|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:1-6 There is no proof of ignorance more common than conceit of knowledge. Much may be known, when nothing is known to good purpose. And those who think they know any thing, and grow vain thereon, are the least likely to make good use of their knowledge. Satan hurts some as much by tempting them to be proud of mental powers, as others, by alluring to sensuality. Knowledge which puffs up the possessor, and renders him confident, is as dangerous as self-righteous pride, though what he knows may be right. Without holy affections all human knowledge is worthless. The heathens had gods of higher and lower degree; gods many, and lords many; so called, but not such in truth. Christians know better. One God made all, and has power over all. The one God, even the Father, signifies the Godhead as the sole object of all religious worship; and the Lord Jesus Christ denotes the person of Emmanuel, God manifest in the flesh, One with the Father, and with us; the appointed Mediator, and Lord of all; through whom we come to the Father, and through whom the Father sends all blessings to us, by the influence and working of the Holy Spirit. While we refuse all worship to the many who are called gods and lords, and to saints and angels, let us try whether we really come to God by faith in Christ.
Verse 5. - For though there be that are called gods. The verse is a limitation of the phrase which perhaps he had quoted from their letter. There are, indeed, demons, and there are created things, like the host of heaven and the powers of nature, which are called gods and pass for gods. Gods many, and lords many. Perhaps a passing allusion to the use of elohim, gods, for men in great positions, and to the habitual deification of Roman emperors even in their lifetime. The title "Augustus," which they all had borne, was to Jewish ears "the name of blasphemy" (Revelation 13:1), implying that they were to be objects of reverence. Indeed, the worship of the Caesars was, in that strange epoch of mingled atheism and superstition, almost the only sincere cult that was left.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For though there be that are called gods,.... That are so by name, though not by nature; who are called so in Scripture, as angels and magistrates, or by men, who give them such names, and account them so:
whether in heaven; as the sun, moon, and stars:
or in earth; as men who formerly lived on earth; or various creatures on earth, who have been accounted deities; or stocks and stones graven by man's device:
as there be gods many: almost without number, as were among the Egyptians, Grecians, Romans, and others; yea, even among the Jews, who falling into idolatry, their gods were according to the number of their cities, Jeremiah 2:28
and lords many; referring to the Baalim, or the several idols that went by the name of Baal, or lord, as Baal Peor, Numbers 25:3 Baal Zephon, Exodus 14:2 Baal Zebub, 2 Kings 1:2 Baal Berith, Judges 8:33.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. "For even supposing there are (exist) gods so called (2Th 2:4), whether in heaven (as the sun, moon, and stars) or in earth (as deified kings, beasts, &c.), as there be (a recognized fact, De 10:17; Ps 135:5; 136:2) gods many and lords many." Angels and men in authority are termed gods in Scripture, as exercising a divinely delegated power under God (compare Ex 22:9, with Ex 22:28; Ps 82:1, 6; Joh 10:34, 35).
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