Where the world comes to study the Bible

Romans 10



Israel and the Gospel Israel Needs the Gospel True Righteousness is by Faith Israel and the Gospel   Israel Fails to See That It is God
Who Makes Us Holy
9:30-10:4   9:30-10:4 9:30-10:4  
  10:1-13     10:1-4
Salvation for All     Salvation Is for All The Testimony of Moses
10:5-13   10:5-13 10:5-13 10:5-13
  Israel Rejects the Gospel Israel Responsible for Her Failures   Israel Has No Excuse
10:14-21 10:14-21 10:14-17 10:14-17 10:14-15
    10:18-21 10:18-21 10:18-21



This is a study guide commentary ,which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.


A. Chapter 10 focuses on Israel's opportunities to respond to YHWH's gracious offer of salvation in Christ. Chapter 9 discussed God's choice of the Jews for the purpose of choosing the world (cf. Gen. 3:15; 12:3; Exod. 19:5-6) but the Jews refused to embrace His choice (i.e., covenant obedience, cf. Deuteronomy 27-29).


B. Paul is continuing to use the OT to make his case for the gospel (see Contextual Insights, E of chapter 9). This is characteristic of the apostolic sermons of Acts, which are known as the kerygma (i.e., that which was proclaimed). See Special Topic: the Kerygma at 1:2.


C. The central truths of 9:30-10:4 are

1. The Gentiles have God's righteousness through faith in Christ

2. The Jews do not have God's righteousness because of their lack of faith in Christ

3. The Law could not give righteousness. It was a gift of God through faith in Christ and could not be earned by human performance (cf. 3:21-31)


D. Bruce Corley and Curtis Vaughan in A Study Guide Commentary, Romans, published by Zondervan, pp. 115-116, have a helpful outline of the sins of the Jews

1. religious pride, 10:2a

2. spiritual blindness, 10:2b, 3a

3. self-righteousness, 10:3b

4. unyielding stubbornness, 10:4a

I also like their concluding remarks at the end of chapter 9 about chapter 10, "Election happens in the preaching of the cross (cf. I Thess. 1:4-10), which explains how the classical defense of divine sovereignty (9:6-29) can be followed by the greatest missionary passage in the letters of Paul (10:1-21). The highest mandate to preach the gospel is the knowledge that, in doing so, God is faithful carrying out His electing purpose in Christ" (p. 114).

E. Like chapter 9, chapter 10 has numerous OT quotes.

1. v. 5 - Lev. 18:5

2. v. 6 - Deut. 30:12 with introductory allusion to Deut. 9:4

3. v. 7 - Deut. 30:13 with an allusion to Ps. 107:26

4. v. 8 - Deut. 30:14

5. v. 11 - Isa. 28:16

6. v. 13 - Joel 2:32

7. v. 15 - Isa. 52:7 or Nahum 1:15

8. v. 16 - Isa. 53:1

9. v. 18 - Ps. 19:4

10. v. 19 - Deut. 32:21

11. v. 20 - Isa. 65:1

12. v. 21 - Isa. 65:2



 1Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. 2For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. 3For not knowing about God's righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. 4For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

10:1 "Brethren" This term often is used by Paul to introduce a new subject (cf. 1:13; 7:1,4; 8:12).

▣ "my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation" Paul believed the Jews could be saved and that his prayer for them made a difference. This is the surprising counterpoint to predestination! See SPECIAL TOPIC: INTERCESSORY PRAYER at 9:3.

There is a Greek manuscript variation with "for them." The Textus Receptus substituted "for Israel." However, the manuscript evidence favors "for them" (MSS P46, א*, B, C, D*, F, G ). The UBS4 gives it an "A" rating (certain).

10:2 "they have a zeal for God" Sincerity and enthusiasm are not enough (cf. vv. 3-4). Paul knew this well (cf. Acts 9:1; Gal. 1:14; Phil. 3:6)!

10:2-3 "but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God's righteousness" The term "know" (v. 2, epiginōskō) can function in two ways.

1. the Jews did not understand a free gospel (Greek sense of "know")

2. the Jews did not have a faith relationship with God (Hebrew sense of "know," cf. Gen. 4:1; Jer. 1:5)

The Jews were not ignorant of the need for a response to God (vv. 16,18,19), but they substituted human performance for faith, which led to pride, arrogance, and exclusivism (v. 3a)!


