Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, July 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Romans 4

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1


1) "What shall we say then," (ti oun eroumen). "What therefore shall we say;" How can righteousness or justification before God be recognized or illustrated, or what example may be given? Paul seems to interject!

2) "That Abraham our father," (Abram ton propatora hemon) "That Abraham our forefather," the father of the National Jewish race, and Spiritual father of all who by faith receive Jesus Christ, the Redeemer to acquit them from condemnation, what did he discover or experience?

3) "As pertaining to the flesh," (kata sarka) "According to the flesh," our forefather; While yet an heathen, a Gentile in Ur of the Chaldees, God preached the gospel to him. By faith he accepted it, obeyed God by going where God led, and received God’s offered blessings of becoming a father of a great nation in the flesh, Genesis 12:1-3.

4) "Has found?" (heurekenai) "To have found," has found, discovered, experienced or disclosed? regarding salvation, justification, righteousness, and redemption; what was Abraham’s experience of Faith? Paul raised the question as a basis of using Abraham as a Specific example of how God saves or justifies a believing sinner apart from requirement of works, forms, or ceremonies of any law. God saved Abraham when he believed what God told him about Salvation, and that was before he received circumcision, the outward sign of his inner faith, which faith he placed in God and by which he was justified before God, before he left his heathen homeland for Canaan! Galatians 3:8.

Verse 2

1) "For if Abraham were justified by works," (ei gar Abraam eks ergon edikaiothe) "For if Abraham was justified by works," as the Jews contended, on Which they doted, but he wasn’t, Romans 5:1; Romans 5:9; Luke 18:14; Romans 3:28. Paul discusses Abraham’s faith which God sees. James discusses Abraham’s works which man sees, works he did because of faith he had, James 2:1-26.

2) "He hath whereof to glory," (echei Kauchema) "He has or holds an occasion to boast," or has a real boast, doesn’t he? This appears to be irony or sarcasm? Self-glorying is vain, empty, hypocritical. This was the fall of the Jews, their basis of proud rejection of Jesus Christ, John 8:24; John 8:33; John 8:37; John 8:39; John 8:44.

3) "But not before God," (all’ ou pros theon) "But not with God," not in any association with God. Because no one is justified with God by works! See? Works do not acquit or release one from condemnation of sin and God’s broken law. Works of Moses’ Law did not and do not impart, transfer, or impute Divine righteousness to any person --neither does baptism, reformation, church membership, The Lord’s Supper, or the doing of any deed of the laws of Christ impart salvation to a sinner. This Salvation comes solely by faith in Jesus Christ, apart from church membership, church ordinances, tithes, etc. God’s children, who have been saved by Grace thru faith, should thereafter live in these obedient ways, not to obtain or retain salvation, but to honor God –Romans 6:4; John 14:15; 1 John 5:1.

Verse 3

1) "For what saith the scripture?" (ti gar he graphe legei) "For what do the Scripture say?" What is their conclusion regarding salvation and justification or remission of Sins? Genesis 15:6; Galatians 3:8; Acts 10:43. The gospel of redemption that God preached to Abraham, that he believed, brought him remission of sins -- after which he had a good testimony for God, as he journeyed, Psalms 107:2; Acts 1:8.

2) "Abraham believed God," (episteusen de Abraam to theo) "Abraham believed or trusted the God," the true God, when he preached the gospel to him, as cited above. God’s order is, Salvation before good works, and any other order is out of order and constitutes disorder and confusion in all religious matters, Ephesians 2:8-10; Romans 11:6.

3) "And it was counted to him for righteousness," (Kai elogisthe auto eis dikaiosunen) "And it (his belief trust, or faith in God) was counted, reckoned, calculated or computed to him for righteousness;" Genesis 15:6; James 2:23; Galatians 3:6-9. The imputed righteousness of God is thru faith transferred to or conferred upon penitent sinners, because of or on the basis of the death of Jesus Christ for every man, Isaiah 53:5-6; Isaiah 53:10; 2 Corinthians 5:21.

