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Bible Commentaries

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
Romans 10



Other Authors
Verse 1


(1) My heart’s desire.—Strictly, the goodwill of my heart. The earlier portion of this chapter is occupied with a more particular exposition of the cause of Israel’s rejection, which has been just alleged. They sought to do a hard thing—to work out a righteousness for themselves—instead of an easy thing—simply to believe in Christ.

This chapter, like the last, is introduced by an expression of the Apostle’s own warm affection for his people and his earnest desire for their salvation.

For Israel.—The true text is, “for them.” “Israel” has been put in the margin as an explanatory gloss, and thence found its way into the text. What made the rejection of Israel so peculiarly pathetic was that they were not a mere godless and irreligious people. On the contrary, they had a sincere zeal for religion, but it was a misdirected and ill-judged zeal.

Verse 2

(2) A zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.—It would be difficult to find a more happy description of the state of the Jews at this period. They had “a zeal for God.” “The Jew,” said Josephus, “knows the Law better than his own name . . . The sacred rules were punctually observed . . . The great feasts were frequented by countless thousands . . . Over and above the requirements of the Law, ascetic religious exercises advocated by the teachers of the Law came into vogue. . . . Even the Hellenised and Alexandrian Jews under Caligula died on the cross and by fire, and the Palestinian prisoners in the last war died by the claws of African lions in the amphitheatre, rather than sin against the Law. What Greek,” exclaims Josephus, “would do the like? . . . The Jews also exhibited an ardent zeal for the conversion of the Gentiles to the Law of Moses. The proselytes filled Asia Minor and Syria, and—to the indignation of Tacitus—Italy and Rome.” The tenacity of the Jews, and their uncompromising monotheism, were seen in some conspicuous examples. In the early part of his procuratorship, Pilate, seeking to break through their known repugnance to everything that savoured of image-worship, had introduced into Jerusalem ensigns surmounted with silver busts of the emperor. Upon this the people went down in a body to Cæsarea, waited for five days and nights in the market-place, bared their necks to the soldiers that Pilate sent in among them, and did not desist until the order for the removal of the ensigns had been given. Later he caused to be hung up in the palace at Jerusalem certain gilded shields bearing a dedicatory inscription to Tiberius. Then, again, the Jews did not rest until, by their complaints addressed directly to the emperor, they had succeeded in getting them taken down. The consternation that was caused by Caligula’s order for the erection of his own statue in the Temple is well known. None of the Roman governors dared to carry it into execution; and Caligula himself was slain before it could be accomplished.

Justice must be done to the heroic spirit of the Jews. But it was zeal directed into the most mistaken channels. Their religion was legal and formal to the last degree. Under an outward show of punctilious obedience, it concealed all the inward corruption described by the Apostle in Romans 2:17-29, the full extent of which was seen in the horrors of the great insurrection and the siege of Jerusalem.

Verse 3

(3) God’s righteousness.—See Romans 1:17; Romans 3:21.

Their own righteousness.—A righteousness founded on their own works.

Verse 4

(4) The end of the law.—“End,” in the proper sense of termination or conclusion. Christ is that which brings the functions of the Law to an end by superseding it. “The Law pursues a man until he takes refuge in Christ; then it says, Thou hast found thine asylum; I shall trouble thee no more, now thou art wise; now thou art safe.” (Bengel.)

For righteousness to every one that believeth.—So that every one who believes may obtain righteousness.

Verse 5

(5) For Moses describeth.—The Law required an actual literal fulfilment. Its essence consisted in works. “The man which doeth these things shall live.”

By them.—The true reading is, probably, in it—i.e., the righteousness just mentioned. “The man who doeth this righteousness” (according to a more correct text) “shall live in and by it.”

Verse 6

(6) But the righteousness.—In opposition to this righteousness of works, so laborious and so impracticable, the Apostle adduces another quotation to show that the righteousness which depends on faith is much easier and simpler.

The original of the quotation has, indeed, a quite different application. It referred to that very law which the Apostle is depreciating. Moses had described the Law as something quite easy and accessible; but history had shown that, especially in the development in which the Law was known to the Apostle, the words were really much more applicable to his doctrine of a righteousness which was based upon faith. He therefore regards them as spoken allegorically and typically with reference to this.