10:3 "God's righteousness" In the context of chapters 9-11 this phrase referred to God's imputed right standing (Romans 4) with Himself based solely on

1. His mercy

2. the finished work of Christ

3. the wooing of the Spirit

4. sinful mankind's repentant, faith response and continuing obedience and perseverance

One can surely understand how the Jews misunderstood God's righteousness. The OT emphasized obedience to the Law (cf. Deut. 4:28-6:3,17,24-25). What they failed to recognize was the needed balance of faith and repentance (cf. Deut. 5:29-30; 6:5). Deuteronomy clearly asserts that God acted on Israel's behalf not because of their righteousness, but because of His character (cf. 9:6,7,13,24,27; 10:12-22; Ezek. 36:22-38). Even the Canaanites were not dispossessed because of Israel's righteousness, but because of their sin (cf. 9:4-6; Gen. 15:16). See special topic at 1:17.

▣ "they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God" The verb is an aorist passive indicative, but it is translated as a middle voice (cf. TEV). The middle voice's function is being taken over by the passive voice in Koine Greek. Context is the deciding factor.

This is literally "submit" which is a military term for a chain of command. The Jews tried to earn God's righteousness, but it was a gift (cf. 3:24; 5:15; 6:23; Eph. 2:8-9). Paul saw this truth clearly on the road to Damascus.



NRSV"for Christ is the end of the law"
TEV"for Christ has brought the law to an end"
NJB"but now the law has come to an end with Christ"

This statement is in line with Matt. 5:17-48. The purpose, goal or end (telos) of the Law was not salvation, but conviction, and that purpose continues (cf. Gal. 3:24-25). The classical NT texts on this subject are Gal. 3:1-29 and the book of Hebrews.

When discussing this issue, context is crucial. Paul uses the OT in several different ways. When discussing the Christian life, the OT is God's revelation (cf. Rom. 15:4; I Cor. 10:6,11), but when discussing salvation it is void and has passed away (cf. Heb. 8:13). This is because it is a metaphor for the old age. The gospel of faith in Jesus is the new age of the Spirit. The Law's time is up! See SPECIAL TOPIC: PAUL'S VIEWS OF THE MOSAIC LAW at 13:9.

NASB, NKJV"for righteousness to everyone who believes"
NRSV"so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes"
TEV"so that everyone who believes is put right with God"
NJB"so that all who have faith will be justified"

Chapters 9-11 must be interpreted together. The emphasis on God's sovereignty stated so strongly in chapter 9 must be held in tension with the call for all to believe in chapter 10 (cf. vv. 4,9,11,13; 3:22; 4:11,16).

The universality of God's love and redemptive purpose was stated in Gen. 3:15 and strongly implied in Gen. 12:3 and Exod. 19:5-6. The prophets often spoke of God's universal love and plan to unite all mankind. The fact that there is one God and that He made all humans in His image provides a universal invitation to all to be saved. However, the mystery is that no one can respond without the agency of the Spirit (cf. John 6:44,65). Then the question becomes, "Does God draw all humans to salvation?" The answer must be, "Yes!" (cf. John 3:16; 4:42; I John 2:2; 4:14; I Tim. 2:4; II Pet. 3:9). The haunting paradox of sin, the fall, and Satan is that some say "No." When Paul preached, some Jews responded, some did not; some Gentiles responded, some did not!

The term "believe" (pisteuō) is translated by three English terms, "believe," "faith," and "trust." It is present tense, which speaks of continuing belief. It is not the acknowledgment of facts (theology, historical details, gospel information) that receives the gift of God's grace through Christ. The NT is a covenant; God sets the agenda and initiates the necessary response, but the individual must respond in initial faith and repentance and ongoing faith and repentance. Obedience and perseverance are crucial. Christlikeness and ministry are the goal!


 5For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness. 6But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?' (that is, to bring Christ down), 7or 'Who will descend into the abyss?' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)." 8But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart"- that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed." 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13for "Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved."

10:5 This verse is an allusion to Lev. 18:5. Its promise is sure. If one could keep the Law, he would be acceptable to God (cf. Luke 10:28; Gal. 3:12). The problem is that Rom. 3:9,10-18,19,23; 5:18; 11:32 state the reality. All have sinned. The soul that sins shall die (cf. Gen. 2:17; Deut. 30:18; Ezek. 18:4,20). This old covenant path is closed. It has become a death sentence, a curse (cf. 7:10; Gal. 3:13; Col. 2:14).

