Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Romans 2:18

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Knowest his will - Hast been favored with a revelation of his own will, immediately from himself.

The things that are more excellent - τα δισφεροντα, The things that differ - that revelation which God has given of himself makes the nicest distinctions between right and wrong; between vice and virtue; showing how you should walk so as to please God, and, consequently, acquire the most excellent portion that human spirits can have on this side heaven: for all these blessings ye acknowledge to receive from your law, being instructed, κατηχουμενος, being catechized, from your infancy, in the knowledge of Divine things.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And knowest his will - The will or commands of God. This knowledge they obtained from the Scriptures; and of course in this they were distinguished from other nations.

And approvest - The word used here is capable of two interpretations. It may mean either to distinguish, or to approve. The word is properly and usually applied to the process of testing or trying metals by fire. Hence, it comes to be used in a general sense to try or to distinguish anything; to ascertain its nature, quality, etc.; Luke 12:56. This is probably its meaning here, referring rather to the intellectual process of discriminating, than to the moral process of approving. It could not, perhaps, be said with propriety, at least the scope of the passage does not properly suppose this, that the Jew approved or loved the things of God: but the scope of the passage is, that the Jew valued himself on his knowledge of what was conformable to the will of God; see the notes at Romans 14.

The things that are more excellent - The word translated here “more excellent” denotes properly the things that differ from others, and then also the things that excel. It has an ambiguity similar to the word translated “approved.” If the interpretation of that word above given is correct, then this word here means those things that differ from others. The reference is to the rites and customs, to the distinctions of meats and days, etc., prescribed by the Law of Moses. The Jew would pride himself on the fact that he had been taught by the Law to make these distinctions, while all the pagan world had been left in ignorance of them. This was one of the advantages on which he valued himself and his religion.

Being instructed … - That is, in regard to the one God, his will, and the distinguishing rites of his worship.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The apostle directs his discourse to the Jews, and shows of what sins they were guilty, notwithstanding their profession and vain pretensions. A believing, humble, thankful glorying in God, is the root and sum of all religion. But proud, vain-glorious boasting in God, and in the outward profession of his name, is the root and sum of all hypocrisy. Spiritual pride is the most dangerous of all kinds of pride. A great evil of the sins professors is, the dishonour done to God and religion, by their not living according to their profession. Many despise their more ignorant neighbours who rest in a dead form of godliness; yet themselves trust in a form of knowledge, equally void of life and power, while some glory in the gospel, whose unholy lives dishonour God, and cause his name to be blasphemed.