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Romans 2:20 a
corrector of the
teacher of the
knowledge and of the
aphronon, didaskalon nepion, echonta (PAPMSA) ten morphosin tes
gnoseos kai tes aletheias en to nomo
You are a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the childish, having
in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and truth-
Bible - Lockman)
You think you can instruct the ignorant and teach children the ways of
God. For you are certain that in God's law you have complete knowledge
- Tyndale House)
You can instruct those who have no spiritual wisdom: you can teach
those who, spiritually speaking, are only just out of the cradle. You
have a certain grasp of the basis of true knowledge. You have without
doubt very great advantages.
a corrector of those who are without reflection or intelligence, a
teacher of the immature, having the rough sketch of the experiential
knowledge of the truth in the law. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: an
instructor of foolish ones, a teacher of babes, having the form of the
knowledge and of the truth in the law.
B H Carroll
Explore the Bible
E H Gifford
Jamieson, F, B
S Lewis Johnson
J Vernon McGee
J Vernon McGee
H C G Moule
H C G Moule
A T Robertson
Sanday & Headlam
C H Spurgeon
Romans 2 - NT for
Romans Notes in
Romans 2:15-29 Man's Desperation for God's Good News
Romans 2 Commentary
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Romans 2:17-29 The Fatal Flaws of Religion
Romans 2:17-29 God's Judgment Of
The Religious Man
Romans - Studies in
Romans - 9 Chapter Book
Romans 2 Commentary
Romans 2 Commentary
Romans 2:1-29 The Coming Wrath of God
Romans 2 Expositor's Greek Testament
Romans 2:1-29 Who
Needs the Gospel? They Do Too!
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Romans 2:17-3:8 Mr. Churchman
Romans 2 The Doctor
Romans 2 Concise Notes
Romans: Prologue to
Prison - 24 Chapter Book
Romans 2 Commentary
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by Verse Notes
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Romans 2:17-29 Rite
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Romans 2:17-20 False Security, Part 1
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Romans 2:17-24 The Subtlety of Hypocrisy
Romans 2:17-24 The Effect of
Hypocrisy Part One Dishonoring God
Romans 2:17-24 The Effect of
Hypocrisy Part Two Dishonoring God
Romans 2:17-29 Can a Person Be
Romans 2:1-16: Mr.
I.M. Okay Meets His Maker
Romans 2: Greek Word Studies
Romans 2 (Critical and Exegetical
Romans 2 Commentary for English Readers
Romans 2:17-23 Inconsistent
Christians Remonstrated With
Romans 2:28, 29 The Nature
and Excellence of True Religion
Romans 2 Exposition
Romans 2:12-29 According To Light
2 Greek Word Studies
Romans 2:17-29 Praise God For The
Circumcision From Above
Romans 2:17-3:8 Full
Mind, Empty Heart
Lesson 1 of part 1 (Romans 1-5)
A CORRECTOR OF
THE FOOLISH, A TEACHER OF THE IMMATURE: paideuten aphronon, didaskalon
nepion: (Mt 11:25; 1Co 3:1; Heb 5:13; 1Pe 2:2)
a corrector of those who are without
reflection or intelligence, a teacher of the immature, having the rough
sketch of the experiential knowledge of the truth in the law. (Eerdmans)
paideuo = instruct, correct, chastise from
país = child)
refers to one who disciplines and corrects by punishment or provides
instruction for the purpose of proper behavior. The idea is that of an
instructor, trainer, corrector, discipliner, preceptor. This word group related to
paideuo (word study) denotes the upbringing and handling of the child which is
growing up to maturity and which thus needs direction, teaching,
instruction and a certain measure of compulsion in the form of
discipline or even chastisement.
that paideutes is...
The word was used by the Greeks of a
slave who had charge of a young child, taking him to school and bringing
him home again. He had the moral and ethical supervision of the child
also. Our word, “pedagogue” comes from this word. The word is used
here of a corrector or chastizer as in Hebrews 12:9.
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in the
Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
The only other use of paideutes
is in Hebrews...
Hebrews 12:9 (see
notes) Furthermore, we had
earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not
much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?
has one use in Hosea
And the revolters have gone deep in
depravity, but I will chastise (Heb = muwcar = discipline, correction;
Lxx = paideutes) all of them. (Ho 5:2)
[see word study] from a = without + phren = understanding;
phren is literally the diaphragm, reflecting that which restrains and
figuratively was considered to be the site of all mental and emotional
activity = the mind)
means literally without reason (without one's mind or intellect),
senseless, foolish, stupid, acting rashly. Vine
writes that the idea is “want of mental sanity and sobriety, a reckless
and inconsiderate habit of mind” (Hort), or “the lack of commonsense
perception of the reality of things natural and spiritual … or the
imprudent ordering of one’s life in regard to salvation” (G. Vos, in
Hastings Bible Dictionary); it is mostly translated “foolish” or
TDNT in the
note on classical Greek uses says aphron was used to mean
"out of one's mind"...Vaunting human
reason is folly (áphrōn, aphrosýnē). The áphrōn is the fool (who denies
God) in the Psalms. In Proverbs áphrōn refers to the simple or
inexperienced person. phrónimos occurs in Prov. 14:17, and aphrosyne is
used for “misdeed” in Jdg. 20:6... (In Josephus) aphron and
aphrosyne denote youthful folly or lack of restraint. (1278).
If you would like
a more expanded definition on the meaning of aphron, consider reading
through the Scriptural uses in the Septuagint (see the uses
below), specifically those in Proverbs (eg, in Pr 10:18 a fool is
one who utters slander). This exercise would give you considerable
insight in what God says about one who is aphron or foolish.
Aphron is not employing one's understanding
especially in regard to practical matters. It is one who is without
reason, senseless, stupid, foolish, without reflection or intelligence.
A T Robertson
Aphron is a hard word for the Gentiles, but it is the Jewish
standpoint that Paul gives. Each termed the other ‘dogs.
writes that aphron means...
Senseless. In Xenophon’s
“Memorabilia,” Socrates, addressing Aristodemus, says, “Which do you
take to be the more worthy of admiration, those who make images without
sense (aphrona) or motion, or those who make intelligent and active
creations?” (1, 4:4). Sometimes, also, in the sense of crazed, frantic,
but never in New Testament.
that aphron means...
senseless, foolish and aphrosune,
lack of sense, foolishness (both words from Hom. onwards) indicate by
the use of the Alpha-privative that the term is essentially defined by a
lack or a negation, i.e. lack of insight and reason. But the possible
development of a diseased mind is not excluded here either (Homer, Od.
23, 10-14). aphron can thus mean infatuated (Homer, Od. 21, 102) and
aphrosyne can be referred back to mania (Aristotle, Eth. Nic. 7, 6, both
times, incidentally, through active intervention of the gods). But the
words chiefly describe deficient perception of value and truth. The
Hebrew words for fool, foolish and folly are
predominantly rendered in the LXX by aphron (115 times, of which
19 have no equivalent) or aphrosune
Here are the 11
uses of aphron in the NT -
Luke 11:40 "You foolish ones,
did not He who made the outside make the inside also?
Comment: Jesus called the
Pharisees fools for their preoccupation with externals and for their
unconcern with character warped by greed and wickedness
Luke 12:20 "But God said to him (in a
parable about a certain rich man who sought to build bigger barns), 'You
fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who
will own what you have prepared?'
