Romans 4:13-25

Romans 4:13-25
Proper 5A


13 For the promiseA that he would inheritB the worldC

Notes on verse 13a

A “promise” = epaggelia. From epi (on, upon, against, what is fitting) + aggello (to announce, report); {from aggelos (angel, messenger); probably from ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide, drive)}. This is a summons, promise, or message. It is a formal promise that is officially sanctioned. In the New Testament, this usually refers to a promise made in the Old Testament.
B “inherit” = kleronomos. Related to “law” in v13. 15x in NT. From kleros (lot, portion, heritage; that share assigned to you; also a lot used to determine something by fate, chance, or divine will); {perhaps from klero (casting a lot) or from klao (to break in pieces as one breaks bread)} + the same as nomos (see note G below)}. This is heir, inheritor, or possessor – whether literal of figurative.
C “world” = kosmos. Perhaps from the base of komizo (to carry, convey, recover); from komeo (to take care of). This is order, the world, the universe, including its inhabitants. Literally, this is something that is ordered so it can refer to all creation. It can also refer to decoration in the sense that something is better ordered and, thus, made more beautiful. This is where “cosmos” and “cosmetics” come from.

did not comeD to AbrahamE or to his descendantsF

Notes on verse 13b

D “come” = eimi. This is to be, exist.
E “Abraham” = Abraam. From Hebrew Abraham (exalted father); from the same as Abiram (exalted father, a high father – lofty) {from ab (father literal or figurative) + rum (rise, bring up, being high, extol, exalt, haughty; to raise in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is Abraham, father of many nations or father of a multitude.
F “descendants” = sperma. From speiro (to sow seed, spread, scatter); perhaps from spao (to pull, to draw a sword). This is something sown so it could be seed or offspring and descendants. This is where the word “sperm” comes from.

through the lawG but through the righteousnessH of faith.I 

Notes on verse 13c

G “law” = nomos. From nemo (to parcel out). Literally, this is that which is assigned. It can be usage, custom, or law. This word can be used for human or divine law. It can be used specifically for the law of Moses or as a name for the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). Sometimes it is used for scripture as a whole, used of the Gospel, or of any theology. It is also used for the “tradition of the elders,” which would be the oral Torah – the tradition of the laws plus their interpretations as they were passed down over time. We must carefully consider which meaning of “law” is meant when we interpret passages the word is found in.
H “righteousness” = dikaiosune. From dikaios (correct, righteous – implies innocent; this is that which conforms to God’s notion of justice, uprightness); from dike (the principle of justice; that which is right in a way that is very clear; a decision or the execution of that decision; originally, this word was for custom or usage; evolved to include the process of law, judicial hearing, execution of sentence, penalty, and even vengeance; more commonly, it refers to what is right); may be from deiknumi (to show, point out, exhibit; figurative for teach, demonstrate, make known). This is judicial or divine approval of character or action. This is righteousness, justice, justness, divine righteousness.
I “faith” = pistis. From peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is less about knowing, believing, and repeating a list of doctrines then it is about trusting God. Faith means listening to God and seeking to live a holy life even (and especially) when we don’t understand how everything works or fits together. Faith is about being faithful (trusting and doing) rather than being all knowing.

14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs,J faith is nullK and the promise is void.L 

Notes on verse 14

J “heirs” = kleronomos. Same as “inherit” in v13. See note B above.
K “is null” = kenoo. 5x in NT. From kenos (properly, something empty or void; hence, worthless, foolish, ineffective, morally void, pretentious, unreal, or false). This is properly to make something empty or void. It is something without recognition that is seen as having no value. Figuratively, this could be to neutralize, falsify, or cause something to be in vain.
L “is void” = katargeo. From kata (down, against, according to, among) + argeo (to delay, linger, be at rest, be idle, do nothing); {from argos (inactive, idle, lazy, thoughtless, useless, unemployed, unprofitable) {from a (not) + ergon (word, task, action, employment)}}. This is making something inactive or bringing it to nothing. So, it could mean making something inoperative or powerless, annulling, or severing. It can also mean to make something ineffective or invalid.

