Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Romans 11:12

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Now if the fall of them - The English reader may imagine that, because fall is used in both these verses, the original word is the same. But their fall, and the fall of them, is παραπτωμα, the same word which we render offense, Romans 5:15, Romans 5:17, Romans 5:18, and might be rendered lapse. Whereas that they should fall ( Romans 11:11;) is, ινα πεσωσι . Now, πιπτω, to fall, is used in a sense so very emphatical as to signify being slain. So Homer, Il. viii., ver. 475.

Ηματι τῳ, οτ 'αν οἱ μεν επι πρυμνησι μαχωνται,

Στεινει εν αινοτατῳ, περι Πατροκλοιο πεσοντος

Ὡς γαρ θεσφατον εστι.

And for Patroclus slain, the crowded hosts,

In narrow space, shall at the ships contend.

Such the divine decree.

And again, Il. xi., ver. 84.

Οφρα μεν ηως ην και αεξετο ἱερον ημαρ,<-144 Τοφρα μαλ ' αμφοτερων βελε ' ἡπτετο, πιπτε δε λαος.

While morning lasted, and the light of day

Increased, so long the weapons on both sides

Flew in thick vollies; and the people fell.


It is well known, that to fall in battle means to be killed. It is in such a sense as this that St. Paul used the word fall, when he says, Have they stumbled that they should Fall? He means a fall quite destructive and ruinous; whereas by their fall, and the fall of them, he means no more than such a lapse as was recoverable; as in the case of Adam's offense. See Dr. Taylor.

The riches of the world - If, in consequence of their unbelief, the riches of God's grace and goodness be poured out on the whole Gentile world, how much more shall that dispensation of grace and mercy enrich and aggrandize the Gentiles, which shall bring the whole body of the Jews to the faith of the Gospel! Here the apostle supposes, or rather predicts, that such a dispensation shall take place; and that, therefore, the Jews have not so stumbled as to be finally irrecoverable.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

If the fall of them - If their lapse, or falling. If their temporal rejection and being cast off for a time has already accomplished so much.

Be the riches of the world - The word “riches” means wealth, abundance of property; more than is necessary to the supply of our needs. Hence, it means also anything that may promote our comfort or happiness, as wealth is the means of securing our welfare. The gospel is called riches, as it is the means of our highest enjoyment, and eternal welfare. It is the means of conferring numberless spiritual blessings on the Gentile world; and as this was done by the fall of the Jews, so it could be said that their fall was the riches of the world. It was the occasion or means without which the blessings of the gospel could not be conferred on the world.

The diminishing of them - Margin, “Decay.” “Loss” ἥττημα hēttēmaThis word means diminution, defect, what is lacked or missing. Hence, also judgment, condemnation. Here it means their degradation; the withdrawing of their special privileges; their rejection. It stands opposed to “their fulness.”

The riches of the Gentiles - The means of conferring important blessings on the Gentiles.

How much more their fulness - The word “fulness” πλήρωμα plērōmameans what fills up, or completes anything. Thus, it is applied to what fills a vessel or cup; also to the piece of cloth which is put in to fill up the rent in a garment; Matthew 9:16. To the fragments which were left when Christ had fed the five thousand; Mark 8:20; Romans 13:10. “Love is the fulfilling of the law,” that is, it is the filling up of the law, or what renders the obedience complete; see Galatians 5:14. Here it stands opposed to their fall, and their diminution, and evidently means their complete restoration to the favor of God; their recovery from unbelief and apostasy. That there will be such a recovery, the apostle proceeds to show. The sentiment of the passage then is, If their rejection and punishment; their being cut off from the favor of God, an event apparently so unlikely to promote the spread of true religion, if their being withrawn from all active influence in spreading the true knowledge of God, be yet the occasion of so many blessings to mankind as have attended the spread of the gospel in consequence of it; how much more shall we expect when they shall be restored; when the energy and zeal of the Jewish nation shall unite with the efforts of others in spreading the knowledge of the true Messiah. In what way, or when, this shall be, we know not. But it is easy to see, that if the Jewish people should be converted to the Christian faith, they would have facilities for spreading the truth, which the church has never had without them.

(1) they are scattered in all nations, and have access to all people.

(2) their conversion, after so long unbelief, would have all the power and influence of a miracle performed in view of all nations. It would be seen why they had been preserved, and their conversion would be a most striking fulfillment of the prophecies.

(3) they are familiar with the languages of the world, and their conversion would at once establish many Christian missionaries in the heart of all the kingdoms of the world. It would be kindling at once a thousand lights in all the dark parts of the earth.

(4) the Jews have shown that they are eminently suited to spread the true religion. It was by Jews converted to Christianity, that the gospel was first spread. Each of the apostles was a Jew; and they have lost none of the ardor, enterprise, and zeal that always characterized their nation. Their conversion would be, therefore, to give to the church a host of missionaries prepared for their work, familiar with all customs, languages, and climes, and already in the heart of all kingdoms, and with facilities for their work in advance, which others must gain only by the slow toil of many years.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The gospel is the greatest riches of every place where it is. As therefore the righteous rejection of the unbelieving Jews, was the occasion of so large a multitude of the Gentiles being reconciled to God, and at peace with him; the future receiving of the Jews into the church would be such a change, as would resemble a general resurrection of the dead in sin to a life of righteousness. Abraham was as the root of the church. The Jews continued branches of this tree till, as a nation, they rejected the Messiah; after that, their relation to Abraham and to God was, as it were, cut off. The Gentiles were grafted into this tree in their room; being admitted into the church of God. Multitudes were made heirs of Abraham's faith, holiness and blessedness. It is the natural state of every one of us, to be wild by nature. Conversion is as the grafting in of wild branches into the good olive. The wild olive was often ingrafted into the fruitful one when it began to decay, and this not only brought forth fruit, but caused the decaying olive to revive and flourish. The Gentiles, of free grace, had been grafted in to share advantages. They ought therefore to beware of self-confidence, and every kind of pride or ambition; lest, having only a dead faith, and an empty profession, they should turn from God, and forfeit their privileges. If we stand at all, it is by faith; we are guilty and helpless in ourselves, and are to be humble, watchful, afraid of self-deception, or of being overcome by temptation. Not only are we at first justified by faith, but kept to the end in that justified state by faith only; yet, by a faith which is not alone, but which worketh by love to God and man.
Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 375-6

The prophet Isaiah, looking down through the centuries and witnessing the rejection of prophet after prophet and finally of the Son of God, was inspired to write concerning the acceptance of the Redeemer by those who had never before been numbered among the children of Israel. Referring to this prophecy, Paul declares: “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. But to Israel He saith, All day long I have stretched forth My hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” AA 375.1

Even though Israel rejected His Son, God did not reject them. Listen to Paul as he continues the argument: “I say then, Hath God cast away His people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew. Wot ye not what the Scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed Thy prophets, and digged down Thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” AA 375.2

Israel had stumbled and fallen, but this did not make it impossible for them to rise again. In answer to the question, “Have they stumbled that they should fall?” the apostle replies: “God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness? For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: if by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” AA 375.3

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