Romans

11:33-36

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

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

Conclusion: The majesty of God displayed in global salvation

Argument

Paul concludes his argument begun in 9:1 with a doxology of gratitude. Many Israelites have failed to appropriate the blessings of the covenant, yet a remnant have, and this remnant, along with an influx of Gentiles, is but a taste of God's faithfulness to his covenant promises. To this end Paul is "lost in wonder, love and praise."

 
Issues

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

 

ii] Background: See 1:8-15.

 

iii] Structure: This statement of praise to God presents as follows:

Praise for God's plan, v33;

Scriptural support, v34-35;

Doxology, v36.

 

iv] Thesis: See 3:21-31.

 

v] Interpretation:

See 9:1-6a.

 

Hodge, in his commentary on Romans says of this passage: "The reason why man can lay God under no obligation is, that God is himself all and in all; the source, the means and the end. By him all things are; through his power, wisdom and goodness, all things are directed and governed. God is the source, the constantly working cause, and end of all things. When Paul asks, who has first given to God? The answer is: No one, for of him, through him and to him, are all things. It is for the display of his character everything exists, and is directed, as the highest and noblest of all possible objects. Creatures are as nothing, less than vanity and nothing in comparison with God. Human knowledge, power and virtue, are mere glimmering reflections from the brightness of the divine glory. That system of religion, therefore, is best in accordance with the character of God, the nature of man and the end of the universe, in which all things are of, through, and to God; and which most effectually leads men to say, 'not unto us, but unto thy name be all the glory'"

 

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

 
Text - 11:33

Doxology, 11:33-36. Paul concludes his argument by expressing his "awe at God's unfathomable but wonderful redemption", Dumbrell. God's righteous reign, his setting everything right, is evidenced in the salvation of his remnant people, both Jew and Gentile.

\W "Oh" - An exclamation expressing deep emotion of awe and wonder.

baqoV (oV) "the depth" - depth. Nominative absolute. Deep in the sense of a deep, or high (depending on how you view it) pile of gold, money, etc. "The inexhaustible and unsearchable fullness of God", Strobel.

ploutou (oV) gen. "of the riches" - of riches [and of wisdom and knowledge of God]. The genitive is adjectival, attributive, limiting "depth / fullness"; "the rich fullness." The two genitives, sofiaV and gnwsewV, "of wisdom" and "of knowledge", are adjectival, of definition, appositional, specifying "rich fullness"; "Oh the rich fullness, namely, the wisdom and knowledge of God." The genitive qeou, "of God", is adjectival, possessive / verbal, subjective, "wisdom and knowledge" being personal characteristics of the divine; "wisdom" (a "fullness" that consists of the divine plan of salvation / mercy ????) and "knowledge" (a "fullness" that consists of the totality of God's knowledge). "O the depth of the wealth of the wisdom and knowledge of God."

wJV "how" - Here as an interjection.

anexeraunhta adj. "unsearchable" - unfathomable [the judgments of him]. Expressing "the complete impossibility of any of the human race penetrating the mind of God", Morris.

anexicniastoi (oV) "beyond tracing out" - [and] incomprehensible, inscrutable [the ways of him]. "How could man ever understand the reasons for (His) action, or explain the methods of (His) working?", Phillips.

 
v34

Isaiah 40:13. Paul uses this quote and the one following, to support his statement in v33a. Isaiah is not quite saying that God's ways are inscrutable, although Paul certainly uses the quote to this end. The questions asked in this verse are rhetorical and obviously assume the answer "no one", Moo.

gar "-" - for [who knew mind of Lord, or who]. Here transitional, but possibly a bit causal; "and so we read", Cassirer.

sumbouloV (oV) "counselor" - a counselor, advisor [of him became]. hapax legomenon, once only use in the NT. The genitive pronoun autou may be classified as possessive, or verbal, subjective. The question intends a negative answer, "no one has the authority or ability to counsel God." For Isaiah, the question relates to the skepticism of Israel with regard to God's promises; for Paul the issue concerns the majesty of God. Jewett suggests that behind the quote lies a barb directed at the Gentile members of the Roman church whose anti-Semitism has clouded their understanding of the place of Israel in God's plans. This view is widely held in new-perspective circles.

 
v35

Job 41:3, although certainly not a direct quote. Again expressing the majesty of God in an ironic statement / question; "what man ever gave God anything that put God in his debt?", Barclay.

proedwken (prodidwmi) aor. "given to" - [or who] previously gave, gave before. Hapax legomenon. Referring to a payment made in advance.

autw/ dat. pro. "God" - to him. Dative of direct object after the pro prefix verb "given to."

kai "that" - and. Here introducing "a result that comes from what precedes", BAGD; "so that."

autw/ dat. pro. "[God should repay] them" - [it will be repaid to] him. Dative of direct object after the anti + apo prefix verb "pay back to."

 
v36

The construction of this verse involves the piling up of prepositional phrases which serve well to express a final note of praise and adoration.

oJti "for" - because. Introducing a causal clause explaining why the three previous questions would take the assumed answer "No one", "because ......"

ex + gen. "from [him]" - out of, from [him]. Expressing source / origin; God is the source of all things.

dia + gen. "through [him]" - [and] through, by means of [him]. Instrumental, expressing agency; God is "the medium of existence", Lenski.

eiV + acc. "to him" - [and] to, into him]. Possibly "all things are for him, but more likely in a spacial sense, directional / goal, "toward", "he is the goal of them all", Cassirer; "all ends in him", Moffatt; the "all", ta panta, being the totality of everything.

eiV touV aiwnaV "forever" - [all things to him glory] to the ages. Idiomatic temporal phrase, "forever / eternally"; Paul is ascribing all glory to God for eternity. "To God", autw/, "to him", dative of indirect object.

 

Romans Introduction

Exposition

 

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