The Letter to the Romans
Copyright ©2004, Charles Hess, Lakeside,
Chapter [ 1 ] four discusses salvation by faith by utilizing Abraham as a precursor.
The patriarch is an example of justification by faith. Justification is apart from the
Law of Moses. Abraham, the father of the faithful, received God's blessing
before being circumcised and prior to the giving of the Mosaic Law. This
demonstrates that salvation is not by the OT Law but through faith. Abraham's
strong faith was imputed to him for righteousness (see chart ROMANS 4
ROMANS 4 OUTLINE
1. Abraham an example of justification by faith
2. Justification apart from Law of Moses (Ro 4:8-10).
3. Abraham received God's blessing prior to being
circumcised and before the giving of the Mosaic Law
(Ro 4:11, 12).
4. Thus salvation is not by OT Law but through faith
5. Abraham's strong faith was imputed to him for
righteousness (Ro 4:19-25).
GOD'S JUSTICE IN SAVING GENTILES
4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to
What then shall we say? [what then are we to say, what shall we say
then?].[ 2 ] The Jews looked to Abraham as an outstanding example. The point
Paul will make is that the Gentiles as well as the Jews may be saved by the gospel
(see verse 9).
That Abraham, our father [about Abraham our forefather].[ 3 ] Abraham is
the father of many nations (Ro 4:17). That is, spiritually, he is the father of all
believers. He is the father "of us all" (Ro 4:16).
Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham (Ga
3:7; see 3:9; Lu 19:9).
Has found according to the flesh [as pertaining to the flesh hath found].[ 4 ]
In Scripture, the OT Law is sometimes called "the flesh" (see note on Ga 3:3).
In the present context, "according to the flesh" means "according to the Law."
The present phrase has nothing to do with Abraham being the actual, fleshly father
of the Jewish nation. Paul asks what Abraham has found, discovered, attained or
obtained. He was asking, "What has Abraham obtained by works of the Law?".
Romans 4:2 also connects "the flesh" with works [of the Law]. And yes, Paul was
fully conscious that Abraham lived before the Mosaic Law was given. To the
Jews, circumcision of the flesh was a major point of the Mosaic Law (see Le 12:2,
3). Not only was Abraham justified without that Law but he was justified without
being circumcised, without the temple and without numerous Jewish traditions of
which the Jews were prideful (see charts WAS ABRAHAM LOST BEFORE
GENESIS 15?; ABRAHAM WAS RIGHTEOUS at Ro 4:22).
Charles Williams, following Westcott-Hort and "best" manuscripts, renders verse
1 in its entirety, "Then what are we to say about our forefather?" Note that he
completely omits "has found" and "according to the flesh."[ 5 ]
Judaizers insisted works required by the Law of Moses would make them
righteous. When Paul was writing the epistle to the Romans, James had already
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his
son on the altar? (Jas 2:21).
I do not think it mattered to the Jews whether or not Abraham's works were done
before the Law was given. To those with minds so oriented, works were works
whether or not they were of the Law of Moses.
The question is, "Should Gentiles be required to obey a Law that Abraham
himself was not required to keep?" If God could justify the patriarch without
circumcision, surely he could save Gentiles without it and without the Law of
God called Abraham out of an idolatrous family (Jos 24:2). The two paragraphs
below show that he was not a lost, unbelieving, disobedient, alien sinner up until
Genesis 15 when his faith was reckoned for righteousness (see chart WAS
ABRAHAM LOST BEFORE GENESIS 15?).
WAS ABRAHAM LOST
BEFORE GENESIS 15?
1. God appeared, commanded him to leave his country
and promised spiritual blessings (Ge 12:1-3).
2. At that time, he believed and obeyed (Heb 11:8).
3. In Shechem, God appeared to him. He worshipped
(Ge 12:6, 7).
4. Between Bethel and Ai, God appeared to him again
5. After leaving Egypt, at Bethel he called on the name
of the Lord (Ge 13:4).
Before the justification described in Genesis 15:6, several events had occurred.
God had appeared to Abraham, commanded him to go to a land he would show
him, and promised to bless him. At that time he believed and obeyed God.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which
he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he
was going (Heb 11:8).
Notice that it was "by faith" that Abraham "obeyed." In Shechem, God again
appeared to him. There he built an altar and worshipped. He worshipped again
on a mountain between Bethel and Ai. He came from Egypt to Bethel and "called
on the name of the LORD" (Ge 12:8). After the slaughter of the kings,
Melchizedek blessed him.
And he blessed him and said: "Blessed be Abram of God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth (Ge 14:19).
After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision,
saying, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great
reward" (Ge 15:1).
Everything recorded in Genesis in chapters 12, 13, 14 and five verses of chapter
15 happened before this statement:
And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness
Those who try to parallel this to the salvation of an alien sinner in the church age
are without support in Scripture or in logic. Are we to believe that Abraham
(Abram) was lost up until the event in Genesis 15:6? I do not think so. The
offering of Isaac is not recorded until Genesis 22:1-14; compare Jas 2:21). Long
before that, Abraham's faith had been reckoned for righteousness (Ge 15:6). His
early faith was also an obedient faith (Joh 8:39; Heb 11:8).
Paul is using this to show the Jews that the Gentiles may also have God's
blessings. Abraham, who received God's approval before he was circumcised, and
long before the Law of Moses was given, was unanswerable proof that
circumcision was not necessary for justification.[ 6 ]
SOMETHING TO BOAST ABOUT?
4:2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about,
but not before God.
For if Abraham was justified by works [for if Abraham were, has been,
justified on the principle of works].[ 7 ] The translation "justified by anything he
had done"[ 8 ] is weak. When Abraham believed he did something. Actually, he
performed the work of belief. One should never try to rule out faith itself as a
This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom He sent (Joh 6:29;
compare Joh 3:18; 8:24; Ro 10:13,17; Heb 11:6).
When James said Abraham was justified by works when he offered up Isaac, he
did not imply he was justified by works of the Law of Moses but by works of
obedience (see Jas 2:21). To the Jews "works" generally meant keeping the Law
of Moses. Some maintained works would earn them heaven. That kind of mind
set made it difficult for them to be receptive to the doctrine of salvation by the
faith. Amazingly, they also tended to reject gospel obedience along with the faith
in Christ that prompts it. The book of Romans promotes salvation by faith as well
as by obedience to the gospel of faith (Ro 1:5; 6:17; 16:26).
Littrell pointed out that works of the Law, works of merit, works of one's own
righteousness, of which one might boast, cannot save (Eph 2:9; Tit 3:5). On the
other hand, Works of faith are required. All who would please God perform
them. "The faith" is the gospel, God's power to beget (1Co 4:15; Jas 1:18; Lu
8:11). It reveals God's grace to all people (Mk 16:15, 16; Ro 1:16, 17; Tit 2:11-14). Grace teaches (Tit 2:11, 12). It is "the word of His grace" that is able to
guide (Acts 20:32).
He has something to boast about [he hath whereof, of which, to glory].[ 9 ]
Were Abraham's works meritorious? Did he earn his salvation? Hardly. If by
works he had earned salvation he could have bragged but, as it was, before God,
he had no ground for boasting.
But not before God.[ 10 ] Some make a point about Abraham being justified
"before God." They explain James 2 by saying that chapter speaks of being
justified before men. What foolishness! God did not waste precious NT verses
telling people how to be justified before men.
Abraham never boasted of any kind of justification that God owed him because
of his works before God or before men. The Bible is silent as a tomb on that. He
knew he was justified by faith. He even knew it when he offered up Isaac. Most
of all, God knew it. That ruled out boasting. Justification by faith today likewise
rules it out.
ACCOUNTED TO HIM TO RIGHTEOUSNESS
4:3 For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was
accounted to him for righteousness."
For what does the Scripture say? [for what saith the scripture?].[ 11 ] Paul
recognized the authority of the written word.
Abraham believed God [and Abraham believed God].[ 12 ]
And it was accounted to him [and it was reckoned, counted, credited, unto
him].[ 13 ] This does not mean that righteousness was somehow mysteriously
transferred to Abraham. In only means that God counted his faith as
For righteousness [to, as, righteousness].[ 14 ] Abraham's faith was "for" or "to"
righteousness in two senses: (1) His sins were forgiven [ultimately through Christ].
(2) He conformed his life to God's will. Along this line, W. E. Vine wrote:
For in these places is EIS, which does not mean "instead of" but "with a
view to." The faith thus experienced brings the soul into vital union with
God and Christ, and inevitably produces righteousness of life, that is,
conformity to the will of God.[ 15 ]
WAGES NOT COUNTED AS GRACE
4:4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
Now to him who works [but to one, the one that worketh, working].[ 16 ] Is
Paul belittling people who teach the necessity of baptism or any other obedience
to Christ, such as repentance? Of course not. He himself taught obedience again
and again (Ro 1:5; 6:3, 4, 17; 16:16; 2Th 1:8, 9). Actually, he is countering the
works-of-the-law position taken by the Judaizers. If the Law was kept perfectly,
salvation would have been due as a debt (Ro 10:5; Ga 2:12). However, no one
earned it (Ro 3:9, 19, 23; 11:32; Ga 2:16; 3:22).
ROMANS 4:4 DOES NOT TEACH
1. That faith and works are opposites.
a. True faith cannot exist without works
2. That obeying the gospel makes one his own Savior.
a. Those who do not obey are lost (2Th 1:8, 9).
3. "It is a scandalous and outrageous lie to teach
that salvation arises from human activity"
a. If Shelly is right, would not everyone be saved?
(but see Acts 2:37, 38, 40).
His wage [the reward, is the reward].[ 17 ] Some of the Jews may have thought
that doing works of the Law would earn them a reward. Paul does not imply that
wages are given "as grace."
Are not counted [not, is not, reckoned, credited][ 18 ] (see chart ROMANS 4:4
DOES NOT TEACH).[ 19 ]
As grace [as a gift, of, as of, according to, grace]. [ 20 ] Salvation is a matter of
grace, not of debt.
But as debt [of, but according to, debt, what is owed, his due].[ 21 ] I suppose
God who rejoices when one sinner repents (Lu 15:7) finds more joy in saving
people by grace than He would have by debt if the latter were even possible.
Certainly a woman or a man saved by God's grace finds immense joy in salvation
and motivation to praise Him. Grace eliminates the momentary pleasure of
FAITH ACCOUNTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS
4:5-8 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the
ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, 6
just as David also
describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart
from works: 7 "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose
sins are covered; 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin."
But to him who does not work [to, and to, one who does not work, that
worketh not, the one not working].[ 22 ] Paul is still countering the false Judaizing
teachers who would have Gentiles (and Jews) obey the OT Law, or at least parts
of it, in order to be saved.
