Romans 10:1
Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
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(1) My heart’s desire.—Strictly, the goodwill of my heart. The earlier portion of this chapter is occupied with a more particular exposition of the cause of Israel’s rejection, which has been just alleged. They sought to do a hard thing—to work out a righteousness for themselves—instead of an easy thing—simply to believe in Christ.

This chapter, like the last, is introduced by an expression of the Apostle’s own warm affection for his people and his earnest desire for their salvation.

For Israel.—The true text is, “for them.” “Israel” has been put in the margin as an explanatory gloss, and thence found its way into the text. What made the rejection of Israel so peculiarly pathetic was that they were not a mere godless and irreligious people. On the contrary, they had a sincere zeal for religion, but it was a misdirected and ill-judged zeal.

Romans 10:1-3. Brethren, my heart’s desire, &c. — Here the apostle proceeds to show the cause of that rejection of the Jews which he had spoken of in the preceding chapter, namely, their rejecting that way of obtaining righteousness and salvation appointed by God. And lest they should suppose he spoke out of prejudice and ill-will to them, he professes his earnest desire for their salvation. And my prayer to God for Israel is, that they may be saved — He would not have prayed for this had they been absolutely reprobated. For I bear them record — I am ready to testify, from what I well know of them from my own observation and experience; that they — That is, many of them; have a zeal of God — A zeal for that worship and service of him instituted by Moses, by which they think to promote his glory; but not according to knowledge — Not directed by a proper acquaintance with the true way of becoming righteous, nor of the design of the law. Their zeal was like that of those mentioned John 16:2, who, as Christ predicted, would put his disciples out of the synagogues, and think they did God service by killing them; or like that of Paul, mentioned Php 3:6. For being ignorant of God’s righteousness — Of the purity of his nature, and the spirituality and extent of his holy law, and of the method of becoming righteous appointed by him: and going about — That is, striving; to establish their own righteousness — The merit of their own works as the ground of their justification, and hope of salvation; have not submitted themselves — Have not complied with, but rejected; the righteousness of God — The way of becoming righteous which he hath established.

10:1-4 The Jews built on a false foundation, and refused to come to Christ for free salvation by faith, and numbers in every age do the same in various ways. The strictness of the law showed men their need of salvation by grace, through faith. And the ceremonies shadowed forth Christ as fulfilling the righteousness, and bearing the curse of the law. So that even under the law, all who were justified before God, obtained that blessing by faith, whereby they were made partakers of the perfect righteousness of the promised Redeemer. The law is not destroyed, nor the intention of the Lawgiver disappointed; but full satisfaction being made by the death of Christ for our breach of the law, the end is gained. That is, Christ has fulfilled the whole law, therefore whoever believeth in him, is counted just before God, as much as though he had fulfilled the whole law himself. Sinners never could go on in vain fancies of their own righteousness, if they knew the justice of God as a Governor, or his righteousness as a Saviour.Brethren - This expression seems intended particularly for the Jews, his ancient friends, fellow-worshippers, and kinsmen, but who had embraced the Christian faith. It is an expression of tenderness and affection, denoting his deep interest in their welfare.

My heart's desire - The word "desire" εὐδοκία eudokia means benevolence, and the expression, "my heart's desire," means my earnest and sincere wish.

Prayer to God - He not only cherished this feeling but he expressed in a desire to God. He had no desire that his kinsmen should be destroyed; no pleasure in the appalling doctrine which he had been defending. He still wished their welfare; and could still pray for them that they might return to God. Ministers have no pleasure in proclaiming the truth that people must be lost. Even when they declare the truths of the Bible that some will be lost; when they are constrained by the unbelief and wickedness of people to proclaim it of them, they still can sincerely say that they seek their salvation.

For Israel - For the Jewish nation.

That they might be saved - This clearly refers to salvation from the sin of unbelief; and the consequences of sin in hell. It does not refer to the temporal calamities which were coming upon them, but to preservation from the eternal anger of God; compare Romans 11:26; 1 Timothy 2:4. The reasons why the apostle commences this chapter in this tender manner are the following.

(1) because he had stated and defended one of the most offensive doctrines that could be preached to a Jew; and he was desirous to show them that it was not from any lack of affection for them, but that he was urged to it by the pressure of truth.

(2) he was regarded by them as an apostate. He had abandoned them when bearing their commission, and while on his way to execute their favorite purposes, and had preached the doctrine which they had sent him to destroy; compare Acts 9. He had opposed them everywhere; had proclaimed their pride, self-righteousness, and crime in crucifying their Messiah; had forsaken all that they valued; their pomp of worship, their city, and their temple; and had gone to other lands to bear the message of mercy to the nations that they despised. He was willing to show them that this proceeded from no lack of affection for them, but that he still retained toward them the feelings of a Jew, and could give them credit for much that they valued themselves on, Romans 10:2.

