What then shall we say? (τι ουν ερουμεν ti oun eroumeṅ). Paul is fond of this rhetorical question (Romans 4:1; Romans 6:1; Romans 7:7; Romans 8:31; Romans 9:14, Romans 9:30).Forefather (προπατορα propatora). Old word, only here in N.T. Accusative case in apposition with Αβρααμ Abraam (accusative of general reference with the infinitive). Hath found (ευρηκεναι heurēkenai). Westcott and Hort put ευρηκεναι heurēkenai in the margin because B omits it, a needless precaution. It is the perfect active infinitive of ευρισκω heuriskō in indirect discourse after ερουμεν eroumen The MSS. differ in the position of κατα σαρκα kata sarka f0).
The Scripture (η γραπη hē graphē). Genesis 15:6.Was justified by works (εχ εργων εδικαιωτη ex ergōn edikaiōthē). Condition of first class, assumed as true for the sake of argument, though untrue in fact. The rabbis had a doctrine of the merits of Abraham who had a superfluity of credits to pass on to the Jews (Luke 3:8). But not towards God (αλλ ου προς τεον all' ou pros theon). Abraham deserved all the respect from men that came to him, but his relation to God was a different matter. He had there no ground of boasting at all.
It was reckoned unto him for righteousness (ελογιστη εις δικαιοσυνην elogisthē eis dikaiosunēn). First aorist passive indicative of λογιζομαι logizomai old and common verb to set down accounts (literally or metaphorically). It was set down on the credit side of the ledger “for” (εις eis as often) righteousness. What was set down? His believing God (επιστευσεν τωι τεωι episteusen tōi theōi).
But as of debt (αλλα κατα οπειλημα alla kata opheilēma). An illustration of the workman (εργαζομενωι ergazomenōi) who gets his wages due him, “not as of grace” (ου κατα χαριν ou kata charin).
That justifieth the ungodly (τον δικαιουντα τον ασεβη ton dikaiounta ton asebē). The impious, irreverent man. See Romans 1:25. A forensic figure (Shedd). The man is taken as he is and pardoned. “The whole Pauline gospel could be summed up in this one word - God who justifies the ungodly” (Denney).
Pronounceth blessing (λεγει τον μακαρισμον legei ton makarismon). old word from μακαριζω makarizō to pronounce blessed (Luke 1:48), felicitation, congratulation, in N.T. only here, Romans 4:9; Acts 4:15.
Blessed (μακαριοι makarioi). See note on Matthew 5:3.Are forgiven (aphethēsan). First aorist passive indicative of aphiēmi without augment (απετησαν apheithēsan regular form). Paul quotes Psalm 32:1. and as from David. Paul thus confirms his interpretation of Genesis 15:6. Iniquities (απιημι anomiai). Violations of law whereas απειτησαν hamartiai (sins) include all kinds. Are covered (ανομιαι epekaluphthēsan). First aorist passive of αμαρτιαι epikaluptō old verb, to cover over (upon, επεκαλυπτησαν epi) as a shroud. Only here in N.T.
To whom (ωι hōi). But the best MSS. read ου hou like the lxx and so Westcott and Hort, “whose sin.”Will not reckon (ου μη λογισηται ou mē logisētai). Strong negation by double negative and aorist middle subjunctive.
Is this blessing then pronounced? (ο μακαρισμος ουν ουτοσ ho makarismos oun houtoṡ). “Is this felicitation then?” There is no verb in the Greek. Paul now proceeds to show that Abraham was said in Genesis 15:6 to be set right with God by faith before he was circumcised.
When he was in circumcision (εν περιτομηι οντι en peritomēi onti). Dative masculine singular of the present active participle of ειμι eimi “to him being in a state of circumcision or in a state of uncircumcision?” A pertinent point that the average Jew had not noticed.
