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Bible Commentaries
Romans 11

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

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Verse 1

1:1 Rom 11:1. The last verses in the preceding chapter indicates a dismal prospect for God's ancient people. Realizing such a possible conclusion being formed by his readers, Paul clarifies the subject in this chapter. The Jews were stubborn, and as a nation had alienated themselves from God; there were some exceptions such as the apostle Paul.

Verse 2

2-3 Rom 11:2-3. While the nation had departed from God, he had not cast it off nor regarded its departure as final. Which he foreknew refers to the promise to Abraham to make of him "a great nation" (Gen 12:2). The apostle then cites a former time when Elias (Elijah) thought the whole nation was gone (1Ki 19:10).

Verse 4

1:4 Rom 11:4. God told the prophet that seven thousand men were still faithful to Him, although tie majority had gone into idolatry.

Verse 5

1:5 Rom 11:5. The Jewish nation was chosen as the people to bring the Saviour into the world, and that is what Paul means by the election of grace. There has always been a sufficient portion of the nation (though small in number), to carry out the divine plan for the salvation of the world. The individuals of this "remnant" were good enough that God preserved them for the predestined purposes.

Verse 6

1:6 Rom 11:6. The leading thought in this Romans 11 :is that grace and works cannot both be given the credit for the salvation of this "election" or "remnant." If the merits of the works of the law are to be given the credit, then grace (the Gospel) is excluded from consideration, and vice versa.

Verse 7

1:7 Rom 11:7. Paul concludes that Israel (as a whole) had not obtained what he sought for, namely, justification (because he thought to obtain it through the works of the law). But the election (verse 5) had obtained it through the faith of the Gospel. Rest were blinded. Israel as a whole was hardened by the national prejudice against Christ.

Verse 8

1:8 Rom 11:8. God hath given them. He abandoned them to their unbelief for the time, but expects them finally to change and recognize Christ (Rom 11:26).

Verse 9

-10 Verses 9-10. The original for table is defined by Thayer at this place, "a banquet, feast." The passage is a prediction that even the feasts of the Jews would be used by their foes to snare or entrap them to their detriment. The rest of the paragraph is a further prediction of the fate to come to the Jews for their stubborn unbelief. Bow down their back predicts the subject condition of Israel at the heathen's hands.

Verse 11

:11 Rom 11:11. There is a vast difference between causing an event to happen for a certain purpose, and using the event for that purpose if it does happen. A man might not place his foot in the path of another in order to cause him to stumble and fall, yet he might have his foot where he had a perfect right to have it, and then another man, not "looking where he was going," might stumble and fall. God did not place his Son in the path of the Jews for the purpose of making them stumble and fall, yet He did put his Son in the world where He had every right to have him, then the Jews stumbled over him and fell through their blind unbelief. God then used the situation as an advantage for the Gentiles. Provoke them to jealousy means that the favored state of the Gentiles would cause the Jews to realize what they had lost, and finally come back to their former favor with God by recognizing his Son. (See Rom 11:26.)

Verse 12

:12 Rom 11:12. If such benefit came to mankind through the fall of the Jews, certainly more will come when they as a nation (the meaning of their fulness) come back.

Verse 13

:13 Rom 11:13. Magnify means "to honor" according to Thayer. Since Paul was especially the apostle of the Gentiles (chapter 15:16; Gal 2:9), he honored that office (work) by showing to them their favored standing with God.

Verse 14

:14 Rom 11:14. Emulation means a stimulation into action by the good example of another. It is virtually the same in thought as that expressed at Rom 11:11.

Verse 15

:15 Rom 11:15. This is the same in thought as Rom 11:12.

Verse 16

:16 Rom 11:16. A great part of this chapter is for the information of the Gentile Christians who were disposed to make too much of their acceptance with God, over the Jews who had been the "chosen people" for so long. Paul wants them to know that the present alienated state of the nation of Israel was not to be permanent, but that when it gave up its stubborn unbelief and acknowledged Christ to be the promised Messiah, the nation would be as holy (acceptable) to God as it always was. The subject is illustrated by a reference to the practice under the Mosaic system. (See Lev 23:10; Num 15:19-20.) In the application it means that if the Jewish Christians who were first converted to Christ (Act 13:46) were holy (acceptable), then the whole nation would be when it also turned away from its unbelief (Rom 11:26).

