Lesson 23 - Chapter 2 Verses 17-20

Lesson 23 - Chapter 2 Verses 17-20

Verse 17

But if you bear the name is the Greek word “eponomazo” for bear, which means to attach a name, to name after, to nickname, to give a second name or to surname. This is the only occurrence of this verb in the New Testament. By compounding the Greek word “onomazo,” which means to name, Paul takes racial and national pride away from the Jews. If he had wanted the Jews to retain their racial and national pride, he would have used the Greek word “onomazo,” and that would have been translated “you are called.” But “onomazo” and “eponomazo” are entirely different words. “Eponomazo” means to be classified. It is impersonal. So Paul takes all of the pride out of self-righteous Jews because they are leaning on the fact that they are Jewish, which they assume means they are righteous. There is nothing wrong with the Jewish race, but if it is a source of self-righteousness then the race is distorted into something it is not. The Jews who are self-righteous will always have a problem in this area. Their arrogance is removed by simply adding a preposition, which compounds the verb.

A Jew is the Greek noun “ioudaios,” and is correctly translated.

And rely upon the Law is the Greek word, “epanapauo” for rely, which means to rest upon or rely upon. In other words, Paul knocked them down to pick them up and show them that they were relying on the wrong thing. They were resting on the Law for adjustment to the justice of God. Paul had the greatest respect for the Law. The Jews were disrespectful of the Law by trying to use it as an instrument of salvation. There is nothing wrong with the Law, it is perfect. There is something wrong with those who distort the Law into a system of salvation and spirituality by works.

And boast in God is the Greek word “kauchaomai,” which means to glory in. Legalism among the Jews is always related to the Law. The Jewish legalists boast about their relationship with God related to the Law. Not only do they use the Law as an instrument of salvation, but they boast about the fact that they have a relationship with God on the basis of the Law.

Verse 18

And know His will is presumption on the part of the arrogant to assume that they know the will of God and that they are doing the will of God. In fact, they claim that they have a monopoly on the will of God. But they don’t really know the will of God; they just think they know it. The Jewish unbeliever in his legalistic reversionism is under the illusion that by learning and keeping the Mosaic Law he has come to understand the will of God. Self-righteousness assumes to be doing the will of God. Legalism assumes that human righteousness is equivalent to divine righteousness.

And approve the things that are essential is the Greek word “dokimazo” for approve, which means to allow. Plus we have the Greek word for essential, “diafero” meaning to differ, to be different, to be worth more than or to be superior to. This was the delusion of self-righteousness in Israel, that whatever the legalist approved was superior to all else. The legalistic Judaizer had approved standards, as superior, that are in opposition to the holiness/integrity of God. The legalist had approved a righteousness from keeping the Law as equivalent or superior to God’s righteousness. Therefore they had rejected Christ as the source of God’s righteousness, the source of imputed righteousness.

God loves and approves His own righteousness. God’s righteousness is eternal, infinite, perfect, incorruptible and half of His integrity (the other half being His justice). God’s justice condemns what falls short of His righteousness. So God judges from perfect righteousness, always. The self-righteous unbeliever loves his own righteousness, which provides the deluded and false confidence to judge others. God rejects the self-righteousness of the Jewish legalist. The statement of His rejection is found in Isaiah 64:6. God rejects both the righteousness of the self-righteous and the maligning judgments of the self-righteous. The self-righteous unbeliever is guilty of both blasphemy and presumption. God can only judge the self-righteous. He cannot bless the self-righteous from His justice. This is why a believer who is self-righteous is always under discipline.

Being instructed out of the Law is the Greek word “katecheo” for instructed, which means to sound in the ears, to make the ears ring, to instruct orally, to teach and to instruct.

Note that this verse is not a fact of truth but a sarcasm reflecting the delusion of the self-righteous Jews under the Mosaic Law. The self-righteous unbelieving Jews did not know God’s will and had no ability to approve things as superior.

Self-righteous unbelievers had distorted the Law and its content from condemnation of their status to commendation of their self-righteousness. They had learned the Law as a catechism and they sought to keep the Law for production of their own righteousness. Then they took this righteousness to God and they demanded that it be accepted for salvation. The justice of God does not bend to human demands. The justice of God does not accommodate itself to human righteousness.

Verse 19

And art confident is the Greek word “peitho” for confidence, which means to persuade, to be confident or assured. At the time in which Paul wrote there were self-righteous unbelievers who were trying to keep the Law for salvation, but their self-righteousness only produced condemnation rather than justification. They were maladjusted to the justice of God, they had no relationship with God, but they had a false confidence.

That you yourself are a guide of the blind, is the Greek word “hodegos” for guide meaning a leader on the way and “tuphlos” for blind meaning dulling of the intellect. A light to those who are in darkness is the Greek word “phos” for light meaning evident, to make appear or reaching the mind. For darkness the Greek word is “skotos,” which means intellectual darkness.

This is a distortion of the true doctrine of Israel as a priest nation. Evil Jews in their arrogant self-righteous reversionism were not a part of that priest nation. In fact, they are destroying their own nation. This same arrogance and self-righteousness displayed by the scribes and the Pharisees (the legalists) finally destroyed the nation of Israel twelve years after Paul wrote this verse to the Romans.

A Priest Nation

A priest nation is a national entity responsible for the custodianship of Bible doctrine. Before Israel, such custodianship involved divine revelation apart from Scripture. Since Israel had become a nation, it was involved in authorship, custodianship and dissemination of the written Word of God. During the time of the formation of the New Testament, the priest nation changed from Israel to the Roman Empire. A client nation is a synonym for a priest nation. God had always had and always will have in history a priest nation (a client nation). So client nation is a synonym for priest nation emphasizing logistical grace through Gentile nations. A client nation to God is a nation under divine protection because it has a large pivot of mature believers (royal priests).

Verse 20

A corrector of the foolish is the Greek word “paideutes” for corrector, which means training, instruction through discipline, a disciplinarian or a drill master. The Greek word for foolish is “aphron” meaning without reasoning, lack of mental sanity or lack of commonsense. Gentiles without the Mosaic Law were regarded by the self-righteous Jew as ignorant and foolish. The self-righteous unbelieving Jew was arrogant. He had knowledge of the law, which he distorted. And not only did he distort it in relationship to his own life, but he turned right around and tried to teach these distortions to the Gentiles.

A teacher of the immature is the Greek word “didaskalos” for teacher, meaning one who instructs. Self-righteousness can only make converts of others who are self-righteousness. A self-righteous person always superimposes on everyone around him his self-righteousness. Plus we have the Greek word “nepios” for immature meaning those who are possessed merely of natural knowledge.

Having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth is the Greek word “morphe” for embodiment, which means an outward form or appearance, superficial or any connotation of forming or shaping. The self-righteous legalist was distorting the Mosaic Law to promote and sponsor his legalism. Therefore, he had academic knowledge of the Law, but he did not have spiritual knowledge of the Law. In other words, he understood the Law only from a human frame of reference. He did not understand the doctrinal implications of the Law in its relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ and adjustment to the justice of God at salvation. Truth in this verse refers to the teachings of the Mosaic Law.