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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Romans 2:27

 

 

And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law?

Adam Clarke Commentary

And shall not uncircumcision, which is by nature - And shall not the Gentile, who is εκ φυσεως, according to the custom of his country - who is, by birth, not obliged to be circumcised.

If it fulfill the law - If such a person act according to the spirit and design of the law; judge κρινει condemn thee, who, whilst thou dost enjoy the letter, the written law, and bearest in thy body the proof of the circumcision which it requires, dost transgress that law?


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/romans-2.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Which is by nature - Which is the natural state of man; his condition before he is admitted to any of the unique rites of the Jewish religion.

If it fulfil the law - If they who are uncircumcised keep the Law.

Judge thee - Condemn thee as guilty. As we say, the conduct of such a man condemns us. He acts so much more consistently and uprightly than we do, that we see our guilt. For a similar mode of expression, see Matthew 12:41-42.

Who by the letter … - The translation here is certainly not happily expressed. It is difficult to ascertain its meaning. The evident meaning of the original is, “Shall not a pagan man who has none of your external privileges, if he keeps the law, condemn you who are Jews; who, although you have the letter and circumcision, are nevertheless transgressors of the law? ‹

The letter - The word “letter” properly means the mark or character from which syllables and words are formed. It is also used in the sense of writing of any kind Luke 16:6-7; Acts 28:21; Galatians 6:11, particularly the writings of Moses, denoting, by way of eminence, the letter, or the writing; Romans 7:6; 2 Timothy 3:15.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/romans-2.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

And shall not the uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfill the law, judge thee, who with the letter and circumcision art a transgressor of the law?

The words "by nature" in this verse are made the basis of referring this statement to pagans, or Gentiles, of the nobler variety, who were presumably living up to all the light they had; and, in that vein of thought, Hodge declared:

The idea is that the obedient uncircumcised heathen would be better off; he would stand on higher ground than the disobedient circumcised Jew.[21]

While Hodge's paraphrase might in itself be true, in a sense, it is the conviction here that the words "if it fulfill the law" absolutely preclude Paul's having had any such thing in mind. The only way that the law can possibly be fulfilled is "in Christ," and that mountain fact solidly identifies the "uncircumcision which is by nature" as those Gentiles who had become Christians, the expression "which is by nature" being but another way of saying they had been Gentiles. Any notion that unregenerated Gentiles had indeed "fulfilled the law" dissolves in light of Paul's extensive argument in Romans 1:18-21, where Hodge's noble unregenerated Gentile is simply not visible!

However that may be, that author, in the very next sentence makes one of those deductions from this verse which no Christian should allow. He said,

It is only putting the truth taught in this verse into different words to say "the unbaptized believer shall condemn the baptized unbeliever."[22]

The fallacy in this corrupt deduction is startlingly clear, for it is resident in the fact that God never required of any Gentile that he should be circumcised. Therefore the uncircumcised Gentile was not violating any ordinance of God by remaining so; but this is nowise the case with so-called "unbaptized believers." Consider the monstrosity of the "unbaptized believer," who in truth does exist necessarily for that small time between the coming of faith in his heart and his actual submission to God's ordinance of baptism, but who is not the "unbaptized believer" spoken of by the commentators. All no, he is presented with full status as a believer with no intention of being baptized; and what of him? He is a contradiction of terms, because no believer can remain a believer in the true sense while willfully continuing in an unbaptized state. May God open men's eyes to see the truth. Charles Hodge was selected out of many exponents of this false teaching imported into these verses, because of the clarity of his views and obvious sincerity of his arguments.

Judge thee ... refers to the same thing Jesus mentioned when he declared that the people of Nineveh should rise in judgment and condemn that (the Lord's) generation (Matthew 12:41).

[21] Charles Hodge, op. cit., p. 64.

[22] Ibid.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/romans-2.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature,.... That is, the Gentiles, who are by nature uncircumcised; for as circumcision was by the command of God, and performed by the art of men, uncircumcision is by nature, and what men naturally have. Now

if it, such persons,

fulfil the law in Christ, they will

judge thee, the circumcision: and condemn, as Noah condemned the old world, Hebrews 11:7, and the men of Nineveh and the queen of the south will condemn the men of that generation, in which Christ lived, Matthew 12:41.