Verse 4

1) "Now to him that worketh," (to de ergazomeno) "Now to the one working;" Let us consider the one working to obtain the righteousness of God --Paul had tried it; the Pharisees and Sadducees had tried it; his own race was then trying it, but it didn’t bring Salvation, See? Romans 10:1-13.

2) "Is the reward not reckoned of Grace," (ho misthos ou logizetai kata charin) "The reward is not reckoned or calculated or computed according to grace;" People work for pay --this is a secular and Divine principle --if Salvation were obtained by works it would be not of Grace, but by merit, Romans 11:6.

3) "But of debt," (alla kata opheilema) "But (in direct contrast) it is reckoned, calculated, or computed according to the principle of a debt;" God would be obligated to pay man off, with Salvation, for works man had done, if righteousness with God was obtained by means, instrument, or agency of works --But it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. See Titus 3:5.

Men are created in Christ Jesus (when they believe, 1 John 5:1) "unto good works," not by good works!

Verse 5


1) "But to him that worketh not," (to. de me ergazomenon) "But to the one not working," expecting to obtain justification before or with God thereby; or working with the motive of obtaining a reward.

2) "But believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly," (pisteuonti de epi ton dikaiounta ton asebe) "But believing on the one justifying (who justifies) the impious or ungodly one;" Christ died for us, the ungodly, by his blood he justifies, and reconciles "thru faith," (not works) the Sinner to God, Romans 5:6; Romans 5:8-10; Romans 3:25; Revelation 5:9. It is even the ungodly (Gk. asebe) impious man that may be justified by faith.

3) "His faith is counted for righteousness," (logizetai he pistis autou eis dikaiosunen) "His faith is reckoned, counted, computed or calculated for righteousness:" Faith in Jesus Christ, and his blood, is the ultimate ground of justification with God, not works of Moses Law or works of Christ’s Law --this chapter is directed to show that one is saved by grace thru faith, in two ways:

1) First, By the example of Abraham’s Faith.

2) Second, By the testimony of David. Galatians 3:6-9; Philemon 1:18.

Verse 6

1) "Even as David also describeth," (kathaper kai David legei) "Just as David relates," or testifies, that Salvation and pardon come to one, just as Paul had related it, regarding the example of Abraham. Psalms 40:4; Jeremiah 17:7.

2) "The blessedness of the man," (ton makarismon tou anthropou) "The blessed state of man," pronounces blessings on the man who believes in Christ, before he has done any good works, and without any acceptance benefits required for his Salvation, Psalms 2:12; Psalms 32:1; Psalms 34:8; Psalms 40:1-3; John 20:29.

3) "Unto whom God imputeth righteousness," (o ho theos logizetai dikaosunen) "To whom God reckons, imputes, computes, or counts righteousness," transfers Divine righteousness to his account, because of the substitutionary death and righteousness of Christ for believing sinners, 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philemon 1:18; 1 Corinthians 1:29-30.

4) "Without works," (choris ergon) "Without or apart from works or deeds of moral and ethical conduct," even as he had done to Abraham, before Abraham’s good works, circumcision, etc. Romans 4:1-5; Romans 11:6; Tit 35.

Verse 7

1) "Saying, blessed are they," (makarioi) "Blessed are the ones," (they), a quotation, citation of David’s testimony regarding the means, method, or instrument by which man was made righteous before God, Psalms 32:1-2.

2) "Whose iniquities are forgiven," (on aphetheson hai anomiai) "Whose lawlessnesses (iniquities) were forgiven or pardoned;" thru imputed righteousness of God, to the one trusting in Him; Psalms 85:2; Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 4:32; 1 John 2:12.

3) - And whose sins are covered," (kai on epekauphthesan hai hamartiai) "And whose lawlessnesses (iniquities) were covered! Paid for, could not be charged against them any more. If covered, no more seen or noticed, and if noticed, could be punished no more, Jeremiah 31:34. Hebrews 8:12; Hebrews 10:17-18; Isaiah 38:17.