The righteousness which is of faith speaketh.—This faith-righteousness is personified as if it were speaking itself, because the language used is applicable to it.

That is, to bring Christ down from above.—The Apostle adds these interpretations so as to give a specially Christian meaning to the words of Moses. All that these had meant was that the Law was not remote either in one direction or in another. The Apostle in the phrase “ascend into heaven” sees at once an allusion to the ascended Saviour, and he interprets it as if it implied that the Christian must ascend up to Him, or; what comes to the same thing, as if He must be brought down to the Christian. In like manner, when mention is made of descending into the abyss, he sees here an allusion to the descent of Christ into Hades. Again, he repudiates the idea that the Christian is compelled to join Him there in literal bodily presence. A far easier and simpler thing is the faith of the gospel. All the Christian has to do is to listen to it when it is preached, and then to confess his own adhesion to it.

Verse 7

(7) Into the deep.—In the original, beyond the sea. The word which St. Paul uses is found in the LXX. for “the sea,” but here means the abyss of Hades.

Verse 9

(9) If thou shalt confess with thy mouth.—Interesting as containing the earliest formal confession of faith; that in Acts 8:37 (see Note there) is not genuine.

There is no opposition between the outward confession and the inward act of faith. The one is regarded as the necessary consequence and expression of the other. In the next verse this takes the form of Hebrew parallelism, in which the balanced clauses are regarded as equivalent to each other.

The Lord Jesus.—Jesus as Lord.

Hath raised him from the dead.—Comp. Romans 4:25. Though the death of Christ apprehended by faith is more especially the cause of the Christian’s salvation, still the Apostle regards the Resurrection as the cardinal point; for without the Resurrection the proof of the Messiahship of Jesus would have been incomplete, and His death would not have had its saving efficacy.

Verse 10

The Heart and the Mouth

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.—Romans 10:10.

1. St. Paul’s singularly free, but deeply inspired, manner of applying texts from the Old Testament is especially illustrated in this passage. The passages quoted from Isaiah about the Stones, which St. Paul applies to Christ (see Romans 9:32-33), refer originally to Jehovah simply in one case (Isaiah 28:16). Jewish tradition had possibly already referred them to the Christ; and certainly our Lord’s use of Psalms 118:22—“The stone which the builders rejected”—as applying to His own rejection, made the reference more obvious. It is indeed in deepest accordance with the spirit of Isaiah; and St. Peter (1 Peter 2:6), we notice, follows St. Paul in the use of them. Another passage (Isaiah 52:7) quoted in Romans 10:15, about the feet of those who preach good tidings, is transferred, with added meaning, from the heralds of the redemption from Babylon to the heralds of the greater redemption. Again, a passage from Psalms 19 quoted in Romans 10:18 is transferred very beautifully from the witness of the heavens to the witness of the Gospel; as if St. Paul would say, grace is become as universal as nature.

In the same way the language of this passage, cited from Deuteronomy, is taken from the Law to express the spirit of the Gospel. The calling upon Jehovah in Joel becomes in St. Paul’s quotation the calling upon Christ. All this free citation, uncritical according to our ideas and methods, rests on a profoundly right apprehension of the meaning of the Old Testament as a whole. The appeal to the Old Testament, even if not to the particular passage, is justified by the strictest criticism.1 [Note: Bishop Gore.]

We can look upon the whole passage (Romans 10:5-10) in the light of the view held by St. Augustine, that the words of Moses, understood in their true spiritual sense, describe a righteousness which is essentially the righteousness of faith (de Nat. et Gratia, § 83). Moses is in fact describing a religion of the heart: “The Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.” To one who thus turns with heart and soul to the Lord, obedience is easy: “The word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart.” This, says St. Paul, is in substance “the word of faith, which we preach.” St. Paul’s explanation is not allegorical but spiritual; it penetrates through the letter of the Old Testament to its spirit, and that is the spirit of the Gospel.