15 For the law bringsM wrath,N but where there isO no law, neither is there transgression.P

Notes on verse 15

M “brings” = katergazomai. Related to “is void” in v14. From kata (down, against, throughout, among, daily) + ergazomai (to work, labor); {from ergon (see note L above)}. This is working something until it is completed, working fully, accomplishing, producing, achieving, performing.
N “wrath” = orge. From orgao (something that teems or stews; anger rising from prolonged personal contact that is fixed rather than an angry outburst; anger that stems from an individual’s sense of right and wrong, justice, etc.) or from orego (to stretch out towards, yearn for, aspire to, desire). This is impulse, wrath, anger, passion, punishment. Properly, this is fixed anger from ongoing personal irritation caused by something the one getting angry sees as unjust or evil. Wrath implies punishment. Can refer to human or divine wrath.
O “is” = eimi. Same as “come” in v13. See note D above.
P “transgression” = parabasis. 7x in NT. From para (from beside, by, in the presence of) + the same as basis (a pace, which implies a foot or step); {from baino (to walk, to go)}. Literally, this is an overstepping or a going aside. It is a transgression or violation that is deliberate. So, this is one who knows the law, or knows what they ought to do, and chooses to do otherwise.

16 For this reason the promise depends on faith, in order that it may rest on grace,Q so that it may be guaranteedR to allS his descendants, not onlyT to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (who is the fatherU of all of us, 

Notes on verse 16

Q “grace” = charis. From chairo (to rejoice, be glad; used to say hello; properly, delighting in the grace of God or experiencing God’s favor); from char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards). This is grace, kindness, favor, gratitude, thanks. It is the sense of being inclined to or favorable towards – leaning towards someone to share some good or benefit. This can be literal, figurative, or spiritual. It is grace as abstract concept, manner, or action.
R “guaranteed” = bebaios. Related to “transgression” in v15. 9x in NT. From the same as basis (see  note P above). Properly, this is ground that is solid enough to walk over. So, this is firm, unshakable. Figuratively, it is guaranteed, valid, sure, steadfast, enduring. Literally and figuratively “solid footing.”
S “all” = pas. This is all or every.
T “only” = monon. From monos (alone, single, remaining, mere, desolate); from meno (to stay, abide, wait, endure). This is merely, only, simply, sole. It can also imply alone.
U “father” = pater. This is father in a literal or figurative sense. Could be elder, senior, ancestor, originator, or patriarch.

17 as it is written,V “I have madeW you the father of manyX nations”),Y

Notes on verse 17a

V “written” = grapho. This is to write or describe. It is where the word “graphic” comes from.
W “made” = tithemi. This is to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense. Properly, it is placing something in a passive or horizontal position.
X “many” = polus. This is much, often, plenteous – a large number or a great extent.
Y “nations” = ethnos. Probably from etho (a custom or culture). This is people who are united by having similar customs or culture. Generally, it is used to refer to Gentiles. This is a tribe, race, nation, or Gentiles in general. This is where the term “ethnicity” comes from.

in the presence of the GodZ in whom he believed,AA who gives lifeBB to the deadCC

Notes on verse 17b

Z “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
AA “believed” = pistueo. Related to “faith” in v13. From pistis (see note I above). This is to believe, entrust, have faith it, affirm, have confidence in. This is less to do with a series of beliefs or doctrines that one believes and more to do with faithfulness, loyalty, and fidelity. It is trusting and then acting based on that trust.
BB “gives life” = zoopoieo. 11x in NT. From the same as zoon (literally a thing that is alive; so, an animal or living creature); {from zao (to live literally or figuratively)} + poieo (to make, do, construct, cause). This is to bring life to something, including something that was dead. This can also be to revitalize in a literal or figurative sense.
CC “dead” = nekros. Perhaps from nekus (corpse). This is dead or lifeless, mortal, corpse. It can also be used figuratively for powerless or ineffective. It is where the word “necrotic” comes from.

and callsDD into existenceEE the things that do not exist.FF 18 Hoping against hope,GG he believed that he would becomeHH “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So shall your descendants be.” 