Comment: Richards writes that
" Jesus called the rich farmer a fool for laying up material possessions
and ignoring God, the appellation of fool being especially poignant
because he was to meet God that very night (Lk 12:20). In each case,
willful ignorance is involved. The Pharisees (see Lk 11:40 above) and
this farmer refused to take into account what God had revealed to his OT
L O: Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Regency)
Romans 2:20 (note)
a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in
the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,
1Corinthians 15:36 You fool!
That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies;
Comment: I agree with the
comment in TDNT - "In 1Co 15:36, Paul is not pronouncing a definitive
judgement with his aphron. It is a rhetorical appeal for true
understanding. To cling to the negative view is to adopt the position of
the aphron which is close to that of ungodliness" (TDNT, 9:231).
2Corinthians 11:16 Again I say, let
no one think me foolish; but if you do, receive me even as
foolish, that I also may boast a little.
Comment: The key term is
aphron, ‘fool’: not a dim-witted person or clown, a jester (as in
‘play the fool’), but in the technical sense of the person in
Hellenistic-Roman society who had lost the correct measure (metron) of
himself and the world around him (Martin, Ralph P. 2 Corinthians. Word
Biblical Commentary series. Waco: Word Books, 1986)
2Corinthians 11:19 For you, being so
wise, bear with the foolish gladly.
2Corinthians 12:6 For if I do wish to
boast I shall not be foolish, for I shall be speaking the truth;
but I refrain from this, so that no one may credit me with more than he
sees in me or hears from me.
2Corinthians 12:11 I have become
foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually I should have been
commended by you, for in no respect was I inferior to the most eminent
apostles, even though I am a nobody.
Ephesians 5:17 (note)
So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the
Comment: So a foolish person
meanders through life with no concept nor desire for the will of God.
1Peter 2:15 (note)
For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the
ignorance of foolish men.
There are about
110 uses of aphron in the non-apocryphal
(Note the marked concentration in Proverbs which speaks of wisdom) - 2Sa
13:13; Job 2:10; 5:2, 3; 30:8; 34:36; Ps 14:1; 39:8; 49:10; 53:1; 74:18,
22; 92:6; 94:8; Pr 1:22; 6:12; 7:7; 9:4, 13, 16; 10:1, 4, 18, 21, 23;
11:29; 12:1, 15, 16, 23; 13:16, 20; 14:1, 3, 7, 8, 16, 18, 24, 29, 33;
15:2, 5, 7, 20; 16:22, 27; 17:2, 7, 10, 12, 16, 18, 21, 24, 25 18:6, 7,
22; 19:10, 13, 25, 28, 29; 20:3; 21:20; 22:3; 23:9; 24:9, 30; 26:1, 4,
5, 6; 27:3, 12, 22; 28:26; 29:11, 20; 30:2, 22; Eccl. 2:14, 15, 16, 19;
4:5, 13; 5:1, 3f; 6:8; 7:4, 5, 6, 9; 10:2f, 6, 12, 14, 15; Isa. 59:7;
Jer. 4:22; 17:11. Here are some examples from the
Proverbs 7:7 And I saw among the
naive (Heb = petiy = foolish, simpleminded, naive concerning the
complexities of life; Lxx = aphron), I discerned among the youths, A
young man lacking sense
Proverbs 10:1 The proverbs of
Solomon. A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish (Heb =
kesiyl = a fool, one unable to deal with life in a wise way); Lxx =
aphron) son is a grief to his mother.
Psalm 92:6 (Spurgeon's
note) A senseless (Heb =
baar = a brutish person, one showing little intelligence or
sensibility; Lxx = aphron) man has no knowledge; Nor does a stupid man
didasko = teach to shape will of one
being taught by content of what is taught) is an instructor. The
Biblical concept of teaching differed quite radically from secular Greek
teaching in the matter of its goal. Whereas the Greek teacher sought to
impart knowledge and skills, teaching for the Jew sought to change one’s
entire life. The ministry of teaching in the OT sense that carried over
to the early Church was therefore concerned “with the whole man and his
education in the deepest sense.” It included the intellect, but its
final goal was the will. It is notable that of the 58 uses in the NT, 41
refer to Jesus as the "Teacher".
41 of 58x = Jesus!
Here are the NT
uses of didaskalos - Mt 8:19; 9:11; 10:24, 25; 12:38; 17:24;
19:16; 22:16, 24, 36; 23:8; 26:18; Mk. 4:38; 5:35; 9:17, 38; 10:17, 20,
35; 12:14, 19, 32; 13:1; 14:14; Lk. 2:46; 3:12; 6:40; 7:40; 8:49; 9:38;
10:25; 11:45; 12:13; 18:18; 19:39; 20:21, 28, 39; 21:7; 22:11; Jn. 1:38;
3:2, 10; 8:4; 11:28; 13:13, 14; 20:16; Acts 13:1; Ro 2:20; 1Co. 12:28,
29; Ep 4:11; 1Ti 2:7; 2Ti 1:11; 4:3; He. 5:12; Jas. 3:1
(nepios from nê = negative + epos
= not able to talk) means literally not speaking and thus a small child
above age of a helpless infant but probably not more than three or four
years of age.
here in Romans nepios refers to a person who lacks experience, is untried or ignorant
Nepios is the term used by
the Jews to designate proselytes or novices. Paul uses it of one not
come of legal age (Ga 4:1). The writer to the Hebrews used it of
one spiritually immature (He 5:13) as did Paul (1Co 3:1) for they cannot
eat solid food (spiritually speaking).
comments that nepios in Hebrews 5:13 means...
an infant, a little child, a minor,
not of age, and in a metaphorical sense, “untaught, unskilled.” The idea
of immaturity is in the word, and according to the context in which it
is found, it could refer to either mental or spiritual immaturity. Paul
defines the word when he says that the person whom he calls a babe is
“unskillful in the word of righteousness.” Spiritual immaturity is
referred to by the word “babe.” Thus those spoken of as of full age are
spiritually mature (teleios)
TDNT notes that...
in General Greek Usage (nepios) means
“immature,” “foolish.” It is used in medicine for small children in
various stages. We also find it on burial inscriptions for small
children aged 1 to 10. It may also be used for orphans (denoting their
helplessness), and then comes into use for legal minors. It often occurs
for children as members of the family along with the wife or mother. (It
can also be used for the young of animals or plants.) But the main sense
in Greek is “foolish,” “inexperienced,” or “childish” with no necessary
reference to children. A person is nepios who is immature in conduct,
who shows a foolish confidence in fortune, who does not take account of
reality, or who does not heed the advice of philosophers.
G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New
NIDNTT writes that...
nepios denotes an infant,
child or minor in classic Greek. The word can be used in metaphorical
sense, e.g. of young seedlings (Theophrastus, Historia Plantarum, 8, 1,
7). Furthermore, the characteristics of the foolish and inexperienced
child may be so to the fore that the meaning of child recedes in favour
of foolish, inexperienced (cf. Sophocles, Electra, 145 f.). Greek
philosophers who wanted to communicate to men true knowledge of the
world and the life of reason dismissed with biting sarcasm the
unperceptive man with no experience of life as nepios, a fool (cf.
Hesiod, Works, 130, 286 ff.; Epictetus, Dissertations, 3, 24, 53).
The LXX also translates petî, simple
man, by nepios (Ps. 19:8). Whereas the wisdom lit. reproaches the nepios
for being simple, i.e. dull and foolish (Pr. 1:32; cf. also 1:22
Aquila), nepios in the Pss. denotes the man of simple faith (e.g. Ps
116:6; 119:130) who stands under God’s protection and pays attention to
Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986.
