Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Romans 11:28

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

As concerning the Gospel - The unbelieving Jews, with regard to the Gospel which they have rejected, are at present enemies to God, and aliens from his kingdom, under his Son Jesus Christ, on account of that extensive grace which has overturned their peculiarity, by admitting the Gentiles into his Church and family: but with regard to the original purpose of election, whereby they were chosen and separated from all the people of the earth to be the peculiar people of God, they are beloved for the fathers' sake; he has still favor in store for them on account of their forefathers the patriarchs.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

As concerning the gospel - So far as the gospel is concerned; or, in order to promote its extension and spread through the earth.

They are enemies - The word “enemies” here stands opposed to “beloved;” and as in one respect, to wit, on account of “election,” they were still beloved, that is, beloved by God, so in another respect they were his enemies, i. e., opposed to him, or cast off from him. The enemies of God denote all who are not his true friends; Colossians 1:21; Romans 5:10; compare Romans 11:8. The word here is applied to the Jews because they had rejected the Messiah; had become opposed to God; and were therefore rejected by him.

For your sakes - For your advantage. Their rejection has become the occasion by which the gospel has been preached to you; compare Romans 11:11, Romans 11:19-20.

As touching the election - So far as the purpose of election is concerned. That is, the election of their fathers and of the nation to be the special people of God.

They are beloved - God still regards them with interest; has purposes of mercy toward them; intends still to do them good. This does not, mean that he approved of their conduct or character, or that he had for them the same kind of affection which he would have had if they had been obedient. God does not love a sinful character; but he may have still purposes of mercy, and regard people with deep interest on whom he intends yet to bestow mercy.

For the fathers‘ sakes - Compare Deuteronomy 10:15. He had chosen their fathers to be His special people. He had made many promises to Abraham respecting his seed, and extended these premises to his remotest posterity. Though salvation is by grace, and not from human merit, yet God has respect to his covenant made with the fathers, and will not forget his promises. It is not on account of any merit of the fathers or of ancient saints, but solely because God had made a covenant with them; and this purpose of election would be manifest to their children in the latest times. As those contemplated in the covenant made with Abraham, God retained for them feelings of special interest; and designed their recovery to himself. It is clear here that the word “election” does not refer to external privileges; for Paul is not teaching the doctrine that they shall be restored to the external privileges of Jews, but that they shall be truly converted to God. Yet this should not be abused by others to lead them to security in sin. No man has any security of happiness, and of the favor of God, but he who complies with the terms of his mercy. His commands are explicit to repent and believe, nor can there be safety except in entire compliance with the terms on which he is willing to bestow eternal life.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Of all judgments, spiritual judgments are the sorest; of these the apostle is here speaking. The restoration of the Jews is, in the course of things, far less improbable than the call of the Gentiles to be the children of Abraham; and though others now possess these privileges, it will not hinder their being admitted again. By rejecting the gospel, and by their indignation at its being preached to the Gentiles, the Jews were become enemies to God; yet they are still to be favoured for the sake of their pious fathers. Though at present they are enemies to the gospel, for their hatred to the Gentiles; yet, when God's time is come, that will no longer exist, and God's love to their fathers will be remembered. True grace seeks not to confine God's favour. Those who find mercy themselves, should endeavour that through their mercy others also may obtain mercy. Not that the Jews will be restored to have their priesthood, and temple, and ceremonies again; an end is put to all these; but they are to be brought to believe in Christ, the true become one sheep-fold with the Gentiles, under Christ the Great Shepherd. The captivities of Israel, their dispersion, and their being shut out from the church, are emblems of the believer's corrections for doing wrong; and the continued care of the Lord towards that people, and the final mercy and blessed restoration intended for them, show the patience and love of God.