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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Romans 11

 

 

Verses 1-10

Israel Has Stumbled, but a Remnant Endures - In Romans 11:1-10 Paul explains how Israel has rejected the Messiah. Although a remnant has been saved ( Romans 11:1-6), the rest have been blinded ( Romans 11:7-10).

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. The Remnant of God — Romans 11:1-6

2. The Blinding of Israel — Romans 11:7-10

Romans 11:1-6 — The Remnant of Israel - In Romans 11:1-6 Paul explains how a remnant of Israel has remained faithful to God's promises. Paul uses himself as an example of this remnant ( Romans 11:1), and he gives an example from the Old Testament of this remnant during the time of Elijah when Israel had rejected God ( Romans 11:2-4). Paul says this remnant remains based upon God's grace and not because of anyone's good works before Him.

Romans 11:1Comments- Israel is still God's people, although some of them were cast off, while a remnant remains. Some Gentiles have been grafted in ( Romans 11:17); However, Israel is still God's beloved ( Romans 11:28) ( 1 Chronicles 17:22).

1 Chronicles 17:22, "For thy people Israel didst thou make thine own people for ever; and thou, LORD, becamest their God."

God has not cast away all of Israel, since Paul was proof of some Israelites being saved and still God's chosen.

Romans 11:4Comments- God left a remnant of seven thousand (7 ,000) in Elijah's time, and now, in Paul's time, God still has a remnant left in Israel.

Romans 11:7-10 — The Blinding of the Jews- The Jews are looking for a king as their Messiah, the Lion of Judah, as they did in the first century of Christ and not as a Suffering Servant. Therefore, they did not recognize Jesus when He first came as a Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth. However, this passage of Scripture seems to indicate that the Jews will receive Jesus in His Second Coming, when He appears from heaven in all of His glory. They will see Him as a King and receive Him at that time.

Romans 11:8Word Study on "slumber" - Strong says the Greek word "slumber" ( κατάνυξις) (G 2659), "a prickling (sensation as of the limbs asleep), stupor (lethargy)."

Romans 11:9Comments- The phrase "their table" refers to the blessings of the Lord. In the Tabernacle, the bread sat on the table. Jesus is the Bread of Life. This could mean that the blessed promises that God had given Israel turned into a curse for them.

Hebrews 9:2, "For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary."

The term "table" is also figurative of all the blessings that God gave to Israel. Their table of blessings is describe in Romans 9:4-5 :

Romans 9:4-5, "Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen."

These were God"s blessings, which were intended to work in the nation of Israel to accomplish His divine purpose.

The Pharisees thought that they could not fall from this covenant with God:

John 8:33, "They answered him, We be Abraham"s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?"

However, the Scriptures warn us against such pride:

1 Corinthians 10:12, "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."

Romans 11:10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.

Romans 11:10Scripture References- Note a similar verse:

2 Corinthians 4:4, "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."


Verses 1-32

Election Revealed in Israel's Future Salvation- In Romans 11:1-32 Paul discusses God's role of divine election for Israel in the future. He will explain how Israel has rejected the Messiah. Although a remnant has been saved ( Romans 11:1-6), the rest have been blinded ( Romans 11:7-10). This has opened the door for the Gentiles to be grafted into the vine of Israel ( Romans 11:11-24), who shall later be restored to Him because they are His elect ( Romans 11:25-32).

Outline- Here is a proposed outline:

1. Israel Has Stumbled, but a Remnant Endures — Romans 11:1-10

2. The Grafting in of the Gentiles — Romans 11:11-24

3. The Restoration of Israel — Romans 11:25-32

Both Jews and Gentiles are in Need of Redemption- The warnings in Romans 11:1-32 are both to the Gentiles and to the Jews that all are in need of Jesus. Paul is giving neither people group too much self-confidence, nor is he being too hard on them.


Verses 11-24

The Grafting in of the Gentiles - In Romans 11:11-24 Paul explains how the door of opportunity has opened for the Gentiles to be grafted into the vine of Israel ( Romans 11:11-16). He adds a warning to the Gentiles not to boast of themselves because it is still God's mercy towards Israel that supports their opportunity for salvation ( Romans 11:17-24).

