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Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges
Romans 10



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This chapter expands the theme of the last section, and, by showing that Israel failed through ignorance, culpable because in defiance of express warnings, illustrates one strain in the theme of c. 9 that man is responsible for his failure to respond to GOD’S purposes.

(1–4) Israel’s rejection of the Messiah due to ignorance of the relation of Christ to law and righteousness (5–15) though the demand of the new righteousness was not hard to meet and they were informed of it by (16–21) preaching of the apostles and warnings of the prophets.

Verse 1

1. ἀδελφοί. The personal appeal emphasises the depth of his feeling.

ἡ μὲν εὐδοκία. μὲν suggests a contrast between S. Paul’s desire and the facts as he is forced to see them.

εὐδοκία = purpose. Cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:11; Philippians 1:15, in which places the idea of purpose involved in goodwill is clear; so probably Philippians 2:13. The proof of this purpose had been given by his habit of preaching first to Jews, and by his incessant efforts to keep together the Jewish and Gentile sections of the Church.

καρδία involves will (2 Corinthians 7:3; 2 Corinthians 9:7) and intelligence (Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 4:18) as well as affection. ἐμῆς = my whole heart.

ἡ δέησις. The genuineness of the purpose shown not by acts only but by prayer.

εἰς σωτηρίαν = ἵνα σωθῶσιν. Sc. ἐστίν.

Verses 1-4

1–4. With all my eager longing and prayer for Israel’s salvation, I cannot but see and say that they have failed, not for lack of zeal, but for failing to recognise the nature of true righteousness and substituting an imagined righteousness of their own: they refused obedience to GOD’S righteousness and to Christ as putting an end to law, for all believers, as an instrument of righteousness. They had put law in the place of GOD and could not accept Christ in the place of law.

Verses 1-21

E. Romans 9:1 to Romans 11:36. THE REJECTION OF THE GOSPEL BY ISRAEL

The theme of Romans 1:16-17 has been worked out; it has been shown that the Gospel is a power of GOD unto salvation for them that believe, a power needed by Gentile and Jew alike, guaranteed on condition of faith and in response to faith by the love of GOD, and adequate to man’s needs as shown in history and in individual experience; and a brief description has been given of the actual state of the Christian in Christ and of the certainty and splendour of his hope, resting upon the love of GOD. Naturally at this point the question of the Jews arises: they were the typical instance of a people brought into close and peculiar relation to GOD, and they therefore afford a crucial case of GOD’S dealings with such. How then did it come to pass that they rejected the Gospel? What is their present state? their future destiny? and how does this affect Christians? The answer is found in the conditions under which GOD selects men for the execution of His purposes. It is important to bear in mind that the selection throughout is regarded as having reference not to the final salvation of persons but to the execution of the purpose of GOD. Underlying the whole section is the special object of S. Paul to justify himself in preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles.

Verse 2

2. ζῆλον. In a good sense; cf. John 2:17; 2 Corinthians 7:7; 2 Corinthians 7:11; 2 Corinthians 9:2; 2 Corinthians 11:2 only.

οὐ κατ' ἐπίγνωσιν = without clear or true discernment of the will or character of GOD. “γνῶσις is the wider word and expresses knowledge in the fullest sense: ἐπίγνωσις is knowledge directed towards a particular object, perceiving, discerning, recognising; but it is not knowledge in the abstract; that is γνῶσις,” Robinson, Eph. p. 254 (see the whole discussion).

Verse 3

3. ἀγνοοῦντες. The Jews and Gentiles, failed for the same reason; cf. Romans 1:18 f.; Ephesians 4:18.

τὴν τοῦ θεοῦ δικαιοσύνην = the righteousness which GOD exhibits in His own character and requires from men, contrasted with that righteousness which they tried to gain by their own efforts and methods. This is a decisive instance of the true meaning of the phrase; cf. Romans 1:17.

ὑπετάγησαν. Cf. 1 Corinthians 15:28; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:5, for the middle sense of the passive form. The revelation of GOD’S righteousness in Christ required a surrender of preconceived ideas and habits and a submission: this the Jews did not give.

Verse 4

4. τέλος γὰρ κ.τ.λ γὰρ. yip explains why this submission was required. τέλος νόμου = an end of law, as an instrument of righteousness. Law promoted righteousness by revealing GOD’S will and awakening the moral consciousness. That dispensation was ended by Christ, in whose Person and character GOD’S will was fully revealed, and who at the same time, in His communicated life, gave the power of fulfilment to all who trust in Him. He thus also fulfils law, both as a revelation of and as a means to righteousness. But the special point here is that He ends the dispensation of law.

