Rebuttal of the nomist critique, 6:1-11:36

5. The vindication of grace, 9:1-11:36

iii] The final shape of God's true Israel, 11:1-32

b) The ingrafted Gentile branches


Paul continues the third part of his fifth rebuttal argument against the nomist critique that his gospel is flawed, given the limited response of godly Jews, 11:1-32. In the third part of his argument, he makes the point that, with respect of Israel's unbelief, "this is not God's last word. Israel is not doomed to final rejection", Hunter. Having first established that Israel's rejection is not total, 11:1-10, Paul now goes on to speak of the Gentile's inclusion in God's people and their part in the salvation of "all" Israel, v11-24. This argument is developed in two parts, first, Paul speaks of his ministry to the Gentiles and his hope that their conversion will prompt Israel to jealousy and inevitably faith, v11-16. Then, in the illustration of the olive tree, the climax of this section, Paul shows that the "hardening" of Israel, due to unbelief, is not necessarily complete. The root of the olive tree is the Abrahamic covenant promises, the natural branches representing Jewish believers (the remnant), and the ingrafted branches representing Gentile believers, with unbelieving Israel represented by the cut-out branches. If wild branches can be ingrafted, "how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree", v24.


i] Context: See 9:1-6a.


ii] Background: See 1:8-15.


iii] Structure: Paul's argument that God has not totally cast off Israel is now developed with respect to the inclusion of Gentiles into Israel, v11-24. The argument presents as follows:

Proposition: Israel is not doomed to final rejection, v1-2a.


God has preserved for himself a remnant elect by grace through faith, v2b-6;

Unbelief has led to the hardening of the rest (judgment, but not rejection), v7-10;

The salvation of Gentiles will provide renewed opportunities for Jews to find faith in Christ, v11-15;

The illustration of the olive tree, v16-21:

The gospel of grace is not flawed; it has not failed with regard the salvation of Israel.

Divine grace is evident in both the hardening of Israel and in the salvation of Gentiles, v22-24.


iv] Thesis: See 3:21-31.


v] Interpretation:

See 9:1-6a.


It should be noted that some commentators tie this section into chapters 14 and 15, the "weak / strong" issue, of Paul seeking to address an anti-Jewish sentiment on the part of the Gentiles, even of Paul seeking to gain Gentile support for his ministry approach (the conversion of the Gentiles prompting a similar response from Israel - ie., when Gentiles stream through the gates of Zion then surely the kingdom is upon us), cf., Dunn, Jewett, Dumbrell... It would seem, though, that Paul is continuing to establish the fact that God's word of grace has not malfunctioned, 9:6a.


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

Text - 11.11

The ingrafted Gentiles and their part in the salvation of "all" Israel, v11-24: i] In v11-12 and repeated in v13-15, Paul develops the argument that Israel's "fall" is not irrevocable in that the opportunities for faith, and thus salvation, presently available to the Gentiles, will provide renewed opportunities for Jews to find faith in Christ.

oun "again" - [I say] therefore. Inferential, drawing a logical conclusion; given that Israel has been "hardened" by God due to their unbelief, is therefore this fall beyond recovery?

mh "[did they stumble]" - This negation is used in a question expecting a negative response; here we get the answer "no way!"

iJna + subj "so as to [fall beyond recovery]" - that [they might fall]. The construction usually forms a purpose clause; "did they stumble in order that they might fall?" Instead of "in order that" (implying that God has orchestrated their fall) we may go with a contemplated result (Sanday and Headlam), "with the result that." Chamberlain suggests an object clause, "Israel stumbled so (seriously) that she fell." As for "fall", it is best taken as an irrevocable fall as in the NIV. "Did their error involve them in irretrievable disaster? God forbid!", Barclay.

mh genoito aor. opt. "not at all" - may it not be so. "God forbid", AV = "No way!"

alla "rather" - but. Here a strong adversative, "on the contrary"; "the truth is, that by their false step ...", Cassirer.

tw/ ... paraptwmati (a atoV) dat. "because of [their] transgression" - to sin, trespass. The dative is instrumental, expressing means, "by means of their trespass", or cause, "because of", Moo, as NIV. The word is used of a specific sinful act, in this case, obviously Israel's rejection of the gospel, ie., their unbelief. Note how Cassirer, also Moffatt, continues with the image of Israel's tripping over.

toiV eqnesin (oV) dat. "has come to the Gentiles" - [the salvation came] to the Gentiles. Dative of interest, advantage; "salvation for the Gentiles."

eiV to parazhlwsai (parazhlow) aor. inf. "to make [Israel] envious" - to provoke to jealously [them]. This preposition with an articular infinitive forms a purpose clause; "in order that ..." = "so as to provoke them to jealousy"; the accusative subject of the infinitive being autouV "them". Paul uses Deut.32:21 from which to develop the idea that the incoming of the Gentiles will prompt israel to recognize what they have lost and so bring about repentance.


