Romans 11:9-15 Commentar y
Char les e. W hisant, Pastor/Teacher/
Be gin this wor k on Januar y 17 2014
T he Remnant Of Isr ael: 1-10
Ingr afted Br anches 11-24
All Isr ael (Elect) W ill Be Saved 22-32
http://www.biblestudytools.com/romans/11.html Romans 11:9-11
Romans 11:9 And David says, "LET THEIR TABLE BECOME A SNARE AND A
TRAP, AND A STUMBLING BLOCK AND A RETRIBUTION TO THEM.
Bible Study ToolsOur LibraryCommentariesRobertson's Word Pictures of the New
TestamentRomans Romans 11:9 http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/robertsonsword-pictures/romans/romans-11-9.html
David says (Daueid legei). From Psalms 69:23 ; ( Psalms 68:23 LXX); Psalms
34:8 ; Psalms 28:4 (combined quotation). Table (trapeza). For what is on the
table, "a feast." A snare (ei pagida). From phgnumi, to make fast, old word for
snares for birds and beasts. See on Luke 21:35 . Ei in predicate with ginomai is a
translation-Hebraism. A trap (ei qhran). Old word for hunting of wild beasts, then
a trap. Only here in N.T. A stumbling-block (ei skandalon). A third word for trap,
snare, trap-stick or trigger over which they fall. See on 1 Corinthians 1:23 ;
Romans 9:33 . A recompense (ei antapodoma). Late word from double
compound verb antapodidwmi, to repay (both anti and apo). Ancient Greeks
used antapodosi. In LXX and Didache. In N.T. only here (bad sense) and Luke
14:12 (good sense).
Greek: kai Dauid legei, (3PAI) Genetheto (3SAPM) e trapeza auton eis pagida kai eis
theran kai eis skandalon kai eis antapodoma autois,
Amplified: And David says, Let their table (their feasting, banqueting) become a snare
and a trap, a pitfall and a just retribution [rebounding like a boomerang upon them];
ESV: And David says, "Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and
a retribution for them;
ICB: And David says: "Let their own feasts trap them and cause their ruin. Let their feasts
cause them to sin and be paid back.
NIV: And David says: "May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and
a retribution for them.
NKJV: And David says: "Let their table become a snare and a trap, A stumbling
block and a recompense to them.
NLT: David spoke of this same thing when he said, "Let their bountiful table become a
snare, a trap that makes them think all is well. Let their blessings cause them to stumble.
Phillips: And David says of them: 'Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling
block and a recompense to them;
Wuest: Even David says, Let their table become for a snare and a trap, and a stumbling
block and a just retribution to them.
Young's Literal: and David saith, 'Let their table become for a snare, and for a trap, and
for a stumbling-block, and for a recompense to them;
AND DAVID SAYS LET THEIR TABLE BECOME A SNARE: kai Dauid legei
genetheto trapeza auton eis pagida: Deut 29:4, Isaiah 29:10 Psalms 69:22 -23
Deuteronomy 6:10-12; 32:13-15; 1Samuel 25:36-38; Job 20:20-23; Proverbs
1:32; Isaiah 8:13,14; Luke 12:20; 16:19-25; 1Timothy 6:17-19)
David writes.... (Psalms 69:22,23)
Paul quotes David to show that David like Moses (Dt 29:4 "Yet to this day the
LORD has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear.")
anticipated that such an experience of the judgment of God would occur to Israel
as a whole ("the rest" Ro 11:7 ~ a partial hardening Ro 11:25). The hardening of
Israel will reach its height in the middle of Daniel's Seventieth Week (often
referred to as the Tribulation). Scripture anticipates the condition of Israel as it is
today. God is not surprised; neither should we be. If it were otherwise, we should
Vine on "their table" writes...It is here symbolical of the special privileges granted
to Israel and centering in Christ."
MacArthur comments "A person’s table is generally thought of as a
place of safety, feasting, and sustenance. But the table of the ungodly
and self righteous will become a snare and a trap. The Jews considered
God’s Word, in particular the Torah, to be their spiritual sustenance—
which indeed it was. But because of their rebellious unbelief, that Word
became a judgment on them, a stumbling block and a retribution.
One of the saddest commentaries of history is that so many people place
their trust in the very thing that damns them. All false religions—pagan,
cultic, unbiblical Christianity, and every other kind—present counterfeit
means of salvation. The more their adherents feed on the falsehoods, the
more immune they become to the true gospel of Jesus Christ, the living
bread of life.
As she continued to reject God, Israel became progressively more
spiritually blind—so blind that she could not recognize her own Messiah
and Savior. Just as David had prayed in righteous indignation against the
sins of his own people, Israel’s eyes were darkened to see not. Because
Israel refused to see the things of God, God judicially ratified her willing
blindness. Bend their backs suggests the hunched over position in which
blind people sometimes walk as they grope their way on a path they
cannot see that leads to a destination they do not seek. (MacArthur, J.
Romans. Chicago: Moody Press)
Believer's Bible Commentary writes that..."The table here means the sum
total of the privileges and blessings which flowed through Christ. What should
have been a blessing was turned into a curse." (Believer's Study Bible. Criswell
Center for Biblical Studies. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
Charles Ryrie comments that "God's blessings (THEIR TABLE) actually became
a stumbling block to their receiving God's righteousness. " (Ryrie Study Bible)
Bible Knowledge Commentary writes that..."[Ps 69:22-23] which predicts that
the very things which should have been the source of nourishment and blessing
to Israel (table means their blessings from the hand of God, which should have
led them to Christ; cf. Galatians 3:24) became the occasion for their rejection of
God. (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. The Bible Knowledge
Commentary: Wheaton, IL: Victor Books)
KJV Bible Commentary has this note..."The words snare, trap, and stumbling
block are closely related. Their combination serves to enforce the turning of the
table to its opposite intent. The table is indicative of the bountiful mercy and
blessing of God to Israel. Israel has not partaken of the good things of God’s
table. The recurring motif of the unseeing eyes indicates the principle that the
temporary blindness has overtaken all of Israel, with the exception of the
believing remnant. Thus the application is clear. Those who seek their own
righteousness must bow down their back always to the bondage of sin. But those
who seek the righteousness of Christ receive it by grace and are the believing
remnant of God." (KJV Bible commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
Warren Wiersbe writes that...Their “table to become a snare” means that their
blessings turn into burdens and judgments. This is what happened to Israel: their
spiritual blessings should have led them to Christ, but instead they became a
snare that kept them from Christ. Their very religious practices and observances
became substitutes for the real experience of salvation. Sad to say, this same
mistake is made today when people depend on religious rituals and practices
instead of trusting in the Christ who is pictured in these activities. (Wiersbe, W. W.
The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.)
A SNARE AND A TRAP AND A STUMBLING BLOCK: eis pagida kai eis therankai eis
skandalon: (Ro 9:32-33 Rev 2:14)
Snare (3803)(pagis) describes that which causes one to be suddenly endangered or
unexpectedly brought under control of a hostile force.
Luke; Romans; 1 Timothy 2x; 2 Timothy
specifically was a snare or trap in which birds were entangled (unexpectedly,
suddenly, unawares) and then came to refer to whatever brings peril, loss,
destruction including the allurements and seductions of sin. (cf interesting
background on "Fowler" ~ Professional bird catcher ISBE, Easton's)
Trap (2339) (theran is derived from ther = wild beast) denotes a hunting of wild beast to
destroy them and then a prey, game or trap and thus figuratively as used here referred
to preparing destruction for men by use of a net or “trap”.
Stumbling block (4625) (skandalon - see word study) referred literally to that part of a
trap on which the bait was laid and when touched caused the trap to close on its prey. It
came to mean any entanglement of the foot [Trench].
In NT skandalon is always used metaphorically, and ordinarily of anything that
arouses prejudice, or becomes a hindrance to others, or causes them to fall by
denotes an enticement to conduct which could ruin the person in question.
Sometimes the "enticement" or hindrance is in itself good (as in the current
verse), and those stumbled by it are the wicked. In this verse the Messiah is the
SKANDALON, especially Christ crucified & the Cross.
AND A RETRIBUTION (God’s judgment) TO THEM : kai eis antapodoma autois: (Dt
32:35 Ps 28:4 Isa 59:18 Heb 2:2)
Retribution (468) (antapodoma from antí = in turn + apodidomi = render) (see cognate
verb antapodidomi) a noun which means a giving back in return for something received
and so that which is offered or given as recompense or retribution (in both a good sense
and a bad sense). The thing paid back in a good sense (Lk 14:12) or bad sense (Ro
Retribution - recompense, reward. The dispensing or receiving of reward or punishment
especially in the hereafter. Something given or exacted in recompense. the act of
punishing or taking vengeance for wrongdoing, sin, or injury. Webster's 1828 = "The
distribution of rewards and punishments at the general judgment. It is a strong argument
for a state of retribution hereafter, that in this world virtuous persons are very often
unfortunate, and vicious persons prosperous. Spectator."
Let their blessings be like a trap that makes them think all is well & which causes
them to stumble and which pays them back. Because they refused to receive
God’s truth (Isa6:9-10 Jn5:40) their backs will be bent under the weight of guilt
and punishment forever.
The only other NT useLuke 14:12
Romans 11:10 "LET THEIR EYES BE DARKENED TO SEE NOT, AND BEND THEIR
BACKS FOREVER *."
Let their eyes be darkened (skotisqhtwsan oi opqalmoi autwn). First aorist passive
imperative of skotizw, to darken. A terrible imprecation. That they may not see (tou mh
blepein). Repeated from verse Luke 8 . Bow down (sunkampson). First aorist active
imperative of sunkamptw, old verb, to bend together as of captives whose backs (nwton,
another old word, only here in N.T.) were bent under burdens. Only here in N.T.
Greek: skotisthetosan (3PAPM) oi ophthalmoi auton tou me blepein, (PAN) kai ton noton
auton dia pantosv sugkampson. (2SAMM)
Amplified: Let their eyes be darkened (dimmed) so that they cannot see, and make them
bend their back [stooping beneath their burden] forever.(4)
ESV: let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever."