Verse 8

1) "Blessed is the man," (Makarios Aner) "Blessed is a man;" This redeemed, righteous man is described, Psalms 1:1 to Psalms 2:1 and in the Beatitudes of our Lord, Matthew 5:3-12. These beatitudes were pronounced upon, given to our Lord’s church, Matthew 5:12.

2) "To whom the Lord," (ou kurios) "Of whom," or "to whom the Lord;" to, toward, or of the believer no more charge of eternal condemnation will be brought by the Lord, Matthew 5:24.

3) "Will not impute sin," (ou me logisetai hamartian) "By no means may reckon (impute) or hold to his account sin," any more to eternal condemnation --- This is eternal liberation, emancipation, from bondage, by grace thru faith, Psalms 32:2; John 10:27-29; Ephesians 4:30; Romans 6:23.


There is a legal process in which a person pleads before the court in what is called in forma pauperis, that is, he pleads as a poor man, he pleads his poverty; and there are certain privileges allowed to those who thus plead in forma pauperis which are not accorded to the wealthiest persons in the land. This is the only successful way in which to plead with God: we must come as paupers, having nothing of our own; giving up every pretence of right or claim of deserving. We must cry, "Lord, I am lost! I am lost! I am lost! but Thou hast lived and Thou has died; Thy life, Thy sufferings, Thy griefs, Thy groans, Thy death, all these were for those who needed such a sin-atoning sacrifice, and on that sacrifice by blood I rest; I cast myself, lost and ruined, upon the work which Jesus Christ has done for me!" --- Spurgeon.

Verse 9


1) "Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only?" (ho makarismos oun houtos epi ten peritomen) "Does this blessedness come on the circumcision alone;" are the circumcised the only people who have or can have the righteousness of God, justification, redemption, or eternal life?

2) "Or upon the uncircumcision also?" (e kai epi ten arkrobustian); "Or also upon the uncircumcision?" or upon the Gentiles, those uncircumcised among the races, also? The answer is "upon the uncircumcision also," as to the household of Cornelius, Acts 10:34-47; and to all believing Gentiles, Acts 11:18.

3) "For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham," (legomen gar elogisthe to Abraam he pistis) "For we assert that the faith (of) was reckoned to Abraham," or faith was imputed (counted) to Abraham, to or for his sin-need;" In no place is it stated or inferred that circumcision is, was, or may be imputed for righteousness.

4) "For righteousness," (eis dikaiosunen) "For righteousness, in order to make Abraham righteous. Never was any work of the flesh reckoned or imputed for righteousness to any person, Romans 4:4; Romans 4:11-12. The conclusion Paul affirmed was that the blessedness of imputed righteousness, forgiveness of sins, and pardon is not restricted to those of the circumcision only, Galatians 3:6-9.

Verse 10

1) "How was it then reckoned?" (pos oun elogisthe); "How then was it accounted, imputed, or reckoned?" --tell it again, repeat it! For it is based on Scriptural and historical evidence, Genesis 15:6. Under what circumstances was Abraham justified by faith?

2) "When he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision," (en peritome onti e en akrobustia); "While he (existed) in a state of circumcision or uncircumcision?" While he was uncircumcised is the answer. It was at least some fourteen years after God preached the gospel to him, and after he was saved, that he was circumcised, Genesis 15:6; Galatians 3:8; Genesis 17:23-26.

3) "Not in circumcision," (ouk en peritone) "Not in circumcision;" Abraham did not depend on circumcision to make him right with God or to obtain Divine righteousness. For Abraham was not circumcised until he was 99 years of age, when Ishmael was 13 years of age, Genesis 17:25.

4) "But in uncircumcision," (all’ en akrobustia) "But while he was in (a state of) uncircumcision;" Before even Ishmael was ever born, his faith was counted for righteousness, and he was justified before God by his faith, Genesis 15:6; Genesis 15:18; Genesis 16:16. He was 86 years old when Ishmael was born.

Verse 11

1) "And he received the sign of circumcision," (Kai semeion elaben peristomes) "And he received (accepted of his own accord) a sign of circumcision;" Circumcision was the sign or mark of a covenant God made with Abraham to give him and his seed "all the land of Canaan," for an everlasting possession, Genesis 17:8; Genesis 17:19; Genesis 17:11-12.