If Israel's unbelief has brought blessing to the Gentiles, Israel's belief will obviously bring even greater blessings to all mankind.

de "but" - but, and. The NIV opts for an adversative sense, "but", although transitional is possible, "now if their trespass ....."

ei + ind. (assumed) "if" - if [as is the case, the trespass of them means riches for the world and the failure of them means riches for the Gentiles, then by how much more the fullness of them]." Introducing a conditional clause 1st class where the condition is assumed to be true. The verb must be supplied. Morris notes Lanski who says of the syntax that "the condition is one of reality. Only in such conditions can the verb be left out"; to this end the verb "means" is supplied, as NIV.

autwn gen. pro. "their" - The genitive is usually viewed as adjectival, possessive, but possibly verbal, subjective, ie. "their fall" = "they fell", Lenski. So, "their falling is world riches and their losing is Gentile riches."

to paraptwma (a atoV) "transgression" - trespass. Referring to Israel's "transgression", v11.

kosmou (oV) gen. "[riches] for the world" - [riches] of world. As with the eqnwn, "Gentiles", the genitive is adjectival, attributive, limiting "riches", "world riches" and "Gentile riches", or verbal, objective, "great gain to the world", NJB. "Blessing has come to the world and to the Gentiles by Israel's persistent disobedience", Dumbrell. "Their sin enriched the world .... and their failure enriched the Gentiles", Barclay.

to hJtthma (a atoV) "loss" - [and] the falling short [of them]. The sense of this word is disputed. Some kind of "loss" is intended, probably not a loss in number (Barrett), but rather "defeat", Cranfield, Murray, Morris. "Their overthrow (means) riches for the Gentiles", Cassirer.

ptoutoV (oV) "riches [for the Gentiles]" - riches [of Gentiles]. The word is used of material wealth, but obviously here of covenant blessings, although Jewett argues for both material and spiritual blessings that flow to the world through the gospel.

posw/ mallon "how much greater riches" - by how much more. For this comparative construction see BDAG, 855.1. The pronoun posw/, "how much", is a dative of measure, "by how much", with mallon, "more", a comparative adverb. In this verse Paul develops a lesser to greater form of argumentation. How much more of what? = "how much more will it issue in the enrichment of the Gentiles", Meyer.

plhrwma (a atoV) "will [their] fullness / full inclusion bring" - the fullness [of them]. Usually understood to refer to the complete restoration of Israel. If the conversion of the Gentiles is glorious, imagine how more glorious will be the full conversion of Israel. Obviously this "fullness" or "completeness" is a representative whole, rather than all Jews, or the modern secular state of Israel; "How much more will it mean when no longer the remnant but the whole nation (in a representative sense) becomes the people of God", Barclay. Yet, does Paul have in mind a numerical fullness - the fulfillment of Israel's predestination (ie., full number of Israel)", Meyer? Other possibilities: "the fulfilling of the divine demand", BAGD; "fullness of salvation", Lenski; "Israel's complete acceptance of faith", Zahn; "the total fulfillment of God's promises", Dumbrell; the fulfillment of God's will, cf., Cranfield.


