|Greek: Ouch hoion de hoti ekpeptoken (3SRPI) o logos tou theou. ou gar pantes oi ex Israel, houtoi Israel;
Amplified: However, it is not as though God's Word had failed [coming to nothing]. For it is not everybody who is a descendant of Jacob (Israel) who belongs to [the true] Israel.
ESV: But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel,
ICB: I do not mean that God failed to keep his promise to them. But only some of the people of Israel are truly God's people.
NKJV: But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel,
NIV: It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.
NLT: Well then, has God failed to fulfill his promise to the Jews? No, for not everyone born into a Jewish family is truly a Jew!
Philips: Now this does not mean that God's word to Israel has failed. For you cannot count all "Israelites" as the true Israel of God (see discussion of Israel of God)
Wuest: But the case is not such as this, that the word of God is fallen powerless; for not all who are out of Israel, these are Israel,
Young's Literal: And it is not possible that the word of God hath failed; for not all who are of Israel are these Israel;
|Romans — 3:21-5:21||Romans — 6:1-8:39||Romans — 9:1-11:36||Romans — 12:1-16:27|
|Romans 9||Romans 10||Romans 11|
Israel's Election by God
Israel's Rejection of God
|God's Ways Higher
God Not Rejecting Israel
Are you confused about God's plan for Israel? Then I highly recommend Tony Garland's 12 Hour Course on Romans 9-11 in which he addresses in depth the question of What Will Happen to Israel? (click) or see the individual lectures below)
Note that when you click the preceding links, each link will in turn give you several choices including an Mp3 message and brief transcript notes. The Mp3's are long (avg 70+ min) but are in depth and thoroughly Scriptural with many quotations from the Old Testament, which is often much less well understood than the NT by many in the church today. Tony Garland takes a literal approach to Scripture, and his love for the Jews and passion to see them saved comes through very clearly in these 12 hours of teaching! Take your home Bible Study group through this series if you dare! Take notes on the tapes as the transcripts are a very abbreviated version of the audio messages. This course is highly recommended for all who love Israel! I think you will agree that Tony Garland, despite coming to faith after age 30 as an engineer, clearly has been given a special anointing by God to proclaim the truth concerning Israel and God's glorious future plan for the Jews. Garland has also produced more than 20 hours of superb audio teaching in his verse by verse commentary on the Revelation (in depth transcripts also available) which will unravel (in a way you did not think was possible considering the plethora of divergent interpretations) God's final message of the triumph and return of the our Lord Jesus Christ as the King of kings and Lord of lords! Maranatha!
John MacArthur introduces this section…
While the major theme of chapters 9–11 is God’s dealing with His elect nation, the underlying theme, especially of chapter 9, is God’s sovereignty in doing so. It demands more than a superficial understanding. And yet, when the deepest meaning and implications of this passage are carefully considered, especially its unambiguous declaration of God’s absolute and unrestricted sovereign power, even the most devoted believer is left with some profound mysteries… In the minds of most Jews of Jesus’ and Paul’s day, Christianity, as it soon came to be called (see Acts 11:26), was nothing less than a heretical movement that attempted to abrogate God’s ancient covenant and promises given through Abraham and reiterated to the other patriarchs as well as the covenant and law that He gave through Moses and to David. Most Jews, therefore, considered Christianity to be the total denigration of God’s integrity and faithfulness. Because the Judaism of his day was so deeply steeped in the legalistic works righteousness of rabbinical traditions, and because God’s plan to offer salvation on equal terms to Gentiles was a mystery not fully revealed in the Old Testament, Paul devotes chapters 9–11 of Romans to clarifying the place of Israel in the present church age.
As the apostle explained to the church at Ephesus, "By revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. And by referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel." (Eph. 3:4–6)
In Romans 9:6–33 Paul gives four basic reasons why the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not blasphemous heresy and in particular why its rejection by most individual Jews and by Israel as a nation does not impugn God’s righteous and just character, does not vitiate His revelation given in the Jewish Scriptures (the Old Testament), does not alter the means of salvation, and does not relinquish the place of Israel in His ultimate plan of redemption. First, Paul declares that the unbelief of Israel is consistent with God’s promises (Romans 9:6–13); second, that it is consistent with His Person (Romans 9:14–24); third, that it is consistent with God’s prophetic revelation (Romans 9:25–29); and fourth, that it is consistent with God’s prerequisite of salvation by faith (Romans 9:30–33). (Romans 9-16 MacArthur New Testament Commentary - Highly Recommended Resource)
BUT IT IS NOT AS THOUGH THE WORD OF GOD HAS FAILED: Ouch hoion de hoti ekpeptoken (3SRPI) o logos tou theou: (Ro 3:3; 11:1,2; Numbers 23:19; Isaiah 55:11; Matthew 24:35; John 10:35; 2Timothy 2:13; Hebrews 6:17,18)
But - pause and ponder this term of contrast.
