Romans 10:6
But the righteousness which is of faith speaks on this wise, Say not in your heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)
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(6) But the righteousness.—In opposition to this righteousness of works, so laborious and so impracticable, the Apostle adduces another quotation to show that the righteousness which depends on faith is much easier and simpler.

The original of the quotation has, indeed, a quite different application. It referred to that very law which the Apostle is depreciating. Moses had described the Law as something quite easy and accessible; but history had shown that, especially in the development in which the Law was known to the Apostle, the words were really much more applicable to his doctrine of a righteousness which was based upon faith. He therefore regards them as spoken allegorically and typically with reference to this.

The righteousness which is of faith speaketh.—This faith-righteousness is personified as if it were speaking itself, because the language used is applicable to it.

That is, to bring Christ down from above.—The Apostle adds these interpretations so as to give a specially Christian meaning to the words of Moses. All that these had meant was that the Law was not remote either in one direction or in another. The Apostle in the phrase “ascend into heaven” sees at once an allusion to the ascended Saviour, and he interprets it as if it implied that the Christian must ascend up to Him, or; what comes to the same thing, as if He must be brought down to the Christian. In like manner, when mention is made of descending into the abyss, he sees here an allusion to the descent of Christ into Hades. Again, he repudiates the idea that the Christian is compelled to join Him there in literal bodily presence. A far easier and simpler thing is the faith of the gospel. All the Christian has to do is to listen to it when it is preached, and then to confess his own adhesion to it.

Romans 10:6-9. Blot the righteousness which is of faith — The method of becoming righteous by believing; speaketh — A very different language from that of the law, and may be considered as expressing itself thus; (to accommodate to our present subject the words which Moses spake touching the plainness of his law:) Say not in thy heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? as if it were to bring Christ down — To teach and instruct us, or to atone for our offences. “The Jews, it would seem, thought it not reasonable to believe on Jesus as the Christ, unless he was brought from heaven in a visible manner, to take possession of his kingdom:” which some think was the sign from heaven which they expected, Matthew 16:1. Or, Who shall descend into the deep? — Into the grave, as if it were to bring up Christ again from the dead — Do not imagine that these things are now to be done in order to prove Jesus to be the true Messiah, or to confirm his doctrine. “The Jews expected that the Messiah would abide with them for ever, John 12:34. Wherefore, when the disciples saw Jesus expire on the cross, they gave up all hope of his being the Christ: Luke 24:21, We trusted that it had been he who should have redeemed Israel. It is true, the objection taken from Christ’s death was fully removed by his resurrection. But the Jews, pretending not to have sufficient proof of that miracle, insisted that Jesus should appear in person among them, to convince them that he was really risen. This they expressed by one’s descending into the abyss to bring Christ up from the dead.” — Macknight. But what saith it — Namely, the gospel, or righteousness of faith: what is its language? Even these words, so remarkably applicable to the subject before us. All is done ready to thy hand. The word is nigh thee — Within thy reach; easy to be understood, remembered, practised; in thy mouth and in thy heart — Let thy mouth and heart perform the offices assigned them and thou shalt be saved; that is, the word of faith — The doctrine of the gospel, which teaches men to believe in Christ for salvation, Romans 1:16-17; which we preach — Which we, the apostles and ministers of Christ, declare to you, and exhort you to embrace. That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus — Shalt make a free confession of thy faith in Christ and his truths, both by words and deeds, even in the time of persecution, when such a confession would expose thee to imprisonment, torture, and martyrdom: and shalt believe in thy heart — Sincerely, and with a faith that influences thy heart, and worketh by love; that God hath raised him from the dead — And thereby demonstrated him to be the Messiah; manifested the certain truth and infinite importance of his doctrine; the acceptableness and efficacy of the atonement which he made for sin; hath broken the power of death, and ensured to his followers an immortal life; as also the Holy Spirit to prepare them for it, by raising them from the death of sin to the life of righteousness: thou shalt be saved — From sin here, and its consequences hereafter. “The apostle mentions the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, as the principal article to be believed in order to salvation, because by that miracle God demonstrated Jesus to be his Son, established his authority as a lawgiver, and rendered all the things which he taught and promised indubitable.” — Macknight.10:5-11 The self-condemned sinner need not perplex himself how this righteousness may be found. When we speak of looking upon Christ, and receiving, and feeding upon him, it is not Christ in heaven, nor Christ in the deep, that we mean; but Christ in the promise, Christ offered in the word. Justification by faith in Christ is a plain doctrine. It is brought before the mind and heart of every one, thus leaving him without excuse for unbelief. If a man confessed faith in Jesus, as the Lord and Saviour of lost sinners, and really believed in his heart that God had raised him from the dead, thus showing that he had accepted the atonement, he should be saved by the righteousness of Christ, imputed to him through faith. But no faith is justifying which is not powerful in sanctifying the heart, and regulating all its affections by the love of Christ. We must devote and give up to God our souls and our bodies: our souls in believing with the heart, and our bodies in confessing with the mouth. The believer shall never have cause to repent his confident trust in the Lord Jesus. Of such faith no sinner shall be ashamed before God; and he ought to glory in it before men.But the righteousness which is of faith - It is observable here that Paul does not affirm that Moses describes any where the righteousness by faith, or the effect of the scheme of justification by faith. His object was different, to give the Law, and state its demands and rewards. Yet though he had not formally described the plan of justification by faith, yet he had used language which would fitly express that plan. The scheme of justification by faith is here personified, as if it were living and describing its own effects and nature. One describing it would say, Or the plan itself speaks in this manner. The words here quoted are taken from Deuteronomy 30:11-14. The original meaning of the passage is this: Moses, near the end of his life, having given his commandments to the Israelites exhorts them to obedience. To do this, he assures them that his commands are reasonable, plain, intelligible, and accessible.