Who by the letter and circumcision transgress the law; that is, either by the law, which is "the letter", and "by circumcision", or "by circumcision which is in the letter", Romans 2:29, sin being increased by the prohibitions of the moral law, and the rituals of the ceremonial law, and the more so by a dependence upon an obedience to either of them, or both, for justification.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/romans-2.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And shall not s uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the t letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?

(s) He who is uncircumcised by nature and race.

(t) Paul often contrasts the letter against the Spirit: but in this place, the circumcision which is according to the letter is the cutting off of the foreskin, but the circumcision of the Spirit is the circumcision of the heart, that is to say, the spiritual result of the ceremony is true holiness and righteousness, by which the people of God are known from profane and heathen men.


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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/romans-2.html. 1599-1645.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

If it fulfill the law (τον νομον τελουσαton nomon telousa). Present active participle (conditional use of the participle) of τελεωteleō to finish, continually fulfilling to the end (as would be necessary).

Judge thee (κρινεισεkrinei̇̇se). Unusual position of σεse (thee) so far from the verb κρινειkrinei

With the letter and circumcision (δια γραμματος και περιτομηςdia grammatos kai peritomēs). ΔιαDia means here accompanied by, with the advantage of.


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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/romans-2.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?

Yea, the uncircumcision that is by nature — Those who are, literally speaking, uncircumcised.

Fulfilling the law — As to the substance of it.

Shall judge thee — Shall condemn thee in that day.

Who by the letter and circumcision — Who having the bare, literal, external circumcision, transgressest the law.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/romans-2.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

27.By the letter and circumcision, etc. A construction (85) which means a literal circumcision. He does not mean that they violated the law, because they had the literal circumcision; but because they continued, though they had the outward rite, to neglect the spiritual worship of God, even piety, justice, judgment, and truth, which are the chief matters of the law. (86)

The word γράμμα, letter, has various meanings — 1. What is commonly called letter, the character, Luke 23:38, — 2. What is written, a bond or contract, Luke 16:6; — 3. In the plural, letters, epistles, Acts 28:21; — 4. The written law, as here, and in the plural, the Old Testament Scriptures, 2 Timothy 3:15; — 5. What is conveyed by writing, learning, John 7:15; Acts 26:24; — and, 6. The outward performance of the law, it being written, as opposed to what is spiritual or inward, as in the last verse of this chapter, and in 2 Corinthians 3:6. — Ed


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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/romans-2.html. 1840-57.

Scofield's Reference Notes

uncircumcision the uncircumcision, i.e. the Gentiles.

breaking the law Sin. (See Scofield "Romans 3:23").


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These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.

Bibliography
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Romans 2:27". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/romans-2.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

27 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?

Ver. 27. Judege thee] Men’s guilt is increased by their obligations, as was Solomon’s in departing from Gad, who had appeared unto him twice, 1 Kings 11:9.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/romans-2.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Romans 2:27. And shall not uncircumcision, &c.— The Apostle here supposes that a heathen may be an honest, sober, good, kind, benevolent and holy man through the secret influences of the Spirit of God: for were it impossible for the Gentiles in any sense to fulfil the law of love, it would not be supposable that he should do it; and then the Apostle's argument would be without any foundation. And that he does not here speak of a Heathen converted, or to be converted to Christianity, is manifest from the whole context. Hence it appears, that it was the Apostle's sentiment that a man under the Heathen dispensation might do the will of God by the secret influences of the Holy Spirit, and through the alone merits of Jesus Christ be saved for ever,—not indeed by his works: it is of grace that he is saved. See chap. Romans 3:20. The following words, judge thee, look back as far as the first verse: whosoever thou art that judgest. This judging, as Mr. Locke observes, relates to the unkind erroneous sentiments of the Jews concerning the uncircumcised Gentiles; judging them utterly unworthy of the favour of God, and disqualified from being his people. But here the Apostle, with great force and truth, retorts the censure upon them. "Shall a virtuous and pious Heathen condemn you, wicked Jews, as unworthy of God's favour, and disqualified from being any longer his people?" That this is the Apostle's meaning, appears from the next verse; For he is not a Jew, &c.; and in the following dialogue, concerning the rejection of the Jews, he supposes that the Jews would take this to be his sense; nor could any Jew in those days, acquainted with St. Paul's principles, miss of understanding him thus. In ch. Romans 14:3-4 the word judge is used in the same sense. See Locke, and the note on Romans 2:15.


