New American Standard Bible
and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law,
King James Bible
And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;
Darby Bible Translation
and knowest the will, and discerningly approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;
World English Bible
and know his will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law,
Young's Literal Translation
and dost know the will, and dost approve the distinctions, being instructed out of the law,
Romans 2:18 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
And knowest his will - The will or commands of God. This knowledge they obtained from the Scriptures; and of course in this they were distinguished from other nations.
And approvest - The word used here is capable of two interpretations. It may mean either to distinguish, or to approve. The word is properly and usually applied to the process of testing or trying metals by fire. Hence, it comes to be used in a general sense to try or to distinguish anything; to ascertain its nature, quality, etc.; Luke 12:56. This is probably its meaning here, referring rather to the intellectual process of discriminating, than to the moral process of approving. It could not, perhaps, be said with propriety, at least the scope of the passage does not properly suppose this, that the Jew approved or loved the things of God: but the scope of the passage is, that the Jew valued himself on his knowledge of what was conformable to the will of God; see the notes at Romans 14.
The things that are more excellent - The word translated here "more excellent" denotes properly the things that differ from others, and then also the things that excel. It has an ambiguity similar to the word translated "approved." If the interpretation of that word above given is correct, then this word here means those things that differ from others. The reference is to the rites and customs, to the distinctions of meats and days, etc., prescribed by the Law of Moses. The Jew would pride himself on the fact that he had been taught by the Law to make these distinctions, while all the pagan world had been left in ignorance of them. This was one of the advantages on which he valued himself and his religion.
Being instructed ... - That is, in regard to the one God, his will, and the distinguishing rites of his worship.
Observe that the apostle singled out an individual who had condemned others for transgressions, in which he himself indulged. This man owned so much spiritual light that he knew right from wrong, and he diligently used his knowledge to judge others, condemning them for their transgressions. As for himself, he preferred the shade, where no fierce light might beat on his own conscience and disturb his unholy peace. His judgment was spared the pain of dealing with his home offenses by being set to work …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 29: 1883
Tendencies of Religious Thought in England, 1688-1750.
Note to the Following Treatise 1. The Following Letter
Seances Historiques De Geneve --The National Church.
so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.
and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,
so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;
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