Romans 1:2
New International Version
the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures

New Living Translation
God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures.

English Standard Version
which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,

Berean Study Bible
the gospel He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures,

Berean Literal Bible
which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures,

New American Standard Bible
which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures,

New King James Version
which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures,

King James Bible
(Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)

Christian Standard Bible
which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures--

Contemporary English Version
that he promised long ago by what his prophets said in the holy Scriptures.

Good News Translation
The Good News was promised long ago by God through his prophets, as written in the Holy Scriptures.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
which He promised long ago through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures--

International Standard Version
which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures

NET Bible
This gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures,

New Heart English Bible
which he promised before through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,

A Faithful Version
Which He had promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Which from the first he had promised by his Prophets in the Holy Scriptures,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
(God had already promised this Good News through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures.

New American Standard 1977
which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures,

King James 2000 Bible
(Which he had promised before by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)

American King James Version
(Which he had promised before by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)

American Standard Version
which he promised afore through his prophets in the holy scriptures,

Douay-Rheims Bible
Which he had promised before, by his prophets, in the holy scriptures,

Darby Bible Translation
(which he had before promised by his prophets in holy writings,)

English Revised Version
which he promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,

Webster's Bible Translation
(Which he had promised before by his prophets in the holy scriptures)

Weymouth New Testament
which God had already promised through His Prophets in Holy Writ, concerning His Son,

World English Bible
which he promised before through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,

Young's Literal Translation
which He announced before through His prophets in holy writings --
Study Bible
Greeting the Saints in Rome
1Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, and set apart for the gospel of God— 2the gospel He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 3regarding His Son, who was a descendant of David according to the flesh,…
Cross References
Matthew 1:22
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:

Luke 1:70
as He spoke through His holy prophets, those of ages past,

Acts 13:32
And now we proclaim to you the good news: What God promised our fathers

Romans 3:21
But now, apart from the Law, the righteousness of God has been revealed, as attested by the Law and the Prophets.

Romans 16:26
but now revealed and made known through the writings of the prophets by the command of the eternal God, in order to lead all nations to the obedience that comes from faith--

Titus 1:2
in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.

Treasury of Scripture

(Which he had promised before by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)


Luke 24:26,27
Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? …

Acts 10:43
To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

Acts 26:6
And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers:


Romans 3:21
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

the holy.

Romans 3:2
Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.

Personal / Relative Pronoun - Accusative Neuter Singular
Strong's Greek 3739: Who, which, what, that.

He promised beforehand
προεπηγγείλατο (proepēngeilato)
Verb - Aorist Indicative Middle - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's Greek 4279: To promise beforehand. Middle voice from pro and epaggello; to promise of old.

διὰ (dia)
Strong's Greek 1223: A primary preposition denoting the channel of an act; through.

αὐτοῦ (autou)
Personal / Possessive Pronoun - Genitive Masculine 3rd Person Singular
Strong's Greek 846: He, she, it, they, them, same. From the particle au; the reflexive pronoun self, used of the third person, and of the other persons.

προφητῶν (prophētōn)
Noun - Genitive Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 4396: From a compound of pro and phemi; a foreteller; by analogy, an inspired speaker; by extension, a poet.

ἐν (en)
Strong's Greek 1722: In, on, among. A primary preposition denoting position, and instrumentality, i.e. A relation of rest; 'in, ' at, on, by, etc.

[the] Holy
ἁγίαις (hagiais)
Adjective - Dative Feminine Plural
Strong's Greek 40: Set apart by (or for) God, holy, sacred. From hagos; sacred.

γραφαῖς (graphais)
Noun - Dative Feminine Plural
Strong's Greek 1124: (a) a writing, (b) a passage of scripture; plur: the scriptures. A document, i.e. Holy Writ.
(2) Which he had promised.--More correctly, which He promised before by His prophets in holy writ. There is a nicety of meaning expressed by the absence of the article before this last phrase. A slight stress is thus thrown upon the epithet "holy." It is not merely "in certain books which go by the name of holy scriptures," but "in certain writings the character of which is holy." They are "holy" as containing the promises referred to in the text, and others like them. It will thus be seen how even this faint shade of meaning works into the general argument. The writings in which the promises are contained, like the promises themselves, their fulfilment, and the consequences which follow from them, all are part of the same exceptional divine scheme.