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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/romans-2.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

27.] I prefer with De Wette (and Erasm.), Luth., Bengel, Wetst., Knapp, and Meyer, to regard this verse not as a continuation of the question, but as a separate emphatic assertion, and as leading the way to the next verse.

κρινεῖ, ‘shall rise up in judgment against,’ judge indirectly by his example. See Matthew 12:41-42, where κατακρίνω is used in a sense precisely similar.

ἡ ἐκ φύσεως ἀκροβ.] ‘he, who remains in his natural state of uncircumcision.’ ἐκ φύς. is contrasted with διὰ γράμ. κ. περιτ. below. The position of ἐκ φύσεως decides for this rendering and against joining it with τελοῦσα, which would require ἡ ἀκροβυστία, ἐκ φύσεως τὸν νόμον τελοῦσα.

τὸν νόμ. τελ.] such is the supposition—that an uncircumcised man could fully act up to the (moral) requirements of the law. It is not ἡ τὸν νόμ. τελ.; because ἀκροβ. is used in the widest abstract sense: no distinction is made between one and another uncircumcised person, but some one man is taken as an example of ἀκροβυστία. So that the omission of the art. does not give a new hypothetic sense, ‘if it fulfil the law,’ but merely restates the hypothesis: fulfilling (as it does, as we have supposed) the law.

σὲ τὸν.… παραβάτην νόμου] Here again the position of διὰ γράμματος κ. περιτομῆς, between τὸν and παραβάτην, sufficiently shews that, as ἐκ φύσεως above, it is a qualification of σὲ τὸν παραβάτην νόμου. Bp. Middleton (it appears, Gr. Art. in loc. and compare his ref.) would take σὲ τὸν διὰ γράμματος κ. περιτομῆς ( ὄντα), ‘thee who art a professor of the law and a circumcised person,’ and understand εἶναι after παραβάτην,—shall adjudge thee to be a transgressor of the law. But this appears exceedingly forced, and inconsistent with the position of παραβ. νόμου, which if it had been thus emphatic, would certainly have been placed either before, or immediately after κρινεῖ. We may well imagine that such an interpretation would not have been thought of, except to serve the supposed canon, that, ‘if τόν were immediately the article of παραβάτην, νόμου depending on it could not be anarthrous.’ See above on παραβ. νόμ. Romans 2:25, and on Romans 2:13.

διὰ γρ. κ. περ.] διὰ (see reff.) is here used of the state in which the man is when he does the act, regarded at the medium through which the act is done. It is rightly rendered by in E. V. [though this gives too much the idea of the state being the instrument by means of which] (not, ‘in spite of,’ as Köllner and al.).

γράμματος] ‘litera scripta,’ the written word: here in a more general sense than in Romans 2:29, where it is pressed to a contrast with πνεῦμα: thee, who in a state of external conformity with the written law and of circumcision, art yet a transgressor of the law.

In Romans 2:28-29, supply the ellipses thus: in Romans 2:28, fill up the subjects from the predicates,— οὐ γὰρ ὁ ἐν τῷ φανερῷ ( ἰουδαῖος) ἰουδαῖός ἐστιν, οὐδὲ ἡ ἐν τῷ φανερῷ ἐν σαρκὶ ( περιτομὴ) περιτομή ( ἐστιν); in Romans 2:29, fill up the predicates from the subjects,— ἀλλʼ ὁ ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ ἰουδαῖος ( ἰουδαῖός ἐστιν), καὶ περιτομὴ καρδίας ἐν πνεύματι οὐ γράμματι ( περιτομή ἐστιν). Thus the real Jew only, and the real circumcision only, are expressed in both verses. This is the arrangement of Beza, Estius, Rückert, De Wette: Erasm., Luther, Meyer, Fritzsche, take ἰουδαῖος, and ἐν πν. οὐ γράμ., as the predicates in Romans 2:29; but the latter gives a very vapid sense, besides that the opposition of ὁ ἐν τῷ φανερῷ, and ὁ ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ is, as De W. observes, also vapid.