Keep in mind that by the time of this letter to the Romans, the NT church was composed predominantly of Gentile believers and that Jews had begun to reject the Gospel in large numbers. In such a setting, it might look as if God's word had failed in regard to the Jew. What was the problem?
Word of God - Phrase appears 47x in 46v in NAS - 1 Sam 9:27; 2 Sam 16:23; 1 Kgs 12:22; 1 Chr 17:3; Prov 30:5; Matt 15:6; Mark 7:13; Luke 3:2; 5:1; 8:11, 21; 11:28; John 10:35; Acts 4:31; 6:2, 7; 8:14; 11:1; 13:5, 7, 46; 17:13; 18:11; Rom 9:6; 1 Cor 14:36; 2 Cor 2:17; 4:2; Eph 6:17; Phil 1:14; Col 1:25; 1 Thess 2:13; 1 Tim 4:5; 2 Tim 2:9; Titus 2:5; Heb 4:12; 6:5; 11:3; 13:7; 1 Pet 1:23; 2 Pet 3:5; 1 John 2:14; Rev 1:2, 9; 6:9; 19:13; 20:4
Word (3055) (logos [word study] from lego = to speak with words; English = logic, logical) means something said and describes a communication whereby the mind finds expression in words. Although Lógos is most often translated word which Webster defines as "something that is said, a statement, an utterance", the Greek understanding of lógos is somewhat more complex. In the Greek mind and as used by secular and philosophical Greek writers, lógos did not mean merely the name of an object but was an expression of the thought behind that object's name.
Let me illustrate this somewhat subtle nuance in the meaning of lógos with an example from the Septuagint (LXX) (Greek of the Hebrew OT) in which lógos is used in the well known phrase the Ten Commandments. The Septuagint translates this phrase using the word lógos as “the ten (deka) words (logoi)” (Ex 34:28), this phrase giving us the familiar term Decalogue. Clearly each of the "Ten Commandments" is not just words but words which express a thought or concept behind those words. This then is the essence of the meaning of lógos and so it should not be surprising that depending on the context lógos is translated with words such as "saying, instruction, message, news, preaching, question, statement, teaching, etc". This understanding of lógos also helps understand John's repeated usage of this Greek word as a synonym for the second Person of the Godhead, the Lord Jesus Christ (see discussion below).
Lógos then is a general term for speaking, but always used for speaking with rational content. Lógos is a word uttered by the human voice which embodies an underlying concept or idea. When one has spoken the sum total of their thoughts concerning something, they have given to their hearer a total concept of that thing. Thus the word lógos conveys the idea of “a total concept” of anything. Lógos means the word or outward form by which the inward thought is expressed and made known. It can also refer to the inward thought or reason itself. Note then that lógos does not refer merely to a part of speech but to a concept or idea. In other words, in classical Greek, lógos never meant just a word in the grammatical sense as the mere name of a thing, but rather the thing referred to, the material, not the formal part. In fact, the Greek language has 3 other words (rhema [word study] , onoma, epos) which designate a word in its grammatical sense. Lógos refers to the total expression whereas rhema (see word study) for example is used of a part of speech in a sentence. In other words rhema, emphasizes the parts rather than the whole.
Wuest - ekpiptō = “to fall out of, to fall down from, to fail, to fall from a place which one cannot keep, to fall powerless, be without effect.” The verb is in the perfect tense speaking here in connection with the negative, of the fact that the Word with reference to Israel has not failed to work effectively in time past and at present is still potentially effective. Denney explains the statement, “For not all those who are out of Israel as a source (the physical nation) these are Israel (the spiritual remnant). 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 who 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.” Regarding verse 7, the same authority says; “Nor because they are Abraham’s seed, are they all tekna , i.e., children in the sense which entitles them to the inheritance… God from the very first made a distinction here, and definitely announced that the seed of Abraham to which the promise belonged should come in the line of Isaac—not of Ishmael, though he also could call Abraham father.” Commenting on the words, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called,” Denney says: “The words literally mean that in the line of Isaac, Abraham should have the posterity which would properly bear his name, and inherit the promises made to him by God. Isaac’s descendants are the true Abrahamidae.”