But believes on Him who justifies the ungodly [but trusts, but who believes,
but believeth, him, that justifieth the ungodly].[ 23 ]
His faith is accounted for righteousness [his faith is reckoned, is counted,
credited, to, as, righteousness].[ 24 ] Saving faith is obedient faith. Faith is like
a germinating seed. God honors it even before a person becomes mature in
RIGHTEOUSNESS RECKONED APART FROM WORKS
[4:6] Just as David also describes the blessedness [ so also, even also, even as,
David speaks, pronounces, pronounceth, describeth, also declares, blessing,
a blessing].[ 25 ] Paul cites David as one who lived under the Law of Moses. His
keeping the Law did not save him, although he said it was his desire to sincerely
observe it with his whole heart.
Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; indeed, I shall observe
it with my whole heart (Ps 119:34).
David lived and died under the OT Law. Yet he was justified in the same
manner as Abraham. Neither were justified by works of merit. Both were
justified by faith and by the merits of the sacrifice of Christ Jesus.
Of the man to whom God imputes righteousness [upon the man, person, unto
whom God, the Lord, reckons, reckoneth, imputeth, credits, righteousness].[ 26 ]
Apart from works [without works].[ 27 ] The NEB translators confusingly used
five words to translate ERGOON works. Just what did they intend by "apart from
any specific acts of justice"? Is this but one more effort to slip into the text the
doctrine of salvation by faith only? Wordings like this have led some to say:
Therefore, that's how we're justified--totally by faith with no recourse to
works.[ 28 ]
[4:7] Blessed are those [saying, Blessed they, are they].[ 29 ]
JOY OF FORGIVENESS
(Ro 4:7; Ps 32:1, 2)
1. Blessed (happy, with divine favor) is the man whose
sins are forgiven.
2. Prayers heard.
3. Deliverance assured.
5. Instruction and guidance.
6. Fellowship with God.
7. God's steadfast love.
Whose lawless deeds are forgiven [whose iniquities, lawlessnesses, have been
forgiven].[ 30 ] Paul brings to attention Psalm 32:1, 2, where the Holy Spirit adds:
"and in whose spirit there is no deceit." In the Psalm, David had in view his own
forgiveness (see Ps 32:5). True, as a servant of God he was a man after God's
heart (Ac 13:22). But he sinned. God pardoned him and counted him righteous.
His lawless deeds were forgiven. Hence, the statement quoted below:
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in
whose spirit there is no deceit (Ps 32:1, 2).
And whose sins are covered [and whose sins have been covered].[ 31 ] Covering
of sins is a metaphor that means they were forgiven.
Blessed is the man [blessed the man, is the man].[ 32 ]
To whom the Lord shall not impute sin [against whom the Lord will not,
shall not at all, does not, reckon, account, his sin].[ 33 ] When a person turns to
God in faith and obedience his sins are covered. After sins are covered and
forgiven, God no longer holds them on account.
METAPHORS OF FORGIVENESS
1. Sins "put away" (2Sa 12:13).
2. Cast behind God's back (Isa 38:17).
3. Remembered no more (Jer 31:34).
4. Covered all their sin (Ps 85:2).
5. As far as the east is from the west, so far has
He removed our transgressions from us (Ps 103:12).
6. Shall not impute sin (Ro 4:8).
THIS BLESSEDNESS UPON THE CIRCUMCISED ONLY?
4:9 Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the
uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for
Does this blessedness then come? [ is this blessing upon, pronounced, then
pronounced, cometh this blessedness then?].[ 34 ] Finally, Paul asks a question
that reveals the point he has been leading up to since verse 1. He wants HIS
Jewish readers to understand that God saves Gentiles as well.
Upon the circumcised only [rest on the circumcision, only upon the
circumcised?].[ 35 ] Although some other peoples are thought to have practiced
circumcision,[ 36 ] the circumcised, in this verse, are Jewish people.
Or upon the uncircumcised also [or also on the uncircumcised, the
uncircumcision also]. [ 37 ] The uncircumcised in the present verse are Gentiles.
For we say [we say].[ 38 ]
That faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness [to Abraham his
faith has been reckoned as righteousness].[ 39 ] If we take EIS as in order to,
David and Paul are saying, God reckoned, counted or credited Abraham's faith in
order that He might forgive his sins. When forgiven, he would be righteous.
Some outrageously paraphrase Paul's words to make him imply the fundamental
acts of obedience to the gospel are not necessary. Some are guilty of a sin of
omission by leaving off obedience to the command to be baptized for the remission
of sins (see Ac 2:38). They talk of salvation from sin but, at the same, time
commit sin by leaving undone that which the Scriptures plainly say to do.
Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin
RIGHTEOUSNESS RECKONED WHILE UNCIRCUMCISED
4:10 How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircum-cised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised.
How then was it accounted? [how then was it, how was it then, how then has
it been, reckoned, reckoned to him?].[ 40 ]
While he was circumcised or uncircumcised? [was it before or after he had
been circumcised, when he was in circumcision, or, or in, uncircumcision?]. [ 41 ]
Paul presses this important question in order to stress his point that Gentiles can
be saved. He proceeds to answer the question.
Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised [it was not after but before
he was circumcised, not in circumcision but in uncircumcision].[ 42 ] This
particular account of Abraham's justification is in Genesis 15:6. He was not yet
86 years old (inferred from Ge 16:3, 16; 17:25). The record of his circumcision
is in Genesis 17:24. He was 99 at that time.
Paul is spending much time on this point because of its great importance in the
first century. Many Jewish Christians held to circumcision. Some insisted it was
a necessity and wanted the Gentile Christians to become circumcised in order to
be saved (see Ac 15:1).
FATHER OF UNCIRCUMCISED BELIEVERS
4:11, 12 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness
of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father
of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness
might be imputed to them also, 12 and the father of circumcision to those who
not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith
which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.
And he received the sign of circumcision [he received circumcision as a
sign]. [ 43 ] This is an example of the genitive of apposition, where the genitive takes
the place of a word in apposition to the noun on which it depends.[ 44 ] The meaning
is that the sign of circumcision is the sign consisting of circumcision.
Circumcision did not make Abraham or anyone else a member of, or partaker
of, the covenant. It was a sign, mark or indicator of it. We know this because
descendants of Abraham were born into the covenant. If they were not
circumcised they were cut off from it.
And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his
foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My
covenant (Gen 17:14).
Babies were born into membership of God's people. They remained so for at
least eight days (Ge 17:12). If they were not of God's people at birth, they could
not have been cut off for not being circumcised at a later time.
A seal [or, as seal].[ 45 ] Following are quotes from Robertson L. Whiteside and
E. M. Zerr, respectively:
Circumcision was more than a sign to Abraham; it was a seal of the
righteousness of his faith, a stamp of God's approval to his faith. To the
Hebrews it was a sign of the covenant; to Abraham it was a seal of the
righteousness of faith which he had in uncircumcision.[ 46 ]
An inspector does not put his stamp of approval on an article to make it
pure, but to indicate that it was already pure.[ 47 ]
Of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised [of
the righteousness which he had by faith, of faith which he had, while he was
in uncircumcision].[ 48 ] Note that Abraham had "the righteousness of the faith"
before he was circumcised. He was known as a righteous man almost a quarter
of a century before he was circumcised (see Ge 12:4; 15:6; 17:24; see charts LIFE
OF ABRAHAM A and B). It is quite out of line to say he was saved by
circumcision. It is equally wrong to say he was counted as righteous for the first
time at the event of Genesis 15:6.
That he might be the father of all those who believe [the purpose was to
make him, the father of all, of all them, that believe].[ 49 ] Notice the phrase,
"all those who believe." This is vital in Paul's argument to show that Gentiles
may also be saved by the gospel.
Though they are uncircumcised [without being circumcised, being, though,
though they be, in uncircumcision]. [ 50 ] Circumcision was not necessary in order
for the Gentiles could be saved. They did not have to become Jews before
obeying the gospel.
That righteousness might be imputed to them also [in order that, and who
thus, have righteousness reckoned, might be accounted, unto them, unto them
also].[ 51 ] When Jews (or Gentiles) obey the gospel, they are saved by faith and
righteousness is reckoned to them (see Ro 6:3, 4; 17; 2Th 1:7-9). That is, they
[4:12] And the father of circumcision [and father, and the father, and
likewise the father, of the circumcised].[ 52 ]
STEPS OF ABRAHAM'S FAITH
(Ro 4:12; Ge 12:1, 2)
1. He left (Lu 14:33; Mt 10:37; Re 2:10).
2. He entered (Heb 11:8; Ge 12:5; Joh 3:5;Ro 6:3;
Ga 3:27; Eph 1:3).
3. He became (Mt 5:13-16; Mk 16:15, 16; Ro 8:17;
Php 3:20, 21; 1Ti 4:12).
(Coffman 173, 174)
To those who not only are of the circumcision [to them who not only, not
only to those, who are not merely, circumcised, are, who are not of
circumcision only].[ 53 ] Paul refers to the Jews and implies physical circumcision
was not sufficient to make them righteous. Faith plus some response, that is,
some act of obedience was necessary.
But who also walk [but also, but to those also, who walk, follow].[ 54 ] Paul
adds another characteristic to those who can claim Abraham as their spiritual
father. Notice that he does not include all Jews as sons of Abraham. To be a
circumcised Jew was not enough. He must also walk in the steps of Abraham's
faith. Notice how Paul expands on the Jewish idea of "father Abraham." He now
includes Gentiles who follow Abraham's example of faith. All Christians are
children of Abraham (Ga 3:29). In Christ, there is no difference between Jew and
Gentile (Ac 15:9; Ga 3:28, 29; 5:6).
WALKING IN THE STEPS OF ABRAHAM
4. Confessing faith in Christ.
5. Being baptized into Christ.
6. Living faithfully.
In the steps of the faith [the example of the faith, of that faith].[ 55 ] The point
is that we are to walk in the steps of Abraham's faith which he had before age 99
when he was circumcised (see Ge 17:24). We are also to imitate his faith in
obedience as he obeyed the command to be circumcised, to offer Isaac and other
acts of submission. The commands to us are different but the faith that prompts
them is similar.
Which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised [of our father
Abraham had, which he had, before he was circumcised, in, during,
uncircumcision, while, being yet, uncircumcised].[ 56 ]
PROMISE TO BE HEIR OF THE WORLD
4:13 For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to
Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of
For the promise [the promise].[ 57 ]
That he would be the heir of the world [that they should inherit the world,
that he should be heir of the world].[ 58 ] The inheritance of God's Son is "the
nations" (Ps 2:8). He has all authority (Mt 28:18). He is "heir of all things"
(Heb 1:2). All things are put in subjection under his feet (Heb 2:8). It was
people to which He was made heir.
The inheritance of Christ is parallel to the inheritance of Abraham. Abraham
was heir of the world. The land promise is not under consideration here. That
was limited to "all the land of Canaan" (Ge 17:8; also 12:7; 13:15, 17). Abraham
realized the earthly land was not the totality of God's promise:
For he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker
is God (Heb 11:10).