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/romans-2.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Romans 2:27 is regarded by most modern expositors, including Rückert, Reiche (undecidedly), Köllner, Fritzsche, Olshausen, Philippi, Lachmann, Ewald and Mehring, as a continuation of the question, so that οὐχί is again understood before κρινεῖ. But the sequence of thought is brought out much more forcibly, if we take Romans 2:27 as affirmative, as the reply to the question contained in Romans 2:26 (as is done by Chrysostom, Erasmus, Luther, Bengel, Wetstein and others; now also by Tholuck, de Wette, van Hengel, Th. Schott, Hofmann). In this case the placing κρινεῖ first conveys a strong emphasis; and καί, as often in classic authors (Thiersch, § 354, 5 b.; Kühner, a(712) Xen. Mem. ii. 10, 2) is the simple and, which annexes the answer to the interrogative discourse as if in continuation, and thus assumes its affirmation as self-evident (Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. p. 880). And the natural uncircumcision, if it fulfils the law, shall judge, i.e. exhibit in thy full desert of punishment (namely, comparatione sui, as Grotius aptly remarks(713)), thee, who, etc. Compare, on the idea, Matthew 12:41; the thought of the actual direct judgment on the last day, according to 1 Corinthians 6:2, is alien to the passage, although the practical indirect judgment, which is meant, belongs to the future judgment-day.

ἐκ φύσεως ἀκροβ.] The uncircumcision by nature, i.e. the (persons in question) uncircumcised in virtue of their Gentile birth. This ἐκ φύσεως, which is neither, with Koppe and Olshausen, to be connected with τὸν νό΄. τελ., nor, with Mehring, to be taken as equivalent to ἐν σαρκί, is in itself superfluous, but serves to heighten the contrast διὰ γρ. κ. περιτ. The idea, that this ἀκροβυστία is a περιτο΄ή ἐν πνεύ΄ατι, must (in opposition to Philippi) have been indicated in the text, and it would have no place in the connection of our passage; see Romans 2:29, where it first comes in.

τὸν διὰ γρά΄΄. κ. περιτ. παραβ. νό΄ου] who with letter and circumcision art a transgressor of the law. διά denotes the surrounding circumstances amidst which, i.e. here according to the context: in spite of which the transgression takes place.(714) Compare Romans 4:11, Romans 14:20; Winer, p. 355 [E. T. 475]. Others take διά as instrumental, and that either: διὰ νόμου.… προαχθείς (Oecumenius; comp Umbreit) or: “occasione legis,” (Beza, Estius, and others; comp Benecke), or: “who transgressest the law, and art exhibited as such by the letter,” etc. (Köllner). But the former explanations introduce a foreign idea into the connection; and against Köllner’s view it may be urged that his declarative rendering weakens quite unnecessarily the force of the contrast of the two members of the verse. For the most natural and most abrupt contrast to the uncircumcised person who keeps the law is he, who transgresses the law notwithstanding letter and circumcision, and is consequently all the more culpable, because he offends against written divine direction ( γραμμ.) and theocratic obligation ( περιτ.)


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Bibliography
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/romans-2.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Romans 2:27. κρινεῖ, shall judge) Those, whom thou now judgest, will in their turn judge thee at the day of judgment, Romans 2:16. Matthew 12:41; 1 Corinthians 6:2-3.— τελοῦσα, keeping (if it fulfil): a word of large meaning. Therefore ἐὰν, if, Romans 2:26, has a conditional meaning, and does not positively assert.— σὲ, thee), who art its judge [the self-constituted judge of the uncircumcised].— τὸν) the article does not properly belong to παραβάτην, but τὸν διὰ is used as ἐκ.— διὰ [by, or] with) Thou hast the letter, but thou even abusest it; there is an antithesis between by nature, and with the letter; then follows a Hendiadys, by the letter and circumcision. Concerning the letter and spirit, see ch. Romans 7:6.


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Bibliography
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/romans-2.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Uncircumcision which is by nature; a periphrasis of the Gentiles, who want circumcision, or are by nature without it.