2. The text contains two parts: Belief and Confession. This is the order—belief with the heart first, and confession with the mouth afterwards. But if we compare this verse with the preceding one, it is noticeable that St. Paul has reversed the order. In Romans 10:9 it is confession with the mouth first, belief with the heart afterwards. Romans 10:9 explains the quotation used in Romans 10:8, “The word is very nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart.” The order is suggested by literary association, not by theological formulation. As “mouth “is mentioned before “heart,” St. Paul speaks of confession of Christ before belief in Christ, but in Romans 10:10 he rearranges his statement in true logical sequence. Belief with the heart must come first, confession with the mouth is the natural resultant.



“With the heart man believeth unto righteousness.”

There are three things to keep before our minds in considering this section: (1) Belief is with the heart. (2) Belief must have a definite object or centre. The centre of our faith is Christ and His Resurrection. (3) Belief is productive of righteousness.

i. Belief is with the Heart

1. It is important that we should lay particular stress upon St. Paul’s meaning when he speaks of the “heart”; for if we are to understand this difficult passage, we must try to analyse the meaning of the terms used. When we talk about the heart of man we usually mean the affections or emotions, but to the Jew the heart represented the whole spiritual man. We gather from the Old Testament that the heart was the source of all moral action, the source of the affections and purposes, and a symbol even of the mind and the will. The whole moral nature was represented by the term. And so St. Paul practically affirms that man believes with the whole of his nature. Not only his intellect and emotions and affections, but the whole nature in all its scope and powers—all are taken up into this “righteousness of faith.”

The believing heart is indispensable to the discovery of truth. I do not say that it is indispensable to the discovery of all truth, although there is a sense in which it is true that no truth can be discovered without it. I do say that the truth he needs cannot be discovered by any man unless one of the organs by which he sets about perceiving it is the heart of trust and faith. No man by mathematical reasoning can get at the whole truth. We know that no man arrives at all that range of truth which is personal by his mathematical reasoning; that he gets at that, if he ever gets at it at all, by quite other faculties. That is what Tennyson declares in his protest in “In Memoriam”:

If e’er when faith had fall’n asleep,

I heard a voice “believe no more”

And heard an ever-breaking shore

That tumbled in the Godless deep;

A warmth within the breast would melt

The freezing reason’s colder part,

And like a man in wrath the heart

Stood up and answer’d, “I have felt.”

He does not mean to shut out any one set of faculties; he simply means to assert on behalf of another set its rights in our search after and discovery of truth.1 [Note: R. E. Speer, The Master of the Heart, 35.]

The heart has reasons which the reason does not know. It is the heart that feels God, not the reason. There are truths that are felt, and there are truths that are proved, for we know truth not only by reason but by the intuitive conviction which may be called the heart. The primary truths are not demonstrable, and yet our knowledge of them is none the less certain. Principles are felt; propositions are proved. Truths may be above reason and yet not be contrary to reason.1 [Note: Pascal.]

2. It is essential to this heart-faith that we have genuine love to God. In the absence of goodwill towards God, there can never be this faith of the heart. You remember how Cecil taught his little daughter the meaning of gospel faith. She came to him, one day, with her hands full of little beads, greatly delighted, to show them. He said to her calmly, “You had better throw them all into the fire.” She was almost confounded; but when she saw that he was in earnest, she trustfully obeyed, and cast them in. After a few days, he brought home for her a casket of jewels. “There, my daughter,” said he; “you had faith in me the other day, and threw your beads into the fire; that was faith; now I can give you things much more precious. Are not these far better?” So you should always believe in God. He has jewels for those who will believe and cast away their sins.2 [Note: C. G. Finney.]

