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Romans 9:4-8

Context
9:4 who are Israelites. To them belong 1  the adoption as sons, 2  the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the temple worship, 3  and the promises. 9:5 To them belong the patriarchs, 4  and from them, 5  by human descent, 6  came the Christ, 7  who is God over all, blessed forever! 8  Amen.

9:6 It is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all those who are descended from Israel are truly Israel, 9  9:7 nor are all the children Abraham’s true descendants; rather “through Isaac will your descendants be counted.” 10  9:8 This means 11  it is not the children of the flesh 12  who are the children of God; rather, the children of promise are counted as descendants.

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

2 tn The Greek term υἱοθεσία (Juioqesia) was originally a legal technical term for adoption as a son with full rights of inheritance. BDAG 1024 s.v. notes, “a legal t.t. of ‘adoption’ of children, in our lit., i.e. in Paul, only in a transferred sense of a transcendent filial relationship between God and humans (with the legal aspect, not gender specificity, as major semantic component).” Although some modern translations remove the filial sense completely and render the term merely “adoption” (cf. NAB, ESV), the retention of this component of meaning was accomplished in the present translation by the phrase “as sons.”

3 tn Or “cultic service.”

4 tn Grk “of whom are the fathers.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.

5 tn Grk “from whom.” Here the relative pronoun has been replaced by a personal pronoun.

6 tn Grk “according to the flesh.”

7 tn Or “Messiah.” (Both Greek “Christ” and Hebrew and Aramaic “Messiah” mean “one who has been anointed.”)

8 tn Or “the Christ, who is over all, God blessed forever,” or “the Messiah. God who is over all be blessed forever!” or “the Messiah who is over all. God be blessed forever!” The translational difficulty here is not text-critical in nature, but is a problem of punctuation. Since the genre of these opening verses of Romans 9 is a lament, it is probably best to take this as an affirmation of Christ’s deity (as the text renders it). Although the other renderings are possible, to see a note of praise to God at the end of this section seems strangely out of place. But for Paul to bring his lament to a crescendo (that is to say, his kinsmen had rejected God come in the flesh), thereby deepening his anguish, is wholly appropriate. This is also supported grammatically and stylistically: The phrase ὁ ὢν (Jo wn, “the one who is”) is most naturally taken as a phrase which modifies something in the preceding context, and Paul’s doxologies are always closely tied to the preceding context. For a detailed examination of this verse, see B. M. Metzger, “The Punctuation of Rom. 9:5,” Christ and the Spirit in the New Testament, 95-112; and M. J. Harris, Jesus as God, 144-72.

9 tn Grk “For not all those who are from Israel are Israel.”

10 tn Grk “be called.” The emphasis here is upon God’s divine sovereignty in choosing Isaac as the child through whom Abraham’s lineage would be counted as opposed to Ishmael.

sn A quotation from Gen 21:12.

11 tn Grk “That is,” or “That is to say.”

12 tn Because it forms the counterpoint to “the children of promise” the expression “children of the flesh” has been retained in the translation.

sn The expression the children of the flesh refers to the natural offspring.



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