Romans 9:6
Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:
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(6-13) Now follows a vindication of the dealings of God in rejecting Israel. And this is divided into three parts. Part 1 extends to the end of Romans 9:13, and the object of it is to clear the way by defining the true limits of the promise. It was not really to all Israel that the promise was given, but only to a particular section of Israel.

(6) Not as though.—The scholar will observe that there appears to be here a mixture of two constructions, “the case is not such that,” and “I do not mean to say that,” “I do not intend to say that the case is such as that.”

Taken none effect.—“Fallen through,” or “failed of its accomplishment.”

Of Israeli.e., descended from Jacob. (Comp. Genesis 32:28.) The promise of God was indeed given to Israel, but that did not mean roundly all who could claim descent from Jacob without further limitation.

Romans 9:6-8. Not as though — The original expression, ουχ οιον δε οτι, is rather obscure; but Erasmus supplying, after the Greek scholiast, the words τουτο ου λεγω, seems to have given the sense of it thus; I do not say this, that the word of God hath fallen, namely, to the ground, without effect. The apostle’s meaning is, that nothing he had now said concerning the rejection of the greater part of the Jews, drew any such consequence after it, as that the word of God (that is, his promises made to Abraham and his seed) should miscarry, or fall to the ground; the Jews imagining that the word of God must fail, if all their nation were not saved. This sentiment Paul now refutes, showing, 1st, That the word itself had foretold their rejection: and, 2d, That though the body of the nation was rejected, God’s promises were already fulfilled to the true Israelites, and hereafter all Israel should be saved: which is the sum of the ninth, tenth, and eleventh chapters. For — Here he enters upon the proof of it; they are not all Israel — True spiritual Israelites, to whom the promises belong; which are of Israel — The natural posterity of Jacob, and Israelites by birth, and so visible members of the church. The Jews vehemently maintained the contrary; namely, that all who were born Israelites, and they only, were the people of God. The former part of this assertion is refuted here, the latter, Romans 9:24, &c. The sum is, God accepts all believers, and them only; and this is no way contrary to his word. Nay, he hath declared in his word, both by types and by express testimonies, that believers are accepted as the children of the promise, while unbelievers are rejected, though they are children after the flesh. It is true the great promise, that Jehovah would be their God, was delivered to all the posterity of Israel without exception; but it was intended to be understood in a conditional sense, as what would not be fulfilled to them, unless they imitated the faith of Abraham. And in this sense it was made to the Gentiles, and to the whole world, as well as to the Jews. Neither because they are the seed of Abraham — According to the flesh; will it follow, that they are all children of God. This did not hold even in Abraham’s own family, and much less in his remote descendants. But, God then said, in Isaac shall thy seed be called — Isaac’s posterity, not Ishmael’s, shall be spoken of as thy seed, by way of eminence; that seed to which the promises are made. That is, they who are the children of the flesh — The carnal seed of Abraham; are not — Purely upon that account; the children of God — In the true sense; namely, spiritual children. But the children of the promise — Those whom God hath promised to acknowledge for his children; namely, such as are born again by the supernatural power of God’s Spirit, (as Isaac was conceived and born by a power above the course of nature,) and who by faith lay hold on the promise of salvation made in Christ; these are they who are intended in the covenant with Abraham, the persons whose God Jehovah promised to be, and to whom the spiritual blessings and the inheritance belong. In quoting these words, in Isaac shall thy seed be called, and inferring therefrom that the children of the promise shall be counted for the seed, the apostle does not intend to give the literal sense of the words, but the typical only; and by his interpretation signifies that they were spoken by God in a typical and allegorical, as well as in a literal sense, and that God there declared his counsel concerning those persons whom he purposed to own as his children, and make partakers of the blessings of righteousness and salvation. As if he had said, This is a clear type of things to come; showing us, that in all succeeding generations, not the lineal descendants of Abraham, but they to whom the promise is made, that is, believers, are the true children of God.

