Romans 2:21

21 1you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal?

Romans 2:21 Meaning and Commentary

Romans 2:21

Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not
&c.] Several charges are here brought against the Jews, even against their teachers; for though they are put by way of question, they are to be considered as so many assertions and matters of fact; thus, though they taught others, they did not teach themselves; they were blind leaders of the blind; they were ignorant of the law, of the spirituality of it; they were desirous to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they said, nor whereof they affirmed: they were ignorant of the righteousness of God, of whom they boasted; and of the more excellent things of Moses, and the prophets, they pretended to explain; and of the Messiah, of whom their prophecies so much spoke: and besides, what they did understand and teach, they did not practise themselves; than which nothing is more shameful, or more betrays stupidity and ignorance; for as they themselves F2 say,

``he that teaches men, (hvey al awhv rbdb) , "that which he himself does not do", is like a blind man who has a lamp in his hand, and enlightens others, but he, himself walks in darkness.''

And such teachers they own were among them.

``Beautiful (say they F3) are the words which come out of the mouths of them that do, them: Ben Assai was a beautiful preacher, but did not well observe;''

i.e., to do what he said.

Thou that preach at a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
some understand this figuratively, of stealing, or taking away the true sense of the law, and putting a false one upon it; of which these men were notoriously guilty: but rather, it is to be understood literally, not only of the inward desires and motions of their minds after this sin, and of their consenting to, and conniving at theft and robbery, but of their doing it themselves; who, under pretence of long prayers, "devoured widows' houses", ( Matthew 23:14 ) ( Mark 12:40 ) ( Luke 20:47 ) , plundered and robbed them of their substance: no wonder that these men preferred Barabbas, a thief and a robber, to Jesus Christ.


F2 Sepher Hamaalot, p. 87. Apud Buxtorf. Heb. Florileg. p. 75.
F3 Bereshit Rabba, fol. 30. 3.

Romans 2:21 In-Context

19 and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,
20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth--
21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal?
22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?
23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law.

Cross References 1

  • 1. Matthew 23:3-28; [Psalms 50:16-21; Matthew 15:1-9]
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