehow the Jews were profiting from idolatry even though they hated idolatry.​​ 


Recall what Jesus said about adultery in​​ Matthew 5:28.​​ The Jews thought they were keeping the Law – specifically, thou shall not commit adultery. But Jesus said that if you look upon a woman with lust, you have already committed adultery in your heart! Why?​​ Because adultery is first a matter of one’s heart. The Jews often appeared to keep the Law, but in their heart, they were guilty. You may fool man, but God knows our hearts.


then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive and act and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart You know, for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men,​​ 1 Kings 8.39​​ 


No Additional Notes




V23​​ You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God?​​ 


Summary –​​ You boast about keeping the Law, but when you break the Law, are you not dishonoring God?​​ 


Comments –​​ The Jews had the Law, which was a declaration of God’s demand for their behavior. In breaking the Law, they were showing disrespect for his Law and his person.​​ 


No Additional Notes






Summary –​​ A quote from a combination of several Old Testament scriptures, including​​ Isa. 52:5.​​ 


Comments -​​ One of the fastest ways to ruin your Christian testimony is to behave in a manner contrary to what you say you believe.


No Additional Notes




V25 For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.​​ 


Summary –​​ Paul states that circumcision​​ is valuable​​ if you are a keeper of the​​ Law; but​​ if you​​ fail to keep the​​ Law, your circumcision is of no value. It is​​ like you are no longer circumcised (i.e. like a Gentile). ​​ 


Note –​​ The​​ Jews​​ often referred to​​ the​​ Gentiles as the​​ uncircumcision.​​ (Eph. 2:11)


Comments –​​ Paul implies that if you live by the Law, you must keep all of it.​​ He explicitly states that in his letter to the Galatian church. If​​ you dont​​ keep all of the Law, you are just like an uncircumcised Gentile!


And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law.​​ Galatians 5.3​​ 

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one​​ point,​​ he has become guilty of all.​​ James 2.10​​ 


This is somewhat like drawing a line in the sand. Paul is implying the question,​​ do you really want to attempt to keep all of the Law; especially after I just demonstrated to you that you haven’t been keeping it, nor can you keep it perfectly​​ (v17- 24)?


Additional Notes



V26 So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?​​ 


Summary -​​ Paul​​ concludes​​ his comments in​​ v25​​ by posing a hypothetical question. If an uncircumcised man (Gentile) keeps the requirements of the Law, will it​​ not​​ be as though he is circumcised?​​ 


Comments​​ -​​ Paul continues to emphasize that the Jews are​​ as guilty of sin as​​ the Gentiles. Even though they (Jews) have the Law, they were unable to keep it.



No Additional Notes




V27 And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter​​ of the Law​​ and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law?​​ 


Summary –​​ Furthermore, if these Gentiles (from​​ v26) keep the Law, would they not then judge you, since you have the written Law (and circumcision) and don’t obey it?​​ 


Comments –​​ Possibly referring back to​​ Rom 2:1,​​ where Paul talks about the Jews judging the Gentiles. Again, this would have caused the Jews to bristle up. The very idea of a Gentile judging a Jew! Yet, the Jews were judging the Gentiles, even though they were doing the same sinful things!


No Additional Notes



V28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.​​ 

Summary –​​ Just because you have performed an outward sign doesn’t make you a true Jew, i.e., one who is included in the Abrahamic Covenant and therefore, right with God. True circumcision is not that which one does to his body.


Comments -​​ Outward signs do not always attest to one’s inner being. I may bark like a dog, but that doesn’t make me a dog. These Jews may have been physical descendants of Abraham, but apart from Christ, they will never be spiritual descendants. One’s heritage has no value in being right with God.


No Additional Notes




V29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.​​ 


Summary –​​ A true Jew has had a spiritual circumcision of his heart, which is not according to the written Law; furthermore, it brings the praise of God. The physical circumcision of which the Jews boast only brings the praise of man.


Comments –​​ When we receive Christ by faith, we receive a new heart and a new spirit​​ (Eze. 36:26). The old is cut away (circumcised) and we become a new creation. This is a spiritual circumcision, not a physical one. The Law could never accomplish this. The Law only seeks to change one’s outward behavior, which is of no value in spiritual matters.


No Additional Notes




Note –​​ Let me remind you that chapter three continues this same line of thinking. It is best understood if you ignore the “chapter three” designation.​​ 






1.​​ Strong's Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary

2.​​ Vine's Expository Dictionary​​ 

3.​​ Bible Background Commentary

4.​​ preceptaustin.org website

5.​​ Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans

6.​​ Practical Word Studies in the New Testament

7.​​ Benson Commentary

8.​​ Commentary on Romans; Barber, Wayne

9.​​ Expository Dictionary of Bible Words






Additional Notes for each verse:


V1~ Therefore you have no excuse,​​ everyone of you who passes judgment,​​ for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; For you who judge practice the same things.