9:6-13 The rejection of the Jews by the gospel dispensation, did not break God's promise to the patriarchs. The promises and threatenings shall be fulfilled. Grace does not run in the blood; nor are saving benefits always found with outward church privileges. Not only some of Abraham's seed were chosen, and others not, but God therein wrought according to the counsel of his own will. God foresaw both Esau and Jacob as born in sin, by nature children of wrath even as others. If left to themselves they would have continued in sin through life; but for wise and holy reasons, not made known to us, he purposed to change Jacob's heart, and to leave Esau to his perverseness. This instance of Esau and Jacob throws light upon the Divine conduct to the fallen race of man. The whole Scripture shows the difference between the professed Christian and the real believer. Outward privileges are bestowed on many who are not the children of God. There is, however, full encouragement to diligent use of the means of grace which God has appointed.Not as though ... - Not as though the promise of God had entirely failed. Though I grieve thus Romans 9:2-3, though I am deeply apprehensive for the nation, yet I do not affirm that all the nation is to be destroyed. The promise of God will not entirely fail.

Not all Israel - Not all the descendants of Jacob have the true spirit of Israelites, or are Jews in the scriptural sense of the term; see the note at Romans 2:28-29.

6. Not as though the word of God had taken none effect—"hath fallen to the ground," that is, failed: compare Lu 16:17, Greek.

for they are not all Israel which are of Israel—better, "for not all they which are of Israel are Israel." Here the apostle enters upon the profound subject of Election, the treatment of which extends to the end of the eleventh chapter—"Think not that I mourn over the total loss of Israel; for that would involve the failure of God's word to Abraham; but not all that belong to the natural seed, and go under the name of 'Israel,' are the Israel of God's irrevocable choice." The difficulties which encompass this subject lie not in the apostle's teaching, which is plain enough, but in the truths themselves, the evidence for which, taken by themselves, is overwhelming, but whose perfect harmony is beyond human comprehension in the present state. The great source of error here lies in hastily inferring (as Tholuck and others), from the apostle's taking tip, at the close of this chapter, the calling of the Gentiles in connection with the rejection of Israel, and continuing this subject through the two next chapters, that the Election treated of in the body of this chapter is national, not personal Election, and consequently is Election merely to religious advantages, not to eternal salvation. In that case, the argument of Ro 9:6, with which the subject of Election opens, would be this: "The choice of Abraham and his seed has not failed; because though Israel has been rejected, the Gentiles have taken their place; and God has a right to choose what nation He will to the privileges of His visible kingdom." But so far from this, the Gentiles are not so much as mentioned at all till towards the close of the chapter; and the argument of this verse is, that "all Israel is not rejected, but only a portion of it, the remainder being the 'Israel' whom God has chosen in the exercise of His sovereign right." And that this is a choice not to mere external privileges, but to eternal salvation, will abundantly appear from what follows.

An objection is here obviated: the Jews might object and say: If they were cast off and rejected, then God is unfaithful, and all his promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and their seed, are ineffectual. To this he answers by a distinction of Israelites. Some are Israelites only in respect of their carnal generation; and others, again, are true Israelites, children of the promise, and of the faith of Abraham: see Romans 2:28,29. Now the promises of God were made to the true Israelites, and in all such it is effectual: and under the name of Israel, or true Israelites, all those are comprehended, who imitate the faith of Abraham, and walk in his steps, whether they descended from him by fleshly generation or not. This he further asserts in the following verse.

Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect,.... Or "it is not possible indeed that the word of God should fall"; see 1 Samuel 3:10; This the apostle says, partly to relieve his own mind pressed with sorrow, and partly to obviate an objection some might make, or prevent any mistake any might be ready to go into; as though from what he suggested that what God had said concerning the people of the Jews, was made void and without effect: for whether by the "word of God" are meant, the Scriptures in general, the prophecies of the Old Testament, these were now about to have their accomplishment, in the rejection of the Jews, and in the conversion of the Gentiles; or whether by it is designed the Gospel, this, as preached both by Christ and his apostles, had had its effect upon God's chosen ones among that people; it was become the power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first: or rather by it may be intended, God's word of promise to Abraham, that he would be a God to him, and to his seed after him; and that he and they should be heir of the world, of this and of that which is to come; particularly the heavenly inheritance, which he gave to him by promise; this was not made void, or had taken none effect: for this was made only to Abraham and his spiritual seed; and therefore though his carnal seed believed not, and for their unbelief should be cut off, this did not make the faith, or faithfulness of God of none effect:

for they are not all Israel, which are of Israel; that is, they which are the descendants of the patriarch Jacob, whose name was Israel; or who are of the Israelitish nation, of the stock of Israel, belonging to that people; they are not all , "the Israel", by way of emphasis, as in Psalm 25:22, or the "Israel of God", Galatians 6:16, the Israel whom Jehovah the Father has chosen for a peculiar people; which Christ has redeemed from all their iniquities; which the Spirit of God calls with an holy calling, by special grace, to special privileges; the seed of Israel who are justified in Christ, whose iniquities are so pardoned and done away, that when they are sought for they shall not be found, and who are saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation: or in other words, though they are "Israel after the flesh", 1 Corinthians 10:18, yet not after the Spirit; though they are by nation Israelites, they are not Israelites "indeed", as Nathanael was, John 1:47; they are Jews outwardly, not inwardly; they have not all principles of grace, uprightness, and sincerity in them: now to these spiritual Israelites, or seed of Abraham, were the word of God, the promises of God concerning spiritual and eternal things made, and upon these they had their effect; and therefore it could not be said that the word of God had taken none effect; though the whole body of Israel after the flesh were cut off and rejected. Some copies, and the Vulgate Latin version, read, "who are Israelites"; and the Ethiopic version, "they are not all Israel who came out of Egypt".

Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:
Romans 9:6. Having in Romans 9:4-5 adduced the great divine prerogatives of his people, and given honour to God for them, as his Israelitish sympathies impelled him to do, his thought now recurs to that utterance of grief in Romans 9:2-3, over-against which (δέ) he now proposes to justify the God of his people. Quite unnecessarily Lachmann has put Romans 9:3-5 in a parenthesis.

οὐχ οἷον δὲ, ὅτι] does not mean: but it is not possible that (Beza, Piscator, Grotius, Homberg, Semler, Ch. Schmidt, Morus, Böhme, Rosenmüller, Benecke, Ewald); for in that case ὅτι would not be allowable, but the infinitive must follow (Matthiae, § 479; Krüger, § 55. 3. 1); moreover, as Calvin has rightly observed, ΟἿΌΝ ΤΕ would be found, at least according to the invariable usage (4Ma 4:7; Xen. Anab. ii. 2. 3, vii. 7. 22; and Bornemann, in loc.; de Rep. Ath. ii. 2; Mem. iv. 6. 7; Thuc. vii. 42. 3; Soph. Phil. 913; O. C. 1420; Ast, Lex. Plat. II. p. 425), instead of which scarcely an uncertain example (as Gorgias, Proverbs Palam. in Wetstein) is forthcoming of the simple οἷον without τέ, whilst the masculine οἷός εἰμι (without ΤΈ) is frequent (see Schömann, ad Is. p. 465; Weber, Dem. Aristocr. p. 469; Kühner, II. 2, p. 702. 580). It is rather to be explained by the very current usage in later Greek (Lennep. ad Phalar. p. 258; Fritszche on our passage) of οὐχ. οἷον with a following finite tense; e.g. οὐχ οἷον ὀργίζομαι in Phryn. p. 372, and the passages from Polybius in Schweighäuser, p. 403). According to this usage, the attracted οἷον is not to be resolved, with Hermann, ad Viger. p. 790, into τοῖον οἷον, because the following verb does not suit this, but with Fritzsche into ΤΟῖΟΥΤΟΝ ὍΤΙ: the matter is not of such a nature, that. But since Paul has here expressed ὅτι, he cannot have conceived it as contained in οἷον: in reality he has fallen into a mixing up of two kindred modes of expression,—namely, of ΟὐΧ ΟἿΟΝ with a finite tense, and ΟὐΧ ὍΤΙ, i.e. οὐχ ἐρῶ ὅτι. See Tyrwhitt, ad Arist. Poet. p. 128; Hartung, Partikell. II. p. 153 f.; Kühner, II. 2, p. 800 f. Without this intermingling he would have written οὐχ οἷον δὲ ἐκπέπτωκεν; but consequent on this intermingling he wrote οὐχ οἷον δὲ ὅτι ἐκπ., which accordingly may be analyzed thus: Οὐ ΤΟῖΟΝ ΔῈ ΛΈΓΩ, ΟἿΟΝ ὍΤΙ, I do not speak of a thing of such kind, as (that is) that. So also substantially Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 319, and previously, by way of suggestion, Beza. The deviation from Greek usage into which Paul has fallen renders also necessary this solution, which deviates from the analysis of the Greek ΟὐΧ ΟἿΟΝ ΔῈ ἘΚΠΈΠΤ. (without ὍΤΙ); and we have here, amongst the many solecisms falsely ascribed to the apostle, a real one. Observe, moreover, the strength of the negation implied in οὐχ οἷον; for this affirms that the lament of the apostle was to be something quite other than a lament over the frustration of the divine word. According to Hofmann, ηὐχόμην is to be again supplied to ΟὐΧ ΟἿΟΝ, and ὍΤΙ to be taken as because, so that thus Paul would deny that he had for that wish the ground which is named in ὅτι ἐκπέπτωκεν κ.τ.λ. This is—independently of the arbitrariness of the insertion of ΗὐΧΌΜΗΝ—incorrect, just because the thought that this ΗὐΧΌΜΗΝ could have had that ground would be an absurd thought; for it would suppose a fact, which is inconceivable as a motive of the wish.