(3) he was aware of the deep and dreadful condemnation that was coming on them. In view of that he expressed his tender regard for their welfare, and his earnest prayer to God for their salvation. And we see here the proper feelings of a minister of the gospel when declaring the most terrible of the truths of the Bible. Paul was tender, affectionate, kind; convincing by cool argument, and not harshly denouncing; stating the appalling truth, and then pouring out his earnest desires to God that he would avert the impending doom. So should the awful doctrines of religion be preached by all the ambassadors of God.


Ro 10:1-21. Same Subject Continued—How Israel Came to Miss Salvation, and the Gentiles to Find It.

1. Brethren, my heart's desire—The word here expresses "entire complacency," that in which the heart would experience full satisfaction.

and prayer—"supplication."

to God for Israel—"for them" is the true reading; the subject being continued from the close of the preceding chapter.

is, that they may be saved—"for their salvation." Having before poured forth the anguish of his soul at the general unbelief of his nation and its dreadful consequences (Ro 9:1-3), he here expresses in the most emphatic terms his desire and prayer for their salvation.Romans 10:1-3 Paul’s prayer for Israel, who were misled by blind zeal.

Romans 10:4-10 The difference between justification by the law and by

faith explained from Scripture.

Romans 10:11-13 Salvation open to all that believe, both Jews and Gentiles.

Romans 10:14-18 The necessity of preaching to the Gentiles inferred.

Romans 10:19,20 God’s acceptance of the Gentiles known before to the Jews,

Romans 10:21 as also their own refusal of his offered mercy.

The apostle begins this chapter with another prolepsis, or rhetorical insinuation, professing his unfeigned love of his nation, and his hearty desire of their salvation: q.d. As before, (c.g.) so now again I declare openly, (O ye Christian Jews, my brethren), that whatever the generality of the Jews do think of me, as if I hated them, or were their enemy; yet there is none more passionately and tenderly affected to them than I am: and from hence it is, that I do so heartily desire and pray to God, for all that people, that they might be saved.

That they might be saved; that they may obtain eternal salvation, and escape that deluge of wrath aud destruction that hangs over their heads.

Brethren, my heart's desire,.... The apostle having suggested, that a few of the Jews only should be called and saved; that the far greater part should be rejected; that the Israelites who sought for righteousness did not attain it when the Gentiles did, but stumbled and fell at Christ, and would be ashamed and confounded; and knowing the prejudices of that people against him, therefore lest what he had said, or should say upon this subject, should be thought to arise from hatred and ill will to them, he judged it proper, as before, to express his trouble and sorrow on their account; so now his great love and affection to them, and which he signifies by calling them "brethren": for not the Roman believers are here addressed, as if he was telling them how much he loved his own nation; but either the Jews in general, whom he looked upon and loved as his brethren, according to the flesh; and whatever they thought of him, he considered them in such a relation to him, which obliged him to a concern for their good and welfare; or rather the believing Jews, that were members of the church at Rome, whom, besides using the common style of the Jewish nation, who were wont to call all of their country brethren, he could speak to, as being such in a spiritual relation, being children of the same father, partakers of the same grace and privileges, and heirs of the same glory. Now he declares to these persons, that the "desire of his heart" was towards Israel, he bore a good will to them, his mind was well disposed and affected towards them, he had a cordial, sincere, and hearty respect for them; and so far was he from being their enemy, that he continually bore them upon his mind at the throne of grace: and his

prayer to God for Israel was, that they might be saved; not only that they might be saved in a temporal sense, from these grievous calamities and sore judgments he saw were coming upon them, which he had reason to believe would issue in the destruction of them, as a nation and church; but that they might be spiritually converted, turned from their evil ways, and brought to believe in Christ, whom they had despised and rejected, and so be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation: this he might desire not only from a natural affection for them, but as a minister of the Gospel, who cannot but wish that all that hear him might be converted and saved; and as a believer in Christ he might pray for this in submission to the will of God; and especially as he knew there was a seed, a remnant according to the election of grace, at that present time among them, that should be saved, though the larger number of them were cast off. The Alexandrian copy, and some others, read "for them", instead of "for Israel"; not naming them, being easily understood; and so the Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions.

Brethren, {1} my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

(1) Purposing to set forth in the Jews an example of marvellous obstinacy, he uses this declaration.

Romans 10:1. Ἀδελφοί] Address to the readers, expressive of emotion. Comp. 1 Corinthians 14:20; Galatians 3:15.

μέν] without a corresponding δέ; the thought following in Romans 10:3 loomed before the apostle, as standing in the relation of opposition to his heartfelt interest, of which the solicitude thus remained unfulfilled through the perverted striving after righteousness of the people.

