Arguments in support of the proposition, 1:18-11:36

2. The impartial nature of God's righteous vindication of the just in Christ, 3:21-4:25

ii] b) The example of Abraham: God's promised blessings flow to the righteous by faith and this apart from law obedience


In chapter 4 Paul draws on the example of Abraham to support his proposition that a person who is set right with God (justified), as part of God's setting everything right (the righteous reign of God), rests on faith (Christ's faithfulness appropriated by faith). Such a person rightly participates in the fullness of God's promised blessings, and this apart from works of the law. Having established from scripture that Abraham's standing before God rested on God's faithfulness to his promise appropriated through faith and not obedience to the law (Abraham was set right before God prior to his circumcision), 4:1-12, Paul goes on to show that God's promised blessings belong to those who like Abraham are righteous by grace through faith apart from law.


i] Context: See 3:21-31.


ii] Background: See 1:8-15.


iii] Structure: This passage, drawing on the life-example of Abraham to develop the argument that the promised blessings to him and his descendants are a gift of grace through faith, presents in three parts:

Proposition - The promise rests on the faithfulness of God / God's grace appropriated through faith, v13-17a;

Illustration - The life experience of Abraham, v17b-22;

Application - Righteousness, with its associated promise, will be reckoned in the same way it was reckoned to Abraham, v23-25.


iv] Thesis: See 3:21-31.


v] Interpretation:

In v16 Paul tells us that by grace through faith the promised blessings of the covenant are bestowed on not only those "of the law", but "those who have faith. What does Paul mean by those "of the law"?

Most commentators now hold that Paul means "believing Jews", Jewish Christians", Cranfield, so Morris, etc.; "the promise is for the Jew who is part of the seed through faith", Moo. Yet, although Paul primarily has in mind Jews with the faith of Abraham and Gentiles with the faith of Abraham, the actual situation in the New Testament church was much more fluid. It seems likely that those "of the law" technically refers to Jewish believers and their Gentile associates who have placed themselves under the law to restrain sin, progress holiness for blessings = nomist believers, members of the circumcision party. At any rate, the promise is for all Abraham's children of faith; not just for Abraham's true descendants, Jewish believers, alla, "but", kai, "also" for those whose only link with Abraham is faith. New perspective commentators argue for "faithful Jews", Jews of the Old Covenant who applied themselves faithfully to covenant stipulations. Given the parallel phrase in v14, with a possible reference there being to the Jewish race, "Jews" in general may be Paul's intended meaning, so eg., Dunn, Jewett. If the promise is confined to the descendants of Abraham, now bound under the Sinai covenant, not only is it limited by race, but in reality it cannot be realized because of the curse of the law. But, the promise is realized by the faith of Abraham and for all those who share his faith. "The divine promise still holds good for the Jewish people descended physically from Abraham, but now all those who imitate Abraham's faith, whether Jew or Gentile, may find a share in it", Fitzmyer.


"Christ was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification", ESV. The theological linkage between Christ's resurrection and our justification is an interesting one. For Paul, a believer's justification is perfective, it rests on a completed past event, namely, Christ's sacrifice for our sins, resurrection, ascension and enthronement. The common two-part formula used in modern systematic theology of justification and sanctification is virtually subsumed as one in Paul's understanding of justification. Through faith in the efficacy of Christ's sacrifice and his reign as our risen Lord, we are eternally right with God, holy in his sight and in possession of the fullness of new life in Christ. It is because we are this way, through the indwelling Spirit, that we strive to be this way. It is only natural, therefore, that Paul would focus his argument in Romans on those believers ("the weak", nomists) who, although they counted themselves justified through faith in Christ, saw the full appropriation of God's promised blessings achieved by a faithful application of the law. For Paul, a believer's standing before God, yesterday, today and tomorrow, is effected by the faithfulness of Christ, our crucified savior and risen glorified Lord, and this appropriated through the instrument of faith.