They did not require deep research, long journeys, or painful toil. There was no need of crossing seas, and going to other lands, of looking into the profound mysteries of the high heavens, or the deep abyss; but they were near them, had been plainly set before them, and were easily understood. To see the excellency of this characteristic of the divine Law, it may be observed, that among the ancients, it was not uncommon for legislators and philosophers to travel to distant countries in pursuit of knowledge. They left their country, encountered dangers on the sea and land, to go to distant regions that had the reputation of wisdom. Egypt was especially a land of such celebrity; and in subsequent times Pythagoras, and the principal philosophers of Greece, traveled into that country to converse with their priests, and to bear the fruits of their wisdom to benefit their native land. And it is not improbable that this had been done to some extent even in or before the time of Moses. Moses says that his precepts were to be obtained by no such painful and dangerous journeys. They were near them, plain, and intelligible. This is the general meaning of this passage Moses dwells on the thought, and places it in a variety of forms by the questions, "who shall go up to heaven for us, etc.;" and Paul regards this as appropriately describing the language of Christian faith; but without affirming that Moses himself had any reference in the passage to the faith of the gospel.

On this wise - In this manner.

Say not in thine heart - The expression to say in the heart is the same as to think. Do not think, or suppose, that the doctrine is so difficult to be understood, that one must ascend to heaven in order to understand it.

Who shall ascend into heaven? - This expression was used among the Jews to denote any difficult undertaking. To say that it was high as heaven, or that it was necessary to ascend to heaven to understand it, was to express the highest difficulty. Thus, Job 11:7, "Canst thou by searching find out God? It is high as heaven, what canst thou do? etc." Moses says it was not so with his doctrine. It was not impossible to be understood, but was plain and intelligible.

That is, to bring Christ ... - Paul does not here affirm that it was the original design of Moses to affirm this of Christ. His words related to his own doctrine. Paul makes this use of the words because,

(1) They appropriately expressed the language of faith.

(2) if this might be affirmed of the doctrines of Moses, much more might it of the Christian religion. Religion had no such difficult work to do as to ascend to heaven to bring down a Messiah. That work was already accomplished when God gave his Son to become a man, and to die.

To save man it was indeed indispensable that Christ should have come down from heaven. But the language of faith was that this had already been done. Probably the word "Christ" here includes all the benefits mentioned in Romans 10:4 as resulting from the work of Christ.

6. But the—justifying

righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise—"speaketh thus"—its language or import is to this effect (quoting in substance De 30:13, 14).

Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? that is, to bring Christ down, &c.—that is, "Ye have not to sigh over the impossibility of attaining to justification; as if one should say, oh! if I could but get someone to mount up to heaven and fetch me down Christ, there might be some hope, but since that cannot be, mine is a desperate case."

The righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise: by a prosopopoeia (a frequent figure in Scripture) he puts the person of a reasonable creature upon the righteousness of faith, and bringeth it in speaking and declaring itself as followeth; or else the meaning is, that the Scripture, or Moses, speaketh thus of the righteousness of faith. These words are taken out of Deu 30:12,13. The question is, Whether Paul doth properly allege this place in Deuteronemy, or only allude to it? Some think the latter, that Moses directly speaks of the law, and that the apostle, by an allusion, or by way of accommodation, applies it unto faith; hence it is, that he doth not cite the very words of Moses, but alters and adds to them, as best served his purpose. But others think, that this would extenuate the torce of St. Paul’s argument, if he should only allude unto this testimony of Moses, and not confirm that which he intended by the same. Therefore their opinion is, that these words are properly cited; and that Moses himself, in that place, doth speak (though very obscurely) of the righteousness of faith; yea, the foregoing words in Deu 30:12,13 do belong to the times of the gospel. Some of the Jewish rabbis have confessed, that Moses in that chapter, especially the beginning of it, hath reference to the days of the Messiah. He speaks there of the Israelites being driven among all nations, and unto the utmost parts of heaven, which chiefly happened to them a little after the ascension of Christ, and will abide upon them till their conversion, of which see Romans 11:1-36; and then God will restore them again to the Land of Promise, to that Jerusalem which is from above, the true church of Jesus Christ; then he will circumcise their hearts, and the hearts of their seed, to love the Lord with all their heart, and with all their soul; then will the Lord rejoice over them to do them good, as he rejoiced over their fathers; then, according to God’s covenant promise, the law of God shall be written in their hearts; it shall not be hidden, or afar off, but nigh them, in their mouths, and in their hearts. Thus the apostle convinceth the Jews by a testimony out of Moses, in whom they trusted.

