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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 2 - Verse 8

Verse 8. Who are contentious. This expression usually denotes those who are of a quarrelsome or litigious disposition; and generally has reference to controversies among men. But here it evidently denotes a disposition towards God, and is of the same signification as rebellious, or as opposing God. They who contend with the Almighty; who resist his claims, who rebel against his laws, and refuse to submit to his requirements, however made known. The Seventy use the verb to translate the Hebrew word

HEBREW, marah, in De 21:20. One striking characteristic of the sinner is, that he contends with God; that is, that he opposes and resists his claims. This is the case with all sinners; and it was particularly so with the Jews, and hence the apostle used the expression here to characterize them particularly. His argument he intended to apply to the Jews, and hence he used such an expression as would exactly describe them. This character of being a rebellious people was one which was often charged on the Jewish nation, De 9:7,24; 31:27; Isa 1:2; 30:9; 65:2

Jer 5:23; Eze 2:3,5.


Do not obey the truth. Comp. Ro 1:18. The truth here denotes the Divine will, which is alone the light of truth. Calvin. It means true doctrine in opposition to false opinions; and to refuse to obey it is to regard it as false, and to resist its influence. The truth here means all the correct representations which had been made of God, and his perfections, and law, and claims, whether by the light of nature or by revelation. The description thus included Gentiles and Jews; but particularly the latter, as they had been more signally favoured with the light of truth. It had been an eminent characteristic of the Jews that they had refused to obey the commands of the true God, Jos 5:6; Jud 2:2; 6:10; 2 Ki 18:12; Jer 3:13,25; 42:21; 43:4,7; 9:13


But obey unrighteousness. The expression means that they yielded themselves to iniquity, and thus became the servants of sin, Ro 6:13,16,17,19.

Iniquity thus may be said to reign over men, as they follow the dictates of evil, make no resistance to it, and implicitly obey all its hard requirements.

Indignation and wrath. That is, these shall be rendered to those who are contentious, etc. The difference between indignation and wrath, says Ammonius, is that the former is of short duration, but the latter is a long-continued remembrance of evil. The one is temporary, the other denotes continued expressions of hatred of evil. Eustathius says, that the word indignation denotes the internal emotion, but wrath the external manifestation of indignation. Tholuck. Both words refer to the opposition which God will cherish and express against sin in the world of punishment.

{r} "that are contentious" 1 Ti 6:3,4 {s} "and do not obey" 2 Th 1:8

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