The Analogy of the Vine in Scripture- The analogy of Israel and the Church as the branches of a grape vine were used by Jesus Christ in John 15:1-10. The analogy of a vine is used by Paul the apostle to describe the grafting of the Gentiles into the vine and the severing off of some of the branches of Israel ( Romans 11:11-24). The analogy of the vine is found in the Old Testament Scriptures as well. Joseph interprets a dream that involved a vine with three branches ( Genesis 40:1-23). Moses prophesies of Israel's backslidings by comparing them to Sodom and Gomorrah using the analogy of a vine ( Deuteronomy 32:32). Jotham the judge tells a parable about leaders over Israel using the analogy of a vine and other plants ( Judges 9:7-21). The psalmist ( Psalm 80:8; Psalm 80:14-15), and the prophets Isaiah ( Isaiah 5:1-7), Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 2:21), Ezekial ( Ezekiel 17:1-10), and Hosea ( Hosea 10:1) use the analogy of a vine to describe the nation of Israel. The analogy of the vine is used to describe others as well ( Psalm 128:3, Song of Solomon 6:11; Song of Solomon 7:8; Song of Solomon 7:12).

Deuteronomy 32:32, "For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter:"

Psalm 80:8, "Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it."

Psalm 80:14-15, "Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself."

Jeremiah 2:21, "Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?"

Hosea 10:1, "Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images."

Psalm 128:3, "Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table."

Romans 11:11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

Romans 11:11 — "I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid:" - Word Study on "stumbled" - Strong says the Greek word ( πταίω) (G 4417) literally means, "to trip," and figuratively, "to err, sin, fail (of salvation)." BDAG says it means, "to make a mistake, to go astray, to sin." The phrase "to sin" is perhaps the best translation to use here due to the use of the Greek word παραπτώμα (G 3900), translated "fall" in this verse, since it carries the meaning, "error, transgression." (Strong).

Word Study on "fall" - The Greek word "fall" ( παραπτώμα) means, "to be completely ruined" (BDAG), or "fall beyond recovering" (NIV). The Jews have "fallen" from God's favor ( Galatians 5:4).

Galatians 5:4, "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."

Romans 11:11 — "but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles" - Illustration:

Acts 13:46, "Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles."

Acts 18:6, "And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles."

Romans 1:16, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."

Romans 11:11 — "for to provoke them to jealousy" - Comments- Paul has just Moses' statement concerning God's plan to provoke Israel to jealousy through the Gentile people in Romans 10:19, "But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you." We see an example of Israel's jealousy in Acts 18:1-16, when the Jews became extremely jealous of Paul in the city of Corinth.

Romans 11:12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?

Romans 11:12 — "how much more their fullness" - Comments- The phrase "their fullness" refers to their fulfillment of the Scriptures, which promised their restoration. Note:

The TCNT reads, "And, if their falling away has enriched the world, and their failure has enriched the Gentiles, how much more will result from their full restoration!"

The NIV reads, "how much greater riches will their fullness bring!"

Romans 11:12Comments- Romans 11:12 declares that if Israel"s fall and demise will result in riches for the world, then, when God begins to restore Israel to its fullness, it will result in untold glories for the nations of the world. The phrase, "how much more their fulness" means, "how much more riches for the Gentiles when Israel comes to its fullness."

This idea is carried into the next five verses. Verse 15 says that God"s reception of Israel will mean life from the dead for the Gentiles. Verse 16 uses symbols to illustrate this truth. If Israel is the first fruit that God sanctifies, then the lump, which represents the Gentiles, is also made holy. Likewise with the root, which is Israel, and so it is with the branches, which are the Gentiles.

Israel will come back to God much like the return from Babylonian exile. Perhaps not every individual will return, such as happened in the return from the Babylonian exile, but, most of the people, as a nation, will return.

Romans 11:13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

Romans 11:13 — "For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles" - Comments- Paul the apostle was a man of great zeal and achievement. He was born of Jewish parents in the city of Tarsus, the chief city of Cilicia, where Greek culture predominated. In this city was a great university, which Strabo (63 B.C. to A.D 24?), the Greek historian and geographer, was known for its enthusiasm for learning, especially in the area of philosophy. Strabo said this university surpassed those at Athens, Alexandria, and all others in its passion for learning (Geography 14513). 198] It is from this upbringing that we see why Paul was a man of zeal and great achievement; for he was raised in an atmosphere of physical and mental achievement around the university in Tarsus. We know nothing in detail about his parents. Of his siblings, we only know that he had a sister, for Paul's nephew helped him escape harm ( Acts 23:16).

