|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
10:1-4 The Jews built on a false foundation, and refused to come to Christ for free salvation by faith, and numbers in every age do the same in various ways. The strictness of the law showed men their need of salvation by grace, through faith. And the ceremonies shadowed forth Christ as fulfilling the righteousness, and bearing the curse of the law. So that even under the law, all who were justified before God, obtained that blessing by faith, whereby they were made partakers of the perfect righteousness of the promised Redeemer. The law is not destroyed, nor the intention of the Lawgiver disappointed; but full satisfaction being made by the death of Christ for our breach of the law, the end is gained. That is, Christ has fulfilled the whole law, therefore whoever believeth in him, is counted just before God, as much as though he had fulfilled the whole law himself. Sinners never could go on in vain fancies of their own righteousness, if they knew the justice of God as a Governor, or his righteousness as a Saviour.
Verses 2, 3. - For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God. For ζῆλον Θεοῦ, meaning zeal for God, cf. John 2:17; Acts 22:3; Galatians 1:14. The word ζῆλος was commonly used for the religious ardour of the Jews at that time (cf. Acts 21:20, Πάντες ζηλωταὶ τοῦ νόμου ὑπάρχουσι), and there was a faction among them called distinctively Ζηλωταὶ, to which Simon Zelotes (Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13) is supposed to have belonged originally. St. Paul's mention of the religious zeal of the Jews of his day is apposite in this place. In Romans 9:1-5, where he was about to speak of their rejection from the inheritance of the promises, he appropriately dwelt on their ancient privileges; here, where he has in view their own failure to respond to God's purpose for them, he as appropriately refers to their undoubted zeal, which he regrets should be misdirected. But not according to knowledge. For being ignorant of (ἀγνοοῦντες, in explanation of οὐ κατ ἐπίγνωσιν preceding) God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own (righteousness, repeated here, is ill supported), they have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. For the meaning of God's righteousness, opposed to man's own righteousness, see on Romans 3:19, 20; also on Romans 1:17, and Introduction.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For I bear them record, that they have a zeal of God,.... A zeal for God; for the being and unity of God, against the polytheism and idolatry of the Gentiles; for the word of God, the writings of the Old Testament, of which they were zealous defenders and preservers, and which they diligently read and heard explained, and whereby they thought to obtain eternal life; for the law of God, moral and ceremonial, especially for the rituals of the Mosaic economy; for the service and worship of God, they spared no pains, but compassed sea and land to bring in proselytes to their religion; all which the apostle could testify from his own knowledge, and by his own experience, who had been as great a zealot as any of them all. But now whilst the apostle is expressing his strong affection for this people, he is careful to act the faithful part to them, and points out their mistakes, and shows them their faults; which he does in this and the following verse, by observing, that they had a zeal of God indeed,
but not according to knowledge: it was not well regulated, it proceeded on mistaken principles, and moved in a wrong way, in persecuting the church of God, in doing things contrary to the name of Christ, in putting to death his ministers and members, thinking that hereby they did God good service; which arose from their ignorance of their Father, and of the Son: though they had a zeal of God, they knew neither God nor Christ aright; they did not know God in Christ, nor Jesus to be the true Messiah; they understood neither law nor Gospel truly, and fancied the Gospel was contrary to the law, and an enemy to it; and therefore in their great zeal opposed it, and the professors of it; they were zealous of the law, and of doing the commands of it, but knew not the true nature, use, and end of the law; as appears by what follows.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. For I bear them record—or, "witness," as he well could from his own sad experience.
that they have a zeal of—"for"
God, but not according to knowledge—(Compare Ac 22:3; 26:9-11; Ga 1:13, 14). He alludes to this well-meaning of his people, notwithstanding their spiritual blindness, not certainly to excuse their rejection of Christ and rage against His saints, but as some ground of hope regarding them. (See 1Ti 1:13).
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