Detzler writes that nepios...
means "infant." An infant is a young
child who is not yet weaned. The Greeks seem to have taken this word
from the verb nepeleo (to be without power, impotent, or weak). In other
words, an infant is a person who has no power and needs the assistance
of parents or guardians.
Hippocrates, "the father of medicine" used the word nepios to describe
every child from the stage of a fetus to five or six years old. It is
the word used to describe a family relationship: "This is the child of
those parents." Aristotle used the word to describe the entire age of
childhood. In Plato's writings it portrayed a person who lived in a
pretend world of fantasy, in contrast with a realist.
The New Testament uses the word
nepios on two different levels. It speaks of both a physical child and a
The Apostle Paul used the picture of
a nursing mother to describe the tenderness of his concern for
Christians. He wrote to the Thessalonians that he and his colleagues had
treated them as a mother treats her infants, with love and tenderness
(1Th 2:7). In fact, this verse probably gives one the clearest pictures
of the basic meaning of nepios, that of a child before weaning....
In his first letter to the
Corinthians the apostle warned them that they were still "babes" in
Christ, for they had not grown beyond the basics (1Co 3:1). Paul wanted
them to put away childish ways and live like adult Christians (1Co
Wayne E: New Testament Words in Today's Language. Victor. 1986)
used 15 times in the NT -
Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus
answered and said, "I praise Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
that Thou didst hide these things from the wise and intelligent and
didst reveal them to babes.
Comment: MacArthur explains
that Jesus is referring to "spiritual babes, those who
acknowledge their utter helplessness in themselves, to whom God has
sovereignly chosen to reveal the truths of His kingdom. It is to the
“poor in spirit” who humbly confess their dependency that God makes
the way of salvation clear and understandable. By the Holy Spirit they
recognize they are spiritually empty and bankrupt and they abandon all
dependence on their own resources. They are the cringing spiritual
beggars to whom Jesus refers in the first beatitude-the absolutely
destitute who are ashamed to lift up their head as they hold out their
hands for help. Babes are the exact opposite of the kind of
person the scribes, Pharisees, and rabbis taught was pleasing to God.
They are also the exact opposite of the imagined ideal Christian touted
by many popular preachers and writers who glorify self-assertion and
self-worth. The contrast between wise and intelligent and babes
is not between the knowledgeable and the ignorant, the educated and the
uneducated, the brilliant and the simpleminded. It is a contrast between
those who think they can save themselves by their own human wisdom,
resources, and achievement and those who know they cannot. It is a
comparison between those who rely on themselves and those who rely on
Matthew 21:16 and said to Him, "Do You hear what these are saying?" And
Jesus said to them, "Yes; have you never read, 'Out of the mouth of
infants and nursing babes Thou hast prepared praise for Thyself'?"
Luke 10:21 At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit,
and said, "I praise Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou
didst hide these things from the wise and intelligent and didst reveal
them to babes. Yes, Father, for thus it was well-pleasing in Thy
Romans 2:20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature,
having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,
1 Corinthians 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to
spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ.
1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I used to speak as a
child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I
became a man, I did away with childish things.
Comment: Paul uses nepios
literally here referring to those who have not yet learned to speak.
Galatians 4:1 Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does
not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything,
Galatians 4:3 So also we, while we were children, were held in
bondage under the elemental things of the world.
Comment: Detzler comments that
"To the Galatians Paul compared the Jews to infants. They had an
elemental knowledge of God's plan, but as a nation they did not mature
enough to accept their Messiah (Gal. 4:1). This is not a final stage but
a beginning stage of development (4:3). Paul looked for the day when the
Jews would grow up and grasp their messianic birthright. (Ibid)
Ephesians 4:14 (note)
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and
there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the
trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming
Comment: Clearly Paul is using
nepios figuratively to encourage his readers to no longer be spiritually
immature saints but to grow in their spiritual maturity. It is good for
a person to be born as a baby, but it is unnatural when one remains as
an infant. By the same token, believers begin as babies, but they should
grow on to maturity in the faith.
1 Thessalonians 2:7 (note)
But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares
for her own children.
Hebrews 5:13 (note)
For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of
righteousness, for he is a babe.
Nepios is used about 26 times
in the non-apocryphal
- 1 Sam. 15:3; 22:19; 2 Ki. 8:12; Job 3:16; 24:12; 31:10; 33:25; Ps.
8:2; 17:14; 19:7; 64:7; 116:6; 119:130; 137:9; Prov. 1:32; 23:13; Isa.
11:8; Jer. 6:11; 9:21; 43:6; 44:7; Lam. 1:5; 2:11, 19f; 4:4; Ezek. 9:6;
Hos. 11:1; Joel 2:16; Nah. 3:10
Psalm 8:2 (ESV ) Out of the mouth of
babies and infants, you have established strength because of your
foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.
Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is
perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making
wise the simple (Heb = pethiy = simplicity, naiveté, foolish; Lxx
Leo Burke said that...
"People who say they sleep like a
baby usually don't have one." The spiritual parallel is when immature,
spiritual babes come into a house of God, they require attention. We
cannot just let them go, any more than we can put a baby in a crib and
just let him grow.
Billy Graham spoke to the issue of maturing babes in Christ...
Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion—it is a
daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.
Among themselves their honesty is inflexible, their compassion quick to
move, but to all other persons they show the hatred of antagonism.
In Alexandria the Jews allegedly took an oath never to show kindness to
a Gentile. The very privileges which should have produced saints
produced arrogant, loveless egotists instead!
HAVING IN THE
LAW THE EMBODIMENT OF KNOWLEDGE AND OF THE TRUTH: echonta (PAPMSA) ten
morphosin tes gnoseos kai tes aletheias en to nomo:
(Ro 6:17; 2Ti1:13;
3:5; Titus 1:16)
(echo) means to have or to hold in one's possession and the
indicates this "having"
is their continuous possession.
= stresses essence of one’s nature)
refers to the to outward shape and appearance, such as that of a
silhouette, which is an outline or shadow of something. The root word
emphasizes both the
internal and external form and thus refers to the outward display of the
inner reality or the essential form of something which never alters.
Webster says that
to embody is to form or collect into a united mass (a body) and to give
a tangible, concrete form to an abstract concept. The Law is a valid
form in which spiritual knowledge and truth are collected together as a
morphe, form is the
expression or embodiment of the essential and permanent being of that
which is expressed... In Ro 2:20, morphosis is the truthful embodiment
of knowledge and truth as contained in the law of God....(He adds that
morphe is) not mere appearance, but the scheme, the correct embodiment
of the lineaments of truth and knowledge in the law.
Paul uses morphosis to
describe the false (spiritually dead) teachers warning Timothy that they
holding to a form of godliness,
although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these. (2
(gnosis) refers to “experiential knowledge,” not a mere passing
(aletheia from alethes = true in turn from a +
lêthô = that which is hidden or lanthanô = conceal, this
combination meaning out in the open, containing nothing that is hidden)
describes the body of reality (facts, events, etc) or the content which
is true, or which is in accordance to what actually occurred. Truth
is the unveiled reality lying at the basis of and agreeing with an
appearance; the manifested, the veritable essence of matter. Truth
is the correspondence between a reality and a declaration which
professes to set it forth. Words are true when they correspond with
objective reality. Persons and things are true when they correspond with
their profession. Hence a truth is a declaration which has corresponding
reality, or a reality which is correctly set forth. Since God is Himself
the great reality, that which correctly sets forth His nature is
pre-eminently the Truth. Obviously whatever God says is "the truth",
and in fact "the Truth" is actually embodied in the Person of
readers (and especially the Jews) fancied themselves as guides, lights, correctors,
teachers and in so doing they tended to look down with condescension and scorn
upon those who did not have access to the Law. The Gentiles sensed this
"spiritual pride" or "arrogance" and they resented it.