Abraham knew also that his inheritance was not military might, although his
descendants would possess the gate of their enemies.
Blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your
descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the
seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies (Ge
22:17; also 24:60).
ABRAHAM WAS HEIR OF THE WORLD
1. By being the father of offspring as numberless
as stars and sand (Ge 15:5, 6; 22:15-18).
2. As he and his descendants received God's
3. By receiving the merits of Christ who would
bless the world.
4. By being the father of the faithful (Ro 4:11).
5. In the sense that he had innumerable spiritual
children (Ga 3:7).
Abraham's many physical offspring did not fulfill the promise that he would be
heir of the world (Ro 9:8). How then was he to be heir of the world?[ 59 ] In
several related senses (see chart ABRAHAM WAS HEIR OF THE WORLD).
Was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law [to, was to, Abraham
and his descendant, descendants, not, it was not, did not come, for by law,
through the law].[ 60 ] The Law in this context is the Law of Moses. Until Christ
came it was the best law ever given. Some think that by extension it includes
many other legal systems.[ 61 ]
But through the righteousness of faith [but by righteousness of faith].[ 62 ]
HOW FAITH IS MADE VOID
4:14, 15 For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the
promise made of no effect, 15 because the law brings about wrath; for where
there is no law there is no transgression.
For if those who are of the law [if it is, the adherents, they, they which,
that, are of law, of the Law].[ 63 ] Although among "those who are of the law"
were some Gentiles, the thrust of Paul's statement is directed to Jews.[ 64 ] When
he questioned if they were heirs in any sense of the word, he jolted those who
"kept" the Law but "did not seek it by faith" (Ro 9:32). If those who lived by the
Law were heirs of heaven then two extremely important things were useless: faith
and the promise. In the first century, not only were there Jews who thought they
could be righteous by keeping the Law but they sought to bind at least part of it
upon the Gentile converts as well (see Ac 15:1, 10).
Are heirs [be, who are to be, the heirs].[ 65 ] Paul uses the term "heirs" in the
sense of those going to heaven.
Faith is made void [faith, then the faith, is, is made, null, vain].[ 66 ] Paul
argues strongly against the idea that keeping the Law of Moses saves from sin.
If the Law made people heirs then faith was made null and void. If justification
came about by keeping the OT Law then the teaching about Abraham's faith being
reckoned for righteousness amounted to nothing. It was, to say the least,
unnecessary (see Ge 15:6). The Greek has the article "the" before "faith"
suggesting that "the faith" is the law of Christ. His teaching would be made void
if righteousness could have been obtained through the Law of Moses (see Ga
And the promise made of no effect [and the promise nullified, is void, is
made of none effect].[ 67 ] If the Law made men righteous, the spiritual promise
of Genesis 12:1-3, that looked toward Christ, had no meaning. The result would
denote that man could be saved without its fulfillment in Christ.
Because the law brings about wrath [for the law brings, works, worketh,
wrath].[ 68 ] The law brought the wrath of God because men violated it (see Ro
1:18; 5:9; Eph 5:6; Col 3:6; 1Jo 3:4).
For where there is no law there is no transgression [but where no law is,
neither is there, transgression].[ 69 ] Abraham did not violate the Law of Moses
because it had not been given to him. NT commands such as confession and
baptism did not apply in his day either (Ro 10:9, 10; Ac 2:38; 10:48; 22:16).
Infants and imbeciles were not subjects of the OT Law. Neither are they subjects
to the gospel. They are "alive" spiritually without the law (Ro 7:9).
WHY SALVATION IS BY FAITH
4:16-18 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the
promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law,
but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all
17 (as it is written, "I have made you a father of many nations") in the
presence of Him whom he believed-- God, who gives life to the dead and calls
those things which do not exist as though they did; 18 who, contrary to hope,
in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to
what was spoken, "So shall your descendants be."
Therefore [that is why, for this cause]. [ 70 ] Why has God arranged things so
that salvation is by faith? Paul answers.
It is of faith [it depends on faith, on the principle of faith]. [ 71 ] When Paul
says justification is of faith, he implies it is not of works, that is, works of the
Law (inferred from Ro 11:6, 7). However, salvation by faith takes the merit out
of all kinds of works.
That it might be according to grace [in order that it may be, it might be, that
the promise may rest, on, by, according to, grace].[ 72 ] If one is saved without
his own merit, his salvation can only be by grace. It is simply marvelous that man
can be saved that way instead of by works of merit. The latter would effectively
rule out heaven for everyone.
Salvation by grace is the opposite of salvation by
debt or merit. This is one of the most wonderful
ideas in all the Bible!
So that the promise might be sure to all the seed [to the end, in order to, the
promise, being sure, may be sure, and be guaranteed, to all his
descendants]. [ 73 ] If the spiritual promise to Abraham required keeping the Law
of Moses, it would not have been sure to anyone, let alone to all the seed. The
reason? No one ever kept the Law perfectly. How is the promise to Abraham
made sure? The only way the promise could be sure to all his descendants is for
it to be by grace through faith (see Eph 2:8, 9).
Not only to those who are of the law [not to that only, which is, the
adherents, of the Law].[ 74 ] A ray of light finally shines on the faithful OT Jews
who were "of the Law." They may be included in the salvation by faith of which
But also to those who are of the faith of Abraham [but also to those who
share, but to that also which is of, Abraham's faith]. [ 75 ] Those "who are of the
faith of Abraham" include a much larger number than the faithful Jews.
Who is the father of us all [who is, for he is the, father of us all].[ 76 ]
Abraham is the spiritual father of all Christians, both Jews and Gentiles (Ga 3:7).
This idea was easily accepted by Gentiles but Paul has now gone to some length
in this letter to convince Jews of it. We should not take this truth for granted.
As it is written [according as it is written].[ 77 ] Once again, Paul, through the
Holy Spirit, recognizes the authority of the written pages the Bible.
COVENANTS WITH ABRAHAM
1. In his seed all families of earth to be blessed
a. This promise called a covenant
(Ac 3:25; (Ga 3:17).
b. God said, "My covenant is with you" (Ge 17:4)
implying the promise to make him father of many
nations had already been made.
2. Land promise (Ge 17:8).
3. Covenant of circumcision (Ge 17:10).
I have made you [have I made thee].[ 78 ] Although all the nations did not at the
time exist, God spoke of them when He said:
No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be
Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations (Ge 17:5).
God's appointment of Abraham as the father of many nations (Christians) was
not by fleshly lineage but by special arrangement, namely, salvation by grace
A father of many nations [father the father, of many nations].[ 79 ] God
changed the patriarch's name from Abram (exalted father) to Abraham (father of
a multitude). Because of the immediate context, especially Romans 4:16, we may
infer the "many nations" are Christians.
LIFE OF ABRAHAM (A)
1. Before age 75, God called him out of Ur
(Ac 7:2-4; Heb 11:8).
2. Tarried at Haran [600 miles toward Canaan] until his
father Terah died; was 75 when left Haran for
Canaan [400 miles more] (Ge 12:4).
3. Wandered about 10 years in Shechem, Bethel, the
Negeb, Egypt [taught math and astronomy
there] Josephus, Antiquities 1.8.1), and Hebron;
rescued Lot; tithes to Melchizedek.
4. At 86, Ishmael was born (Ge 16:16).
5. Lived in hill country about 15 years.
6. Circumcised at age 99 (Ge 17:24).
LIFE OF ABRAHAM (B)
1. Prayed for Sodom; moved south
(Ge 18:23-33; 20:1).
2. At 100, Isaac was born; Sarah about 90 (Ge 21:5).
3. Offered Isaac who was 20 or 25 (Ge 22:1-14).
4. Abraham was 137 when Sarah [age 127] died;
Isaac was then 37; Ishmael was 51 (Ge 23:1).
5. At age 140, sent for Rebekah [Isaac was 40].
6. Died at age 175 (Ge 25:7-10).
In the presence of Him whom he believed-- God [before the God in whom he
believed, even God].[ 80 ] The Levites praised the Lord saying:
You are the LORD God, who chose Abram, and brought him out of Ur of
the Chaldeans, and gave him the name Abraham; 8 You found his heart
faithful before You, and made a covenant with him to give the land of the
Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, and the
Girgashites-- to give it to his descendants. You have performed Your words,
for You are righteous (Ne 9:7, 8).
Abraham stood in God's presence and believed that he would be the father of
many nations. The promise was given by God. It is valid before Him. Also, the
Genesis account which contains it was written by Moses before Him, that is, in
God's presence. There is no doubt that the promise is an inspired statement.[ 81 ]
The NEB captures some of the sense with, "This promise, then, was valid before
God, the God in whom he put his faith."
THE ABILITY OF DEITY
1. Giving life to the dead (De 32:39; 1Sa 2:6; 2Ki 5:7;
2Co 1:9; 1Ti 6:13; compare Ne 9:6).
2. Father can raise the dead.
3. So can the Son (Joh 5:21; 1Co 15:22; Re 1:18).
4. Jesus Christ is deity, although this argument
by itself is not conclusive.
Who gives life to the dead [who quickens, quickeneth, giveth life to, the
dead].[ 82 ] Paul alludes to God's command to offer Isaac when Abraham's faith in
the resurrection shone brightly (see verses 18, 21; Heb 11:19).
1. That God could "make alive" his body that was
"already dead" (Ro 4:19).
2. That He could raise the pierced and burnt body of
Isaac (Heb 11:19).
3. That He could make alive spiritually dead
Gentiles (Ge 15:5, 6; Ro 4:17, 18).
And calls those things which do not exist as though they did [and calleth into
existence the things that do not exist, things, the things, that are not, which
be not, as being].[ 83 ] The "many nations" of Christians did not exist when the
promise was made. God is able to "call"[ 84 ] things into existence, such as the
Indeed My hand has laid the foundation of the earth, and My right hand has
stretched out the heavens; when I call to them, they stand up together (Isa
THINGS WHICH DO NOT EXIST
1. God chose "the things that are not, that he might
bring to nought the things that are" (1Co 1:28).
2. Creation: "Worlds were framed by the word of God"
3. Abraham (100) and Sarah (90) to have a son
(Ge 17:16; 18:10; 21:2, 3).
4. Gentiles once "not My people" are now "sons
of the living God" (Ro 9:26).
As a result of God's "calling" Abraham, his spiritual descendants multiplied.
Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who bore you; for I called him
alone, and blessed him and increased him (Isa 51:2).
GENTILES, NOT GOD'S PEOPLE BECOME
PEOPLE OF THE LIVING GOD
1. I will make you the father of a multitude of nations
2. You are "not My people" (Ho 1:8; Ro 9:26).
3. Then I will say to those who were not My people,
"You are My people!" And they shall say, "You
are my God!" (Ho 2:23; Ro 9:25).