Failed (1601) (ekpipto from ek = from + pípto = to fall) literally means to fall from or fall off or fall out, to drop off or away as would a withered, dying flower (reflecting the effect of scorching heat James 1:11, 1Pe 1:24) or as would a fetter or chain (Acts 12:7). Drop off or fall short. Ekpipto was clearly a nautical term in Paul's day for it is used 4x in Luke's description of the shipwreck scene (Acts 27:17, 26, 29, 32). Ekpipto was used in the ancient Greek theater of one who could not remember his lines, so that ekpipto meant he could not play his part. Ekpipto was a technical naval term to describe a ship driven off course, to drift, to be cast assure, basically because of inability to follow the course on which the ship had initially set sail. To lose one's way. In the passive sense = to be driven out, excluded, or lose something. (NIDNTT)
Ekpipto is used figuratively in Ro 9:6 where it means to fall away and to to fail, to be without effect or to be in vain (to become inefficient, come to nothing, be annulled, become inadequate). In other words here it conveys the sense of non-fulfillment of the divine promise. Paul's point is this is something that can never happen to God's Word of promise - it shall never, ever lose its intended effect or efficacy (cp Isaiah 55:10-12, listen to the last words of Joshua - Joshua 21:45, Josh 23:14, 15). God's Word does not fail, because it ultimately is perfectly fully fulfilled in the Living Word, Christ Jesus (cf Jn 1:1-3, "For all of the promises of God in Him [Jesus, the Living Word] are yea, and in Him Amen" = 2Cor 1:20KJV, Heb 1:1-2-note).
Ekpipto is also used figuratively in Gal 5:4 of "fallen from grace," (driven off course, as a ship captain on the seas) signifying that their works mentality made grace of "no effect." Grace was still amazing grace, but their efforts to achieve righteousness by keeping the Law, in effect took the "grace" out of grace, so to speak. If works are water and grace is oil, you can see that they simply DO NOT MIX! As an aside, this is the same spiritual dynamic that occurs in anyone (believers or not), whenever we begin to fall into the subtle snare of keeping a list of laws or regulations ("I won't do this," "I will do that," etc - note the emphasis on the personal pronoun "I", the middle letter of the word prIde!!!). Why? Because laws were not given to make us more spiritual, but to show us our desperate need for the Spirit, Who Alone can give us the desire and the power to keep the law. Beware, this line between law and grace is very easily blurred under the guise of seeking to be "spiritual."
Wuest - ekpiptō = “to fall out of, to fall down from, to fail, to fall from a place which one cannot keep, to fall powerless, be without effect.” (In Romans 9:6) The verb is in the perfect tense speaking here in connection with the negative, of the fact that the Word with reference to Israel has not failed to work effectively in time past and at present is still potentially effective.
Ekpipto - 10x in 10v - failed(1), fall(1), fall away(1), fallen(1), falls off(2), fell off(1), run aground(3).
Acts 12:7 And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter's side and woke him up, saying, "Get up quickly." And his chains fell off his hands.
Acts 27:17 After they had hoisted it up, they used supporting cables in undergirding the ship; and fearing that they might run aground (ekpipto here pictures the so to speak falling off course) on the shallows of Syrtis, they let down the sea anchor and in this way let themselves be driven along.
Acts 27:26 "But we must run aground on a certain island."
Acts 27:29 Fearing that we might run aground somewhere on the rocks, they cast four anchors from the stern and wished for daybreak.
Acts 27:32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship's boat and let it fall away.
Romans 9:6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel;
Galatians 5:4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
James 1:11 For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.
1 Peter 1:24 For, "ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS, AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS. THE GRASS WITHERS, AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF,
2 Peter 3:17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness,
Ekpipto - 15x in the non-apocryphal Septuagint - Deut 19:5 (the iron head slips off the handle); 2Kgs 6:5 (he axe head fell into the water) ; Job 14:2 (describes man who "withers"); Job 15:30, 33; 24:9; Eccl 10:10; Isa 6:13 (Whose stump remains when it is felled); Isa 14:12 (How you [Satan] have fallen from heaven); Isa 28:1, 4; 40:7; Dan 7:20;
Isaiah 40:7 The grass withers, the flower fades (flower fades), When the breath of the LORD blows upon it; Surely the people are grass.
