Romans Bible Study, Chapter 9

Romans Chapter 9 is one of the most controversial chapters in the entire Bible. Different commentators have different interpretations. They answer based on their assumptions about the nature and character ofGod. Does God ordain the damnation of people as well as their salvation? Is God fair in what He does – as some people count fairness? It speaks of God’s sovereignty and man’s condition in relation to that sovereignty. Paul begins the chapter by appealing to the Jews and a great privilege but states that such a privilege does not guarantee salvation. Instead, it is up to the sovereignty of God.

Appeal to Israel, Rom. 9:1-5
The flesh and the spirit, Rom. 9:6-8
The sovereignty of God, Rom. 9:9-26
The remnant saved, Rom. 9:27-29
Righteousness by faith, Rom. 9:30-33


I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit,

Paul speaks from his position of being in Christ, from experiencing the revolutionary grace of God.
Not only is he in Christ, but he uses the phrase “in the Holy Spirit” to try and convey his conviction of the testimony of the truth that he is going to address.
He is writing to the Jews (vv. 2-5; Rom. 2:17, ‘…if you bear the name Jew…”) and is trying to prepare them for what he’s going to teach regarding the sovereignty of God.

that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart.

Paul has great grief for his nation (v. 3-4) as he speaks from his heart, which represents the deepest part of what a person is.

For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,

Paul’s love for his nation is so deep that he says he could wish himself accursed, even damned, for the sake of his people.
Such great love is uncommon. How many would utter words that imply one’s own damnation for the sake of saving others?
Some could use this verse to suggest that a person’s salvation could be lost. But, the intensity of his words and love for his people have brought him to such powerful language.
As Jesus became a curse for us, Paul emulates this truth by speaking of being cursed for the sake of others.

who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises,

The Israelites were the ones who had been entrusted with so much from God. Their privilege was exceedingly great. They had privileges and advantages.
God did not communicate to any other nations the covenants, Law, temple service, and promises. It was to the Jewish nation alone.
This stands in contrast to the deception and blindness of so many of the Israelites who could not see what all the covenants, Law, temple services, and promises revealed concerning the person of Christ.

whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

Whose are the fathers

the Jews had the holy patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the prophets, etc.

From whom is the Christ

It was from the Jews that the Christ had been revealed.
All that had been given to them by God pointed to Jesus. But they missed Him.

It is interesting to note how people who were given so much from God can misuse it and blind themselves to the ultimate purpose that God has for them.
We ought not to be so quick to judge the Jews. They had so much from God and failed to recognize who Christ was. How much are we failing in our own lives after having been given even more: Jesus in our hearts?

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel;

Paul introduces the distinction among Israelites.
Some are Israelites only with respect to their biological heritage. They are covenantal children of the promise, but not covenantal in their hearts. They rely on the externals, legality, an pedigree for their
Note: this is the same thing done by the Roman Catholics in the Eastern Orthodox.

nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “through Isaac, your descendants will be named.”

Ishmael had been born before Isaac. But it was Isaac through whom the descendants would be named.
Gen. 16:11-12, “The angel of the LORD said to her further, ‘Behold, you are with child, And you will bear a son; And you shall call his name Ishmael Because the LORD has given heed to your affliction.’ 12 He will be a wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, And everyone’s hand will be against him; and he will live to the east of all his brothers.”
Gen. 17:19, “But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.”
So Ishmael was not considered the same way as Isaac. They represent two kinds of people in the Jewish context: those of God and those not of God.


Only-begotten SonGen. 22:2John 3:16

Offered on a mountain, hillGen. 22:2Matt. 21:10

Took donkey to the place of sacrifice Gen. 22:3Matt. 21:2-11

Two men went with himGen. 22:3 Mark 15:27;
Luke 23:33

Three-day journey. Jesus: three days in the grave  Gen. 22:4Luke 24:13-21

Son carried wood on his back uphill  Gen. 22:6 John 19:17

God will provide for Himself the lambGen. 22:8 John 1:29

Son was offered on the wood    Gen. 22:9Luke 23:33

Ram in a thicket of thorns, Jesus bore a crown of thorns    Gen. 22:13John 19:2

The seed will be multiplied  Gen. 22:17 John 1:12;
Isaiah 53:10

Abraham went down. Son didn’t.  Isaac is “not mentioned”    Gen. 22:19Luke 23:46

Servant gets bride for the son Gen. 24:1-4Eph. 5:22-32;
Rev. 21:2, 9; 22:17

The bride was a beautiful virgin    Gen. 24:162 Cor. 11:2

The Servant offered ten gifts to the bride  Gen. 22:10 Rom. 6:23; 12;
1 Cor. 12

That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.

Paul speaks of the distinction between people: fleshly and spiritual.
It is not pedigree that makes someone spiritual or saved.
The children of the promise are those who are of the faith, not just the flesh. They are born after the spirit of God.

3:8, “The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the nations will be blessed in you.’” (A quote from Gen. 12:3)
4:29, “But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also.”

This applies to both Jews and Gentiles.

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