Lesson 30 - Chapter 3 verses 2-4

Lesson 30 - Chapter 3 verses 2-4

Verse 2

Great in every respect is the Greek word “tropos” for way, which means every manner or every way. Great is the Greek word “polus,” which means much. The Jewish race and the nation of Israel had great advantage over all other nations because of a long standing relationship with the one true God. The Gentile race and nations were for the most part pagans, worshipping various deities.

First of all means “in the first place.” That they were entrusted with breaks down this way. The Greek verb for entrusted is “pisteuo,” which ordinarily means to believe, but behind it, it means to be convinced of something, to trust. Here it means to entrust something to someone. God has entrusted something to Israel. In Moses’ day, the nation of Israel was given the written Word of God. The first writer of Bible doctrine was Moses. Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible, which we call the Pentateuch. Moses, through the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit, provided men with a written document that they could study and communicate to others.

The oracles of God is the Greek word “logion” for oracles, which means divine communication or revelation and refers to Bible doctrine. This is a reference to the Old Testament Canon. Bible doctrine is the basis of adjustment to the justice of God in relationship with the holiness of God. Doctrine, therefore, is the basis for both personal and national prosperity. As the recipients of written doctrine, Israel was given the privilege of being the first priest nation (client nation).

Verse 3

What then? is a Greek idiom. An idiom is an expression peculiar to a people, a district, a community or a class. In the Koine Greek this idiom means, “Well then, how stands the case with regard to the alternatives?” The Greek words, “ti gar,” introduce alternative possibilities regarding the justice of God. It could read, “How stands the case with regard to the alternatives regarding the justice of God.” So what are the alternatives regarding the justice of God? There are only two alternatives – adjustment or maladjustment.

If some did not believe is the Greek verb “apisteuo” [a = negative; pisteuo = to believe], which means to refuse to believe and refers to someone who understands the issue and says “no” to the Gospel. It refers to every Jewish person who was maladjusted to the justice of God from the beginning of the race, down through the nation, including all of the people who had rejected Christ, right down to the time Paul wrote. The Jewish unbeliever produces the action of the verb by rejecting Christ as Saviour. As we have seen, this destroys the advantage of being a Jew. All the advantages of being a Jew are related to the integrity of God and therefore the justice of God.

Their unbelief will not nullify is the Greek word “apistia” for unbelief and means maladjustment to the justice of God by the rejection of Christ at the point of Gospel hearing. Each Jew was responsible for his own rejection of Christ. So, the magnificent spiritual heritage of his past was no help to him.

Will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? is the Greek word “katargeo” for nullify, which means to render null and void or to cancel. The unbelieving Jew produces the action of the verb through maladjustment to the justice of God at the point of Gospel-hearing. There are three basic meanings to the Greek noun “pistis.” In the active voice the word means to trust, to have confidence or to have faith. In the passive voice “pistis” means doctrine or what is believed (the body of faith). There is a third connotation of the noun, which is “that which causes faith” and is translated under this condition, “reliability” or “faithfulness.” This could be translated: “Well then how stands the case with regard to the alternatives? If the Jews refuse to believe [and they do], shall their lack of faith cancel the integrity of God?”

The failure of certain ones in the human race to respond to the Gospel and to believe in Jesus Christ never cancels the integrity of God. God’s integrity cannot be cancelled by man’s unfaithfulness. And, that means not only unfaithfulness at salvation; it means unfaithfulness after salvation by believers.

Verse 4

May it never be! is once again a Greek idiom and only Paul uses it. He uses it as a debater’s idiom, gathering momentum for the next principle. The idiom can be used in several ways such as “God forbid,” but that is the archaic idiom. “By no means” has been used but that is a little on the weak side too. The best translation of the idiom is “emphatically not.” The strong negative indicates that God’s integrity and faithfulness does not depend on the righteousness of man or the goodness of man or anything else that man can produce. God’s faithfulness depends on God’s character and specifically His righteousness and justice (His integrity). The faithfulness of God is always based upon the principle of grace, and under grace everything depends on Who God is.

Rather let God be true begins with the Greek word “de,” emphasizing a contrast after a strong negative. It is translated “rather.” Then we have the Greek verb “ginomai,” which means to come to be or to become. God never becomes anything; God always is. But He becomes something to us because we have to change our thinking about God as we learn Bible doctrine. As we change our thinking about God, we then enter into the perspective of grace. Until we change our thinking about God by means of Bible doctrine, we never are oriented to grace. If we emphasize self, legalism enters. If we emphasize the integrity of God we become grace-oriented. We have here the imperative mood of entreaty which gives the urgency of a request, recognizing that you do have free will. Then we have the Greek word “alethes,” for true, which means constant or valid. It is used of an attribute of God and refers here to two attributes - His righteousness and His justice. It is used to describe the judicial righteousness of God. In this context it means trustworthy or reliable. The important thing is to emphasize Who God is, not who we are.

Though every man a liar is the Greek word “anthropos” and refers to all mankind. The Greek word for liar is “pseustes” and means false. It doesn’t mean someone running around always telling lies. It means living in ignorance and therefore living in falsehood (subconsciously calling God a liar with regard to salvation). Man’s understanding of God starts out as total ignorance because we come into this world spiritually dead. The choice becomes ours to remain in a state of falsehood (denying God’s salvation provision through Jesus Christ) and therefore ignorant of all God has done for mankind.

When these unbelievers rejected Christ as Saviour they definitely knew what they had rejected because they understood enough to be saved at Gospel-hearing. Rejection of the Gospel is declaring God to be a liar. So the issue is either God’s integrity is the source of salvation or God is a liar. Lack of integrity in mankind does not cancel the integrity of God. Man attempts to impose his lack of integrity (self-righteousness) on God, but the character or essence of God rejects it. The integrity of God is unchangeable. Even though every rejection of Christ by the unbeliever is declaring God to be a liar, the integrity of God is constant, regardless of the blasphemy by the unbeliever.

As it is written introduces a quotation from the Old Testament Scriptures - Psalm 54:1-4; 116:11. That thou mightest be justified is the Greek verb “dikaioo” for justified meaning to declare righteous, to vindicate, to show justice or to do justice. Here it is used for vindication of divine justice and righteousness. This amounts to an anthropopathism because God needs no vindication at any time. God has always been righteous and just, He always will be; He cannot change.

In thy words is the Greek word “logos” for words and means doctrines. Since God is infinite, eternal, invisible, and incomprehensible, it is necessary for God to reveal Himself to mankind through Bible doctrine. The doctrines of the Scriptures vindicate the integrity of God. The integrity of God is demonstrated through the perception of Bible doctrine. Therefore it is through doctrine that we adjust to the justice of God. First we adjust by means of doctrine pertaining to salvation - the Gospel. Then, we adjust by the utilization of Bible doctrine that we have stored in our souls. This is why maximum doctrine resident in the soul results in maturity adjustment to the justice of God.

And mightest prevail is the Greek word “nikao” for prevail, which means to conquer or to overcome. That you might prevail means that every time that the justice of God must judge, the justice of God is right.

When thou art judged is the Greek word “krino” for judged, which is often used of judgment which people customarily pass upon the lives and actions of others. Therefore, the word judged has the connotation of slander or maligning God.