Romans 10
Vincent's Word Studies
Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

See on 1 John 2:9. An expression of affectionate interest and indicating emotion.

My heart's desire (ἡ εὐδοκία τῆς ἐμῆς καρδίας)

More literally, the good will of my heart. See on Luke 2:14. Compare Philippians 1:15; Philippians 2:13; Ephesians 1:5, Ephesians 1:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:11.

Prayer (δέησις)

See on Luke 5:33.

To God (πρός)

Implying communion. See on with God, John 1:1.

For Israel

The best texts substitute αὐτῶν for them; those described in the last three verses of ch. 9. Bengel remarks that Paul would not have prayed had they been utterly reprobate.

That they may be saved (εἰς σωτηρίαν)

Lit., unto (their) salvation.

For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
I bear them record (μαρτυρῶ)

Rev. witness. "He seems to be alluding to his conduct of former days, and to say, 'I know something of it, of that zeal'" (Godet).

Zeal of God (ζῆλον Θεοῦ)

Rev., zeal for God. Like the phrase "faith of Christ" for "faith in Christ" (Philippians 3:9); compare Colossians 2:12; Ephesians 3:12; John 2:17, "the zeal of thine house," i.e., "for thy house."

Knowledge (ἐπίγνωσιν)

Full or correct and vital knowledge. See on Romans 1:28; see on Romans 3:20.

For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
God's righteousness

That mentioned in Romans 9:30. Compare Philippians 3:9; Romans 1:16, Romans 1:17; Romans 3:20-22.

To establish (στῆσαι)

Or set up, indicating their pride in their endeavor. They would erect a righteousness of their own as a monument to their own glory and not to God's.

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
The end of the law (τέλος νόμου)

First in the sentence as the emphatic point of thought. Expositors differ as to the sense. 1. The aim. Either that the intent of the law was to make men righteous, which was accomplished in Christ, or that the law led to Him as a pedagogue (Galatians 3:24). 2. The fulfillment, as Matthew 5:17. 3. The termination. To believers in Christ the law has no longer legislative authority to say, "Do this and live; do this or die" (Morison). The last is preferable. Paul is discussing two materially exclusive systems, the one based on doing, the other on believing. The system of faith, represented by Christ, brings to an end and excludes the system of law; and the Jews, in holding by the system of law, fail of the righteousness which is by faith. Compare Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:2-14.

For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.
Describeth the righteousness - that (γράφει τὴν δικαιοσύνην - ὅτι)

The best texts transfer ὅτι that, and read γράφει ὅτι, etc. Moses writeth that the man, etc. See Leviticus 18:5.

Those things - by them (αὐτὰ - ἐν αὐτοῖς)

Omit those things, and read for ἐν αὐτοῖς by them, ἐν αὐτῇ by it, i.e., the righteousness which is of the law. The whole, as Rev., Moses writeth that the man that doeth the righteousness which is of the law shall live thereby.

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

Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
Descend into the deep

Rev., abyss. Septuagint, Who shall pass through to beyond the sea? See on Luke 8:31. Paul changes the phrase in order to adapt it to the descent of Christ into Hades. The two ideas may be reconciled in the fact that the Jew conceived the sea as the abyss of waters on which the earth rested. Compare Exodus 20:4. Thus the ideas beyond the sea and beneath the earth coincide in designating the realm of the dead. Compare Homer's picture of the region of the dead beyond the Ocean-stream:

"As soon as thou shalt cross.

Oceanus, and come to the low shore

And groves of Proserpine, the lofty groups

Of poplars, and the willows that let fall

Their withered fruit, moor thou thy galley there

In the deep eddies of Oceanus,

And pass to Pluto's comfortless abode."

"Odyssey," x. 508-513.

"Our bark

Reached the far confines of Oceanus.

There lies the land and there the people dwell

Of the Cimmerians, in eternal cloud

And darkness."

"Odyssey," xi. 13-15.

To bring up

There is no need. He is already risen.

