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1 What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.

 

It is important to note that in chapter three Paul continued an argument that began in chapter two (2:17). Here he qualified what he said in that chapter. If God gave the Abrahamic covenant to the Jew and marked that promise with circumcision, why did Paul say in chapter two that there was no special advantage unless their hearts were right? He answered that question in the first part of chapter three.

In verses one through eight, through a series of questions and answers, Paul responded to objections that might arise from chapter two.

1.     What advantage has the Jew if Gentiles are blessed by God as well? God gave them the revelation of the Old Testament (3:1-4).

2.     If unrighteousness commends God’s righteousness, is it right that God punishes man? God must judge sin according to His character (3:5-6).

3.     If a lie enhances God’s truthfulness, why not sin so that good might come? God has the right to judge based on the impregnable truth of His character( 3:7).

4.     Are Jews in a worse condition before God than Gentiles? No, both are lost (3:8).

The first question and answer runs from verse one to verse four.

3:1

What advantage [value, preeminence] then [inference from chapter two] has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision?

Since Paul argued against formal circumcision (rather than attitude of the heart) as a proper approach to God, what is the advantage of being a Jew? He answered that question in chapter three.

3:2

Much in every way!

Paul’s previous argument in 2:17-29 does not imply that there is no advantage in being a Jew. There is an advantage for the Jew from many angles. There is no exact equality with the Gentiles.

Chiefly [first in order] because to them [Jews] were committed [entrusted] the oracles [words-prophetic utterances] of God [Old Testament canon of Scriptures].

There is one central advantage that Jews have—God entrusted them with Scripture, the entire Old Testament.

The word “oracles” carries the idea of supernatural communication. Pagans used this term in their rites; however, here the word has the particular meaning of special revelation by God in words.

God entrusted the Jews with His very words. “Entrusted” implies the importance of guarding these special words from God. He chose Israel to be the custodian of His revelation. He transferred His divine, oracular words to His chosen people and made them the depository of His revelation. They were to safeguard it and communicate it.

1 Th 2: 4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.

PRINCIPLE:

It is an immense and magnificent privilege to have God’s Word.

APPLICATION:

God’s trusting us with His Word brings a privilege that conveys responsibility. If God honors us with revealing His Word to us, there is a duty for us to know it and live it. Privilege should be a platform for dynamic living and service. We know immeasurably more about God because of His revelation than we could know otherwise. This is an immense privilege. Many today associate themselves with Christianity but do not connect to its power.

Ep 4: 1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,

Ph 1: 27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,

1 Th 2: 12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. 

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