A Christian lawyer from Cripple Creek told me once, as we talked over the question of how a man might get his life righted, of an experience of his own years ago, when, in a great deal of perplexity, he had gone to his old pastor to ask him for help as to how he might get his life directed aright. He said the old man simply turned to the 32nd Psalm and read him these two verses: “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go; I will counsel thee with mine eye upon thee. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose trappings must be bit and bridle to hold them in, else they will not come near unto thee.” Then, my friend said, the old man shut up his Bible and turned away. At first he felt no little resentment at his pastor for this curt way of replying to his inquiry; but when he went away and thought it over he saw that the whole secret of a right life lay just here, that the only way in which God could ever guide a man was not by some mechanical instruction, not by fitting a bit into a man’s mouth and pulling him this way and that with a rein, but by planting in his heart His own Spirit and letting that Spirit guide him.3 [Note: R. E. Speer.]

ii. The Centre of Belief is in Christ and His Resurrection

1. The argument of the preceding verses is that to confess Jesus as Lord implies a true faith in the incarnate, risen, ascended Christ. It is the proof of the faith that it manifests itself in confession. Now it is impossible to suppose for a moment that St. Paul is speaking of a merely intellectual assent to the doctrines of the Incarnation and Resurrection of our Lord. It might appear that he inserted the words “with the heart” to prevent such a misconception. But, on the other hand, we must beware of completely sundering “heart” and “head” beliefs, according to modern phraseology. St. Paul, on the contrary, unites them, for the “heart” must be understood to include the intellect, since it embraces the whole spiritual and moral being. It is the entirety of our nature that must be absorbed in a living, active, personal faith in Christ as our risen Lord and Saviour.

There can be no doubt that the belief in a historical Christ and a historical resurrection is the only basis on which a living certainty of life beyond the grave can be placed.1 [Note: John Stuart Blackie, Life, ii. 321.]

2. This belief was not an act of the intellect alone; it was scarcely even a conscious act of the individual. For we must keep in mind, in considering this message to the disciples of Christ at Rome, the vast difference between their age and the age in which we live. There was a feeling produced among the early believers in Christ by the common atmosphere which every member of the society breathed. The individual rarely detached himself from the community of which he was a part, weighed the evidences for himself, and formed his own creed. There was such a community of belief amongst them that the creed was in reality common to all, the only difference, perhaps, being that some felt it with greater intensity, than others, were more influenced by its power and warmth. But the belief was common. They had one mind, and one heart. The power of the Spirit of Christ and the belief that He rose from the dead possessed them.

The contrast between the religion of Jesus and that organized and enforced by Moses was not greater than the contrast between the people in St. Paul’s time and the people of to-day. These Christians felt the power of the Spirit of Christ, and as a consequence they believed in His resurrection. The whole position has been reversed, and the polemical reasoners of to-day first set about proving the fact of the resurrection in order that men may feel Christ’s power. They build up their arguments, and then say that men ought to be conscious of the influence of Christ.1 [Note: A. H. M. Sime.]

When I heard the learned astronomer,

When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,

When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,

When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture room,

How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,

Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,

In the mystical moist night air, and from time to time,

Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.2 [Note: Walt Whitman.]

iii. Belief is productive of Righteousness

1. The conviction of the heart, which is inevitably confessed with the mouth, is no barren creed. It is a spiritual force within us making always for righteousness.

2. Two conditions of morality are secured to us by the Resurrection of our Lord: (1) Grace to enable effort. (2) Hope to inspire effort.

(1) Grace to enable effort.—“Howbeit,” writes the Apostle, in days, like our own, of religious controversy and confusion, “the firm foundation of God standeth, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his; and, Let every one that nameth the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness.” Just because the Resurrection demonstrates the Lordship of Christ, and authenticates His claim to be the Bread from Heaven, by which we may live immortally, so is it inseparably connected with His summons to live righteously.

(2) Hope to inspire effort.—The victory of Christ is seen to carry consequences of the utmost importance. He is bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh; in the indivisible unity of the human race He becomes for us all the pledge of final triumph. In Him we are sharers of that conquering manhood which overcame the very principle of mortality. By Him we are made strong to overcome sin, and assured of immortal life. There is no longer any place for the dreary suspicion that for us, being what and where we are in the world, there is no power to resist evil, that in sad truth the quest of the higher life is not for us. St. Paul bids the weakest and worst of us build boldly on the foundation of Christ’s victory: “If then ye were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God.” There is no place now for that withering sickness of the spirit, aghast at the futility of all human effort, shadowed and menaced and mocked by the inevitable stroke of death. “The things which are not seen are eternal,” and our true life is “hid with Christ in God.” “o death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? The sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law: but thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not vain in the Lord.”