ICB: Let their eyes be closed so they cannot see. Let their backs be forever weak from
troubles." Psalm 69: 22-23
NIV: May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever."
NKJV: Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see, and bow down their back
NLT: Let their eyes go blind so they cannot see, and let their backs grow weaker and
Phillips: let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back
In the providence of God disaster has been turned to good account
Wuest: Let their eyes be darkened in order that they may not see and in order that they
may always bow down their back.
Young's Literal: let their eyes be darkened -- not to behold, and their back do Thou
always bow down.'
LET THEIR EYES BE DARKENED TO SEE NOT: skotisthetsan hoi ophthalmoi auton
(Ro 11:8; 1:21; Psalms 69:23; Zechariah 11:17; Ephesians 4:18; 2Peter 2:4,17;
Let...be darkened (4654) (skotizo from skótos = darkness) means literally to be or
become dark, to be unable to give light and figuratively to obscure. Aorist imperative
(passive voice) calls for action that comes from without the one who is darkened
(spiritually speaking) This is a terrible imprecation (uttering in a sense a curse upon
another). Because Israel refused to see the Lord Jesus as Messiah and Savior, they lost
the power to see Him. Because they steadfastly, stubbornly refused to hear the pleading
voice of God, now they were smitten with spiritual deafness. That terrible judgment
continues to this very day.
Paul describes a similar darkening of all men who have suppressed the truth
about God in unrighteousness...(Ro 1:21-23)
This clearly ties in with the “spirit of stupor” in Ro 11:8 and the hardening in Ro
11:7, and indicates that Israel as a whole was blinded toward the truth of the
gospel. As she continued to reject God, Israel became progressively more
spiritually blind—so blind that she could not recognize her own Messiah and
Savior. Just as David had prayed in righteous indignation against the sins of his
own people, Israel’s eyes were darkened to see not. Because Israel refused to
see the things of God, God judicially ratified her willing blindness.
AND BEND THEIR BACKS FOREVER: kai ton noton auton dia pantos sugkampson
(Deuteronomy 28:64-68; Isaiah 51:23; 65:12)
Bend (4781) (sugkampto from sún = together + kámpto = to bend, bow) means to bend
together, to bow down low. It pictures bend together as of captives whose backs were
bent under burdens. This is written in the form of a command (aorist imperative) This
picture suggests the hunched over position in which blind people sometimes walk as
they grope their way on a path they cannot see that leads to a destination they do not
Forever (1275) (diapantos from diá = through + pantós = all) literally means through all
and describes continuous unbroken permanence of a characteristic habit. This means
through all time and so constantly or continually. It does not mean “without end,” but is
more accurately rendered “constantly” or “continuously". That is, as long as it lasts, may
there be no relief.
It is difficult to tell exactly what calamity this is supposed to represent. It may be a
figure for the hard labor of slavery, the heaviness of a burden, a state of
weakness, or the overwhelming effects of grief or fear. Any of these could apply
to first-century Judaism. Paul may be saying,
“May their backs be always weak and feeble under the burden that they bear
because of their rejection of the gospel” (Fitzmyer).
Or he may be referring to “the state of slavish fear in which the Jews shall be
held as long as this judgment of hardening which keeps them outside of the
gospel shall last” (Godet).
In summary, Paul says all in Israel not included in the remnant chosen to
salvation by sovereign grace were hardened. He explains this hardening in that
God gave them a spirit of slumber, an insensibility of heart that made them
insensible to the gospel, sightless spiritual eyes, and deaf ears. How are we to
understand this? Moses records the fact that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, but
not until Pharaoh had first hardened his own heart. The original hardening came
from his totally depraved nature. Then God hardened Pharaoh’s heart by forcing
him to an issue which he did not want to meet. The more God demanded that he
let Israel go, the more Pharaoh rebelled. The more he rebelled, the harder his
heart became. So with Israel. Israel rejected God and His Word, and the more it
did so the harder its heart became. Light rejected, blinds. In addition to this
natural hardening of the heart, there was God’s judicial action of hardening as a
just judgment upon its sin of rejection.
Romans 11:11 I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it
never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make
Did they stumble that they might fall? (mh eptaisan ina peswsin?). Negative answer
expected by mh as in verse Luke 1 . First aorist active indicative of ptaiw, old verb, to
stumble, only here in Paul (see James 3:2 ), suggested perhaps by skandalon in verse
Romans 11:9 . If ina is final, then we must add "merely" to the idea, "merely that they
might fall" or make a sharp distinction between ptaiw, to stumble, and piptw, to fall, and
take peswsin as effective aorist active subjunctive to fall completely and for good. Hina,
as we know, can be either final, sub-final, or even result. See 1 Thessalonians 5:4 ; 1
Corinthians 7:29 ; Galatians 5:17 . Paul rejects this query in verse Romans 11:11 as
vehemently as he did that in verse Romans 1 . By their fall (twi autwn paraptwmati).
Instrumental case. For the word, a falling aside or a false step from parapiptw, see
Romans 5:15-20 . Is come. No verb in the Greek, but ginetai or gegonen is understood.
For to provoke them to jealousy (ei to parazhlwsai). Purpose expressed by ei and the
articular infinitive, first aorist active, of parazhlow, for which verb see 1 Corinthians 10:22
. As an historical fact Paul turned to the Gentiles when the Jews rejected his message
( Acts 13:45 ; Acts 28:28 , etc.). The riches of the world (plouto kosmou). See Romans
10:12 . Their loss (to htthma autwn). So perhaps in 1 Corinthians 6:7 , but in Isaiah 31:8
defeat is the idea. Perhaps so here. Fulness (plhrwma). Perhaps "completion," though
the word from plhrow, to fill, has a variety of senses, that with which anything is filled ( 1
Corinthians 10:26 1 Corinthians 10:28 ), that which is filled ( Ephesians 1:23 ). How
much more? (poswi mallon). Argument a fortiori as in verse Ephesians 24 . Verse
Ephesians 25 illustrates the point.
Greek: Lego (1SPAI) oun, me eptaisan (3PAAI) hina pesosin? (3PAAS) me genoito;
(3SAMO) alla to auton paraptomati e soteria tois ethnesin, eis to parazslosai (AAN)
Amplified: So I ask, Have they stumbled so as to fall [to their utter spiritual ruin,
irretrievably]? By no means! But through their false step and transgression salvation [has
come] to the Gentiles, so as to arouse Israel [to see and feel what they forfeited] and so
to make them jealous.
ESV: So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather
through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous.
ICB: So I ask: When the Jews fell, did that fall destroy them? No! But their mistake
brought salvation to the non-Jews. This took place to cause the Jews to be jealous.
NIV: Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather,
because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel
NKJV: I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But
through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.
NLT: Did God's people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! His purpose
was to make his salvation available to the Gentiles, and then the Jews would be
jealous and want it for themselves.
Phillips: Now I ask myself, "Was this fall of theirs an utter disaster? It was not! For
through their failure the benefit of salvation has passed to the Gentiles with the result that
Israel is made to see and feel what is has missed.
Wuest: I say then, Surely, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? Away with the
thought. But through the instrumentality of their fall salvation has come to the Gentiles
with a view to provoking them [Israel] to jealousy.
Young's Literal: I say, then, Did they stumble that they might fall? let it not be! but by their
fall the salvation is to the nations, to arouse them to jealousy;
I SAY THEN, THEY DID NOT STUMBLE SO AS TO FALL, DID THEY: Lego oun, me
eptaisan hina pesosin (Ezekiel 18:23,32; 33:11)
The Amplified Version has...So I ask, Have they stumbled so as to fall [to their utter
spiritual ruin, irretrievably]? By no means! But through their false step and transgression
salvation [has come] to the Gentiles, so as to arouse Israel [to see and feel what they
forfeited] and so to make them jealous.
Stumble (4417) ptaio (see word study)
Fall (4098) (parapipto ) means literally to fall away and then to apostatize. (See study of
derivative word = Transgression (trespass) (3900) paraptoma)
They refers to “the others” (v7), the majority of the people of Israel, excluding the
“remnant chosen by grace” (v5). Paul’s question is preceded by the negative
particle me which expects a negative answer, “They did not stumble that they
should fall, did they?” The contrast here between stumbling and falling shows
that by the latter is meant an irremediable fall from which there is no rising.
Israel has not stumbled and fallen beyond recovery. This is thus a
rhetorical question, not calling for an answer but proving a point. The
Jews stumbled over Christ, but not so as to fall irretrievably. The idea
onveyed by falling is here suggestive of what is impossible of recovery.
God’s temporarily setting Israel aside was not an afterthought or an outburst of
emotional anger but had a definite purpose. Again (11:1) Paul introduces his
point by asking a rhetorical question and then giving the strongest negative
answer possible. God has not allowed His chosen people Israel to fall into such
unbelief and disobedience that they are unsalvageable. He has indeed given
them “a spirit of stupor,” and He “let their eyes be darkened to see not” (v8, 10).
For a divinely appointed time, He has let them wander about in spiritual blindness
and darkness. Yet their blindness is not irreversible, and their darkness was
never to be permanent.
MAY IT NEVER BE: me genoito :
Once again the question in Greek was worded to elicit the strongest negative
answer Paul could offer. This is the 10th and last time in Romans, Paul
responded, me genoito [Romans 3:4, 6, 31 6:2,15 7:7,13 9:14 11:1]
BUT BY THEIR TRANSGRESSION SALVATION HAS COME TO THE GENTILES: alla
to auton paraptomati e soteria tois ethnesin: (Ro 11:12,31)
But - always pause to ponder this term of contrast.
Transgression (trespass) (3900) paraptoma -see word study)
Salvation (4991) soteria
Jesus had instructed Paul to turn to the Gentiles, Luke recording Paul's testimony
Luke records the fulfillment (3 times) of our Lord's prophetic charge to Paul, a
charge to change direction from the Jews to he Gentiles... (Acts 13:42,46-48)
(Acts 18:6) (Acts 28:24-28)
In turning to the Gentiles Paul was fulfilling these purposes of God. Paul followed
this procedure all through his missionary labors, first going to the Jews, and
when they rejected the gospel, to the Gentiles, until finally in his first Roman
imprisonment, he abandoned Israel entirely and turned to the Gentiles.