2) "A seal of the righteousness of the faith," (sphragida tes dikaiosunes tes pisteos) "A seal of the righteousness of the faith (the trust);" This circumcision is declared to be for a visible token of God’s covenant with Abraham, Genesis 17:11; and of God’s righteousness that had been bestowed upon him when he "believed unto righteousness," Romans 10:10.

3) "Which he had yet being uncircumcised," (tes en te akrobustia) "He held while in uncircumcision, or before he was circumcised." While the history of Abraham’s believing or trusting in God is recorded or declared 14 years before he was circumcised, Genesis 15:6 --It is even possible that this occurred 16 years earlier, when he was called in Ur of Chaldee, Genesis 12:1-4.

4) "That he might be the father of all them that believe," (eis to einai auton patera panton ton pisteuonton). "So that he should be as a father of all who believe;" The Divine method of justification was illustrated, first in him, so that all might know the righteousness of God was available to all without circumcision, Luke 19:9.

5) "Though they be not circumcised," (di’ akrobustia) "Though (they too) be uncircumcised;" as Abraham was saved before he was circumcised at least 14 years, perhaps 30 years, Genesis 15:6; Genesis 17:25.

6) "That righteousness might be imputed unto them also," (eis to logisthenai autois (ten) dikaiosunen) "That righteousness might also be reckoned, accounted, or imputed to them;" Philemon 1:18; Galatians 3:6-7.


Christ’s righteousness, imputed to us by faith, justifies us, and this is the believer’s title to heaven; from sanctification arises our meetness for it. A king’s son is heir-apparent to his father’s crown; now, we will suppose the young prince to be educated with all the advantages, and to be possessor of all the attainments that are necessary to constitute a complete monarch, his accomplishments, however, do not entitle him io the kingdom, they only qualify him for it; so that holiness and obedience of the saints are no part of that right on which their claim to heaven is founded, but only a part of that spiritual education whereby they are made meet to inherit the kingdom of heaven: thus we may see plainly the difference between justification and sanctification.


Verse 12

1) "And the father of circumcision," (kai patera peristomes) "And a (the) father of circumcision;" the initiator of flesh circumcision and the first example of Spiritual circumcision of the heart which by faith brought God’s righteousness to him and justified him, Colossians 2:11; Romans 2:28.

2) "To them who are not of the circumcision only," But to Jews and Gentiles wise and unwise, the religious, and the irreligious, those with circumcision, and those without circumcision, the masses-- not the classes.

3) "But who also walk," (alla kai tois stoichousin) "But also to those who (are) walking;" The blessedness of God on those to whom he has imputed righteousness, to those who walk in obedient paths of service, is available to all who will come to Him, John 6:37; Psalms 11:1-6.

4) "In the steps of that faith of our father Abraham," (tois ichnesin tes pisteos tou patros hemon Abraam) "In the steps of the faith of Abraham our father;" who after he was made righteous by faith, received the seal of the covenant (circumcision) obeyed God, living in tents looking for a city not made with hands, Hebrews 11:8-10.

5) "Which he had being yet uncircumcised," (eni akrobustia) "Which he possessed in uncircumcision;" the conclusion to be inevitably drawn is that this same justification from sin’s condemnation is available to all men, without respect of person or excuse of any person, circumcised or uncircumcised, no matter where he lives or has lived and irrespective of what his past has been. This justification comes by faith in Jesus Christ at which point the righteousness of God is imputed to him and he is saved, Romans 10:8-13; Ephesians 2:8-10; Acts 16:30-31.

Verse 13


1) "For the promise that he should be the heir of the world," (he epangelia to kleronomon auton einai kosmou) "Because the promise that he should be heir of the world," the Divine promise, an extension or confirmation of the promise Genesis 12:7; Genesis 17:8; Genesis 22:15-18; As confirmed regarding the church, 1 Corinthians 6:2; Luke 22:28-30; 2 Timothy 2:11-13; Galatians 3:29.