Say not in thine heart; i.e. think not anxiously and despondingly within thyself.

Who shall ascend into heaven? i.e. to learn the will of God there concerning our righteousness and salvation, and then teach it to us; or, to see if there be any admission or room for such as I am there, and to carry me thither.

That is, to bring Christ down from above; this is in effect to deny that Christ has already come down from heaven to reveal it to us; and that he must now come to do it: or else, this is as much as to deny that Christ hath already descended from heaven, to procure and purchase salvation for us; and that he must come down again for that purpose. It were to deny the ascension of Christ into heaven; for he is gone thither, not as a private, but as a public person: he is gone thither as our Head, and thither he will bring all his members; he is there as our forerunner, as one that is gone before to prepare a place for us. For Christians to distrust their going to heaven, is to doubt whether Christ be in heaven; he had never gone thither if he had not perfected our redemption and salvation here. But the righteousness which is of faith,.... Or "with respect to the righteousness of faith"; the other righteousness before called the righteousness of God, because God is the author of it, here the righteousness of faith, because that receives it,

speaketh on this wise; the selfsame writer who describes the righteousness of the law in such a manner, that it gives no room to a fallen creature ever to expect life and salvation by it, gives such an account of the righteousness of faith, as forbids all doubting and despair:

say not in thine heart; let not such a thought enter into thy mind, much less express it with thy lips;

who shall ascend into heaven (that is, to bring Christ down from above, or who shall descend into the deep? that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead). These words are not properly a citation of Deuteronomy 30:12; but the apostle makes use of some phrases which are there, with his own explications of them; though the difference between them, stripped, of these explications is not very material: in the first clause, "who shall ascend into heaven?" the apostle leaves out the phrase, "for us"; which as to the sense was not absolutely necessary to retain; the difficulty, indeed, seems greater in the latter clause, "who shall descend into the deep?" which in the text of Moses is, "who shall go over the sea for us?" but when it is considered that the sea is often called the deep, and that sailing on it and over it, is expressed by "going down to the sea in ships", Psalm 107:23; and moreover, when it is observed that the Jerusalem Targum paraphrases it thus,

"the law is not in heaven that it should be said, oh that we had one of us, as Moses the prophet, who could go up to heaven and bring it to us! nor is it beyond the great sea, that it should be said, oh that we had one of us, as Jonah the prophet , "who could descend into the depths of the great sea", and bring it to us;''

the apostle is to be justified in his expressions. His sense, indeed, may seem to be different from that of Moses, and of the common interpretations of the Jewish writers, as in the above paraphrase and in the following account of them from the Talmud, understanding them of the law (w);

"says Abdimo bar Chama bar Dousa, what is the meaning of that Scripture, "neither is it in heaven, nor is it beyond the sea?" it is not in heaven, for if it was in heaven you must needs go up after it, and if it was beyond the sea, you must needs go over after it; Rabba says, not in heaven is it, you will not find it in him that exalts his knowledge in himself as the heavens, nor will you find it in him that enlarges his knowledge in himself, as the sea; R. Jochanan says, not in heaven is it, you will not find it in those that are of a haughty spirit, nor beyond the sea is it, you will not find it among traders abroad, or merchants.''

Though the apostle's sense may be brought pretty near to this, after this manner; who shall go up to heaven, or down to the deep, either to bring us the knowledge of the law, and yield an obedience to it which that requires of us, or to give us a full account of the Gospel of the grace of God? there is no room, nor reason, for men to say this in their hearts, or to make a doubt of them, as if they were not done already; to do so, is to deny that Christ is come in the flesh, and risen from the dead, who has given the true sense and knowledge of the law, and has perfectly fulfilled it, in the room and stead of his people, and by whom the doctrine of grace and truth is come, particularly the doctrine of a sinner's justification before God; this is brought nigh in the ministration of the word, so that there is no need of such inquiries as these. Moreover, for the illustration of these words, let it be observed, that these phrases are proverbial, and often used to express things impossible, of which take the following instances;

"it is a tradition of the Rabbins (x) if a man says to his wife, lo, this is thy divorce, on condition that "thou ascendest to the firmament", on condition that "thou descendest into the deep"; on condition that thou passest over the great sea on foot, this is no divorce;''

the reason is, , "because it is impossible". Again (y),

"if a man says to a woman, if thou wilt "ascend into the firmament", or if thou wilt "descend into the deep", lo, thou art espoused to me by this penny; but if thou wilt not go up into the firmament, nor go down into the deep, thou shalt not be espoused; and after that he puts the penny into her hand, lo, the condition becomes void, and behold she is espoused immediately, for the thing is known , "that it is impossible" for her to fulfil the condition.''