vi] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 4:13

God's promised blessings flow to the righteous through faith, v13-25: i] Paul first explains the basis upon which Abraham is the father of both circumcised and uncircumcised believers, v13-17a. God's promise of a kingdom to Abraham and his descendants, flows as a natural consequence of a right-standing before God which rests on faith (God's faithfulness appropriated through faith) and not law-obedience.

gar "-" - for. Introducing a causal clause explaining why Abraham was the spiritual father of both Jew and Gentile, v11-12, namely, because he rested on promise/grace rather than law, ie. the verse "explains why Paul made no mention of the law in tracing the spiritual descendants of Abraham (v11-12)", Moo.

"it was [not] ...... received" - [the promise not through law to Abraham, or the seed of him]. A verb must be added as Paul does not supply a main verb. So for example "the promise to Abraham and his descendants that they would inherit the world did not come through law", Cassirer.

dia + gen. "through" - Instrumental, expressing means, "through, by means of." "Not through obedience to a divine command" or "not through the instrument of the law."

nomou (oV) gen. "law" - Given the context, "law" is most likely the command to Abraham to be circumcised. Note, there is no article which would be present if the Torah was intended. Of course, the principle here applies to all God's law, including the Torah. None-the-less, some commentators argue for "the Law of Moses." "Law" in the sense of "divine revelation / the books of the Law", a possible sense of "law" in 3:31, is unlikely.

tw/ Abraam dat. "that Abraham" - to Abraham. Dative of indirect object / interest, advantage.

tw/ spermati (a atoV) dat. "offspring" - the seed. Dative of interest, advantage; the singular is collective. Note that sometimes "the seed" refers to Christ, providing another way (other than "faith") by which a believer is related to Abraham, ie. being in Christ makes us one of Abraham's seed. This sense is probably not intended here.

hJ epaggelia (a) "the promise" - An important word for Paul (26 of 52 NT uses) such that it can serve as a descriptive for "grace". God's gracious kindness is evidenced in his covenantal promises (the singular "promise" here is collective) which are fully appropriated by those who possess "a righteousness of faith." As Moo notes the specific promises made to Abraham are many descendants, a land, and a blessing to the world.

to .... einai (eimi) inf. "that [he] would be" - that [he] should be. The articular infinitive of the verb to-be is possibly appositional, defining the "promise"; "namely, that he/they would inherit the world.", although BDF 399, suggests epexegetical, explaining "promise" - the difference is minor. It is also possible to take the infinitive as forming a dependent statement, indirect speech, expressing the content of the promise; "that he should be the heir of the world."

klhronomon (oV) "heir" - Predicate accusative. Paul argues that Abraham and his seed are heirs to the covenant promise and this because they are right before God through faith. Genesis 18:18; 22:17-18, doesn't quite say this, although the reign of God's people over the earth, with Zion (Jerusalem) as the center of the world, was the way a faithful Jew understood the covenant promise. Paul happily uses the nationalistic description of the promise, "heir of the world", because now all believers, both Jew or Gentile, share in it.

kosmou (oV) gen. "of the world" - of world. The genitive is adjectival, possessive. The promised inheritance of a land (Palestine) is expanded to include the world = the new creation, cf. Ecclus.44:21. Inheriting the land from sea to sea, filled with seed as the stars, images Eden, the promised land, the kingdom, heaven, eternal life. ........

alla "but" - Strong adversative.

dia + gen. "through" - Instrumental, expressing means again.

pistewV (iV ewV) "[the righteousness] that comes by faith" - [righteousness] of faith. The genitive is, as usual, a bit difficult to classify. Robertson grammar opts for subjective although most of the more adventurous translations opt for an adjectival genitive limiting "righteousness; "which is grounded in his faith", Cassirer, "which is the result of faith", Barclay, so NIV. We could be dealing with an example of Paul's short-talk and as such pistewV stands for the faith that is reckoned eiV as righteousness, v3, 5 and 9. Of course, the word "faith" is not necessarily referring to our faith, but the faithfulness of God in Christ, in which case the genitive is ablative, source / origin; "the righteousness that proceeds out of the faithfulness of God, cf. 1:17. Note also ek pistewV, v16. In any case, Paul's point is clear, law-obedience has no role in facilitating God's promises, rather righteousness and thus the facilitation of the promise, is "of faith" (out of / rests on Christ's faithfulness + our faith in his faithfulness!!).