Near the end of his life, Joshua addressed the issue of God's Word "failing" declaring to Israel…
"Now behold, today I am going the way of all the earth, and you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one word of all the good words which the LORD your God spoke concerning you has failed; all have been fulfilled for you, not one of them has failed. And it shall come about that just as all the good words which the LORD your God spoke to you have come upon you, so the LORD will bring upon you all the threats, until He has destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God has given you." (Joshua 23:14-15)
FOR THEY ARE NOT ALL ISRAEL WHO ARE DESCENDED FROM ISRAEL: ou gar pantes oi ex Israel houtoi Israel: (Ro 2:28,29; 4:12, 13, 14, 15, 16; John 1:47; Galatians 6:16)
"For it is not everybody who is a descendant of Jacob (Israel) who belongs to [the true] Israel" (Amplified)
For (gar) is a term of explanation, which should always prompt you to pause and ask yourself what is the Spirit seeking to explain?
Earlier in this letter Paul explained that…
he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God. (Romans 2:28, 29-note)
Paul explains that God's Word has not failed because not all of physical Israel (Jew by birth) are "spiritual" Israel (Jew by new birth).
The natural "Israel" is the national, cultural, political Israel, all of whom were to be circumcised physically.
The "supernatural" Israel is represented by a "remnant" who God in great mercy and grace preserved.
The church is emphatically not the continuation of "political Israel" as is taught by a number of commentators. In fact, even scholars as highly esteemed as John Calvin arrived at this erroneous interpretation (see the Israel of God for why this is an erroneous interpretation). The point is that God is not finished with Israel or the Jew as explained later in Romans 9-11.
Now, if God made promises to Israel as His chosen earthly people, how can this be compatible with Israel’s present rejection and with the Gentiles being brought into the place of blessing? Paul explains that this does not indicate any breach of promise on God’s part. He goes on to show that God has always had a sovereign election process based upon promise and not just on natural descent. Just because a person was born into the nation of Israel does not mean that they are automatically an heir to the promises of God given through Abraham to Israel. Within the nation of Israel, God has always had a genuine believing remnant who have had heart circumcision (related topic Scriptures on Circumcision) and not just external physical circumcision. So Paul will show God sovereignly chose Isaac as the child of promise and the spiritual descendent of Abraham instead of the first born Ishmael. Then God sovereignly chose the twin Jacob over the firstborn Esau even before birth, even before they did anything good or bad to emphasize that it was God's choice who would be shown mercy and compassion. Remember that God is God and we are not!
Keep the following table in mind as you study Romans 9-11.
|Summary of Romans 9-11|
|Romans 9||Romans 10||Romans 11|
Israel's Election by God
Israel's Rejection of God
|God's Ways Higher
God Not Rejecting Israel
Gentiles who believe are also of Abraham's spiritual seed ("And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" Galatians 3:29) but in this passage in Romans 9, Paul is not considering the Gentiles but only the "two kinds of Israelites", the natural and the supernatural (spiritual) Jew.
Paul now offers to show in defense of God’s word that the inner reality does not correspond to the outer appearance, for “they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel” (v6-7), but there is a true Israel, an born again Israel within physical Israel, that is comprised, not of “the children of the flesh,” but of the children of the promise.
Jesus made a similar distinction when talking with the unbelieving Jews in Jn 8:33-39. They said to Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants … ” (John 8:33).
Jesus admitted this, saying, “I know you are Abraham’s descendants” (John 8:37).
But when they said,
“Abraham is our father” the Lord replied
“If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham” (John 8:39).
In other words, they were physically descended from Abraham, but they didn’t have Abraham’s faith and therefore they were not his spiritual children. In fact Jesus went on to explain to the spiritually unregenerate Jews…
"You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies. (John 8:44, read what occurred at the end of this discourse - Jn 8:57, 58, 59! Notice how John introduced this section - Jn 8:30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36 - Point: There is a "belief" which does not lead to salvation. See related studies - pisteuo - word study; James 2:14-26 on saving faith - notes begin at Jas 2:14)
|Greek: oud' hoti eisin (3SPAI) sperma Abraam, pantes tekna, all', En Isaak klethesetai (3SFPI) soi sperma.