2) "Was not to Abraham or to his seed," (to Abraam to) "Was not to Abraham or to his seed that is, to his seed (natural seed), alone.

3) "Through the law," (ou gar dia nomou) "Because it was not through law;" Because the promise was before the law had been given, near 400 years, Galatians 3:20-29.

4) "But through the righteousness of faith," This assertion is another certification that Divine righteousness has never been offered or transferred to sinful men, Jews or Gentiles because of or on the basis of their morality, ethics, works, ceremonies, rites, or performed rituals of religious or secular nature. All sinners against an Holy God have become righteous solely on the basis of faith, and that faith penitently in Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, whose substitutionary death offered the basis of their imputed righteousness and justification, Isaiah 53:5-6; 2 Corinthians 5:21.

Verse 14

1) "For if they which are of the law be heirs," (ei gar hoi ek nomou kleronomoi) "For if those out of the law, (law deeds) are become heirs;" Paul turns to the hypothetical method argument to show that "if" any one becomes saved by keeping the law, thru deeds of the law, then "faith" is a farce, or doesn’t avail anything, Galatians 5:6.

2) "Faith is made void," (kekenotai he pistis) "Faith has been emptied, made void," or rendered as of none effect. In effect he asserts that faith in Christ is useless, unnecessary, superfluous; if by keeping the law one can become a child of God, and an heir; such faith as Abraham had would help no one! Acts 16:31; Romans 4:4-5.

3) "And the promise made of none effect," (Kai katergetai he epangelia) "And the promise has been destroyed or rendered useless, of none effect," if out of merely keeping, guarding, or observing the law one could acquire salvation and become an heir of God, with right of ruling with him on earth, during the Millennium, the promise given to Abraham by faith would be in effect farcical, or a sham, Galatians 3:18.

There simply are not two or three plans of Salvation and methods of securing rewards set forth for people in the Bible. Acts 4:12; Acts 10:43; John 8:24; John 14:6; Romans 1:16; Romans 11:6; Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 2:8-10; Colossians 2:10; Titus 3:5.

Verse 15

1) "Because the law worketh wrath," (ho gar nomos orgen katergazetai) "For the law works wrath;" The law was given because of transgression or sin, to define sin and pronounce a penalty for it; this law pointed to the need of a Redeemer, and was to last till he came, serving as a schoolmaster to point to Christ, Galatians 3:19-25.

2) "For where no law is," (hou de ouk estin nomos) "And where law does not exist" it was wrong to murder, steal, lie, commit adultery, and curse before the law of Moses was given, but such as committed those sins were not punished by penalties such as were later administered under Moses’ Law; for no specific law had been given to tell how bad these sins were and what the punishment should be. Romans 5:13.

3) "There is no transgression," (oude parabasis) "Neither does transgression exist;" or there is no conscious or serious transgression. At such a time, when no identifiable law has been given or enacted, there-can exist no transgression. One can not transgress or break either (a) a law that doesn’t exist, or (b) a law that he is not under. One may break a moral or ethical principle, in a territory where he is not a citizen, where he is not under the law, but he must be under the law to be subject to the penalty. Laws must first, set forth a principle of right and wrong, and second, set forth a penalty for breaking that principle. If both elements do not clearly exist, no law exists, but resolutions or recommendations. Romans 3:20; Romans 5:13; Romans 5:20; 2 Corinthians 3:7-11; Galatians 3:10; Galatians 3:19.

Verse 16

1) "Therefore it is of faith," (dia touto ek pisteos) "Therefore it is (exists) out of faith;" the promise of both Salvation and Restoration to heirship over the holy land-land-grant territory, was made to Abraham in response to his faith or belief in God’s offer, Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:4-5; Romans 4:18.

2) "That it might be by grace," (hina kata Charin),"In order that it might be according to, or by media of Grace;" The righteousness of God is imparted, imputed, or freely given to penitent believers in Christ by or thru faith, not works, otherwise it would not and could not be by grace, Romans 3:24; Romans 11:6; Ephesians 2:8-10.