IN HOPE AGAINST HOPE HE BELIEVED
[4:18] Who, contrary to hope in hope believed [in hope he, believed against
hope, who against hope, who, when things were against hope, believed in
hope].[ 85 ] Abraham believed just because God promised he would be the father
of many nations. There was every earthly reason for him to disbelieve God.
There was no natural prospect at all for Abraham and Sarah to have a child.
However, Abraham's strong unwavering faith (verse 20) went beyond natural
anticipation. He steadfastly believed in God's word. The faith of Christians
today, in God and his word, like Abraham's, must be strong in spite of modern
philosophies false and atheistic ideas taught in some classrooms and pulpits.
So that he became the father of many nations [that, to the end that, he
should, he might, be, become, to his becoming, father, a father, of many
nations].[ 86 ]
According to what was spoken [as, according to that, he had been told,
which was, which had been, spoken].[ 87 ] Abraham was looking at the stars when
God's word was spoken to him. God's words were later recorded by Moses in
Genesis 15:5. When God spoke, the fulfillment was as certain as if it had already
happened (compare Isa 51:2).
So shall your descendants be [so shall, thus shall, thy seed, your posterity,
be]. [ 88 ] God promised to make Abraham the father of a multitude of nations (Ge
17:5). The same promise was repeated to Jacob (Ge 28:14; 32:17). The Hebrew
writer sums up what the immediate context says about Abraham.
Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as
the stars of the sky in multitude-- innumerable as the sand which is by the
seashore (Heb 11:12; see Ge 15:5).
ABRAHAM NOT WEAK IN FAITH
4:19-21 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body,
already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of
Sarah's womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief,
but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully
convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
And not being weak in faith [he did not weaken, and without being, and
being not, weakened, in the faith].[ 89 ] "Not being weak in faith" is a Hebraism
used in order to emphasize the positive by denial of the negative. Abraham was
strong in faith. Peter walked on the water but when he "saw that the wind was
boisterous" he began to sink (Mt 14:30). When Joseph was returning from Egypt,
he heard that Archelaus reigned over Judea in the room of his father Herod (Mt
2:22). Were these good men afraid? Were they weakened in faith? Perhaps so.
But not Abraham. His faith remained strong (but see note on verse 22).
He did not consider his own body [he considered, when he considered, his
own, not his own, body].[ 90 ] Like a child gazing down from a tall tower
undaunted by the height, Abraham pondered his antiquated body. He probably
wondered how long he could retain the ability to father children. Perhaps he
considered himself impotent at the time. He contemplated his own body but his
faith in God's promise remained strong.
Already dead [already become, now, which was as good as, dead].[ 91 ] This
may be an hyperbole, that is, exaggerated language. At his age, Abraham was
quite virile. He was about eighty-five (Ge 16:16). At that time, he was able to
father a child (Ge 16:4). Or was Ishmael's conception also miraculous? Later,
he said to God, "Oh that Ishmael might live before You!" (Ge 17:18).
God pointed out that Sarah would have a son, Isaac (Ge 17:19; 18:10). Sarah
had passed the age of childbearing. At that time Abraham (about 100) and Sarah
(90) "were old, well advanced in age" (Ge 18:11; 21:5). God's miraculous cure
for male impotence for a 100 year-old man appears to have been long-lasting.
Years later, he fathered six children by Keturah and others by concubines (Ge
25:1, 2, 6).
Since he was about a hundred years old [being, when, he being, because he
was, a hundred, about an hundred, years old].[ 92 ] Think about the one
hundred-year "patriarchs" with whom you are acquainted and compare them to
Abraham. Many no longer possess their mental competence nor their physical
vigor and bounce.
And the deadness of Sarah's womb [and the deadening, or, or when he
considered, neither yet, the barrenness, of Sarah's womb]. [ 93 ] Sarah had been
childless during her long marriage to Abraham. Without God's assistance, no
doubt, she probably would have remained barren.
Yet, with respect to the promise of God [concerning, yet, looking unto, and
hesitated not at, the promise of God].[ 94 ] The revealed word of God contained
the promise that Abraham trusted.
[4:20] He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief [no distrust
made him waver, he wavered not, staggered not, in unbelief].[ 95 ] We may
never know the laughter nor the mental struggle and turmoil Abraham endured.
Yet, any doubts that entered his mind were quickly overcome by his triumphant
ABRAHAM GROWING STRONG IN FAITH
1. Right use of God's word: looked to the promise.
2. Believed: did not waver unbelief.
3. Was strengthened: grew strong in faith.
4. Worshipped: gave glory to God.
But was strengthened in faith [but he grew, waxed, but, in his faith, through
faith, being, strong, but found strength].[ 96 ] Since faith comes by hearing the
word of God (Ro 10:17), each time God spoke to Abraham, his faith grew
stronger. Reading and hearing the word has the same effect on people today (see
Joh 20:30, 31).
Giving glory to God [gave, as he gave, glory to God].[ 97 ] Moses wrote,
Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Shall a
child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah,
who is ninety years old, bear a child?" (Ge 17:17).
The manner of "giving glory to God" in this instance is a little different from the
solemn or even gloomy worship services in some liberal and traditional churches.
Abraham fell flat on his face laughing. An interesting act of worship! According
to Josephus, he gave thanks.
Abram therefore gave thanks to God for these blessings; and then he, and
all his family, and his son Ishmael, were circumcised immediately; the son
being that day thirteen years of age, and he ninety-nine[ 98 ]
[4:21] And being fully convinced [fully convinced, and being fully assured,
fully persuaded, in full assurance].[ 99 ] Abraham had not a doubt in the world
that God would fulfill his promise. History bears out the fact that he was right.
Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who
keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love
Him and keep His commandments (De 7:9).
That what He had promised [that what he has promised].[ 100 ] Long before
the events in Abraham's life under consideration in the present verses, God had
promised to save Noah (Ge 6:18), not to again destroy the world by water (Ge
9:8-13), that He would make of Abraham a great nation, would bless him and
make his name great. Also He would bless them that blessed him and curse them
that cursed him, and in him all families of the earth would be blessed (Ge 12:2,
He was also able to perform [God is, was, able, able also, to do].[ 101 ]
Congress may pass a law without appropriating money to carry it out or to enforce
it. A general may attack an undefeatable enemy. A builder may start but be
unable to complete the construction. However, God is Almighty. He is able to
fulfill his promises. When he speaks, the outcome is as certain as if it had already
come to pass.
[4:22] And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness" [therefore,
wherefore also, it was, it was unto him, reckoned, imputed, credited, to, as,
Therefore also [that is why, now, but].[ 102 ] Because of his faith as evidenced
by his prostrate position and laughter during his worship his faith was reckoned
to Abraham as righteousness.
It was reckoned unto him as righteousness [his faith was reckoned to him as
righteousness, that it was imputed to him].[ 103 ] The fact that Abraham was
righteous by faith is stated at least four times in Scripture (see chart ABRAHAM
ABRAHAM WAS RIGHTEOUS
About age 75. In Ur, through the righteousness of
his faith he was promised to become heir of the
world (Ge 12:1-3; Ro 4:13).
About age 85. God promised that his seed should be
numberless as the stars (Ge 15:5, 6).
About age 100. God promised Sarah would have a
son (Ge 17:15-21).
About age 125. God commanded him to offer Isaac
(Ge 22:2; Jas 2:21-23, especially verse 23).
James stressed Abraham's works when he offered up Isaac (Jas 2:21-23). Paul
may not have emphasized them because Abraham's long-term obedience was spotty
and imperfect. For example, when he was told to get out of his country from his
kindred and from his father's house (Ge 12:1). He took his father and his nephew
along. His father died in Haran, some 600 miles from Ur (Ac 7:4). Later, at
least twice, he made false statements about Sarah's relationship to him (Ge 12:13,
19; 20:2, 5, 12).
WRITTEN FOR US
4:23-25 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him,
24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up
Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up because of our
offenses, and was raised because of our justification.
Now it was not written for his sake alone [it was not written, but the words
were written not, because of him only, on his account alone].[ 104 ] God laid
down a principle to Abraham that applies to us today. The Holy Spirit caused
Moses to write it for our learning (Ro 15:4). That principle is that through Christ
there is lots of forgiveness.
That it was imputed to him [that it was reckoned unto him, to whom it shall
be imputed, credited].[ 105 ] The obedient believer is saved by grace when his
faith is reckoned for righteousness.
But also for us [ but on, for, ours also, us also, because of us, our sake
also].[ 106 ] The promise to Abraham has an application for us today. The truths
in Genesis were written for us--not to be obeyed as law but as lessons about God's
promises, dependability, forgiveness and His concern for sinners.
It shall be imputed [it will be reckoned, to, unto, whom it shall be
credited]. [ 107 ] Did Abraham believe in the coming of Christ? Certainly. Jesus
said, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad"
(Joh 8:56). Just as Abraham's faith was reckoned for righteousness, it is God's
intent and purpose to reckon righteousness to believers today.
For with the heart one believes EIS unto, in order to righteousness, and with
the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Ro 10:10).
To us who believe in Him [to those who believe, if we believe, on him, to
whom, believing on him].[ 108 ] Believers, both Jews and Gentiles, are of all
Who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead [that raised, that raised up,
who has raised, from, from among, the dead, Jesus our Lord].[ 109 ] Can one
have saving faith and not believe in the resurrection of Christ? The Scriptures do
not hold out a promise of heaven to those who disbelieve it. His resurrection is
a fundamental part of the gospel (see Ro 10:9, 10; 1Co 15:1-4).
[4:25] Who was delivered up [who was, has been, delivered, put to
death].[ 110 ] In the present context, Paul alludes to the death and resurrection of
Jesus. Later on he will explain how penitent sinners obey a form of that doctrine
in baptism (Ro 6:3, 4, 17, 18). God delivered Jesus up "for us all" (Ro 8:32;
compare Ro 5:8). Judas also betrayed Him or delivered Him up, the Greek being
identical for the two expressions (see Mk 3:19; Lu 22:3; Joh 6:71; 13:2, 21-26).
He delivered Him over to death. Christ gave Himself (Ga 1:4; 2:20; Eph 5:2).
Because of our offenses [for our, because of our, trespasses,
transgressions].[ 111 ]
And was raised [and, raised, and was, and has been, raised again].[ 112 ] The
great power of the righteous God is seen in the resurrection of Christ.
Because of our justification [for our justification, that we might be
justified].[ 113 ] Not only did the resurrection of Christ confirm the adequacy of
His sacrifice but it enabled Him to become mediator and intercessor.
Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God
through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them (Heb
7:25; see also Heb 8:6; 9:14, 15; 24; 12:24).
