|Romans 9||Romans 10||Romans 11|
Israel's Election by God
Israel's Rejection of God
|God's Ways Higher
God Not Rejecting Israel
Romans 11:16-18 Commentary
|Greek: Ei de tines ton kladon exeklasthesan, su de agrielaios on (PAPMSN) enekentristhes (2SAPI) en autois kai sugkoinonos tes rhizes tes piotetos tes elaias egenou, (2SAMI)
Amplified: But if some of the branches were broken off, while you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among them to share the richness [of the root and sap] of the olive tree,
ESV: But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree,
ICB: Some of the branches from an olive tree have been broken off, and the branch of a wild olive tree has been joined to that first tree. You non-Jews are the same as that wild branch, and you now share the strength and life of the first tree, the Jews.
NIV: If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root,
NKJV: And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree,
NLT: But some of these branches from Abraham's tree, some of the Jews, have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, were grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in God's rich nourishment of his special olive tree.
Phillips: But if some of the branches of the tree have been broken off, while you, like shoots of wild-olive, have been grafted in, and don't share like a natural branch the rich nourishment of the root,
Wuest: Now, since certain of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became joint-partaker with them of the root of the fatness of the olive,
Young's Literal: And if certain of the branches were broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wast graffed in among them, and a fellow-partaker of the root and of the fatness of the olive tree didst become--
|BUT IF SOME OF THE BRANCHES WERE BROKEN OFF: Ei de tines ton kladon exeklasthesan (3PAPI): (Psalms 80:11-16; Isaiah 6:13; 27:11; Jeremiah 11:16; Ezekiel 15:6-8; Matthew 8:11,12; Matthew 21:43; John 15:6)
But - Always pause to ponder this term of contrast.
Ryrie agrees that "The olive tree is the place of privilege that was first occupied by the natural branches (the Jews). The wild branches are Gentiles who, because of the unbelief of Israel, now occupy the place of privilege. The root of the tree is the Abrahamic covenant that promised blessing to both Jew and Gentile through Christ. (Ryrie Study Bible)
If is a first class condition, which assumes that what follows is a fact. Indeed some of the branches, the natural Jews (Israel) were broken off by their unbelief and rejection of the Messiah. Notice that Paul makes clear that not all of the branches (the natural Jews) were broken off. This truth is also emphasized by his use of the phrase among them which refers to natural Jews who did believe in Messiah. There always had been a believing remnant in Israel.
Notice that the term “Broken off” is the equivalent of “fall” (Ro 11:11), “their failure” (Ro 11:12), and “their rejection” (Ro 11:15).
AND YOU BEING A WILD OLIVE WERE GRAFTED IN AMONG THEM: su de agrielaios on (PAPMSN) enekentristhes (2SAPI) en autois: (Psalms 80:11-16; Isaiah 6:13; 27:11; Ezekiel 15:6-8; Matthew 8:11,12; ; John 15:6) (Deuteronomy 8:8; Judges 9:8,9; Psalms 52:8; Zechariah 4:3; Jonah 1:16; Revelation 11:4)
And you being a wild olive - Gentiles.
Wild Olive (65) (agrielaios from ágrios = wild + elaía = olive tree, olive) is Paul's metaphorical way of referring to the Gentiles who had believed in Christ.
Moule on wild olive tree - A scion (a detached living portion of a plant joined to a stock in grafting and usually supplying solely aerial parts to a graft) of a race alien from the special Covenant of Salvation. This word, from St Paul’s pen, implies no Pharisaic contempt of the Gentiles. He merely points to the Divine choice, equally sovereign for nations and for persons, which had willed that Israel, and not Greece, Rome, or India, should be the recipient and keeper of Revelation; the heaven-cultured subject of its privileges and ordinances. Not merit, but grace, made the difference. But a real difference it was, none the less, and it left the wonder and mercy of the call of the Gentiles as great as ever. (Romans 11 Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)
Centuries earlier God had warned His people through His prophet Jeremiah that their continued unbelief and idolatry would reap an unwanted harvest …
Jesus over 600 years later warned His Israel that "the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it. (Matthew 21:43).
