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Romans Ten

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

heart's desire. God has promised to give each of us, if one is sincere and in line with God's revealed will, the “desires of thine heart” (Psalm 37:4), and the heart's desire of Paul will indeed be fulfilled, for one day soon “all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:26).

Romans 10:2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

zeal of God. Paul himself, as “an Hebrew of the Hebrews” (Philippians 3:5) had formerly been exactly like this, zealous “to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus” (Acts 26:9).

Romans 10:3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

Romans 10:5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.

shall live by them. Paul refers here to Leviticus 18:5. If one could keep the law in its entirety, he would be acceptable to God, but the law must be taken in whole or not at all. Breaking any part of it comes short of God's standard (Galatians 3:12, Romans 3:23; James 2:10). Only Christ fulfilled it (Matthew 5:17).

Romans 10:6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)

on this wise. In Romans 10:6-8, Paul refers to the teaching of Deuteronomy 30:11-14, which stresses that God's Word is not difficult to find, especially now that Christ has fulfilled the law and can provide imputed righteousness by faith (Romans 10:4). It is not necessary to seek for it either in heaven, or hades, since Christ has already come down from heaven, become incarnate as Son of man, descended into hades, and risen from the dead. He has paid our debt in full, and opened the door of faith to God.

Romans 10:7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)

into the deep. The “deep” (Greek abussos, meaning “bottomless pit”) is at the center of the earth and is also called hades, though often translated “hell.” This is where all the dead were confined until Christ descended there at His death and brought back with Him from the dead those who had died in faith and were awaiting His coming (Matthew 27:52, 53; Ephesians 4:8-10). The spirits of the unsaved are still there, awaiting the final judgment, when their bodies will be raised, then consigned to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:12-15).

Romans 10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

what saith it. Paul in this passage is quoting (or better, paraphrasing and applying) Deuteronomy 30:14. It is noteworthy that he refers to its authority, not as that of the Scripture or as Moses or as God, as he usually does when quoting from the Old Testament, but rather as “the righteousness which is of faith” speaking (Romans 10:6), in effect personifying that righteousness (note 1 Corinthians 1:30).

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

the Lord Jesus. This should be understood as confessing “Jesus as Lord,” with all that such a confession implies. The Greek word, kurios, was applied in the Roman world to the emperor, but in the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament to God. Thus confessing Jesus as Lord meant both renouncing emperor worship and acknowledging Jesus as God. Furthermore, one does not come to Jesus with reservations as to what he will do or believe. Jesus must be accepted as God, and as Lord of his life; One must confess that he will believe and obey His Word unreservedly, in particular, believing in the bodily resurrection, which implies belief also in creation, for only the Creator of life could defeat sin and death.

Romans 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

unto salvation. There can be no such thing as a secret Christian, for verbal confession of Jesus as Lord is prerequisite to receiving eternal salvation, after receiving His imputed righteousness by faith.

Romans 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

not be ashamed. Paul again quotes Isaiah 28:16 (note Romans 9:33). In Isaiah, “be ashamed” was “make haste.” The believer finds true rest in Christ.

Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

Jew and the Greek. Although Paul has been writing primarily to the Jewish believers in the Roman churches, he again stresses that the gospel applies equally to the Greek converts and, indeed, to all who call on the Lord Jesus.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

whosoever shall call. See notes on Acts 2:21, where the same verse is quoted (Joel 2:32). Paul had been stressing God's electing sovereignty in Romans 9; here he again stresses human responsibility. Both are true.

Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Romans 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

it is written. This testimony is found in Isaiah 52:7. Note also Ephesians 6:15: “[having] your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” A similar figure is used in Nahum 1:15.

Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

Esaias saith. Isaiah 53:1 is quoted here. Although the gospel of peace with God is, indeed, “glad tidings” to all who will believe, most will refuse to believe.

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

by the word. In this verse, “word” means, literally, “saying” (same as in Ephesians 6:17, referring to “the sword of the Spirit”). That is, not just the Bible in general, but each individual “saying” is vital to the full understanding of God's plan. In some manuscripts, “the word of God” is replaced by “the word of Christ.” Since Christ is God, the effect is the same.

Romans 10:18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.

into all the earth. Yes, all men have heard the gospel, even those to whom no preacher has ever gone. Paul here reminds his readers of the same truth he had stressed in Romans 1:20 (see notes on this verse). All men are “without excuse,” since God has left a complete witness in the creation, especially in the heavens. Quoting Psalm 19:4, he stresses that a silent but eloquent witness has gone forth into all lands since “the heavens declare the glory of God [which actually is Christ Himself—Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:17] and the firmament showeth His handywork” (Psalm 19:1), day after day and night after night.

Romans 10:19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.

Moses saith. Deuteronomy 32:21. Because Israel had rejected God, in Christ, for “no gods,” God would replace His chosen people by “no people.” That is, the Gentiles in general, not another chosen nation, would displace Israel in God's economy, at least for a time.

Romans 10:20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.

and saith. Isaiah, like Paul, had to be “bold" in telling the exclusive-minded Jews that the Gentiles would take their place in God's plan. See Isaiah 65:1.

Romans 10:21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.

he saith. Isaiah 65:2. God had been almost infinitely patient with Israel, even for several decades after her leaders had crucified their Messiah. Finally, however, Israel's stubborn refusal to believe led to the destruction of the city and its temple, followed by her worldwide, age-long dispersion and suffering among the nations.