Also because of His resurrection, He is able to be a priest forever and, as such,
is the guarantee or surety of the better covenant (Heb 7:21, 22, 28; compare Zec
SUMMARY OF ROMANS 4
The main point in this chapter is that Gentiles as well as the Jews may be saved
by the gospel. Abraham's justification is not a model for alien sinners to be
justified in the church age. However, like him, people today are to have an
obedient faith. Commandments for us are different than for him. Paul's teaching
on Abraham's justification "apart from works," in context, means "apart from
works of the Mosaic law." This emphasis was never intended to belittle
confession and baptism.
Sentence praises: God's name is exalted above all blessing and praise (Ne 9:5).
He has magnified His word above all His name (Ps 138:2).
[ 1 ]The basic text in this chapter is the NKJV. Scripture taken from the New King James Version.
Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Alternate phrases in brackets are from ASV, Darby, ESB, KJV and RSV and occasionally another
version. Greek transliteration approximates the BibleSoft method.
[ 2 ]TI OUN EROUMEN, what therefore shall we say (Marshall 612); EROUMEN is first person
plural, future active indicative of LEGOO (Han 301); the phrase anticipates an objection or proposes
an influence (Vincent 3.50); what then shall we say (Lenski 279); then what are we to say (Williams);
see Romans 6:1; 7:7; 8:31; 9:14, 30.
[ 3 ]'ABRAAM TON PROPATOPA HEMOON, Abraham the forefather of us (Marshall 612); in the
Westcott-Hort text, forefather, founder of a family or nation (Thayer 541); that we have found Abraham
[to be] our forefather (Lenski 279); about our forefather Abraham (Lenski 335); a forefather [PRO
before, PATEER a father] (Vine 448); PATEERA father in the Received Text).
[ 4 ]EUREEKENAI KATA SARKA, to have found according to the flesh (Marshall 612);
EUREEKENAI is the perfect active infinitive of EURISKOO (Han 301); signifies [he] attained by his
own efforts apart from grace; according to the flesh; construe with found--the question is: Was
Abraham justified by anything which pertained to the flesh? (Vincent 3.50); to attain to anything after
the manner of a [weak] man, that is, by use of merely human powers (Thayer 570); that we have found
[Abraham to be] according to the flesh (Lenski 279); according to the flesh [following Westcott-Hort
and best manuscripts] (Williams); the word is omitted from the Westcott-Hort text; see usage of the
Greek word in Hebrews 9:12.
[ 5 ]Although missing from Westcott-Hort manuscript, translation of the Greek KATA SARKA
according to [the] flesh in present verse is rather simple. The NIV renders it with the paraphrase "in
this matter." They did not translate either of the two Greek words. Instead, they inexcusably supplied
three English words that do not correspond to anything in the Greek! Why? The NEB is not much
better. That version implies that "our ancestor in the natural line" is the same as "our forefather
according to the flesh."
[ 6 ]If the justification of Abraham is parallel to salvation of sinners in the church age, it is of
continued justification as a Christian, not of becoming a Christian. But even this is predicated, not
upon faith alone but upon walking in the light (1Jo 1:7).
[ 7 ]EI GAR 'ABRAAM EX ERGOON EDIKAIOOTHEE, if For Abraham by works was justified
(Marshall 612); EDIKAIOOTHEE is third person singular, first aorist passive indicative of DIKAIOOO
(Han 301); literally, out of works . . . In speaking of the relation of works to justification Paul never
uses DIA by or through, but EK [or EX] out of (Vincent 3.50); got his reputation for righteousness
[namely with his countrymen, but see Meyer, edited by Weiss on the passage] by works (Thayer 150);
deeds that the law commands you to do (Arndt 308); for if [indeed] Abraham was declared righteous
as a result of works (Lenski 279); for if he was considered in right standing with God on the condition
of what he did (Williams).
[ 8 ]NEB.
[ 9 ]ECHEI KAUCHEEMA, he has a boast (Marshall 612); ECHEI is third person singular, present
active indicative of ECHOO (Han 301); that in which one glories, a matter or ground of glorying (Vine
484); that of which one glories or can glory, matter or ground of glorying (Thayer 342); he has
something he has something to boast of (Williams); he has reason for glorying (Lenski 279); see 1
Corinthians 5:6; 9:15.
[ 10 ]ALL' OU PROS THEON, but not with God (Marshall 612); but not toward God; to have
whereof to glory with one [properly turned "toward" God] (Thayer 543); but now he has none in
relation to God (Lenski 279); but not before God (Williams); see Jeremiah 9:23.
[ 11 ]TI GAR HEE GRAPHEE LEGEI, for what the scripture says? (Marshall 612, 613); LEGEI is
third person singular, present active indicative of LEGOO (Han 301); the scripture passage (Vincent
3.51); for what does the Scripture say? (Lenski 279; Williams); see Genesis 15:6.
[ 12 ]EPISTEUSEN DE 'ABRAAM TOO THEOO, and believed Abraham God (Marshall 613; Lenski
279); EPISTEUSEN is third person singular, first aorist active indicative of PISTEUOO (Han 301);
[Abraham] accepted his disclosures without doubt or contradiction (Arndt 661); trusted God promising
a thing (Thayer 512); Abraham put his faith in God (Williams).
[ 13 ]KAI ELOGISTHEE AUTOO, and it was reckoned to him (Marshall 613; Lenski 279);
ELOGISTHEE is third person singular, first aorist passive indicative of LOGIZOMAI (Han 301); of
reckoning faith for righteousness . . . by way of contrast between grace and debt, which latter involves
the reckoning of a reward for works (Vine 930); credited to him (Arndt 476); faith is reckoned to one
for righteousness, that is, is so taken into account that righteousness is ascribed to or recognized in it
(Thayer 150); and it was credited to him (Williams); see Psalm 106:31; Romans 2:26; 4:5, 9, 22; 9:8.
[ 14 ]EIS DIKAIOSUNEEN, for righteousness (Marshall 613; Lenski 279); because Abraham accepted
the Word of God, making it his own by that act of the mind and spirit which is called faith, and, as the
sequel showed, submitting himself to its control, therefore God accepted him as one who fulfilled the
whole of His requirements (Vine 971); unto righteousness as the result, to obtain righteousness (Vincent
3.51); as right standing with God (Williams).
[ 15 ]Vine (971). Vincent (3.51) cites Psalm 56:31; Isaiah 29:17, 32:15; 40:17 where the Septuagint
uses EIS to mean as and concludes ELOGISTHEE EIS reckoned unto and other references in the
Septuagint where ELOGISTHEE EIS and ELOGISTHEE HOS reckoned as are thus shown to be
substantially equivalent (but see note on verse 9).
[ 16 ]TOO DE ERGAZOMENOO, now to the [one] working (Marshall 613; Lenski 291); [used]
intransitively (Vine 1243); he that does works conformed to the law (Thayer 247); to the workman
(Arndt 307); now when a workman (Williams).
[ 17 ]HO MISTHOS, the reward (Marshall 613); primarily wages, hire, and then, generally, reward
. . . received in this life (Vine 966); to the man who works, his wages are considered not a favor, but
what is due him (Arndt 523); dues paid for work; wages, hire (Thayer 415); the pay (Lenski 291); gets
his pay (Williams).
[ 18 ]OU LOGIZETAI, is not reckoned (Marshall 613; Lenski 291); LOGIZETAI is third person
singular, present middle indicative of LOGIZOMAI (Han 301); t he subject is treated by way of contrast
between grace and debt, which latter involves the reckoning of a reward for works; what is owed as
a debt cannot be reckoned as a favor, but the faith of Abraham and his spiritual children sets them
outside the category of those who seek to be justified by self-effort, and, vice versa, the latter are
excluded from the grace of righteousness bestowed on sole condition of faith (Vine 930, [emphasis
supplied]; subjective, on the part of the bestower, the friendly disposition from which the kindly act
proceeds, graciousness, lovingkindness, goodwill generally, for example Acts 7:10, especially with
reference to the Divine favor of grace, for example Acts 14:16; in this respect there is stress on its
freshness and universality, its spontaneous character, as is the case of God's redemptive mercy, and
the pleasure or joy He designs for the recipient; thus it is set in contrast with debt (Vine 500); a
workman's wages are not credited to him as a favor [but as a claim] (Arndt 476); it is not considered
[ 19 ]The quotation from Rubel Shelly is from the Woodmont Hills Bulletin, 10/31/90; also the book,
Second Incarnation 207).
[ 20 ]KATA CHARIN, according to grace (Marshall 613; Lenski 291); literally, according to grace
(Vincent 3.51); of kindness which bestows upon one what he has not deserved (Thayer 666); it is not
considered from the point of view of a favor [literally, in accordance with favor] (Williams).
[ 21 ]ALLA KATA OPHEILEEMA, but according to debt (Marshall 613); [a longer form of
OPHEILEE that which is owed], expressing a debt more concretely . . . literally, of that which is
legally due (Vine 269); it is considered not as a favor, but as his due (Arndt 598); but according to
obligation (Lenski 291); but of an obligation (Williams).
[ 22 ]TOO DE MEE ERGAZOMENOO, but to the [one] not working (Marshall 613);
ERGAZOMENOO is the present middle participle, dative singular masculine of ERGAZOMAI (Han
301); he that does [not do] works conformed to the law (Thayer 247); to the [non]-workman (Arndt
307); but the man who does no work (Williams); but to one not working [at all] (Lenski 291; notice
that "at all" is added to the text); see notes on verses 4, 9, 11.
[ 23 ] PISTEUONTI DE EPI TON, but believing on the [one] justifying the impious man (Marshall
613); PISTEUONTI is the present active participle, dative singular masculine of PISTEUOO (Han 301);
with the accusative, the preposition carries the idea of mental direction with a view to resting upon,
which latter idea is conveyed by the same preposition (Vincent 3.52); but [only] believing on Him who
declares the ungodly one righteous (Lenski 291; notice the addition of "only"); but simply puts his faith
in Him (Williams); see Thayer on justifieth in notes on Romans 3:16; 8:30.
[ 24 ]LOGIZETAI HEE PISTIS AUTOU EIS DIKAIOSUNEEN, is reckoned the faith of him for
righteousness (Marshall 613); LOGIZETAI is third person singular, present middle indicative of
LOGIZOMAI (Han 301); the preposition EIS has the force of as, not the telic meaning with a view to,
in order that he may be [righteous]; nor strictly in the place of righteousness. Faith is not a substitute
for righteousness, since righteousness is involved in faith (Vincent 3.52); his faith is reckoned for
righteousness (Lenski 291); has faith credited to him as right standing (Williams); see notes on verse
3, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11; compare verses 22, 24; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23.
[ 25 ]KATHAPER KAI DAUID LEGEI TON MAKARISMON, even also David says the blessedness
(Marshall 613); LEGEI is third person singular, present active indicative of LEGOO (Han 301);
MARKARISMOS does not mean blessedness, but the declaration of the blessedness, the congratulation
(Vincent 3.43); pronounce one blessed (Thayer 386); indicates an ascription of blessing rather than a
state (Vine 125); in accord with what also David says on the blessedness (Lenski 295); so David too,
describes [literally, mentions] the happiness (Williams).