W E Vine - The Gentile who, though now a believer, is, naturally, a member of those nations which God had suffered to walk in their own ways (Acts 14:16), and who therefore remained unfaithful to God. The wild olive being a tree of comparatively little value, this part of the metaphor sets in contrast the glorious position of relationship into which God had brought Israel on the ground of covenant promise. The process of grafting is almost invariably that of putting the good shoot into the inferior stock. Whenever the reverse process was adopted it was to invigorate the fruitful stock and not to fertilize the wild shoot. What is set forth here, therefore, does not correspond actually to either method, but is selected in order to suit the subject, namely, the enrichment of individual Gentiles by their admission to the blessings forfeited by some of God’s ancient people through their unbelief.
AND BECAME PARTAKER WITH THEM OF THE RICH ROOT OF THE OLIVE TREE: kai sugkoinonos tes rhizes tes piotetos tes elaias egenou (2SAMI):
The New Living Translation phrases this verse this way…
The discerning reader needs to be careful when reading some of the commentaries on this section of Romans. For example the respected devotional commentary by Matthew Henry has some very confusing statements on Romans 11:17. Henry writes that…
Clearly Matthew Henry is misinterpreting the rich root of the olive tree as the church. Notice also that Henry goes so far as to find the "church" in Old Testament passages like Hosea 14:6 which are clearly (in context) speaking of the nation of Israel. In a sense Matthew Henry is doing the very thing Paul warns Gentile believers against in this section of Romans.
Warren Wiersbe agrees and cautions that
It should also be noted that the fact that true believers living today are spiritual children of Abraham does not mean that the church is "spiritual Israel." Yes as Paul said "if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise." (Gal 3:29) Gentile believers who are not physical children of Abraham are his spiritual children in the sense that they have followed the pattern of his faith. All believers, Jew or Gentile, in fact are heirs of the spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant. The Bible Knowledge Commentary (on Galatians 3:29) however cautions that…
Paul will now go on to warn the Gentile Christians of the danger of repeating the sin of the Jews--boasting of their privileged position (Ro 11:18-21). He will also explain that if God, by cutting off the branches of the natural olive, has made room for Gentile believers, how much easier will it be for him to restore the natural branches to their place in the cultivated olive (Ro 11:23-24)!
|Greek: me katakaucho (2SPMM) ton kladon; ei de katakauchasai, (2SPMI) ou su ten rhizan bastazeis (2SPAI) alla e rhiza se.
Amplified: Do not boast over the branches and pride yourself at their expense. If you do boast and feel superior, remember it is not you that support the root, but the root [that supports] you.
ESV: do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.
ICB: So do not brag about those branches that were broken off. You have no reason to brag. Why? You do not give life to the root. The root gives life to you.
NIV: do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.
NKJV: do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.
NLT: But you must be careful not to brag about being grafted in to replace the branches that were broken off. Remember, you are just a branch, not the root.
Phillips: don't let yourself feel superior to those former branches. (If you feel inclined that way, remind yourself that you do not support the root, the root supports you.)
Wuest: stop boasting against the branches. But, assuming that you are boasting, you are not sustaining the root, but the root you.
Young's Literal: do not boast against the branches; and if thou dost boast, thou dost not bear the root, but the root thee!
|DO NOT BE ARROGANT TOWARD THE BRANCHES: me katakaucho (2SPMM) ton kladon: (Ro 1:20; 3:27; 1Kings 20:11; Proverbs 16:18; Matthew 26:33; Luke 18:9-11; 1Corinthians 10:12)
Do not be arrogant - This present imperative with a negative is which signifies stop being arrogant or don't let this begin to be your mindset! Do you know any Gentile believers who are arrogant toward Israel?