198] Strabo writes, "The inhabitants of this city apply to the study of philosophy and to the whole encyclical compass of learning with so much ardour, that they surpass Athens, Alexandreia, and every other place which can be named where there are schools and lectures of philosophers." See The Geography of Strabo, vol 3, trans. H. C. Hamilton and W. Falconer (London: George Bell and Sons, 1889), 57.

Acts 23:16, "And when Paul"s sister"s son heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul."

Since ancient times, a Jewish child was exposed to three levels of education at the respective ages of five, ten, and fifteen, at which levels they studied the Mikra, Mishnah, and Gemara or Talmud. Their secular education was tied to their study of the Law of Moses. 199] Therefore, Saul would have been introduced to the Hebrew Scriptures at an early age, and studies through his early teenage years. Paul would have been then admitted into the Jewish community as a competent and instructed member. All Jewish boys were also to be trained in a trade about this age, which was believed to help a person live a balanced life. 200] For Paul, we know that he was trained as a tent-maker ( Acts 18:3). If the parents wanted their children to acquire additional education, they sent them to Jerusalem, where there were schools of well-known rabbis. 201] Paul was probably sent to Jerusalem to further his training in Jewish law as a teenager. In his quest for education, he found himself seeking a meaning in life that went beyond his reasoning. Because of his Jewish heritage, he was later trained in the strictest of sect of the Jews, that of a Pharisee, and in this training, he sat under the most well-known Hebrew teacher of his day, a man called Gamaliel ( Acts 22:3).

199] Nathan Drazin, History of Jewish Education from 515 B.C.E. to 222 C.E. (Baltimore: The John Hopkins Press, 1940), 14.

200] One Jewish rabbi wrote, "Excellent is the study of the Law combined with some worldly occupation, for toil in them both puts sin out of mind. But all study of the Law without some labor comes in the end to naught and brings sin in its train." (Aboth 22) See Nathan Drazin, History of Jewish Education from 515 B.C.E. to 222 C.E. (Baltimore: The John Hopkins Press, 1940), 20.

201] R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison, and Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nelson"s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, rev. ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), "Education."

Acts 18:3, "And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers."

Acts 22:3, "I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day."

He was schooled in Greek rhetoric, philosophy, sophistry and literature. He had seen man's wisdom at its best as he studied Greek philosophy. He has seen man's religion at its best as he studied under Gamaliel. In these two educational environments, Paul was yet to find a purpose in life. Paul could have easily reasoned with the greatest Greek mind to these Greek converts. For he says, "And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of Wisdom of Solomon , declaring unto you the testimony of God…. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man"s wisdom" ( 1 Corinthians 2:1; 1 Corinthians 2:4). We see Paul quoting from the Greek poet Aratus in Acts 17:28 while preaching in Athens, but that did not bring him close to God. Yes, he came closer to discovering the truth at the feet of Gamaliel than at the University of Tarsus, but it did not answer the most important question in life, "What is the meaning of life and why am I here?" He had seen man's wisdom at its best as he studied Greek philosophy. He had seen man's religion at its best as he studied under Gamaliel. Both failed to explain the meaning of life. It is this heritage that prepares Paul to become the apostle to the Gentiles.

Romans 11:13 — "I magnify mine office" - Comments - God ordained Paul's office, calling him as an apostle to the Gentiles. Paul could not magnify himself because of his own human frailty; however, when he moved in his office under the anointing, as he is so doing when writing the epistle of Romans , Paul can exalt this divine office because he understands he is walking in harmony with the Spirit of God. He is speaking the words of God by the Spirit of God.

Why does Paul magnify his office here? So that he can provoke the Israelites to jealousy unto salvation. Paul, and Israelite, was sent to the Gentiles. The Israelites, seeing the Gentiles partaking of God"s promises in the Messiah, would then become jealous to receive Him.

Illustrations:

Acts 13:46, "Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles."

Acts 18:6, "And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles."

Romans 11:14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.

Romans 11:14 Illustration:

Acts 13:45, "But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming."

Romans 11:13-14Comments - Paul's Office of an Apostle Magnified to Provoke the Jews- In Romans 11:13-14 Paul magnifies his office as an apostle to the Gentiles in hopes of provoking the Jews to jealously. Paul refers to his ministry to the Gentiles in other passages ( Galatians 2:7, 1 Timothy 2:7).