So here are forbidden all such thoughts, words, or expressions which carry such a sense as this; who will go down to the deep to fetch such a wretch as I am out of the lowest hell, to deliver me from the curses of the law, and the wrath of God, and bring me out of this wretched miserable condition in which I am? or go up to heaven and carry me there, and put me in the possession of the undefiled inheritance? all this is as impossible to be done, as for a man to ascend to heaven, or go down into the deep: now though the righteousness of the law encourages such despondency and black despair, the righteousness of faith, or the doctrine of justification by faith in Christ's righteousness, forbids every thing of this kind; assuring the sinner, that Christ is come down from heaven in human nature, that he has fulfilled all the righteousness of the law by his obedience in life, and has bore the penalty of it in his sufferings and death, and is risen again for justification; so that such questions should not be put, nor such despairing thoughts encouraged: besides, to think and speak in this manner, is to set aside the whole scheme of the Gospel, and supposes the person to doubt whether Christ is come down from heaven; and therefore asks, who shall go up to bring him down? and that he is not risen from the dead; and therefore puts the question, who will go down to the deep to fetch him up? whereas he is already come, has obeyed, suffered, and died, and rose again, and is become the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes.

(w) T. Bab. Erubin, fol. 55. 1. Maimon. Talmud Tora, c. 3. sect. 8. (x) T. Bab. Gittin, fol. 84. 1. & Bava Metzia, fol. 94. 1.((y) Maimon. Hilchot Ishot. c. 6. sect. 7. Vid. Zohar in Exod. fol. 40. 4. & 43. 1.

But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, {e} Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)

(e) Do not think to yourself, as men that are doubting do.

Romans 10:6-8. The righteousness which comes from faith is personified (comp. Hebrews 12:5), so that the following words of Moses, in which Paul recognises an allegorically and typically prophetic description of this righteousness, appear as its self-description. An increasing animation, and indeed triumphant tone in the representation, which thus introduces over-against that dark background (Romans 10:5) the bright picture the more immediately in concrete vividness. Hofmann artificially imports the antithesis, that the righteousness of the law is found only in a description of the lawgiver, but the righteousness of faith itself speaks as one existing and present. There is the less room for this supposition, since Romans 10:6 ff. are also Mosaic expressions. But that Paul actually regarded the words of Moses as a prophetical testimony to the nature of the righteousness of faith, is an opinion sanctioned only by a minority of expositors (Augustine, de nat. et grat. 83; Bucer, Balduin, Calovius, Semler, Ch. Schmidt, Reiche, Köllner, Olshausen, Benecke, Fritzsche, Baumgarten-Crusius, Ewald, Umbreit). The majority, on the other hand, assume that Paul only clothed his own thoughts in the words of Moses, and used the latter as a suitable substratum for the former. So Tholuck, Flatt, Rückert, Reithmayr, Maier, Philippi: “a holy and charming play of the Spirit of God upon the word of the Lord;” van Hengel and several others, as formerly Chrysostom, Luther, Beza, Calvin, Cornelius a Lapide; Bengel: “suavissima parodia.” But against this view is the fact that Romans 10:5 begins with γάρ a demonstration of the τέλος νόμου Χριστός, of which Romans 10:5 contains only the one, and Romans 10:6-8 the other, side; both sides, however, unite their probative force in Μωϋσῆς γὰρ γράφει. Therefore it is quite wrong (see esp. Rückert, Philippi) to look upon ἡ δὲ ἐκ πιστ. δικ. as the opposite to Μωϋσῆς, and to suppose that the parallel would be more sharply drawn if Paul had said: But Christ speaks thus, etc. No, δέ places the righteousness of faith in opposition to the previously mentioned δικαιοσύνη ἡ ἐκ τοῦ νόμου; and for these two modes of righteousness the testimony of the lawgiver himself is introduced by Μωϋσῆς γὰρ γράφει. “For Moses writes of the righteousness of the law, etc.; but the other kind of righteousness, the righteousness of faith, says (in the same Moses) thus, etc.” The Μωϋς. γ. γρ. thus holds good not only for Romans 10:5, but also covers Romans 10:6-8; therefore the absence of a formula of quotation before Romans 10:6 is no valid argument against our view. This applies likewise against Hofmann, according to whom that, which the righteousness of faith speaks, is intended to recall Deut. l.c.; in such a way, however, that the word of which Moses speaks is related to that which the righteousness of faith means, as the O. T. to the N. T., and thus the former is a prediction of the latter. Groundless is the further objection, that Paul nowhere else thus mixes up a biblical passage with comments. For we are acquainted with comments in the style of the Midrash in Paul’s writings (Romans 9:8; Galatians 3:16; Galatians 4:23-24); and that they are here interspersed is