From: David Moore (
Date: Sat Sep 30 1995 - 14:01:53 EDT

"Carl W. Conrad" <> wrote:

>It does seem to me that we cannot say, since Paul didn't use the accusative
>case with the DIA, that he meant the letter of the Law and circumcusion
>played a CAUSAL role in the Jew's violation of the Law. So what does the
>DIA with a genitive intend? I think: that he takes the "high road"--he goes
>BY WAY OF the letter of the Law and circumcision, and even so (hence your
>"in spite of," he breaks the Law. How would others care to explain the
>exact sense and usage of this DIA + genitive construction?

        DIA with genitive to indicate cause is not usual, and in this
context (Rom. 2:27), does not seem to fit into Paul's line of reasoning.
DIA's sense here appears to indicate agency with part of the argument
understood and omitted by ellipsis.

        Verses 25-27a and 28-29 discuss the matter of how one establishes
membership among the covenant people of God. The discussion of
circumcision here has to do with its purpose as a sign of membership in
the covenant people of God. Paul is saying that those who have believed
in Christ, whom Paul calls hO EN TWi KRUPTWi IOUDAIOS, KAI PERITOMH
KARDIAS EN PNEUMATI ..., are the legitimate members of this covenant
people. Their fulfilling the righteousness (DIKAIWMATA) of the Law
because of the work of Christ in their hearts is to be considered a better
sign of membership in the people of God than any literal, physical

        What Paul is saying in v. 27 is that he who is physically (or: by
his birth as a Gentile) uncircumcised but fulfills the law will condemn
(by his righteous life) you who, (while seeking to establish your standing
as member of the people of God) by the letter of the law and by
circumcision, are (really) a transgressor of the law.

        Cranfield (_The Epistle to the Romans_, Vol. 1, p. 174) takes the
DIA in v. 27 as of attendant circumstances (i.e. "with the Scripture and
circumcision"), but since the whole context is dealing with the means of
establishing membership in God's people, I find no compelling reason to
take it in the unusual sense for DIA of attendant circumstances.

David L. Moore Southeastern Spanish District
Miami, Florida of the Assemblies of God Department of Education

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