The severe stumbling of which Paul speaks is, of course, Israel’s rejection of her
Messiah, Jesus Christ. But Israel’s rejection of God’s own Son and His kingdom
did not thwart God’s plan. On the contrary (but), the Lord used that terrible
transgression of His people to accomplish His own divine objective.
The very people for whom the kingdom was intended and to whom the kingdom
was offered will be shut out of the kingdom. Individual Jews who reject their
Messiah will be banned and sent permanently “into the outer darkness,” (Mt8:12)
but the unbelieving nation shall one day believe and be restored. In the
meanwhile, because of their rejection of the kingdom, God has offered the
kingdom, and the salvation it represents, to a people called out from among the
Although the widespread salvation of Gentiles came about because Israel as a
nation refused her Savior, that extension of grace was not an afterthought with
God. From His first calling of Abraham, it was God’s intent that His chosen
people should be the instruments of bringing salvation to the Gentiles. “In you,”
the Lord told Abraham, “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Ge12:3). In
the covenant at Sinai God called Israel to be His witnesses, His spiritual
ambassadors to the world as “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex19:6).
Like their Messiah, “the tribes of Jacob, and . . . the preserved ones of Israel”
were to be “a light of the nations so that [God’s] salvation may reach to the end of
the earth” (Isa49:6 Paul applied this to himself in Ac13:47).
TO MAKE THEM JEALOUS: eis to parazelosai autous:
Make...Jealous (3863) (parazeloo from pará = to the point of, unto, implying movement
toward a certain point + zeloo [word study[ = to desire, be zealous) means to stimulate
alongside and thus to excite to rivalry or to provoke to emulation and so to make jealous.
The idea is that then the Jews would be jealous and want it for themselves. Parazeloo is
a Greek infinitive with a preposition (eis = unto, toward) and carries the idea of purpose.
God’s purpose for this hardening is to use it as a means of converting many
Gentiles, which in turn will be a means of converting many of the hardened Jews
themselves. Thus paradoxically the ultimate goal and result of the hardening is
the salvation of those who are hardened! The sequence of events is as follows:
the bulk of the Jews reject the gospel; they are hardened; as a consequence
Gentiles are saved; as a consequence of this, many of the hardened Jews are
made jealous and are saved; and as a consequence of this, even more Gentiles
Although jealousy is essentially a negative term, God’s intention was for Israel’s
jealousy of Gentiles to be a positive stimulus to draw His people back to Himself.
But Jews had long disdained Gentiles ("dogs"), whom they considered to be
outside the boundaries of God’s grace. To be told they had lost their special
relationship to God was distressing enough, but to be told that God offered that
forfeited relationship to Gentiles was a bitter pill indeed.
But God’s ultimate purpose in setting Israel aside was not to drive His people
further away but to bring them back to Himself. He wanted to make them face
their own sin and its consequences, to sense their alienation from Jehovah and
to recognize their need for the salvation that He now offered the Gentiles. As
Jews see the Lord pour out the kind of blessings on the Gentile church that once
were reserved for Israel, some of them desire that blessing for themselves and
come to Jesus Christ, their spurned Messiah, in repentance and faith. That
happens with individual Jews throughout this age, and at the end of the Great
Tribulation will happen to the whole nation (i.e., to the one third who are refined
and purified and turn to their Messiah for salvation by faith)
One of the great ironies of history is the relationship of God’s "chosen people"
(the Jews) to the rest of humanity (the Gentiles). Anti–Semitism by Gentiles has
often been paralleled by, and sometimes precipitated by, the anti-Gentile
sentiments of Jews. It therefore was-and no doubt still is for many Jews-an
enormous leap from a negative contempt of Gentiles to a positive jealousy of
them. Yet that is precisely the leap the Lord intends for them to make as a first
step in bringing them back to Him.
What is the practical application of this truth to our lives today? It should be the
desire of every Christian to manifest the spiritual realities of a transformed life
that would draw unbelieving Jews to belief in our Lord and their Messiah, a
witness that would tap their divinely inspired jealousy of Gentiles and be used to
turn it to a divinely desired faith in His Son.
Unfortunately, the Christianity that Jews see in many professed, and even some
genuine, Christians reflects little of the love and righteousness of Christ and of
the salvation He brings. When they see Gentile Christians who are dishonest and
immoral, and especially those who are anti-Semitic (yes, there is anti-Semitism in
the church!) in the name of Christ (who was the supremely perfect Jew), they are
deeply and understandably offended and repulsed. They are anything but jealous
of such Gentiles, and they distance themselves still further from the Lord instead
of drawing closer to Him.
Romans 11:12 Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is
riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! NASB:
Greek: ei de to paraptoma auton ploutos kosmou kai to ettema auton ploutos ethnon,
poso mallon to pleroma auton.
Amplified: Now if their stumbling (their lapse, their transgression) has so enriched the
world [at large], and if [Israel's] failure means such riches for the Gentiles, think what an
enrichment and greater advantage will follow their full reinstatement!
ESV: Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches
for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!
ICB: The Jews' mistake brought rich blessings for the world. And what the Jews lost
brought rich blessings for the non-Jewish people. So surely the world will get much richer
blessings when enough Jews become the kind of people God wants.
NIV: But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for
the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!
NKJV: Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the
Gentiles, how much more their fullness!
NLT: Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the Jews turned down God's offer of
salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when the Jews finally
Phillips: For if their failure has so enriched the world, and their defection proved such a
benefit to the Gentiles, think what tremendous advantage their fulfilling of God's plan
Wuest: But since their fall is the enrichment of the world, and their defeat and loss the
enrichment of the Gentiles, how much more their fulness?
Young's Literal: and if the fall of them is the riches of a world, and the diminution of them
the riches of nations, how much more the fulness of them?
NOW IF THEIR TRANSGRESSION BE RICHES FOR THE WORLD AND THEIR
FAILURE IS RICHES FOR THE GENTILES:
ei de to paraptoma auton ploutos kosmou kai to etthema auton ploutos ethnon
(Ro 11:15,33; 9:23; Ephesians 3:8; Colossians 1:27) (25; Isaiah 11:11-16; 12:1-6;
60:1-22; 66:8-20; Micah 4:1,2; 5:7; Zechariah 2:11; Zechariah 8:20-23;
Now if their stumbling (their lapse, their transgression) has so enriched the world [at
large], and if [Israel's] failure means such riches for the Gentiles, think what an
enrichment and greater advantage will follow their full reinstatement! (Amplified)
Transgressions (3900) (paraptoma from parapipto = fall aside, apostatize) is a "false
step" and describes a deviation from living according to what has been revealed as the
right way to live.
Riches (4149) (ploutos from pletho = fill) can describe wealth, money, possessions, or
abundance. Here Paul is obviously not speaking of worldly riches but of spiritual riches.
Failure (2275) (hettema from hettáomai = be overcome) describes a deterioration and
objectively as used in this verse pictures a failure or a loss.
"their fall... their fullness" (Ro 11:12KJV) - These two phrases, their fall and their
fulness, correspond to the two comings of Christ. Paul writes in the interval when the
cross is past history and the redemption of Israel is, as in our day, future. (Romans 11715 - Life from the Dead)
God has used even the great transgression of Israel in rejecting her Messiah to
accomplish His ultimate purpose of bringing spiritual riches to the world, that is,
the Gentiles, just as He had declared to Abraham when He first called Israel to
Himself: “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Ge 12:3). Although
Israel failed to witness to the world in righteousness, God caused her to witness
to the world, as it were, in unrighteousness. Because the Lord could not use
Israel’s faithfulness to bring riches to the Gentiles, He instead used her failure.
HOW MUCH MORE WILL THEIR FULFILLMENT BE: poso mallon to pleroma auton:
Much more - When used in a comparison regarding quantity, denotes a greater
abundance. Otherwise the phrase much more denotes a greater certainty (Ro 5:9,10 Ro
5:15 Ro 5:17-).
What is Israel's "fulfillment" associated with? Messiah's return and the
establishment of His Millennial kingdom. This is why it is much more!
Earlier in the letter Paul had used another extreme contrast to portray the
greatness of God’s love and grace:
God demonstrates His own love towrd us, in that while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we
shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies,
we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having
been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life (Ro 5:8-9-note, Ro 5:10-note).
If a dying Savior could redeem us, how much more can a resurrected, living
Savior sustain us. By the same logic, if a faithless Israel could bring salvation to
the Gentiles, how much more or much greater blessing will her faithfulness bring.
The Lord promises Israel one day will receive the Messiah she rejected because
He...will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the
Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have
pierced (Zech 12:10).In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David
and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity (Zech 13:1).
Following that,the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be
the only one, and His name the only one...And there will be no more curse...Then
it will come about that any who are left of all the nations...will go up from year to
year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts” (Zech 14:9, 11, 16).
Comment: Zechariah 12-14 constitutes a unit and should be studied together for a
Although the Jews had stumbled, their fall would not be irrevocable (Ro 11:27,
29) for as Paul explains in this section their fall was the way by which God had
appointed salvation to come to the Gentiles. However in their fall, the sovereign,
omniscient, omnipotent God had their restoration in view, because the very
kindness God demonstrated to the Gentiles would be the means of provoking
Israel to jealousy. And as great as were the benefits to the world from Israel's fall,
the benefits of their restoration would be even greater. One might say "The best
is yet to come!"
It is notable that almost 500 years before Paul penned these words of hope for
Israel, the prophet Ezekiel had foretold of not only a physical (including reuniting
of Judah/Benjamin and the Northern 10 tribes) but a spiritual renewl in Ezekiel
Fulfillment (4138) (pleroma from pleroo = make full, fill, fill up) describes fullness, a full
measure, an abundance or a completion. Pleroma is that which has been filled and thus
refers to that which is complete, the completeness of Israel referring here to its return to
God at the second Advent of the Messiah when all Israel would be saved (cp Ro 11:26).
Paul uses pleroma in Ro 11:25-to describe the fulness of the Gentiles.