ἐκπέπτωκεν] has fallen out of its position, i.e. fallen through, become unavailing, without result. See Plut. Tib. Gracch. 21; Ael. V. H. iv. 7; Kypke, II. p. 173 f. So διαπίπτειν, Joshua 21:45; Jdt 6:9; and ΠΊΠΤΕΙΝ, Joshua 23:14; both in use also among the Greeks; comp. ἘΚΒΑΛΛΕΣΘΑΙ, Dissen, ad Pind. Nem. xi. 30. The opposite is μένειν, Romans 9:11. Comp. also 1 Corinthians 13:8.

Ὁ ΛΌΓΟς Τ. ΘΕΟῦ] namely, not the Dei edictum (Romans 9:28) as to the bestowal of blessing only on the election of the Israelites, as Fritzsche, anticipating, would have it, but generally the promise given by God to the Israelites, by which the assurance of the Messianic salvation is obviously intended. This sense the context yields generally, and especially by ἐξ ὧν ὁ Χριστὸς τὸ κ. ς., Romans 9:5, without our having exactly to think of Genesis 12:3, where the promise is to Abraham (Th. Schott).

οὐ γὰρ πάντες κ.τ.λ.] for not all who spring from Israel, not all υἱοὶ Ἰσραήλ (Romans 9:27), are Israelites (Israel’s children, according to the divine idea), so as to be all destined to receive the salvation promised to the Israelites. Comp. Galatians 4:29; Galatians 6:16. The first Ἰσραήλ is the name of the patriarch; the second, instead of which the old reading Ἰσραηλῖται (D. Chrys.) contains a correct gloss, is the name of his people (Romans 11:2; Romans 11:7; Romans 11:26, al). Mistaking the subtle emphatic character of this mode of expression, Hofmann, in spite of the clear οἱ ἐξ, takes the first ἸΣΡ. also as a name of the people, so that the sense would be: the unity of the people is something other than the sum of its members. To οἱ ἐξ Ἰσρ. corresponds ΣΠΈΡΜΑ ἈΒΡ., Romans 9:7.

Romans 9:6-13. First part of the Theodicée: God’s promise, however, has not become untrue through the exclusion of a part of the Israelites; for it applies only to the true Israelites, who are such according to the promise, which is confirmed from Scripture.

Romans 9:6. οὐχ οἷον δὲ ὅτι: this unique expression is explained by Buttmann (Grammar, p. 372, Thayer’s Transl.) as a blending of two formulas—οὐχ οἷον followed by a finite verb, and οὐχ ὅτι, which is common in the N.T. The meaning is, But, in spite of my grief, I do not mean to say any such thing as that the Word of God has come to nothing. For not all they that are of Israel, i.e., born of the patriarch, are Israel, i.e., the people of God. This is merely an application of our Lord’s words, That which is born of the flesh is flesh. It is not what we get from our fathers and mothers that ensures our place in the family of God. For the use of οὗτοι in this verse to resume and define the subject see Galatians 3:7.

6–13. Limitations of the problem from facts of Divine election

6. Not as though, &c.] Here begins a paragraph, and with it the main subject of the rest of this chapter. St Paul has expressed his intense grief over the failure of the mass of his brethren to “inherit the promises.” He now, in the true manner of the Scripture writers, vindicates dicates the veracity and majesty of the Faithful Promiser. This he does by considerations on Divine Sovereignty and Election.

the word of God] The Promise to Abraham, that his seed should be blessed and a blessing.

hath taken none effect] Lit. hath fallen out, hath failed.

Israel—Israel] Probably (1) is the descendants, (2) the forefather, Jacob. The emphasis of the Gr. is not precisely as in E. V., but rather (with a slight paraphrase) “Israel” (as intended in the Promise) “is not the total of the descendants of Israel.”