John discusses the Law and Truth in his introductory comments
And the Word became flesh (the
incarnation of Jesus), and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory,
glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 John bore witness of Him, and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom
I said, 'He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed
before me.'" 16 For of His fulness we have all received, and grace upon
grace. 17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth
were realized through Jesus Christ. (Jn 1:14, 15, 16, 17)
The truth in its fullness came with
Jesus Christ, (Jn 1:14, 17). The law was the pattern that pointed to
Jesus, but He was the consummation of truth.
Romans 2:21 you,
another, do you not
yourself ? You who
that one shall not
Greek: o oun
didaskon (PAPMSN) heteron seauton ou didaskeis (2SPAI); o kerusson (PAPMSN)
me kleptein (PAN) klepteis (2SPAI):
Amplified: Well then, you who teach others, do you not teach
yourself? While you teach against stealing, do you steal (take what
does not really belong to you)?
Bible - Lockman)
Well then, if you teach others, why don't you teach yourself? You tell
others not to steal, but do you steal?
- Tyndale House)
But, prepared as you are to instruct others, do you ever teach
yourself anything? You preach against stealing, for example, but are
you sure of your own honesty?
Therefore, you who are constantly teaching another, are you not
teaching yourself? You who are constantly preaching a person should
not be stealing, are you stealing?
Thou, then, who art teaching another, thyself dost thou not teach?
THEREFORE, WHO TEACH ANOTHER, DO YOU NOT TEACH YOURSELF: o oun didaskon
(PAPMSN) heteron seauton ou didaskeis (2SPAI): (Ps 50:16, 17, 18,
19, 20, 21; Mt 23:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12; Lk 4:23; 11:46;
12:47; 19:22; 1Co 9:27; Gal 6:13; Titus 2:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
In the Psalms we
read a similar accusation in the form of a question...
But to the wicked God says, "What
right have you to tell of My statutes, And to take My covenant in your
mouth? "For you hate discipline, and you cast My words behind you.
"When you see a thief, you are pleased with him, and you associate with
adulterers. "You let your mouth loose in evil, and your tongue frames
deceit. "You sit and speak against your brother. You slander your own
mother's son." (Ps 50:16-20)
Jesus addressed this hypocrisy in the
Jewish religious leaders warning others...
therefore all that they tell you, do
and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say
things, and do not do them. And they tie up heavy loads, and lay them on
men's shoulders; but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so
much as a finger. But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for
they broaden their phylacteries, and lengthen the tassels of their
garments. And they love the place of honor at banquets, and the chief
seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places,
and being called by men, Rabbi. But do not be called Rabbi; for One is
your Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth
your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be
called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the
greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself
shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. But woe
to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the
kingdom of heaven from men; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do
you allow those who are entering to go in. (Mt 23:3-12)
Addressing the Jewish lawyers, Jesus declared...
"Woe to you lawyers (experts in the
Mosaic law) as well! For you weigh men down with burdens hard to bear,
while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your
In Galatians Paul addressed the
hypocrisy of the Jews explaining that...
those who are circumcised do not even
keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised, that
they may boast in your flesh. (Gal 6:13)
In just a few sentences Paul does
away with the false security which they could derive from having the
truth. They were not okay. Their lives did not measure up to the truth
they possessed ("you condemn yourself" Ro 2:1-note).
Remember that much of rabbinic Judaism of Paul's day interpreted the law
in such a way that one might consider themselves completely justified by
the law; yet Jesus exposed the error of such interpretations. The
Scribes and Pharisees sought to keep the law externally and not from the
heart. Jesus applied the Law not just to our actions but also to our attitudes.
(Mt 5:19, 20-notes)
Thomas à Kempis rightly
“How rarely we weigh our neighbor in
the same balance in which we weigh ourselves.”
from dáo= know or teach; English = didactic; see study of related
didaskalia and adjective
means to provide instruction or information in a formal or informal
setting. In the 97 NT uses of didasko the meaning is virtually
always to teach or instruct, although the purpose and content of the
teaching must be determined from the context.
means to cause to know, to help one to learn, to impart knowledge or
skill, or to carry out the activity of instructing by precept or by
practice. To teach is distinguished from to preach, the latter
emphasizing the proclamation of the gospel to the non-Christian world.
writes that didasko
refers to the passing on of
information-often, but not necessarily, in a formal setting. It focused
on content, with the purpose of discovering the truth-contrary to the
forums so popular among Greeks, where discussion and the bantering about
of various ideas and opinions was the primary concern (see Acts
17:21). Synagogue teaching, as illustrated by that of Jesus, was
basically expository. Scripture was read and explained section by
section, often verse by verse. (MacArthur,
J: Matthew 1-7 Chicago: Moody Press
YOU WHO PREACH
THAT ONE SHOULD NOT STEAL DO YOU STEAL: o kerusson (PAPMSN) me kleptein (PAN) klepteis
(2SPAI): (Isa 56:11; Ezek 22:12,13,27; Amos 8:4, 5, 6; Mic 3:11;
Mt 21:13; 23:14)
External rituals clearly did not
produce the internal changes that God demanded and provided for in the
Gospel. The Jews considered themselves to be God’s exclusive favorites;
but what they failed to see was that these very privileges obligated
them to live holy lives. They disobeyed themselves the very law they
preached to the Gentiles.
Even if we are believers, we need to
be sure we don't read over this section too fast. Paul's arguments
should stimulate us all to ask Do I practice what I profess? Do I tell
others what is right but then do what is wrong? Do I expect more of
others than I do of myself?
Isaiah addressed the
wickedness of God's people writing that...
the dogs are greedy, they are
not satisfied. And they are shepherds who have no understanding. They
have all turned to their own way, each one to his unjust gain, to the
last one. (Isa 56:11)
Ezekiel addressed their
"In you they have taken bribes to
shed blood (hired murderers); you have taken interest and profits, and
you have injured your neighbors for gain by oppression (loan racketeers,
extortionists), and you have forgotten (be oblivious of from want of
memory or attention, cease to care) Me," declares the Lord GOD. Behold,
then, I smite My hand at your dishonest gain which you have acquired and
at the bloodshed which is among you... "Her princes within her are like
wolves tearing the prey, by shedding blood and destroying lives in order
to get dishonest gain. (Ezek 22:12,13,27)
The prophet Amos also rebuked
Hear this, you who trample the needy,
to do away with the humble of the land, saying, "When will the new moon
be over, so that we may sell grain, and the sabbath, that we may open
the wheat market, to make the bushel smaller and the shekel bigger, and
to cheat with dishonest scales, so as to buy the helpless for money And
the needy for a pair of sandals, And that we may sell the refuse of the
wheat?" (Amos 8:4-6)
Micah wrote that Israel's...
leaders pronounce judgment for a
bribe, Her priests instruct for a price, And her prophets divine for
money. Yet they lean on the LORD saying, "Is not the LORD in our midst?
Calamity will not come upon us." (Mic 3:11)
In Jesus' day the situation
had not improved...
And He said to them, "It is written,
'MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER'; but you are making it a
ROBBERS' DEN." (Mt 21:13)
or kerysso from
kerux/keryx = a herald - one who acts as the medium of the
authority of one who proclamation he makes; kerugma = the thing
preached or the message) means to proclaim (publicly) or to herald or
act as a public crier - the town official who would make a proclamation
in a public gathering.
