What does Romans 2:22 mean?
ESV: You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?
NIV: You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?
NASB: You who say that one is not to commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who loathe idols, do you rob temples?
CSB: You who say, "You must not commit adultery"--do you commit adultery? You who detest idols, do you rob temples?
NLT: You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you commit adultery? You condemn idolatry, but do you use items stolen from pagan temples?
KJV: Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
NKJV: You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?
Verse Commentary:
Paul is addressing Jewish people in this section, especially those who believed that being under the law of Moses, given to them by God, meant that they would not be judged by God for their personal sinfulness.

Paul has shown that, though these religious Jews hold the law as their sacred and special connection to God, they do not keep it. He has asked a series of rhetorical questions. Now he adds to them: Do you commit adultery, though you teach others from the law that nobody should do that? Do you rob temples, though you say that you hate idols?

Both of these questions imply a positive answer. It is not clear what Paul means by "robbing temples," but his point is that the Jewish people were themselves breaking the law in various ways. Any honest assessment of our own lives reveals that we can't perfectly keep to any moral code (Romans 3:10). Why would devout Jews think they were exempt from God's wrath if they did not keep the law He gave to them? Why would any self-righteous person actually think God would ignore their sin?

Paul will go on to show that nobody can keep the law perfectly, which means that everyone is guilty of breaking God's law and earning God's wrath.
Verse Context:
Romans 2:12–29 describes two groups of people, with an emphasis on how their sin relates to their knowledge of God's written Law for the nation of Israel. Here, ''Gentiles'' are those who sin apart from the law, while ''Jews'' are those who sin under the law. Paul shows how, in both cases, God will judge people based on whether they kept the law and were circumcised in their hearts. Even Gentiles who follow the law out of sincerity would be regarded by God as truly Jewish. Meanwhile, God will discount the Jewishness and circumcision of someone under the law who breaks the law and does not have a sincere heart. Paul will show in the following chapter that, in truth, no one can keep the law.
Chapter Summary:
Romans 2 springs a trap on any religious person who read Paul's lists of sins at the end of Romans 1 and thought it wasn't about them. Paul calls them out for making themselves judges when they are also guilty. He shows that God will judge everyone, including those under the law, based on their works. This prefaces this letter's theme of salvation by grace, through faith, rather than by works. Many benefits come with having the law, but only if those under the law keep it. Jewishness—circumcision—must be an inner state, not just an outer one. Paul will show in the following chapter that none of us really meets those conditions.
Chapter Context:
Having just concluded a list of terrible sins humanity indulges in as a result of rejecting God, Paul turns to religious people and says, ''This applies to you, too.'' Nobody can judge arrogantly, because we are all guilty. Even God's people the Jews will stand before Him in judgment based on their works. Having the law only matters if someone can keep the law. Paul asks his Jewish readers why they don't and shows that they must be Jewish and circumcised in their hearts for it to matter. In the following chapter, he will show that nobody can keep the law.
Book Summary:
The book of Romans is the New Testament's longest, most structured, and most detailed description of Christian theology. Paul lays out the core of the gospel message: salvation by grace alone through faith alone. His intent is to explain the good news of Jesus Christ in accurate and clear terms. As part of this effort, Paul addresses the conflicts between law and grace, between Jews and Gentiles, and between sin and righteousness. As is common in his writing, Paul closes out his letter with a series of practical applications.
Accessed 5/26/2024 5:46:02 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.