εὐδοκία] does not denote the wish, the desire (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, and many, including Rückert, Reiche, Köllner, de Wette, Olshausen). It may mean pleasure, delight (Bengel: “lubentissime auditurus essem de salute Israelis;” comp. Philippi), Matthew 3:17; Matthew 11:26; or goodwill (Php 1:15; Php 2:13), i.e. propensa animi voluntas. See generally Fritzsche. The latter signification is that most immediately suggested by the connection here; comp. van Hengel, “benevola propensio.” It is indeed the intention of the will (Hofmann), but conceived of and designated as the being well-disposed of the heart, as it was such.

πρὸς τὸν Θεὸν is joined to ἡ δέησις, hence there was no need of the (not genuine) article (Acts 8:24; Winer, p. 128 f. [E.T. 169 f.]); to the connection with ἐστί to be understood, εὐδοκία would not be suitable. Hence: The goodwill of my heart and my petition to God are on their behalf towards this end, that they might obtain salvation; σωτηρία is the goal which my εὐδοκία wishes for them, and my prayer entreats for them. In this view ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν belongs so necessarily to the completeness of the thought, that we are not to assume a tacit contrast to a κατά (Hofmann). The article before δέησις represents, according to the context, the personal pronoun (ἡ ἐμὴ δ.); Winer, p. 103 [E. T. 135]; Kühner, II. 1, p. 515.

On the distinction between δέησις and προσευχή, petition and prayer, see on Ephesians 6:18. Bengel aptly remarks: “Non orasset Paulus, si absolute reprobati essent.”

Romans 10:1-13. More particular discussion of the guilt of the Jews specified in Romans 9:32; introduced (Romans 10:1-2) by a reiterated assurance of the most cordial interest in their salvation.

Romans 10:1. The Apostle cannot enlarge on this melancholy situation without expressing once more the deep grief which it causes him. Since the Jews are referred to in the third person (ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν) it is clear that the persons addressed are a Gentile Church. ἀδελφοί: Paul’s heart seems drawn to his spiritual kindred as he feels the deep gulf which separates him meanwhile from his kinsmen according to the flesh. ἡ μὲν εὐδοκία τῆς ἐμῆς καρδίας: the meaning of εὐδοκία must be gathered from such examples as Matthew 11:26, Ephesians 1:5; Ephesians 1:9, Php 1:15; Php 2:13, 2 Thessalonians 1:11. His heart’s εὐδοκία is that in which his heart could rest with complacency; that which would be a perfect satisfaction to it. This is virtually the same as “desire,” and an “Etymologicum ineditum” quoted in Schleusner explains it by βούλημα, γνώμη, προαίρεσις, ἐπιθυμία. His inmost desire and his supplication to God are in their interest, with a view to their salvation. The μὲν has no corresponding δέ; the sad reality which answers to it does not need again to be expressed.

Ch. Romans 10:1-21. Israel has rejected a salvation whose universal intention, and yet partial acceptance, was foretold by the law and the prophets

1. my heart’s desire] Fully in the Gr., the preference indeed of my heart. The “indeed” suggests a “but” to follow. This does not occur, but is implied: St Paul’s choice and prayer contrast with the present state of Israel.—The word rendered “desire” is elsewhere in N. T. almost always used of the “good pleasure” of God. It thus means here not a longing but a choice, deliberate and decided; St Paul, as far as in him lies, decides for Israel’s good; a decision coming out in prayer to the Giver.

for Israel] MSS., &c., give simply for them as the better reading. The reference of the pronoun is obvious.

that they might be saved] Lit., simply, unto salvation. His choice, and consequent petition, take that direction.

Romans 10:1. Ἀδελφοὶ, brethren) Now that he has got over, so to speak, the severity of the preceding discussion, he kindly addresses them as brethren.—μὲν, indeed) δὲ usually follows this particle, but δὲ, Romans 10:2, is absorbed in ἀλλὰ, but.—εὐδοκία, well-wishing, desire) I would most gladly hear of the salvation of Israel.—δέησις, prayer) Paul would not have prayed, if they had been utterly reprobates [cast away.]

Verse 1. - Brethren, my heart's desire (εὐδοκία, expressing good will) and prayer to God for them (for Israel, as in the Textus Receptus, has no good support) is, that they may be saved (literally, is unto salvation). "Non orasset Paulus, si absolute reprobati essent" (Bengel). Romans 10:1Brethren

See on 1 John 2:9. An expression of affectionate interest and indicating emotion.

My heart's desire (ἡ εὐδοκία τῆς ἐμῆς καρδίας)

More literally, the good will of my heart. See on Luke 2:14. Compare Philippians 1:15; Philippians 2:13; Ephesians 1:5, Ephesians 1:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:11.

Prayer (δέησις)

See on Luke 5:33.

To God (πρός)

Implying communion. See on with God, John 1:1.

For Israel

The best texts substitute αὐτῶν for them; those described in the last three verses of ch. 9. Bengel remarks that Paul would not have prayed had they been utterly reprobate.

That they may be saved (εἰς σωτηρίαν)

Lit., unto (their) salvation.

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