It may seem to that Paul has abandoned his fellow countrymen, but in reality, he believes that his Gentile mission will provoke many Jews to accept Jesus, v13-14. These two verses present as a parenthesis "in which Paul specifically addresses Gentile believers", Harvey.

de "-" - Probably Paul is continuing his argument, although many see a new paragraph here, as NIV. If adversative, "but as regards you Gentiles, if continuative, "now I speak to you Gentiles", Jewett.

uJmin dat. pro. "to you" - to you, [the Gentiles, I speak]. Dative of indirect object. The position and use is emphatic underlining those Paul now addresses, namely, toiV eqnesin, "the Gentiles" = "Gentile believers". "Gentiles" stands in apposition to "you"; "I am speaking to you Gentiles", ESV.

ef oJson "inasmuch as" - A causal construction - epi + acc. pro.; "inasmuch as." Probably best supplied with tropon, "in so far as contrary to what you may be inclined to think", Cranfield. "In so far as I am apostle to the Gentiles I hope to promote the conversion of the Jews."

men oun "-" - therefore. A confirmatory construction with men strengthened by oun; "indeed".

eimi egw "I am" - An emphatic construction, "I am indeed an apostle of Gentiles", Jewett.

eqnwn (oV) gen. "[an apostle] to you Gentiles" - [an apostle] of Gentiles. The genitive is usually treated as verbal, subjective; "I am an apostle sent to the Gentiles", Cassirer.

doxazw pres. "I make much of [my ministry]" - I glorify [the ministry of me]. The NIV approach to Paul's intended sense is probably best, but probably more pointedly "draw attention to its divine purpose", Dumbrell. Possibly simply, "I will take pride in my work", TEV. Possibly "I give thanks to God for the work which he has given me to do", TH.


ei "in the hope that" - if. Introducing a 1st class conditional clause, although in a conditional clause without an apodosis, as here, that which is anticipated by the protasis (the apodosis, the "then" clause) is included in the protasis as an expressed hope or desire, even sometimes expressing purpose, cf. Burton. "In the hope that perhaps", Zerwick.

pwV "somehow" - Here as the indefinite particle introduces hesitation into the expected outcome of the conditional clause; "somehow, in some way, perhaps", BAGD; see "if" above.

parazhlwsw (parazhlow) aor. subj. "I may [somehow] arouse ..... to envy" - I will/may make jealous, provoke to jealousy. Following pwV one would expect an aorist subjunctive, as NIV, although a future indicative is possible. Probably "provoke to jealous anger", rather than "make jealous", although we may need to contextalize somewhat in the sense of "stir the Israelites into following the example of the Gentile believers in accepting the gospel", Morris.

thn sarka (x koV) "[my] own people" - the flesh [of me]. "My fellow Jews", ESV.

tinaV (tiV) - pro. "some" - a certain. Indicating Paul does not have false expectations regarding his own ministry; that the conversion of some may achieve "fullness", again, of a representative whole.

ex (ek) + gen. "of [them]" - [and may save some] of [them]. Here the preposition serves as a partitive genitive.


If Israel's rejection by God brings reconciliation for the world / Gentiles, then Israel's acceptance will herald the coming day of glory and the resurrection of the dead.

gar "for" - Usually taken to introduce a causal clause, but possibly explanatory, serving to move the argument forward, and therefore left untranslated.

ei "if" - if [as is the case, the casting away of them brings reconciliation, then what will mean the acceptance]. Introducing a conditional clause, 1st. class, where the condition is assumed to be true. The apodosis is in the form of a rhetorical question. Not, as in v12, verbs must be supplied.

autwn gen. pro. "their" - [the casting away] of them. As in v12 it is possible that the genitive is verbal, here objective, of God's rejection of Israel, "their being thrown away by God", cf. Sandy and Headlam. Fitzmyer opts for a subjective genitive, of Israel's rejection of the gospel. Taking "rejection" to mean "loss", the genitive can certainly be taken as adjectival, possessive, it was their loss. "If their loss has meant a world reconciled to God."

hJ apobolh (h) "rejection" - the casting away, loss. "Rejection" is possible, given the sense, "throw away" is sometimes carried by this word, but "loss" is better, "if then their fall", Pilcher. The linking of "loss" and "reconciliation" implies that one is dependent on the other, but this is obviously not the case. It is more a matter of opportunity, given that the gospel would have gone out to the Gentiles irrespective of Israel's response (the promised Abrahamic blessings were for the whole world). We see in Paul's own ministry that he would first take the gospel to the synagogue (to the Jews first) and then to the Gentile throng, usually having been thrown out of the synagogue.

kosmou (oV) gen. "to the world" - [brings reconciliation] of the world. The genitive is usually treated as verbal, subjective and/or objective. Obviously the reconciliation of all people of faith, not all people as a whole.

hJ proslhmyiV (iV ewV) "[what] will their acceptance be" - [what] then the receiving, acceptance of them. Hapax legomenon. The acceptance of someone into an association*. Here of Israel's reception into the community of believers. "To what can we compare their reception", Barclay.