The sign of circumcision (σημειον περιτομης sēmeion peritomēs). It is the genitive of apposition, circumcision being the sign.A seal of the righteousness of the faith (σπραγιδα της δικαιοσυνης της πιστεως sphragida tēs dikaiosunēs tēs pisteōs). Σπραγις Sphragis is old word for the seal placed on books (Revelation 5:1), for a signet-ring (Revelation 7:2), the stamp made by the seal (2 Timothy 2:19), that by which anything is confirmed (1 Corinthians 9:2) as here. The circumcision did not convey the righteousness, but only gave outward confirmation. It came by faith and “the faith which he had while in uncircumcision” (της εν τηι ακροβυστιαι tēs en tēi akrobustiāi), “the in the state of uncircumcision faith.” Whatever parallel exists between baptism and circumcision as here stated by Paul argues for faith before baptism and for baptism as the sign and seal of the faith already had before baptism. That he might be (εις το ειναι αυτον eis to einai auton). This idiom may be God‘s purpose (contemplated result) as in εις το λογιστηναι eis to logisthēnai below, or even actual result (so that he was) as in Romans 1:20. Though they be in uncircumcision (δι ακροβυστιας di' akrobustias). Simply, “of those who believe while in the condition of uncircumcision.”
The father of circumcision (πατερα περιτομης patera peritomēs). The accusative with εις το ειναι eis to einai to be repeated from Romans 4:11. Lightfoot takes it to mean, not “a father of a circumcised progeny,” but “a father belonging to circumcision,” a less natural interpretation.But who also walk (αλλα και τοις στοιχουσιν alla kai tois stoichousin). The use of τοις tois here is hard to explain, for ου μονον ou monon and αλλα και alla kai both come after the preceding τοις tois All the MSS. have it thus. A primitive error in a copyist is suggested by Hort who would omit the second τοις tois Lightfoot regards it less seriously and would repeat the second τοις tois in the English: “To those who are, I do not say of circumcision only, but also to those who walk.” In the steps (τοις ιχνεσιν tois ichnesin). Locative case. See note on 2 Corinthians 12:18. Stoicheō is military term, to walk in file as in Galatians 5:25; Philippians 3:16.
That he should be the heir of the world (το κληρονομον αυτον ειναι κοσμου to klēronomon auton einai kosmou). The articular infinitive (το ειναι to einai) with the accusative of general reference in loose apposition with η επαγγελια hē epaggelia (the promise). But where is that promise? Not just Genesis 12:7, but the whole chain of promises about his son, his descendants like the stars in heaven, the Messiah and the blessing to the world through him. In these verses (Romans 4:13) Paul employs (Sanday and Headlam) the keywords of his gospel (faith, promise, grace) and arrays them against the current Jewish theology (law, works, merit).
Be heirs (κληρονομοι klēronomoi). No predicate in the Greek (εισιν eisin). See note on Galatians 4:1. If legalists are heirs of the Messianic promise to Abraham (condition of first class, assumed as true for argument‘s sake), the faith is emptied of all meaning (kekenōtai perfect passive indicative of kenoō) and the promise to Abraham is made permanently idle (κεκενωται katērgētai).
Worketh wrath (οργην κατεργαζεται orgēn katergazetai). Because of disobedience to it.Neither is there transgression (ουδε παραβασις oude parabasis). There is no responsibility for the violation of a non-existent law.
Of faith (εκ πιστεως ek pisteōs). As the source.According to grace (κατα χαριν kata charin). As the pattern. To the end that (εις το ειναι eis to einai). Purpose again as in Romans 4:11. Sure (βεβαιαν bebaian). Stable, fast, firm. Old adjective from βαινω bainō to walk. Not to that only which is of the law (ου τωι εκ του νομου μονον ou tōi ek tou nomou monon). Another instance where μονον monon (see Romans 4:12) seems in the wrong place. Normally the order would be, ου μονον τωι εκ του νομου αλλα και κτλ ou monon tōi ek tou nomouclass="translit"> alla kai ktl f0).