3) "To the end the promise might be sure to all the seed," (eis to einai Bebaian ten epangelian panti to spermati) "So that the promise might be firm, sure, or secure to all the seed;" the seed of Abraham, as it regarded righteousness with God, included all who should thereafter believe the gospel, as Abraham had done, whether Jew or Gentile, Galatians 3:6-9; Genesis 15:6; Romans 10:8-13.

4) "Not to that only which is of the law," (ou to ek tou nomou monon) "Not to the law-seed only;" or those under Moses’ Law; though they had priority for the Christ, the Redeemer had been clearly portrayed to them thru the law by types, shadows, symbols, object lessons, and prophecy, Isaiah 53:2-11.

5) "But to that also which is of the faith of Abraham," (alla kai to ek pisteos Abraam) "But also to those of the faith (accounted as seed) of Abraham;" Romans 4:4-5; Romans 9:8; Galatians 3:7; Galatians 3:22; Romans 11:32.

6) "Who is the father of us all," (hos estin pater panton hemon) "Who is the father of all of us (who believe); "In the sense that he is given as the first example that spelled out how men became righteous in Salvation, Galatians 3:8; Romans 4:1-6; Genesis 17:5.

Verse 17

1) "(As it is written," (kathos gegraptai) "Just as it has been written or recorded;" this lends credence, credibility or trustworthiness to the Old Testament writing, shows Paul believed them to be inspired, 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

2) “I have made thee a father of many nations)," (hoti patera pollon ethnon tetheika se), "that I have appointed thee (as) or (to be) a father of many nations;" This was recorded, Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 17:5. He was not only the physical-nature father (progenitor) of many nations but also the Spiritual, righteous father in example of being made righteous by faith, Galatians 3:8; Genesis 15:6.

3) "Before him whom he believed," (Katenanti ou episteusen) "Before whom he believed;" This him who preached the gospel to Abraham and before whom he believed was God! Read it again and again, Galatians 3:8; Romans 4:3; Genesis 15:6.

4) "Even God, who quickeneth the dead," (theou tou zoopoiountos tous nekrous), "Even before God, the one who quickens the dead (bodies)," or makes alive from physical death, Romans 8:11. As surely as God quickens the dead bodies from the grave by his Spirit he quickened Abraham from death in his sins, Ephesians 2:1; Ephesians 2:5.

5) "And calleth those things that be not as though they were," (kai kalountos ta me onta hos onta) "And calling things not (yet) existing as though they already existed;” Abraham and Sarah were beyond normal and expectant age of bearing children, yet when they considered they could not bear children, they did. Vitality of child bearing was restored to Abraham and Sarah when they were as good as dead and God spoke of things that were not as if they were. He also did this thru Isaiah regarding the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Genesis 17:5; Genesis 17:15-21; Genesis 18:11; Hebrews 11:11-12.

Verse 18

1) "Who against hope," (hos gar elpida) "Who beyond hope," beyond the natural age one could hope for children to be born to them (Abraham and Sara),

2) "Believed in hope," (ep’ elpidi episteusen) "Upon hope believed;" Hope is a product of faith --faith in God and faith in one’s fellowman. Literally "in hope," having already been saved, before the renewed promise of Isaac, he kept on believing God till Isaac was born, Genesis 21:12; Galatians 4:23; Hebrews 11:18.

3) "That he might become the father f many nations," (eis to genesthai auton pater pollon ethnon) "So that he might become a father of many nations," of many heathen, races, nation, and peoples, who should believe the gospel of redemption to the righteousness of God, thru faith in Jesus Christ, Genesis 17:5; Romans 4:6.

4) "According to that which was spoken," (kata to eiremenon) "According to the thing having been spoken;" that which was spoken in promise to him and Sara, Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 15:3-6; Genesis 15:18; Genesis 17:5-8; Genesis 17:15-19; Genesis 18:10-14; Genesis 21:2-3.

5) "So shall thy seed be," (houtos estai to sperma soul "So shall thy seed exist;" What God promises, he performs. Men must believe the gospel (the good news of Salvation) as Abraham did to be saved, to be accounted as Spiritual seed of Abraham, Galatians 3:8; Acts 10:43; Romans 9:8.