If God's promises are facilitated by law-obedience, then the ground upon which a person's justification stands is made null and void - there is no point to either God's free grace or our response. Paul's argument proceeds on the basis that law and promise are mutually exclusive.

gar "for" - Introducing causal clause "explaining why the promise cannot be attained through the law", Moo.

ei + ind. "if" - Introducing a conditional clause, 1st class, where the stated condition is true for argument sake; "if, as is the case, ..... then ....."

oiJ "those who" - the ones. Possibly as NIV, although "those who live" is a guess. Possibly "adherents", Moffatt.

ek + gen. "by [the law]" - out of, from [the law]. Paul has placed quite a bit of weight on this preposition. Source/origin is the basic sense, here identifying a class of people belonged to; "those who are basing their hope for the inheritance on the law", Moo. "Those who place reliance upon the law", Cassirer; "they who pin their faith to keeping the law", Phillips. Possibly reflecting the technical term in Judaism, "sons of the Torah", Jewett, a term which may carry ethnic force for Paul, so Dunn. Possibly something like "those who hold by the law", REB, even "law party", Williams, in the sense of those who are nomists (better than "legalists", Morris). See ek in Galatians 2:16

kekenwtai (kenow) perf. pas. "has no value" - emptied. A gnomic perfect; there is no point to it, past, present and future (imperfective force).

kathrghtai (katargew) perf. pas. "worthless" - make of no effect, abolish, bring to naught. Gnomic perfect / timeless. The promise is made worthless for Abraham because he rested on faith rather than law. Logically, this is an unacceptable proposition.


Rather than accessing God's promised blessings, all the law accesses is condemnation. Certainly law has its positive side, a guide to faithful living, but primarily it ministers God's curse on sin. Such has always been the case (new perspective commentators would disagree!). Without this function, says Paul, there would be no transgression and therefore no need for salvation. "The prime function of the law is to condemn, not to serve as a medium of the promise. That role is filled by faith", Dunn - the law is fulfilled/completed by faith.

gar "because" - for. Introducing a causal clause explaining what the law really does for "those who live by law", v14; "for the law produces wrath", Dunn.

katergazetai (katergazomai) pres. "[the law] brings" - [law] works. The present tense, being durative, expresses the idea that the law keeps functioning to this end, ie. gnomic / timeless - it exposes transgressions and pronounces the curse.

orghn (h) "wrath" - The law serves to inculcate its appended curse - judgment.

de "and" - but, and. Variant gar, "for", expressing cause/reason, providing an explanation / expansion of v15a, although not as strong; see Metzger. Still, it carries the logic of Paul's argument. Law brings wrath. Sure, where there is no law there is no transgression and therefore no wrath, but there is always law, even if it is in the heart (innate conscience), and therefore there is always transgression and always wrath / divine judgment. So, probably adversative; "but where there is no law ...", ESV.

parabasiV "transgression" - a crossing of a no-go line, a falling short. Used of breaking the law of God.


For the appropriation of the promise to be guaranteed to both believing Gentiles and believing Jews, it is necessary for it to rest totally on a righteousness of faith, apart from law obedience, given the inability of the law to do anything more than condemn.

dia touto "therefore" - because of this. This causal construction leans toward being inferential, drawing a logical conclusion, as NIV; "this is why", ESV. What is the "this" referring to? Probably referring back, so for example, "because of the nature of the law and its inability to work anything but wrath", Denny = the argument of v15. Cranfield argues, against most commentators, that the dia touto construction refers forward ("for this reason .... namely, that it may be according to grace"), noting that for every two references backward in the NT there is one forward, usually followed by a hina clause (final, or causal) as here; "for this reason it is on the basis of faith, namely, in order that it may be according to grace", Cranfield.