[ 26 ]TOU ANTHROOPOU HOO HO THEOS LOGISETAI DIKAIOSUNEEN, of the man to whom
God reckons righteousness (Marshall 613; Lenski 295); LOGISETAI is third person singular, present
middle indicative of LOGIZOMAI (Han 301); of the man to whom God credits right standing with
Himself (Williams); see note on verse 5.
[ 27 ]CHOORIS ERGOON, without works (Marshall 613); apart from, without, separate from
[works] (Vine 54); apart from works (Lenski 295); without the things he does having anything to do
with it [Greek, apart from works] (Williams).
[ 28 ]Gifford 49.
[ 29 ]MAKARIOI, blessed [are they] (Marshall 613); with a finite verb, blessed, happy (Thayer 386);
blessed, fortunate, happy, usually in the sense privileged recipient of divine favor (Arndt 486); blessed
(Lenski 295); happy are they (Williams).
[ 30 ]HOON APHETHEESAN HAI ANOMIAI, of whom were forgiven the lawlessness (Marshall
613); literally [whose] lawlessnesses were forgiven (Vincent 3.53); sins, in the plural, of acts or
manifestations of lawlessness, are remitted, forgiven (Vine 452, 590); let go, give up, a debt, by not
demanding it . . . that is, remit, forgive manifestations of disregard for law, iniquities, evil deeds
(Thayer 48, 89); whose iniquities are dismissed (Lenski 295); lawless deeds, transgressions canceled,
remitted, pardoned (Arndt 72, 125, 126); whose transgressions have been forgiven (Williams).
[ 31 ]KAI HOON EPEKALEPHTHEESAN HAI HAMARTIAI, and of whom were covered over the
sins (Marshall 613); literally, whose sins are covered over (Vine 244); are covered over so as not to
come to view, that is, are pardoned (Thayer 239); whose sins are covered (Arndt 294); and whose sins
are covered up (Lenski 295); whose sins were covered up (Williams).
[ 32 ]MAKARIOS ANEER, blessed [is] a man (Marshall 613); blessed a man (Lenski 295); happy
the man (Williams); see note on verse 7.
[ 33 ]HOU OU MEE LOGISEETAI KURIOS HAMARTIAN, of whom by no means may reckon [the]
Lord sin (Marshall 613); LOGISEETAI is third person singular, first aorist middle subjunctive of
LOGIZOMAI (Han 301); metaphorically, [not] pass to one's account (Thayer 379); [not] count [sin]
against someone, to punish him for it, [not] take account of sin [as a debt] (Arndt 43, 476); to whom
the Lord will not reckon sin! (Lenski 295); whose sin the Lord does not charge against him (Williams).
[ 34 ]HO MAKARISMOS OUN HOUTOS blessedness then Then (Marshall 613); the RV rightly puts
"pronounceth blessing," (Vine 125); now does this happiness? (Williams); this blessedness, now (Lenski
300); see note on verse 6.
[ 35 ]EPI TEEN PERITOMEEN, on the circumcision (Marshall 613); literally, a cutting round, by
metonymy, the abstract being put for the concrete, as with the application of the word to Jews generally
(Vine 184); [is it] on the circumcision [alone] (Lenski 300); to the Jews alone (Williams).
[ 36 ]In ancient times, in addition to the Jews, circumcision was practiced by the Arabians, Moabites,
Ammonites, Edomites and Egyptians. The Babylonians, Assyrians, Canaanites and Philistines did not
practice it (Zondervan 172).
[ 37 ]EE KAI EPI TEEN AKROBUSTIAN, or also on the circumcision? (Marshall 613);
uncircumcision, by metonymy, for Gentiles (Vine 184); or also on the foreskin (Lenski 300); or on the
heathen peoples too? (Williams).
[ 38 ]LEGOMEN GAR, for we say (Marshall 613; Williams); LEGOMEN is first person plural,
present active indicative of LEGOO (Han 301); for we are saying (Lenski 300).
[ 39 ]ELOGISTHEE TOO 'ABRAAM HEE PISTIS EIS DIKAIOSUNEEN, was reckoned to Abraham
the [his] faith for righteousness (Marshall 613); ELOGISTHEE is third person singular, first aorist
passive indicative of LOGIZOMAI (Han 301); of reckoning uncircumcision for circumcision by God's
estimate in contrast to that of the Jew regarding his own condition [verse 3], of reckoning faith for
righteousness, or reckoning righteousness to persons (Vine 930); reckoned to Abraham was the faith
for righteousness (Lenski 300); Abraham's faith was credited to him as right standing (Williams); see
notes on verses 3, 5, 9, 11.
[ 40 ]POOS OUN ELOGISTHEE, how then was it reckoned (Marshall 613; Lenski 300);
ELOGISTHEE is third person singular, first aorist passive indicative of LOGIZOMAI (Han 301); under
what circumstances [Greek, how or when] was it credited to him? (Williams); how then was it
reckoned, accounted? (see notes on verse 3).
[ 41 ]EN PERITOMEE ONTI EE EN AKROBUSTIA, in circumcision being or in uncircumcision?
(Marshall 613). or in uncircumcision (Marshall 613); used of the physical state, in contrast to the act
of circumcision (Vine 184); to him being in circumcision? or in foreskin? (Lenski 300); was it after he
was circumcised, or before? (Williams).
[ 42 ]OUK EN PERITOMEE ALL' EN AKROBUSTIA, not in circumcision but in uncircumcision
(Marshall 613); not in circumcision; on the contrary, in foreskin (Lenski 300); not after but before he
was circumcised (Williams).
[ 43 ]KAI SEEMEION ELABEN PERITOMEES, and a sign he received of circumcision (Marshall
613); ELABEN is third person singular, second aorist active indicative of LAMBANOO (Han 301);
[and he received] a sign, mark, indication, token, of [circumcision], that which distinguished [him] from
others (Vine 1042); in this difficult passage SEEMEIO[N] is probably best taken as by a sign; but it
is possible that the text is defective, Arndt 748; circumcision which should be a sign of the covenant
formed with God (Thayer 573); sign refers to the material token; seal to its religious import (Vincent
3.54); and a circumcision-sign he received (Lenski 300); afterward he received the mark of
[ 44 ]Nunn 31.
[ 45 ]SPHRAGIDA, a seal (Marshall 613); the impression of a seal or signet, metaphorically said of
circumcision, as an authentication of the righteousness of Abraham's faith, and an external attestation
of the covenant made with him by God; the Rabbis called circumcision "the seal of Abraham" (Vine
1003); he [Abraham] received the sign of circumcision as something that simply confirms the
righteousness through faith that was already present (Arndt 796); as God's seal (Williams); as seal
(Lenski 300); that by
which anything is confirmed, proved, authenticated, as by a seal, [a token or proof] (Thayer 609); see
note on 1 Corinthians 9:2.
[ 46 ]Whiteside 100.
[ 47 ]Zerr 356.
[ 48 ]TEES DIKAIOSUNEES TEES PISTEOOS TEES EN TEE AKROBUSTIA, of the righteousness
of the faith [while] in uncircumcision (Marshall 613); of the righteousness of the faith, the one [he
already had] in the foreskin (Lenski 300); of his right standing with Him on condition of faith
[descriptive genitive] which he had before he was circumcised (Williams); the state acceptable to God
which becomes a sinner's possession through that faith by which he embraces the grace of God offered
him in the expiatory death of Jesus Christ . . . used without an adjunct; compare verse 5; 5:17, 21;
9:30; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Galatians 5:5.
[ 49 ]EIS TO EINAI AUTON PATERA PANTOON TOON PISTEUONTOON, for=so the to be
[that he should be] him a father of all the [ones] believing (Marshall 613, 614); EINAI is the present
active infinitive of EIMI (Han 301); not so that he became, but expressing the divinely appointed aim
of his receiving the sign, metaphorically, of the originator of a family or company of persons animated
by the same spirit as himself, as of Abraham (Vine 412; the author of a family or society of persons
animated by the same spirit as himself (Thayer 495); father of all those who believe (Arndt 635); so
he is the father of all those believing (Lenski 300); that he might be the forefather of all who have faith
[ 50 ]DI' AKROBUSTIAS, through uncircumcision (Marshall 614); literally through uncircumcision;
here DIA as the local sense of proceeding from and passing out (Vine 184, 185); though they are
uncircumcised (Arndt 635); despite foreskin (Lenski 300); while still uncircumcised (Williams).
[ 51 ]EIS TO LOGISTHEENAI AUTOIS [TEEN] DIKAIOSUNEEN, for the to be reckoned to them
righteousness=that righteousness should be reckoned to them (Marshall 614); LOGISTHEENAI is the
first passive infinitive of LOGIZOMAI (Han 302); so there is reckoned to them this righteousness
(Lenski 300); that they might have their faith credited to them as right standing with God (Williams);
passive voice; see note on verses 3, 9.
[ 52 ]KAI PATERA PERITOMEES, and a father of circumcision (Marshall 614); [father] of
circumcised persons, the abstract term is used for the concrete (Vincent 3.54); metaphorically of the
originator of a family or company of persons animated by the same spirit as himself, as of Abraham
(Vine 412); and circumcision-father (Lenski 300); and the forefather of those Jews (Williams); see
verses 11, 16, 17, 18.
[ 53 ]TOIS OUK EK PERITOMEES MONON, to the [ones] not of circumcision only (Marshall 614);
to them not of the circumcision only (Thayer 418; 506). for those [who are] not of circumcision only
(Lenski 300); not only belong to the circumcision (Williams).
[ 54 ]ALLA KAI TOIS STOICHOUSIN, but also to the [ones] walking (Marshall 614);
STOICHOUSIN is third person plural, present active indicative of STOICHEOO (Han 302); walk in
the steps of [Abraham], that is, follow his example (Thayer 589); but also [are] those remaining [in the
tracks] (Lenski 300); but also follow (Williams); see Romans 2:28, 29.
[ 55 ]TOIS ICHNESIN TEES PISTEOOS TOU PATROS HEEMOON 'ABRAAM, in the steps of
the father of us Abraham (Marshall 614); footsteps, tracks, metaphorically of Abraham's faith (Vine
1086); metaphorically, of imitating the example [of Abraham], with a genitive of subject; faith which
relies on God who grants the forgiveness of sins to the penitent (Thayer 309, 514); in the tracks of the
faith of our father Abraham (Lenski 300); in the footsteps of our forefather Abraham (Williams); see
2 Corinthians 12:18; 1 Peter 2:21.
[ 56 ]EN AKROBUSTIA PISTEOOS TOU PATROS HEEMOON 'ABRAAM, in uncircumcision faith
of the father of us Abraham (Marshall 614); [which he had already] in foreskin (Lenski 300); in the
faith he had before he was circumcised (Williams).
