Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Romans 11 is just as tough as Romans 9 or any other text in Paul. Along with slowly trudging through Romans, I’ve also been reading a little Cambridge Greek commentary on Romans from 1912. It’s so refreshing because much of it is removed from modern debate and discussion. It offers some excellent summary statements. On 11.23,

As the Gentiles came to share in the hope of Israel, so fallen Israel may share the hope of the redeemed Gentile.

On 11.25-32,

The argument is summed up in a picture of the wide and patient purpose of God… to bring both Jew and Gentile under His mercy.

Another helpful thing to remember while reading Romans 11 is that chapters 9-11 are a single unit. Many say that these chapters must be read with the covenant in view. I tend to agree with this. The word “covenant” is only used twice in Romans – 9.4 and 11.27, as bookends for the whole section [and only 9x in Paul total].

The phrase “according to election” is repeated in 9.5, 11.5, and 11.28 so as to give further pointers to his purpose.

Lastly, when reading 11, it is important to note which uses of “Israel” are referring to physical, ethnic Israel and which ones are referring to spiritual Israel.

9.14-23 is a tough pill to swallow; 10.8-17 shows the simplicity of the response to mercy; and 11 is unique about God’s plans for Jew, Gentile, and “Israel.” But Paul’s theological explanation [all of 9-11] and his emotional angst [9.1-5, 10.1-2] are not two issues, but one. Their union leads to the birth of great praise and gratitude for God’s wisdom for all mercy and redemption in history [11.33-36]. Impenetrable is the depth of God’s wisdom and knowledge for His sake.

1 comment:

Andrew Lewis said...

9.14-23 is one of the toughest pills to swallow in all scripture. Thanks for handling it with grace.