νόμου. The particular reference is of course to Jewish law: but it is stated comprehensively in accordance with S. Paul’s view of Gentile conditions.

εἰς δικαιοσύνην = as regards righteousness, or for the purposes of righteousness.

παντὶ τῷ π. Cf. Romans 1:16—the new condition marks the universality of the effect.

Verse 5

5. ὁ ποιήσας κ.τ.λ. = Leviticus 18:5, LXX[201] (). The stress is on . π. he that has done it, and he alone. ἐν αὐτῇ, ‘by it.’

Verses 5-15

5–15. The reasonableness of such a submission is shown, and the relation of Christ to law explained, by the contrast between righteousness when sought as result of law, and righteousness resulting from faith. For the former S. Paul quotes Moses as laying down authoritatively that such righteousness can be attained only by complete obedience to law; and that has been shown to be so difficult as to be impossible (cc. 3, 7). For the latter S. Paul, while using O. T. language, does not quote it as authoritative, but freely adapts it to his purpose, using it because it is familiar and on his general principle of the fundamental unity of thought in O. T. and the Gospel; cf. S. H. for a full discussion.

Verse 6

6. ἡ δὲ ἐκ π. δ. A personification, a dramatisation of the appeal of the Gospel to man, to make plain the nature of the demand made by it, in contrast to the demand made by the Law. The demand of the Gospel is not for impossible effort, but for trust and confession. Note that S. Paul finds faith-righteousness already included in O. T. teaching; cf. Romans 4:13 f.; Giff. on Romans 10:10.

μὴ εἴπῃς κ.τ.λ. The allusions are to Deuteronomy 30:11 f. The questions, which are set aside, embody the hesitations of the man who supposes that the facts, on which this righteousness is based, are dependent upon human activity, whereas they are the accomplished acts of GOD in Christ; and what is demanded is trust in Him who has done these acts, and confession of His Lordship.

τοῦτ' ἔστιν. Simply explanatory = that is to say; so in Romans 10:7-8.

Χριστὸν καταγαγεῖνἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναγαγεῖν. The reference is to the Incarnation and Resurrection. These are the fundamental acts of GOD by which His righteousness is revealed, and made possible for man. The fact that they are GOD’S acts determines the human condition of righteousness, namely, faith in GOD through the incarnate and risen Son, and consequent confession of Him; cf. Philippians 2:1-11.

Verse 7

7. τὴν ἄβυσσον for πέραν τῆς θαλάσσης, Deut. l.c[202] = ᾅδης of Psalms 138:8, LXX[203]; Swete on Revelation 9:1.

Verse 8

8. τὸ ῥῆμα τῆς πίστεως = the word in which faith, as the principle of righteousness, expresses itself. The actual ῥῆμα is Κύριος Ἰησοῦς: it is the expression of a faith which believes with the whole heart that GOD raised Him from death. The resurrection is the proof of the Lordship. This faith and confession is the demand of the Gospel righteousness. For the subj. gen. with ῥῆμα cf. Acts 26:25. Other explanations are—the message which has faith for its subject, cf. John 6:68; Acts 5:20 (S. H., Giff.), the message which appeals to faith (Lid.), the Gospel message (Oltramare ap. S. H.).

Verse 9

9. ὅτι = because.

ὁμολογήσῃς. Cf. Matthew 10:32 (|[204] Lk.); 1 Timothy 6:12; Hebrews 13:15; 1 John 2:23.

ὅτι Κ. . Cf. 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 4:5; Philippians 2:11; Acts 2:36; Acts 19:5; above Romans 4:24; 2 Corinthians 4:14; Ephesians 1:15; Philemon 1:5.

The simplest form of the Christian creed: κύριος the LXX[205] rendering of Jahweh is predicate to Ἰησοῦς; freq. in Acts in connexion with baptism and the first confession of faith (cf. Acts 16:31); cf. Knowling, Witness etc., p. 261 f. The simple combination is most frequent in 1 Thes., but occurs in most of S. Paul’s Epp. and Hebrews 13:20, Revelation 22:20-21, and elsewhere; cf. Robinson on Ephesians 5:26.