Galatians 2:7, "But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)"

1 Timothy 2:7, "Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity."

2 Timothy 1:11, "Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles."

Romans 11:15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

Romans 11:15Comments- Romans 11:15 is continuation of the idea from Romans 11:12, "Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?" Verse 15 says that God"s reception of Israel will mean life from the dead for the Gentiles.

The word "dead" in Romans 11:15 refers to spiritual death and separation from God. Paul uses it in this same sense in Ephesians 2:1, "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;"

Romans 11:16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.

Romans 11:16 — "For if the firstfruit be holy" - Comments- According to the NLT, this refers to Abraham and the prophets and the lumps refer to their physical descendents.

NLT, "And since Abraham and the other patriarchs were holy, their descendants will also be holy—just as the entire batch of dough is holy because the portion given as an offering is holy. For if the roots of the tree are holy, the branches will be, too."

Romans 11:16 — "the lump is also holy" - Comments- The word "lump" literally means "a lump of dough" ( Numbers 15:14-24). The NASB reads "the first piece of dough," and the NIV reads, "the part of the dough."

Scripture References- Note:

Nehemiah 10:37, "And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough, and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage."

Ezekiel 44:30, "And the first of all the firstfruits of all things, and every oblation of all, of every sort of your oblations, shall be the priest"s: ye shall also give unto the priest the first of your dough, that he may cause the blessing to rest in thine house."

Romans 11:16 — "and if the root be holy" - Comments- This phrase could represent the origin of the nation of Israel. Israel is still God's chosen people, yet they too must turn their faith towards Jesus Christ.

Romans 11:16Comments- Romans 11:16 continues the idea from verse 12. Verse 16 uses analogies to illustrate this truth. If Israel is the firstfruit that God sanctifies, then the lump, which represents the Gentiles, is also made holy. Likewise with the root, which is Israel, and so it is with the branches, which are the Gentiles.

Romans 11:17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;

Romans 11:17 — "and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree" - Comments- We are children of Abraham by faith.

Romans 9:8, "That Isaiah , They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed."

Galatians 3:29, "And if ye be Christ"s, then are ye Abraham"s seed, and heirs according to the promise."

Galatians 4:24, "Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar."

Romans 11:18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

Romans 11:18 Comments- The root bears the Gentiles. John 4:22 says, "salvation is of the Jews."

John 4:22,"Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews."

Romans 11:19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.

Romans 11:20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:

Romans 11:20 — "Well; because of unbelief they were broken off" - Illustration- Hebrews 3:1-19, especially, verse 19.

Hebrews 3:19, "So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief."

Scripture References- Note:

Habakkuk 2:4, "Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith."

John 3:36, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."

Romans 1:17, "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith."

Galatians 3:11, "But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith."

Hebrews 6:12, "That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises."

Hebrews 10:38, "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him."

Romans 11:20 "and thou standest by faith" - Scripture References- Note:

1 Peter 1:5, "Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."

Romans 11:20 — "Be not highminded, but fear" - Comments- This is humility for us and hope for Israel, for God is able to graft them in ( Romans 11:23).

Illustration- An illustration of this pride is given in the previous verse 19.

Romans 11:19, "Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in."

Also, note:

Romans 12:16, "Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits."

Scripture References- Note:

Philippians 2:12, "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."

Hebrews 4:1, "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it."

Romans 11:21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

Romans 11:21"For is God spared not the natural branches" - Comments- This describes Israel in unbelief. God also spared not:

1. The angels-

2 Peter 2:4, "For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;"

2. The old world in Noah"s time-

2 Peter 2:5, "And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;"

3. Sodom and Gomorrah-

2 Peter 2:6, "And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;"

4. The children of Israel-

Ezekiel 20:17, "Nevertheless mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness."

5. God ultimately spared not His only Song of Solomon -

Romans 8:32, "He that spared not his own Song of Solomon , but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"

Romans 11:21"take heed lest he also spare not thee" - Scripture References- Note:

Hebrews 2:1, "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip."

Romans 11:22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

Romans 11:22 — "Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God" - Comments - Romans 15:9 says that the Gentiles should glorify God for grafting them in as wild olive branches in His great mercy, which refers to His goodness

Romans 15:9, "And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name."

This shows the nature of God. In the Old Testament, we see God"s severe judgment. In the New Testament, we see God"s love and grace. God is both a loving God and a severe judge.

God is good in giving us all that pertains to life and godliness.

