Exegesis of Romans 2:1-3

INTRODUCTION

Purpose and Overview

This document anticipates arriving at a rational and coherent understanding of the definition of Romans 2:1-3 study takes place via the exegesis of the above mentioned scriptural passage. For clear highlights and explanations of the term under review, an exegesis is a process that consists of deriving meaning from or drawing out of a given passage of scripture by analogous perceptions from two different groups of people at separate period of a given time: the time of the inspired author as well as the time of the modern reader. In this deliberation, we anticipate exploring what the passage meant for the original recipient in its historical context and discover what the text means to the reader of today. While the book of Romans was written to a select group of people in antiquity of time, exegesis extends the message beyond a limited few to person in our generation.

Paul did not write Romans as matter of dispute[1]. However, some scholars suggest that chapter 16 may not have been part of the original epistles sent to Rome but rather a separate epistle sent to Ephesus. This is evidential via the reference to Gaius, Erastus, and Phoebe (1 Corinthians 1:14, 2 Timothy 4:20 and Romans 16:1 respectively) that Paul wrote this letter to the Romans during his three- month sojourn in the city of Corinth during his third missionary adventure[2]. Scholars date this visit in the winter of A.D. 57-58, but others prefer an early date. After the delivery of the contribution to the poor among the Christians in Jerusalem, Paul intended to visit Rome to see the Christian church in the capital city of the Roman Empire. It was with this aspiration that he introduced Christianity into Spain and wrote this epistle in order to secure the blessings and assistance of the believers in Rome.[3]

Sources and Methodology

In order to derive significant meaning from the select passage in the epistle to the Romans, a multiple of sources will be used. Because I am not well equipped in Greek, various translations of scriptural passages, a number of concordances, a study guide on the book of Romans, interpretations by scholars and commentaries which include Bible commentaries and other materials will be used. Analogies of different translation of scripture will aid in deduction of keywords and phrases. The understanding of these keywords or phrases through exploration of their meaning will give greater depth of meaning to the passage which helps readers comprehend the original meaning along with the message for today’s audiences.

TEXUAL ANALYSIS

Keywords, Phrases and Comparison

Judgment, human judgment

In his address to the Jews specifically, Paul said that Jews who are passing judgment to condemn the Gentiles they eventually condemning themselves because the things they condemn the Gentiles for, they also are doing the same thing. Here we see human judgment which contains hypocrisy. There is a danger of condemning someone knowing that the person, who passes judgment while they do the same, will also be condemned by God’s judgment which is based on the truth. The commentary comments as follows, “The address passes gradually to the Jews. They were the people who judged—who pronounced all Gentiles to be born in sin and under condemnation:—doubtless there were also proud and censorious men among the Gentiles, to whom the rebuke might apply, but these are hardly in the Apostle’s mind. This is evident by comparing τὰ γὰρ αὐτὰ πράσσεις ὁ κρίνων with Romans 2:21-23, where the same charge is implied in a direct address to the Jew.”[4] The Jews did condemn the Gentiles and capitalize on the observance of the law taking faith out completely as the condition for salvation. They pronounced Gentiles to be born in sin and separated from the commonwealth of Israel. There is a disconnect between the judgment of God and man. God’s judgment is the reaction to sin encapsulated with love. Whitten comments “This real judgment is apparent in the great story of the love of God which we know as the parable of the prodigal son. After the son had squandered his goods and done the things that accompanied the spendthrift life he knew that he stood in an extremely uncomfortable position. All his rights had been dissipated. He was returning home now with no claims, no demands, no justification — nothing.”[5]

Condemnation and Truth

Condemnation is the product of judgment in the negative sense. Whenever there is court proceeding between the plaintiff and the defender, the judge either condemns or acquits either of the players. The Judge’s reaction to the outcome of the court proceeding is based on the testimonies of the plaintiff and the defender. The decision could be based on the truth or the lie. Fraudulent activity in human judgment is inevitable. Unlike God’s judgment is based on the truth which is the direct reaction to sin and not the sinners. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.[6] The Jews’ decision in judging the Gentiles was based on religious observance of the Law. The Gentiles were condemned not on the truth. The truth is that we are saved by grace through Jesus Christ and not by the law. The law condemns and grace saves the sinners.

