Romans 2:17

The Jews and the Law

17 Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God;

Read Romans 2:17 Using Other Translations

Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,
But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God
You who call yourselves Jews are relying on God’s law, and you boast about your special relationship with him.

What does Romans 2:17 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Romans 2:17

Behold, thou art called a Jew
From hence to the end of the chapter the Jews are particularly addressed; their several privileges and characters are commemorated, which by an ironical concession are allowed them; several charges are brought against them, even against their principal men; and the plea in favour of them, from their circumcision, is considered; and the apostle's view in the whole, is to show that they could not be justified before God by their obedience to the law of Moses: "behold"; take notice, observe it, this will be granted: "thou art called a Jew"; thou art one by name, by nation, and by religion; but no name, nor outward religion, nor a mere profession, will justify before God:

and restest in the law;
which may be understood of their having the law and the knowledge of it, what is to be done and avoided easily, without any fatigue and labour; of their pleasing and applauding themselves with the bare having and hearing of it; of their trust and confidence in it; and of their inactivity and security in it, as persons asleep; and so of their coming short of the knowledge of the Gospel, and of Christ the end of the law for righteousness, their whole confidence being placed in that: so the Targumist in ( Jeremiah 8:8 ) paraphrases the words,

``we are wise, "and in the law of the Lord", (Nwuyxr agxna) , do we trust;''

and makest thy boast of God.
There is a right boasting of God in opposition to boasting in the creature, when men ascribe all the blessings of nature and grace to the Lord alone, and praise him for all their enjoyments, temporal and spiritual; and when they trust in, and glory, and make their boast of Christ as the Lord their righteousness, in whom alone they are, and can be justified. But the boasting here spoken of, was such that was not right; these men boasted of their bare external knowledge of the one God, when the Gentiles around them were ignorant of him; of their being the covenant people of God, when others were aliens and strangers; and of their having the word and worship of the true God, which other nations were unacquainted with; and, on these external things they depended, which was their fault.
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