[ 57 ]OU GAR HEE EPANGELIA for the promise (Marshall 614); promise, of the divine promises
of blessing, especially of the benefits of salvation by Christ (Thayer 226); for the promise (Williams).
[ 58 ]TO KLEERONOMON AUTON EINAI KOSMOU, the heir=that he should be heir him to be
of [the] world (Marshall 614); EINAI is the present active infinitive of EIMI (Han 302); of government
over the world (Thayer 349); Abraham and all those who are expecting the 'righteousness of faith' as
he did are KLEERONOMON KOSMOU [heirs of the world], in contrast to those who depend on the
law (Arndt 435); one to whom something has been assigned by God, on possession of which, however,
he has not yet entered, as Abraham (Vine 542).
[ 59 ]Abraham is a type of Christ who is heir of the church and over all things to it. The promise to
Abraham's seed is fulfilled in the universal reign of Christ.
[ 60 ]OU GAR DIA NOMOU TOO 'ABRAAM EE TOO SPERMATI AUTOU, For not through law
to Abraham or to the seed of him (Marshall 614). especially of law which Moses received from God
(Arndt 542); for not through law [as a means] (Lenski 308); to Abraham and his descendants was not
conditioned on the law [Greek, through the law] (Williams). Because Greek has no article before "law"
some understand that the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham would not be received by keeping any
law! (but see 1Co 9:21).
[ 61 ]Coffman 175.
[ 62 ]ALLA DIA DIKAIOSUNEES PISTEOOS, but through a righteousness of faith (Marshall 614);
[righteousness] which is acquired by faith, or seen in faith (Thayer 149); this righteousness is
apprehended by faith (Arndt 197); but through faith's righteousness (Lenski 308); but on the right
standing he had with God through faith (Williams).
[ 63 ]EI GAR HOI EK NOMOU, for if the [are] of law (Marshall 614); those who rule their life by
the law, Jews (Thayer 428); for if those of law (Lenski 308); for if the law party (Williams); see verse
[ 64 ]There were instances of Jewish evangelism among Gentiles before the cross (see Jer 12:16; Mt
23:15). Some Gentiles also voluntarily came to worship the God of the Jews (Zec 8:21, 22).
[ 65 ]KLEERONOMOI, heirs (Marshall 614); are heirs (Lenski 309); is to possess the world
[ 66 ]KEKENOOTAI HEE PISTIS, has been emptied faith (Marshall 614); KEKENOOTAI is third
person singular, perfect passive indicative of KENOOO (Han 302); [faith is] emptied, made of no
effect, Vine 1203; faith is made invalid (Arndt 428); made void, that is, deprived of force, rendered
vain, useless, of no effect (Thayer 344); then faith has been nullified (Williams); empty has been made
the faith (Lenski 309).
[ 67 ]KAI KATEERGEETAI HEE EPANGELIA, and has been destroyed the promise (Marshall 614);
KATEERGEETAI is third person singular, perfect passive indicative of KATARGEOO (Han 302); [the
promise] is reduced to inactivity, rendered useless (Vine 348); made void (Thayer 336); made
ineffective, nullified (Arndt 417); and abolished has been the promise (Lenski 309); and the promise
has been made null and void (Williams).
[ 68 ]HO GAR NOMOS ORGEEN KATERGAZETAI, for the law wrath works (Marshall 614);
KATERGAZETAI is third person singular, present middle indicative of KATERGAZOMAI (Han 302);
brings about, results in that in God which stands opposed to man's disobedience, obduracy . . . and sin,
and manifests itself in punishing the same (Thayer 339, 452); the law brings men under condemnation
and so renders them subject to Divine wrath (Vine 1244); for the law keeps working wrath (Lenski
309); for the law results [literally, produces, effects] in wrath alone (Williams).
[ 69 ]HOU DE OUK ESTIN NOMOS, OUDE PARABASIS, and where there is not law, neither [is
there] transgression (Marshall 614); ESTIN is third person singular, present active indicative of EIMI
(Han 302); [neither is there] transgression of the Mosaic law (Thayer 479); [neither is there]
overstepping, transgression, violation of the law (Arndt 611); where there is no law, since transgression
implies the violation of law, none have been enacted between Adam's transgression and those under the
Law (Vine 1161); for [only] where law is not neither is there transgression (Lenski 309); but where is
no law, there can be no violation of it (Williams); see Romans 5:13, 20.
[ 70 ]DIA TOUTO, therefore (Marshall 614); literally, on account of this, for this cause, signifying
the ground or reason; for this reason, namely (Arndt 181); for this cause, for this reason, therefore,
on this account, since this is so (Thayer 134); for this reason (Lenski 313); so (Williams).
[ 71 ]EK PISTEOOS, [it is] of faith (Marshall 614); of trust in the promises of God (Thayer 514); it
is out of faith (Lenski 313); it is conditioned on faith [Greek, out of faith] (Williams).
[ 72 ]HINA KATA CHARIN, in order that [it may be] according to grace (Marshall 614); through,
on account of, from, owing to [grace] (Thayer 328); in order to be according to grace (Lenski 313);
that it might be in accordance with God's unmerited favor (Williams); see notes on Romans 4:4; 11:6.
[ 73 ]EIS TO EINAI BEBAIAN TEEN EPANGELIAN PANTI TOO SPERMATI, for the to be firm
the promise=so that the promise firm shall be firm to all the seed (Marshall 614); EINAI is the present
active infinitive of EIMI (Han 302); so that the promise might be in force [used in this sense to describe
documents that are valid] for all the descendants (Williams); so that the promise is sure for all the seed
(Lenski 313); in order that the promise will be made sure the to all the seed.
[ 74 ]OU TOO EK TOU NOMOU MOONON, not to the [seed] of the law only (Marshall 614); [not
only] those who rule their lives by the law (Thayer 428); only not, not only [of] the law of Moses
(Arndt 528, 542); not for that from the law only (Lenski 313); not only those who belong to the law
[ 75 ]ALLA KAI TOO EK PISTEOOS 'ABRAAM, but also to the [seed] of [the] faith of Abraham
(Marshall 614); he who has the same faith as Abraham (Thayer 513); in so far as they are not only
circumcised physically, but are like the patriarch in faith as well, faith [in God] (Arndt 635, 662); but
also for that from Abraham's faith (Lenski 313); but also for those who belong to the faith group of
[ 76 ]HOS ESTIN PATEER PANTOON HEEMOON, who is father of all us (Marshall 614; Lenski
313); ESTIN is third person singular, present active indicative of EIMI (Han 302); [father of] the
whole, all (Arndt 631); he is the father of us all (Williams); see notes on verses 1, 12.
[ 77 ]KATHOOS GEGRAPTAI HOTI, as it has been written[,] (Marshall 614); GEGRAPTAI is third
person singular, perfect passive indicative of GRAPHOO (Han 302); even as it has been written (Lenski
313); as the Scripture says (Williams).
[ 78 ]TETHEIKA SE, I have appointed thee (Marshall 614); TETHEIKA is first person singular,
perfect active indicative of TITHEEMI (Han 302); appointed or constituted; the verb shows the
paternity was the result of a special arrangement. It would not be used to denote the mere physical
connection between father and son (Vincent 3.54); made someone (Arndt 816); made (Thayer 623);
have I established thee! (Lenski 313); I have made thee (Williams).
[ 79 ]PATERA POLLOON ETHNOON, a father of many nations (Marshall 614); for father of many
nations (Lenski 313); the father of many nations (Williams).
[ 80 ]KATENANTI HOU EPISTEUSEN THEOU, before whom he believed God (Marshall 614;
Lenski 313); EPISTEUSEN is third person singular, first aorist active indicative of PISTEUOO (Han
302); before whom he believed God; literally down over against, as "in the sight of" (Vine 100);
opposite; figuratively in the sight of, before the God in whom he believed (Arndt 421); metaphorically,
with genitive of person, before [him], that is, he being judge (Thayer 338); in whom he put his faith,
the God (Williams).
[ 81 ]The NIV with, "He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed--the God who gives
life" confuses the sense by changing the words around. Maybe the translators did not understand that
God made the promise.
[ 82 ]TOU ZOOPOIOUNTOS TOUS NEKROUS, the [one] quickening the dead [ones] (Marshall 614,
615); ZOOPOIOUNTOS is the present active participle, genitive singular masculine of ZOOOPOIEOO
(Han 302); who gives life (Arndt 341); reanimate, restore to life (Thayer 274); who makes alive the
dead (Lenski 313); who can bring the dead to life (Williams).
[ 83 ]KAI KALOUNTOS TA MEE ONTA HOOS ONTA, and calling the things not being as being
(Marshall 615); KALOUNTOS is the present active participle, genitive singular masculine of KALEOO
(Han 302); the one who calls into being what does not exist (Arndt 399); God is said to call those who
are not yet born, namely by promises of salvation which have respect to them, so that KALEIN is for
substance, equivalent to appoint one for salvation (Thayer 321); and calls the things not existing as
existing (Lenski 313); and can call to Himself the things that do not exist as though they did (Williams).
[ 84 ]Vincent (3.55) points out that KALOUNTOS calleth is used in five senses (1) to give a name
(Mt 1:21, 22, 25); (2) to bear a name or title among men (Lu 1:35; 22:25; 1Co 15:9; see also Mt 5:9,
19; Jas 2:23); (3) to invite (Mt 22:3, 9; Joh 2:2; 1Co 10:27; see also Mt 2:15; 4:21; Ac 4:18; 24:2;
Heb 11:8; 1Pe 2:9); (3) to appoint, select for office (Ro 9:11; 8:30); (5) of God's creative decree (Isa
41:4; 2Ki 8:1).
[ 85 ]HOS PAR' ELPIDA EP' ELPIDA EPISTEUSEN, who beyond hope on hope on hope believed
(Marshall 615); EPISTEUSEN is third person singular, first aorist active indicative of PISTEUOO (Han
302); expectation, relying on hope, having hope, in hope (Thayer 206); in hope he believed [in God]
contrary to all human expectation (Arndt 252, 253); [believed] beyond, against hope [that is, where the
laws of nature left no room for hope] (Thayer 206); he who beyond hope [yet] upon hope did believe
(Lenski 322); building on hope in spite of hopeless circumstances had faith (Williams).
[ 86 ]EIS TO GENESTHAI AUTON PATERA POLLOON ETHNOON, for the to become him=so
that he should be come a father of many nations (Marshall 615); GENESTHAI is the second aorist
passive infinitive of GINOMAI (Han 302); that [he] might become the father (Arndt 159); so that he
was the father of many nations (Lenski 322); and so he actually became the father of many nations
[ 87 ]KATA TO EIREEMENON, according to the thing having been said (Marshall 615);
EIREEMENON is the perfect passive participle, nominative or accusative singular neuter of LEGOO
(Han 302); sayings from the OT are [so] introduced (Thayer 181); regularly used with quotations, what
is written (Arndt 226); in accord with what had been declared (Lenski 322); just as it had been told him
[ 88 ]OUTOOS ESTAI TO SPERMA SOU, so shall be the seed of thee (Marshall 615); ESTAI is
third person singular, future middle indicative of EIMI (Han 302); with reference to the spiritual sons
of Abraham, that is, those who have faith like his (Arndt 762); thus shall be thy seed! (Lenski 322);
so numberless shall your descendants be (Williams); on SPERMA [seed] see notes on Romans 1:3;
4:16; 9:7, 8, 29; 11:1; 2 Corinthians 11:22.