Kerusso was used of the
official whose duty it was to proclaim loudly and extensively the coming
of an earthly king, even as our gospel is to clearly announce the
coming of the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 19:16-note)!
Herald would enter a town in behalf of the Emperor, and make a public
proclamation of the message which his Sovereign ordered him to give,
doing so with such formality, gravity, and authority as to emphasize
that the message must be heeded! (Think about this in regard to the
Gospel of God instead of the decree of a man which is what the Jews were
preaching! cf 1Th 2:13-note).
He gave the people exactly what the Emperor bade him give, nothing more,
nothing less. He did not dare add to the message or take away from it.
Should this not be the example
and pattern every preacher and teacher of the holy gospel of God
seeks and strives to emulate, yea, even doing so with fear and trembling!
("not as pleasing men but God, who examines our hearts" 1Th 2:4-note)
indicates that the readers were continually heralding (like public
criers) this message. A herald acted as the medium of the
authority of the one whose proclamation he proclaimed. Greco-Roman
rulers had special heralds made announcements to the people and who were
commissioned by the ruler to make announcements in a loud, clear voice
so everyone could hear. Sadly these religious professors were not
powerful preachers of the genuine gospel.
akin to kleptes = thief, English = kleptomaniac) to steal furtively or to take by stealth.
Take something without the owner's permission. To commit a theft. To
take something away secretly.
that klepto means to
means a. “to steal” (either objects
or people), b. “to cheat” or “bewitch,” and c. “to conceal.”
indicates this was the habitual practice of the Jewish readers who were
Klepto is used 13 times in the
NT - Mt 6:19, 20-see
notes; Mt 19:18; 27:64;
28:13; Mk 10:19; Lk 18:20; Jn 10:10; Ro 2:21-note;
There are 31 uses of klepto in the non-apocryphal Septuagint - Gen.
30:33; 31:19, 30, 32; 40:15; 44:5, 8; Exod. 20:15; 21:16; 22:1, 7f, 12;
Lev. 19:11; Deut. 5:19; 24:7; Jos. 7:11; 2 Sam. 19:41; 21:12; 2 Ki.
11:2; 2 Chr. 22:11; Job 17:3; Prov. 6:30; 30:9; Jer. 7:9; 23:30; Obad.
The Jew professed to
act as God's herald or spokesperson so to speak, and yet committed the very
acts which God condemned! (Ro 2:3 -note)
Here is an illustration of what Paul is asking the religious,
self-righteous Jews to do - When Sgt. Ray Baarz of the Midvale, Utah, police
department opened his wallet, he noticed his driver’s
license had expired. Embarrassed at having caught himself red-handed, he
had no alternative. He calmly and deliberately pulled out his ticket
book and wrote himself a citation. Then Baarz took the ticket to the
city judge who fined him five dollars. Baarz confessed
“How could I give a ticket to
anyone else for an expired license in the future if I didn’t cite
Note that Paul is
using a series of
questions designed to contrast the practice of most of the Jews with what they knew
and taught (cf. Ps 50:16-20; Mt 23:3, 4; Jas 3:1).
For example, despite the clear
pronouncements of the Mosaic law against theft, it was very common in
ancient Judaism. Isaiah rebuked those who
“turned to their own way, each
one to his unjust gain” (Isa. 56:11).
In theological terms, their preaching reflected orthodoxy (right
doctrine), but their living failed to follow through with orthopraxy (right
practice). They were much like corrupt police officials or judges, whose
lives are in direct contradiction of the laws they have sworn to uphold
and enforce. And because of their greater responsibility, they bring
upon themselves greater punishment when they break those laws.
Illustration of preaching "one
should not steal" - John was driving home late one night when he
picked up a hitchhiker. As they rode along, he began to be suspicious of
his passenger. John checked to see if his wallet was safe in the pocket
of his coat that was on the seat between them, but it wasn't there! So
he slammed on the brakes, ordered the hitchhiker out, and said, "Hand
over the wallet immediately!" The frightened hitchhiker handed over a
billfold, and John drove off. When he arrived home, he started to tell
his wife about the experience, but she interrupted him, saying, "Before
I forget, John, do you know that you left your wallet at home this
morning?" Gotcha! (see notes on Jesus' warning on hypocritical
judging - Mt 7:1, 2 -
TALKING AND WALKING -A professor of ethics at a leading university was attending a
convention. He and another teacher of philosophy had lunch at a
restaurant and were discussing deep issues of truth and morality. Before
they left the table, the professor slipped the silverware into his
pocket. Noticing his colleague's puzzled look, he explained, "I just
`teach' ethics. I need the spoons."
By vocation that man was paid to instruct his students in the principles
of right and wrong. But outside the classroom he failed to put those
principles into practice. Profession without practice is hypocrisy, and
hypocrisy is a sin.
Jesus reminded the hypocrites of His day that God had declared through
Isaiah, "These people ... honor Me with their lips, but have removed
their hearts far from Me" (Isa 29:13). He could just as well have cited
God's rebuke to Israel through Ezekiel, "They hear Your words, but they
do not do them" (Ezek 33:32).
The Christian life is like a coin. One side is belief; the other is
behavior. If our behavior isn't consistent with our belief, we are
hypocrites. By God's enabling grace, we need to bring practice and
profession into alignment. We must walk our talk, then we can talk our
walk. - V C Grounds (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Unless my talk about my faith
Is mirrored in my walk,
The faith that glibly I profess
Is merely empty talk. --Anon.
How we behave reveals what we truly
Practice What You Preach
A number of
years ago a university was accused of plagiarism (which
means, to take the writings of someone else and pass them off as one's
own). What made it so unusual was that the school had plagiarized the
section on plagiarism from another university's handbook.
A news report stated, "A graduate student of one school, who was
considering a teaching assistant's job at the other, was reading the
school handbook when he noted that the section warning students against
plagiarism was identical to the caution in the handbook of the other
university." Another student said, "The thing that bothered me most was
In Romans 2 the apostle Paul exposed the hypocrisy of self-righteous
religionists. He said, "You who preach that man should not steal, do you
steal?" (Ro 2:21). Paul warned that people who are quick to judge the sins
of others are guilty of the very things they condemn.
I think all of us can identify with this tendency. We see a sin in
another person's life and we rise up in pride to correct that person.
But if we are honest with ourselves, we can see similar faults in our
Be careful to examine yourself before pointing out the faults of others.
Practice what you preach! R W De Haan (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
How much we need
To walk a measured pace,
To live the life of which we speak,
And show God's love and grace. - Anon
You please God when your walk matches your talk.
Romans 2:22 You who
(PAPMSN) that one
idols, do you
Greek: o legon (PAPMSN)
me moicheuein (PAN) moicheueis (2SPAI); o bdelussomenos (PMPMSN) ta
eidola hierosuleis (2SPAI):
You who say not to commit adultery, do you commit adultery [are you
unchaste in action or in thought]? You who abhor and loathe idols, do
you rob temples [do you appropriate to your own use what is
consecrated to God, thus robbing the sanctuary and doing sacrilege]?
Bible - Lockman)
You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you do it? You condemn
idolatry, but do you steal from pagan temples?
- Tyndale House)
You denounce the practice of adultery, but are you sure of your own
purity? You loathe idolatry, but How honest are you towards the
property of heathen temples?
You who are constantly saying that a person should not be committing
adultery, are you committing adultery? You who are turning away
constantly from idolatry as from a stench, are you robbing temples?