"[the promise comes]" - [it is]. The verb is added by the NIV. There is no verb in the Gk., but then Paul is paralleling his construction in v13, ou ... dia nomou, "it is not through law", with ek pistewV "it is out of faith." See below on the elliptical nature of this phrase.

ek "by [faith]" - out of, from [faith]. As already noted in v13, Paul is probably referring back to the definitions supplied in his thesis, 1:16-17, in particular the phrase ek pistewV eiV pistin, "out of faith/faithfulness, toward faith"; "from the faithfulness of God to the faith response of people", Manson. The realization of the Abrahamic promises rest on the faithfulness of God in Christ appropriated through faith.

iJna "so that" - that. Introducing a purpose clause, although the subjunctive verb to-be must be assumed, "in order that it may be."

kata + acc. "by [grace]" - it may be according to [grace]. Here expressing a standard; "in accordance with", ie. the realization of the Abrahamic promises is not dia nomou, "through law", but ek pistewV, "out of faith/faithfulness", iJna, "in order to", kata, "comply with", carin, "God's divine grace."

eiV to + inf. "and may be" - for [the promise to be]. This construction usually forms a purpose clause, although a consecutive clause expressing result seems more likely here; "so that, with the result that." "So that the promise my be certain of fulfillment for all the seed", Cranfield.

bebaian (oV) "guaranteed" - secure, firm, durable, solid, certain, sure.... The covenantal promise rests on sold ground when it is given by God's grace through the instrument of faith.

tw/ spermati (a atoV) "to [all] Abraham's offspring" - to [all] the seed. Dative of interest, advantage; "certain for all the seed" = Jewish and Gentile believers.

tw/ ek tou nomou (oV) "[not only] to those who are of the law" - [not] to the ones out of / from the law [alone]. See v14, although here with the dative tw/, "to the ones", dative of interest, advantage; "not for the seed of the law." See "Interpretation" above.

alla "but" - Strong adversative.

kai "also" - Adjunctive; "also".

ek "[to those who] have [the faith]" - [to the ones] out of, from / based on [faith]. See v14.

Abraam gen. prop. "of Abraham" - The genitive is adjectival, possessive / verbal, subjective.


Paul closes his argument with a text, Gen:17:5, "Abraham is the father of all of us. As the scriptures say of him, I have appointed you the father of many nations", Barclay.

kaqwV gegraptai "as it is written" - as it has been written. A common introduction to a scriptural quotation.

oJti "-" - Introducing a dependent statement, direct quotation.

teqeika (tiqhmi) perf. "I have made" - place, put .... and therefore, appoint = I have appointed [you the father]. The perfect tense is serving to express a past action with ongoing consequences. Paul quotes one of the elements of the covenantal promise, namely, Abraham's appointment as the patriarch of a new people, who like Abraham, trust God and find their trust credited as righteousness.

eqnwn (oV) gen. "of [many] nations" - The genitive is adjectival, relational. cf. Gen.17:5-8.


ii] Paul now explains the nature of Abraham's faith showing him to be the perfect example of someone who lives by faith, v17b-22. He put his trust in a God who acts on his word; "who quickens the dead and calls into being the things which do not exist", Barrett - an obvious allusion to the covenant promise made to Abraham that he would be the father of many nations, of a people unto God. Against all odds, Sarah being beyond child birth, Abraham believed God's promise and this faith-stance was credited to him as righteousness. Such is the nature of a faith that accesses right-standing in the sight of God apart from submission to the law, as opposed to a "breezy optimism or ... denial of external reality", Schreiner re. Moxens.