If Israel's rejection of light brings "riches", how much more will Israel’s restoration
result in rich blessing for all the world! When Israel turns to the Lord at the close
of the Great Tribulation, (the Second Coming of the Messiah) she will become
the channel of blessing to the nations in the Millennium. The Lord Jesus will reign
in Jerusalem on the earth, the nation of Israel will be composed of born again
believers in Messiah, Satan will be bound, and the world will experience
unprecedented universal righteousness, peace, and prosperity for one thousand
years. And all God's people cry "Maranatha, Come Lord!"
Charles Hodge wrote that "At the second coming of Christ, "The conversion of
the Jews will be accompanied by the most glorious consequences for the whole
Claude Stauffer writes...In the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32, we see a
prophetic word about what would happen when Israel forsook God. The result
has come to pass in what we see today. God is working in the world primarily
through the Gentile church in the present day. But God is not finished with Israel.
He is going to provoke them to jealousy through showing the Gentiles His
salvation. Like a child playing hard to get, who is provoked to jealousy when their
sibling is shown attention by a parent, so too will Israel be provoked to jealousy
and return to the Lord (11:11).
In Deuteronomy 32 it states God’s plan:Deuteronomy 32:21 – “They have
provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God; They have moved Me to anger by
their foolish idols. But I will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a
nation; I will move them to anger by a foolish nation.”
God has never stopped loving Israel and He will use the Gentiles to provoke
them to jealousy to awaken their love for Him. Jeremiah is inspired by God to
describe God’s love for Israel as everlasting when he writes:Jeremiah 31:3 –
“The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an
everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”
Paul goes on to say that if so much has come from the fall of the Jews, (that is
salvation to the Gentiles world) then when Israel does turn to the Lord their
fullness will be even greater. There is a lot of anti-Semitism in the world today,
even in the church. Israel is being disciplined by God, but God has not cast them
aside forever. He will again raise them up to fit into His plan again. We have seen
this resurrection begun on May 14th, 1948 with the establishment once again of
Israel as a nation. Then in 1967 Israel captured Jerusalem. Soon during the
Tribulation (Revelation 7; 14), God is going to work a mighty revival in the world
and He is going to do it through Jews who will accept Jesus as their Messiah.
The culmination of this fullness will be the kingdom age of Christ’s reign on earth
during the Millennium (Revelation 20).
In the book of Daniel, Daniel records a prophecy which states that from the
rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem there world be 490 years of prophetic workings
for Israel in God’s plans. When Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem
and went to the cross it marked the fulfillment of the first 69 sevens or 483 years
according to Daniel’s prophecy. We are awaiting the beginning of the seventieth
week (i.e. Hebrew HEPTED or set of seven years) of Daniel which is also known
as the time of Jacob’s trouble and the 7-year Tribulation. During this seventieth
week, God will work through Israel to fulfill His will upon the earth. The close of
this seven-year period will be punctuated with the 2nd Coming of Jesus (see
Revelation 6-19). (Bible Studies)
Romans 11:13 But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch * then as I
am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry,
To you that are Gentiles (umin toi eqnesin). "To you the Gentiles." He has a serious word
to say to them. Inasmuch then (ep oson men oun). Not temporal, quamdiu, "so long as"
( Matthew 9:15 ), but qualitative quatenus "in so far then as" ( Matthew 25:40 ). I glorify
my ministry (thn diakonian mou doxazw). As apostle to the Gentiles (eqnwn apostolo,
objective genitive). Would that every minister of Christ glorified his ministry. If by any
means (ei pw). This use of ei with purpose or aim is a kind of indirect discourse. I may
provoke (parazhlwsw). Either future active indicative or first aorist active subjunctive, see
same uncertainty in Philippians 3:10 katanthsw, but in Romans 3:11 katalabw after ei is
subjunctive. The future indicative is clear in Romans 1:10 and the optative in Acts 27:12 .
Doubtful whether future indicative or aorist subjunctive also in swsw (save
Greek: humin de lego (1SPAI) tois ethnesin. eph' hoson men oun eimi (1SPAI) ego
ethnon apostolos, thn diakonian mou doxazo (1SPAI)
Amplified: But now I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an
apostle to the Gentiles, I lay great stress on my ministry and magnify my office,
ESV: Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the
Gentiles, I magnify my ministry
ICB: Now I am speaking to you who are not Jews. I am an apostle to the non-Jews. So
while I have that work, I will do the best I can.
NIV: I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make
much of my ministry
NKJV: For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I
magnify my ministry,
NLT: I am saying all of this especially for you Gentiles. God has appointed me as the
apostle to the Gentiles. I lay great stress on this,
Phillips: Now a word to you who are Gentiles. I should like you to know that I make as
much as I can of my ministry as "God's messenger to the Gentiles"
Wuest: But to you I am speaking, the Gentiles. Inasmuch then, as for myself, as I am an
apostle of Gentiles, I do my ministry honor
Young's Literal: For to you I speak -- to the nations -- inasmuch as I am indeed an apostle
of nations, my ministration I do glorify;
BUT I AM SPEAKING TO YOU WHO ARE GENTILES: humin de lego (1SPAI) tois
To you who are Gentiles - While Paul was directly addressing the Gentile
believers in Rome, the truths in this section are applicable to Gentile believers in
INASMUCH THEN AS I AM AN APOSTLE OF GENTILES I MAGNIFY MY MINISTRY:
eph hoson men oun eimi (1SPAI) ego ethnon apostolos eph hoson men oun eimi
(1SPAI) ego ethnon apostolos, ten diakonian mou doxazo (1SPAI):
(Romans 15:16-19; Acts 13:2; Galatians 1:16; 2Timothy 1:11,12)
Apostle (652) apostolos (see word study)
Apostle of Gentiles - Jesus explained to the somewhat fearful Ananias so that he would
be encouraged to go to Saul (Paul) and help him...(On the Road to Damascus Jesus
described Paul's "marching orders" to Ananias) Go, for he is a chosen instrument of
Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel for I will
show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake. (Acts 9:15-16)
Paul a Jew repeatedly emphasized his ministry to the Gentiles...(In his Defense
before the Jews he testified) and He (the risen Christ) said to me, 'Go! For I will
send you far away to the Gentiles.'" (Acts 22:21)
15 "And I said, 'Who art Thou, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you
are persecuting. 16 'But arise, and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have
appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things
which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; 17
delivering you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am
sending you, 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light
and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive
forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by
faith in Me.' (Acts 26:15-18)
(Paul before the Jewish Council at Jerusalem testified that) "And it was because
of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach
among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for
fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain...I had been entrusted with the
gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised 8 (for He
who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually
worked for me also to the Gentiles), 9 and recognizing the grace that had been
given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave
to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we might go to the
Gentiles, and they to the circumcised. (Gal 2:2,7-9)
“the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the
unfathomable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8-).
And for this (the fact that there was one God and one mediator between God and
men, the man Christ Jesus) I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am
telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
Paul understood the sovereignty of God in salvation. He understood that whom
God foreknew He predestined and called (Ro 8:28-30) and yet here we see he
approaches this issue of salvation with a sense of his responsibility of delivering
the gospel to all men for he does not know who the elect are.
We see a similar thought in his last known letter, 2 Timothy, in which he explained
that it was because of the gospel that ...I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as
a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. For this reason I endure all
things (man's responsibility) for the sake of those who are chosen (elect - God's
sovereignty), that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and
with it eternal glory. (2Ti 2:9-10)
Note that when Paul first came to a city, he invariably would go first to the
synagogue or search out individual Jews if they were too few to have a
synagogue. Some of those hearers would believe, but, for the most part, they
resisted and rejected the gospel that was “spoken against everywhere” (Acts
28:22). At that point, Paul would turn his focus to the Gentiles.
Magnify (1392) doxazo
Ministry (1248) diakonia (
In this way Paul would "magnify" his "ministry" or as Phillips paraphrases it...
I should like you to know that I make as much as I can of my ministry as "God's
messenger to the Gentiles"
Romans 11:14 if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and
save some of them.
Greek: ei pos parazeloso (1SFAI) mou ten sarka kai soso (1SFAI) tinas ex auton.
Amplified: In the hope of making my fellow Jews jealous [in order to stir them up to
imitate, copy, and appropriate], and thus managing to save some of them.
ESV: in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them.
ICB: I hope I can make my own people jealous. That way, maybe I can help some of
them to be saved.
NIV: in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of
NKJV: if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save
some of them.
NLT: for I want to find a way to make the Jews want what you Gentiles have, and in that
way I might save some of them.
Phillips: so as to make my kinsfolk jealous and thus save some of them.
Wuest: if by any means, possibly, I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh, and
save some of them.
Young's Literal: if by any means I shall arouse to jealousy mine own flesh, and shall save
some of them,
IF SOMEHOW I MIGHT MOVE TO JEALOUSY MY FELLOW COUNTRYMEN: ei pos
parazeloso mou ten sarka:
(1Corinthians 7:16; ; 2Timothy 2:10) (Ro 9:3; Philemon 1:12)
In the hope of making my fellow Jews jealous [in order to stir them up to imitate, copy,
and appropriate], and thus managing to save some of them. (Amplified)
If somehow. Elsewhere Paul stated it this was...And to the Jews I became as a
Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law,
though not being myself under the Law, that I might win those who are under the
Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the
law of God but under the law of Christ, that I might win those who are without
law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all
things to all men, that I may by all means save some. (1Cor 9:20-22)
Jealous (3863) (parazeloo from pará = to the point of, unto, implying movement toward
a certain point + zeloo = to desire, be zealous) means to stimulate alongside and thus to
excite to rivalry or to provoke to emulation and so to make jealous. The idea is that then
the Jews would be jealous and want it for themselves. Parazeloo is a Greek infinitive
with a preposition (eis = unto, toward) and carries the idea of purpose.
AND SAVE SOME OF THEM: kai soso (1SFAI) tinas ex auton: (1Corinthians 7:16;
1Timothy 4:16; James 5:20)
Save (4982) (sozo) means basically to rescue from peril, to protect, to keep alive - the
word involves preservation of life, physical or spiritual, in this context clearly referring to
spiritual life associated with regeneration or the new birth brought about by the power of
the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-5) and the Gospel (Ro 1:16).
Romans 11:15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will
their acceptance be but life from the dead ?