This verse refers back to​​ v1:18-32,​​ more specifically, the sins of all humanity. All mankind is born under the control of the power of sin. The sins discussed in chapter one may not seem realistic to you, but make no mistake, the potential for all of them exists in all​​ mankind, especially those who are without Christ*.​​ 


And beware of the sin of self-righteousness. It is often revealed in thinking such as, “I would never do anything like that”.​​ 


*When we receive Christ by faith we are set free from the power of sin​​ (Romans Ch. 6), BUT WE CAN STILL CHOOSE TO SIN.​​ 


“you have no​​ excuse,” –​​ 


“you” –​​ likely referring to the Jews.​​ 


“no excuse,” –​​ anapologētos​​ (Gr)​​ - indefensible; inexcusable;​​ 

The same Greek word is used in​​ V1:20​​ – “so that they are without​​ excuse”. In​​ 1:20, the phrase refers to​​ the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men​​ who are “without excuse”.​​ 

Paul is contrasting those in​​ v1:18​​ with the Jews, who knew God’s Law and yet, still did the same things.


“everyone of you who passes judgment,” –​​ those who judge others for their actions.


“for​​ in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.” –​​ 


“judge”-​​ to try, condemn, punish, conclude.


“another” –​​ heteros (Gr) –​​ another of a different kind. Compare to​​ allos (Gr), which is also translated “another”, but means “another of the same kind”. Ex. –​​ John 14:16.


“same things”​​ – the sinful things mentioned in chapter one.​​ 






V4~​​ Or do you think lightly​​ of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?​​ 

“Or do you think lightly” –​​ to regard as nothing, to despise, to treat with contempt, to misconstrue.​​ 

“of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience,” –​​ 

“riches”​​ – abundance. God’s kindness, tolerance,​​ and patience, as well as all of​​ His other Divine attributes,​​ are inexhaustible! They never run out.​​ 

God’s goodness is displayed in many ways, but especially in that,​​ He does not immediately carry out the punishment for man’s sin.


Concerning the Jews, God had repeatedly protected and delivered them from their enemies. He also blessed them in many ways, not the least of which was sending Jesus to show them the way to eternal salvation.​​ 

“not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” –​​ The Jews believed that because they were descendants of Abraham, they would not be punished for their sin. They misunderstood God’s patience. He was not overlooking their sin but giving them time to repent​​ of​​ their sin.

“repentance”​​ – to change one’s mind. In this case,​​ it means to change how you think about sin. If you truly do have a change of mind, your sinful actions will also change.





V5~ But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart​​ you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,​​ 


“But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart” –​​ 


“stubbornness” –​​ hardness; callousness;


This would apply to anyone who fails to repent of their sin.​​ Paul is addressing​​ those who​​ had become unyielding and unwilling to change their sinful ways, which resulted in -​​ “you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath” - ​​ the “day of wrath” is different from the wrath mentioned in​​ Rom. 1:18. The day of wrath is mentioned several times in scripture​​ (Psa. 110:5; Zep. 1:15,18; Rev. 6:17;).​​ It is a time that all of God’s enemies will be thrown into the fire forever. The exact timing of this is much debated and beyond the scope of this commentary to discuss. Suffice it to say that those who have received Christ as​​ their​​ savior, i.e., the church, will not suffer this wrath.​​ 


For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,​​ 1 Thes. 5.9​​ 


“and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,” –​​ 


“revelation” –​​ to reveal; to unveil; to uncover; to open. The idea is that something is being revealed that was previously hidden.​​ 


“of the righteous judgment of God,” –​​ God’s judgment is in accordance with​​ His divine character. God must pour out his wrath on sin because he is righteous.​​ 







“DEEDS”​​ – a person’s actions; deeds.​​ 





V12~ For all who have sinned without the Law​​ will also perish without the Law,​​ and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law;

“For all who have sinned” –​​ all men have sinned (except Jesus). ​​​​ 


“without the Law” –​​ Only the Jews were given the Law.​​ God gave Moses the Law at Mt. Sinai. It was part of the Old Covenant between God and Israel. The Gentiles were never under the Law.​​ 


“will also perish without the Law,”​​ ​​ 


“perish” –​​ to destroy fully; to lose; to spoil; ruin. Does not refer to annihilation here, but rather eternal separation from God.​​ 


“and all who have sinned under the Law” –​​ refers to the Jews.​​ 


“will be judged by the Law;” –​​ the Mosaic Law will be the standard by which they are judged.​​ 





V17-20​​ ~ But if you bear the name "Jew" and rely upon the Law and boast in God,


​​ “If” –​​ assumed to be true, i.e., But​​ since​​ you bear the name “Jew”...


“relied upon the Law” –​​ 


“relied” –​​ rest; fully trust;​​ to be dependent on.


The Jews depended on Law (which cannot give life), rather than on God.


V20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,​​ 


“foolish” –​​ mindless; stupid; ignorant; unwise; without reason; lack of commonsense.


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V25~ For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.


Why does Paul suddenly bring up circumcision?​​ 


First,​​ consider the importance of circumcision to the Jew. It had been a mark that set them apart from the Gentiles. It was also a requirement under the Mosaic Law, as well as a sign of the covenant God made with father Abraham. To most Jews, circumcision was an absolute necessity if one wanted to be right with God. As you might imagine, this became a point of contention for many of the early Jewish Christians.

 ​​ ​​​​ 

Since​​ v17, Paul has been asking pointed questions to demonstrate that these Jews had not been keeping the Law. Now he brings up circumcision, perhaps the most significant aspect of the Law for the Jew; significant because the Jews pinned their hope for salvation on circumcision because it was a sign of their inclusion in the Abrahamic covenant.​​ 



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Back​​ Next​​ – Chapter 3