Romans Chapter 11
I have recently begun using a new system for study which consists of using different colored erasable gel pens in the following way:
- Names of God/Jesus/Holy Spirit (I underline these in purple)
- Christian commandments and tips and advice on how to live as a follower of Christ. (I put a green star in the margin and use green parenthesis.)
- Sins and actions not worthy of believers (here I make an upside down triangle in the margin in black and also use parenthesis in the text.)
- References to the passion of the Christ, His sacrifice and any references that have to do with salvation (I mark a red cross in the margin and use red parenthesis).
- God’s love and mercy and grace (pink heart of course and also pink parenthesis)
- Future events and promises, things that we won’t know “for sure” until we die (open blue arrow and blue parenthesis)
I wanted a system that wouldn’t mark up my Bible too much. It’s important to me that all the text remain readable and after trying to highlight verses and such, that just looked way too messy to me. Not to mention that several verses address several issues at the same time.
So this is how that system played out for me with Chapter 11:
First off, I see this chapter as Paul’s attempt at explaining Israel’s non-believers to fellow believers, Greek and Jew alike. Paul is providing much needed instruction to all about how to think about Israel. He made such a valid point during this chapter that from the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies but from the standpoint of God they are beloved for the sake of their fathers. Verse 28
There is still such hatred in the world sparked from racism, antisemitism. You would think we would be beyond this by now but here we are. How someone professing to be a Christian can hold such hatred in their hearts for the Jewish people is beyond me. This chapter addresses these issues in depth. If it wasn’t for our Jewish roots, there would be no Christian branches. If it wasn’t for Israel’s rejection and disobedience, there would have been no allowance for non-Jews to be “grafted in”. Paul uses such wonderful imagery in this chapter of the roots and branches, between wild olive trees vs cultivated olive trees…I love this imagery.
All is not lost for Israel. We cannot understand how they can “not” believe in their own Messiah but Paul answers this question for us by explaining the partial hardening of their hearts until the fullness of the Gentiles have been come in. Then their hearts will soften once more. I believe Paul is referencing a day we all hope for soon.
Paul is consistent in his usage of terms referencing God. The word “God” is Theos referencing the triune God. The word “Lord” is Kurios referencing God, the Messiah. However, when a prophet uses this term, like when Paul referenced what Elijah said in verse 3 of this chapter, Elijah’s use of the word “Lord” was more of a servant to his Master which is also used to describe the word Kurios.
So I went back and read it again looking for advice, tips etc.
- vs 17-22 There is so much within these verses but Paul is instructing believers not to be arrogant toward the them. We must remember who the “root” is and that it isn’t us who supports the root but the root supports us. Without the root, there would be no branches, especially us. Thank you Israel. Paul goes on to explain how some branches were broken off for their unbelief and that made room for us. Just thinking about breeds gratefulness in me. He goes on to remind us that if God did not spare His own people, He won’t spare us either. We are to stand firm in our faith. Paul speaks about two aspects of God, severity and kindness. To those branches who fell, they saw God’s severity, but to us, we see God’s kindness but only if we remain in His kindness, otherwise we will be cut off too. I believe Paul is instructing believers to take nothing for granted, to be thankful, not only to our Creator, but also to His people. We are no better than they, but in this instance, their disobedience and stubbornness, open the door for us too.
- Vs 28-32 Paul is again instructing us as to how to think of Israel. I touched on this above, how from the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies but from the standpoint of God, they are His beloved for the sake of their fathers. God has not abandoned Israel at all. They are not all “doomed”. Some will remain hardened but many will come to Him. Paul is reminding us that none of us are perfectly obedient. We were disobedient prior to Israel’s disobedience. Then we obey and later they will too. God will have mercy for all. We are no better than they.
Then I went through and read again to look for actions not cool for believers:
- I didn’t mark any specific verses in this category for this Chapter, though I suppose I could have if I stretched it some. I didn’t because most of this chapter is Paul giving instruction and teaching us how we should think about Israel. He explains a lot in this chapter. If I had to pick one area for this category it would be about not being arrogant toward Israel.
Looking at Christ’s works and our salvation now:
- vs 2 God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew.
- Vs 7-11 Talks about how Israel didn’t obtain what it was seeking, but those who were chosen obtained it, the rest were hardened…But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles to make them jealous. Yes, I condensed the verses. But these verses show us that God has a plan always. He has not forgotten His people Israel but opened the door for us as well..with a purpose… to make His beloved jealous so that they may turn to Him.
- Vs 20 Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.
- Vs 30-32 God able to show mercy to all
- vs 36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
Love of God verses…these verses made me feel good 🙂
- vs 7 But those who were chosen obtained it.
- vs 11 – 12 I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. Now if their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! (Ok, I always root for the underdog and it makes my heart so glad that God still loves His people and that one day, all will be reconciled once again. The love story of God is worth waiting to see!)
- Vs 30-32 God able to show mercy to all
Future events, promises .. things we won’t know til later:
- vs 25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery-so that you will not be wise in your own estimation-that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved
Anyway, that’s what I got out of this chapter, though I’m not sure I can convey exactly how much I really got out of it with words. My heart wants to rejoice with Israel in the future when they truly accept and feel God’s love for them. And the sorrow I feel for them now, still stuck in blindness, is immense. But their day will come to stand and it is a day we all hope for soon!