katenanti + gen. "he is our father in the sight of [God]" - in the presence of [God]. Spacial.

ou| gen. pers. pro. "in whom [he believed]" - of whom [he believed]. Usually regarded as a genitive due to attraction, but properly a dative of direct object after the verb episteusen, "he believed." "In the presence of God, in whom he believed, the one who ......... against all hope, Abraham believed and so ..." There is difficulty in relating this sentence with the proceeding quote, 17a, so it is often taken as introducing a new paragraph, which means that the quote serves to conclude the previous section. None-the-less, it is possibly to link the sentence with the quote, taking the subject as "I [have appointed] = God, "before whom he (Abraham) believed, namely the God (qeou epexegetic/appositional genitive) who gives life to the dead (adjectival participle) and ....." In this case the next stage in Paul's argument, the nature of Abraham's faith, would commence at v18.

tou zwopoiountoV (zwopoiew) gen. pres. part. "who gives life to" - the one making alive [the dead ones] The participle serves as a substantive, genitive in agreement with qeou, "God". The present tense is durative, not punctiliar, such that God's life-giving act extends beyond giving life to Sarah's womb. He is a God who raises a people, to himself, from sin and death; he is the God who does the impossible, cf., Jowett.

kalountoV (kalew) gen. pres. part. "calls" - [and] the one calling. The participle serves as a substantive, genitive in agreement with qeou, "God". The article for "the one giving life" applies to this participle as well = Grenville Sharp's rule.

ta mh onta (eimi) "things that are not" - the things not being. The participle serves as a substantive. The NIV has opted for a literal translation, the TNIV improves the sense somewhat with "calls into being things that were not." Paul may be alluding to creatio ex nihilo, the creation out of nothing, as an image of the new creation, of new life in those dead to sin.

wJV "as though [they were]" - as [being]. At first glance a comparative sense may well be intended; "he sends his call out to that which has no being as if it already existed." Both Barrett and Cranfield suggest that this construction is used instead of an infinitive, serving to introduce a consecutive clause, "so that / with the result that" - he speaks so that it is. "God called what did not exist so that it came into existence", Schreiner.


God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations, and although impotent, he took God at his word.

o}V pro. "Abraham" - who. As well as being resumptive, the position of this pronoun in the sentence indicates that it has demonstrative force; "he it is who."

par elpida ep elpidi (iV ewV) "against all hope [Abraham] in hope [believed]" - beyond hope in hope. This prepositional phrase, formed by the two spacial prepositions, is a difficult one. Barrett argues that we have two hopes here, para + acc., "beside" = "beyond hope as regards having a family", but Abraham believed epi + dat., "on" the hope of having a family according to God's promise. The "beyond hope" = "human hope's uttermost limit has already been reached and passed", Cranfield. Abraham then, "on the basis of hope" [in God], believes, = "Abraham still relied in hope on the promise of God", Calvin.

eiV to + inf. "and so [became]" - This construction usually forms a purpose clause, although consecutive seems more likely here, "and so as a result became the father .....", cf. Lagrange.

eqnwn (oV ouV) gen. "of [many] nations" - The genitive is adjectival, relational.

kata + acc. "just as" - Expressing a standard; "in accordance with what had just been said."

to eirhmenon (legw) perf. pas. part. "it had been said" - the thing having been said/spoken. The participle serves as a substantive. "God promised", CEV.

ou{twV adv. "so [shall your offspring be]" - thus / in like manner [will be the seed]. Here drawing a logical conclusion from what precedes, but possibly just referencing what precedes; "like these shall your posterity be", Cassirer, cf. Gen.15:5.