ei mh "but" - except. Expressing a contrast by designating an exception, similar to alla, and so often translated as "but", as here.

ek + gen. "[life] from [the dead]" - [life] from [dead ones]. Expressing source / origin. What is the meaning of this phrase? i] Paul is possibly simply referring to the resurrection of the dead on the last day; ii] Some argue for a full restoration of a representative Israel expressed figuratively, "the conversion of Israel", Osborne, which will signal the resurrection, so Bruce, cf., NIVSB, 1723. iii] Probably in a more general sense, the fullness of new life in Christ for both Jew and Gentile believers.


ii] The gospel of grace is not flawed; it has not failed with regard the salvation of Israel, v16-21. In this verse Paul draws together the argument he has made in v11-15. Paul alluded to Numbers 15:20-21 where a sample of bread is prepared for a burnt offering to God, which dedication renders the whole holy. A similar idea is developed where the branches of a tree share the nature of the roots. The point being that the whole of Israel, remnant Israel and unbelieving Israel, share in the spiritual base of Israel, namely, the Abrahamic covenant, and thus it is still possible for unbelieving Israel to discover new life in Christ.

ei "if" - Introducing two conditional clauses, 1st. class, where the condition is assumed to be true; "if, as the case is ......... then ......"

hJ aparch (h) "the part of the dough offered as first-fruits" - the first-fruit [holy]. Here, given furama, "lump", the first-fruit is the first piece of the dough made from the first sheaf of grain, a portion which is then cooked and offered to the Lord.

kai "[then]" - [then] also. Adjunctive.

to furama (a atoV) "the whole batch is holy" - the batch, lump, lump of dough [and if the root holy, also the branches]. The conversion of some Jews indicates that Israel, as a whole (still a representative whole), has a place in God's future intentions.


The illustration of the olive tree and its application serves to drive home the argument made in v11-16. As is often the case, not all the elements of a metaphor are specified. The branches are believers, Jew and Gentile; the tree is usually viewed as Israel, sometimes as the Patriarchs, or Christ; and the nourishing root the promised divine Abrahamic blessings, or the remnant itself, ie. Christ + those incorporated in him. The point of the illustration is open to some debate, eg., it "reveals that the hardening of Israel has been God's work, even though his will is for her salvation", Dumbrell. Most commentators treat the passage as a warning against Gentile arrogance, so Mounce, Barrett, .... Paul certainly has something to say on this issue and it is the line adopted in the sample sermon. Yet, given that Paul is arguing for the vindication of grace, the illustration primarily serves to support Paul's contention that the gospel of grace is not flawed, that it has not failed with regard the salvation of Israel. The tree remains with some branches cast off and wild shoots ingrafted, but those old natural branches can be grafted in again just as easily as the Gentile branches can be lopped off for unfaith, cf. Dunn, p675.

de "-" - but, and. Here as a transitional connective, indicating a step in the argument.

ei "if" - Continuing the series of conditional clauses, 1st class, where the condition is assumed to be true; "if, as is the case, .... then (v18) do not boast of the branches."

twn kladwn (oV) gen. "branches" - [some] of the branches. The genitive is adjectival, partitive. "If some of the original branches of the olive tree", Barclay.

exeklasqhsan (ekklaw) aor. pas. "have been broken off" - were broken off. Divine / theological passive. May be described as a divine passive, God does the breaking off. "Have been lopped off", Barclay.

su de "and you" - The position of "you" is emphatic.

w]n (eimi) pres. part. "though [a wild olive shoot]" - being [a wild olive tree]. The participle is adverbial, possible concessive, "although you are", as NIV, or temporal "while you have been grafted in", Moffatt, Cassirer, or adjectival, "you who are ...", NASB.

en + dat. "among" - [were grafted in] in / among [them]. Expressing space / sphere, "among the remaining branches", Dunn. Possibly even more specific, "in the place the branches occurred."

sugkoinwnoV (oV) "share" - [and become] a co-partaker. The verb's prefix expresses the idea of sharing "with". Though not of the root-stock, the Gentiles get to share the benefit of the root, ie. the promised divine blessings of the covenant.

thV rJizhV thV piothtoV thV elaiaV "in the nourishing sap from the olive root" - of the root (and) of the fatness of the olive tree. We have here the compounding of three genitives. The first, thV rJizhV, "of the root", is probably adjectival, partitive, although Cranfield has it as verbal, objective. The second, thV piothtoV, "of the fatness", is adjectival, attributive, limiting "root", "the fat root", or appositional, "the root of the olive with its fatness", or idiomatic, of product / producer, so Harvey. The third, thV elaiaV, "the olive tree", is adjectival, possessive, "the olive tree's fat root", or ablative, source / origin, so Moo. Harvey proposes the translation "the root that produces the richness that comes from the olive tree." "The root" is not found in some manuscripts and kai, "and", is added in others.