2 Peter 1:3, "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:"

God is severe in that He holds us accountable for what He has given to us.

Illustration- In managing people for years, I learned that a good manager does two things to make a business successful. A manager needs to give the employees the resources that they need. However, in doing this, a manager hold the employees accountable for the use of these resources.

Romans 11:22 — "if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off" - Comments - Romans 11:22 clearly shows that the doctrine of once saved, always saved is inaccurate. Other Scriptures support this fact.

Matthew 10:22, "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name"s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved."

John 15:2, "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit."

John 15:6, "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned."

Galatians 6:9, "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."

Colossians 1:23, "If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;"

Hebrews 3:6, "But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end."

Hebrews 3:14, "For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;"

Regarding the phrase "thou also shalt be cut off," this Greek word is the second person, singular with the emphatic personal pronoun, meaning, "you yourself will be cut off."

Romans 11:23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.

Romans 11:23Comments- Romans 11:23 tells us that any Jew can still be saved if they will chose to believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, Paul continually presented the Gospel to the Jews he encountered on his missionary journeys. Thus, the Gospel was offered to the Jews during the period of the early Church, and many of them accepted God's call to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus. How will God graft in the Israelites? The veil that hides the truth from entering their hearts must be removed ( 2 Corinthians 3:16).

2 Corinthians 3:16, "Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away."


Verses 25-32

The Restoration of Israel- Romans 11:25-32 will talk about the restoration of the nation of Israel and its effects upon the Gentiles. When God brings the nation of Israel into its fullness, blessings will also come upon the Gentiles. This is a clear passage that reveals a little known truth. This verse shows that as God blesses the earthly Jerusalem, thus will blessings come upon the heavenly Jerusalem, which is the Church. For example, God restored the nation of Israel in 1948. Thus, God is also restoring the Church to its former glories of the first century. We can watch the events happen to Israel as a nation and predict that God will also soon bring these same blessings upon the Church.

The reason that Paul follows his discussion on the glorification of the Church in Romans 8:17-39 with a discussion of Israel's future glorification in Romans 9-11is because the Church's glorification is awaiting for and dependent upon Israel's glorification. I believe that the Jews will largely turn to Jesus Christ as their Messiah at His Second Coming when He sets up His earthly kingdom and reigns from the holy city of Jerusalem; for at that time they will see Him as a conquering king rather than a suffering servant seen in his First Coming. It is at this time that the will Church will also be glorified and the nations will be blessed.

Romans 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

Romans 11:25 — "lest ye should be wise in your own conceits" - Scripture References- Note:

Romans 12:16, "Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits."

Romans 11:25 — "that blindness in part is happened to Israel" - Comments- Some of Israel has rejected Jesus Christ, being blinded to the coming of their Messiah. This blindness refers to a hardening of the heart. Romans 11:7 says, "and the rest were blinded." 2 Corinthians 3:14 says, "But their minds were blinded."

Romans 11:7, "What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded"

2 Corinthians 3:14, "But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ."

The Greek phrase ἀπὸ μέρους (in part) is used as an adverb. See the same use of this Greek phrase in Romans 15:15, "in some sort," or "on some points."

Romans 15:15, "Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God,"

Romans 11:25 — "until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in" - Comments- We find a similar statement in Luke 21:24, "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."

In order to gain insight into this verse, we must note that God sees three types of people on the earth during this church age. He sees Jews, Gentiles and the Church ( 1 Corinthians 10:32).

1 Corinthians 10:32, "Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:"

In understanding the phrase, "the fulness of the Gentiles," we know that this is not a reference to the fullness of the Church. For the Gentiles are those who are lost, and not a part of the Jews or Christians. As I see the deepening of man"s depravity in these last days, I am becoming convinced that this fullness refers to a fullness of sin. Note God"s comments to Abraham about the fullness of the Amorites.

Genesis 15:16, "But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full."

I believe that this is a reference to God"s judgment upon this earth as seen in the book of Revelation and as prophesied in other Scriptures.

It is a time when the Gospel has been preached unto all nations, and then the end shall come. Note:

Matthew 24:14, "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."

Mark 13:10, "And the gospel must first be published among all nations."

Thus, all Gentiles nations will be judged for rejecting the Gospel.

