Does Romans 9-11 Belong in the Book?

While most all commentators will agree that the Book of Romans is one of the strongest theological sections in the Bible, they disagree about the importance of chapters 9-11. If you pay close attention to the book as a whole you notice that Paul has been pointing to God’s goodness from the very first chapter. At the end of chapter eight, Paul seems to conclude his summation of salvation and could easily move into the contents of chapter twelve, but he wants to make sure his Jewish listeners fully understood the point he was making. I agree with Pastor MacArthur when he says, “But, as we will see, it is also true that these three chapters are integrally related to the rest of the letter. Paul did not want to continue his teaching on justification by faith until he clarified some related truths regarding Israel and Israelites.” (MacArthur 1994 , 2)

So this section of Romans continues by explaining the sovereignty of God, leaving us with little room to question that God controls our fate. Morris points out, “The first eleven chapters of Romans are a unity, and this is important. Paul is not here proceeding to a new unrelated subject. These three chapters are part of the way he makes plain how God in fact saves people.” (Morris 1988, 344) According to Morris this section is critical to the point in which Paul is trying to make, by giving more specific evidences of God’s sovereignty. Throughout the first portion of the book Paul has argued for justification by faith, and that there are no works that can save us. By speaking about election and God’s choosing, he reinforces that there in nothing we can do to earn his righteousness. Harrison points out, “A survey of the movement of thought in theses chapters warrants the conclusion that Paul, who has written so penetratingly on the justification of sinners, now turns to write on the justification (vindication) of God himself (cf. 3:3,4). He reminds us that the Almighty is free and sovereign in what he does (ch.9)” (Harrison 1981, 101)

By the time we reach chapter eleven Paul has shown us how God is faithful to his promises, by including Gentiles in also receiving the access to his salvation. Even though the Jews for the most part rejected Christ, chapters 9-11 show us, as Harrison puts it, “In the end, God is found faithful to his covenant promises in spite of the unfaithfulness of Israel.” (Harrison 1981, 101) Without these chapters we would not be able to fully grasp the power of salvation and the sovereignty of God.

Bibliography

Harrison, Everett F. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary-Romans. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1981.

MacArthur, John F. Romans 9-16 (The MacArthur New Testament commentary). Chicago: Moody Publishers , 1994 .

Moo, Douglas J. The NIV Application Commentary- Romans. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000.

Morris, Leon. The Epistle to the Romans. Grand Rapids: Edermans, 1988.

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