10:6-8 This is an allusion to Deut. 30:11-14 in the Septuagint (LXX), which Paul modified for his purposes. This text originally was spoken by Moses referring to the Law (esp. the context's focus on love and a circumcised heart, cf. Deut. 30:6,16,20), but here it is applied to Jesus' incarnation, death, and resurrection (cf. v. 9; Eph. 4:9-10). Paul's point is that salvation is readily available in Jesus, the Messiah, through faith (cf. Deut. 30:15-20). It is easy; it is available; it is for all, which was so different from the Mosaic Law code.

10:6 "but the righteousness based on faith speaks" Paul has previously personified "sin," "grace," and "Scripture," now he personifies "righteousness by faith." It speaks in the OT quotes in vv. 6,7, and 8.

"heart" The heart stands for the reflective self. See Special Topic at 1:24.

"ascend. . .descend" Humans do not have to go seeking Christ; God has sent Him publicly for all. Human searching is not necessary.

10:8 "The word is near you" This is a quote from Deut. 30:14. In Deut. 30:11 is the emphasis that YHWH's will for His people, Israel, was obtainable (i.e., vv. 12-13). Paul uses the paragraph (vv. 11-14) to emphasize the immediate availability of the gospel!

10:9 "if" This is a third class conditional which meant potential future action. Verse 9 is the content (hoti) of the message of faith.

"confess" This compound term, homologeō, is literally "to say" and "the same," and meant "to agree with publicly" (speak aloud so that others may hear). A public profession of faith in Christ is very important (cf. Matt. 10:32; Luke 12:8; John 9:22; 12:42; I Tim. 6:12; I John 2:23; 4:15). The early church's public profession was baptism. The candidate would profess faith in Christ in the formula "I believe Jesus is Lord."

See Special Topic following.


NASB"Jesus as Lord"
NKJV"the Lord Jesus"
NJB"Jesus is Lord"

This was the theological content of the early church's profession of faith and baptismal liturgy. The use of "Lord" affirmed Jesus' deity (cf. Joel 2:32; Acts 2:32-33,36; 10:36; I Cor. 12:3; II Cor. 4:5; Phil. 2:11; Col. 2:6), while the given name "Jesus" affirmed His historical humanity (cf. I John 4:1-3). The affirmation also functioned as a call to discipleship/Christlikeness.

The use of "Lord" related to the rabbinical substitution of YHWH with Adon when reading Scripture. See SPECIAL TOPIC: NAMES FOR DEITY at 9:29. This is confirmed by the quote from Joel 2:32 that is in v. 13.

Jesus is given several powerful titles.

1. Jesus is the Messiah/Christ - Acts 5:42; 9:22; 17:3; 18:5,28; I Cor. 1:23

2. Jesus is the Son of God - Matt. 4:3,6; Acts 9:20; 13:33; Rom. 1:4

3. Jesus is Lord - see above



▣ "believe in your heart" This phrase is parallel to confess, thereby giving the twin aspects of faith. The biblical term "believe" (pistis, see Special Topics at 4:3 and 4:5) involved

1. personal trust (Hebrew)

2. intellectual content (Greek)

3. an ongoing volitional commitment (cf. Deut. 30:20)

The term "heart" was used in its OT sense of the entire person. Paul mentioned "mouth" and "heart" in this context because of his quote from Deut. 30:14 quoted in v. 8. This was not meant to establish a hard and fast rule that one must pray out loud to be saved.

▣ "that God raised Him from the dead" Christianity stands or falls on the reality of the empty tomb (cf. 4:24; 8:11; I Corinthians 15). It is a central truth in the apostolic sermons (kerygma, see Special Topic at 1:2) of Acts (i.e., 2:31-32; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30,37).

The Father raising the Son is proof of His acceptance of Jesus' life, teaching, and sacrifice. The NT asserts that all three Persons of the Trinity were involved in Jesus' resurrection.

1. the Father - Acts 2:24; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40; 13:30,33,34,37; 17:31; Rom. 6:4,9; 8:11; 10:9; I Cor. 6:14; II Cor. 4:14; Gal. 1:1; Eph. 1:20; Col. 2:12; I Thess. 1:10

2. the Spirit - Rom. 8:11

3. the Son - John 2:19-22; 10:17-18


10:10 "resulting in righteousness" The goal of God for every believer is not only heaven someday, but Christlikeness now! The other strong passage on predestination, Eph. 1:3-14, powerfully asserts this truth in v. 4. Believers were chosen to be holy and blameless! Election is not only a doctrine, but it is a lifestyle (cf. Deut. 30:15-20).

