Romans 4:4
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation.

New Living Translation
When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned.

English Standard Version
Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.

New American Standard Bible
Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due.

King James Bible
Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Now to the one who works, pay is not considered as a gift, but as something owed.

International Standard Version
Now to someone who works, wages are not considered a gift but an obligation.

NET Bible
Now to the one who works, his pay is not credited due to grace but due to obligation.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But the wages of one who labors are not accounted to him as a favor, but as that which is owed to him.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
When people work, their pay is not regarded as a gift but something they have earned.

Jubilee Bible 2000
But unto him that works, the reward is not reckoned as grace, but as debt.

King James 2000 Bible
Now to him that works is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

American King James Version
Now to him that works is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

American Standard Version
Now to him that worketh, the reward is not reckoned as of grace, but as of debt.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Now to him that worketh, the reward is not reckoned according to grace, but according to debt.

Darby Bible Translation
Now to him that works the reward is not reckoned as of grace, but of debt:

English Revised Version
Now to him that worketh, the reward is not reckoned as of grace, but as of debt.

Webster's Bible Translation
Now to him that worketh, is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

Weymouth New Testament
But in the case of a man who works, pay is not reckoned a favour but a debt;

World English Bible
Now to him who works, the reward is not counted as grace, but as something owed.

Young's Literal Translation
and to him who is working, the reward is not reckoned of grace, but of debt;
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

4:1-12 To meet the views of the Jews, the apostle first refers to the example of Abraham, in whom the Jews gloried as their most renowned forefather. However exalted in various respects, he had nothing to boast in the presence of God, being saved by grace, through faith, even as others. Without noticing the years which passed before his call, and the failures at times in his obedience, and even in his faith, it was expressly stated in Scripture that he believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness, Ge 15:6. From this example it is observed, that if any man could work the full measure required by the law, the reward must be reckoned as a debt, which evidently was not the case even of Abraham, seeing faith was reckoned to him for righteousness. When believers are justified by faith, their faith being counted for righteousness, their faith does not justify them as a part, small or great, of their righteousness; but as the appointed means of uniting them to Him who has chosen as the name whereby he shall be called, the Lord our Righteousness. Pardoned people are the only blessed people. It clearly appears from the Scripture, that Abraham was justified several years before his circumcision. It is, therefore, plain that this rite was not necessary in order to justification. It was a sign of the original corruption of human nature. And it was such a sign as was also an outward seal, appointed not only to confirm God's promises to him and to his seed, and their obligation to be the Lord's, but likewise to assure him of his being already a real partaker of the righteousness of faith. Thus Abraham was the spiritual forefather of all believers, who walked after the example of his obedient faith. The seal of the Holy Spirit in our sanctification, making us new creatures, is the inward evidence of the righteousness of faith.

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 4, 5. - Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt (literally, according to grace, but according to the debt, i.e. according to what is due). But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reckoned for righteousness. The expression, "him that worketh" (τῷ ἐργαζομένῳ), evidently means him that works with a view to a reward which he can claim; or, as Luther explains it, "one who deals in works;" or, as we might say with the same signification, "the worker." (For a like use of the present participle, cf. Galatians 5:3, τῷ περιτεμνομένῳ.) So also in ver. 5, τῷ μὴ ἐργαζομένῳ means one who does not so work. Thus there is here no denial of the necessity of good works. It is the principle only of justification that is in view. "Neque enim fideles vult esse ignavos; sed tantum mercenarias esse vetat, qui a Deo quicquam reposcant quasi jure debitum" (Calvin). One view of the meaning of τῷ ἐργαζομένῳ is that it is equivalent to τῷ ἐργάτῃ, being meant as an illustration, thus: The workman's wage is due to him, and not granted as a favour (so Afford). But this notion does not suit the τῷ μὴ ἐργαζομένῳ in the following verse. The strong word ἀσεβῆ ("ungodly") is not to be understood as designating Abraham himself, the proposition being a general one. Nor does it imply that continued ἀσέβεια is consistent with justification; only that even the ἀσεβεῖς are justified through faith on their repentance and amendment (cf. Romans 5:6, ὑπὲρ ἀσεβῶν ἀπέθανε).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Now to him that worketh,.... The apostle illustrates the former case by two sorts of persons in this and the next verse, who have different things accounted to them, and in a different manner. The one is represented as working, the other not. By the worker is meant, not one that works from, and upon principles of grace. The regenerate man is disposed to work for God; the man that has the Spirit of God is capable of working; he that has the grace of Christ, and strength from him, can work well; he that believes in Christ, works in a right way; he that loves Christ, works freely, and from a right principle; and he that has Christ's glory in view, works to a right end: but the worker here, is one that works upon nature's principles, and with selfish views; one that works in the strength of nature, trusting to, and glorying in what he does; seeking righteousness by his work, and working for eternal life and salvation. Now let it be supposed, that such a worker not only thinks he does, but if it could be, really does all the works of the law, yields a perfect obedience to it; what

is the reward that is, and will be

reckoned to him? There is no reward due to the creature's work, though ever so perfect, arising front any desert or dignity in itself: there may be a reward by promise and compact; God may promise a reward to encourage to obedience, as he does in the law, which is not eternal life; for that is the free gift of God, and is only brought to light in the Gospel; and though heaven is called a reward, yet not of man's obedience, but Christ's; but admitting heaven itself to be the reward promised to the worker, in what manner must that be reckoned to him?

not of grace: for grace and works can never agree together; for if the reward is reckoned for the man's works, then it is not of grace, "otherwise work is no more work", Romans 11:6; and if it is of grace, then not for his works, "otherwise grace is no more grace", Romans 11:6; it remains therefore, that if it is reckoned for his works, it must be

of debt: it must be his due, as wages are to an hireling. Now this was not Abraham's case, which must have been, had he been justified by works; he had a reward reckoned to him, and accounted his, which was God himself, "I am thy shield, and exceeding, great reward", Genesis 15:1; which must be reckoned to him, not of debt, but of grace; wherefore it follows, that he was justified, not by works, but by the grace of God imputed to him; that which his faith believed in for righteousness. The distinction of a reward of grace, and of debt, was known to the Jews; a the one they called the other the former (d) they say is "a benefit", which is freely of grace bestowed on an undeserving person, or one he is not obliged to; the other is what is given, "of debt", in strict justice.

(d) Maimon. Bartenora & Yom Tob in Pirke Abot, c. 1. sect. 3.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

4, 5. Now to him that worketh—as a servant for wages.

is the reward not reckoned of grace—as a matter of favor.

but of debt—as a matter of right.

Romans 4:4 Additional Commentaries
Context
Abraham's Justification by Faith
3For what does the Scripture say? "ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS." 4Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,…
Cross References
Romans 3:24
and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Romans 11:6
And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
Treasury of Scripture

Now to him that works is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

Romans 9:32 Why? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works …

Romans 11:6,35 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is …

Matthew 20:1-16 For the kingdom of heaven is like to a man that is an householder…

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