Young's Literal: thou
who art preaching not to steal, dost thou steal? thou who art saying
not to commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou who art
abhorring the idols, dost thou rob temples?
YOU WHO SAY
THAT ONE SHOULD NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO YOU COMMIT ADULTERY:o legon (PAPMSN)
me moicheuein (PAN) moicheueis (2SPAI): (Jer 5:7; 7:9,10; 9:2;
Ezekiel 22:11; Mt 12:39; 16:4; Jas 4:4)
indictment was made by Jeremiah...
"Why should I pardon you? Your sons
have forsaken Me And sworn by those who are not gods. When I had fed
them to the full, They committed adultery And trooped to the harlot's
house (eg During the reign of Manasseh, cult prostitution was
"Will you steal, murder, and commit
adultery, and swear falsely, and offer sacrifices to Baal, and walk
after other gods that you have not known (Note that in this verse alone
half of the Ten Commandments were being violated), then come and stand
before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, 'We are
delivered!'-- that you may do all these abominations? (Jeremiah
O that I had in the desert a
wayfarers' lodging place (a lonely and desolate dwelling, providing only
a shelter from the elements.); that I might leave my people, and go from
them! for all of them are adulterers, An assembly of treacherous men. (Jeremiah
indictment was even more direct...
And one has committed abomination
with his neighbor's wife, and another has lewdly defiled his
daughter-in-law. And another in you has humbled his sister, his father's
daughter. (Ezekiel 22:11)
explained the abject evil inherent in spiritual adultery declaring...
You adulteresses (those who have
engaged in an affair with the "world" [that evil organized system under
the rule of the devil which opposes God and His will] thus compromising
with the present world-system as seen in much of modern Christianity,
even evangelicalism!), do you not know that friendship (indicating a
reciprocal relationship. Unfaithful people love the world, and the world
loves them) with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever
wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)
(moicheuo from moichós = an adulterer) means to be
unfaithful to one's marriage vows speaking of sexual intercourse with
someone who is married to another. In some uses moicheuo can also be a figure of speech
(Re 2:22) as in the Old Testament where "adultery"
described unfaithfulness to God especially through the practice of
idolatry (which in the NT equates with greed and in essence is anything
that comes between you and God).
indicates that they practiced adultery as a lifestyle!
an interesting historical note on moicheuo writing that...
moicheuo and its Doric counterpart
moichao mean to commit adultery (with acc.). Sometimes they are used
more generally, seduce a woman, violate; hence in mid. let oneself be
seduced, in pass. be seduced to adultery. The derivatives include
moicheia, adultery, harlotry (cf. porneia Discipline); moichos,
Adulterer; moichalis, first an adj. meaning adulterous, and, secondly, a
noun meaning adulteress, harlot.
Adultery was punishable already in the old law codes going back to the
second millennium B.C., e.g. the Lipit-Ishtar Code, the Code of
Hammurabi, the old Ass. laws (cf. ANET, 159 ff., 163-88). Every form of
sexual relationship outside marriage was forbidden to the wife, for she
was the real guarantor of the integrity of the family and clan, and by
adultery she broke her own marriage and she destroyed the integrity of
the whole clan. A man on the contrary committed adultery only by sexual
relationships with a married woman, i.e. when breaking into another’s
arrangement. At the same time traces of older concepts behind these
legal views from different cultures may be detected: (a) adultery with a
married woman involves an offense against property, i.e. the invasion of
the area of another’s possessions, and (b) the woman committing adultery
opens the clan to the influence of evil powers. The punishment of
adultery by death, ill-treatment or the payment of an expiatory fine was
normally left to the private initiative of the wronged husband or of his
Here are the 15
uses of moicheuo in the NT -
Matthew 5:27 (note)
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery';
Matthew 5:28 (note)
but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her
has committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Matthew 5:32 (note)
but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the
cause of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a
divorced woman commits adultery.
Matthew 19:18 He said to Him, "Which ones?" And Jesus said, "You shall
not commit murder; You shall not commit adultery; You
shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness;
Mark 10:19 "You know the commandments, 'Do not murder, Do not commit
adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not
defraud, Honor your father and mother.'"
Luke 16:18 "Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery; and he who marries one who is divorced from
a husband commits adultery.
Luke 18:20 "You know the commandments, 'Do not commit adultery,
Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your
father and mother.'"
John 8:4 they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in
adultery, in the very act.
Romans 2:22 (note)
You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit
adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?
Romans 13:9 (note)
For this, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not
murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and if there is any
other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "You shall love your
neighbor as yourself."
James 2:11 For He who said, "Do not commit adultery," also
said, "Do not commit murder." Now if you do not commit adultery, but do
commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.
Revelation 2:22 (note)
'Behold, I will cast her upon a bed of sickness, and those who commit
adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of
used 8 times in the
- Exod. 20:14; Lev. 20:10; Deut.
5:18; Jer. 3:9; Ezek. 23:43; Hos. 4:13, 14; 7:4
Ex 20:14 "You shall not commit
Leviticus 20:10 'If there is a man
who commits adultery with another man's wife, one who commits
adultery with his friend's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall
surely be put to death.
YOU WHO ABHOR
IDOLS: o bdelussomenos (PMPMSN) ta eidola:
(bdelusso from bdéo = stink
or reek; see study of related word
bdekluktos) means to
emit a foul odor, to render foul and figuratively to strongly detest
something on the basis that it is abominable (to abhor, to abominate).
To turn oneself away from a stench and so to feel disgust.
Bdelusso meant to feel a nausea or loathing for food and so came to be
used of disgust in general.
writes that bdelusso
originally to turn away from a thing
on account of the stench. (Bdelusso) means to feel a nausea or loathing
for food: hence used of disgust generally. In a moral sense it denotes
an object of moral or religions repugnance...It denotes anything in
which estrangement from God manifests itself; as the eating of unclean
beasts, Lev. 11:11...and, generally, all forms of heathenism. This moral
sense must be emphasized in the New Testament use of the word... It does
not denote mere physical or esthetic disgust.
indicating this is their habitual practice. The
is reflexive meaning "you yourself". The middle voice
signifies to turn oneself away from as if from a stench and hence to
detest something, in this case idols. To be sure in Israel's past,
idolatry had been a serious trap, especially during the times of the
divided kingdom and the monarchies that ruled each kingdom. After the
Babylonian exile and their return to the land, the Jews for the most
part had forsaken the practice of idol worship and had a strong
abhorrence for anything remotely resembling idolatry. During the time of
Roman rule (the world power at the time of Paul's writing), the Jews
actually came to abhor Roman coins that were impressed with the image of
the Roman emperors, many of whom claimed to be gods. (see Mt 22:19, 20,
The only other NT
use of bdelusso is in the Revelation...
Revelation 21:8 But for the cowardly
and unbelieving and abominable (perfect
their permanent state is that of being detestable, being a stench in the
"nostrils of God" so to speak) and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers
and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns
with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. (see
There are 35 uses
of bdelusso in the
- Ge 26:29; Ex 1:12; 5:21; Lv 11:11,
13, 43; 18:30; 20:23, 25; 26:11; Dt 7:26; 23:7; 1Ki 21:26. Esther
4:17; Job 9:31; 15:16; 19:19; 30:10; Ps 5:6; 14:1; 38:20; 53:1; 56:5;
106:40; 107:18; 119:163; Pr 8:7; 28:9; Isa 14:19; 49:7; 66:5; Hos.