The Gentiles are spiritually blessed because of their incorporation into God's chosen people, so therefore they should not "boast" (triumph) over Israel,

mh katakaucw (katakaucaomai) pres. imp. "do not boast over" - do not brag, triumph over. Meaning "to boast in triumphant comparison of others", Bultman. "Be on your guard not to boast of your superiority over those branches", Cassirer.

twn kladwn (oV) gen. "those branches" - of the branches. Properly classified as a genitive of direct object after the kata prefix verb "to triumph over / against", but it could be classified as adverbial of respect/reference, "do not boast with respect to the branches", or adjectival, of subordination, "do not glory over the branches."

ei de + ind. "if you [do]" - but if [you boast]. Introducing a conditional clause 1st. class where the condition is assumed to be true; "if, as is the case, you boast, then you should remember that ...""But if the case occur that you boast against them", Fitzmyer.

"consider this" - The necessary cognitive verb of the apodosis is assumed; "just remember that you are not supporting the roots of that tree", CEV.

ou su "you do not" - not you. Emphatic by position, underlining the importance of the statement.

bastazeiV (bastazw) pres. "support" - bear, carry [the root]. Gnomic present tense. Take the weight of the branches, or better, nourish the branches. "It is not you that sustains the root", NJB.

alla "but [the root supports you]" - but [the root you]. Adversative, as NIV. "Remember, you aren't feeding the root, the root is feeding you", Peterson.


It is true that God has rejected unbelieving Israel and that Gentile believers now stand in Israel's place, but this is not of works, but of grace through faith. If God didn't spare Israel's unbelief, neither will he spare Gentile unbelief. Be warned! v19-21.

ereiV (legw) fut. "you will say" - An unusual use of the future tense, although the future tense is sometimes used instead of a subjunctive; "you may indeed say"; "Perhaps you think those branches were cut away, so that you could be put in their place", CEV. The "you" may be characterized as anti-Semitic Gentiles, although better, spiritually superior Gentiles. Those experiencing God's favor can easily assume a position of spiritual superiority, here resting on the assumption that spiritually inferior Israelites were removed to allow the inclusion of spiritually superior Gentiles. Yet, God's favor has nothing to do with us and everything to do with his grace. Those who lost covenant standing did so through unbelief, while those who gained that standing, many being "strangers" to the covenant family, did so only by resting on the faithfulness of God in Christ. There is, therefore, no ground for boasting, and every ground to beware, cf. v21.

oun "then" - An inferential sense is unlikely, better taken as resumptive / transitional, serving to introduce another objection and therefore best left untranslated. Here the objector is a Gentile believer.

iJna + subj. "so that [I could be grafted in]" - [branches were broken off] that [I may be grafted in]. Probably serving to form a final clause expressing purpose, "in order that", as NIV. The supporting verb egkentrisqw, "might be grafted in" may be taken as a divine passive, implying a divine imperative, so Cranfield. Yet, although Paul is extending the logic of his argument, it is unlikely that he accepts its conclusion. This is why he places it in the mouth of an interlocutor. The casting off of Israel was not the result of a divine imperative enacted to make room for the Gentiles whose inclusion was again the result of a divine imperative. Israel was "broken off because of unbelief", v20. Belief, or unbelief, is the basis of inclusion, or otherwise, not the divine purpose enacted on the basis of a perceived worthiness, or unworthiness.

egw "I" - Emphatic by position and use.


kalwV "granted" - [you say] well, OK. The word can imply correctness, being right, accurate, as NIV, but it is probably just a throwaway line expressing superficial agreement, a condescending "true enough (if you want to push the logic of the argument to its extreme), but .....", Cassirer. Note Jewett provides four possibilities: an outright rejection, "no, thank you!"; ironic concession, "well, well!"; a qualified acceptance, "all right, but"; acceptance, "well said." He opts for the latter.

