Romans 2:19
And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness,
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(19) A guide of the blind.—Comp. Matthew 15:14, “They be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind,” et seq.

2:17-24 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.And art confident - This expression denotes the full assurance of the Jew that he was superior in knowledge to all other people. It is a remarkable fact that the Jews put the fullest confidence in their religion. Though proud, wicked, and hypocritical, yet they were not speculative infidels. It was one of their characteristics, evinced through all their history, that they had the fullest assurance that God was the author of their institutions, and that their religion was his appointment.

A guide of the blind - A guide of the blind is a figurative expression to denote an instructor of the ignorant. The blind here properly refers to the Gentiles, who were thus regarded by the Jews. The meaning is, that they esteemed themselves qualified to instruct the pagan world; Matthew 15:14; Matthew 23:15.

A light - Another figurative expression to denote a teacher; compare Isaiah 49:6; John 1:4-5, John 1:8-9.

In darkness - A common expression to denote the ignorance of the Gentile world; see the note at Matthew 4:16.

18. approvest the things that are excellent—"triest the things that differ" (Margin). Both senses are good, and indeed the former is but the result of the latter action. (See on [2183]Php 1:10). See Poole on "Romans 2:18"

And art confident that thou thyself,.... Being vainly puffed up in, their fleshly minds, they were strongly persuaded that they were very fit persons to be

a guide to the blind: all men are by nature blind, as to the knowledge of divine and spiritual things; the meaner sort of the people among the Jews seem to be intended here; or else the ignorant Gentiles, whom the Jews were very fond of making proselytes to their religion and laws; but miserable guides were they, whether to their own people, or others; blind guides of the blind. Gospel ministers best deserve this title:

a light of them that are in darkness; so Christ, John the Baptist, the disciples of Christ, and all Gospel ministers are; but these men, who arrogated such characters to themselves, were dim lights, and dark lanterns. The apostle seems to have respect to those very high and exalted characters the Jews give of their doctors, as when they call one, , "the lamp of light" (w); another, "the holy lamps" (x); and a third, , "the lamp of Israel" (y); with many others of the same kind; See Gill on Matthew 5:14 and See Gill on John 5:35.

(w) T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 17. 1.((x) Zohar passim. (y) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 28. 2.

And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness,
Romans 2:19 f. πέποιθάς τε κ.τ.λ. The τε indicates that this confidence is the immediate and natural result of what precedes: it is not right, in view of all the N.T. examples, to say that πέποιθας suggests an unjustifiable confidence, though in some cases, as in the present, it is so. Cf. 2 Corinthians 10:7, Luke 18:9. The blind, those in darkness, the foolish, the babes, are all names for the heathen: the Jew is confident that the Gentiles must come to school to him. παιδευτὴς has reference to moral as well as intellectual discipline: and ἄφρονες are, as in the O.T. (Psalm 13:1, LXX), persons without moral intelligence. For the other figures in this verse, cf. Matthew 15:14, Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 49:9; Isaiah 42:6. The confidence of the Jew is based on the fact that he possesses in the law “the outline of knowledge and truth”. Lipsius puts a strong sense upon μόρφωσιν—die leibhaftige Verkörperung: as if the Jew conceived that in the Mosaic law the knowledge and the truth of God were incorporated bodily. Possibly he did, and in a sense it was so, for the Mosaic law was a true revelation of God and His will: but the only other instance of μόρφωσις in the N.T. (2 Timothy 3:5 ἔχοντες μόρφωσιν εὐσεβείας) rather suggests the same disparaging note which here belongs to πέποιθας. The μόρφωσις τῆς γνώσεως is in point of fact only a form: valuable as the outline or definition of truth was, which the Jew possessed in the law, it was in reality ineffective, so far as the practical authority of the law in the Jew’s conduct was concerned.

19. thou thyself] Strongly emphatic. The person supposed is not only sure of the privileges of Jews in general, but of his own spiritual competency, by virtue simply of his position and light.

Surely the Apostle is recalling, in part, his own ideas as a Jewish Rabbi of “the straitest sect;” and we may be certain that in the mass of Rabbis and their followers of that time all the features of pride and blindness he here draws were at least as strongly marked as in his own past.—See Appendix A.

a guide of the blind] A very frequent and expressive metaphor. See Matthew 15:14; Matthew 23:16, &c.

Romans 2:19. Ἐν σκότει, in the darkness of congenital ignorance [ignorance, accompanying the heathen from birth].

Verses 19, 20. - And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and of the truth in the Law. Here the form (μόρφωσις) does not mean the mere outward show, but the real representation in concrete form of knowledge and truth. The Jew had that; and the Law itself is by no means disparaged because the Jew presumed on it without keeping it (cf. Romans 7:12). Romans 2:19
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