Romans 3:2
Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.
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(2) Chiefly.—In the first place; “secondly,” &c., was to follow, but does not, as the Apostle is drawn away to other topics (see above).

Unto them were committed.—This is paraphrastic. “Oracle” is the object, and not the subject, of the sentence. “They were entrusted with.”

Oracles.—A good translation; the Scriptures of the Old Testament as containing a revelation of God.

3:1-8 The law could not save in or from sins, yet it gave the Jews advantages for obtaining salvation. Their stated ordinances, education in the knowledge of the true God and his service, and many favours shown to the children of Abraham, all were means of grace, and doubtless were made useful to the conversion of many. But especially the Scriptures were committed to them. Enjoyment of God's word and ordinances, is the chief happiness of a people. But God's promises are made only to believers; therefore the unbelief of some, or of many professors, cannot make this faithfulness of no effect. He will fulfil his promises to his people, and bring his threatened vengeance upon unbelievers. God's judging the world, should for ever silence all doubtings and reflections upon his justice. The wickedness and obstinate unbelief of the Jews, proved man's need of the righteousness of God by faith, and also his justice in punishing for sin. Let us do evil, that good may come, is oftener in the heart than in the mouth of sinners; for few thus justify themselves in their wicked ways. The believer knows that duty belongs to him, and events to God; and that he must not commit any sin, or speak one falsehood, upon the hope, or even assurance, that God may thereby glorify himself. If any speak and act thus, their condemnation is just.Much every way - Or, in every respect. This is the answer of the apostle to the objection in Romans 3:1.

Chiefly - That is, this is the principal advantage, and one including all others. The main benefit of being a Jew is, to possess the sacred Scriptures and their instructions.

Unto them were committed - Or were intrusted, were confided. The word translated "were committed," is what is commonly employed to express "faith" or "confidence," and it implied "confidence" in them on the part of God in intrusting his oracles to them; a confidence which was not misplaced, for no people ever guarded a sacred trust or deposit with more fidelity, than the Jews did the Sacred Scriptures.

The oracles - The word "oracle" among the pagan meant properly the answer or response of a god, or of some priest supposed to be inspired, to an inquiry of importance, usually expressed in a brief sententious way, and often with great ambiguity. The place from which such a response was usually obtained was also called an oracle, as the oracle at Delphi, etc. These oracles were frequent among the pagan, and affairs of great importance were usually submitted to them. The word rendered "oracles" occurs in the New Testament but four times, Acts 7:38; Hebrews 5:12; 1 Peter 4:11; Romans 3:2. It is evidently used here to denote the Scriptures, as being what was spoken by God, and particularly perhaps the divine promises. To possess these was of course an eminent privilege, and included all others, as they instructed them in their duty, and were their guide in everything that pertained to them in this life and the life to come. They contained, besides, many precious promises respecting the future dignity of the nation in reference to the Messiah. No higher favor can be conferred on a people than to be put in possession of the sacred Scriptures. And this fact should excite us to gratitude, and lead us to endeavor to extend them also to other nations; compare Deuteronomy 4:7-8; Psalm 147:19-20.

2. Much every way; chiefly, because—rather, "first, that."

unto them were committed the oracles of God—This remarkable expression, denoting "divine communications" in general, is transferred to the Scriptures to express their oracular, divine, authoritative character.

He answers the before mentioned objection by a liberal and free concession. The answer doth particularly relate to the first member of the objection, though comprehending the other.

Chiefly; this word is not to be referred to the order of speech, as Romans 1:8, for he doth not begin any discourse here; nor to the number of privileges and advantages, for he names but one in all; but to the quality, and so the excellency, of this privilege here spoken of; q.d. It is the chief of all.

Unto them were committed the oracles of God: profane writers make this word to signify the answer that was given by the demons, or heathen gods; and yet the Holy Ghost doth not disdain to make use of this word, (as well as divers others), though abused to heathenish superstition. The sense is, To the Jews were credited, or given in custody, the Holy Scriptures, containing all the books of the Old Testament, in particular the legal covenant, or law of God, given on Mount Sinai, which Stephen calls the lively oracles, Acts 7:38; more especially yet the fundamental articles of religion, and doctrines of grace, and salvation by the Messias, called the oracles of God, Hebrews 5:12, though more hid, it is true, in types, promises, and predictions.