th/ apistia/ (a) "because of unbelief" - for unbelief [they were broken off]. A dative of reference, "with respect to", or possibly interest, even causal as NIV. Gentile boasting is foolish because a person's standing in the sight of God is with respect of faith (Christ's faithfulness and our belief in the efficacy of his faithfulness), not effort, either for a Jew or a Gentile.

de "and" - but, and. Probably adversative / contrastive; "but you stand fast through faith", ESV.

th/ pistei (iV ewV) dat. "by faith" - [you] by faith [have stood]. The dative is instrumental, expressing means, as NIV, or cause, so Cranfield.

mh uJyhla fronei (fronew) imp. "do not be arrogant" - think not proud things. Obviously not "do not be high-minded", but "do not be haughty/arrogant."

fobou (fobew) pres. imp. "tremble" - [but] fear. Expressing a command. When directed to God the sense is not so much "scared", as "respectful"; "your feelings should not be feelings of pride, but awe", Barclay.


gar "for" - Introducing a causal clause explaining why Paul's readers should not be conceited, but feel awe; "Do not be conceited, but feel awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches ...."

ei + ind. "if" - Again forming a 1st class conditional clause, "if, as is the case, ... then ...." Although note the textual variant mh twV, "if God did not spare ..... perhaps / lest in someway or other he will not spare ....", probably added to soften the stark nature of the condition.

ouk efeisato (feidomai) aor. + gen. "did not spare" - [God] did not exempt from punishment or injury. For the softened condition, "If God cut away those natural branches, couldn't he do the same to you?" CEV, or for the stark condition, "if God did not spare the branches that belonged to the tree by nature, neither will he spare you", Cassirer.

kata + acc. "natural" - [the branches] according to [nature]. Expressing a standard; "in accordance with nature." The prepositional phrase "according to nature" is best treated as an attributive adjective, "natural branches", as NIV.

twn ...kladwn (oV) gen. "the [natural] branches" - Genitive of direct object after the verb feidomai, "to prevent trouble"

sou gen. pro. "you" - [neither will he spare] you. Genitive of direct object after the gnomic future verb "to spare."


iii] Divine grace is evident in both the hardening of Israel and in the salvation of Gentiles, v22-24. The Jews have a greater intrinsic right to covenant inclusion than do the Gentiles, and this being the case, their re-inclusion (on the basis of faith) will be easier to achieve than the inclusion of the Gentiles. The gospel of grace, mediated by Paul, may seem flawed with regard the conversion of Israel, but in reality it will serve to save Israel in God's good time, and will do so with greater ease than for the conversion of the Gentiles - the natural stock is easier to graft than wild stock. Yet, God cannot be taken for granted; he is both hard and merciful. At the present moment the Gentiles have sought his mercy and have received it, but if they reject that mercy, as Israel has, they too will be "cut off".

ide (eidon) aor. imp. "consider" - see. As NIV, "you must try to appreciate", Phillips, "pay attention", Jewett.

oun "therefore" - Drawing a logical conclusion.

crhstathta (hV htoV) "kindness" - Referring to God's goodness, mercy; "gentile kindness", Peterson.

apotomian (a) "sternness" - [and] severity, unbending rigor. "Ruthless severity", Peterson.

qeou (oV) gen. "of God" - The genitive is usually treated as verbal, subjective / ablative, source.

men ....... de "-" - This adversative comparative construction establishes a contrast between those who have experienced God's severity due to unbelief, and those who have experienced his kindness due to belief. "Remember his severity to those who fell into sin; remember his kindness to you", Barclay.

epi "[sternness] to" - upon, on. Spacial.

touV pesontaV (piptw) "those who fell" - the ones having fallen, fallen over, tripped up [severity, but on you kindness of God]. The participle serves as a substantive. The image of the branches having been "cut out" is again widened to include the cause; Israel "fell over", they tripped up on faith.

