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  • VINCENT'S NEW TESTAMENT
    WORD STUDIES - ROMANS 2

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    CHAPTER II

    1. O man. General, but still with a general and slightly reproachful reference to the Jew.

    Judgest (krinwn). With the sense of condemning.

    2. The judgment (to krima). Not the act, but the contents of the judgment.

    3. Reckonest (logizh). See on 1 Pet. v. 12. Intimating a process of reasoning.

    Thou shalt escape. Thou emphatic, opposed to Jewish self-conceit.

    4. Despisest thou (katafroneiv). The indicative mood unites a declaration with the question: "Do you despise? Aye, you do."

    Riches (ploutou). A favorite word with Paul to describe the quality of the divine attributes and gifts. See 2 Cor. viii. 9; Eph. i. 7, 18; ii. 4, 7; iii. 8, 16; Philip. iv. 19; Col. i. 27.

    Goodness (crhstothtov). See on easy, Matt. xi. 30.

    Forbearance and long-suffering (anochv kai makroqumiav). Anoch forbearance, strictly a holding back. In classical Greek mostly of a truce of arms. It implies something temporary which may pass away under new conditions. Hence used in connection with the passing by of sins before Christ (Rom. iii. 25). "It is that forbearance or suspense of wrath, that truce with the sinner, which by no means implies that the wrath will not be executed at the last; nay, involves that it certainly will, unless he be found under new conditions of repentance and obedience" (Trench). For makroqumia long-suffering, see on Jas. v. 7. This reliance on God's tolerance to suspend the rule of His administration in your case is contempt (despisest). Compare Gal. vi. 7.

    Not knowing (agnown). In that thou dost not know. This very ignorance is contempt.

    Leadeth (agei). The continuous present: is leading all the while thou art despising.

    Repentance (metanoian). See on Matt. iii. 2; xxi. 29.

    5. Treasurest up (qhsaurizeiv). Accumulatest. Glancing back to riches. For thyself. Possibly a tinge of irony.

    Wrath against the day of wrath (orghn en hmera orghv). A very striking image - treasuring up wrath for one's self. Rev., better, in the day, etc. The sinner stores it away. Its forthcoming is withheld by the forbearance of God. It will break out in the day when God's righteous judgment shall be revealed.

    7. Eternal life. Supply He will render.

    8. Contentious (ex eriqeiav). Rev., better, factious. Lit., of faction. See on Jas. iii. 14. Intriguers; partisan agitators.

    Indignation and wrath (orgh kai qumov). See on be patient, Jas. v. 7.

    9. Tribulation and anguish (qliyiv kai stenocwria). For tribulation, see on Matt. xiii. 21. Stenocwria anguish, which occurs only in Paul (viii. 35; 2 Cor. vi. 4; xii. 10), literally means narrowness of place. The dominant idea is constraint. In Deut. xxiii. 53, 57, it describes the confinement of a siege. Trench remarks: "The fitness of this image is attested by the frequency with which, on the other hand, a state of joy is expressed in the Psalms and elsewhere, as a bringing into a large room," Psalm cxvii. 5; 2 Sam. xxii. 20. Aquinas says: loetitia est latitia, joy is breadth.

    11. Respect of persons (proswpolhmyia) Only once outside of Paul's writings, Jas. ii. 1, on which see note.

    12. Without law (anomwv). Both law in the abstract and the Mosaic law. The principle laid down is general, though apparently viewed with special reference to the law of Moses.

    In the law (en nomw). Rev., under law, i.e., within the sphere of. No decision as to the reference to the law of Moses or otherwise can be based on the presence or absence of the article. Nomov law, is used both with and without the article for the Mosaic law. Cremer correctly says that "the article is usually wanting when the stress is laid, not upon the historical impress and outward form of the law, but upon the conception itself;" or, as Bishop Lightfoot, "law considered as a principle, exemplified no doubt chiefly and signally in the Mosaic law, but very much wider than this in its application."

    Shall be judged (kriqhsontai). The antithesis shall perish suggests a condemnatory judgment. There is no doubt that the simple krinw is used in the New Testament in the sense of condemning. See John iii. 18; 2 Thessalonians ii. 12; Heb. xiii. 4. The change from perish to judge is suggested by by the law. "The Jews alone will be, strictly speaking, subjected to a detailed inquiry such as arises from applying the particular articles of a code" (Godet). Both classes of men shall be condemned; in both the result will be perishing, but the judgment by the law is confined to those who have the law.

    13. Hearers (akroatai). Like the Jews, who heard it regularly in the synagogues. Only here in Paul. Three times in James. It brings out, better than the participle oiJ ajkouontev those that hear, the characteristic feature; those whose business is hearing.

    14. When (otan). Lit., whenever, supposing a case which may occur at any time.

    The Gentiles. Rev., properly, Gentiles. There is no article. Not the Gentiles collectively, but Gentiles among whom the supposed case occurs. Which have not the law (ta mh nomon econta). The mh not negatives the possession of the law. Rev., which have no law.

    Having not the law (nomon mh econtev). Here mh not negatives the possession of the law. Rev., having no law. It is difficult to indicate the proper emphasis in the English text, since the use of italics is limited to words not in the original.

    15. Which shew (oitinev endeiknuntai). Rev., better, in that they shew, the double relative specifying the class to which they belong, and therefore the reason for what precedes. Shew, properly, in themselves (en).

    The work of the law. The conduct corresponding to the law.