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

In the introduction, few scholars had debated the Pauline authorship in regards to the epistle to the Romans. Evidence is revealed not only in the theme of the grace of God but in the evidence the individual who scribed the letter was “without doubt a Jew who was thoroughly familiar with the Pharisaical Judaism (Acts 23:6), as well as one who was burdened to proclaim the gospel to the Gentiles world (Acts 13:47).”[7] The apostle Paul wrote the letter to the brethren of faith in Rome. Brooten refers to the recipients as “the Roman community of those who believed in Christ.”[8]

Paul did not establish the church in Rome and he had not yet paid any visit at the time of writing the epistle to the Roman Christians. Corley presents two possibilities of church establishment in Rome. Primarily, the church might have been established through the evangelization of the early converts. Secondly, the church in Rome might have been established as a result of the witnessing of the proselytes, Roman Jews who were in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost[9]. The establishment or institution of the church ministry in Rome might have come from both of these factors. A relatively small number of scholars maintains that the church in Rome was Jewish in majority; however, the traditional view holds that the church was by large a Gentile church.

PURPOSE/APPLICATION

The book of Romans endeavors to communicate the universal sinful nature of mankind in general and the universal grace of God which makes provision of pardon for sin and restoration of holiness. The only medium provided to live in the delight of this grace is to have faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and to so receive him as Lord and Savior. Jesus lives to bring reconciliation between sinners and the holy God; therefore, mankind receives this reconciliation upon the acceptance of Christ as Lord and Savior.

Apostle Paul’s mind is pregnant with issues which clash with the Judaizers as he communicates this letter. He answers basis interrogations via a broad contextualization of the problem of sin, grace, and the law presenting Jesus as the remedial solution for the sin problem. He states that both Jews and Gentiles fall short of the glory of God due to sin influence; however, there is no excuse for the fact that all individuals have received some revelations (general/special) of the will of God. Everyone is under condemnation; nevertheless, everyone is justified through the redemption which comes through Jesus Christ.

CONCLUSION

This exegetical paper gives an understanding of the meaning of Romans 2:1-3. In the textual analysis, diverse translations of scriptural references have been compared to deduce keywords and define them in context. Meaning has been derived from or the meaning has been drawn out of the given passage in scripture by analogous perceptions from two different groups of people at separate periods (antiquity and modernity).

Paul addresses the issues in the broader context of sin and explains that through the grace of God appropriated through His Son, mankind has a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Salvation is guaranteed through faith in Christ. While the book of Romans was originally addressed to a select few in early times, exegesis extends the message beyond a limited few to every person in the world in any generation.

Bibliography

Barrett, C K. A Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (Peabody: Hendrickson Publisher) 1987.

Brooten, Bernadette J. Love between Women: Early Christian Responses to Female Homoeroticism (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press), 1996.

Johnson, Alan F. Romans: the Freedom Letter (Chicago: Moody Press), 1984.

Joy, Charles R. A Concordance of Bible Readings (Cleveland: The World Publishing Company), 1965.

Murray, John .The Epistle to the Romans: the English Test with Introduction, Exposition and Notes. (Grand Rapids: WM.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.), 1959.

Newell, William Reed. Romans Verse by Verse (Chicago: Moody Press), 1977.

Nichol, Francis D. et all,. The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary: the Holy Bible with Exegetical and Expository Comment (Washington: Review and Herald Publishing Association), 1957.

Whitten Hubert. God’s Unintentional Judgment, Brethren Life and Thought, 3 no 3 Sum 1958.

Vaughan, Curtis and Corley, Bruce. Romans: A Study Guide Commentary (Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation), 1976.

The King James Version Study Bible (Harrah: Mission Publishing Inc), 2000.

The New Jerusalem Bible (Broadway: Doubleday), 1990.

The New International Version Compact Reference Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House), 1989.

.The New Living Translation (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc), 1986.

The Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary on Romans 2/ http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/view.cgi?bk=44&ch=2


[1]John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans: the English Test with Introduction, Exposition and Notes. (Grand Rapids: WM.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.), 21, 1959.

[2]The King James Version Study Bible (Harrah: Mission Publishing Inc), 76, 2000.

[3]Francis D.Nichol et al., The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary: the Holy Bible with Exegetical and Expository Comment (Washington: Review and Herald Publishing Association), 90, 1957.

[4]The Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary on Romans 2/  http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/view.cgi?bk=44&ch=2

[5] Hubert Whitten, God’s Unintentional Judgment, Brethren Life and Thought, 3 no 3 Sum 1958, p 71-74

[6]John 8:32.

[7]Ibid, 78…

[8]Bernadette J Brooten, Love between Women: Early Christian Responses to Female Homoeroticism (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press), 105, 1996.

[9]Vaughan, Curtis and Corley, Bruce, Romans: A Study Guide Commentary (Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation), 45, 1976.