Verse 17

-18 Rom 11:17-18. The olive tree is used as an illustration of the subject. The branches being broken off is the same as the "stumbling and fall" of verses 11, 12. (See comments on those verses.) The Gentiles are compared to a wild olive tree.

Verse 19

-20 Rom 11:19-20. This is the same argument as in most of the preceding verses. The Gentiles were warned not to feel boastful of their favorable standing with God.

Verse 21

:21 Rom 11:21. If God cast off the Jews because of their unbelief, He surely will not continue his favor to the Gen tiles if they become unfaithful.

Verse 22

-23 Rom 11:22-23. The goodness and severity of God are applied to those only who deserve it, depending on whether men are believers or unbelievers. And this is true regardless of whether they are Jews or Gentiles. (See Act 10:34-35.)

Verse 24

:24 Rom 11:24. Graffed contrary to nature. In the grafting process when a graft from one tree is put into the limb of another, the fruit will be like the graft and not that of the tree into which it is inserted. Paul uses the illustration contrary to nature and represents the Gentiles (the wild olive) as being graffed into the tame olive (the Jewish stock). Yet, instead of being required to bear its own natural fruit (wild olive), God counteracts the rule of nature to enable this wild graft to bear tame fruit. That being the case, these Gentile Christians should realize that God would graft the natural branches (the Jews) back into their own stock. The point is the same as was made before, namely, the Gentiles should not be too boastful of their standing.

Verse 25

:25 Rom 11:25. Blindness (or unbelief) in part proves that the condition of unbelief with Israel was not total, and the latter part of the verse shows that even that state of partial unbelief was not to be permanent. Fulness of the Gentiles means until they have had a full time with the Gospel all to themselves while the Jews are out. Just when that fact will be accomplished the apostle does not say.

Verse 26

:26 Verse 26. All Israel shall be saved. This cannot mean that every individual Jew will be saved, for that is not true of the Gentiles, and it was never true of any nation as such. It means that the Jews as a nation will give up its stand against Christ and acknowledge him to be the Messiah of the Scriptures. That will open the way for individual Jews to have ungodliness turned away from them, by themselves "turning from transgression" (Isa 59:20). This is the only unfulfilled prophecy between now and the second coming of Christ.

Verse 27

:27 Rom 11:27. When the Jews turn unto Christ and from their transgressions, God will fulfill his covenant unto them, namely, to take away their sins.

Verse 28

:28 Rom 11:28. The nation as a whole had rejected the Gospel, and God regarded it as a group of enemies, then turned the situation in favor of -the Gentiles (for your sakes); this is according to Rom 11:11. Touching the election (Rom 11:5). For the sake of the fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, God still loves the nation in spite of its temporary state of unbelief, and is ready to receive it again when it gives up its unbelief.

Verse 29

:29 Rom 11:29. Gifts means the favors of God, and the culling is the invitation of the Lard for all men, Jew and Gentile alike, to accept those favors on His terms. Without repentance denotes that God does not regret making those offers, and He will fulfill them whenever men comply with the terms.

Verse 30

-31 Rom 11:30-31. This is virtually the same as verses 11, 12. Not believed that. Note especially the comments on "stumbled that" in the verses cited.

Verse 32

:32 Rom 11:32. Concluded them all in unbelief does not say God caused them to become unbelievers. The truths and facts disclosed to God that all nations were unbelievers, and for that reason He put them all in that class, which would make them all the subjects of divine mercy.

Verse 33

:33 Rom 11:33. No wonder the apostle exclaims on the depth of the riches of God, in providing a way for the exercise of His mercy. Unsearchable means the judgments of God are beyond the full comprehension of man.

Verse 34

-35 Rom 11:34-35. Not knowing the infinite mind of the Lord, it would be foolish for man to think of advising Him. Nor can man give any favors to God that would obligate Him to recom-pence them back to man.

Verse 36

:36 Rom 11:36. The thought of this verse is that the Lord is infinite in wisdom and every other greatness, and man is entirely dependent upon Him.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Romans 11". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/romans-11.html. 1952.
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