Fulfil the law; here is another word; before it was keep, but now it is fulfil the law: though the word be varied, yet the sense is the same: see James 2:8.

Judge thee; i.e. rise up in judgment against thee; or else, shall he not do it by his example? as in Matthew 12:41,42, the men of Nineveh, and the queen of Sheba, shall judge the Israelites. The meaning is, the obedient Gentile shall condemn the disobedient Jew.

By the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law; i.e. the outward literal circumcision; or, by the letter understand the law; see 2 Corinthians 3:6. The sense is, by means of the law and circumcision, and resting in them, as pledges of the love of God, {so Romans 2:17} they are the more secure and bold in sinning against God; it is to them an occasion of transgression.


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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Romans 2:27". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/romans-2.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Uncircumcision-by nature; that is, the Gentile, who remains as he was born, uncircumcised.

Judge; condemn.

By the letter; with a written revelation.


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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". "Family Bible New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/romans-2.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

27. ἡ ἐκ φύσεως ἀκρ. This introduces the distinction between the external symbol and the spiritual condition.

τὸν νόμον τελοῦσα, ‘if it keep …’ or ‘by keeping …’: perhaps better = ‘which keeps …,’ τελοῦσα, adjectival, owing its position to the fact that there is a second adj., ἐκ φύσεως.

διὰ γράμματος καὶ περιτομῆς = under a condition of written law and circumcision: an advantageous condition as far as it goes. γρ. is the external form of revelation, as περ. is the external form of the covenant. The emphasis is on the character of these forms; therefore anarthrous; and ‘letter’ is a better translation than ‘scripture.’ For this abstraction of the external form of scripture cf. Romans 7:6; 2 Corinthians 3:3. For διὰ w. gen., expressing a condition or state, cf. Romans 4:11, Romans 8:25, Romans 14:20; cf. Blass, p. 132 f.


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"Commentary on Romans 2:27". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/romans-2.html. 1896.

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

27. “Truly that which is uncircumcision by nature, keeping the law, will condemn thee who, through the letter of the circumcision, art a transgressor of the law.” From this clear statement of the Holy Ghost we see how God will put the non-ritualistic holy Quakers on the witness block in the Day of Judgment to testify against the millions who have received the ordinances and lived unworthily.


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Godbey, William. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/romans-2.html.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And will not the uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge you, who with the letter and circumcision are a transgressor of the law?’

Then logically if someone was naturally uncircumcised because he was not a Jew, but fully fulfilled the Law, would he not be in a position to act as judge on those who had the letter of the Law and circumcision, but were transgressors of the Law? Thus the tables would be turned. It would not be the Jew who on behalf of God judged the Gentile (which was the Jewish viewpoint), but the Gentile who on behalf of a righteous God judged the Jew, in spite of the Jew having the Law and being circumcised. Paul’s whole point is that circumcision in itself does not put a person in a position of special privilege unless he ‘does what the Law says’.

It should be noted that, although he does not cite the fact here, Paul’s position is supported by the Old Testament where on a number of occasions the Scriptures emphasise that it is not outward circumcision that is important, but the circumcision of the heart (which is not strictly physical circumcision). See, for example, Leviticus 26:41; Deuteronomy 10:16; Deuteronomy 30:6; Jeremiah 4:4; Jeremiah 9:26 where the command to circumcise the heart suggests that their physical circumcision is not enough for them to be truly in the covenant. What is required is a work in the heart, wrought by God.

With regard to the uncircumcised judging the circumcised compare Jesus’ words in Matthew 12:41-42; ‘the men of Nineveh will stand up in judgment with this generation and will condemn it’, for they had truly repented, unlike Israel. They were the uncircumcised who would judge the circumcised.


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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/romans-2.html. 2013.

Haldane's Exposition on the Epistle to the Romans

Andshall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfill the law judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law ?