Amplified: And they are not all the children of Abraham because they are by blood his descendants. No, [the promise was] Your descendants will be called and counted through the line of Isaac [though Abraham had an older son].(3)
ESV: and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named."
ICB: And only some of Abraham's descendants are true children of Abraham. But God said to Abraham: "The descendants I promised you will be from Isaac."
NKJV: nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, "In Isaac your seed shall be called."
NIV: Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned."
NLT: Just the fact that they are descendants of Abraham doesn't make them truly Abraham's children. For the Scriptures say, "Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted," though Abraham had other children, too.
Philips: Nor can all Abraham's descendants be considered truly children of Abraham. The promise was that 'in Isaac your seed shall be called'.
Wuest: nor because they are offspring of Abraham are all children, but: In Isaac an offspring shall be named for you.
Young's Literal: nor because they are seed of Abraham are all children, but -- 'in Isaac shall a seed be called to thee;'
|NOR ARE THEY ALL CHILDREN BECAUSE THEY ARE ABRAHAM'S DESCENDANTS (singular - seed) oud hoti eisin (3SPAI) sperma Abraam pantes tekna: (Luke 3:8; 16:24,25,30; John 8:37, 38, 39; Philippians 3:3)
Nor are they all children - They all born again, believers in Messiah is Paul's emphasis.
Because they are Abraham's descendants (because they are by blood his descendants) - Speaks of his physical seed, not his spiritual seed. Jews rightly can trace their ethnicity to Abraham. But Paul is saying that ethnicity does not automatically equate with spirituality, so to speak (see Paul's contrast in Php 3:2-note and Php 3:3-note)! Listen to the words of the greatest Teacher speaking to the chosen people…
Children (5043) (teknon from tíkto = bring forth, bear children, be born) means literally the child produced. Teknon is a child as viewed in relation to his parents or family. This word takes on special theological significance when the Bible calls believers the children of God and that is the primary idea in this verse.
Teknon - 99x in 91v - Matt 2:18; 3:9; 7:11; 9:2; 10:21; 15:26; 18:25; 19:29; 21:28; 22:24; 23:37; 27:25; Mark 2:5; 7:27; 10:24, 29f; 12:19; 13:12; Luke 1:7, 17; 2:48; 3:8; 7:35; 11:13; 13:34; 14:26; 15:31; 16:25; 18:29; 19:44; 20:31; 23:28; John 1:12; 8:39; 11:52; Acts 2:39; 7:5; 13:33; 21:5, 21; Rom 8:16f, 21; 9:7f; 1 Cor 4:14, 17; 7:14; 2 Cor 6:13; 12:14; Gal 4:19, 25, 27f, 31; Eph 2:3; 5:1, 8; 6:1, 4; Phil 2:15, 22; Col 3:20f; 1 Thess 2:7, 11; 1 Tim 1:2, 18; 3:4, 12; 5:4; 2 Tim 1:2; 2:1; Titus 1:4, 6; Philemon 1:10; 1 Pet 1:14; 3:6; 2 Pet 2:14; 1 John 3:1f, 10; 5:2; 2 John 1:1, 4, 13; 3 John 1:4; Rev 2:23; 12:4f. NAS = child(13), children(76), children's(2), son(8), sons(1).
Descendants (4690) (sperma from speíro = to sow) refers to seed sown as containing the germ of new fruit and here clearly represents the physical offspring of Abraham.
As discussed above, the Jews would say to Paul "We have Abraham as our father" but Paul would remind them that Abraham had two sons and only through one son was the true heir. Isaac appropriated the promise by faith just as Abram & just as every Jew or Gentile must do in order to be born from above a new creature.
Sperma - 43x in 40v - Matt 13:24, 27, 32, 37f; 22:24f; Mark 4:31; 12:19ff; Luke 1:55; 20:28; John 7:42; 8:33, 37; Acts 3:25; 7:5f; 13:23; Rom 1:3; 4:13, 16, 18; 9:7f, 29; 11:1; 1 Cor 15:38; 2 Cor 11:22; Gal 3:16, 19, 29; 2 Tim 2:8; Heb 2:16; 11:11, 18; 1 John 3:9; Rev 12:17. NAS - children(7), conceive*(1), descendant(4), descendants(16), posterity(1), seed(10), seeds(4).
