- is the coordinating conjunction Ē, meaning “Or” and “often used in interrogative sentences to introduce and to add rhetorical questions.”1 Then we have the genitive of the root idea or genitive of direct object from the masculine singular article and noun PLOUTOS, which means “the riches, wealth.” Some verbs have a root idea (that is, a meaning), which is so closely related to the root idea of the genitive that they take their direct object in the genitive rather than in the accusative case. This is followed by the descriptive genitive from the feminine singular article and noun CHRĒSTOTĒS, which means “of goodness, kindness, generosity” with the possessive genitive from the third person masculine singular intensive pronoun AUTOS, used as a personal pronoun, meaning “His.” The word CHRĒSTOTĒS is used by Paul in Rom 3:12, three times in Rom 11:22, and:
2 Cor 6:6, “with purity, with knowledge, with forbearance (toward others), with kindness, with the Holy Spirit, with genuine love,”
Gal 5:22, “But the production of the Spirit is virtue-love, joy [sharing the happiness of God], harmony [with God], patience, integrity, goodness, doctrinal inculcation and application,”
Eph 2:7, “that He might show [make known through giving] in the coming ages [Millennium & eternal state] the surpassing riches of His grace in generosity toward us in Christ Jesus.”
Col 3:12, “Therefore, as the elected ones of God, sanctified and beloved ones, put on the affections of compassion [mercy, pity], kindness [goodness, generosity], humility, gentleness [courtesy, considerateness], patience [steadfastness, endurance, forbearance],”
Tit 3:4, “But when the integrity and the kindness of God our Savior showed itself,”
Then we have the simple connective use of the conjunction KAI, meaning “and” followed by the genitive of direct object from the feminine singular article and noun ANOCHĒ, which is only used here and in Rom 3:26, “because of the delay in judgment from the God; for the demonstration of His integrity at this present time of crisis [Church Age] in order that He might be just even when He justifies anyone who has faith in Jesus.”) and means “(1) holding back, delay, pause; (2) forbearance, clemency.”2 This is followed by the connective use of KAI, meaning “and” plus the genitive of direct object from the feminine singular article and noun MAKROTHUMIA, which means “patience, steadfastness, endurance, forbearance.”3 Then we have the second person singular present active indicative from the verb KATAPHRONEW, which means “look down on, despise, scorn, treat with contempt, 1 Cor 11:22; 2 Pet 2:10; 1 Tim 4:12; think lightly, have wrong ideas of or about something; entertain wrong ideas about; 1 Tim 6:2; care nothing for, disregard.”4 It has the idea “to feel contempt for someone or something because it is thought to be bad or without value.”5
The present tense is an aoristic present for a present fact without reference to it beginning, end, or progress.
The active voice indicates that the unbeliever produces the action.
The indicative mood is an interrogative indicative, which is used in questions that can be answered by providing factual information.
“Or do you treat with contempt the riches of His kindness and clemency and patience,”
- is the second person singular nominative masculine present active participle from the verb AGNOEW, which means “to not know, to be ignorant.”
The nominative masculine singular refers to the unbeliever.
The present tense is a durative present for a state or condition that began in the past and continues up to the present time.
The active voice indicates that the unbeliever produces the action.
The participle is circumstantial.
This is followed by the epexegetical use of the conjunction HOTI, which is used after verb of thinking to indicate the content of that thinking. It is translated “that.”
“not knowing that”
- is the nominative subject from the neuter singular article and adjective CHRESTOS, which means “useful, suitable, worthy, good, but when used as a substantive it means the kindness.”6 “The neuter of the adjective with the article can take on the meaning of an abstract noun, God’s kindness, Rom 2:4.”7 With this we have the possessive genitive from the masculine singular article and noun THEOS, meaning “of God; God’s.” This is followed by the preposition EIS plus the accusative of place (“used figuratively to indicate the goal, when it is a state of being with verbs of going, coming, leading, etc.”8) from the feminine singular noun METANOIA, which means “to the place of a change of mind.” Then we have the accusative direct object from the second person singular personal pronoun SU, meaning “you” and referring to the unbeliever. Finally, we have the third person singular present active indicative from the verb AGW, which means “to lead.”
The present tense is a static present for a condition that exists throughout human history. This is also a durative present for a state or condition that began after the fall of man and continues throughout human history. This is also an aoristic present for a state or condition that is presented as a fact without reference to its progress.
The active voice indicates that God’s kindness produces the action.
The indicative mood is declarative for a dogmatic statement of fact.
“God’s kindness leads you to a change of mind?”
Rom 2:4 corrected translation
“Or do you treat with contempt the riches of His kindness and clemency and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness leads you to a change of mind?”