Paul continues in this verse to reason on the same supposition as in the one preceding, and draws from it another consequence, which is, that if the Gentile who is uncircumcised fulfilled the law, he would not only be justified, notwithstanding his uncircumcision, but would judge and condemn the circumcised Jew who did not fulfill it. The reason of this conclusion is, that in the comparison between the one and the other, the case of the circumcised transgressor would appear much worse, because of the superior advantages he enjoyed. In the same way it is said, Matthew 12:41, that the Ninevites shall condemn the Jews. The uncircumcision which is by nature. — That is to say, the Gentiles in their natural uncircumcised state, in opposition to the Jews, who had been distinguished and set apart by a particular calling of God. Dr. Macknight commits great violence when he joins the words ‘by nature’ with the words ‘fulfill the law,’ as if it implied that some Gentiles did fulfill the law by the light of nature. Who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law. — Dr. Macknight affirms that the common translation here ‘is not sense.’ But it contains a very important meaning. The Jews transgressed the law by means of their covenant and circumcision being misunderstood by them. This fact is notoriously true: they were hardened in their sin from a false confidence in their relation to God. Instead of being led to the Savior by the law, according to its true end, they transgressed it, through their views of the letter of the law and of circumcision; of both of which, especially of circumcision, they made a savior. The fulfilling of the law and its transgression are here to be taken in their fullest import, namely, for an entire and complete fulfillment, and for the slightest transgression of the law; for the Apostle is speaking of the strict judgment of justice by the law, before which nothing can subsist but a perfect and uninterrupted fulfillment of all the commandments of God. But it may be asked how the uncircumcised Gentiles could fulfill the law which they had never received.

They could not indeed fulfill it as written on tables of stone and in the books of Moses, for it had never been given to them in that way; but as the work of the law, or the doctrine it teaches, was written in their hearts, it was their bounded duty to obey it. From this it is evident that in all this discussion respecting the condemnation of both Gentiles and Jews, the Apostle understands by the law, not the ceremonial law, as some imagine, but the moral law; for it is the work of it only which the Gentiles have by nature written in their hearts. Besides, it is clear that he speaks here of that same law of which he says the Jews were transgressors when they stole, committed adultery, and were guilty of sacrilege.


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Bibliography
Haldane, Robert. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". "Haldane's Exposition on the Epistle to the Romans and Hebrews". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hal/romans-2.html. 1835.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

27. By the letter and circumcisionBy here has the force of in possession of. The letter is the law. Possessing the law and circumcision the Jew is still a transgressor.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/romans-2.html. 1874-1909.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Romans 2:27. And shall not the uncircumcision. As in Romans 2:23, the main question here is whether the verse is interrogative or affirmative. Here, however, the original is more decisively in favor of the affirmative than in the previous instance. We would then render: ‘And the uncircumcision,’ etc. ‘shall judge thee,’ etc.

Which is by nature; i.e., the Gentile; ‘by nature’ = by natural birth.

If it fulfil the law; lit, ‘fulfilling the law,’ but it introduces the condition more fully stated in Romans 2:26.

Shall judge. This verb stands in emphatic position. (Comp. Matthew 12:41-42, and similar passages.) The reference is not to the direct, but to the indirect, judgment of the last day, when the conduct of the Gentile will, by comparison, show the true moral attitude of the sinning Jew.

Who with the letter and circumcision, etc. ‘With’ refers to the circumstances in which the action takes place; ‘here according to the context: in spite of which the transgression takes place’ (Meyer). ‘Letter’ points to the law as written by God; there is no implied opposition to ‘spirit.’ ‘Circumcision’ points to the covenant obligation of the Jew to keep the law. Hence the aggravated guilt of one who in such circumstances is a transgressor of this law

for that the Mosaic law is meant is plain enough. The absence of the article here (in the original) ought to be conclusive against the notion that Paul omits the article only when he means ‘law’ in general


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Bibliography
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/romans-2.html. 1879-90.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

Romans 2:27 and shall not the uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who with the letter and circumcision art a transgressor of the law?

"by nature" -those who refuse to live the Jewish way, i.e. choice is implied.

"fulfill the law"-obviously, not perfectly. The good moral Gentile, stood in judgement on the Jews that transgressed their own written down law. (Matthew 12:41; Matthew 11:20-21)


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Bibliography
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/romans-2.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

not. Supplied from Romans 2:26.

by. App-104.

the letter = that which is written. Greek. gramma, i.e. ta dikaiomata of Romans 2:26.

dost transgress = art a transgressor. Greek. parabates, as Romans 2:25.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/romans-2.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?