unessential, and was very naturally suggested by the opposed ἀναβ. εἰς τ. οὐρανόν and ΚΑΤΑΒ. ΕἸς Τ. ἌΒΥΣΣΟΝ. In conclusion, we must further observe that, if Paul had given the biblical words only as the clothing of his own representation, yet we should have to assume, and that for the very sake of the honesty of the apostle (which Philippi thinks endangered by our view), that he actually found in the saying the typical reference to the righteousness of faith; even the holy “play” upon words of the Spirit can be no erroneous play. Theodoret took the right view: διδάσκει πάλιν νόμου καὶ χάριτος τὴν διαφορὰν, καὶ ἀμφοτέρων εἰσάγει Μωϋσέα τὸν νομοθέτην διδάσκαλον. Erasmus, Paraphr.: “utriusque justitiae imaginem Moses ipse depinxit.” Comp. also Hofmann, Weissag. u. Erf. II. p. 217. The Mosaic declaration itself is Deuteronomy 30:12-14, with free deviations bearing on his object, from the original and the LXX. Moses has there said of the commandment of God to Israel to fulfil His law (for the passage speaks of nothing else according to its historical sense) in Romans 10:11, that this commandment does not transcend the sphere of what is capable of accomplishment, nor does it lie at strange distance; and he then adds, Romans 10:12 ff., in order more precisely to depict this thought: It is neither in heaven nor beyond the sea, so that one must first ascend to the former or sail over the latter (comp. Bar 3:29-30) to fetch it, that one may hear and do it; rather is it quite near, in the mouth and in the heart (and in the hands, an addition of LXX., and in Philo); that is, the people itself carries it in its mouth, and it is stamped upon its heart, in order that they may accomplish it (לַעֲשֹתו̇). Paul finds here a type, and therewith an indirect prophecy, of the demand which the righteousness of faith presents, entirely different from that ΠΟΙΕῖΝ which is demanded by the righteousness of the law, inasmuch as the righteousness of faith forbids only unbelief in reference to Christ, as though He had not come from heaven, or had not risen from the dead, and directs men, on the other hand, to the word of faith, which, through its preachers, is laid in their mouth and heart. The sum and substance of this typically prophetic sense is therefore: “Be not unbelieving, but believing;” and here the grand historical points, to which faith as well as unbelief relate, could not be brought into relief more definitely and significantly than by means of the Χριστὸν καταγαγεῖν and ἀναγαγεῖν (in opposition to Tholuck’s objection). According to Fritzsche (comp. Calovius), the sense meant is: no one can become righteous through works, “faciendo et moliendo,” Romans 10:6-7; for in fact one must otherwise have been able—since the becoming righteous rests upon the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ—to ascend into heaven in order to bring Him down, or to descend into the lower world in order to bring Him up; but (Romans 10:8) after that salvation has been obtained by Christ, we are to have faith only. But in this case, Romans 10:6-7 would surely be a warning from the mouth of the righteousness of faith against a facere et moliri, which would be of quite another kind than that of the righteousness of the law, and which even would have included in abstracto, as a presupposition, this very faith in the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ. Still less can we, with Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, Grotius, and several others (comp. also Reithmayr, Philippi, and Krummacher), find in Romans 10:6-7 the denial of the difficulty, and then in Romans 10:8 the assurance of the facility, of becoming righteous. For against this view is the fact, in the first place, that in what Paul subjoins, Romans 10:9 ff., nothing at all is said of difficulty and facility; secondly—and this is decisive—the fact that Romans 10:5-8 is to be a proof founded on Moses of the statement, τέλος νόμου Χριστός; but it is evident, that not from the facility of the Christian δικαιοσύνη, but from its being essentially different from the old (the latter resting on doing, the former on faith), it follows that with Christ, the Mediator of the new δικαιοσύνη, the νόμος must have reached its end. This, too, in reply to Knapp, Scr. var. arg. II. p. 558 f., who, besides the erroneous point of view of difficulty and facility, reads otherwise between the lines the most essential points of his interpretation. See, on the other hand, van Hengel, who, however, on his side assumes that Paul desired “avocare” unsettled Jewish Christians “a salutis duce longe quaerendo, quum quisque, qui Christi communione utatur, per fidem in Deo positam possideat, quod, ut ex legis alicujus observatione, sic etiam aliunde afferri non possit.” The connection with Romans 10:4 likewise tells against this view, as does also the circumstance that, if only the longe quaerere were the conception presented, it would not be easy to see why Paul should have inserted at all his explanations τοῦτʼ ἔστι κ.τ.λ., and why he should not have retained in Romans 10:7 the words of the LXX.: τίς διαπεράσει ἡμῖν εἰς τὸ πέραν τῆς θαλάσσης.

