Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Romans 11:1

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

I say then, hath God cast away his people? - Has he utterly and finally rejected them? for this is necessarily the apostle's meaning, and is the import of the Greek word απωσατο, which signifies to thrust or drive away, from απο, from, and ωθεω, to thrust or drive; has he thrust them off, and driven them eternally from him? God forbid - by no means. This rejection is neither universal nor final. For I also am an Israelite - I am a regular descendant from Abraham, through Israel or Jacob, and by his son Benjamin. And I stand in the Church of God, and in the peculiar covenant; for the rejection is only of the obstinate and disobedient; for those who believe on Christ, as I have done, are continued in the Church.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

I say then - This expression is to be regarded as conveying the sense of an objection. Paul, in the previous chapters, had declared the doctrine that all the Jews were to be rejected. To this a Jew might naturally reply, Is it to be believed, that God would cast off his people whom he had once chosen; to whom pertained the adoption, and the promises, and the covenant, and the numerous blessings conferred on a favorite people? It was natural for a Jew to make such objections. And it was important for the apostle to show that his doctrine was consistent with all the promises which God had made to his people. The objection, as will be seen by the answer which Paul makes, is formed on the supposition that God had rejected “all his people,” or “cast them off entirely.” This objection he answers by showing,

(1)That God had saved him, a Jew, and therefore that he could not mean that God had east off all Jews Romans 11:1;

(2)That now, as in former times of great declension, God had reserved a remnant Romans 11:2-5;

(3)That it accorded with the Scriptures that a part should be hardened Romans 11:6-10;

(4)That the design of the rejection was not final, but was to admit the Gentiles to the privileges of Christianity Romans 11:11-24;

(5)That the Jews should yet return to God, and be reinstated in his favor: so that it could not be objected that God had finally and totally cast off his people, or that he had violated his promises.

At the same time, however, the doctrine which Paul had maintained was true, that God had taken away their exclusive and special privileges, and had rejected a large part of the nation.

Cast away - Rejected, or put off. Has God so renounced them that they cannot be any longer his people.

His people - Those who have been long in the covenant relation to him: that is, the Jews.

God forbid - Literally, it may not or cannot be. This is an expression strongly denying that this could take place; and means that Paul did not intend to advance such a doctrine; Luke 20:16; Romans 3:4, Romans 3:6, Romans 3:31; Romans 6:2, Romans 6:15; Romans 7:7, Romans 7:13.

For I am also an Israelite - To show them that he did not mean to affirm that all Jews must of necessity be cast off, he adduces his own case. He was a Jew; and yet he looked for the favor of God, and for eternal life. That favor he hoped now to obtain by being a Christian; and if he might obtain it, others might also. “If I should say that all Jews must be excluded from the favor of God, then I also must be without hope of salvation, for I am a Jew.”

Of the seed of Abraham - Descended from Abraham. The apostle mentions this to show that he was a Jew in every respect; that he had a title to all the privileges of a Jew, and must be exposed to all their liabilities and dangers. If the seed of Abraham must of necessity be cut off, he must be himself rejected. The Jews valued themselves much on having been descended from so illustrious an ancestor as Abraham Matthew 3:9; and Paul shows them that he was entitled to all the privileges of such a descent; compare Philemon 3:4-5.

Of the tribe of Benjamin - This tribe was one that was originally located near Jerusalem. The temple was built on the line that divided the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. It is not improbable that it was regarded as a special honor to have belonged to one of those tribes. Paul mentions it here in accordance with their custom; for they regarded it as of great importance to preserve their genealogy, and to be able to state not only that they were Jews, but to designate the tribe and family to which they belonged.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
There was a chosen remnant of believing Jews, who had righteousness and life by faith in Jesus Christ. These were kept according to the election of grace. If then this election was of grace, it could not be of works, either performed or foreseen. Every truly good disposition in a fallen creature must be the effect, therefore it cannot be the cause, of the grace of God bestowed on him. Salvation from the first to the last must be either of grace or of debt. These things are so directly contrary to each other that they cannot be blended together. God glorifies his grace by changing the hearts and tempers of the rebellious. How then should they wonder and praise him! The Jewish nation were as in a deep sleep, without knowledge of their danger, or concern about it; having no sense of their need of the Saviour, or of their being upon the borders of eternal ruin. David, having by the Spirit foretold the sufferings of Christ from his own people, the Jews, foretells the dreadful judgments of God upon them for it, Ps 69. This teaches us how to understand other prayers of David against his enemies; they are prophecies of the judgments of God, not expressions of his own anger. Divine curses will work long; and we have our eyes darkened, if we are bowed down in worldly-mindedness.
Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 171

Yet this apostasy, widespread as it has come to be, is not universal. Not all in the world are lawless and sinful; not all have taken sides with the enemy. God has many thousands who have not bowed the knee to Baal, many who long to understand more fully in regard to Christ and the law, many who are hoping against hope that Jesus will come soon to end the reign of sin and death. And there are many who have been worshiping Baal ignorantly, but with whom the Spirit of God is still striving. PK 171.1

These need the personal help of those who have learned to know God and the power of His word. In such a time as this, every child of God should be actively engaged in helping others. As those who have an understanding of Bible truth try to seek out the men and women who are longing for light, angels of God will attend them. And where angels go, none need fear to move forward. As a result of the faithful efforts of consecrated workers, many will be turned from idolatry to the worship of the living God. Many will cease to pay homage to man-made institutions and will take their stand fearlessly on the side of God and His law. PK 171.2

Much depends on the unceasing activity of those who are true and loyal, and for this reason Satan puts forth every possible effort to thwart the divine purpose to be wrought out through the obedient. He causes some to lose sight of their high and holy mission, and to become satisfied with the pleasures of this life. He leads them to settle down at ease, or, for the sake of greater worldly advantages, to remove from places where they might be a power for good. Others he causes to flee in discouragement from duty, because of opposition or persecution. But all such are regarded by Heaven with tenderest pity. To every child of God whose voice the enemy of souls had succeeded in silencing, the question is addressed, “What doest thou here?” I commissioned you to go into all the world and preach the gospel, to prepare a people for the day of God. Why are you here? Who sent you? PK 171.3

Read in context »
Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1079