But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
The word is nigh thee

Septuagint, Very nigh thee is the word. The word is the whole subject-matter of the Gospel. See Romans 10:9. Moses used it of the law. See on Luke 1:37. The whole quotation in the Hebrew is as follows: "It (the commandment) is not in heaven, that ye should say, Who will ascend for us to heaven, and bring it to us, and make us hear it that we may do it? And it is not beyond the sea, that ye should say, Who will go over for us beyond the sea, and bring it to us, and make us hear it that we may do it? But the word is very near thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart, to do it." The object of the passage is to contrast the system of faith with the system of law, and that, especially, with reference to the remoteness and difficulty of righteousness. Moses says that the commandment of God to Israel is not incapable of accomplishment, nor is it a distant thing to be attained only by long and laborious effort. The people, on the contrary, carries it in its mouth, and it is stamped upon its heart. Compare Exodus 13:9; Deuteronomy 6:6-9. In applying these words to the system of faith, Paul, in like manner, denies that this system involves any painful search or laborious work. Christ has accomplished the two great things necessary for salvation. He has descended to earth and has risen from the dead. All that is necessary is to accept by faith the incarnate and risen Christ, instead of having recourse to the long and painful way of establishing one's own righteousness by obedience to the law.

Word of faith

The phrase occurs only here. "Which forms the substratum and object of faith" (Alford). Others, the burden of which is faith.

We preach (κηρύσσομεν)

See on Matthew 4:17, and see on preacher, 2 Peter 2:5.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
That (ὅτι)

So rendered as expressing the contents of the word of faith; but better because, giving a proof that the word is nigh. Confess and believe, correspond to mouth and heart.

The Lord Jesus (κύριον Ἱησοῦν)

Others, however, read τὸ ῥῆμα ἐν τῷ στοματί σου ὅτι κύριος Ἱησοῦς If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the word that Jesus is Lord. Rev., Jesus as Lord.

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
With the heart (καρδίᾳ)

As the seat of the energy of the divine Spirit (πνεῦμα see on Romans 8:4); mediating the personal life (of the soul ψυχή, see on Romans 11:3), which is conditioned by the Spirit. It is not the affections as distinguished from the intellect. Believing with the heart is in contrast with oral confession, not with intellectual belief. "Believing is a mode of thinking not of feeling. It is that particular mode of thinking that is guided to its object by the testimony of another, or by some kind of inter-mediation. It is not intuitive" (Morison).

Man believeth (πιστεύεται)

The verb is used impersonally. Lit., it is believed. Believing takes place.

Confession is made (ὁμολογεῖται)

Also impersonal. It is confessed. "Confession is just faith turned from its obverse side to its reverse ... When faith comes forth from its silence to announce itself, and to proclaim the glory and the grace of the Lord, its voice is confession" (Morison).

For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
The scripture saith

The quotation from Isaiah 28:16 is repeated (see Romans 9:33) with the addition of everyone, whosoever.

For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

Explaining the whosoever of Romans 10:11.


Better, as Rev., distinction. See on Romans 3:22.

Jew and Greek

On Greek, see on Acts 6:1. Greeks here equivalent to Gentiles.

Lord (κύριος)

See on Matthew 21:3. The reference is disputed: some Christ, others God. Probably Christ. See Romans 10:9, and compare Acts 10:36. The hearing which is necessary to believing comes through the word of Christ (Romans 10:17, where the reading is Christ instead of God).

That call upon (ἐπικαλουμένους)

See on appeal, Acts 25:11; see on James 2:7. That invoke Him as, Lord: recalling Romans 10:9, Romans 10:10. Compare Joel 2:32.

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
Be sent (ἀποσταλῶσιν)

See on Matthew 10:16; see on Mark 4:29.

Beautiful (ὡραῖοι)

From ὥρα the time of full bloom or development. Hence the radical idea of the word includes both blooming maturity and vigor. Appropriate here to the swift, vigorous feet. Plato ("Republic," x. 601) distinguishes between faces that are beautiful (καλῶν) and blooming (ὡραίων) In Genesis 2:9 (Sept.) of the trees of Eden. Compare Matthew 23:27; Acts 3:2, Acts 3:10.


Emphasizing the rapid approach of the messenger. "In their running and hastening, in their scaling obstructing mountains, and in their appearance and descent from mountains, they are the symbols of the earnestly-desired, winged movement and appearance of the Gospel itself" (Lange). Compare Nahum 1:15; Ephesians 6:15; Romans 3:15; Acts 5:9. Paul omits the mountains from the citation. Omit that preach the gospel of peace.