The believing heart is ever essential to the living of a consistent and real life. There never was yet in the world an absolutely consistent infidel. Life would break down for the man who did not live practically on faith, however much theoretically he may cast it out of his life. You remember the verses which have been wrongly attributed to Charles Kingsley:

There is no unbelief!

Whoever plants a seed beneath the sod,

And waits to see it push away the clod,

He trusts in God.

Whoever says, when clouds are in the sky,

Be patient, heart, light breaketh by and by,

Trusts the Most High.

Whoever lies down on his couch to sleep,

Content to lock each sense in slumber deep,

Knows God will keep.

Whoever says “to-morrow,” “the unknown,”

“The future”—trusts unto that Power alone

He dares disown.

The heart that looks on when the eyelids close,

And dares to live when life has only woes,

God’s comfort knows.

There is no unbelief;

And still by day and night, unconsciously,

The heart lives by the faith the lips decry,

God knoweth why.



“With the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

The beginning of the Christian life has two sides: internally it is the change of heart which faith implies; this leads to righteousness, the position of acceptance before God; externally it implies the “confession of Christ crucified” which is made in baptism, and this puts a man into the path by which in the end he attains salvation; he becomes one who is “being saved.”1 [Note: Sanday and Headlam.]

At times, the elders of the Hurons, the repositories of their ancient traditions, were induced to assemble at the house of the Jesuits, who explained to them the principal points of their doctrine, and invited them to a discussion. The auditors proved pliant to a fault, responding, “Good,” or “That is true,” to every proposition; but when urged to adopt the faith which so readily met their approval, they had always the same reply: “It is good for the French; but we are another people, with different customs.”2 [Note: Francis Parkman, The Jesuits in North America, i. 150.]

i. A Baptismal Confession

1. There seems to be no doubt that St. Paul has in mind some form of Baptismal Confession of Faith. Such a confession marks the external side of the beginning of the Christian life. The first formal creeds we meet with are Baptismal Confessions. The story of the Ethiopian baptized by Philip is an instance. Philip told him about Christ, and the Ethiopian, impressed by what he heard, asked to be baptized. “Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

2. No idea existed at first of an exclusive creed; indeed, there was no one universal, unvarying form of creed. Each Church, while teaching the same truths as the others, had its own form of expressing them. The candidate for baptism who had been taught the Christian history and doctrine in a class with others, freely and discursively, had no suspicion of the creed with which at length he was entrusted, which he had to commit to memory, but which was never written down. He had no disposition to doubt, nor the Church to be inquisitorial. Men became Christian because they were eager to believe the Gospel message; anxious to know more of it; and to know it soon, before they died a martyr’s death.

The creed in early days was called the Symbolum or symbol. Various meanings have been given to this name. But whether we regard it as meaning a military sign, tessera militaris, or whether it was adopted from the Greek mysteries, which committed a sign to the keeping of the initiated, it was a sign which the Christian carried about with him. By it he gained admission, wherever he might be, to the Christian Church, and by it he claimed the brotherly service of those who shared in the same faith. Their creed was their symbol, their secret, their pride.1 [Note: W. Page-Roberts.]

Think not the Faith by which the just shall live

Is a dead creed, a map correct of heaven;

Far less a feeling, fond and fugitive,

A thoughtless gift, withdrawn as soon as given;—

It is an Affirmation and an Act

That bids eternal youth be present fact.2 [Note: Hartley Coleridge.]

ii. Unto Salvation

“Confession is made unto salvation.”

In what sense is it true that confession is thus closely connected with salvation? Two replies may be given to this question.

1. First of all, confession of faith is necessary to the salvation of others. It has pleased God to make the saving of men dependent on the work and activity of those who are already saved, and there is no single part of that work more important or more fruitful in results than the open confession “with the mouth” of the authority and love of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is sometimes said that it is harder to live for Christ than to speak about Him, but the statement is far from being universally true. There may be some who find little or no difficulty in speaking for Jesus to those who know Him not, but the greater number of Christian people know only too well how difficult a task it is to say anything to others of what is deepest and most sacred in their own hearts; and the difficulty grows greater and not less when they have to speak to those nearest and dearest to them. Many of us who would find little or no difficulty in speaking for Christ to a stranger are stricken dumb within our own homes.