Verse 10 reflects the twofold emphasis of the Great Commission (cf. Matt. 28:19-20), salvation (make disciples) and righteousness (teach them to observe all that I commanded you). This same balance is found in Eph. 2:8-9 (a free salvation by God's grace through Christ) and a call to "good works" in Eph. 2:10. A people in His own image has always been God's desire.

10:11 This is a quote from Isa. 28:16 to which Paul has added the word "whoever." In Isaiah this referred to faith in the Messiah, God's cornerstone (cf. 9:32-33). As Romans 9 magnifies God's sovereignty, chapter 10 magnifies the need for individuals, any and all individuals, to respond to Christ. The universal offer is clearly seen in the "everyone" of v. 4 and the "whosoever" of vv. 11, 13, and "all" of v. 12 (twice)! This is the theological balance to the selective (predestination) emphasis of chapter 9.

▣ "believes in Him" This is a present active participle with the preposition epi (cf. 4:24; 9:33; I Tim. 1:16). Believing is not only an initial response, but an ongoing requirement for salvation! It is not only correct theology (gospel truths) that saves, but personal relationship (gospel person) resulting in a godly lifestyle (gospel living). Beware of easy believism which separates truth from life, justification from sanctification. A faith that saves is a faith that persists and changes! Eternal life has observable characteristics! See Special Topic: Believes at 4:5.

NASB, TEV"not be disappointed"
NKJV, NRSV"will not to put to shame"
NJB"will have no cause for shame"

Those who trust ("believe") in Christ will not be turned away. This is a quote from Isa. 28:16, which was a key verse in Paul's presentation in 9:33.

10:12 "for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek" This is the major thrust of the New Covenant (cf. Rom. 3:22,29; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 2:11-3:13; Col. 3:11). The One God has redeemed His lost creation through His own actions. He desires all humans who are made in His image to come to Him and be like Him! All may come to Him!

The universal nature of the gospel ("all" used twice in v. 12) cuts two ways.

1. there is no distinction between Jews and Gentiles; all are lost (cf. 3:9,19,22-23; 11:32)

2. there is no distinction between Jews and Gentiles; all can be saved

The gospel removes all human barriers (cf. Joel 2:28-29; I Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11), at least in the area of salvation.

▣ "abounding in riches" When Paul thinks of the grace of God in Christ, he uses the word "riches" often (cf. 2:4; 9:23; 11:12 [twice],33; I Cor. 1:5; II Cor. 8:9; Eph. 1:7,18; 2:7; 3:8,16; Phil. 4:19; Col. 1:27; 2:2).

10:13 This famous quote from Joel 2:32 has two new emphases in Paul's usage

1. in Joel YHWH's name was used, Paul in Romans and Peter in Acts 2:21 substituted Jesus' name (also notice John 12:41 and Isa. 6:9-10; Phil. 2:9 and Isa. 45:22-25; Rom. 9:33 and Isa. 8:13-14)

2. in Joel "saved" implied physical deliverance, in Romans it referred to spiritual forgiveness and eternal salvation

The OT concept of "to call upon the name" implied a public confession of faith in a worship setting. This same concept is seen in Acts 7:59; 9:14,21; 22:16; I Cor. 1:2; II Tim. 2:22. See SPECIAL TOPIC: CALLED at 1:6.

 14How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!"

10:14-15 There is a series of questions followed by OT quotes which makes the point that Israel has never responded to YHWH's messages or messengers (cf. Nehemiah 9; Acts 7). God sends messengers (prophets, apostles, preachers, teachers, evangelists). These messengers are God's blessings to a needy world. As God graciously sends gospel messengers the hearers must respond appropriately to their message. Paul clinched this thought by a quote from Isa. 52:7. Paul expands this OT verse to refer to gospel preachers.

Saving faith has several elements: (1) a message to be believed; (2) a person to be received; (3) an initial and ongoing repentant and faith response; (4) a life of obedience; and (5) perseverance (see note at 1:5).

10:15 This is a quote from Isa. 52:70. It is the great commission of Romans. Salvation comes by hearing the gospel and receiving the gospel. Preachers are sent so that "all" may be saved!

