Romans 11

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Having examined the shortcomings of Israel in chapters 9 and 10, Paul now answers the question, “Has God rejected his chosen people, the Israelites?”

Gentiles called to humility

Paul used an olive tree to illustrate how Gentiles were grafted into God’s kingdom. Israelites were “broken off” for unbelief (11:20), and Gentiles were grafted in (11:17).

Paul tells Gentile readers not to be arrogant toward the Jews (11:18, 20). Rather, they should exercise humility (11:18), fear God (11:20), and continue in kindness (11:22).

  • Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. ~ 1st Corinthians 10:12 (NKJV)
  • Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. ~ Proverbs 16:18 (ESV)

Romans 11 Outline

God has not rejected Israel
Elect remnant chosen by grace
Hardening of the rest (11:7)
Consequences of belief and unbelief illustrated
Gentiles saved to make Israel jealous
Paul’s hope for saving some
Gentiles grafted as olive branch
Kindness and severity of God
Mystery of Israel’s salvation
Partial hardening
God is merciful
Praise for our unsearchable God

"All Israel shall be saved"

Romans 11:26 is a source of contention among scholars. There are three common interpretations.

  1. Literal Absolute: This view holds that all Jews from all time periods will be saved due to their heritage, and God’s mercy. John Calvin proposed this theory.
  2. Literal Remnant: This interpretation holds that a limited group of Jews will be saved at the end of time. A time will come when all Jews turn to the Messiah, immediately before the second coming of Christ.
  3. Figurative Elect: This treats “Israel” as all believers. Paul previously wrote that believers are Abraham’s seed (9:6-7). Jews were circumcised inwardly from the heart (2:28-29). And those of faith are sons of Abraham (Galatians 3:7).
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