The casting away of them (h apobolh autwn). Objective genitive (autwn) with apobolh, old
word from apoballw, to throw off ( Mark 10:50 ), in N.T. only here and Acts 27:22 . The
reconciling of the world (katallagh kosmou). See Romans 5:10 for katallagh (reconciling).
It explains verse Romans 11:12 . The receiving (h proslhmpsi). Old word from
proslambanw, to take to oneself, only here in N.T. Life from the dead (zwh ek nekrwn).
Already the conversion of Jews had become so difficult. It is like a miracle of
grace today, though it does happen. Many think that Paul means that the general
resurrection and the end will come when the Jews are converted. Possibly so,
but it is by no means certain. His language may be merely figurative.
Greek: ei gar e apobole auton katallage kosmou, tis e proslempsis ei me zoe ek nekron?
Amplified: For if their rejection and exclusion from the benefits of salvation were
[overruled] for the reconciliation of a world to God, what will their acceptance and
admission mean? [It will be nothing short of] life from the dead!
ESV: For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their
acceptance mean but life from the dead?
ICB: God turned away from the Jews. When that happened, God became friends with the
other people in the world. So when God accepts the Jews, then surely that will bring to
them life after death.
NIV: For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be
but life from the dead?
NKJV: For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their
acceptance be but life from the dead?
NLT: For since the Jews' rejection meant that God offered salvation to the rest of the
world, how much more wonderful their acceptance will be. It will be life for those who
Phillips: For if their exclusion from the pale of salvation has meant the reconciliation of
the rest of mankind to God, what would their inclusion mean? It would be nothing less
than life from the dead!
Wuest: For, in view of the fact that their repudiation results in the world’s reconciliation,
what will the receiving of them result in if not in life from among the dead?
Young's Literal: for if the casting away of them is a reconciliation of the world, what the
reception -- if not life out of the dead?
FOR IF THEIR REJECTION BE THE RECONCILIATION OF THE WORLD: ei gar e
apobole auton katallage kosmou:
(Ro 11:1,2,11,12) (5:10; Daniel 9:24; 2Corinthians 5:18-20; Ephesians 1:10;
For if their rejection and exclusion from the benefits of salvation were [overruled]
for the reconciliation of a world to God, what will their acceptance and admission
mean? [It will be nothing short of] life from the dead! (Amplified)
For - always pause and ponder this term of explanation.
The word “if” which Paul uses throughout his argument here is not ean the “if” of
a hypothetical condition, but ei the “if” of a fulfilled condition. Paul is not arguing
upon the basis of an hypothesis, but upon the basis of facts. The translation
should read, “since,” or “in view of the fact.”
Rejection (580) (apobole from apó = from + bállo = cast as casting away a garment)
describes literally a casting off and thus a rejection.
Reconciliation (2643) (katallage from katallasso = change mutually; reconcile in turn
from katá = an intensifying preposition + allásso = to make otherwise, to change the
form or nature of a thing) means a change or reconciliation from a state of enmity
between persons to one of friendship. In the NT, this word describes restoration to divine
favor by bringing about a change in man, i.e., a conversion, the means or occasion of
reconciling the world to God. Reconciliation is the removal of enmity that stands between
people and God. Reconciliation is the basis of restored fellowship between people and
The Greek verb katallasso basically means “change” or “exchange.” In the
context of relationships between people, the term implies a change in attitude on
the part of both individuals, a change from enmity to friendship. When used to
describe the relationship existing between God and a person, the term implies
the change of attitude on the part of both a person and God. The need to change
the sinful ways of a human being is obvious. It should be noted that some argue
that no change is needed on the part of God. On the other hand, inherent in the
doctrine of justification is the changed attitude of God toward the sinner. God
declares a person who was formerly His enemy to be righteous before Him.
World (2889) kosmos (see word study)
WHAT WILL THEIR ACCEPTANCE BE BUT LIFE FROM THE DEAD: tis e proslempsis
ei me zoe ek nekron: (Ezekiel 37:1-14; Revelation 11:11; 20:4-6)
Acceptance (4356) (proslepsis from proslambano = to receive unto oneself, to take in
addition, to receive besides) means a taking to oneself and thus describes an
The reconciling of Israel back to God is, indeed, associated with the
"resurrection" of Israel as a nation (See Ezekiel 37:1-14-notes) and also with the
bodily resurrection of all who have died in faith, Isaiah prophesying to Israel
Your dead will live; their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and
shout for joy, for your dew is as the dew of the dawn, and the earth will give birth
to the departed spirits. (Isaiah 26:19, compare Hosea 6:1-3 Rev 20:4-6-)
The receiving of Israel refers to that wonderful moment when, as the Messiah
returns to the Mt. of Olives (Zechariah 14) all Israel shall be saved (Ro 11:26note). This will be “life from among the dead” in that the nation will be saved by
the sovereign grace of God out from a spiritually dead state and from among
those who remain spiritually dead. (See related discussion beginning in Ezekiel
37:14In speaking of life from the dead, Paul was not referring to bodily resurrection.
Regarding individual Jews, he was speaking of receiving spiritual life as a
gracious gift to displace spiritual death, the wage of unbelief. Regarding Israel,
he was speaking of its rebirth and the rebirth of the whole world in the glorified
millennial kingdom of God (Isa11:1-9-note; Rev 20). In that glorious day, even
“the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the
freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Ro 8:21-note).
Romans 11:16-18 Commentary
Romans 11:16 If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is
holy, the branches are too.
First fruit (aparch). See on 1 Corinthians 15:20 1 Corinthians 15:23 . The
metaphor is from Numbers 15:19 . The LXX has aparchn puramato, first of the
dough as a heave offering. The lump (to purama). From which the first fruit came.
See on Numbers 9:21 . Apparently the patriarchs are the first fruit. The root (h
riza). Perhaps Abraham singly here. The metaphor is changed, but the idea is the
same. Israel is looked on as a tree. But one must recall and keep in mind the
double sense of Israel in Numbers 9:6 . (the natural and the spiritual).
Greek: ei de e aparche hagia, kai to phurama; kai ei e rhiza hagia, kai oi kladoi.
Amplified: Now if the first handful of dough offered as the firstfruits [Abraham and
the patriarchs] is consecrated (holy), so is the whole mass [the nation of Israel];
and if the root [Abraham] is consecrated (holy), so are the branches.
ESV: If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the
root is holy, so are the branches.
ICB: If the first piece of bread is offered to God, then the whole loaf is made holy.
If the roots of a tree are holy, then the tree's branches are holy too.
NIV: If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is
holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.
NKJV: For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is
holy, so are the branches.
NLT: And since Abraham and the other patriarchs were holy, their children will
also be holy. For if the roots of the tree are holy, the branches will be, too.
Phillips: If the flour is consecrated to God so is the whole loaf, and if the roots of
a tree are dedicated to God every branch will belong to him also.
Wuest: Now, in view of the fact that the firstfruit is holy, also the lump, and since
the root is holy, also the branches.
Young's Literal: and if the first-fruit is holy, the lump also; and if the root is holy,
the branches also.
AND IF THE FIRST PIECE OF DOUGH BE HOLY THE LUMP IS ALSO: ei de e
aparche hagia kai to phurama:
(Exodus 22:29; 23:16,19; Leviticus 23:10; Deuteronomy 18:4; 26:10; Nehemiah
10:35-37; Proverbs 3:9; Ezekiel 44:30; James 1:18; Revelation 14:4):
The Amplified Version helps understand Paul's meaning translating this as...Now
if the first handful of dough offered as the firstfruits [Abraham and the patriarchs]
is consecrated (holy), so is the whole mass [the nation of Israel]; and if the root
[Abraham] is consecrated (holy), so are the branches.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary explains that...Paul was convinced that
Israel’s stumbling is temporary rather than permanent and that the nation will be
restored as God’s people. With two illustrations Paul showed why he believed
this. His first illustration was taken from God’s instructions to Israel to take “a
cake from the first of [their] ground meal and present it as an offering” (Nu 15:20)
after they entered the land of Canaan and reaped their first wheat harvest. This
offering was to be repeated each year at their harvests. The cake made from the
first ground meal of the wheat harvest was sanctified or made holy by being
offered to God...Paul’s second illustration was that of a tree: If the root is holy, so
are the branches. In both illustrations the principle is the same: what is
considered first contributes its character to what is related to it. With a tree, the
root obviously comes first and contributes the nature of that type of tree to the
branches that come later. With the cake presented to the Lord, the flour for the
cake is taken from the ground meal, but that cake is formed and baked first and
presented as a firstfruit. Since it is set apart to the Lord first, it sanctifies the
whole harvest. The firstfruits and the root represent the patriarchs of Israel or
Abraham personally, and the lump and the branches represent the people of
Israel. As a result Israel is set apart (holy) to God, and her “stumbling” (rejection
of Christ) must therefore be temporary. (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas
Theological Seminary. The Bible knowledge commentary: An exposition of the
scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books)
First piece (536) (aparche from apó = away from + árchomai = to begin) is the first fruit,
which in Biblical terms describes an offering of any kind, animal as well as grain. It
represents the first portion of offering set aside specifically for Lord. The first portion of
the harvest was regarded both as a first installment and as a pledge of the final delivery
of the whole. Here the first fruit and the lump speak of dough, not of fruit or grain.
Holy (40) (hagios) means set apart (that's what "sanctify" means) from profane common
use by God and for God. Hagios is translated "saint" which describes every believer's
position in Christ - we are set apart from that which is secular, profane, and evil on one
hand and on the other hand dedicated to worship and service of God. "Saints" are not
some special, elite group of men and women! Your name in fact is "St. ______."
Paul is alluding to the practice of setting apart a portion of the dough in Numbers 15
where we read...
Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 18 "Speak to the sons of Israel, and say
to them, 'When you enter the land where I bring you, 19 then it shall be, that
when you eat of the food of the land, you shall lift up an offering to the LORD. 20
'Of the first of your dough you shall lift up a cake as an offering; as the offering of
the threshing floor, so you shall lift it up. 21 'From the first of your dough you shall
give to the LORD an offering throughout your generations. (Numbers 15:17-21)
William MacDonald explains that...The argument is that if the piece of dough is
set apart to the Lord, so is all the dough that might be made from it (MacDonald,
W., and Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments.
Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
J Vernon McGee writes that...“Dough,” of course, is bread dough! A part of the
dough was offered to God as a token that all of it was acceptable. The “firstfruit”
evidently refers to the origin of the nation: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. “Holy” has
no reference to any moral quality, but to the fact that it was set apart for God.
Now if the first fruit, or the first dough—that little bit of dough—was set apart for
God, what about the whole harvest? Since Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were set
apart for God, what about the nation? It all belongs to God, you see. God is not
through with the nation Israel. (McGee, J. V. Thru the Bible commentary. Based
on the Thru the Bible radio program. Vol. 4, Page 724. Nashville: Thomas
Warren Wiersbe adds that...The reference is to (Numbers 15:17-21). The first
part of the dough was to be offered up to God as a symbol that the entire lump
belonged to Him. The same idea was involved in the Feast of Firstfruits, when
the priest offered a sheaf to the Lord as a token that the entire harvest was His
(Lev 23:9-14). The basic idea is that when God accepts the part He sanctifies the
whole. Applying this to the history of Israel, we understand Paul’s argument. God
accepted the founder of the nation, Abraham, and in so doing set apart his
descendants as well. God also accepted the other patriarchs, Isaac and Jacob, in
spite of their sins or failings. This means that God must accept the “rest of the
lump”—the nation of Israel.
AND IF THE ROOT BE HOLY, THE BRANCHES ARE TOO: kai ei e rhiza hagia, kai oi
kladoi: (Ro 1:17; Genesis 17:7; Jeremiah 2:21; 1Corinthians 7:14)
Root = The patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
Branches = The patriarchs’ descendants: the nation of Israel.
If the foundational part of a plant (the root) is holy, then that which it
produces (the branches) must likewise (too) be holy.
In order to be faithful to His own Word, the Lord must provide a future salvation
for Israel. Israel has not yet completely fulfilled God’s covenant promise to
Abraham or His countless reiterations of that promise to redeem and restore
Abraham’s descendants. If the root, Abraham and the other patriarchs, is holy,
then the branches, their descendants, are holy too. They were divinely called and
set apart before the foundation of the world and God’s work with those branches
will not be complete until they bear the spiritual fruit He intends to produce in and
through them, until the end of the age when Israel actually becomes the holy
people they were destined to be.
God did not judge Israel and offer the gospel to Gentiles because Jews are
inherently more unrighteous and unworthy or because Gentiles are inherently
more righteous and worthy (Ro 2:14-15). That is the reverse of the view Jews
had long had of Gentiles. It did not take long for early Gentile Christians to be
tempted to scorn the Jews because they had scorned Christ. That notion poured
fuel on the fire of anti-Semitism that had existed in many Gentile nations and
cultures for countless centuries. And because many Gentile believers in the early
church had been raised in the midst of pagan anti-Semitism, it was not difficult for
Satan to tempt them to continued prejudice against Jews because of Israel’s
rejection and crucifixion of her own Messiah and Savior.
Some modern “Christian” cults are based on the notion of British Israelism. They
hold the totally unscriptural and unhistorical notion that Anglo–Saxons comprise
the ten so-called lost tribes of Israel—a name to which they believe Jews have
long lost all claim, because God eternally rejected and condemned them for
rejecting and putting Jesus Christ to death. Anti-Semitism is the very
underpinning of such cults. Less extreme prejudice, often hidden and usually
denied, is also reflected in some Christian churches and organizations. It is not
impossible even for true believers to become infected with that age–old spiritual
disease which the Lord so intensely detests.
Romans 11:17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild
olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root
of the olive tree,
Branches (kladwn). From klaw, to break. Were broken off (exeklasqhsan). First
aorist passive indicative of ekklaw. Play on the word klado (branch) and ekklaw,
to break off. Condition of first class, assumed as true. Some of the individual
Jews (natural Israel) were broken off the stock of the tree (spiritual Israel). And
thou (kai su). An individual Gentile. Being a wild olive (agrielaio wn). This word,
used by Aristotle, occurs in an inscription. Ramsay (Pauline Studies, pp. 219ff.)
shows that the ancients used the wild-olive graft upon an old olive tree to
reinvigorate the tree precisely as Paul uses the figure here and that both the olive
tree and the graft were influenced by each other, though the wild olive graft did
not produce as good olives as the original stock. But it should be noted that in
verse Numbers 24 Paul expressly states that the grafting of Gentiles on to the
stock of the spiritual Israel was "contrary to nature" (para pusin). Wast grafted in
(enekentrisqh). First aorist passive indicative of enkentrizw, to cut in, to graft,
used by Aristotle. Belongs "to the higher Koin" (literary Koin) according to
Milligan. Partaker (sunkoinwno). Co-partner. Fatness (piothto). Old word from
piwn (fat), only here in N.T. Note three genitives here "of the root of the fatness of
Greek: Ei de tines ton kladon exeklasthesan, su de agrielaios on (PAPMSN)
enekentristhes (2SAPI) en autois kai sugkoinonos tes rhizes tes piotetos tes elaias
Amplified: But if some of the branches were broken off, while you, a wild olive shoot, were
grafted in among them to share the richness [of the root and sap] of the olive tree,
ESV: But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot,
were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive
ICB: Some of the branches from an olive tree have been broken off, and the branch of a
wild olive tree has been joined to that first tree. You non-Jews are the same as that wild
branch, and you now share the strength and life of the first tree, the Jews.
NIV: If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot,
have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the
NKJV: And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive
tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and
fatness of the olive tree,
NLT: But some of these branches from Abraham's tree, some of the Jews, have been
broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, were grafted in.
So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children,
sharing in God's rich nourishment of his special olive tree.
Phillips: But if some of the branches of the tree have been broken off, while you, like
shoots of wild-olive, have been grafted in, and don't share like a natural branch the rich
nourishment of the root,
Wuest: Now, since certain of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive,
were grafted in among them and became joint-partaker with them of the root of the
fatness of the olive,
Young's Literal: And if certain of the branches were broken off, and thou, being a wild
olive tree, wast graffed in among them, and a fellow-partaker of the root and of the
fatness of the olive tree didst become--
BUT IF SOME OF THE BRANCHES WERE BROKEN OFF: Ei de tines ton kladon
(Psalms 80:11-16; Isaiah 6:13; 27:11; Jeremiah 11:16; Ezekiel 15:6-8; Matthew
8:11,12; Matthew 21:43; John 15:6)
Branches...broken off ~ unbelieving Israel
Wild Olive ~ believing Gentile
Rich root of the Olive Tree ~ The place of divine blessing. God’s covenant of salvation
made with Abraham (John MacArthur)
But - Always pause to ponder this term of contrast.
Ryrie agrees that...The olive tree is the place of privilege that was first occupied
by the natural branches (the Jews). The wild branches are Gentiles who,
because of the unbelief of Israel, now occupy the place of privilege. The root of
the tree is the Abrahamic covenant that promised blessing to both Jew and
Gentile through Christ. (Ryrie Study Bible)
If is a first class condition, which assumes that what follows is a fact. Indeed
some of the branches, the natural Jews (Israel) were broken off by their unbelief
and rejection of the Messiah. Notice that Paul makes clear that not all of the
branches (the natural Jews) were broken off. This truth is also emphasized by his
use of the phrase among them which refers to natural Jews who did believe in
Messiah. There always had been a believing remnant in Israel.
Notice that the term “Broken off” is the equivalent of “fall” (Ro 11:11), “their
failure” (Ro 11:12), and “their rejection” (Ro 11:15).
AND YOU BEING A WILD OLIVE WERE GRAFTED IN AMONG THEM: su de
agrielaios on (PAPMSN) enekentristhes en autois:
(Psalms 80:11-16; Isaiah 6:13; 27:11; Ezekiel 15:6-8; Matthew 8:11,12; ; John
15:6) (Deuteronomy 8:8; Judges 9:8,9; Psalms 52:8; Zechariah 4:3; Jonah 1:16;
Wild Olive (65) (agrielaios from ágrios = wild + elaía = olive tree, olive) is Paul's
metaphorical way of referring to the Gentiles who had believed in Christ.
Centuries earlier God had warned His people through His prophet Jeremiah that
their continued unbelief and idolatry would reap an unwanted harvest ...
What right has My beloved (Israel who was to have been His faithful wife) in My
house when she has done many vile deeds? Can the sacrificial flesh take away
from you your disaster, so that you can rejoice? (God was not interested in their
sacrifices but in their broken and contrite hearts)" 16 The LORD called your
name, "A green olive tree, beautiful in fruit and form"; With the noise of a great
tumult He has kindled fire on it, and its branches are worthless (Paul has
explained in Romans 11 these were broken off). 17 And the LORD of hosts, who
planted you, has pronounced evil against you because of the evil of the house of
Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done to provoke Me by
offering up sacrifices to Baal. (Jeremiah 11:15-17)
Jesus over 600 years later warned His Israel that...
"the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation
producing the fruit of it. (Matthew 21:43).
W E Vine - The Gentile who, though now a believer, is, naturally, a member of
those nations which God had suffered to walk in their own ways (Ac 14:16), and
who therefore remained unfaithful to God. The wild olive being a tree of
comparatively little value, this part of the metaphor sets in contrast the glorious
position of relationship into which God had brought Israel on the ground of
covenant promise. The process of grafting is almost invariably that of putting the
good shoot into the inferior stock. Whenever the reverse process was adopted it
was to invigorate the fruitful stock and not to fertilize the wild shoot. What is set
forth here, therefore, does not correspond actually to either method, but is
selected in order to suit the subject, namely, the enrichment of individual Gentiles
by their admission to the blessings forfeited by some of God’s ancient people
through their unbelief.
AND BECAME PARTAKER WITH THEM OF THE RICH ROOT OF THE OLIVE TREE:
kai sugkoinonos tes rhizes tes piotetos tes elaias egenou (2SAMI):
Partaker (4791) (sugkoinonos from sun = with + koinonos = companion, partner) means
co-participant or partaker together with others.