Some ancient Greek texts (i.e., MSS א2, D, F, G, and many versions) add a phrase from the LXX of Isa. 52:7. The UBS4 gives the shorter text an "A" rating (certain).

NRSV, NJB"how beautiful are the feet"
TEV"how wonderful is the coming"
NET"How timely is the arrival"
NET footnote"coming at the right or opportune time"

The term "beautiful" is used in a metaphorical sense. Here it refers to "time," not looks.

 16However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our report?" 17So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

10:16 Again Paul uses OT prophetic statements, which originally referred to YHWH's message to Israel, to refer to the gospel of Jesus the Messiah. As the Jews of OT rejected God's message, so the Jews of Paul's day rejected it. This is a quote from Isa. 53:1 but is also theologically related to Israel's rejection of God's message in Isa. 6:9-13.

10:17 The gospel is first a message (cf. Gal. 3:2). But the message proclaimed becomes a personal word, "the word of Christ received" (cf. Col. 3:15-16).

▣ "the word of Christ" Because of the context this must refer to the message about Christ that was preached. Gospel preaching is God's way to convey His offer in Christ to the world.

There is an ancient Greek manuscript variation at this point.

1. MSS P46, א*, B, C, D* have "the word of Christ"

2. MSS אc, A, Dc, K, P have "the word of God"

The first is the most unusual (cf. Col. 3:16) and, therefore, probably original (this is one of the basic tenants of textual criticism). The UBS4 gives it an "A" rating (certain). This is the only other place it appears in the NT. The second, "the word of God," appears several times (cf. Luke 3:2; John 3:34; Eph. 6:17; Heb. 6:5 and 11:3).

 18But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; "Their voice has gone out into all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world." 19But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says, "I will make you jealous by that which is not a nation, By a nation without understanding will I anger you." 20And Isaiah is very bold and says, "I was found by those who did not seek Me, I became manifest to those who did not ask for Me." 21But as for Israel He says, "All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people."

10:18 This verse asserts that most Jews had heard the message and that they were responsible for rejecting it (an emphatic double negative Greek phrase; the question expects a "no" answer). The problem was not ignorance, but willful unbelief!

Paul quotes Ps. 19:4. In this Psalm vv. 1-6 refer to natural revelation, which is God speaking through creation (cf. Romans 1-2). Paul changes

1. the universal witness ("into all the earth" and "to the ends of the world")

2. the means of transmitting the message from the silent voice of creation to gospel preachers (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor, and teachers, cf. Eph. 4:11), which refers to special revelation (cf. Ps. 19:8-14)

The main thought is that the gospel message had gone out into the known world of Paul's day (Greco-Roman world). Paul is using rabbinical hermeneutics; he alters the original OT context for his theological, polemical purposes. It must also be stated clearly that Paul's use of the OT, like the other Apostles, was uniquely guided by the Holy Spirit (cf. II Pet. 1:20-21). Believers today, under the illumination of the Spirit, cannot reproduce the interpretive methods of NT writers.


10:19-20 The Jews have heard the message (both vv. 18 and 19 are questions that expect a "no" answer), even from Moses. The Jews heard and were able to understand the inclusive faith message about all being right with God.

In these verses, God spoke to His covenant people about the inclusion of the Gentiles. This is done by means of a quote from Deut. 32:21 in v. 19 and Isa. 65:1-2 in vv. 20-21. This shocking inclusion of the Gentiles was meant to stimulate (through jealousy) the Jews to faith (cf. 11:11,14).

10:21 This statement is a quote from the Septuagint of Isa. 65:2 concerning the covenant people's rejection of YHWH (cf. Isa. 65:1-7). God has been faithful; Israel has been unfaithful. Their unfaithfulness led to temporal judgment on the nation as well as individuals in the past, but their rejection of God's righteousness through faith in Christ will lead to eternal judgment!


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

1. If God's choice is so crucial why does Paul pray for Israel in 10:1? Why is 10:9-13 so emphatic on the need for human response?

2. What does v. 4 mean? "Has Christ put an end to the law?"

3. List the elements involved in belief in 10:9-10.

4. Why does Paul quote so often from the OT? How does this relate to a primarily Gentile church in Rome?

5. How are verses 11-13 related to chapter 9?

6. How are verses 14-15 related to world missions?

7. How is man's free will shown to be a part of man's salvation in chapter 10?


Report Inappropriate Ad