It is told in the Memoirs of Dr. Chalmers that he spent an evening at Edgarstoun in the house of Mr. Rutherford. “His amiable wife was by the library fire with her sister-in-law, and Mr. Brown, a remarkably large stout man of seventy-two. He had been a parishioner in Cavers when Dr. Chalmers was assistant there, and the greetings and cordial inquiries between them were quite animated. We fell into devout discourse presently, and conversed till late.” At length the company retired to rest, but in the early morning they were roused by a cry. Mr. Brown had suddenly been stricken down by death, and in a moment had been called from time into eternity. Chalmers suffered an agony of self-reproach that he had not spoken to him urgently of Christ. “It was touching to see him sit down on a bank repeatedly with tears in his eyes, and say, ‘Ah! God has rebuked me; I know now what St. Paul means by being instant in season and out of season. Had I addressed that old man last night with urgency it might have seemed out of season to human eyes, but how seasonable it would have been.’”1 [Note: Memoirs of Dr. Chalmers, ii. 365.]

2. But the confession is also necessary to our own salvation. It is true we are saved by faith alone, but it is also true we are not saved, and cannot be saved, by faith that is alone. A faith kept to itself, confined within the soul, denied all expression, will soon cease to live. All deep emotion requires some kind of outward manifestation, or the emotion itself will die away. John Stuart Mill said that his father “starved his feelings by denying them expression”; and what is true of human feeling is even truer of those more sacred feelings the heart has for Christ. To believe in Jesus and never to speak to any single soul about Him, to lock up the secrets of faith in our own heart, is not only to imperil the salvation of others, it is to endanger our own. Faithfulness and faith are always closely connected; we cannot retain the one if we refuse the other. “Confession is made unto salvation.”

It is true that the life is the greatest and most impressive witness for Christ, and that without the witness of the life all that the lips may utter for Him is worse than worthless; but this is not all the truth. Christ asks of us all more than the silent and daily witness of a holy life, He asks the testimony of our lips as well. He Himself lived a life that was the sublimest witness for God the world has ever beheld; but He was not content with living for God, He spoke for God as well. He was the Word as well as the Life, and He asks us here, as everywhere else, to follow Him. We are to be “living epistles”—letters which speak—“known and read of all men.”

One of the most serious dangers to the spiritual life is in its silence concerning itself. If there is peril in empty and light speech about sacred things, if there is little or no value in the glibness of a shallow heart that can chatter out all its most sacred experiences as if they were articles in the inventory of an auctioneer, there is even more peril in our never speaking at all of Him who has saved us. Much of the feebleness and depression of the spiritual life of to-day is owing to the fact that so many professed believers in Christ have forgotten that “with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”—their own as well as that of others.1 [Note: G. S. Barrett.]

The Heart and the Mouth


Barrett (G. S.), Musings for Quiet Hours, 49.

Blake (R. E.), Good News from Heaven, 27.

Edger (S.), Sermons Preached at Auckland, New Zealand, ii. 153.

Finney (C. G.), The Way of Salvation, 313.

Gore (C.), The Epistle to the Romans, ii. 51.

Harper (F.), A Year with Christ, 109.

Magee (W. C.), Sermons, 1.

Moody (D. L.), New Sermons, Addresses, and Prayers, 318.

Murray (W. H.), The Fruits of the Spirit, 419.

Newbolt (W. C. E.), Counsels of Faith and Practice, 69.

Newbolt (W. C. E.), The Gospel Message, 104.

Page-Roberts (W.), Liberalism in Religion, 75.

Page-Roberts (W.), Conformity and Conscience, 181.

Skrine (J. H.), Sermons to Pastors and Masters, 35.

Spurgeon (C. H.), Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, ix. (1863), No. 520.

Vaughan (J.), Sermons (Brighton Pulpit), xx. No. 1175.

Christian World Pulpit, lxvii. 273 (Henson); lxix. 356 (Sime).