Abraham was impotent and his wife Sarah was past children-bearing. Still, Abraham "in hope believed" God's promise, though it seemed impossible.

mh asqenhsaV (asqenew) pres. part. "without weakening" - [and] not having weakened. The negation here should properly be ou, but mh is often used with participles, cf. Moule. The participle is adverbial, probably causal, "because", or concessive, "although", cf. TNT. Here, "without becoming weak". Abraham, "without growing weak in faith", Weymouth.

th/ pistei (iV ewV) dat. "in his faith" - Dative of respect / reference; "with respect to his faith."

katenohsen (katanoew) aor. "he faced the fact" - he considered, understood, discerned in a reflective manner. Variant negation of the verb exists producing the translation "he was so strong in faith that he did not consider ....", Metzger. The verb itself is missing in some manuscripts.

eJautou gen. ref. pro. "his [body]" - his own [body]. The genitive is adjectival, possessive.

hdh "as good as" - already. "Now", AV; "permanently", Wuest. Variant reading, possibly added, but more likely accidentally dropped. "Abraham was of the opinion that he was already impotent, but none the less ....."

nenekrwmenon (nekrow) perf. pas. part. "was .... dead" - having been dead. The participle forms a dependent statement of perception expressing what Abraham considered; "he discerned that his own body was already dead." The perfect tense expresses a completed, but ongoing state; "his own impotence", Phillips.

uJparkwn (uJparkw) pres. part. "since he was" - possessing [about one hundred years]. The participle is adverbial, probably causal, forming a participial construction denoting Abraham's age, as NIV.

thV mhtraV (a) gen. "[Sarah's] womb" - [and the deadness] of the womb [of Sarah]. The genitive is adjectival, attributed; "the dead womb of Sarah."

thn nekrwsin (iV ewV) "was also dead" - the deadness, death. We would expect a participle forming a dependent statement of perception, as NIV; "he recognized that his own body was as good as dead ..... and that Sarah was past child-birth. Cassirer solves the problem by treating the participle "having been dead" as adjectival; "there was no weakening in his faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead ...... and the deadness of Sarah's womb." "Sarah's womb was "worn out", BAGD.


de "yet" - but, and. Possibly adversative, as NIV, or better serving as a connective and left untranslated; "he never allowed lack of faith to make him question God's promise", Barclay. Either way, Paul is further explaining "without weakening in his faith", v19.

ou diekriqh (diakrinw) aor. "he did not waver" - [but to the promise of God] he did not stager, waver, be divided. "Divide" in the sense of be "divided in the mind", "wavering", "unable to hold one position". "Stagger at", Weymouth.

tou qeou (oV) "of God" - The genitive may be taken as ablative, source / origin, or verbal, subjective.

th/ apistei (iV ewV) dat. "through unbelief" - in unbelief. The dative is probably instrumental, expressing means, or possibly cause; "no lack of faith made him waver", Cassirer.

eiV "regarding" - to, into. Here expressing reference / respect; "with respect to", BAGD.

tou qeou (oV) gen. "[the promise] of God" - The genitive is probably ablative, source/origin; "the promise that comes from God."

all (alla) "but" - Strong adversative. With ou forming a counterpoint construction; "not ..... but ...."

enedunamwqh (endunamow) aor. pas. "was strengthened" - was empowered. Divine passive; God does the strengthening. When all seemed lost Abraham's faith served to strengthen him (note, Abraham is strengthened through his faith; it was not his faith that was strengthened). "His faith made him strong", CEV.

th/ pistei (iV ewV) dat. "in his faith" - The dative is somewhat unclear, probably instrumental, or possibly causal, or even reference / respect, "with respect to his faith", so Moo; "empowered by faith", Berkeley.

douV (didwmi) aor. part. "and gave" - giving. Attendant circumstance participle identifying action accompanying the verb "was strengthened", or adverbial, modal, expressing manner.

tw/ qew/ (oV) dat. "to God" - [glory] to God. Dative of indirect object.


