Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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ROMANS - Chapter 10

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Romans 10

Supplemental Commentary:

1, 18 -- 11, 36 (continued)

5.  The Problem of the Rejection of Israel  9, 1 -- 11, 36 (continued)

10, 1-4:  Ignorance of the Justice of God.  St. Paul explains more in detail why the Jews failed to recognize Jesus as the Savior.    1.  Brethren: The Christian brotherhood, not the Jews.    2.  Zeal: the Jews had in fact an ardent desire to vindicate the honor of God.  Not according to knowledge: the misunderstanding of 9, 31 f.    3.  Seeking to establish their own: to acquire justice by their own merits.    4.  Consummation: the end to which the Mosaic Law led.  Cf. Gal. 3, 24.  The function of the Law was to guide its followers to Christ.  When it reached that end, when Christ came, the Law ceased.

10, 5-13:  This Justice Comes through Faith.    5.  The allusion is to Lev. 18, 5.  Cf. note to text.  Shall live by it: in the difficult and limited way explained in 7.    6-8.  The words of Moses (Deut. 30, 11-14) now spoken by justice personified.  It is uncertain whether the text is interpreted in a mystical sense or merely accommodated to the present argument.  The word is near: the word of faith preached by the Apostles is accessible.  In thy heart: the soul, the source of thoughts, desires, affections.    9.  True faith must precede the confession.  St. Paul reverses this order.    12.  No distinction, etc.: Jesus is Lord of all, as (3, 29) God is the God of all, not merely of the Jews.  This is aimed at Jewish prejudices against the Gentiles.    13.  These words of Joel (2, 32), spoken of God, are here applied to Christ.

10, 14-21:  Refusal to Believe the Gospel.    14.  The question is rather a rhetorical figure than an objection.    15.  Unless they are sent: alludes to the apostolic office.  This is clearer in the Greek, for apostle means "one who is sent."  How beautiful, etc.: the coming of the gospel missionaries is a glad occasion because of their message.    16.  But all did not obey: implying the objection: therefore it must not have been sufficiently authenticated.  Paul answers by showing from Isaias (53, 1) that this unbelief had been foretold.  The citation refers to the rejection of the Servant of Yahweh, who is Christ.    17.  The word: i.e., the command of Christ to His Apostles; others understand: the word concerning Christ.    18.  They cannot plead that the message was not preached to them.  The words from Ps. 18, 5, describing how creation universally proclaims the glory of God, are used here by accommodation.    19.  Another objection: Israel may not have understood (known) the message.  The response is: numerous Gentiles without the previous advantages of Israel understood it; hence again the Jews are without excuse.  This was foretold by Moses (Deut. 32, 21): God, provoked by the worship which Israel gave to idols, would punish them by making them jealous of those not a nation, a senseless nation, i.e., of an inferior people not the elect of God.    20.  Dares to say: because the declaration was offensive to his contemporaries.  Yet the saying (Isa. 65, 1) is realized in the conversion of the Gentiles.    21.  Isaias also (65, 2) in this same connection predicted the unbelief of the Jews.

Confraternity Bible:

Ignorance of the Justice of God  1 Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God is in their behalf unto their salvation.  2 For I bear them witness that they have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge; 3* for, ignorant of the justice of God and seeking to establish their own, they have not submitted to the justice of God.  4 For Christ is the consummation of the Law unto justice for everyone who believes.

This Justice Comes through Faith  5* For Moses wrote that the man who does that justice which is of the Law shall live by it.  6* But the justice that is of faith says, "Do not say in thy heart: Who shall ascend into heaven?" (that is, to bring down Christ); 7* "or, Who shall descend into the abyss?" (that is, to bring up Christ from the dead).  8* But what does it say?  "The word is near thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart" (that is, the word of faith, which we preach).  9* For if thou confess with thy mouth that Jesus is the Lord, and believe in thy heart that God has raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  10* For with the heart a man believes unto justice, and with the mouth profession of faith is made unto salvation.  11* For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes in him shall not be disappointed."  12* For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for there is the same Lord of all, rich towards all who call upon him.  13* "For whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Refusal to Believe the Gospel  14 How then are they to call upon him in whom they have not believed?  But how are they to believe him whom they have not heard?  And how are they to hear, if no one preaches?  15* And how are men to preach unless they be sent?  As it is written,
"How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace;

Of those who bring glad tidings of good things!"
16* But all did not obey the gospel.  For Isaias says,
"Lord, who has believed our report?" 
17 Faith then depends on hearing, and hearing on the word of Christ.  18* But I say: Have they not heard?  Yes, indeed,
"Their voice has gone forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world." 
19* But I say: Has not Israel known?  First of all, Moses says,
"I will provoke you to jealousy of those who are not a nation;

I will stir you to anger against a senseless nation."
20* Then Isaias dares to say,
"I was found by those who did not seek me;

I appeared openly to those who made no inquiry of me." 
21* But to Israel he says,
"All the day long I stretched out my hand to a people unbelieving and contradicting."


3: Justice of God: the holiness which God imparts to the soul through Christ and the Church.  The Jews rejected this and sought to acquire holiness rather through the prescriptions of the Mosaic Law.

5-13: St. Paul here seeks to establish the ease with which this justice of the Christian dispensation may be acquired, in contrast to the system which prevailed under the Mosaic dispensation.  According to this latter, one had to observe the Law---not an easy thing as St. Paul has shown above in chapter 7.  In the Christian dispensation there is no need of attempting the impossible, like ascending into heaven to bring Christ down, or descending into the abyss to bring Him up from the dead.  Christ has already come and has arisen from the dead.

15: Isa. 52, 7.

16: Isa. 53, 1.

18: Ps. 18, 5.

19: Deut. 32, 21.

20: Isa. 65, 1.

21: Isa. 65, 2.