Paulís words seem very strong here. However, it was perhaps usual for Bible teachers to speak in this manner. They did not want the people whom they taught to agree with them, and then to do nothing about it. So they urged those people to examine their own attitudes and actions very carefully.
We declare Godís word to be the truth, so we must not neglect to obey it. Godís word, the Bible, should affect every part of our lives. As we teach it to other people, we too must be careful to learn its lessons.
Paul first refers to the commands in Exodus 20:14-15. It should not be hard for us to know if we are obeying such commands. However, Jesus taught us that our wrong thoughts, as well as our wrong actions, offend God (Matthew 5:27-28).
Then Paul asks a more difficult question. The Bible teaches that we must not make an idol (an image that we pray to) - Exodus 20:4. Paul asks whether we rob temples. The temples were the houses of false gods, where people kept idols.
The meaning of Paulís question about the temples is not certain. However, Rome probably had more temples than any other city, and many of Romeís Christians were traders. They could make good profits if they sold valuable objects to the temples (compare Revelation 18:11-13). They might insist that they hated idols. However, their actions would not match their words.
It is possible for us to become proud about our knowledge of the Bible, but not to obey it. If we do that, we bring shame upon Godís holy name. We should be teaching other people about God. However, instead, we may be causing those same people to insult God because of our wrong behaviour. If those people imitate that wrong behaviour, they could only learn from us the wrong way to live. We would not have taught them Godís law but, rather, the opposite.
Next part: Is circumcision necessary? (Romans 2:25-27)
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© 2018, Keith Simons.