    Their conscience also bearing witness (summarturoushv autwn thv suneidhsewv). For conscience, see on 1 Pet. iii. 16. The force of oun with the verb is therewith; i.e., with the prescript of the law, respecting the agreement or disagreement of the act with it. So Rev. The meanwhile (metaxu). Rev. renders with one another. Their thoughts one with another. The phrase metaxu ajllhlwn is variously explained. Some alternately, now acquitting and now condemning. Others, among themselves, as in internal debate. So Alford, "thought against thought in inner strife." Others again, accusations or vindications carried on between Gentiles and Gentiles. As the other parts of the description refer to the individual soul in itself and not to relations with others, the explanation expressed in Rev. - the mutual relations and interchanges of the individual thoughts - seems preferable.

    16. My gospel. As distinguished from false teaching Paul's assurance of the truth of the Gospel is shown in his confident assertion that it will form the standard of judgment in the great day.

    17. Behold (ide). But the correct reading is eij de but if.

    Thou art called (eponomazh). Rev., much better, bearest the name of, bringing out the value which attached to the name Jew, the theocratic title of honor. See on Hebrews, Acts vi. 1.

    Restest in (epanapauh). Rev., better, upon, giving the force of ejpi in the verb. The radical conception of the verb ajnapauw is relief. See Matthew xi. 28. Thou restest with a blind trust in God as thy Father and protector exclusively.

    18. The things that are more excellent (ta diaferonta). This may be the meaning, and it is adopted by Rev. with the proper omission of more. But it may also mean the things which differ; in which case we shall render provest instead of approvest. The sense will then be: thou dost test with nice discrimination questions of casuistry. Compare Philip. i. 10. The latter interpretation seems preferable, being borne out by the succeeding being instructed.

    Being instructed (kathcoumenov). Systematically through catechetical and synagoguic instruction. See on Luke i. 4. This formal instruction is the basis of the critical discrimination.

    20. Instructor (paideuthn), Rev., corrector. Better, because emphasizing the element of discipline or training. See on chastise, Luke xxiii. 16 Of babes (nhpiwn) The term used by the Jews to designate proselytes or novices. Paul uses it of one not come of legal age, Gal. iv. 1. The form - in the law (morfwsin). Not mere appearance, but the scheme, the correct embodiment of the lineaments of truth and knowledge in the law.

    21. Thou that preachest (o khrusswn). See on Matt. iv. 17. Stealing is so gross a vice that one may openly denounce it.

    22. Sayest (legwn). The denunciation is not so pronounced. The Talmud charges the crime of adultery upon the three most illustrious Rabbins. Abhorrest (bdelussomenov). The verb means originally to turn away from a thing on account of the stench. See on abomination, Matthew xxiv. 15.

    Commit sacrilege (ierosuleiv). Rev. renders according to the etymology, iJeron temple, sulaw to despoil; hence rob temples. Some explain, the pillage of idol temples; others, robbing the Jewish temple by embezzlement, withholding the temple tribute, etc. The robbery of temples as practiced by the Jews is inferred from Acts xix. 37. Compare Josephus, "Antiq.," iv. 8, 10, where he lays down the law not to plunder Gentile temples, nor to seize treasure stored up there in honor of any God.25

    23. Transgression (parabasewv). Trench remarks upon "the mournfully numerous group of words" which express the different aspects of sin. It is aJmartia the missing of a mark; parabasiv the overpassing of a line; parakoh the disobedience to a voice; paraptwma a falling when one should have stood; ajgnohma ignorance of what one should know; htthma a diminishing of what should be rendered in full measure; ajnomia or paranomia non-observance of law; plhmmeleia discord.

    The primary sense of the preposition para is beside or by, with reference to a line or extended surface. Hence it indicates that which is not on its true line but beside it, either in the way of falling short or of going beyond. Thus, in the sense of going beyond, Rom. xii. 3, to think more highly than he ought (par o dei), where the sense of beyond is fixed by uJperfronein to think beyond or over." So Luke xiii. 2. In the sense of falling short, Thucydides, 3, xlix. "Mitylene came near such peril" (para tosouto kindunou), as if parallel to the danger but not touching it. Hence parabasiv differs from the Homeric uJperbasia transgression, in that the latter carries only the idea of going beyond or over. A mark or line as a standard is thus implied. Transgression implies something to transgress. With the law came in the possibility off transgressing the law. "Where there is no law there is no transgression" (Rom. iv. 15). Hence Adam's sin is called a transgression (Rom. v. 14), because it was the violation of a definite command. Paul habitually uses the word and its kindred parabathv transgressor, of the transgression of a commandment distinctly given (Gal. iii. 19; 1 Tim. ii. 14, Rom. ii. 25, 27). Hence it is peculiarly appropriate here of one who boasts in the law. It thus differs from aJmartia sin (see on sins, Matt. i. 21), in that one may sin without being under express law. See Romans 5. Sin (amartia) was in the world until the law; i.e. during the period prior to the law. Death reigned from Adam to Moses over those who had not sinned (amarthsantav) after the similitude of Adam's transgression (parabasewv). The sin is implicit, the transgression explicit.

    25. Breaker of the law (parabathv). Rev., transgressor. See on James ii. 11.

    Thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. "But if any citizen be found guilty of any great or unmentionable wrong, either in relation to the gods, or his parents, or the state, let the judge deem him to be incurable, remembering what an education and training he has had from youth upward, and yet has not abstained from the greatest of crimes" (Plato, "Laws," 854).

    29. Praise. Possibly in allusion to the etymological meaning of Jew, the praised one. Compare Gen. xlix. 8. The word here means the holy satisfaction of God as opposed to Jewish vain-glory.

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