Bring glad tidings

See on Gospel, Matthew, superscription.

But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
Obeyed (ὑπήκουσαν)

See on obedience and disobedience, Romans 5:19. Also see on Acts 5:29. Obeyed as the result of listening, and so especially appropriate here. Compare head and hear, Romans 10:14. For the same reason hearken (Rev.) is better than obeyed.

Report (ἀκοῇ)

Lit., hearing. Similarly, Matthew 14:1; Mark 13:7. Compare the phrase word of hearing, 1 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 4:2 (Rev.); and hearing of faith, i.e., message of faith, Galatians 3:2.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
By hearing (ἐξ ἀκοῆς)

The same word as report, above, and in the same sense, that which is heard.

Word of God (ῥήματος Θεοῦ)

The best texts read of Christ. Probably not the Gospel, but Christ's word of command or commission to its preachers; thus taking up except they be sent (Romans 10:15), and emphasizing the authority of the message. Belief comes through the message, and the message through the command of Christ.

But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.
Did they not hear? (μὴ οὐκ ἤκουσαν)

A negative answer is implied by the interrogative particle. "Surely it is not true that they did not hear."

Sound (φθόγγος)

Only here and 1 Corinthians 14:7, on which see note. Paul uses the Septuagint translation of Psalm 19:4, where the Hebrew line or plummet-line (others musical chord) is rendered sound. The voice of the gospel message is like that of the starry sky proclaiming God's glory to all the earth. The Septuagint sound seems to be a free rendering in order to secure parallelism with words.

Of the world (τῆς οἰκουμένης)

See on Luke 2:1; see on John 1:9.

But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.
Did Israel not know?

As in Romans 10:18, a negative answer is implied. "It is surely not true that Israel did not know." Did not know what? That the Gospel should go forth into all the earth. Moses and Isaiah had prophesied the conversion of the Gentiles, and Isaiah the opposition of the Jews thereto.

First Moses

First in order; the first who wrote.

I will provoke you to jealousy (ἐγὼ παραζηλώσω ὑμᾶς)

From Deuteronomy 32:21. See Romans 11:11, Romans 11:14; 1 Corinthians 10:22. Used only by Paul. The Septuagint has them instead of you.

By them that are no people (ἐπ' οὐκ ἔθνει)

Lit., upon a no-people. The relation expressed by the preposition is that of the no-people as forming the basis of the jealousy. The prediction is that Israel shall be conquered by an apparently inferior people. No-people as related to God's heritage, not that the Gentiles were inferior or insignificant in themselves. For people render nation, as Rev. See on 1 Peter 2:9.

By a foolish nation (ἐπὶ ἔθνει ἀσυνέτῳ)

Lit., upon a foolish nation as the basis of the exasperation. For foolish, see on Romans 1:21.

I will anger (παροργιὦ)

Or provoke to anger. The force of the compounded preposition παρά in this verb and in παραζηλώσω provoke to jealousy, seems to be driving to the side of something which by contact or comparison excites jealousy or anger.

But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.
Is very bold (ἀποτολμᾷ)

Only here in the New Testament. Plato, "Laws," 701, uses it of liberty as too presumptuous (ἀποτετολμημένης). The force of the preposition is intensive, or possibly pointing to him from whom the action proceeds; bold of himself: The simple verb means primarily to dare, and implies the manifestation of that boldness or confidence of character which is expressed by θαῤῥέω. See 2 Corinthians 5:6, 2 Corinthians 5:8; 2 Corinthians 7:16; 2 Corinthians 10:2, note.


Isaiah 65:1. Following the Septuagint, with the inversion of the first two clauses. Hebrew: "I have offered to give answers to those who asked not. I have put myself in the way of those who sought me not. I have spread out my hand all the day to a refractory people." The idea in the Hebrew is, "I have endeavored to be sought and found." Compare the clause omitted in Paul's quotation: "I have said 'Here am I' to a people who did not call upon my name."

But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
Disobedient - gainsaying (ἀπειθοῦντα - ἀντιλέγοντα)

See on John 3:36; see on Jde 1:11. Disobedience is the manifestation of the refractoriness expressed in gainsaying. Some explain gainsaying as contradicting. Compare Luke 13:34, Luke 13:35.

Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent [1886].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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