Verse 11

(11) Whosoever believeth.—All who believe shall be saved, for, &c.

Verse 12

(12) For the same Lord over all is rich.—Rather, for the same Lord (is Lord) over all, abounding, &c. Christ is the Lord alike of Jew and of Gentile. (Comp. Ephesians 4:5.)

Verse 13

(13) Upon the name of the Lord.—Originally, as meaning “of Jehovah,” but with especial reference to the Messianic Advent. Here, therefore, it is applied to our Lord.

Verses 14-21

(14-21) Thus there is a distinct order—belief, confession, invocation. But before either the last or the first of these steps is taken the gospel must be preached. The Jew, however, cannot plead that the gospel has not been preached to him. It has been preached both to Jew and Gentile. Both Moses and Isaiah had foretold the conversion of the Gentiles, and Isaiah had also foretold the unbelief of the Jews.

Verse 15

(15) The happy consequences of this preaching were already intimated by the prophet Isaiah.

Preach the gospel of peace.—These words are omitted in the group of oldest MSS., and should be left out in the text. The whole of the quotation is not given by St. Paul.

Verse 16

(16) Applying this condition of the necessity of preaching to the gospel, we nevertheless see that, as a matter of fact, all did not accept it. Just as Isaiah had said.

The argument does not run quite smoothly. The Apostle has two thoughts in his mind: (1) the necessity that the gospel should be preached before it could be believed; (2) the fact that, although it was preached (and accepted by many among the Gentiles), it was not accepted by the Jews. He begins to introduce this second topic before he has quite done with the first. Romans 10:17 goes back to and connects logically with Romans 10:15, while Romans 10:16 anticipates Romans 10:19; Romans 10:21.

Our report.—So Authorised version, rightly. The Greek word means literally, our hearing. Here it is, the message preached by us, but heard by those who listened to it.

Verse 17

(17) So then faith cometh.—Inference from the prophecy just quoted. Before men can believe, there must be something for them to believe. That something is the word of God, which we preach and they hear. It must be remembered that the word for “report” in Romans 10:16, and for “hearing” in Romans 10:17, is the same, but with a slight difference of meaning. In the first place, both the act of hearer and preacher are involved; in the second place, only the act of the hearer.

By the word of God.—We should read here, without doubt, “by the word of Christ”—i.e., by the gospel first delivered by Christ and propagated by His ministers.

Verse 18

(18) Have they not heard?—The relations of hearing to belief suggest to the Apostle a possible excuse for the Jews, and the excuse he puts forward interrogatively himself: “But, I ask, did they (the Jews) not hear?” Yes, for the gospel was preached to them, as indeed to all mankind.

Their sound.—Here, the voice of the preachers; in the original of Psalms 19, the unspoken testimony of the works of nature, and especially the heavenly bodies, to natural religion (“What though no real voice or sound,” &c.).

Verse 19

(19) Did not Israel know that the preaching of the gospel would be thus universal, and pass over from them to the Gentiles? Yes, certainly, for Moses had warned them of this.

First.—In the order of time and of Scripture.

I will provoke you.—In requital for the idolatries of the Jews, Moses prophesied that God would bestow his favour on a Gentile nation, and so provoke their jealousy; and the Apostle sees the fulfilment of this in his own day.

No people . . . a foolish nation.—Terms used by the Jews of their Gentile neighbours. They were “no people,” because they did not stand in the same recognised relation to God. They were “a foolish nation,” because they had not received the same special revelation, but, on the contrary, worshipped stocks and stones.

Verse 20

(20) Is very bold.—Comes forward and tells them the naked truth.

I was found.—The original of the quotation referred to the apostate Israel; St. Paul here applies it to the Gentiles.

Verse 21

(21) To Israel.—With regard to Israel.

He saith.—Isaiah, speaking as the mouthpiece of God.

All day long.—This quotation is from the next verse to the preceding, and there is no such distinction in the persons to whom it is addressed as the Apostle here draws.

Gainsaying.—A people which refused the proffered salvation.


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Bibliography Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Romans 10:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 1905.

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Friday, December 4th, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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