Verse 19

1) "And being not weak in faith," (Kai me asthenesas te pistei) "And not weakening in faith," not sickly, unstable, doubting, or wavering; James 1:6-8; Mark 11:24; 1 Timothy 2:8.

2) "He considered not his own body now dead," (Katenoesen to heauton soma nenekromenon) "He considered not his body to have (already) died;" or incapable of natural power of reproduction, Hebrews 11:11; Hebrews 11:19.

3) "When he was about an hundred years old," (hekatontetes pou huparchon) "When he was about a hundred years, (of age);" Genesis 18:11; Genesis 18:19; Genesis 21:3-5.

4) "Neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb," (Kai ten nekrosin tes metras Sarras) "Neither did he consider also the womb (matrix) of Sarah to be as in death," unfruitful, or barren, because of God’s promise; Genesis 21:1-2; Genesis 21:6-7; Galatians 4:23; Genesis 18:14.

Verse 20

1) "He staggered not at the promise of God," (eis de ten epangellian tou theou ou diekrithe) "But against the promise of God he did not decide, halt, or stagger," Genesis 18:11; Hebrews 11:11-12.

2) "Through unbelief," (te apistia) "By unbelief," or "in a state of doubt," even though physical circumstances might have suggested that he should doubt such a promise. But Divine promises are never to be doubted, Hebrews 10:23.

3) "But was strong in faith," (alla enedunamothe te pistei) "But he was empowered. by faith;" so that thereby he recovered his bodily vigor, as well as Sarah his wife also did by faith, Hebrews 11:11-12; Hebrews 11:19; 1 Kings 8:56.

4) "Giving glory to God," (dous dokse to theo) "Giving glory to God," because he recognized the power and faithfulness of God to keep his promises, Hebrews 10:23. To testify "He has never broken any promise spoken, He will keep His promise I know," is the sentiment of Abraham’s faith and true faith of every believer, Hebrews 11:11.

Verse 21

1) "And being fully persuaded," (kai plerophoretheis) "And existing in a fully persuaded state (continually);" Without doubt or wavering at any of God’s promises, he kept his sojourn for God, Hebrews 11:8-12.

2) "That what he had promised," (hoti ho epengeltai) "That what he has (had) promised;" that promises of (1 ) the land-grant to Israel, Genesis 12:7; Genesis 13:15-17; Genesis 15:18; (2) Thru him all nations should be blessed, Genesis 12:1-3.

3) "He was able also to perform," (dunatos estin kai poiesai) "He is (was) able also to do;" He is able to do exceeding, abundantly, above all that men are able to ask or think, Ephesians 3:20; Philippians 4:19; Exodus 23:31; Hebrews 11:19.

Verse 22

1) "And therefore it was imputed," (dio kai elogisthe) "Wherefore also it was reckoned, calculated, or put to his account," to the account of Abraham who was saved, made righteous by faith in Salvation and lived in faith-works, demonstrating the righteousness that he obtained in Salvation, Galatians 3:8; Romans 4:3-6; Romans 4:16; James emphasizes the latter, James 2:21-24.

2) "To him for righteousness," (auto eis dikai osunen) "To him for righteousness," for a right, state, condition, or attitude toward God, Genesis 15:6; Galatians 3:6-9; Acts 15:37-39; 2 Corinthians 5:21.

Verse 23

1) "Now it was not written," (ouk egraphe de) "Now it was not written or recorded;" in the past as a more personal historical truth relating to how Abraham was justified or made righteous from his heathen wickedness by faith, but as a universal example of justification before God by faith for the whole world, Romans 4:16; Romans 10:8-13.

2) "For his sake alone," (di’ auton monon) "For his benefit, help, or sake alone;" or that his faith in the gospel, God preached to him, was for him alone, or restricted to him, Galatians 3:8; Acts 10:43; Isaiah 55:6-7. He had no exclusive right to faith and its blessings, Romans 15:4; Romans 4:16; Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 2:8-9.

