Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 5
November 30, 2004
7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
1901 ASV Translation
7 to them that by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and incorruption, eternal life:
8 but unto them that are factious, and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, shall be wrath and indignation,
9 tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek;
10 but glory and honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek:
:8, the Textus Receptus
has an untranslated emphatic particle and a "movable 'n'" on the word translated "do not obey" that the Nestle/Aland 26
does not have. There is no significant difference in meaning between the two textual traditions except that the emphatic particle does insert an element of emphasis that the Nestle/Aland 26
does not recognize.
- I. The Definitions of Eternal Life and Death.
- A. According to the chiastic structure of Romans 2:7-10, we find Paul making clear what it is that he considers (under divine inspiration and insight) the essences of both life and death.
- 1. In 2:7, he says that God will "repay" to a certain group "eternal life".
- a. Then, in 2:10 he actually says what the expectation of this group should be: "glory, honor, and peace".
- b. This, in some way, boils down to a kind of definition regarding what "eternal life" consists of...the experience of "glory, honor, and peace".
- 2. In 2:8, he says that God will "repay" another group with what would, by antithesis, be "eternal death".
- a. Then, in 2:9 he actually says that "tribulation and anguish" should be the expectation of this "other" group.
- b. This, like 1b above, is a functional definition regarding what "eternal death" consists of...the experience of "tribulation" and "anguish".
- B. Taking this chiastic structure and its implications into consideration, what we end up with is a three-fold "provision" for "life" and a two-fold "imposition" for "death".
- 1. Interestingly, the three-fold provision for life consists of an "ingredient" for each of man's major areas of interest.
- a. There is "glory" for the "spirit" of man.
- 1) The biblical issue of "glory" is the "attributes" or "components" of which a thing/person consists and then, consequently, recognition for those "attributes" and what they can/do produce.
- 2) Without debate, one of man's greatest interests is being "praised" for what he is and can do. "Seeking glory" would, then, translate into an active pursuit of essential qualities and their subsequent abilities so that one might receive recognition for those qualities and abilities.
- 3) This seems to correspond to the Abrahamic Covenant promise of a "great name" in that the greatness of a name consists in recognition for what a person is and can do.
- b. There is "honor" for the "soul" of man.
- 1) The issue of "honor" in the Bible is the issue of having a "set evaluation of worth". When one is given "honor", he is acknowledged to be of significant value. But, value is always relative to either a given objective, or a given methodology for the pursuit of an objective. So, "honor" is being considered to be "valuable" in light of a desired goal.
- 2) There is also little debate that another of man's greatest interests is being considered of sufficient value to be included in the fellowship of the approved so that there is a mutuality of appreciation and succour -- this seems to be the focus of the biblical concept of "honor". Thus, "seeking honor" would translate into developing the skills required to enable the accomplishment of desirable goals.
- 3) This seems to correspond to the Abrahamic Covenant promise of "a seed who would be able to accomplish the desired objective".
- c. There is "peace" for the "body" of man.
- 1) Biblically, "peace" is both the absence of conflict and the presence of cooperation. This is a very large and comprehensive subject, but Paul's context ties it directly to the issue of "incorruptibility" (being subject to the processes of decay and death). This means that he probably has the physical man in view in respect to the issue of "peace".
- 2) Additionally, then, there seems to be little debate about the fact that men seek "peace" in some form or another (this is really why they "kill" their opposition -- to eliminate conflict).
- 3) If we take Paul's contextual limitation, this "peace", as an issue of man's enduring conflict with his environment at the physical level, this is a promise of health.
- 4) This seems to also correspond to the Abrahamic Covenant Promise of a "land" -- the physical source of all of his "health" issues...food, vitamins, minerals, water, etc.
- 2. Just as interesting is the fact that Paul's antithesis consists of only two major issues: either "indignation and wrath" or "tribulation and anguish" (they boil down to two ways of saying the same thing by way of chiastic structure).
- a. The probable cause here is that Paul did not see fit to highligh all "three" of the issues of concern for man because it is unnecessary in that identifying the general characteristics of "tribulation and anguish" is sufficient to cover all of the bases.
- b. That man would be treated by God with "tribulation and anguish" is a statement by God of his worthlessness to Him (a frontal attack on the "glory" issue).
- c. That man would be treated by God with "tribulation and anguish" is also a statement by God that man is completely insecure by reason of his rejection from the "honor" of being included in the fellowship of the approved (a frontal attack upon man's "soul").
- d. And, finally, that man will be subjected to "tribulation and anguish" means little if we take the physical meanings of those terms away (a frontal attack upon man's health issues).
- II. The Mechanisms of "Life" and "Death".
- A. Man is subject to the reality that he must "pursue" what Paul first calls "glory, honor, and incorruptibility" and second calls "the good".
- B. Man is guilty of "pursuing" what Paul first calls "contention, disobeying Truth, and obeying unrighteousness" and second calls "the evil".
- C. Under these realities, "eternal life" by human works is a "result" of human "efforts".
- III. The Benefit of This Text for Believers.
- A. We can see the content of "eternal life".
- B. We can see the fruitlessness of the "mechanism of attainment" -- human labor out of human resources.