Arrogant - exaggerating or disposed to exaggerate one’s own worth or importance in an overbearing manner. Don't manifest a feeling of superiority. Could the false doctrine of replacement theology be a variation of arrogance toward the branches, the Jews? (See introductory comments at Romans 11)
Arrogant (2620) (katakauchaomai from katá = against + kauchaomai = boast over a privilege or possession. The root is auchen = neck which vain persons are apt to carry in proud manner) means to exult or boast against or to boast arrogantly. In Ro 11:18 the Gentile believers are contrasted with the "branches" those Jews who rejected Christ. The verb is in the with a negative which can be more accurately translated as "stop being arrogant toward" the unbelieving Jews. The point is that this aberrant attitude had already begun to creep into the Roman church which by all of Paul's testimony was a good church. How easily this leaven of subtle anti-Semitism can begin to permeate even the best of churches today! We must diligently guard against this attitude toward the Jews or the nation of Israel.
How could a Gentile, a wild olive, who had been grafting in (by faith) demonstrate his or her arrogance? One way is by saying that the Jews who did not believe should have believed! Another way is to assume a holier-than-thou attitude toward the Jews.
It is tragic and lamentable that, throughout much of church history, Jewish converts to Christ have often been subjected to attitudes of Gentile superiority and been shunned or reluctantly accepted into Christian fellowship. Paul anticipated that, in spite of this clear truth, some of his Gentile readers would continue to argue against him (see Romans 11:19).
As an aside I would pose this question: What happened in this regard to the Early Church Fathers? Why did not many of them see this truth? Even Martin Luther in his latter years wrote a vicious pamphlet vilifying the Jews because they would not accept Messiah! (See a sample link from a non-believing Jewish source) If Martin Luther could fall into such deception, let every man take heed lest he fall!
William Newell - How few of us Gentile believers understand and bear in mind that we are beneficiaries of those promises which God lodged in Abraham as a root of promise, --all the promises we inherit in Christ! (Romans 11).
Steven Cole - WE SHOULD FEAR BECAUSE WE ARE SO PRONE TO COMPARE OURSELVES WITH OTHERS RATHER THAN WITH GOD. Paul says (Ro 11:18), “Do not be arrogant toward the branches ….” “The branches” refers to the Jews who had rejected the gospel and were temporarily cut off from God’s mercy. It’s easy for us who believe to look down on unbelievers with disgust and to think, “Stupid people! They deserve to be judged!” (As if we didn’t!) Have you noticed that when we compare ourselves with others, we always pick those who in our minds are worse sinners than we are? We rarely compare ourselves with the godly. And what if we compare ourselves with God? If He had not chosen to have mercy on us, we would be darkened in our understanding, excluded from the life of God, and hardened in our hearts (Eph. 4:18). (Guarding Against Spiritual Pride)
BUT IF YOU ARE ARROGANT REMEMBER THAT IT IS NOT YOU WHO SUPPORTS THE ROOT BUT THE ROOT SUPPORTS YOU: ei de katakauchasai (2SPMI) ou su ten rhizan bastazeis (2SPAI) alla e rhiza se: (Ro 4:16; Zechariah 8:20-23; John 10:16; Galatians 3:29; Ephesians 2:19,20)
Root = spiritual promises and blessings that flow through the Abrahamic Covenant. In a sense even the New Covenant was also actually given to Israel first. E.g. Jeremiah writes…
And who did Jesus inaugurate the New Covenant with? Were there any Gentiles present? And who did the Spirit Who was promised as part of the blessing of the New Covenant first come upon in Acts 2? And who composed the predominant makeup of disciples in the early church (probably until about 100AD)? (Answer: Jewish believers). Clearly we Gentiles are "Johnny come lately" and thus have no grounds whatsoever for spiritual pride in regard to our salvation.
There is never any ground for a believer from among the Gentiles to hold a Jew as such in any measure of contempt or inferiority. Paul warned the Gentiles that they were obligated to Israel, and therefore they dared not boast of their new spiritual position (Ro 11:18-21). The Gentiles entered into God’s plan because of faith, and not because of anything good they had done. Paul was discussing the Gentiles collectively, and not the individual experience of one believer or another.
No matter how far Israel may stray from the truth of God, the roots (the covenant promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were made by a covenant keeping God!) are still good. God is still the “God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Ex 3:6 Mt 22:32). He will keep His promises to the patriarchs and to any and all natural Jews who enter in by grace through faith.