Notes on verses 17c-18

DD “calls” = kaleo. Related to keleuo (to command, order, direct); from kelomai (to urge on). This is to call by name, invite, to name, bid, summon, call aloud.
EE “existence” = eimi. Same as “come” in v13. See note D above.
FF “exist” = eimi. Same as “come” in v13. See note D above.
GG “hope” = elpis. From elpo (to anticipate, welcome, expect; usually to anticipate positively). This is expectation, hope, trust, confidence faith. The expectation can be abstract or concrete.
HH “become” = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.

19 He did not weakenII in faith when he consideredJJ his own body,KK

Notes on verse 19a

II “weaken” = astheneo. From asthenes (not having strength or weak in a moral sense; sick); {from a (not) + sthenes (strong, vigor); {from the base of sthenoo (to strengthen so that one can be mobile); from sthenos (strength)}}. This is sick, feeble, languishing, impotent. Can also refer to moral weakness.
JJ “considered” = katanoeo. 14x in NT. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + noeo (to think, understand, conceive, realize, see; one who thinks things through sufficiently to reach a conclusion or value judgment; moral reasoning.); {from nous (mind, understanding, reasoning faculty, intellect, capacity to reflect); from noos (mind); probably from the base as ginosko (to know, recognize, realize, perceive, learn; gaining knowledge through personal experience)}. This is to consider, discern, perceive, notice, observe. It is to think through something thoroughly in order to come to a conclusion – fully concentrated thinking.
KK “body” = soma. Perhaps from sozo (to save, heal, rescue); from sos (safe, well, rescued). This is body or flesh. It can be body in a literal or figurative sense (as the body of Christ). This is where the word “somatic” comes from.

which wasLL already as good as deadMM (for he was about a hundred years old),NN

Notes on verse 19b

LL “was” = huparcho. From hupo (by, under, about, subordinate to) + archo (to rule, begin, have first rank or have political power). This is to begin or be ready, to exist or possess. It is what one already has or possesses.
MM “as good as dead” = nekroo. Related to “dead” in v17. 3x in NT. From nekros (see note CC above). This is to put to death or cause something to become like death (i.e. make weak or impotent). It is to deaden in a literal or figurative sense.
NN “a hundred years old” = hekatontaetes. 1x in NT. From hekaton (hundred) + etos (year, age). This is one hundred years of age.

and the barrennessOO of Sarah’sPP womb.QQ 

Notes on verse 19c

OO “barrenness” = nekrosis. Related to “dead” in v17 & “as good as dead” in v19. 2x in NT. From nekroo (see note MM above). This is in a lifeless condition, barrenness.
PP “Sarah’s” = Sarra. 4x in NT. From Hebrew Sarah (Sarah, meaning princess or ruler); from sarah (princess, mistress, noble lady, queen); from sar (chief, ruler, captain, official, prince). This is Sarah, meaning princess or ruler.
QQ “womb” = metra. 2x in NT. From meter (mother in a literal or figurative sense). This is womb.

20 No distrustRR made him waverSS concerning the promise of God, but he grew strongTT in his faith as he gaveUU gloryVV to God, 

Notes on verse 20

RR “distrust” = apistia. Related to “faith” in v13 & “believed” in v17. 11x in NT. From apistos (unbelieving, incredulous, faithless; someone who rejects faith); {from a (not, without) + pistos (faithful, trustworthy, reliable, sure, or true; a fullness of faith); {from peitho (see note I above)}}. This is unfaithfulness, distrust, disbelief, disobedience.
SS “waver” = diakrino. 19x in NT. From dia (through, across to the other side, thoroughly) + krino (to judge, decide, think good, condemn, determine, pass judgment, stand trial, sue; judging whether in court or in a private setting; properly, mentally separating or distinguishing an issue – to come to a choice or decision, to judge positively or negatively in seeking what is right or wrong, who is innocent or guilty; can imply trying, condemning, punishing, or avenging). This is to judge, separate, contend, investigate, thoroughly judge.
TT “grew strong” = endunamoo. 7x in NT. From en (in, on, at, by, with) + dunamoo (to empower, strengthen, enable); {from dunamis (might, strength, physical power, efficacy, energy, and miraculous power; force literally or figuratively – the power of a miracle or the miracle itself); from dunamai (to be able, have power or ability)}. This is to give someone power or ability, to grow or make strong, make able.
UU “gave” = didomi. To give, offer, place, bestow, deliver. This is give in a literal or figurative sense.
VV “glory” = doxa. From dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); from dokos (opinion). This is literally something that evokes a good opinion – something that connects to our understanding of intrinsic worth. The ultimate expression of this is, of course, God and God’s manifestation. So, this is opinion, honor, and dignity, but also praise, glory, renown, and worship.