καὶ πιστεύσῃς ἐν τῇ κ. ς. The aor. marks the initial act; the addition of ἐν τῇ κ. ς. distinguishes this act, as the expression (ἐν = with) of the whole heart, from bare assent to a fact; cf. Acts 8:37 v.l., 1 Thessalonians 4:14.

Verse 10

10. πιστεύεται = faith is formed, there is a state of faith, the condition, on man’s side, of the state of righteousness.

ὁμολογεῖται = confession is made, a state of confession, the necessary condition for σωτηρία. The present tense in both cases marks the state of man’s mind, not the mere act.

δικαιοσύνηνσωτηρίαν. The parallelism shows that the words are practically synonymous.

Verse 11

11. πᾶς κ.τ.λ. The quotation is suggested by the word σωτηρία; the confession based on faith will not be disappointed; then πᾶς suggests the wide range of the principle and leads to Romans 10:12. Note πᾶς is added by S. Paul; but the universality is at once involved when πιστεύειν, possible to all, is laid down as the sole qualification; cf. Romans 1:16-17.

Verse 12

12. διαστολὴ. Distinction, or distinguishing (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:7), that is, in the matter of faith, which is a common human quality.

ὁ γὰρ αὐτὸς κύριος. The same Person is Lord of all; the argument here lies in the universal reach of the term κύριος, as used in the confession Κύριος Ἰησοῦς.

πλουτῶν κ.τ.λ. The positive side, as from the Lord, of οὐ καταισχυνθήσεται.

τοὺς ἐπικαλουμένους α. Cf. Acts 2:21; Acts 9:14; Acts 9:21; Acts 22:16; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Timothy 2:22; 1 Peter 1:17; commonly in LXX[206] for invoking Jehovah as the God of Abraham, Israel, etc. The phrase is therefore a natural consequence of using the term Κύριος of Jesus, and has the same significance; cf. Knowling, op. cit[207] p. 263 f.

Verse 13

13. πᾶς γἀρ κ.τ.λ. Joel 2:32 qu. Acts 2:21. N. the direct application to Christ of the O. T. phrase for Jehovah, as object of worship.

Verse 14

14. πῶς οὖν κ.τ.λ. The string of rhetorical questions at once justifies S. Paul’s preaching to the Gentiles and shows that the Gospel has been offered to the Jews; they have failed, but not for lack of opportunity; this thought is developed in 16 f.

Verse 16

16. ἀλλ' οὐ πάντες κ.τ.λ. An objection taken by an imagined interlocutor: yon say ‘all’; but all did not respond to the appeal of the Gospel.

Ἠσαίας γὰρ κ.τ.λ. Isaiah 53:1.

γὰρ = that was to be expected; for it was also the experience of the prophets.

Verses 16-21

16–21. The quotations show that the refusal of the Jews to respond to the Gospel and the consequent call of Gentiles was anticipated by prophets, from Moses to Isaiah, and typified by the experience of the prophets themselves.

Verse 17

17. ἄρα κ.τ.λ. Then, as now, it was Christ’s word, heard by the prophet and reported, which was the outward condition of faith. N. the underlying thought that Christ spoke through the prophets; cf. 1 Peter 1:11.

διὰ ῥ. Χρ. The word is that which the prophet utters, and it is Christ’s word in the prophet. Pope (J. T. S. IV., p. 273 f.) argues for taking . Χρ. here of the word spoken to the heart of the hearer; but the thought is alien from the context.

Verse 18

18. ἀλλὰ κ.τ.λ. Israel has heard; ἤκουσαν though οὐχ ὑπήκουσαν. μὴ can it be pleaded that.…

εἰς πᾶσαν κ.τ.λ., Psalms 19:4, quoted not for argument but for illustration: the Gospel has gone forth as widely as the utterance of GOD spoken of by the Psalmist.

Verse 19

19. μὴ Ἰσραὴλ οὐκ ἔγνω; Can it be pleaded that Israel did not understand, i.e. Israel, with its privilege of special revelation, cannot plead ignorance in face of the explicit character of the warnings; cf. John 3:10.

πρῶτος. From Moses onwards the warnings are explicit, of disobedience in Israel and acceptance among others.

ἐγὼ κ.τ.λ. Deuteronomy 32:21.

Verse 20

20. Ἠσαίας κ.τ.λ. Isaiah 66 f.


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Bibliography Information
"Commentary on Romans 10:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". 1896.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 28th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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