A Study Through Paul’s Epistle to the Romans notes by Tim Hegg
But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely upon the Torah and boast in God, and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Torah, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Torah the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,
• It is clear that in this paragraph that Paul is addressing Jewish people, and particularly those of the Pharisaic sect.
• All of the things Paul lists here are, in and of themselves, honorable and even desirable.
• Yet it is clear that Paul is listing things that highlight some level of hypocrisy.
“If you bear the name ‘Jew’”
• “Jew” (ἰουδαῖος, ioudaios) originally meant “of the tribe of Judah.”
• By the 1st Century BCE, “Jew” designated those people of Israel who lived in Judea, and who worshipped at the Jerusalem Temple.
• Eventually the name “Jew” came to be equivalent with “Israelite” or “people of Israel.”
“rely upon the Torah”
• “rely” = ἐπαναπαύομαι, epanapauomai used only here and in Lk 10:6, “If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.”
• To rely upon the Torah means to believe that obeying the Torah was how one remained within the covenant.
“boast in God”
• Paul taught that it is right to “boast in God”
“But he who boasts is to boast in Adonai.” (2Cor 10:17, paraphrasing Jer 9:24)