21 being fully convincedWW that God was ableXX to doYY what he had promised.ZZ 

Notes on verse 21

WW “being fully convinced” = plerophoreo. 6x in NT. From pleres (to be full, complete, abounding in, or occupied with); {from pletho (to fill, accomplish, supply; to fill to maximum capacity)} + phoreo (to bear constantly or habitually or repeatedly; it can mean to wear or carry a burden); {from phero (to bear, bring, lead, make known publicly; to carry in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is to fulfills, fully convince, satisfy, accomplish, fully assure. It can be to fully convince by using evidence or to make full.
XX “able” = dunatos. Related to “grew strong” in v20. From dunamai (see note TT above). This is mighty or powerful. It speaks of ability of persons, possibility of things. It is what can be given the power or ability that the subject exhibits. The root verb is also related to miracles i.e. deeds of power.
YY “do” = poieo. Related to “gives life” in v17. See note BB above.
ZZ “promised” = epaggellomai. Related to “promise” in v13. 15x in NT. From epi (on, upon, against, what is fitting) + aggello (see note A above). This is to proclaim, profess, or make a promise that is fitting.

22 Therefore “it was reckonedAAA to him as righteousness.” 23 Now the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake aloneBBB 24 but for ours also. It will beCCC reckoned to us

Notes on verses 22-24a

AAA “reckoned” = logizomai. From logos (word, statement, speech, analogy; here, word as an account or accounting; can also be a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying; a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words; by implication, a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive; can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ); from lego (to speak, tell, mention). This is this is to compute or reckon up, to count; figuratively, it is coming to a conclusion or decision using logic; taking an inventory in a literal or figurative sense.
BBB “alone” = monon. Same as “only” in v16. See note T above.
CCC “will be” = mello. Perhaps from melo (something that one is worried or concerned about, something one pays attention to or thinks about). Properly, this is ready, about to happen, to intend, delay, or linger. This is just on the point of acting.

who believe in him who raisedDDD JesusEEE our LordFFF from the dead, 

Notes on verse 24b

DDD “raised” = egeiro. This is to awake, raise up or lift up. It can be to get up from sitting or lying down, to get up from sleeping, to rise from a disease or from death. Figuratively, it can be rising from inactivity or from ruins.
EEE “Jesus” = Iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
FFF “Lord” = Kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.

25 who was handed overGGG for our trespassesHHH and was raised for our justification.III

Notes on verse 25

GGG “handed over” = paradidomi. Related to “gave” in v20. From para (from beside, by) + didomi (see note UU above). This is literally to hand over – hence to deliver, abandon, or betray. It implies a personal involvement.
HHH “trespasses” = paraptoma. From para (by, beside, in the presence of) + pipto (to fall in a literal or figurative sense). This is properly, falling away after having been devout or faithful. So, this is a lapse, sin, slip, transgression, offense. It is a deviation from what is true – it could be accidental or unconscious.
III “justification” = dikaiosis. Related to “righteousness”” in v13. 2x in NT. From dikaioo (o be righteous, plead the cause of, justify, acquit; properly, approved, particularly carrying the weight of a legal judgment; upright, render just or innocent); from dikaios (see note H above). This is justification, acquittal from punishment.

Image credit: “Indecision” by Russ Allison Loar, 2011.

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