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Romans 2:14

    Romans 2:14 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law to themselves:

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    (for when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves;

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    For when the Gentiles without the law have a natural desire to do the things in the law, they are a law to themselves;

    Webster's Revision

    (for when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves;

    World English Bible

    (for when Gentiles who don't have the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are a law to themselves,

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    for when Gentiles which have no law do by nature the things of the law, these, having no law, are a law unto themselves;

    Definitions for Romans 2:14

    Gentiles - A people; nations other than Israel.

    Clarke's Commentary on Romans 2:14

    For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, etc. - Nor does it follow that the Gentiles who have not had a Divine revelation, shall either perish, because they had it not; or their unrighteous conduct pass unpunished, because not having this revelation might be considered as an excuse for their sins.

    Do by nature the things contained in the law - Do, without this Divine revelation, through that light which God imparts to every man, the things contained in the law - act according to justice, mercy, temperance and truth, the practice of which the revealed law so powerfully enjoins; these are a law unto themselves - they are not accountable to any other law, and are not to be judged by any dispensation different from that under which they live.

    Rabbi Tanchum brings in the Supreme Being as saying: When I decreed any thing against the Gentiles, to whom I have not given laws and statutes, and they know what I have decreed; immediately they repent; but the Israelites do not so. Tanchum, fol. 43. 2.

    Barnes' Notes on Romans 2:14

    For when - The apostle, in Romans 2:13, had stated a general principle, that the doers of the Law only can be justified, if justification is attempted by the Law. In this verse and the next, he proceeds to show that the same principle is applicable to the pagan; that though they have not the written Law of God, yet that they have sufficient knowledge of his will to take away every excuse for sin, and consequently that the course of reasoning by which he had come to the conclusion that they were guilty, is well founded. This verse is not to be understood as affirming, as an historical fact, that any of the pagan ever did perfectly obey the Law which they had, any more than the previous verse affirms it of the Jews, The main point in the argument is, that if people are justified by the Law, their obedience must be entire and perfect; that this is not to be external only, or to consist in hearing or in acknowledging the justice of the Law; and that the Gentiles had an opportunity of illustrating this principle as well as the Jews, since they also had a law among themselves. The word "when" ὅταν hotan does not imply that the thing shall certainly take place, but is one form of introducing a supposition; or of stating the connection of one thing with another, Matthew 5:11; Matthew 6:2, Matthew 6:5-6, Matthew 6:16; Matthew 10:19. It is, however, true that the main things contained in this verse, and the next, actually occurred, that the Gentiles did many things which the Law of God required.

    The Gentiles - All who were not Jews.

    Which have not the law - Who have net a revelation, or the written word of God. In the Greek the article is omitted, "who have not law," that is, any revealed law.

    By nature - By some, this phrase has been supposed to belong to the previous member of the sentence, "who have not the law by nature." But our translation is the more natural and usual construction. The expression means clearly by the light of conscience and reason, and whatever other helps they may have without revelation. It denotes simply, in that state which is without the revealed will of God. In that condition they had many helps of tradition, conscience, reason, and the observation of the dealings of divine Providence, so that to a considerable extent they knew what was right and what was wrong.

    Do the things - Should they not merely understand and approve, but actually perform the things required in the Law.

    Contained in the law - Literally, the things of the Law, that is, the things which the Law requires. Many of those things might be done by the pagan, as, e. g., respect to parents. truth, justice, honesty, chastity. So far as they did any of those things, so far they showed that they had a law among themselves. And wherein they failed in these things they showed that they were justly condemned. "Are a law unto themselves." This is explained in the following verse. It means that their own reason and conscience constituted, in these things, a law, or prescribed that for them which the revealed law did to the Jews.

    Wesley's Notes on Romans 2:14

    2:14 For when the gentiles - That is, any of them. St. Paul, having refuted the perverse judgment of the Jews concerning the heathens, proceeds to show the just judgment of God against them. He now speaks directly of the heathens, in order to convince the heathens. Yet the concession he makes to these serves more strongly to convince the Jews. Do by nature - That is, without an outward rule; though this also, strictly speaking, is by preventing grace. The things contained in the law - The ten commandments being only the substance of the law of nature. These, not having the written law, are a law unto themselves - That is, what the law is to the Jews, they are, by the grace of God, to themselves; namely, a rule of life.