μὴ εἴπης ἐν τ. καρδ. σου] LXX.: λέγων, Heb. לֵאמֹר, wherein, according to the connection (“It is not in heaven that one might speak,” etc.), the forbidding sense indirectly lies. This Paul expresses directly, because his quotation is severed from the connection of the original; and he adds ἐν τ. καρδ. σου, because unbelief has its seat in the heart, and the expression “to speak in the heart” (as Psalm 14:1; Matthew 3:9; Revelation 18:7) was very current in the mention of unholy thoughts and dispositions (Surenhusius, καταλλ., p. 479.)

τίς ἀναβ. εἰς τ. οὐρ.] Who will ascend into heaven? In the sense of the apostle, the inquiry is one not expressive of a wish (“utinam quis sit, qui nos e longinquo in viam salutis ducat,” van Hengel), nor yet of despair, but—correlative of that τῷ πιστεύοντι in Romans 10:4, and opposed to the ὁ ποιήσας, Romans 10:5—the inquiry of unbelief, which holds the appearance of Christ from heaven, i.e. His incarnation, as not having taken place, and as an impossibility. Therefore Paul adds the Midrashistic interpretation: that expresses, that signifies: in order to bring Christ down—this is the object, which is implied in ἈΝΑΒΉΣΕΤΑΙ ΕἸς Τ. ΟὐΡ., and by its addition Paul thus contributes a more precise explanation of the question (τοῦτʼ ἔστι: scilicet), namely, as respects its tendency, as respects that at which it aims. Thus more exactly defined, the question would presuppose, that he who puts it does not believe that Christ has come out of the heavenly world and has appeared in the flesh (comp. Romans 8:3), ἘΝ ὉΜΟΙΏΜΑΤΙ ἈΝΘΡΏΠΩΝ (Php 2:6-7; comp. 1 John 4:2). Following Melancthon, Castalio, Calvin, and others, Reiche thinks that unbelief in regard to the session of Christ on the right hand of God is meant. But if there were here a prohibition of the desire to behold with the eyes this object of faith (Reiche), the second question, which nevertheless is manifestly quite parallel, would be highly inappropriate; for then an existence of Christ in the ἄβυσσος would of necessity be an object of faith, which yet it is not at all. Nor could we see why Paul should have said καταγαγεῖν in Romans 10:6, since the matter would in fact turn only on a seeing of Christ in heaven. Moreover, Paul, considering the freedom with which he handles this passage from Moses, would have transposed the two questions, in order to avoid the glaring historical prothysteron which occurs, if the first question refers to the session of Christ at the right hand of God, to which van Hengel also refers it. According to Glöckler, the question, Who will go up into heaven? means to ask, Who will accomplish redemption? for the ascension was a necessary requisite for the Mediator; and therefore τοῦτʼ ἔστι signifies: this would mean to deny the ascension of Christ. Consistently, Glöckler then understands the second question as, Who will (voluntarily) go into death? this would mean to deny the death of Christ. But by this necessarily consistent view of Romans 10:7 the whole exposition is overthrown. For Romans 10:9 proves that Romans 10:7 refers to the resurrection of Christ; nor did unbelief, in truth, deny the death of Christ, but took offence at it. Like Glöckler, Lipsius, Rechtfertigungsl. p. 102 f., has essentially misunderstood both verses, and Rückert the question of Romans 10:7.

ἢ τίς καταβ. εἰς τ. ἄβ.;] The colon after is to be omitted. The question is, in the sense of the apostle, likewise a question of unbelief, and that in reference to the fact and the possibility of the resurrection of Christ ἐκ νεκρῶν (i.e. out of Scheol, ἄβυσσος). The LXX., following the original, has: τίς διαπεράσει ἡμῖν εἰς τὸ πέραν τῆς θαλάσσης; But Paul, in his typical reference to Christ, had sufficient cause and liberty, from the standpoint of the historical fulfilment, to put expressly, instead of πέραν τῆς θαλάσσης, even without reflecting that the springs of the sea lie in the lowest depth of the earth (see Ewald, Jahrb. III. p. 112), the familiar contrast to heaven, εἰς τ. ἄβυσσον (Job 11:8; Psalm 107:26; Psalm 139:8; Amos 9:2; Sir 16:18; Sir 24:5). For Christ is the object of justifying faith, not merely as He who came from heaven, but also as He who descended into Hades, and came up again thence, and rose from the dead.Romans 10:6 f. ἡ δὲ ἐκ πίστεως δικαιοσύνη οὕτως λέγει. It is remarkable that Paul does not make Moses his authority here, though he is about to express himself in words which certainly go back to Deuteronomy 30:12-14. It is the righteousness of faith itself which speaks, describing its own character and accessibility in words with a fine flavour of inspiration about them. But it is not so much a quotation we find here, as a free reproduction and still freer application of a very familiar passage of the O.T. It is irrelevant to point out that what the writer in Deuteronomy means is that the law (ἡ ἐντολὴ αὔτη ἢν ἐγὼ ἐντέλλομαί σοι σήμερον) is not oppressive nor impracticable (as Paul in Romans 10:5 tacitly assumes it to be); the Apostle is not thinking in the least what the writer of Deuteronomy meant; as the representative of the righteousness of faith, he is putting his own thoughts—his inspired conviction and experience of the Gospel—into a free reproduction of these ancient inspired words. μὴ εἴπῃς ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ σου: = do not think, especially thoughts you would be ashamed to utter. τίς ἀναβήσεται εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν; … ἢ τίς καταβήσεται εἰς τὴν ἄβυσσον; There is no impossible preliminary to be accomplished before the true religion is got under way; we have neither to scale heaven nor descend into the abyss. ἄβυσσος (in N.T.) only in Luke 8:31 and seven times in Rev. But cf. Ps. 106:26; 70:20. The passage in Deuteronomy has εἰς τὸ πέραν τῆς θαλάσσης. These two indefinite proverbial expressions for the impossible are interpreted by Paul. With τοῦτʼ ἔστιν (Romans 10:6-7), he introduces a midrash upon each. The first means (in his mind) bringing Christ down; the second, bringing Christ up from the dead. Evidently the righteousness of faith is concerned with a Christ of whom both these things are true—a descent from heaven, and a rising from the dead, Incarnation and Resurrection. We could not bring about either by any effort, but we do not need to; Christ incarnate and risen is here already, God’s gift to faith.6. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh] The “righteousness of faith” is here equivalent to “the righteousness of God.” Song of Solomon 4:11; Song of Solomon 4:13.—Here, by a striking personification, not unlike that of the Divine Wisdom in the Proverbs, Justification is said to speak, in the words of Deuteronomy. In St Paul’s view “the Word of God” indeed “liveth,” with a life which gives an almost personality to its doctrines.—Perhaps he avoids the phrase “Moses speaketh” because the terms of the legal covenant have just been quoted as uttered by him (Romans 10:5).