[ 89 ]KAI MEE ASTHENEESAS TEE PISTEI, and not weakening in faith (Marshall 615);
ASTHENEESAS is the first aorist active participle, nominative singular masculine of ASTHENEOO
(Han 302); without a weakening of faith (Vincent 3.56); [and without being] weak in faith (Arndt 115);
[without] the weakness of human nature (Thayer 80); and not having grown weak, with the faith
(Lenski 322); because he never weakened in faith (Williams).
[ 90 ]KATENOEESEN TO HEATOU SOOMA, he considered the of himself body (Marshall 615);
KATENOEESEN is third person singular, first aorist active indicative of KATANOEOO (Han 302);
[ the Received Text has OU, not, before considered]; the preposition KATA in KATENOENSEN
considered is intensive--attentively. He fixed his eye upon the obstacles (Vincent 3.56); of Abraham's
careful consideration of his own body and Sarah's womb, as dead, and yet accepting by faith God's
promise (Vine 222); looked at [with reflection], considered, contemplated (Arndt 415); considered
attentively, fixed [his] eyes or mind upon (Thayer 334); he considered his own body (Lenski 322); he
calmly contemplated his own vital powers (Williams).
[ 91 ]NENEKROOMENON, to have died (Marshall 615); NENEKROOMENON is the perfect passive
participle, accusative singular neuter of NEKROOO (Han 302); the participle is passive, slain, used
here hyperbolically (Vincent 3.56); hyperbolically, worn out, of an impotent old man (Thayer 424); his
worn-out body (Arndt 535); already having become dead (Lenski 322); as worn out (Williams).
[ 92 ]HEKATONTAETEES POU HUPARCHOON, a hundred years about being (Marshall 615);
about 100 years old (Arndt 237); he being about a hundred years old (Lenski 322); for he was about
one hundred years old (Williams); see Genesis 21:5.
[ 93 ]KAI TEEN NEKROOSIN TEES MEETRAS SARRAS, and the death of the womb of Sarah
(Marshall 615); literally the deadness of Sarah's womb (Arndt 535); the dead state, utter sluggishness
[of bodily members and organs, Galen] (Thayer 424); and the deadness of Sarah's womb (Lenski 322);
and the inability of Sarah to bear a child (Williams).
[ 94 ]EIS DE TEEN EPANGELIAN TOU THEOU, but against the promise of God (Marshall 615);
the contents of the promise (Vine 892); the promise [of salvation through the Messiah] given by God
(Thayer 227); to denote the one from whom the promise comes [God] (Arndt 280); and over against
the promise of God (Lenski 322); at the promise of God (Williams); see Acts 26:6; 1 John 2:25.
[ 95 ]OU DIEKRITHEE TEE APISTIA, he did not decide by unbelief (Marshall 615); DIEKRITHEE
is third person singular, first aorist passive indicative of DIAKRINOO (Han 302); the word implies a
mental struggle (Vincent 3.56); he did not hesitate through want of faith (Thayer 239); [not] be at odds
with oneself, doubt, waver (Arndt 185); he did not waver with the unbelief (Lenski 322); he never
staggered in doubt (Williams).
[ 96 ]ALLA ENEDUNAMOOTHEE TEE PISTEI, but was empowered by faith (Marshall 615);
ENEDUNAMOOTHEE is third person singular, first aorist passive indicative of ENDUNAMOOO
(Han 302); passive voice, literally was strengthened, or endued with strength (Vincent 3.56); [EN in,
DUNAMIS power], [was] strengthened (Vine 1098); with dative of respect, received strength, was
strengthened, increased in strength (Thayer 214); used of religious and moral strength, grew strong in
faith (Arndt 263); but became strong with faith (Lenski 322); but grew powerful in faith (Williams).
[ 97 ]DOUS DOXAN TOO THEOO, giving glory to God (Marshall 615; Lenski 322); DOUS is the
second aorist active participle, nominative singular masculine of DIDOOMI (Han 302) [giving] glory
to God, not by [sic] distrusting God's promises (Thayer 155); praising God as a form of religious
devotion (Arndt 204); because he gave glory to God (Williams).
[ 98 ]Joesphus, Antiquities 1.10.4.
[ 99 ]KAI PLEEROPHOREETHEIS, and being fully persuaded (Marshall 615; Lenski 322);
PLEEROPHOREETHEIS is the first aorist passive participle, nominative singular masculine of
PLEEROPHOREOO (Han 302); the primary idea is being filled with a thought or conviction (Vincent
3.56); of Abraham's faith being fully assured (Vine 77); persuaded, fully convinced or assured (Thayer
517); in full assurance (Williams).
[ 100 ]HOTI HO EPEENGELTAI, that what he has promised (Marshall 615; Lenski 322);
EPEENGELTAI is third person singular, perfect passive indicative of EPANGELLOO (Han 302);
middle voice, promised (Vine 892); promised [of his own accord] (Thayer 227); what He had promised
[ 101 ]DUNATOS ESTIN KAI POIEESAI, able he is also to do (Marshall 615); ESTIN is third person
singular, present active indicative of EIMI; POIEESAI is the first aorist active infinitive of POIEOO
(Han 302); the sense is stronger, mighty (Vincent 3.56); powerful to do (Vine 5, 848); able to do
(Thayer 160); he is able also to perform (Lenski 322); that he was able to do (Williams).
[ 102 ]DIO [KAI], wherefore also (Marshall 615; Lenski 322); therefore (Williams).
[ 103 ]ELOGISTHEE AUTOO EIS DIKAIOOSUNEEN, it was reckoned to him for righteousness
(Marshall 615; Lenski 322); ELOGISTHEE is third person singular, first aorist passive indicative of
LOGIZOMAI (Han 302); his faith was credited to him as right standing with God (Williams); reckoned
unto him for righteousness; see notes on verses 3, 5, 6, 9, 11.
[ 104 ]OUK . . . DE DI AUTON MONON, not now because of him only (Marshall 615); the neuter
of MONOS [single, alone, solitary], meaning only, exclusively (Vine 41; Thayer 418); now it was not
on his account alone (Lenski 326); it was not for his sake alone (Williams).
[ 105 ]HOTI ELOGISTHEE AUTOO, that it was reckoned to him (Marshall 615; Lenski 326);
ELOGISTHEE is third person singular, first aorist passive indicative of LOGIZOMAI (Han 302); that
it was written, "It was credited to him" (Williams).
[ 106 ]ALLA KAI DI HEEMAS, but also because of us (Marshall 615); but also on our account
(Lenski 326); it was for our sakes too (Williams).
[ 107 ]HOIS MELLEI LOGIZESTHAI, to whom it is about to be reckoned (Marshall 615);
LOGIZESTHAI is the present middle infinitive of LOGIZOMAI (Han 302); not the future of the verb
to reckon, but MELLOO to intend, points to God's definite purpose (Thayer 3.56); [is] about to
[reckon] (Vine 1230); to whom it shall be reckoned (Lenski 326); for it is going to be credited to us
[ 108 ]TOIS PISTEUOUSIN EPI TON, to the [ones] believing on the [one] (Marshall 615);
PISTEUOUSIN is the present active participle, dative plural masculine of PISTEUOO (Han 302); those
believing on the one; since we are those who believe (Vincent 3.56); It must be borne in mind, that in
Paul's conception of TO PISTEUEIN EIS CHRISTOU, the prominent element is the grace of God
towards sinners as manifested and pledged [and to be laid hold of by faith] in Jesus, particularly in his
death and resurrection (Thayer 512); to those believing on him (Lenski 316); who put our faith in God
[ 109 ]EGEIRANTA 'IEESOUN TON KURION HEEMOON EK NEKROON, having raised Jesus
the Lord of us out of [the] dead (Marshall 615); EGEIRANTA is the first aorist active participle,
accusative singular masculine of EGEIROO (Han 302); of raising the dead (Vine 917); raised, helped
to rise, of the raising of Jesus (Arndt 214); aroused from the company of the dead (Thayer 165); who
raised Jesus, our Lord, from the dead (Lenski 326); who raised from the dead our Lord Jesus
[ 110 ]HOS PAREDOTHEE, who was delivered (Marshall 615); PAREDOTHEE is third person
singular, first aorist passive indicative of PARADIDOOMI (Han 302); passive voice, used of casting
into prison or delivering to justice [see Mt 4:12; 10:17, 19, 21]; frequently of the betrayal of Christ
[see Mt 10:4; 17:22; Joh 6:64, 71] (Vincent 3.56); used of God in delivering His Son to expiatory
Death (Vine 281); passive, was handed over to suffering, death, punishment (Arndt 615); delivered up
to custody to be put to death (Thayer 481); he who was delivered up (Lenski 326); who was given up
to death (Williams).
[ 111 ]DIA TA PARAPTOOMATA HEEMOON, because of the offenses of us (Marshall 615); for
[that is, because of] our trespasses (Vine 1166); as a rule of sins against God (Arndt 621); tropically
lapses or deviations from truth and uprightness; sins, misdeeds (Thayer 485); on account of our
transgressions (Lenski 316); because of our shortcomings (Williams).
[ 112 ]KAI EEGERTHEE, and was raised (Marshall 615); EEGERTHEE is third person singular, first
aorist passive indicative of EGEIROO (Han 302); of raising the dead (Vine 917); and was raised up
(Lenski 326); and was raised again (Williams).
[ 113 ]DIA TEEN DIKAIOOSIN HEEMOON, because of the justification of us (Marshall 615);
literally, "because of our justification," [parallel to the preceding clause "for our trespasses," that is
because of trespasses committed], and means not with a view to our justification, but because all that
was necessary on God's part for our justification had been effected in the Death of Christ. On this
account he was raised from the dead. The propitiation being perfect and complete, His resurrection
was the confirmatory counterpart (Vine 614); justification, vindication, acquittal . . . as a process as
well as its result (Arndt 198); on account of our being declared righteous (Lenski 326); to give us right
standing with God (Williams).
Copyright ©2004, Charles Hess, Lakeside, California,
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The basic text, and all quotations not designated otherwise,
are from the New King James Version, copyrighted ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
All rights reserved. Used by permission. Bracketed alternatives are drawn from various
sources such as the ASV, Darby, KJV and RSV.
Greek transliteration follows the BibleSoft method.
Published in The Old Paths Archive
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