9:10; Amos 5:10; 6:8; Mic 3:9. Here are a few examples from the OT
Exodus 5:21 (ESV) and they said to
them, "The LORD look on you and judge, because you have made us stink
(Heb = to have a bad smell, to stink, emit a foul odor; Lxx = bdelusso)
in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, and have put a sword in their
hand to kill us."
Leviticus 20:23 'Moreover, you shall
not follow the customs of the nation which I shall drive out before you,
for they did all these things, and therefore I have abhorred (Heb
= quts = feel a loathing, abhorrence or sickening dread; Lxx = bdelusso)
Psalm 119:163 (ESV) I hate and
abhor (Heb = ta'ab = to detest, loathe; Lxx = bdelusso)
falsehood, but I love your
Proverbs 28:9 He who turns away his
ear from listening to the law, Even his prayer is an abomination.
(Heb = tow'ebah = a disgusting thing; Lxx = bdelusso in
= speaks of
permanence of this effect)
Hosea 9:10 I found Israel like grapes
in the wilderness; I saw your forefathers as the earliest fruit on the
fig tree in its first season. But they came to Baal-peor and devoted
themselves to shame, And they became as detestable as that which
from eídos = that
which is seen, what is visible, figure, appearance) (Click
depth study of
is primarily a phantom, form, image, shadow or likeness.
Eidolon is used 11 times in
the NT - Acts 7:41; 15:20; Ro 2:22; 1Co 8:4, 7; 10:19; 12:2; 2Co
6:16; 1Th 1:9; 1Jn. 5:21; Rev 9:20
The spiritual significance
of eidolon is primarily derived from the use of this word in the
is considered a derogatory term for images of the gods or pagan deities.
uses of eidolon
emphasize the fact that idols are the products of fantasy and are
manufactured by human hands (e.g. Isa 44:12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17). The Old Testament
writers considered that these so-called gods had no reality at all, but
were simply pieces of wood or stone. They were not alternative gods, but
rather unreal gods. The NT usage is based on the understanding of
eidolon in the
Read Psalm 115 for
a vivid description of what it is like to worship an idol.
an English evangelical writer said that...
"An idol may be defined as
any person or thing that has usurped in the heart the place of
preeminence that belongs to the Lord."
In Scripture eidolon
is an image or representation whether corporeal or imaginary or some
other thing which resembles a person, animal, false god, etc. and which
is an object of worship. In Colossians 3 Paul broadened the meaning an
idol using the combination word eidololatreia (eidolon + latreia
= render religious service) writing...
Therefore consider the
members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion,
evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. (see
When people engage in
either greed (literally = "desire to have more"), they follow
their desires rather than God’s desires, in essence worshiping
themselves, which amounts idolatry. Greed then in this
context is any materialistic desire including lust that disregards the
rights of others. As one writer has phrased it greed is “the
arrogant and ruthless assumption that all other persons and things exist
for one’s own benefit.” If the Jews were robbing temples this would
certainly be a reflection of a "desire to have more" and therefore would
be a manifestation of the very thing they said they abhorred! It's
amazing how we can justify our actions by changing the names ("to
protect the supposed innocent"!)
Louw and Nida
The technical distinction
between an image and an idol is that an image may merely represent a
supernatural being, while an idol not only represents such a being but
is believed to possess certain inherent supernatural powers. Images
often become idols when they are assumed to possess such powers in and
of themselves rather than being mere representations of some
supernatural entity. If, for example, various images of a particular
supernatural being are supposed to have different healing powers, then
what began merely as images or representations of a supernatural power
have become idols, in that the different images themselves have acquired
special efficacy. (Louw,
J. P., & Nida, E. A. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based
on Semantic Domains. United Bible societies)
in a practical sense is anything, anyone, etc that takes priority over
the True and Living God. Idols therefore are not just carved images but
any objects which come between the soul and Christ, including things
like money, pleasure, fame or material things. Many idolaters literally
serve idols as in ancient Egypt where statues of gods were regularly and
ritually clothed and fed!
The Jews had been
taught, by the severe discipline of the Babylonian Captivity, to obey God’s decree
against idolatry (see word study of
= eidolon). The nation had been purged from its grossness in this
respect. Although Israel had fallen into idolatry repeatedly during the
period of the monarchies, since the Babylonian exile Jews have never
practiced that evil to any significant degree. During the Greek and
Roman occupations after their return from Babylon, Jews developed a
strong abhorrence for anything remotely resembling idolatry. Because
some Caesars had declared themselves to be gods, Jews even loathed
handling Roman coins, because Caesar’s image was inscribed on them
(Mt 22:19, 20, 21).
DO YOU ROB
TEMPLES: hierosuleis (2SPAI):
Rob temples (2416)
(hierosuleo from hierón = temple + suláo = to rob,
spoil, thus a robber of a temple, a sacrilegious person) means to commit
sacrilege, to take to one’s own private use what is consecrated to God,
"The treasures of the idol temples perhaps attracted the avarice of the
Jews, who would excuse themselves on the score of the wickedness of
of this verse is not completely certain. It may refer to fraudulently skimming funds from money
given to the temple or withholding part of their temple tax or offerings
(cf. Mal 3:8, 9, 10). On the other hand, it could refer to the common practice
(a direct violation
of God’s command - Dt 7:25) of looting pagan temples and selling the
idols and vessels for personal profit (Acts 19:37) under the pretext of
In either case their practice belied their profession of piety!
God hates hypocrisy in any form. Let us all examine our hearts and remove the logs out of our
own eyes so that we might be able to see
clearly to remove the speck out of our brother's eye! (Mt 7:2, 3, 4, 5-see
John MacArthur writes that...
To rob temples may have referred to
Jews who robbed their own Temple in Jerusalem. As noted above, they
often robbed God by withholding part of their tithes and offerings.
According to the Jewish historian Josephus, some Jews also robbed the
Temple in other devious ways. He reports that on one occasion a group of
Jewish men enticed a wealthy Roman woman into giving a large sum of
money to the Temple. But instead of putting the money in the Temple
treasury, they divided it among themselves.
J: Romans 1-8. Chicago: Moody Press
Romans 2:23 You
Law, do you
Greek: os en
nomo kauchasai (2SPAI) dia tes parabaseos tou nomou ton theon
You who boast in the Law, do you dishonor God by breaking the Law [by
stealthily infringing upon or carelessly neglecting or openly breaking
Bible - Lockman)
You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking
- Tyndale House)
Everyone knows how proud you are of the Law, but that means a
proportionate dishonor to God when men know that you break it!
You who are making your boast in the law, through your transgression
of the law are you dishonoring God?
Young's Literal: thou
who in the law dost boast, through the transgression of the law God
dost thou dishonour?
YOU WHO BOAST
IN THE LAW THROUGH YOUR BREAKING THE LAW DO YOU DISHONOR GOD: os en nomo kauchasai (2SPAI)
dia tes parabaseos tou nomou ton theon atimazeis
(2SPAI): (Ro 2:17;
3:2; 9:4; Jer 8:8,9; Mt 19:17, 18, 19, 20; Lk 10:26, 27, 28, 29; 18:11;
Jn 5:45; Jn 9:28,29; Jas 1:22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27; 4:16,17) (Ro 2:17,
3:27, 4:2 contrast real "boasting" Ro 15:17 & real praise Ro 2:29)
You who boast in the Law, do you
dishonor God by breaking
the Law [by stealthily infringing upon or carelessly neglecting or
openly breaking it]?