3) "That it was imputed to him"; (hoti elogisthe auto) "That it (the faith of him in the promise of God) was reckoned to him," not to him in isolation from, but in harmony with, the grander purpose of redemption through faith in the redeemer, for both Jews and Gentiles who needed salvation, and who too would place their faith in Jesus Christ, Romans 1:14-16; Romans 10:8-13.

Verse 24

1) "But for us also," (alla kai di’ hemas) "But also because of us;" both Jews and Gentiles of Paul’s time and ours, 1 Corinthians 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:6; 1 Corinthians 10:11.

2) "To whom it shall be imputed," (ois mellei logizesthai) "To whom it is about to be reckoned, accounted, or computed;" Believers do have this Divine righteousness imputed to them for justification from sin’s condemnation today, John 3:18.

3) "If we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord," (tois pisteuousin epi ton egeiranta lesoun ton kurion hemon) "The ones believing on the one who raised our Lord Jesus;" Men must believe in a living God, a risen Savior in order to be saved, Acts 10:39-43; Acts 13:30; Acts 13:37-39; Acts 15:7-9.

4) "From the dead," (ek nekron) "Out of dead corpses;" as the raising up of Isaac, the "promised seed," from the dead, the one as good as dead, -was of Abraham. So the raising up Christ out of (from among dead corpses) was according to God’s promise for redemption of all men of all times, Matthew 12:39-40; Matthew 16:21; Matthew 26:32; Matthew 28:5-7.

Verse 25

1) "Who was delivered," (hos paredothe) "Who was delivered," "given over to death;" no man took his life; He was not the helpless victim of a wicked mob --He was delivered or given to death by the Father and by his own will, Isaiah 53:6-12; John 3:16; John 10:17-18; Luke 23:46.

2) "For our offences," (dia ta paraptomata hemon) "Because of the offences of us;" Isaiah 53:5-6; Isaiah 53:12; It was not for his offences he gave (of his own accord) up the Ghost, his Spirit life, but for ours, on behalf of our sins, 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 1:4; 1 Peter 2:24 and "bare our sins in his own body on the tree."

3) "And was raised again," (kai egerthe) "And was raised," brought up out of the grave from among the dead corpses; By the Spirit of God, a firstfruit from among dead corpses, Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23; Ephesians 1:19-23; Colossians 1:18.

4) "For our justification," (dia ten dikaiosin hemon) "Because of the acquittal of us," or on account of the justification he (Christ) had wrought for us. Justification consists of, (1) pardon from the penalty of sin (eternal condemnation), (2) restoration to God’s favor, and (3) imparted or imputed righteousness from God, by which one is qualified to enter his service, Romans 3:24-25; Romans 4:5; Romans 4:16; Acts 13:39; the living Christ intercedes day and night, without rest or sleep, for the justification, acquittal, of believers from the eternal consequence of their sins, Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2; Romans 5:1.


When a person has been brought to trail, and found guilty, if he is able to make a sufficient satisfaction for his offence, either through his own ability or that of his friends, and the law accepts such an identification, the criminal would depart from the trail justified. The accepted satisfaction would not, indeed, render him an innocent man; but he would be so regarded by the law; and, though guilty, he would be no more liable to prosecution and punishment for their offence than a person who had never committed it. Now, this is the way in which we are justified in the sight of God. We are found guilty by this just Judge; and at any moment his justice may inflict upon us the deserved sentence of eternal death. We have no ability of our own to make satisfaction: but an Almighty Friend and Saviour has died to make an atonement for our sins; and he permits us to offer the merits of his most precious blood-shedding to God for the remission of those sins. God accepts this satisfaction from all who have a right to offer it, and, in consideration of it, releases them from the penalty of eternal death, to which they stood exposed. A person pleading this satisfaction is not, indeed, rendered innocent through what his Saviour has done for him; but he is treated as such; he is no longer liable to punishment: and we may say that an angel in heaven is in as much danger of eternal torment as is a person who is found in Christ, having the infinite merits of his Saviour to plead for his own justification.


Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Romans 4". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/romans-4.html. 1985.
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