The prophetic writings describe not only salvation, the substance of the gospel, but also the preaching of salvation, the gospel itself. (See Isaiah 40:2, "Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem," and following verses; Isaiah 42:4; Isaiah 52:1 et seq.; Psalm 19:4; Psalm 68:11, et al.)

Prophets.--In the wider sense in which the word is used, including not only Samuel (Acts 3:24), but also Moses and David, and all who are regarded as having prophesied the Messiah.

Verse 2. - Which he promised before through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures concerning his Son. Here the parenthetical passage begins, extending to the end of ver. 6. It is unnecessary to complicate it by connecting περὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ with the previous εὐαγγέλιον Θεοῦ. It goes more naturally with προεπηγγείλατο, denoting the subject of the Old Testament promises. By προφητῶν are meant not only the sacred writers distinctively so called, but (as in Hebrews 1:1) all who spoke of old under Divine inspiration, as by γραφαῖς ἁγίαις is signified the Old Testament generally. This intimation of the gospel being the fulfilment of prophecy is fitly introduced here, as preparing the reader for the argument of the Epistle, in the course of which the doctrine propounded is shown to be in accordance with the Old Testament, and in fact anticipated therein. This is, indeed, a prominent point in the general teaching of apostles and evangelists. They announce the gospel as the fulfilment of prophecy, and the true completion of all the ancient dispensation; and it is to the Old Testament that, in addressing Israelites, they ever in the first place appeal. Thus St. Peter (Acts 2:14; Acts 3:18; Acts 4:11); thus Stephen (Acts 7.); thus St. Paul at Antioch in Pisidia, at Thessalonica, and before Agrippa (Acts 13:16; Acts 17:2; Acts 26:6, 22); thus Philip to the Ethiopian proselyte (Acts 8:35); thus Apollos at Corinth (Acts 18:28). Our Lord himself had done the same, as in Matthew 5:17; Luke 4:21; Luke 24:27, 44; John 5:39. All this is important as showing how the old and new dispensations are regarded together as parts of a whole, the old one being but the needful preparation for a fulfilment in the new, and so becoming intelligible; and thus how "through all the ages one eternal purpose runs." There was also a providential preparation in the Gentile world, though not so direct and obvious, and though, of course, not similarly noticed in addresses to disciples of the Law. But St. Paul intimates it; as in his speech on Areopagus, and also, as will be seen, in this Epistle. Even the gospel (it may be further observed) is set forth as but a further stage of progress towards a final consummation, as the dawn only of a coming daybreak. We have still but an earnest of our inheritance; the "earnest expectation of the creature" still awaits "the manifestation of the sons of God." Meanwhile, in the revelation already made through Christ, and the redemption accomplished by him, we are taught to cling to our faith in a Divine purpose throughout the world's perplexing history - that of resolving at last all discords into eternal harmony, and making manifest "one great love, embracing all." This grand view of a providential order leading to a final consummation (though how and when we know not) pervades St. Paul's writings, and should be kept in mind for a proper understanding of this Epistle. God's promises through his prophets in Holy Scripture are said to have been "concerning his Son;" and a question hence arises as to the exact sense in which "his Son" is to be here understood; a consideration of which question may help our interpretation of the expression in the following verse, which is not without difficulty, Τοῦ ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ Θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει. We may distinguish between three senses in which Christ is called "the Son of God."

(1) With reference to his Divine pre-existence, the term expressing his relation to the Father from eternity, like the Λόγος (and probably the μονογενὴς υἱὸς) of St. John.

(2) With reference to his incarnation, as being conceived by the Holy Ghost; as in Luke 1:35, Διὸ καὶ τὸ γεννώμενον α{γιον κληθήσεται υἱὸς Θεοῦ.