Bible - Lockman)
Later in Romans
Paul reminds us of the privileges of the Jews...
who are Israelites, to whom belongs
the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of
the Law and the temple service and the promises (see note
Jeremiah directly addressed
this same problem in the Old Testament asking...
"How can you say, 'We are wise, and
the law of the LORD is with us'? But behold, the lying pen of the
scribes (The first mention of scribes as a professional class of men who
copied, studied, and expounded the Law. They claimed to be the
legitimate interpreters of some written portion of the Law) has made it
into a lie. "The wise men are put to shame, They are dismayed and
caught; Behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, And what kind
of wisdom do they have (whose message will you believe, the scribes who
lie and tell you what you want to hear or Jeremiah's message of
repentance?)? (Jer 8:8,9)
Jesus exposed the hypocrisy of
the external religiosity of the Jews telling...
this parable to certain ones who
trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with
contempt (despised others on basis they were worthless or of no value):
"Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, and the
other a tax-gatherer.
"The Pharisee stood and was praying thus to himself
(he prayed "with himself" rather than God, congratulating himself on his
self-righteousness and thus received no forgiveness), 'God, I thank
Thee that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or
even like this tax-gatherer.' I fast twice a week (refers to the belief
of Pharisees that Moses went up on Mt Sinai to receive the Law on a
Thursday, and returned with it on a Monday - to them fasting on those
two days is considered a special mark of holiness); I pay tithes of all that I get
(the religious leaders had expanded the items required to be tithed to
include even the smallest of herbs neglecting the proper normal tithing,
see Mt 23:23).'
"But the tax-gatherer, standing some distance away, was even
unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast,
saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner (not a sinner but "the"
sinner. And not be merciful but more literally "be propitiated to me"
propitiated referring to the mercy seat in the Holy of holies - he was
confessing his sin and need of forgiveness, trusting in the blood
sprinkled on the mercy seat for atonement. This repentant faith was
sufficient to secure his being "declared righteous" before God)!'
"I tell you, this man went down to his house justified
(declared righteous - the Pharisee approached God as if He operated on a
merit system and thus could be put in man's debt through good works. The
tax collector bowed down to God as merciful and worthy of trust) rather than
the other; for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who
humbles himself shall be exalted.". (Mt
The Jews were deceived as John
shows writing the following note about the religious leaders who....
reviled him (the man who had been
cured of blindness by Jesus), and said, "You are His disciple, but we
are disciples of Moses. "We know that God has spoken to Moses; but as
for this man, we do not know where He is from. (A typical statement of
Pharisaic orthodoxy. But the man refused to be coerced away from the
plain fact that he had been cured )" (Jn 9:28,29)
James explained the only
"religion" that pleases God instructing his readers to...
prove yourselves doers of the word,
and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a
man who looks at his natural face in a mirror;
24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately
forgotten what kind of person he was.
25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty,
and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual
doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does.
26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his
tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless.
27 This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and
Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep
oneself unstained by the world. (See notes
(James added that) as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all
such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right
thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin. (James
(kauchaomai akin to aucheo = boast + euchomai =
pray to God <> auchen = neck which vain persons are apt to carry
in proud manner) means to boast over a privilege or possession. It is
used in the OT of any proud and exulting joy and is expressive of
triumphant, rejoicing confidence in God. This word combines ideas of
jubilation and confidence into one word to describe "joyful confidence". The Jew continually (present
in the Law as their covenant with and the premise that they were His
is used 37 times in the NT - Ro 2:17-note,
Ro 2:23; Ro 5:2-note,
1Co 1:29, 31; 3:21; 4:7; 13:3; 2Co. 5:12; 7:14; 9:2; 10:8, 13, 15, 16,
17; 11:12, 16, 18, 30; 12:1, 5, 6, 9; Ga 6:13, 14; Ep 2:9-note;
from para =
beyond, aside + baino = step) means to step on one side and thus
is primarily a going aside, a stepping across a line, an overstepping or
stepping over and always implies a breach of law and especially of the
Law of Moses. It refers to the act of a person stepping beyond a fixed
limit into forbidden territory. The point is that the law draws the line
that should not be crossed or "stepped over". Where there is no law,
people do not deliberately disobey God but they disobey in ignorance.
are the 7 uses of parabasis in the NT - Ro 2:23; 4:15; 5:14; Gal. 3:19;
1Ti 2:14; He 2:2; 9:15
his discussion of discussing
There must be something to transgress
before there can be a transgression. There was sin between Adam and
Moses, as was attested by the fact that there was death; but those
between the law given in Paradise (Ge 2:16, 17) and the law given from
Sinai, sinning indeed, yet did not sin ‘after the similitude of Adam’s
transgression’ (or offense = parabasis Romans 5:14-note).
With the law came for the first time the possibility of the
transgression of law.
his comments on parabasis adds that...
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...Parabasis differs from the Homeric hyperbasia 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 of transgressing the
law. “Where there is no law there is no transgression” (Ro 4:15-note). Hence
Adam’s sin is called a transgression (Ro 5:14-note), because it was the
violation of a definite command. Paul habitually uses the word and its
kindred parabates or transgressor, of the transgression of a commandment
distinctly given (Gal 3:19; 1Ti 2:14; Ro 2:25, 27). Hence it is
peculiarly appropriate here of one who boasts in the law. It thus
differs from hamartia or sin in that one may sin without
being under express law. Sin (hamartia) 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 (hamartesantas) after the
similitude of Adam’s transgression (parabaseos). The sin is implicit,
the transgression explicit." (Vincent, M. R. Word studies in the New
Testament. Vol. 3, Page 1-31).
(atimazo from a = without + time = honor) means to
treat with indignity, to cause to be dishonored, to disgrace or to
degrade. To cause someone to have low status involving dishonor and
disrespect. Note again this verb is in the present
continuously dishonoring God.
The gospel is written a chapter a day
By deeds that you do and words that you say.
Men read what you say, whether faithless or true.
Say, what is the gospel according to you?
Here are the 7 uses of atimazo
in the NT - Mk 12:4; Lk. 20:11; Jn 8:49; Acts 5:41; Ro 1:24; 2:23; Jas
In other words the
Jews He boasted or gloried in the fact that they possessed the
law, while at the same time they dishonored the God who gave the
law by breaking its precepts.
Only Pretending - Have you heard the story about a
driver who put a note under the windshield wiper of a parked car? The
note read, "I have just smashed into your car. The people who saw the
accident are watching me. They think I'm writing down my name and
address, I'm not."
This story reminds me of another bit of devious pretence. In Jeremiah 3,
the people of Judah were described as willing to call God their Father
while still doing all the evil they could (Jeremiah 3:4, 5 "Have you
not just now called to Me, 'My Father, Thou art the friend of my youth?
'Will He be angry forever? Will He be indignant to the end?' Behold, you
have spoken And have done evil things, And you have had your way.").
They only pretended to return to the Lord; their hearts were far from
Putting on a false front is a very old practice, but it hasn't gone
out of fashion. I can't think of a problem I'm more concerned about
in myself than a failure to respond from my heart to the Lord, who has
made Himself so real and so knowable in Christ. It's easy to say, "Yes,
yes, He is our Lord and Saviour. He has died for our sins and deserves
our worship and service." But do we remember our commitment to Him when
no one is around to observe how we live?
We may say the right things about God when it's in our best interest to
do so. But what about our heart relationship with the Lord? Can we come
before Him without shame? Looking good in the eyes of others is not
enough.-Martin R. De Haan II (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Arm me with jealous care,
As in Thy sight to live;
And oh, Thy servant, Lord, prepare
A strict account to give! -Wesley
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