Class Notes: 1/29/2023
The book of Romans part 109; Rom 2:15; Doctrine of the Conscience
In our verse by verse study of Romans last time we completed Rom 2:14;with the Expanded Translation Rom 2:14; "For every time that Gentiles, who do not have the law, do instinctively those things from the law, these, not having the law, are a law unto themselves."
We noted that this verse completely refutes the false notion that doing the law justifies or adjusts anyone to God's justice because the Gentiles produce an equivalent self-righteousness totally apart from the law.
Rom 2:15; "In that they" translated from the qualitive relative pronoun "hostis" that is a qualitative relative pronoun indicating a class of people. It can translated "The very ones who."
The word translated "show" is the present middle indicative from the verb "endeiknumi." It means to demonstrate something to someone, to manifest, to display, to give an outward proof of something.
We will translate it "demonstrate. The present tense is an iterative present that describes what recurs at successive intervals of history. The middle voice is the indirect middle that emphasizes the agent as producing the action rather than participating in its results. The indicative mood is declarative for historical reality.
"the work of the law" is the accusative singular direct object of "ergon," meaning deed or accomplishment. It refers to the deeds of the Gentiles, without the law but exhibiting a consistent moral character just as if they have the law. Plus the descriptive genitive "nomos" referring to the Mosaic law.
"written in their hearts" these Gentiles do not have the Mosaic law but they instinctively have concepts from it in their soul. This is the accusative singular direct object from the adjective "graptos."
With it is a prepositional phrase, "en" plus the locative of "kardia," plus a possessive genitive plural from the intensive pronoun "autos." A good translation is "written in their right lobes."
Then we have two genitive absolutes. A genitive absolute is comprised of a noun and a participle, both in the genitive case but not dramatically connected with the rest of the sentence.
In other words, a genitive absolute is a noun or a pronoun that the participle refers to and the genitive becomes the subject of the participle, and as a subject it completely divorces itself from the concept of the sentence dramatically but adds to it grammatically.
The first genitive absolute says "their conscience bearing witness." The word "conscience" is the subject, and it really can't be a subject because it is in the genitive case; it is the genitive singular of "syneidesis," that means to know with or the conscience.
There is also a possessive genitive plural from the intensive pronoun "autos," referring to a class in this case class Gentile without the law, the Gentiles without the law compared to the Jews with the law.
The genitive of "syneidesis" is used as the subject of the particle. It is in the genitive case so when a genitive case is made into a subject it is divorce it from the rest of the passage, and something dramatic is added.
Then the participle translated "bearing witness" is the present active participle, also in the genitive case, and the verb is "symmartyreo." It means to testify, to bear witness with, and to testify in support of something or someone, it also means to confirm.
"their conscience bears witness to or confirms the testimony." The participle is in a retroactive progressive present tense, denoting something that began in the past and continues into the present time.
The active voice: the Gentiles conscience produces the action of the participle with the genitive acting as the subject. The participle is used as a part of the genitive absolute that adds something that knocks the self-righteous Jew right off of his high horse.
The second genitive absolute begins with the word "and" that is the emphatic use of the conjunction "kai" can be translated "in fact;" "their thoughts" from the genitive plural from "logismos" with the definite article.
The genitive is going to be used as the subject of the participle again. It is correctly translated "thoughts" or "in fact, their thoughts."
"alternatively accusing or else defending them" from the adverb "metaxy" that is used as a preposition here, with the genitive "allos" that means "others (of the same kind)."
This literally means "between one another" or "among themselves" it is a Greek idiom that can be simply translated as "alternately." Then the present active participle of the genitive case of "kategoreo," that means to accuse.
This is a retroactive progressive present that indicates something that began in the past and continues into the present time. This is how self-righteousness is built up in the thinking.
First it accuses others. The active voice, the Gentiles without the Mosaic law do this because they have a system of norms that are so great and so superior to those who are simply students of the law that in their arrogance they can get together and be critical of others.
Then we have a disjunctive particle "e" to indicate the alternative that separates opposites that are mutually exclusive. There is a lot of difference between maligning someone else and then excusing or defending yourself.
So we have a second present active participle in the genitive case, "apologeomai," that means to defend yourself. When you start to accuse someone else, to malign and slander others you must also alternately defend your own self-righteousness.
Expanded Translation Rom 2:15; "The very ones who demonstrate the accomplishment of the law written in their hearts, their conscience confirming the testimony, in fact their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending themselves;)"
The two words, "accusing" and "defending" indicate that the self-righteous Gentile without the Mosaic law slander, malign and condemn others just like the Jews did.
They also get together with others who have similar norms and standards and defend themselves, and their norms and standards before God's integrity by implying that their relative righteousness that is built on their self-righteous human standards, means that they should be also accepted in heaven.
This brings us to a study of the doctrine of the conscience.
The Greek word for conscience is "syneidesis" that means to know with a norm or standard. It means to have a norm or standard and be conscious of that norm or standard in thinking, motivation, decision-making and action.
The English word conscience is transliterated from the Latin word "conscientia", that means joint knowledge or to know with preconceived standards. There is no reference to the conscience, as such, in the Old Testament.
Syneidesis is defined in The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament as, "percipient and active self-awareness, which is threatened at its heart by the disjunction of acknowledgement and perception, willing and knowing, judgment and action."
Conscience is that mental faculty whereby one distinguishes between right and wrong, and urges the individual to do what he recognizes to be right and to restrain him from doing that which he recognizes to be wrong.
The conscience is a sense or consciousness in the thinking that is related to either moral or spiritual goodness of one's thoughts, motives, decisions, and actions. Therefore, conscience is a faculty, a power, or a principle conceived in the thinking to determine the quality of one's thoughts, intentions, decisions, and actions.
The conscience of the believer should contain norms, standards, and priorities that originate from Bible doctrine. The conscience stores and recalls norms, standards, priorities, and values in life. The only thing that makes a Christian conscience work properly is Bible doctrine.
The conscience extrapolates from doctrine the norms and standards for life. You have to know something to have a conscience. When you know something you develop standards. Whatever you think becomes a part of your norms and standards.
You must have vocabulary and thought to establish norms and standards. The conscience must be built on a vocabulary that starts with learning one word no.
All consciences begin by being built with negative words that forbid doing something. This means that negatives initially establish mankind's conscience, although eventually there are explanations in both positive and negative terms.
The only possible way for the believer to have a conscience that honors God is to have norms and standards and priorities from Bible doctrine.
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