BUT THRU ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS (singular - seed) WILL BE NAMED (called) : all en Isaak klethesetai (3SFPI) soi sperma: (Genesis 21:12; Hebrews 11:18)
But - term of contrast
Through Isaac - This is more literally "in Isaac."
Here in Romans Paul quotes the Septuagint (LXX) of Genesis 21:12 verbatim.
Of all the biological children of Abraham, only Isaac was in the line of promise. Writing to the Galatians Paul stated (allegorically speaking) that…
Not through Ishmael but through Isaac. The thinking Jew might well agree and say of course this is true. Ishmael is an Arab and we don't want him. We are of Isaac's seed. But Paul will move to Isaac's twin sons, of whom Esau was the firstborn and should have received the birthright but did not. In that situation unlike Ishmael and Isaac who had separate mothers, these two had the same mother and the same father and yet the firstborn was not chosen by God.
Amplified: That is to say, it is not the children of the body [of Abraham] who are made God's children, but it is the offspring to whom the promise applies that shall be counted [as Abraham's true] descendants.
ESV: This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.
ICB: This means that not all of Abraham's descendants are God's true children. Abraham's true children are those who become God's children because of the promise God made to Abraham.
NKJV: That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.
NIV: In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring.
NLT: This means that Abraham's physical descendants are not necessarily children of God. It is the children of the promise who are considered to be Abraham's children.
Philips: That means that it is not the natural descendants who automatically inherit the promise, but, on the contrary, that the children of the promise (i.e. sons of God) are to be considered truly Abraham's children.
Wuest: That is, not the children of the flesh, these are children of God, but the children of the promise are counted for offspring;
Young's Literal: that is, the children of the flesh -- these are not children of God; but the children of the promise are reckoned for seed;
|THAT IS, IT IS NOT THE CHILDREN OF THE FLESH WHO ARE CHILDREN OF GOD: tout estin (3SPAI) ou ta tekna tes sarkos tauta tekna tou theou: (4:11-16; Galatians 4:22-31)
That is - “The Old Testament saying amounts to this” (Vincent).
Not (ou) - absolute negation.
Children of flesh - natural children, natural descendants of Abraham.
Children of God - Contrary to prevalent popular opinion, all men, women and children are NOT children of God. This phrase conveys the meaning of family members. The only humans who can rightfully, legitimately call God "Father" (Abba) are those who are in His family by grace through faith!
Children of God - This phrase occurs 11x in 11v in the NAS (none in the OT) - John 1:12; 11:52; Acts 17:29; Rom 8:16, 21; 9:8; Phil 2:15; 1 John 3:1f, 10; 5:2.
As a practical application it is worth noting that many professors in churches think they are God's children because they were raised in a Christian home, been baptized in water, their father was the pastor, etc. As Jesus made clear…
BUT THE CHILDREN OF THE PROMISE ARE REGARDED AS DESCENDANTS: alla ta tekna tes epaggelias logizetai (3SPPI) eis sperma: (Ge 31:15; Ps 22:30; 87:6; Jn 1:13; Gal 3:26, 27, 28, 29; 4:28; 1Jn 3:1,2)
But - term of contrast
Children of the promise - Abraham's offspring or seed. Isaac was Abraham's child of promise.
Henry Morris - this has a dual application. Only those Israelites who are saved by faith in Christ participate in God's ultimate promises to the nation of Israel. Likewise all who come to Christ by faith, whether Jew or Gentile, are spiritual children of Abraham, saved through the promised seed.
Promise (1860) (epaggelia/epangelia from epí = intensifies verbal meaning + aggéllo = to tell, declare) literally means to "tell at or upon" and originally referred to an announcement or declaration (especially of a favorable message) (see Acts 23:21). In other words the first sense of epaggelia is that of a . declaration to do something which came to be associated with the implication of obligation to carry out what is stated and thus the meaning of a promise, pledge or offer. In Scripture, epaggelia refers primarily to God's pronouncements that provide assurance of what He intends to do.