Romans 11:28Comments- Paul is saying in Romans 11:28 that if we just consider the stage of justification (through the preaching of the Gospel), it appears if the Jews have become the enemies of God, and resulted in an open door for the Gentiles to be saved; but if we look as God's overall plan of redemption, also called election, then the Jews are still maintaining their status as God's beloved, and this status of His beloved is being maintained because of His promises to the patriarchs.

The phrase "for the father's sake" means that the faith of the forefathers, the patriarchs, is still affecting God's mercy on the children of Israel.

Romans 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

Romans 11:29Comments- Within the context of this passage of Scripture Romans 11:29 is referring to God's faithfulness to the children of Israel; for God has not changed His purpose and plan for the Jews when we consider His overall plan of redemption. However, we often broaden its application to the Church. If applied to the believer, then we can notes that the gifts exhibited in a person's life precede one's calling into a divine service. As the spiritual gifts operate in a believer's life, the church leadership recognizes this person's gifts and set him apart for a divine calling and service.

Romans 11:32Word Study on "concluded" - Strong says the Greek word "concluded" ( συγκλείω) (G 4788) literally means, "to shut together, to include," and figuratively, "to combine, assimilate." BDAG translates it "imprison" in this verse, saying, "he has imprisoned them all in disobedience." This word has four uses in the New Testament ( Luke 5:6, Romans 11:32, Galatians 3:22-23).

Galatians 3:22, "But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe."

Comments - Paul opened his discourse in Romans on God's plan of redemption by explaining how the Gentiles and Jews are all in sin and need redemption through Jesus Christ ( Romans 1-3). He now concludes this lengthy discourse by repeating his opening argument, declaring mankind disobedient, and all candidates for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.


Verses 33-36

Conclusion: Praise to God for His Love for Mankind - Romans 11:33-36 serves as a conclusion to the exposition of the doctrine of justification by faith in Jesus Christ, and as summary of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This burst of praise and glory to God is the result of being overwhelmed with the grace and mercy of God for redeeming a fallen race of depraved humanity. This revelation into the depths of God's love in Romans 11:33-36 is the result of the revelation of God's divine plan of divine for Israel and the Gentiles through His divine foreknowledge of predestination, calling, justification, and glorification ( Romans 8:29-30). Earlier, in Romans 8:31-39, Paul burst forth into similar praise as a result of the first eight chapters in which Paul examines the depths of man's sinfulness and the extent to which God went to reconcile mankind back to Himself.

Paul began this passage on the divine election of the nation of Israel ( Romans 9-11) with the words, "I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:" ( Romans 9:2-3) But his examination of God's redeeming love for them brings him out and into a moment of praise and glory to God for orchestrating such a marvelous plan of redemption. Paul's burst of praise for God's redemptive work for his people Israel and the Church in the closing remarks in Romans 11:33-36 is the result of Paul's intense love and sorrow for his nation as a fellow Jew; so that Paul's sorrow will be followed with joy as prophesied in Psalm 126:6 and Isaiah 51:11.

Psalm 126:6, "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."

Isaiah 51:11, "Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away."

Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

Romans 11:33 — "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God" - Comments- The literal Greek text can as easily be translated "O, the depth of the riches and of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God." Many modern versions choose this translation of the three-fold aspect of God's grace towards mankind. If we interpret this phrase within the context of its passage ( Romans 11:33-36), which serves as the concluding remarks and summary of Paul's exposition of the Gospel of Jesus Christ ( Romans 1-11), then it becomes easier to understand its meaning. We can see that God's riches and wisdom and knowledge are made available to those who embrace the Gospel. If we are familiar with the epistle of Ephesians , where these words are used again regarding God's Plan of Redemption, we can take our insight a step further by saying that these three aspects of divine blessings refer to:

(1) the unsearchable riches of Christ Jesus ( Ephesians 1:18; Ephesians 3:8), and

(2) to the wisdom and revelation that the Holy Spirit imparts into our spirit man ( Ephesians 1:17), and

(3) to the knowledge of God the Father that transforms our minds and anchors our soul in the hope of His calling ( Ephesians 1:18).

Thus, we see the Trinity in each of their roles in God's Plan of Redemption for mankind. They are listed in the order in which redemption works in the life of every believer; for he is saved through Christ Jesus, sanctified through the Holy Spirit, in hope of eternal life which has been planned by God the Father.

Romans 11:33 — "how unsearchable are his judgments" - Word Study on "unsearchable" - Strong says the Greek word "unsearchable" ( ἀνεξερεύνητος) (G 419) literally means, "not searched out," and by implication, "inscrutable." This word is used only once in the New Testament.