Romans 9:6. Οὐχʼ οἷον,) This is not of that kind [not as though] The Jews were of opinion, that, if all the Jews were not saved, the word of God becomes of none effect. Paul refutes this opinion, and at the same time intimates, that the apostacy of the Jews had been foretold, rather than otherwise, by the word of God.—δὲ) but; namely, although I profess great sorrow for Israel, who continue without Christ.—ἐκπέπτωκεν, hath taken none effect) A suitable expression, 1 Corinthians 13:8, note. If all Israel had failed, the word of God would have failed; but the latter cannot occur, so neither can the former: for even now there are some, [Israelites believers], and in future times there will be all. For this sentence comprehends all the statements in Chapters 9 10 11, and is most aptly expressed. It is closely connected with what goes before in Romans 9:2, and yet in respect of what follows, where the word λόγος occurs again, there is a studied gentleness of expression and anticipatory caution[110] that whatever is said of a disagreeable description may be softened before it is expressed; as in 1 Corinthians 10:13.—ὁ λόγος, the word) of promise, which had been given to Israel.—οὐ γὰρ πάντες, for not all) γὰρ, for begins the discussion, not all, is mildly said instead of, there are not many. This was what the Jews held: We all and we alone are the people of God. Wherefore the all is refuted here; and the alone at Romans 9:24, etc. The Jews were Particularists (‘Particularistæ’); therefore Paul directly refutes them. His whole discussion will not only be considered as tolerable, but will even be much admired by those, and those alone, who have gone through the former chapters in faith and repentance; for in this the prior regard is had to faith [rather than to repentance]. The sum of this discussion, in the opinion of those who deny universal grace, is as follows. GOD gives FAITH to whom He will; He does not give it, to whom He will not; according to the mind of Paul, it is this: God gives RIGHTEOUSNESS to them that believe, He does not give it to them that work; and that is by no means contrary to His word. Nay, He himself has declared by types and testimonies, that those, the sons of the promise are received; that these, the children of the flesh are rejected. This decree of God is certain, irrefragable, just; as any man or people listens to this decree or strives against it, so that man or that people is either accepted in mercy or rejected in wrath. The analysis of Arminius, which has been gleaned from Calovius Theol. Apost. Rom. Oraculo lxviii., and adopted Oraculo lxix., comes back to this [amounts to this at last]. Compare by all means Romans 1:16, note. In the meantime Paul, in regard to those, whom he refutes, does not make any very wide separation between the former chapter [or head] concerning faith and the latter concerning righteousness; nor indeed was it necessary.—Ἰσραήλ, Ἰσραήλ, Israël, Israël) Ploce.[111]

[110] See on ‘Euphemia’ and προθεραπέια the Appendix.

[111] See Appendix. A word twice put, once in the simple sense, once to express an attribute of it.

Verses 6-13. - (2) (a) After this avowal of his deep sorrow, and his reasons for feeling it, the apostle now proceeds to deal with the subject. First (as has been said above) he shows (vers. 6-13) that the present exclusion of the great majority of the Jews from Christian privileges does not imply any unfaithfulness on God's part to his ancient promises; and thus it follows that the fact of their exclusion is no proof of the gospel not being the true fulfilment of those promises. Verses 6, 7. - But it is not as though the Word of God hath taken none effect (or, hath come to naught, ἐκπεπτωκεν). For they are not all Israel who are of Israel: neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. The promises to the patriarchs never, from the first, implied the inheritance of them by all the physical descendants of those patriarchs; even in Israel there is a recognized distinction between being of the race of Israel and being the true Israel of God; in the original promise to Abraham the descendants of Ishmael (though equally with those of Isaac, his physical seed) were excluded. And so even the race of Israel is but a part of the whole seed of Abraham, to whom the promise was made. Hence it follows that the present exclusion of the majority of even the race of Israel from the inheritance of the promises is not inconsistent with the original purport of those promises. The quotation from Genesis 21:12, "In Isaac," etc., is properly (as in the original Hebrew) "In Isaac shall a seed be named to thee;" i.e. "In Isaac it shall come to pass that posterity of thine shall have the name and position of the seed of Abraham, and be recognized as the inheritors of the promise" (Meyer). Romans 9:6Not as though (οὐχ οἶον δὲ ὅτι)

Rev., but it is not as though. The thought is abruptly introduced. I am not speaking of a matter of such a nature as that the doctrine of faith involves the failure of God's promises to Israel.

Hath taken none effect (ἐκπέπτωκεν)

Lit., has fallen out. Rev., come to nought.

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