A father of many nations (πατερα πολλων ετνων patera pollōn ethnōn). Quotation from Genesis 17:5. Only true in the sense of spiritual children as already explained, father of believers in God.Before him whom he believed even God (κατεναντι ου επιστευσεν τεου katenanti hou episteusen theou). Incorporation of antecedent into the relative clause and attraction of the relative ωι hōi into ου hou See Mark 11:2 for κατεναντι katenanti “right in front of.” Calleth the things that are not as though they were (καλουντος τα μη οντα ως οντα kalountos ta mē onta hōs onta). “Summons the non-existing as existing.” Abraham‘s body was old and decrepit. God rejuvenated him and Sarah (Hebrews 11:19).
In hope believed against hope (παρ ελπιδα επ ελπιδι επιστευσεν par' elpida ep' elpidi episteusen). “Past hope in (upon) hope he trusted.” Graphic picture.To the end that he might become (εις το γενεσται αυτον eis to genesthai auton). Purpose clause again with εις eis to and the infinitive as in Romans 4:11-16.
Without being weakened in faith (μη αστενησας τηι πιστει mē asthenēsas tēi pistei). “Not becoming weak in faith.” Ingressive first aorist active participle with negative μη mēNow as good as dead (ηδη νενεκρωμενον ēdē nenekrōmenon). Perfect passive participle of νεκροω nekroō “now already dead.” B omits ηδη ēdē He was, he knew, too old to become father of a child. About (που pou). The addition of που pou (somewhere, about) “qualifies the exactness of the preceding numeral” (Vaughan). The first promise of a son to Abraham and Sarah came (Genesis 15:3.) before the birth of Ishmael (86 when Ishmael was born). The second promise came when Abraham was 99 years old (Genesis 17:1), calling himself 100 (Genesis 17:17).
He wavered not through unbelief (ου διεκριτη τηι απιστιαι ou diekrithē tēi apistiāi). First aorist passive indicative of old and common verb διακρινω diakrinō to separate, to distinguish between, to decide between, to desert, to dispute, to be divided in one‘s own mind. This last sense occurs here as in Matthew 21:22; Mark 11:23; Romans 14:23; James 1:6. “He was not divided in his mind by unbelief” (instrumental case).Waxed strong through faith (ενεδυναμωτη τηι πιστει enedunamōthē tēi pistei). First aorist passive again of ενδυναμοω endunamoō late word to empower, to put power in, in lxx and Paul and Acts 9:22.
Being fully assured (πληροπορητεις plērophorētheis). First aorist passive participle of πληροπορεω plērophoreō from πληροπορος plērophoros and this from πληρης plērēs and περω pherō to bear or bring full (full measure), to settle fully. Late word, first in lxx but frequent in papyri in sense of finishing off or paying off. See note on Luke 1:1 and note on Romans 14:5.What he had promised (ho epēggeltai). Perfect middle indicative of epaggellomai to promise, retained in indirect discourse according to usual Greek idiom. He was able (ο επηγγελται dunatos estin). Present active indicative retained in indirect discourse. The verbal adjective επαγγελλομαι dunatos with δυνατος εστιν estin is here used in sense of the verb δυνατος dunatai (Luke 14:31; Acts 11:17).
That (οτι hoti). Either recitative or declarative οτι hoti It makes sense either way.
Him that raised up Jesus (τον εγειραντα Ιησουν ton egeiranta Iēsoun). First aorist active articular participle of εγειρω egeirō to raise up. The fact of the Resurrection of Jesus is central in Paul‘s gospel (1 Corinthians 15:4.).
For our justification (δια την δικαιωσιν ημων dia tēn dikaiōsin hēmōn). The first clause (παρεδοτη δια τα παραπτωματα paredothē dia ta paraptōmata) is from Isaiah 53:12. The first δια dia with παραπτωματα paraptōmata is probably retrospective, though it will make sense as prospective (to make atonement for our transgressions). The second δια dia is quite clearly prospective with a view to our justification. Paul does not mean to separate the resurrection from the death of Christ in the work of atonement, but simply to show that the resurrection is at one with the death on the Cross in proof of Christ‘s claims.
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Romans 4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Easter