The New Living Translation phrases this verse this way...But some of these
branches from Abraham's tree, some of the Jews, have been broken off. And you
Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, were grafted in. So now you
also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in
God's rich nourishment of his special olive tree.
The discerning reader needs to be careful when reading some of the
commentaries on this section of Romans. For example the respected devotional
commentary by Matthew Henry has some very confusing statements on Romans
11:17. Henry writes that..."those that God grafts into the church he finds wild and
barren, and good for nothing. Men graft to mend the tree; but God grafts to mend
the branch. The church of God is an olive-tree, flourishing and fruitful as an olive
(Ps. 52:8; Hos. 14:6)...The Gentiles, being grafted into the church, partake of the
same privileges that the Jews did, the root and fatness. The olive-tree is the
visible church (Henry, M. Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible:
Complete and Unabridged)
Clearly Matthew Henry is misinterpreting the rich root of the olive tree as the
church. Notice also that Henry goes so far as to find the "church" in Old
Testament passages like Hosea 14:6 which are clearly (in context) speaking of
the nation of Israel. In a sense Matthew Henry is doing the very thing Paul warns
Gentile believers against in this section of Romans.
Warren Wiersbe agrees and cautions that To say that the olive tree, with its
natural and grafted branches, is a picture of the church would be a great mistake.
(Wiersbe, W. W. The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books)
It should also be noted that the fact that true believers living today are
spiritual children of Abraham does not mean that the church is "spiritual
Israel." Yes as Paul said "if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's
offspring, heirs according to promise." (Gal 3:29) Gentile believers who
are not physical children of Abraham are his spiritual children in the sense
that they have followed the pattern of his faith. All believers, Jew or
Gentile, in fact are heirs of the spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic
Covenant. The Bible Knowledge Commentary (on Galatians 3:29)
however cautions that...Any discussion of the seed (offspring) of Abraham
must first take into account his natural seed (offspring), the descendants
of Jacob in the 12 tribes. Within this natural seed there is a believing
remnant of Jews who will one day inherit the Abrahamic promises
directed specifically to them (cf. Ro 9:6, 8).
But there is also the spiritual seed of Abraham who are not Jews. These are the
Gentiles who believe and become Abraham’s spiritual seed. They inherit the
promise of justification by faith as Paul explained... (cf. Gal. 3:6-9). To suggest,
as amillenarians do (Ed note: and as many of the older commentators like
Matthew Henry), that Gentile believers inherit the national promises given to the
believing Jewish remnant (Ed note: e.g., the specific promises of the land in
Genesis 15:18) promises which God has not yet literally fulfilled but which He will
fulfill in the Millennium) —that the church thus supplants Israel or is the “new
Israel”—is to read into these verses what is not there. (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R.
B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. The Bible Knowledge Commentary. Wheaton,
IL: Victor Books) (Bolding added) (See also discussion of the phrase Israel of
Paul will now go on to warn the Gentile Christians of the danger of repeating the
sin of the Jews--boasting of their privileged position (Ro 11:18-21). He will also
explain that if God, by cutting off the branches of the natural olive, has made
room for Gentile believers, how much easier will it be for him to restore the
natural branches to their place in the cultivated olive (Ro 11:23-24)!
Romans 11:18 do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant,
remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.
Glory not over the branches (mh katakaucw twn kladwn). Genitive case after kata.
Present middle imperative second person singular of katakaucaomai with negative mh,
"stop glorying" or "do not have the habit of glorying over the branches." The conclusion of
the preceding condition. Gloriest (katakaucasai). Late form -aesai retaining . Not thou (ou
su). Very emphatic position. The graft was upon the stock and root, though each affected
Greek: me katakaucho (2SPMM) ton kladon; ei de katakauchasai, (2SPMI) ou su ten
rhizan bastazeis (2SPAI) alla e rhiza se.
Amplified: Do not boast over the branches and pride yourself at their expense. If you do
boast and feel superior, remember it is not you that support the root, but the root [that
ESV: do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who
support the root, but the root that supports you.
ICB: So do not brag about those branches that were broken off. You have no reason to
brag. Why? You do not give life to the root. The root gives life to you.
NIV: do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the
root, but the root supports you.
NKJV: do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you
do not support the root, but the root supports you.
NLT: But you must be careful not to brag about being grafted in to replace the branches
that were broken off. Remember, you are just a branch, not the root.
Phillips: don't let yourself feel superior to those former branches. (If you feel inclined that
way, remind yourself that you do not support the root, the root supports you.)
Wuest: stop boasting against the branches. But, assuming that you are boasting, you are
not sustaining the root, but the root you.
Young's Literal: do not boast against the branches; and if thou dost boast, thou dost not
bear the root, but the root thee!
DO NOT BE ARROGANT TOWARD THE BRANCHES: me katakaucho ton kladon:
(Ro 1:20; 3:27; 1Kings 20:11; Proverbs 16:18; Matthew 26:33; Luke 18:9-11;
Do not be arrogant - This present imperative with a negative is which signifies stop
being arrogant or don't let this begin to be your mindset!
Arrogant - exaggerating or disposed to exaggerate one’s own worth or importance in an
overbearing manner. Don't manifest a feeling of superiority. Could the false doctrine of
replacement theology be a variation of arrogance toward the branches, the Jews? (See
introductory comments at Romans 11)
Arrogant (2620) (katakauchaomai from katá = against + kauchaomai = boast over a
privilege or possession. The root is auchen = neck which vain persons are apt to carry
in proud manner) means to exult or boast against or to boast arrogantly. In Ro 11:18 the
Gentile believers are contrasted with the "branches" those Jews who rejected Christ.
The verb is in the with a negative which can be more accurately translated as "stop
being arrogant toward" the unbelieving Jews. The point is that this aberrant attitude had
already begun to creep into the Roman church which by all of Paul's testimony was a
good church. How easily this leaven of subtle anti-Semitism can begin to permeate even
the best of churches today! We must diligently guard against this attitude toward the
Jews or the nation of Israel.
How could a Gentile, a wild olive, who had been grafting in (by faith) demonstrate
his or her arrogance? One way is by saying that the Jews who did not believe
should have believed! Another way is to assume a holier-than-thou attitude
toward the Jews.
It is tragic and lamentable that, throughout much of church history, Jewish
converts to Christ have often been subjected to attitudes of Gentile superiority
and been shunned or reluctantly accepted into Christian fellowship. Paul
anticipated that, in spite of this clear truth, some of his Gentile readers would
continue to argue against him (see Romans 11:19).
As an aside I would pose this question: What happened in this regard to the
Early Church Fathers? Why did not many of them see this truth? Even Martin
Luther in his latter years wrote a vicious pamphlet vilifying the Jews because they
would not accept Messiah! (See a sample link from a non-believing Jewish
source) If Martin Luther could fall into such deception, let every man take heed
lest he fall!
William Newell comments...How few of us Gentile believers understand and bear
in mind that we are beneficiaries of those promises which God lodged in
Abraham as a root of promise, --all the promises we inherit in Christ! (Romans
BUT IF YOU ARE ARROGANT REMEMBER THwwAT IT IS NOT YOU WHO
SUPPORTS THE ROOT BUT THE ROOT SUPPORTS YOU: ei de katakauchasai ou
su ten rhizan bastazeis alla e rhiza se:
(Ro 4:16; Zechariah 8:20-23; John 10:16; Galatians 3:29; Ephesians 2:19,20)
Root = spiritual promises and blessings that flow through the Abrahamic Covenant. In a
sense even the New Covenant was also actually given to Israel first. E.g. Jeremiah
"Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new
covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, (with who? is it
with the Gentiles?) 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the
day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant
which they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. (for
more on this subject see the New Covenant in the Old Testament) (Jeremiah
And who did Jesus inaugurate the New Covenant with? Were there any Gentiles
present? And who did the Spirit Who was promised as part of the blessing of the
New Covenant first come upon in Acts 2? And who composed the predominant
makeup of disciples in the early church (probably until about 100AD)? (Answer:
Jewish believers). Clearly we Gentiles are "Johnny come lately" and thus have
no grounds whatsoever for spiritual pride in regard to our salvation.
There is never any ground for a believer from among the Gentiles to hold a Jew
as such in any measure of contempt or inferiority. Paul warned the Gentiles that
they were obligated to Israel, and therefore they dared not boast of their new
spiritual position (Ro 11:18-21). The Gentiles entered into God’s plan because of
faith, and not because of anything good they had done. Paul was discussing the
Gentiles collecively, and not the individual experience of one believer or another.
No matter how far Israel may stray from the truth of God, the roots (the covenant
promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were made by a covenant keeping God!)
are still good. God is still the “God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the
God of Jacob” (Ex 3:6 Mt 22:32). He will keep His promises to the patriarchs and
to any and all natural Jews who enter in by grace through faith.
Praise God that His the keeping of His covenants does not depend on us but is
rooted in His attributes such as Faithfulness, Love, Mercy, Immutable, Good,
Romans 11:19-21 Commentary
Romans 11:19 You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I might be
Thou wilt say then (erei oun). A presumptuous Gentile speaks. That I
might be grafted in (ina egw enkentrisqw). Purpose clause with ina and
first aorist passive subjunctive. He shows contempt for the cast-off Jews.
Greek: ereis (2SFAI) oun, Exeklasthesan kladoi hina ego egkentristho. (1SAPS)
Amplified: You will say then, Branches were broken (pruned) off so that I might be
ESV: Then you will say, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in."
ICB: You will say, "Branches were broken off so that I could be joined to their
NKJV: You will say then, "Branches were broken off that I might be grafted
NLT: "Well," you may say, "those branches were broken off to make room for
Phillips: You may make the natural retort, "But the branches were broken off to
make room for my grafting!"
Wuest: You will say then, Branches were broken off in order that I might be
Young's Literal: Thou wilt say, then, 'The branches were broken off, that I might
be graffed in;' right!
YOU WILL SAY THEN: ereis (2SFAI) oun:
Paul anticipated that in spite of this clear truth, some of his Gentile readers would
continue to argue against him.