And shall [not] uncircumcision which is by nature - or, 'the natural uncircumcision,'

If it fulfill the law, judge thee. If this verse is but a continuation of the question in the preceding verse (which the Greek most naturally suggests, and which several good critics prefer), the whole question will run thus: 'shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision, and the natural uncircumcision, fulfilling the law, judge thee,' etc. But it is fully more agreeable to New Testament usage to regard them (with our version) as two distinct questions, of which the latter is certainly an advance upon the former.

Who by (or 'through') the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law - that is, in spite of those two fences, "the letter" of Revelation, "and circumcision," the badge of it, dost break 'through' both, and live inconsistently.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/romans-2.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

Will be condemned by the Gentiles. Compare Matthew 12:41-42 and notes. The obedience of the Gentiles who did not have the Law, condemned the Jews who did have the Law but did not obey it.


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Bibliography
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". "The Bible Study New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/romans-2.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(27) Judge thee.—Comp. Matthew 12:41-42, “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it,” et seq. The idea is that of “putting to shame by contrast.”

By the letter.—The preposition here marks the condition or circumstance under which the action is done, and might be paraphrased, “with all the advantages of the written Law and of circumcision.”

Here, again, the sentence may not be a question, but an affirmation.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/romans-2.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?
if it fulfil
8:4; 13:10; Matthew 3:15; 5:17-20; Acts 13:22; Galatians 5:14
judge
Ezekiel 16:48-52; Matthew 12:41,42; Hebrews 11:3
by the
20,29; 7:6-8; 2 Corinthians 3:6

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/romans-2.html.

Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians

Calvin makes this verse a part of the interrogation begun in Romans 2:26, a mode of pointing followed by Koppe, Lachmann, Fritzsche, and many others. ‘Shall not uncircumcision be reckoned circumcision, and condemn you who break the law?' Our translators supply οὐχί, before κρινεῖ, and make Romans 2:27 a distinct interrogation, ‘and shall not the uncircumcision condemn you,' etc. Meyer takes Romans 2:27 categorically, and καί in the sense of even or moreover, so that Romans 2:27 is virtually an answer to the preceding question. ‘Shall not uncircumsion be taken for circumcision? (Yes, verily), it will even condemn you,' etc. In either way the idea is, that the obedient uncircumcised heathen would be better off, he would stand on higher ground, than the disobedient circumcised Jew. It is only putting the truth taught in this verse into different words to say, ‘the unbaptized believer shall condemn the baptized unbeliever.' The which circumcision which is by nature, ἡ ἐκ φύσεως ἀκροβυστία. The position of the article shows plainly that ἐκ φύσεως qualifies ἀκροβυστία, and is not to be connected with the following participle τελοῦσα. The sense is, "the uncircumcision which is natural," and not ‘which by nature keeps the law.' If it fulfill the law, i.e., provided it is obedient, and therefore righteous. Shall judge, κρινεῖ, by implication, shall condemn; the judgment is by the context supposed to be a condemnatory one. Comp. Matthew 12:41. Thee who by the letter, etc.; σὲ τὸν διὰ γράμματος, thee with the letter, i.e., the written law. In the present case it is not used in a disparaging sense, for the mere verbal meaning in opposition to the spirit. The context rather requires that γράμμα and περιτομή should be taken as expressing the real and substantial benefits of the Jews. Our version renders διά by, Beza also has per. He understands the apostle to mean that external circumcision being profaned only rendered the Jews so much the worse. But as διά with the genitive so often means with, as expressing the circumstances under which anything is done (as δι ̓ ὑπομονῆς; with patience, διὰ προσκόμματος with offense), the meaning is, Te, qui literas et circumcisionem habens, contra legem facis. Notwithstanding they had the law and circumcision, they were transgressors of the law. Calvin makes letter and circumcision to mean literal circumcision; but this is unnecessary, and unsuited to the context; for when speaking of the advantages of the Jews, the law is of too much importance to allow of the word which expresses it being merged into a mere epithet.


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Bibliography
Hodge, Charles. "Commentary on Romans 2:27". Hodge's Commentary on Romans, Ephesians and First Corintians. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hdg/romans-2.html.

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