(3) With reference to the position assigned to the Messiah in psalm and prophecy, as the Son exalted to the right hand of God, and crowned with glory. It is with the last of these three references that the title is used in the Epistle to the Hebrews; where the ideal of sonship, found in the Old Testament, and imperfectly typified by the theoretic position of the theocratic kings, is regarded as prophetic, and pointing to Christ, in whom alone it is shown to be fulfilled. Hence in that Epistle his exaltation to the rank and dignity of Son is regarded as subsequent to his human obedience, and even the consequence and reward of it. It was "because of the suffering of death (διὰ τὸ πάθημα θανάτου)" that he has been "crowned with glory and honour" (Hebrews 2:9); it was after he had made a purification of sins that he "sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high," having "inherited" that "more excellent name" - the name of Son (Hebrews 1:4). It is by no means implied that the said Epistle does not recognize a true Sonship of Christ before his exaltation; he was all along "the Son" (cf. Hebrews 5:7, Καίπερ ὤν υἱὸς ἔμαθεν, etc.), though not enthroned as such over mankind and all creation till after his resurrection; and, further, the essential doctrine of his pre-existent and eternal Sonship. in the first of the senses noted above, is distinctly taught (as in ch. 1:3), though not there by the use of the term "Son." All we say is that this word is used in the Epistle to the Hebrews to denote Christ's position and office as the royal High Priest of humanity, exalted, after suffering, to the right hand of God, rather than his original Divine Personality; such being the significance of the title in the prophetic anticipations of the Messiah. Now, this being so, and it being the promises made "through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures concerning his Son" that are being spoken of in the passage before us, it may seem at first most probable that the idea here implied by the word "Son" is the same as in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and no more. We ought, however, to take further into account what St. Paul himself seems to signify by the term when he uses it elsewhere. It does not follow that his own conception of its significance was confined to what was apparent in "the prophets." Reading them in the light of the gospel revelation, he may have seen in their language more implied than it distinctly expressed, and himself intended to imply more. The passages in his Epistles, apart from this chapter, where Christ is called God's Son are these:

(1) Romans 5:10, "We were reconciled to God through the death of his Son;"

(2) Romans 8:3, "Sending his own Son (τὸν ἑαυτοῦ υἱὸν) in the likeness of flesh of sin;"

(3) Romans 8:29, "To be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the Firstborn among many brethren;"

(4) Romans 8:32, "Spared not his own Son (τοῦ ἰδίοῦ υἱοῦ);"

(5) 2 Corinthians 1:19, "The Son of God... was not Yea and Nay;"

(6) Galatians 4:4, 6, "God sent forth his Son," - "sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father;"

(7) Colossians 1:13, "Translates us into the kingdom of the Son of his love." In all these passages - except (3), in which the reference may be only to Christ in glory - the term "Son" denotes a relation (o the Father, peculiar to our Lord, previous to the death and exaltation, and in some of them, (2), (6), (7), previous to the Incarnation. Such previous relation is especially apparent in the sequence to (7), where "the Son of his love" is defined not only as "the Head of the body, the Church," and "the Firstborn from the dead," but also as "the Image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of all creation; for in him all things were created, the things in heaven, and the things on the earth, the things visible and the things invisible; all things through him and unto him have been created." With this may be compared Philippians 2:6-12, where an existence ἐν μορφῇ Θεοῦ, anterior to incarnation, is undoubtedly declared, though the exaltation after human obedience, and the receiving then of "a name that is above every name" (cf. Hebrews 1:4), is spoken of as well. One other passage remains to be noticed, occurring, not in an Epistle, but in the sermon at Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13:33), where the view of Christ's Sonship which is found in the Epistle to the Hebrews (no more being expressed) appears as present to St. Paul's mind. For there God is said to have "fulfilled the promise which was made unto the fathers, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the psalm, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee." Here the Sonship assigned to "the Christ" in the second psalm is regarded as exhibited in the Resurrection. From this review of St. Paul's usage it may be inferred that περὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ in the text before us carries with it in his own mind the idea of pre-existent eternal Sonship, though what we may call Messianic Sonship may be all he means distinctly to intimate as declared by prophets. The bearing of this distinction on the interpretation of ver. 4 will appear under it. It may be observed here that the absence of a fixed and definite usage in the application of the term "Son" to Christ, which (as has been seen) is found in the New Testament, is what might be expected there. Formal definitions of theological conceptions by means of language used uniformly in a recognized definite sense had not as yet been made. Among such conceptions that of the Holy Trinity though implied, is nowhere distinctly formulated as a dogma. It was reserved for the Church, under the guidance of the Spirit, to preclude misconception by precise dogmatic definitions.
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