BRANCHES WERE BROKEN OFF SO THAT I MIGHT BE GRAFTED IN: exeklasthesan
(3PAPI) kladoi hina ego egkentristho (1SAPS): (Ro 11:11,12,17,23,24)
The Bible Knowledge Commentary explains that The apostle anticipated the rebuttal a
Gentile believer might make: Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.
Though that was not the real reason the branches were broken off, Paul
accepted the statement for the sake of argument. Then he pointed out that the
real reason the branches were broken off was Israel’s unbelief and that any
Gentile as a grafted-in branch stands (cf. Ro 5:2-note) by faith. (Walvoord, J. F.,
Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. The Bible Knowledge Commentary.
Wheaton, IL: Victor Books)
Thomas Constable commenting on Ro 11:19-20 adds that...It is true that one of
the reasons Gentiles have become partakers of the blessings of the Abrahamic
Covenant is that many of the Jews have not believed. However the Gentile
believer who may feel superior to the unbelieving Jew needs to remember that
the only reason he is where he is is because he has simply believed God. He is
not there because he has done some meritorious work that would be a ground
for boasting (Romans 11 Commentary - Expository Notes)
Romans 11:20 Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand
by your faith. Do not be conceited *, but fear;
Well (kalw). Perhaps ironical, though Paul may simply admit the statement (cf. Mark
12:32 ) and show the Gentile his real situation. By unbelief (th apistiai) --by faith (pistei).
Instrumental case with both contrasted words (by unbelief, by belief).
Greek: kalos; te apistia exeklasthesan, su de te pistei estekas. (2SRAI) me hupsela
phronei, (2SPAM) alla phobou; (2SPPM)
Amplified: That is true. But they were broken (pruned) off because of their unbelief (their
lack of real faith), and you are established through faith [because you do believe]. So do
not become proud and conceited, but rather stand in awe and be reverently afraid.
ESV: That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast
through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe.
ICB: That is true. But those branches were broken off because they did not believe. And
you continue to be part of the tree only because you believe. Do not be proud, but be
NIV: Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do
not be arrogant, but be afraid.
NKJV: Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith.
Do not be haughty, but fear.
NLT: Yes, but remember--those branches, the Jews, were broken off because they didn't
believe God, and you are there because you do believe. Don't think highly of yourself, but
fear what could happen.
Phillips: It wasn't quite like that. They lost their position because they failed to believe;
you only maintain yours because you do believe. The situation does not call for conceit
but for a certain wholesome fear.
Wuest: Well! Because of their unbelief they were broken off. But, as for you, by faith you
stand. Stop having a superiority complex, but be fearing;
Young's Literal: by unbelief they were broken off, and thou hast stood by faith; be not
high-minded, but be fearing;
QUITE RIGHT, THEY WERE BROKEN OFF FOR THEIR UNBELIEF BUT YOU STAND
BY YOUR FAITH: kalos: te apistia exeklasthesan su de te pistei esthkas (2SRAI):
(John 4:17,18; James 2:19) (Ro 3:3; Acts 13:46,47; 18:6; Hebrews 3:12,19; 4:6,11)
(Ro 5:1,2; 2Chronicles 20:20; Isaiah 7:9; 1Corinthians 16:13; 2Corinthians 1:24;
Colossians 2:7; 1Peter 5:9,12)
That is true. But they were broken (pruned) off because of their unbelief (their
lack of real faith), and you are established through faith [because you do believe].
So do not become proud and conceited, but rather stand in awe and be
reverently afraid. (Amplified)
Yes, but remember--those branches, the Jews, were broken off because they
didn't believe God, and you are there because you do believe. Don't think highly
of yourself, but fear what could happen. (NLT)
Granted that Jews were rejected because of their unbelief, but nevertheless
there was no personal merit in the Gentiles by which they became recipients of
the divine favor. That favor was bestowed on the condition of their faith, and faith
excludes boasting (Ro 3:27). Accordingly the real cause of their rejection is
sufficient to correct a false inference.
Unbelief (570)(apistia [see word study] from a = without + pistós = believing, faithful)
means literally not believing = faithlessness, distrust, lack of belief. It describes an
unwillingness to commit oneself to another or respond positively to the other’s words or
Faith (4102)(pistis ]) is synonymous with trust or belief and is the conviction of the truth
of anything, but in Scripture usually speaks of belief respecting man's relationship to
God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of
faith and joined with it. Note that this discussion of pistis is only an overview and not a
detailed treatise of this vitally important subject.
Wayne Grudem defines faith that saves one's soul...Saving faith is trust in Jesus
Christ as a living person for forgiveness of sins and for eternal life with God. This
definition emphasizes that saving faith is not just a belief in facts but personal
trust in Jesus to save me... The definition emphasizes personal trust in Christ,
not just belief in facts about Christ. Because saving faith in Scripture involves this
personal trust, the word "trust" is a better word to use in contemporary culture
than the word "faith" or "belief." The reason is that we can "believe" something to
be true with no personal commitment or dependence involved in it. (Grudem, W.
A. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine Zondervan)
DO NOT BE CONCEITED BUT (have an attitude of reverential awe) FEAR: me hupsela
phronei (2SPAM) alla phobou (2SPPM):
(Ro 11:18; 12:16; Psalms 138:6; Proverbs 28:26; Isaiah 2:11,17; Habakkuk 2:4;
Zephaniah 3:11; Luke 18:14; 2Corinthians 10:5; 2Thessalonians 2:4; 2Timothy
3:3-5; James 4:6; 1Peter 5:5,6; Revelation 3:17; Revelation 18:7) (Proverbs
28:14; Isaiah 66:2; 1Corinthians 10:12; Philippians 2:12; Hebrews 4:1; 1Peter
Stop thinking so high Stop having a superiority complex, but be fearing (Wuest)
The situation does not call for conceit but for a certain wholesome fear. (Phillips)
Conceited is two words in Greek - (5308) (hupselós) which means high or lofty. The
second word is (5426) (phroneo) which means to think, to have a mindset, to be minded.
The activity represented by phroneo involves the will, affections, and conscience. The
combination means to be high-minded, lofty in mind, proud or arrogant. The present
imperative with the negative Greek word ("me" = conveys negation) calls for the reader
to cease from an attitude that they are presently manifesting (i.e., spiritual arrogance
toward the Jews).
Fear (5399) (phobeo from phobos = alarm or fright, fear, terror, reverence, respect,
honor) means to cause to run away, to frighten, to terrify, to be alarmed. As used here
phobeo conveys more the sense of to revere, to reverence or to be in awe of God. The
present imperative calls for this to be one's lifestyle or habitual practice (which
necessitates continually being filled with the Holy Spirit that we might have the
supernatural enabling power to accomplish always "fear"-see Eph 5:18-note, Gal 5:16note)..
If Israel’s special calling and blessing from the Lord could not protect them from
being broken off, then certainly the Gentiles’ lack of that calling and blessing
cannot protect them from being broken off for their unbelief.
Therefore you would do well, Paul advises his Gentile readers, to have a
righteous holy fear and to strongly resist any temptation to arrogance (Ro 11:18)
and conceit (Ro 11:20). If God cut off apostate Israel because of her unbelief,
how much more surely will He cut off an apostate church because of unbelief.
As alluded to in a previous comment, this is a warning the "Church" has failed to
heed as manifest by the evolution of allegorical interpretation of Scripture by the
early church fathers such as Origen so that by the time of Augustine this
respected and influential teacher taught that Israel was replaced by the Church,
in this case the Roman Catholic church. And so it went for the first 1000 years
and thus Jews were often despised and hated and persecuted by the very ones
who Paul is clearly stating should have known better. Probably few of these were
truly saved but only pretending to be ''Christians'', although even such revered
saints as Martin Luther in his later years published vitriolic diatribes against the
Jews even calling for their tongues to be torn out if they did not convert! (See a
sample link from a non-believing Jewish source)
When we leave the (real) Literal we enter the surreal and we are in the land of
''science fiction'' with all sorts of fantastic interpretations and vain imaginings, the
end of which is potentially deception and destruction.
Romans 11:21 for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare
Be not highminded (mh upshla pronei). "Stop thinking high (proud) thoughts." Of
God spared not (ei gar o qeo ouk epeisato). It is not ei mh (unless), but the ouk
negatives the verb epeisato (first aorist middle indicative of peidomai, to spare.
Condition of first class.
Greek: ei gar o theos ton kata phusin kladon ouk epheisato, (3SAMI) [me pos] oude
sou pheisetai. (3SFMI)
Amplified: For if God did not spare the natural branches [because of unbelief], neither will
He spare you [if you are guilty of the same offense].
ESV: For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.
ICB: If God did not let the natural branches of that tree stay, then he will not let you stay if
you don't believe.
NIV: For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
NKJV: For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.
NLT: For if God did not spare the branches he put there in the first place, he won't spare
Phillips: If God removed the natural branches for a good reason, take care that you
don't give him the same reason for removing you.
Wuest: for in view of the fact that God did not spare the branches which were
according to nature, neither will He spare you.
Young's Literal: for if God the natural branches did not spare -- lest perhaps He also shall
not spare thee.
FOR IF GOD DID NOT SPARE THE NATURAL BRANCHES NEITHER WILL HE
SPARE YOU: ei gar o theos ton kata phusin kladon ouk epheisato (3SAMI) (me pos)
oude sou pheisetai (3SFMI):
(Ro 11:17,19; 8:32; Jeremiah 25:29; 49:12; 1Corinthians 10:1-12; 2Peter 2:4-9;
Jer 25:29 For behold, I am beginning to work calamity in this city which is called
by My name, and shall you be completely free from punishment? You will not be
free from punishment; for I am summoning a sword against all the inhabitants of
the earth,” declares the LORD of hosts.’
1Cor 10:1 For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all
under the cloud and all passed through the sea; 2 and all were baptized into
Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and all ate the same spiritual food; 4 and all
drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which
followed them; and the rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God
was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. 6 Now these
things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as
they also craved. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written,
"THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY." 8
Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in
one day. 9 Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the
serpents. 10 Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11
Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our
instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks
he stands take heed (present imperative = calls for continual guarding of our hearts lest
we too fall like Israel did. Flesh is flesh whether it is Old Testament or New Testament
flesh!) that he does not fall.