Note a word study of other Greek words in this family. The Greek word ἐρευνάω (G 2045) means, "to seek, to investigate." This word is used six times in the New Testament.

John 5:39, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."

John 7:52, "They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet."

Romans 8:27, "And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God."

1 Corinthians 2:10, "But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."

1 Peter 1:11, "Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow."

Revelation 2:23, "And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works."

The Greek word ἐξερευνάω (G 1830) means, "to explore." It is used only once in the New Testament:

1 Peter 1:10, "Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:"

Comments- His judgments refer to His decisions, if we use this word in its broadest sense of meaning. The translation "decisions" fits the context of this verse better since it is placed in parallel meaning with the word "way," as this verse is structured poetically in Hebrew parallelisms.

Romans 11:33 — "and his ways past finding out" - Word Study on "past finding out" - Strong says the Greek word "past finding out" ( ἀνεξιχνίαστος) (G 421) means, "not tracked out, untraceable." There are two uses of this word in the New Testament ( Romans 11:33, Ephesians 3:8).

Ephesians 3:8, "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;"

Romans 11:33Comments- Romans 11:3 describes the character of God's wisdom ( σοφί α), knowledge ( γνῶ σις), and judgments ( κρί μα) being unsearchable and beyond man's ability to fully understand. The understanding of his ways are beyond depth of deepest seas, beyond height of mountain peaks, beyond the farthest reaches of outer space, the universe, beyond the smallest particles of an atom. There are a number of Old Testament passages that say the same thing.

Job 5:9, "Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number"

Psalm 145:3, "Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable."

Isaiah 40:28, "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding."

These riches are embedded in His Word, particularly the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and through the Gospel we can now partake of these endless riches. However, no man has ever exhausted the study of all sixty-six books of the Holy Bible in a single lifetime because its content is too vast and its insights too deep.

Romans 11:34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?

Romans 11:34Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - Romans 11:34 is a quote from Isaiah 40:13. It is found within a passage of Old Testament Scripture that discusses the sovereign attributes of Almighty God as He turns to His people Israel and says with redemptive love, "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people." Thus, both verses are placed within the context of redemption and divine sovereignty.

Isaiah 40:13, "Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him?"

Romans 11:35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?

Romans 11:35Comments- Scholars believe that the quote found in Romans 11:35 is taken from Job 35:7 or Job 41:11.

Job 35:7, "If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand?:"

Job 41:11, "Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine."

Romans 11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

Romans 11:36Comments- When Paul makes the statement, "For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things," he is making a reference to the three-fold office and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. For in the beginning He was the Word of God by whom all things were created. At this present time He is the Lamb of God, through whom God is redeeming mankind. One day Jesus will enter into His third and final phase of ministry as the King of Ages to whom are all things. Jesus came forth out of eternity, redeemed man in God's appointed time, and will take us back into eternity.

The phrase "For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things," reveals that there God has a purpose and a plan for everything that happens, for both the good and the bad. There is nothing that God will not use for His ultimate glory and for our good, which Paul states in this same verse by saying, "to whom be glory for ever." For example, God took the fall of man in the Garden of Eden and wrought something good out of it. He is at work daily in our lives doing the same. He once said to me after one of our family members experienced a difficult time, "I use the sweet and the bitter to mould and shape your life." Everything has a purpose, and it is because of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on Calvary that God is able to work and redeem our lives in such a marvelous way, as He works with every detail of our lives.

Thus, in Romans 11:36 Paul concludes his exposition of the Gospel of Jesus Christ which began in Romans 1:16-17 when he states, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." Paul took us through the foreknowledge of God the Father ( Romans 1:1-15) and the depravity of mankind ( Romans 1:16 to Romans 3:20), through justification that can only be found in Christ Jesus ( Romans 3:21 to Romans 5:21), through the sanctification of the Holy Spirit ( Romans 6:1 to Romans 8:16), and thorough the glorification of the Church and of Israel ( Romans 8:17 to Romans 11:32). Thus, Romans 11:36 serves as a summary of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as it states God's plan of redemption in a brief nutshell. The context of this closing passage of Romans 11:33-36 simply states that God the Father has initiated this great plan of redemption because of His unsearchable love for us.

Romans 11:36Scripture References- Note a similar verse:

1 Corinthians 8:6, "But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him."

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Romans 11:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/romans-11.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, July 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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