Romans 10 has two verses that are dear to me, because they are a significant part of my theological tradition. Baptists love Romans 10:9 and 10:13 almost as much as they love John 3:16. Almost.
Theological Notes: My point of view is that Romans is essentially a collection of the synagogue sermons Paul had been preaching around the Mediterranean Basin. It is not one big sermon, but a lot of little ones. He weaves them together to form a coherent whole, and chapter 10, in many ways, is a key summary of his overarching goal with Romans. It is a midrash sermon that has one point: God has now extended salvation–i.e. covenantal grace–to the gentiles. Chapter 10 has no fewer than 11 references from the Hebrew Bible, which is amazing in that there are only 21 verses in the whole chapter. In classic midrash form these quotes start with Moses, then support it with prophets (in this case, mostly Isaiah but also Joel) and then flourishes it out with the Psalms. Sometimes he sticks to the Hebrew text, sometimes he uses the Septuagint, and quite honestly sometimes it feels like he might be using something else altogether different, such as is the case with verses 6 and 7. For an interesting discussion of that, see Doug Moo’s exhaustive commentary in the New International Commentary series “The Epistle to the Romans.”
Paul uses all of this to make a point. He is building an argument that gentiles are now included, but that doesn’t mean necessarily mean Jews are excluded.
Translation notes: In the quote from the Old Testament in verse 15 there is a double “good” in the text. One good is embedded in the word “euangelion” which is “good news”, here in a participial form, followed by the words “the good.” I saw this as an intensification, and therefore added the common adverb “really” in front of good news.
I may have taken too much liberty with verse 17 because I added “believing” in front of faith. That is redundant, textually speaking, but I wanted a form of ‘believe’ in there because it intentionally mirrors the quotation in verse 16 about ‘believing’ the report, or message.
1. Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God is for their salvation.
2. I testify that they have a jealousy for God, but not knowledge.
3. For not knowing the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not obey the righteousness of God.
4. The end of the law is Messiah righteousness to all those believing.
5. Moses writes about righteousness from the law, that the, “Person doing righteousness from the law will live in them.”
6. But righteousness from faith says it like this, “Do not say in your heart who can go up within the heavens?” This would be to bring Messiah down.
7. Or “Who will go down into the abyss?” This would be to bring Messiah up from the dead.
8. And what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and heart,” the word of faith we preached to you.
9. Because you will be saved if you acknowledge that Jesus is Lord with your mouth and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead.
10. For with the heart one believes in righteousness, but with the mouth salvation is acknowledged.
11. For the scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be ashamed.”
12. For there is no distinction between Jew and gentile, for they all have the same Lord, who is rich toward everyone who calls upon him.
13. For anyone who might themselves call upon the name of The Lord will be saved.
14. How, therefore, can they call upon someone they do not believe in? How can they believe when they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching?
15. But how can they preach if they are not sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of the ones delivering really good news.”
16. But not everyone responded to the good news, for Isaiah says, “Lord, who believed our report?”
17. So believing faith is from hearing, and hearing by the word of Messiah.
18. But I ask, have they not heard? Certainly, for their voice went out into the whole earth, and their words to the ends of the world.
19. But I ask, did Israel not know? First, Moses says, “I will make you jealous of those who are not a people, then I will make you angry by way of a foolish people.”
20. Isaiah dared to say more. “Those not seeking me found me, they did not ask me but I revealed myself to them.”
21. But to Israel he says, “All day long I held out my hands toward a disobedient and contrary people.”