Much every way,.... The circumcised Jew has greatly the advantage of the uncircumcised Gentile, , "in all respects", , "on every side", as the Rabbins speak; phrases to which this in the text answers:

chiefly; more especially, particularly, and in the first place;

because that unto them were committed the oracles of God; by which are meant the law of Moses, and the writings of the prophets, the institutions of the ceremonial law, and the prophecies of the Messiah and the Gospel church state; and in a word, all the books of the Old Testament, and whatsoever is contained in them; which are called so, because they are of divine inspiration, contain the mind and will of God, and are infallible and authoritative: and it was the privilege and profit of the Jews that they were intrusted with them, when other nations were not, and so had the advantage of them; they had them for their own use; for hereby they had a more clear and distinct knowledge of God than the Gentiles could have by the light of nature; and besides, became acquainted with the doctrines of a trinity of persons in the Godhead, of the sonship and deity of the Messiah, of the sacrifice, satisfaction, and righteousness of the Redeemer, and of salvation by him; and also with the manner of worshipping of God according to his will; all which the Gentiles were ignorant of. Moreover, they had the honour of being the keepers of these sacred books, these divine oracles, and of transmitting them to posterity, for the use of others.

Much every way: {a} chiefly, because that unto them were committed the {b} oracles of God.

(a) The Jews' state and condition was of principal importance.

(b) Words.

2. every way] For a comment see Romans 9:4-5; part of an argument of which this verse may be regarded as the germ or first suggestion.

chiefly] Lit. first. Perhaps this is the first step in an enumeration which is not carried on. Cp. Romans 1:8. But the rendering “chiefly” is quite possible and natural.

unto them were committed] Lit. they were trusted with; for their own benefit in the first place, and then as the “keepers of Holy Writ” for the world—for enquirers and proselytes under the Old Covenant, and for the universal Church under the New.

the oracles] the utterances. Same word as Acts 8:38; Hebrews 5:12; 1 Peter 4:11. The Gr. word is occasionally used in the LXX. for ordinary human utterances; e.g. Psalms 19 (LXX. 18):14: “the words of my mouth.” The context of the passages of N. T. just quoted leaves no doubt that it refers here to the utterances of God through the prophets of the Old Covenant; in short, to the O. T. Scriptures. The Apostle’s testimony to the unique dignity of the Scripture Revelation could not be stronger. And so when he elsewhere contrasts “letter” and “spirit,” his meaning, whatever it is, is not to diminish the Divine authority of the written “oracles.”

Romans 3:2. Πολύ, much) In the neuter gender; supply περισσίν. It rather refers to the concrete, concerning the Jew, than to the abstract, concerning circumcision, Romans 3:1; this will be treated of at ch. Romans 4:1; Romans 4:9, etc. So, ch. Romans 2:29, οὗ, viz. Ἰουδαίου, the Jew [instead of ἦς, though περιτομή had preceded].—πρῶτον) i.e. first, and therefore chiefly; the word signifying in the next place, does not always follow [after πρῶτον]. One privilege of the Jews, admirably adapted to Paul’s object, is set forth in this passage (the others will follow, ch. Romans 9:4-5); and by this very one, he is about, by and by, after he has ended this prefatory address of conciliation, so much the more to convict them.[33]—ἐπιστεύθησαν, they were intrusted with) He, to whom a treasure is intrusted, may manage it either faithfully and skilfully, or otherwise; and the Jews treated the Old Testament Scriptures in very different ways. But Paul says, that the oracles of God were intrusted to the Jews in such a manner [under this condition], that the good about to come, Romans 3:8, which they [the oracles] described, would belong to the Jews, if they would receive it by faith;—ideas extremely suggestive: God is true, faithful, intrusting His revelation to men, righteous; man is mendacious, perfidious, distrustful, unrighteous.—λόγια), a diminutive. The Divine answers were often brief, as in the Urim and Thummim: ΛΌΓΙΟΝ is also [God’s] saying [Romans 3:4], concerning circumcision, and the other privileges of the Israelites.

[33] On the προθεραπέιᾳ, i.e., precautionary address to disarm prejudices, when about to speak unwelcome truths. See Appendix.—ED.

Romans 3:2Chiefly (πρῶτον)

Rev., first of all; i.e., first in order. Paul, however, does not enumerate further, being led away by another thought.

The oracles (τὰ λόγια)

Diminutive. Strictly, brief utterances. Both in classical and biblical Greek, of divine utterances. In classical Greek, of prose oracles. See Acts 7:38; Hebrews 5:12; 1 Peter 4:11. Not especially Messianic passages, but the Old Testament scriptures with the law and the promises.

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