1. “Or do you treat with contempt the riches of His kindness and clemency and patience,”
a. Paul continues with another rhetorical question for the unbeliever.
b. The answer to the question is a resounding, “Yes!” The unbeliever does treat with contempt the love of God, which is doing everything it can to help the unbeliever.
(1) The whole point Paul has been making in the last twenty verses is that the unbeliever completely and totally disregards the love of God.
(2) God demonstrates His love for the unbeliever by sending His Son in the likeness of mankind to bear our sins as a substitute for us.
(3) The unbeliever learns this, understands it, and could care less.
(4) The verb KATAPHRONEW literally means to look down on someone or something. There are three stages to the unbeliever’s rejection of the gospel found in the meanings of this word.
(a) It means to think lightly, have wrong ideas of or about something; entertain wrong ideas about. This is the first stage in the unbeliever’s rejection of the gospel. The unbeliever doesn’t take the gospel seriously. It is a joke, a myth, a fairy tale, something the older folks who didn’t know very much believed. They have completely wrong ideas about the gospel and how important it is in life, human history, and the eternal state.
(b) It means to care nothing for, disregard. Their light regard for the gospel develops into not really caring about what the gospel means, why it is important, or what affect it could have on them now and in eternity. This is the attitude of indifference, apathy, and total disregard.
(c) Finally, this comes to mean to despise, scorn, treat with contempt. The unbeliever despises the gospel and those who present the gospel. They initially reject the gospel and over time develop a great hatred and antagonism toward it. They have an attitude of great contempt for the offer of salvation from God. This is total arrogance on their part. They scorn or ridicule those who try to present the gospel.
c. The unbeliever has wrong ideas, disregards, and then despises the kindness, clemency, and patience of God.
(1) The kindness of God is God’s willingness from the motivation of His eternal love to help the unbeliever see his own state of sinfulness and total depravity and want to do something about it.
(2) The kindness of God is God’s thoughtfulness toward fallen mankind in stepping forward to help mankind, even when mankind does not think that he needs the help of God.
(3) The kindness of God is God’s grace acting toward mankind in total depravity to make every attempt to deliver him from his state.
(4) The clemency of God is God not holding man’s sins against him, but completely pardoning him for all that he has done wrong, because God knows that He has dwelt with the punishment for sin.
(5) The clemency of God includes His mercy, forgiveness, leniency, and compassion. God has great compassion for the fallen state of man. Therefore, He is lenient in His judgment by not immediately casting into eternal punishment those who reject His love. Instead He forgives the antagonism and hatred of mankind toward Him and shows great mercy toward everyone regardless of their attitude toward Him.
(6) All of this results in God being patient toward mankind in his fallen status of total depravity and gives him every opportunity to change his mind about the love of God.
2. “not knowing that God’s kindness leads you to a change of mind?”
a. This is a rhetorical question, which expresses what is in fact a true statement.
b. The unbeliever does not know that God’s kindness, grace in action, and love are doing everything possible to lead the unbeliever to change his mind about the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
c. If God were not kind, loving, thoughtful, compassionate, patient, etc., then all unbelievers would have never existed. God could have ended the testimony of mankind with the faith of Adam and Eve. But He did not. Why? God wanted to bring many sons into glory.
d. God desires that all believe in Christ and have eternal salvation. The unbeliever chooses not to believe from his own free will because he despises and treats with contempt the love and kindness of God.
e. God does not punish the unbeliever for his unbelief at God consciousness, but keeps on revealing His existence every day in all the things we see in the universe.
f. God does not punish the unbeliever for his unbelief at the point of rejection of the gospel, but keeps on being patient, returning to the unbeliever again and again with the message of the gospel, so that he or she has every possible chance at eternal salvation.
g. God does not punish the unbeliever in time for his sins, because that punishment was endured by Jesus Christ on the cross.
h. God does not punish the unbeliever in eternity for his sins, because Jesus Christ already paid the penalty for those sins.
i. God does however punish the unbeliever for evil and degeneracy, if he fails to obey the laws of divine establishment.
j. God is patient and keeps on loving the unbeliever until the unbeliever finally realizes that the love of God for him is true, real, and a fact in human history. Then the unbeliever changes his mind about Christ and believes in Him for eternal life.
k. This has been true for every member of the human race who has ever reached the point of God consciousness. God has patiently waited in kindness and love for each one of us to believe in Christ, and He has not held our degenerate, sinful, evil, hateful rejection of Him against us.
l. The unbeliever never realizes this until the moment they believe in Christ. Then they realize for the first time that the kindness of God led them to a change of mind about Christ.