Translating slowed down the past couple of weeks because we had “to summer.” That involved a lot of driving, lakes, rivers, and spooky lights. Never fear, however, here is Romans 9. I might get finished with Romans before October. Maybe?
Theological Notes: Many have suggested that Romans 9-11 is unnecessary for Paul’s argument in Romans, and that the text is better if we move straight from Romans 8 to 12. By contrast, I believe that 9-11 are essential to Paul’s overall argument–that gentile and Jewish Christians are no different in the eyes of God, and that both are responsible for their individual parts of his plan to include all of humanity in his act of grace.
To this end, Romans 9 builds the case that the Jews, though special, missed something important, and that the gentiles have now become special and gained what the Jews missed. Through Messiah, both Jews and gentiles can become one in faith, and actually are one family–the spiritual descendants of Abraham.
As one who was adopted, this passage has an emotional connection for me. That God chose us is not a kind of election/predestination question, but more about the love involved when someone chooses to include you into their family. God chose to include me, and gentiles, into his great big family.
Translation notes: The text of verse three describes the people who are causing so much anguish for Paul as “the kinsman of me with flesh.” It could be rendered “my relatives by way of flesh” or something like that. We might use the word ‘biological’ today to refer to this, but the root word for kinsman is “gene”, plus when I take what he is speaking about, Jews, it is clear that he is referring not to relatives but to his race. So for kinsman I put ‘genetic’ and for flesh I made a big leap and put ‘race.’
Most English texts of verse 4 supply the verb ‘belong’ but Paul wrote it more like a list of adjectives that describe what it means to be an Israelite—so I tried to capture that feeling, even if it doesn’t sound quite right when read aloud.
In verse 27, I supplied “even” and “only” to the verse after careful consideration of its word structure and implied meaning.
“The time” has been added to verse 28 because the verb ‘cut short’ doesn’t have an object. Cross reference Isaiah 10:22-23. However, I freely admit it is altogether possible that both the prophet and the apostle do not mean ‘cut short the time’ but instead are referring to a limit that the Lord has put on his people because of their sin. In other words, when things are carried too far, God shuts it down by cutting them off.
1. I speak truth in Messiah; I do not lie. My conscience bears witness along with the Holy Spirit
2. that my sorrow is great and there is continual pain in my heart.
3. I keep wishing for myself to be accursed from the Messiah for the sake of my brothers and sisters, my genetic race.
4. Who, being Israelites, are the adopted family, the glory, covenant, law bearers, worship and promise.
5. From whom the patriarchs, and from them the Messiah, who is what these things are all about, came in the flesh. God be blessed eternally. Amen.
6. Of course, it is not that the word of God had failed, for not all those from Israel are Israel.
7. Nor are all of Abraham’s children actual descendants; for, “In Isaac your seed will be called.”
8. That is, it is not biological children who are the children of God, but the children of the promise; these are counted as descendants.
9. The word of promise is this, “That about this time I will come and Sarah will have a son.”
10. Not only this, but also Rebecca, from one bed, made Isaac the father of us all.
11. Though not yet born, not doing good or bad, even so they were preserved by the free choice in God’s purpose.
12. It was not from works but from the calling that she was told, “The elder will serve the younger.”
13. Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, Esau I hated.”
14. What should we say then? Not that God is unjust? No way.
15. For he says to Moses, “I will show mercy on whomever I show mercy, and I will have pity on whomever I have pity.”
16. So now it is not desire, nor effort, but it is the mercy of God.
17. For the scripture says of Pharaoh, that “For this reason I raised you up, for my power to show itself in you, and so that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”
18. Now therefore, he shows mercy on whomever he wishes, but he also hardens whomever he wishes.
19. You will then say to me, “Why then does he still blame people? For who can resist his will?”
20. O man! Truly, who are you to talk back to God? Will the creature say to the creator, “Why have you made me this way?”
21. Does not the potter have the power to make out of the same lump an object of honor and one of dishonor?
22. What if God, wanting to demonstrate his wrath and to make known his power endured with great patience objects of wrath, prepared for destruction?
23. And also that he might make known his riches upon objects of mercy prepared for glory beforehand
24. to those he called, not only we who are Jews, but also out from the gentiles.
25. As it says in Hosea, “I will call those ‘not my people my people’, and the one ‘not loved, loved.’
26. In the same place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people’ they will be called children of the living God.”
27. But Isaiah cries out for Israel, that “Even if the children of Israel number as the sand of the seas, only a remnant will be saved.
28. For the Lord will accomplish the words and will cut short their time upon the earth.”
29. Just as Isaiah foretold, “Unless the Lord of hosts left descendants for us we might have become as Sodom and made like Gomorrah.”
30. What therefore can we say, except that gentiles, who were not searching for righteousness received righteousness, and a type of righteousness from faith.
31. But Israel pursed a law type of righteousness. A law they did not attain.
32. Why? It was not faith but works. They stumbled on the stumbling stone.
33. Just as it is written, “Behold, I put a stumbling stone and a scandalous rock in Zion, and those believing upon him will not be disappointed.”