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Romans 4:16-25

Context
4:16 For this reason it is by faith so that it may be by grace, 1  with the result that the promise may be certain to all the descendants – not only to those who are under the law, but also to those who have the faith of Abraham, 2  who is the father of us all 4:17 (as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”). 3  He is our father 4  in the presence of God whom he believed – the God who 5  makes the dead alive and summons the things that do not yet exist as though they already do. 6  4:18 Against hope Abraham 7  believed 8  in hope with the result that he became the father of many nations 9  according to the pronouncement, 10 so will your descendants be.” 11  4:19 Without being weak in faith, he considered 12  his own body as dead 13  (because he was about one hundred years old) and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 4:20 He 14  did not waver in unbelief about the promise of God but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God. 4:21 He was 15  fully convinced that what God 16  promised he was also able to do. 4:22 So indeed it was credited to Abraham 17  as righteousness.

4:23 But the statement it was credited to him 18  was not written only for Abraham’s 19  sake, 4:24 but also for our sake, to whom it will be credited, those who believe in the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 4:25 He 20  was given over 21  because of our transgressions and was raised for the sake of 22  our justification. 23 

1 tn Grk “that it might be according to grace.”

2 tn Grk “those who are of the faith of Abraham.”

3 tn Verses 16-17 comprise one sentence in Greek, but this has been divided into two sentences due to English requirements.

sn A quotation from Gen 17:5. The quotation forms a parenthesis in Paul’s argument.

4 tn The words “He is our father” are not in the Greek text but are supplied to show that they resume Paul’s argument from 16b. (It is also possible to supply “Abraham had faith” here [so REB], taking the relative clause [“who is the father of us all”] as part of the parenthesis, and making the connection back to “the faith of Abraham,” but such an option is not as likely [C. E. B. Cranfield, Romans [ICC], 1:243].)

5 tn “The God” is not in the Greek text but is supplied for clarity.

6 tn Or “calls into existence the things that do not exist.” The translation of ὡς ὄντα (Jw" onta) allows for two different interpretations. If it has the force of result, then creatio ex nihilo is in view and the variant rendering is to be accepted (so C. E. B. Cranfield, Romans [ICC], 1:244). A problem with this view is the scarcity of ὡς plus participle to indicate result (though for the telic idea with ὡς plus participle, cf. Rom 15:15; 1 Thess 2:4). If it has a comparative force, then the translation given in the text is to be accepted: “this interpretation fits the immediate context better than a reference to God’s creative power, for it explains the assurance with which God can speak of the ‘many nations’ that will be descended from Abraham” (D. Moo, Romans [NICNT], 282; so also W. Sanday and A. C. Headlam, Romans [ICC], 113). Further, this view is in line with a Pauline idiom, viz., verb followed by ὡς plus participle (of the same verb or, in certain contexts, its antonym) to compare present reality with what is not a present reality (cf. 1 Cor 4:7; 5:3; 7:29, 30 (three times), 31; Col 2:20 [similarly, 2 Cor 6:9, 10]).

7 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

8 tn Grk “who against hope believed,” referring to Abraham. The relative pronoun was converted to a personal pronoun and, because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.

9 sn A quotation from Gen 17:5.

10 tn Grk “according to that which had been spoken.”

11 sn A quotation from Gen 15:5.

12 tc Most mss (D F G Ψ 33 1881 Ï it) read “he did not consider” by including the negative particle (οὐ, ou), but others (א A B C 6 81 365 1506 1739 pc co) lack οὐ. The reading which includes the negative particle probably represents a scribal attempt to exalt the faith of Abraham by making it appear that his faith was so strong that he did not even consider the physical facts. But “here Paul does not wish to imply that faith means closing one’s eyes to reality, but that Abraham was so strong in faith as to be undaunted by every consideration” (TCGNT 451). Both on external and internal grounds, the reading without the negative particle is preferred.

13 tc ‡ Most witnesses (א A C D Ψ 33 Ï bo) have ἤδη (hdh, “already”) at this point in v. 19. But B F G 630 1739 1881 pc lat sa lack it. Since it appears to heighten the style of the narrative and since there is no easy accounting for an accidental omission, it is best to regard the shorter text as original. NA27 includes the word in brackets, indicating doubt as to its authenticity.

14 tn Grk “And he.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, δέ (de) has not been translated here.

15 tn Grk “and being.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.

16 tn Grk “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

17 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

18 tn A quotation from Gen 15:6.

19 tn Grk “his”; the referent (Abraham) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

20 tn Grk “who,” referring to Jesus. The relative pronoun was converted to a personal pronoun and, because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.

21 tn Or “handed over.”

sn The verb translated given over (παραδίδωμι, paradidwmi) is also used in Rom 1:24, 26, 28 to describe God giving people over to sin. But it is also used frequently in the gospels to describe Jesus being handed over (or delivered up, betrayed) by sinful men for crucifixion (cf., e.g., Matt 26:21; 27:4; Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:33; 15:15; Luke 20:20; 22:24; 24:7). It is probable that Paul has both ideas in mind: Jesus was handed over by sinners, but even this betrayal was directed by the Father for our sake (because of our transgressions).

22 tn Grk “because of.” However, in light of the unsatisfactory sense that a causal nuance would here suggest, it has been argued that the second διά (dia) is prospective rather than retrospective (D. Moo, Romans [NICNT], 288-89). The difficulty of this interpretation is the structural balance that both διά phrases provide (“given over because of our transgressions…raised because of our justification”). However the poetic structure of this verse strengthens the likelihood that the clauses each have a different force.

23 sn Many scholars regard Rom 4:25 to be poetic or hymnic. These terms are used broadly to refer to the genre of writing, not to the content. There are two broad criteria for determining if a passage is poetic or hymnic: “(a) stylistic: a certain rhythmical lilt when the passages are read aloud, the presence of parallelismus membrorum (i.e., an arrangement into couplets), the semblance of some metre, and the presence of rhetorical devices such as alliteration, chiasmus, and antithesis; and (b) linguistic: an unusual vocabulary, particularly the presence of theological terms, which is different from the surrounding context” (P. T. O’Brien, Philippians [NIGTC], 188-89). Classifying a passage as hymnic or poetic is important because understanding this genre can provide keys to interpretation. However, not all scholars agree that the above criteria are present in this passage.



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