Say not in thine heart] The original of the quotations here is Deuteronomy 30:12-14. The form of the quotation is free; but nevertheless St Paul really employs the passage as a proof, and does not merely adapt it to his purpose. For the very point of his argument just here is that, in and by the Law, Christ is suggested and announced; and if he merely adapted Mosaic words to express his own thought, this point would be missed. Alford has some admirable remarks on the passage: he argues that the practical import of the passage in Deuteronomy is that the Law, as the Revelation of God’s will, is not an unintelligible mystery to man, but a thing that can be known and loved; but that, if so, then à fortiori this is true “of Him who is the end of the law, and of the commandment to believe in Him, which (1 John 3:23) is now God’s commandment.”—St Paul assumes that the O. T. is fall of Christ (Messiah;) and so it is no wonder to him to see in this Mosaic passage a divinely-designed suggestion of His exaltation, humiliation, and gospel, under words having another immediate reference.

in thine heart] Words not in Heb. or LXX., but meaning what the Heb. (“that thou shouldest say”) means; the “speaking” of thought.

Who shall ascend, &c.] This and the next question come of anxiety and perplexity: q. d., “In order to be saved, have I to bring the necessary Manifestation of God’s will from Heaven or Hades? Have I to procure Incarnation and Resurrection?” “No; all is now done; the Person and the Work are complete, and ready. As at Sinai, so in the Gospel, God has done His part unasked; and now thy part is to accept and own His Son as thy Justification.”

that is, &c.] The Apostle, guided by the Holy Ghost, explains the innermost intention of the Holy Ghost as He spoke by Moses. What was the meaning of Moses, consciously to himself, is only part of the question.

