As we saw last week in that latter part of chapter 2, the apostle has made it very clear that being an ethnic Jew was of no value regarding being reconciled to God. He had already established that those apart from the Hebrew nation have no advantage. Things do not get better in chapter 3. He asks another rhetorical question, knowing his kinsmen of the flesh are not easily put off from their thinking that their covenant status (circumcised in the flesh, keepers of the Mosaic Law) makes them “right” with YHWH.
Rom 3:1 So what advantage does the Jew have? Or what is the benefit of circumcision?
The Pharisees had taught those who could trace their lineage back to Abraham that such a connection was THE thing that was needed – and that connection with Abraham required circumcised. “So,” they are portrayed here as asking Paul, “what about this stuff? You said all that stuff in chapter 2, but what Abraham our father and our circumcision?” It’s so the apostle could say, “I’m so glad you asked that question!”
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