Abraham's response to the Word of God rested on his conviction that God is both willing and able to "do what he promised."

kai "-" - and. Here as a connective and left untranslated.

plhroforhqeiV (plhroforew) aor. pas. part. "fully persuaded" - having been fully persuaded, convinced. The participle is probably adverbial, causal, "Abraham was strengthened by his faith and gave glory to God because he was fully persuaded that ...", but again possibly modal, expressing manner. Abraham was fully convinced that God could and would do as he promised, although, as with all of us, the doubts were there, but he set them aside. "In the firm conviction of His power to do what he had promised", NEB.

oJti "that" - Introducing a dependent statement expressing what Abraham was convinced about.

poihsai (poiew) aor. inf. "[God had power] to do" - [he is able also] to do. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "is able."

ephggeltai (epaggellw) perf. "[what] he had promised" - [what] he has promised. The intensive perfect tense underlines the past giving of the promise and its ongoing validity.


Reliance on God's word serves the same function as perfect obedience.

dio kai "this is why" - wherefore also. Inferential. The kai, "also", is a variant, but if read the phrase means "therefore the inference is self evident", BAGD.

elogisqh (logizomai) aor. pas. "it was credited" - it was accounted, taken into account, considered. cf. v3, Gen:15:6. Righteousness, right-standing before God, is credited to the account of a person who trusts God, as Abraham trusted God. "God reckons his faith to him ...... for righteousness", Godet; "one may infer from reckon that God treats faith as though it were righteousness", Kasemann. Taking a new perspective angle Dumbrell states "This faith stance was credited to him for what it really was, a demonstration of his being right with God. The "it" of "it was reckoned to him as righteousness", Cassirer, is faith. This is usually understood as "his" (ie., Abraham's) faith, but it is more likely God's faithfulness + Abraham's faith response. "Was accepted as righteous by God", TEV.

autw/ dat. pro. "to him" - Dative of indirect object.

eiV + acc. "as [righteousness]" - Here probably expressing substitution, "faith to/into righteousness" = "faith counted in lieu of righteousness, instead of it", Ziesler, cf. v3, 9.


iii] Finally, Paul applies his argument to his readers, v23-25. The scriptural truths concerning Abraham, were not just for Abraham, they were written for us today. "Faith, which results in righteousness, ... is no vague abstraction", Schreiner. This "righteousness will be reckoned to us in the same way it was to Abraham", Morris, and will consequently produce life. The extent of this consequent life, of new life in Christ, will now be the focus of Paul's letter through chapters 5 to 8; "therefore, since we are justified by faith, ........", 5:1.

de "-" - now [it was not written because of him alone]. Here transitional.

oJti "-" - that. Introducing a dependent statement, quotation.

egraqh (grafw) aor. pas. "were written" - it was written. Similar to the formula statement kaqwV gegraptai, "it was written." The subject is the quote; "it was credited to him was written .."

di (dia) + acc. "for [him alone]" - because of, on account of [him only that it was accounted to him]. Causal; "for his sake alone."


As for Abraham, so also for us; we too can have righteousness "credited" to us through faith and thus receive the fullness of God's promised blessings.

alla kai "but also" - Adversative + adjunctive.

dia + acc. "for [us]" - because of, on account of [us]. Causal; "on our account, for our sake", the "our" being believers.

oi|V dat. pro. "to whom" - Dative of indirect object / interest, advantage.

logizesqai (logizomai) pres. pas. inf. "[God will] credit [righteousness]" - [it (righteousness) is about] to be credited. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "it is about", the subject of which is assumed, namely "righteousness". This verb, taking a durative present tense, probably touches on the sense of justification as a now/not yet reality, rather than a simple future tense, as NIV. Moo suggests the sense is logical, rather than theological: "every time the condition shall be fulfilled, the same imputation will certainly take place." The infinitive probably serves as a theological passive, God does the crediting, which assumption is made clear by the NIV.

toiV pisteuousin (iV ewV) dat. pres. part. "for us who believe in him" - to the ones believing. The participle serves as a substantive in apposition to oi|V, "to whom", dative of indirect object / interest, advantage. The present tense is descriptive, of an ongoing state.