to bring Christ down] In His Incarnation.Romans 10:6. Ἡ ἐκ πίστεως δικαιοσύνη, the righteousness which is of faith) A very sweet Metonymy, i.e. a man seeking righteousness by faith.—λέγει, speaks) with himself.—μὴ εἴπῃς, say not) for he, who says so, does not find in the law what he seeks; and he does not seek, what he might find in the Gospel: viz. righteousness and salvation, which are in Christ and are ready for believers in the Gospel. And yet, whoever only hears and heeds that from Moses, The man that doeth shall live, considers it necessary, thus to say [who shall ascend into heaven, etc.]—καρδίᾳ, in the heart) The mouth [Romans 10:9] is also attributed to faith; for faith speaks; but unbelief generally mutters.—τίς, κ.τ.λ.) Deuteronomy 30:11-14, LXX., ὅτι ἐντολὴ αὕτη, ἣν ἐγὼ ἐντέλλομαί σοι σήμερον οὐχʼ ὑπέρογκός ἐστιν, οὐδὲ μακρὰν ἀπὸ σοῦ ἐστιν. οὐκ ἐν τῷ σὐρανῷ ἐστι, λέγων· τίς ἀναβήσεται ἡμῶν εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν, καὶ λήψεται ἡμῖν αὐτὴν; καὶ ἀκούσαντες αὐτὴν ποιήσομεν. οὐδε πέραν τῆς θαλάσσης ἐστὶ, λέγων· τίς διαπεράσεται ἡμῖν εἰς τὸ πέραν τῆς θαλάσσης καὶ λήψεται ἡμῖν αὐτὴν. καὶ ἀκόυσαντες αὐτὴν ποιήσομεν. ἐγγύς σου ἐστὶ τὸ ῥῆμα σφόδρα: ἐν στόματί σου καὶ ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ σου, καὶ ἐν ταῖς χερσί σου, ποῖειν αὐτὸ. “For this commandment which I command thee this day is not overwhelmingly great; nor is it far from thee; it is not in heaven, that thou shouldst say, who amongst us shall go up to heaven and obtain it for us, that we may hear it and do it? nor is it across the sea, that thou shouldst say, who shall cross the sea and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it? The word is very near to thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart and in thy hands to do it.” This paraphrase, so to speak, very sweetly alludes to this passage, without expressly quoting it. Moses speaks of heaven, as well as Paul, but the former afterwards says, across the sea, instead of which Paul most dexterously turns his discourse to the abyss, that he may on the contrary [in antithesis to their question as to the abyss] make mention of the resurrection of Christ from the dead. The abyss is a huge cavity in the terraqueous globe, at once under the sea and the land. Compare, as to many things connected with this subject, Job 28:14; Job 28:22; Php 2:10, note.—τίς ἀναβήσεται; who shall ascend?) He, who thus speaks, shows his willingness, but declares his inability to ascend and descend, so as to fetch righteousness and salvation from afar.—τοῦτʼ ἔστι, that is) Their perverseness is reproved, who say, Who shall ascend into heaven? for they speak just as if the word concerning the Lord of heaven were not at hand, whom the mouth of the believer confesses to be Lord, Romans 10:9, and they who wish to bring salvation down from heaven, wish to bring Christ (as being the One, without whom there is no salvation) down from heaven, whence He has already descended: but as the latter cannot take place, so neither can the former. The words, That is, in the present is thrice used, with great force.Verses 6-10. - But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart (in the original, It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say), Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down). The parenthesis is St. Paul's own; the original has, after "heaven," and bring it unto us, that we may hear it and do it? Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead). Again the parenthesis is St. Paul's; and he has substituted "into the deep" (εἰς τὴν ἄβυσσον) for " beyond the sea." The original is, Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart (the original adds, that thou mayest do it; and the LXX., after "heart," has, and in thy hands): that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that (or, because) if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. The apostle's purpose in varying from the original is obvious from his interposed comments, and from the application that follows. It seems to be as though he had said, "See how, with a slight alteration, the passage in Deuteronomy becomes an exact description of our Christian doctrine." The most marked alteration is the substitution of "into the deep" for "beyond the sea." The "sea" in the original, to which the term "abyss" is applicable (cf. Job 28:14; Psalm 107:26), may have suggested the word; but St. Paul here evidently means by it the regions of the dead, imagined as subterranean, equivalent to the Hebrew Sheol, and the Greek Ἅδης. For use of the word in this sense, cf. Psalm 71:20 (which may have been present to his mind), Ἐκ τῶν ἀβύσσων τῆς γῆς πάλιν ἀνήγαγές με cf. also Luke 8:31 and Revelation 9:1, 2, 11; Revelation 11:7; Revelation 17:8; Revelation 20:1, 3; in which passages ἡ ἄβυσσος seems to denote the penal abode, corresponding to the Greek idea of Tartarus; but the word itself does not contain this idea, which is by no means intimated here. It may be taken to denote Hades, into which Christ "descended." Some commentators suppose the previous expression, "ascend into heaven to bring Christ down," to mean bringing him back to earth from heaven, whither he has ascended now. But the mere fact of its coming first, as well as the general sense of the passage, shows it to refer rather to the Incarnation, and what follows to the Resurrection. These were the two grand stages in the great work of redemption; both were required that "the righteousness which is of faith" might effectually be brought "nigh unto us." The impossible task of effecting either was not required of man; God has done both for us, and we have but to "believe in our hearts," that "the word" of his grace may be nigh us, in our mouth and in our heart, that we may do it. Thus all that was intimated or foreshadowed by that old passage in Deuteronomy is in its fullest sense to us fulfilled. (It may be observed, in passing, that the application to the Incarnation of καταγάγειν, etc., is, if correct, one of the instances of St. Paul's recognition of the Divine pre-existence of our Lord.) In ver. 9 the applicability of the words, "in thy mouth, and in thine heart," to the gospel dispensation is shown; the two expressions, properly understood, denoting all that is required of us. Confession of the Lord Jesus with the mouth must be taken to express generally, not only fearless avowal of the Christian faith, but also consistent life, according to the full meaning of our Lord's words in Matthew 10:32; Mark 8:38; Luke 10:26; Luke 12:8, etc. Confession of the Lord Jesus with the mouth, too, would have a peculiar significance then, when Christians were often so sorely tempted to deny him under persecution (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:3). We may observe also how "the mouth" is elsewhere regarded as the index of the heart; as the main bodily organ whereby character is evinced and expressed (cf. Matthew 12:34, 37; Matthew 15:11, etc.). Further, the belief spoken of is belief in the heart - a living operative faith, not intellectual conviction only. Nor is belief that God raised the Lord Jesus from the dead to be taken as meaning belief of this one article of the Creed alone; it carries with it belief in the gospel generally, the doctrine of the Resurrection being here, as elsewhere, regarded as the central doctrine on which all the rest depends (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:17; 1 Peter 1:21). "Haec summa Evangelii est. Nam, cum credimus Christum excitatum esse e mortuis, credimus sum pro peccatis satisfecisse, et in coelis regnare, ut nos ad imaginem suam perficiat" (Bucer). In ver. 10, where the offices of the heart and of the mouth are denoted in general terms, the distinction between "unto righteousness" with respect to the one, and "unto salvation" with respect to the other, is significant. By faith alone we are justified; but by confession in actual life, which is the fruit of faith, our salvation is secured. The righteousness which is of faith (ἡ ἐκ πίστεως δικαιοσύνη).

The of-faith righteousness. Righteousness is personified. Paul makes the righteousness of faith describe itself. Of faith, ἐκ from. Marking the source.

Speaketh on this wise (οὕτως λέγει)

The quotation in Romans 10:6-8 is a free citation from Deuteronomy 30:11-14. Paul recognizes a secondary meaning in Moses' words, and thus changes the original expressions so as to apply them to the Christian faith-system. His object in the change is indicated by the explanatory words which he adds. He does not formally declare that Moses describes the righteousness of faith in these words, but appropriates the words of Moses, putting them into the mouth of the personified faith-righteousness.

Say not in thy heart

In thy heart is added by Paul. The phrase say in the heart is a Hebraism for think, compare Psalm 14:1; Psalm 36:1; Psalm 10:11. Usually of an evil thought. Compare Matthew 3:9; Matthew 24:48; Revelation 18:7.

Who shall ascend into heaven?

The Septuagint adds for us, and bring it to us, and hearing it we will do it.

To bring down

Interpreting the Septuagint, and bring it to us.

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