Click to Read J G Tasker's Summary of Promise
Epaggelia referred to a promise given (2Co1:20; Ep 1:13; 6:2; 1Ti 4:8; 2Pe 3:4, 9; Esther 4:7). Epaggelia was often used of special promises, e.g., to Abraham (Acts 7:6, 17; Ro 4:16, 20; Heb 6:12, 15; 7:6; 11:9) or Isaac (Ro 9:9; Gal 4:23). Epaggelia refers to the promise of eternal life in Christ, appointed to announce it (Heb 4:1; 8:6; 9:15; 1Jn 2:25)
Epaggelia initially in Greek was primarily a legal term denoting summons, a promise to do or give something, but in the NT speaks primarily of the promises of God, the first four NT uses referring to the promise of the Holy Spirit (Lk 24:49, Acts 1:4, 2:33, 39). The promises of God are absolutely dependable (2Cor. 1:20). Most of God's promises bring benefit to those who are designated as recipients of His promises. God's promises are not earned, but rather humbly received.
In Acts Luke records this instructive passage… "And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob to whom and through whom the Abrahamic Covenant passed) that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, 'THOU ART MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN THEE.' (Acts 13:32-33)
Barnes writes that… The covenants of promise were those various arrangements which God made with his people, by which he promised them future blessings, and especially by which he promised that the Messiah should come. To be in possession of them was regarded as a high honour and privilege; and Paul refers to it here to show that, though the Ephesians had been by nature without these, yet they had now been brought to enjoy all the benefits of them. (Albert Barnes. Barnes NT Commentary)
John Reid summarizes promise - The idea of promise is one of the great elements of Scripture teaching. It is a peculiarity of the Bible; no other religious book has that as a distinguishing feature. It is the element of promise that runs through its various books, binds them into an organic whole, and unites in a vital union the OT and the NT. The promise of the OT is fulfilled in the blessing of the NT. Many promises may be taken as predictions. They constitute at least part of the content of prophecy. To write about promise in all its relations would involve the discussion of prophecy, the preparation for the coming of Christ, the manifestation of the grace of God, etc. In what follows, reference is restricted to ‘promise’ in the apostolic writings of the NT. (Promise - Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - 1918 and Additional Discussion)
TDNT on Promise in Classical Greek - a. The first sense is “to indicate,” “declare,” “declaration,” “report.” b. When the state declares something, it becomes an “order.” c. In law we find the senses “accusation” and “delivery of a judgment.” d. We then find the senses “to declare an achievement,” “to show one's mastery,” “to profess a subject.” e. Another sense is “to offer,” “to promise,” “to vow.” As regards promises, tension between word and deed is felt, so that promises are often seen as worthless. f. A special type of promise is the “promise of money,” and in this sense the idea of a “subscription” or “donation” arises (state liturgies, gifts to rulers at their accession, priests promising gifts in support of their candidature). g. In the Hellenistic period we also find a sacral use for the “proclamation” of a festival. Among all the instances, only one example has been found for the promise of a deity.
1828 Webster's definition of Promise -
Epaggelia - 52x in 50v (note concentration in Hebrews = 14x in 13v and also in Galatians 3) - NAS = promise (37), promised (1), promises (12), what was promised (2).
Epaggelia is used on 3 times in the non-apocryphal Septuagint - Esther 4:7, Ps 56:8, Amos 9:6.
Wayne Detzler on Promise (New Testament words in today's language-)…
William Barclay on epaggelia and epaggellesthai - the words of promise (epaggello)
Quotations related to the Promises of God...
Walter Kaiser has this discussion on Promise…
R K Harrison on Promise…
Promise in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia -
Regarded (3049) (logizomai from lógos = reason, word, account) (Click in depth study on ) means to think about something in a detailed and logical manner. The idea is to draw inferences or conclusions through the use of reason. Logizomai is a bookkeeping term which means to make an entry in the account book or to calculate as when figuring an entry in a ledger. The purpose of the entry is to make a permanent record that can be consulted whenever needed.
Even even Abraham Abraham said to God
But Ishmael was not God's choice.
Logizomai - 40x in 39v - Luke 22:37; John 11:50; Acts 19:27; Rom 2:3, 26; 3:28; 4:3ff, 8ff, 22ff; 6:11; 8:18, 36; 9:8; 14:14; 1 Cor 4:1; 13:5, 11; 2 Cor 3:5; 5:19; 10:2, 7, 11; 11:5; 12:6; Gal 3:6; Phil 3:13; 4:8; 2 Tim 4:16; Heb 11:19; Jas 2:23; 1 Pet 5:12. NAS = consider(6), considered(2), counted(1), counting(1), credit(1), credited(9), credits(1), dwell(1), maintain(1), numbered(2), propose(1), reason(1), reckoned(2), regard(4), regarded(3), suppose(1), take into account(3), thinks(1).