ean + subj. "provided that" - if. Introducing a conditional clause, 3rd class, where the condition has the possibility of coming true. It is possible that the causal conjunction epei, "otherwise (because/since)", introduces the apodosis of the conditional clause. Some argue for an ellipsis (a significant omission of words in the sentence) such that we have a compounding of two conditional clauses. The conditional clause, "if you continue in the kindness" lacks an apodosis, the "then" clause. The verb epimenhV "abide / continue / remain" obviously carries the intended sense of the apodosis; "if you abide, then you will abide." The second conditional clause lacks a protasis, the "if" clause, with the causal clause "since also you will be cut off" providing the sense of the apodosis. The second conditional clause negates the first: "if you do not abide then you will be cut off." See note in v14. Although a messy verse the NIV expresses the sense of it.

epimenhV (epimenw) pres. subj. "you continue" - Obviously relational, continue in a faith relationship with God in Christ, abide in Christ, in union with Christ.

th/ crhstathti (hV htoV) dat. "in his kindness" - in the / his kindness. The dative is local, expressing space / sphere.

epei "otherwise" - since [you also will be cut off]. Here with the sense "otherwise" rather than causal; BDF #456.3.


God's grace, his generous kindness and love, is available to all who seek it, especially to Israel.

de "and" - Coordinative, but possibly contrastive / adversative; "But they also", BAGD.

kakeinoi pro. "-" - the ones also. Ascensive pronoun; "they also, to."

ean + subj. "if" - Forming a conditional clause 3rd class where the condition has the possibility of coming true; "if, as may be the case, .... then [they will be grafted in]."

mh epimenwsin "they do not persist" - they do not continue [in unbelief, will be grafted in]. The "they" is presumably Israel. Paul underlines the key point he has been trying to make, namely, that those Israelites who have not believed in Christ still have a place in the covenant community, which place is theirs simply by resting on the faithfulness of Christ, ie. his atoning sacrifice.

th/ apistia/ (a) + dat. "in unbelief" - Local dative.

gar "for" - Introducing a causal clause explaining how it is possible for them to be grafted in.

egkentrisai (egkentrizw) aor. inf. "[is able] to graft" - [God is able] to graft. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "is able."

palin adv. "again" - [them] again. God has the power to graft unbelieving Israel back into the olive tree again; all that is required is faith.


Summary statement - formed as a lesser to greater argument; "If ..... then how much more ......." If God is able to gather Gentiles into the kingdom, then he is well able to regather Israel into the kingdom.

gar "after all" - for. Expressing cause / reason. A causal sense is certainly possible, although it seems more likely that it is explanatory, introducing a concluding explanation, or even emphatic; "And indeed, if you were cut off ....", Cassirer.

ei + ind. "if [you were cut]" - Introducing a conditional clause ,1st class, where the condition is assumed to be true; "if, as is the case, .... then ...."

ek + gen. "out of" - from. Serving as a partitive genitive / ablative, source.

kata fusin (iV ewV) "wild by nature" - [the olive tree] according to nature. The nature of something as the result of its natural development or condition*. Not as the NIV has it "you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature", rather "you were cut from your wild olive tree." The Gentile branch was cut from a wild olive tree which it is by nature, and grafted into a cultivated olive tree. The point is that the Jews, although presently cut out, can easily be grafted back. It is easy to graft cultivated stock into its own kind.

para + acc. "contrary to [nature]" - [and] against [nature]. Here expressing opposition, as NIV, "against all nature", Barclay, although the prepositional phrase may be treated adverbially, "you were unnaturally grafted into a cultivated olive tree."

eiV + acc. "into" - [were grafted] into [a productive / natural olive tree]. More "into / in" than "to", direction; virtually serving as a simple dative, so Harris.

posw/ mallon "how much more readily" - how much more. For the syntax see v12. "How much more certainly", Boylan.

ou|toi pro. "these" - these ones. The pronoun serves as a substantive.

oiJ "[the natural branches]" - the ones [according to nature]. Here serving as a nominalizer, turning the prepositional phrase, kata fusin, "according to nature", into a substantive phrase standing in apposition to "these ones"; "these, the natural branches", ESV.

egkentrisqhsontai (egkentrizw) fut. pas. + dat. "will ..... be grafted in" - will be grafted into. Probably a logical future tense, but possibly Paul has in mind a prophetic sense, so predictive, Israel's actual inclusion. The passive voice is usually taken as divine / theological, God does the grafting.

th/ idia/ elaia/ dat. "their own olive tree" - ones own olive tree. Dative of direct object after the en prefix verb egkentrizw, "to be grafted in."


Romans Introduction



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