Why does Paul say "There is no partiality with God" when he says right before that, "But glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek."?

If paul says God has no partiality then why does he say "to the Jew first"? To me saying to the Jew first means that they are in favor.  I know that in the Gospel it is often said to preach to the Jew first. I feel these statments contradict each other.

Clarify Share Report Asked March 18 2014 Open uri20130915 3233 lumrt8 Paul Mannon

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Mini Sung Park Father to 4 Boys & "Assiduous Contemplater" of the Word
This a fair question. The passage is from Romans 2:10 which is in a larger context of God's judgment on the whole humanity which are divided between the Jews and the Greeks/Gentiles. Chapter 1 starts with the indictment of all people who "exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served creatures"(1:25). Chapter 2 specifically indicts the Jews who have the law of God yet fail to live by the law.The verse in question appears in this context where God shows no partiality or unfairness in His judgment, both evil and good, "the Jews first and also to the Greeks."

Paul uses this phrase three times up to this verse in Romans. The first usage in Chapter 1 indicates the order of God's revelation and the Gospel. The other two times are used in the immediate context of verses 9-10. These are parallel verses with different outcomes: v. 9 has "tribulations and distresses" for those who does evil while v.10 has "glory and honor and peace" for those who does good. Both verses contain "the Jew first and also to the Greek" which Paul uses to refer to the whole humanity. 

Paul uses the phrase (the Jews first then the Greeks) to highlight the special privilege of the Jews having received the law first but also their condemnation for not living up to the law. God's impartiality is manifested in judging both the Jews and the Greeks alike the former failing to live according to the law and the latter failing their own law. 

Your question seems to suggest God's selection of the Jews as being partial but that's a different question outside of this specific verse. This issue becomes a larger issue in Romans 9 and 11. God had to chose one people group to reveal Himself in history and it was Abraham. Nevertheless, Paul is grieved by the Jewish rejection of the Gospel due to "a partial hardening...until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (11:25). Ushering in this time of Gentiles, Apostle Paul who wrote most of the NT has devoted his life to proclaiming the Gospel to the Greeks/Gentiles. It's rather hard to see God's partiality when we put things in perspectives.

March 20 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Q jcryle001 JD Abshire
It is clearly documented throughout scripture that Israel, the Jew is the apple of God’s eye, his chosen people. This did not change During Christ’s earthly ministry. In fact when commissioning the disciples he stated in Matthew 10:5-6 “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 

Initially he would not even respond to the Canaanite lady in Matthew 13:22. The disciples heard her appeal and said to “send her away” (v. 23). Christ responded by saying “But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (v.24). See similar also John 12:20-24.

When did this change? John 12:32 “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” After the resurrection! Paul makes some very sobering statements in Ephesians.

Ephesians 2:11 “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 

Ephesians 2:10 “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

Ephesians 2:13 “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”

Ephesians 2:14 “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;”

Ephesians 2:15 “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;”

Ephesians 2:16 “And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:”

Without Christ? Aliens? Strangers? No Hope? Without God?

The flip side, “But now”. Praise be to God for the blood of Christ!

What at one time was available only to the Jew is now available to all sorts, races and types of people, the “good news”. This was the biggest point of contention in the professing early church. The Jews who had an exclusive on the God of Israel from ages past were not convinced he was now available to “ALL”. 

So as Sung stated, we have to look at the passage in its entire context not forgetting God’s eternal plan for humanity and the covenant promises he made to Israel. It was Jew first then the Greek/Gentile.

March 20 2014 1 response Vote Up Share Report

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