epi + acc. "in" - upon, on, at, up to. Here the preposition is obviously spacial, of direction toward, rather than temporal, but with Paul, it is usually followed by a dative, "believe in/on Jesus". Here followed by the accusative of person which possibly carries the sense of movement toward, so Moule - a common use in Acts. Here it is belief toward God, "the one having raised Jesus", rather than toward Jesus himself, and in that sense parallels Abraham's belief.

ton egeranta (egeirw) aor. part. "him who raised" - the one having raised. The participle serves as a substantive, object of the preposition.

hJmwn gen. pro. "our [Lord]" - [Jesus the Lord] of us. The genitive is relational.

ek + gen. "from [the dead]" - out of, from [the dead ones]. Here serving in the place of a partitive genitive, "from among the dead", or just separation, "away from."


This verse alludes to the Servant Song, Isaiah 52:13-53:12. The idea is that the Servant of God, namely, Jesus, served as a representative people of God. Jesus suffered on behalf of his people, was ultimately victorious and therefore could justify many. It is a formula-like statement and might have had common usage in Pauline circles. Although both Christ's death and resurrection achieve our justification, the emphasis is on the resurrection of Christ. Christ's atoning death was dia + acc., "for" (on account of) our rebellion against God. His death was substitutionary, taking our punishment, and thus, our guilt before God. Christ's resurrection was dia + acc., "for" (in order to bring about) our right-standing before God. The resurrection of Christ, his enlivening, proclaimed his perfection and was thus, a declaration of his righteousness before God for a life lived in obedience to God. In identifying with Christ in his death we die with him, our corruption is hid in him and we stand acquitted. In identifying in his resurrection, ascension and eternal reign, we share in his glorification, eternally right with God, holy before him and rightly able to inherit the promised blessings of the covenant.

o}V "he" - who. Taking demonstrative force; "he it is who."

paredoqh (paradidwmi) aor. pas. "was delivered over to death" - was delivered up, handed over, given over, .... Constative aorist. Christ was given up to death ("death" is not in the Gk.) on the cross because/for our sins. The betrayal is not in mind, rather it is the Father giving Jesus over as a perfect sacrifice; note divine passive. "Given over to die because of our sins", TEV.

dia "for". With the accusative this preposition is usually "because of / on account of", ie. causal. So Christ goes to the cross because of our sinfulness - our sin drove him there. Yet, a causal sense for the second use of this preposition doesn't seem to work, although it is supported by some commentators, eg. Godet - see below. Taken as causal we have to assume that Paul is into short-talk again, and is describing two sides of a coin, the head and the tail / positive and negative; Jesus died on the cross because we needed our sins forgiven, and was raised because we needed right-standing in the sight of God. A final (purpose) sense for dia thn dikaiwsin is suggested by Cranfield; "Christ was raised for the sake of our justification." This "prospective" sense is also promoted by Moo and others; "Christ's resurrection was with a view to our justification / in order to secure our justification." Vincent Taylor argues that the prospective sense is without textual support given that this verse is the only possible NT and LXX example. None-the-less, it is more than likely that Paul is simply employing stylistic license, such that the first line is retrospective and the second prospective. Jesus was given over because of our sins and "he rose again to secure our justification", Phillips.

hJmwn gen. pro. "our [sins]" - [the transgressions, offenses, sin] of us. The genitive is adjectival, possessive.

hgerqh (egeirw) aor. ind. pass. "was raised" - [and] was raised. Constative aorist with a divine / theological passive; God does the raising.

dia + acc. "for [our]" - because of. As noted above, a causal sense is difficult to express, although Harvey suggests "and was raised because God declared us righteous."

dikaiwsin "justification" - the vindication, justification, acquittal [of us]. This is not Paul's usual word for justification. Some have suggested the emphasis here is on the process rather that the result. "That we might stand right before God."


Romans Introduction.



[Pumpkin Cottage]