Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Romans 4:16

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace - On this account the promise is mercifully grounded, not on obedience to a law, but on the infinite goodness of God: and thus the promise is sure to all the seed - to all, both Jews and Gentiles, who, believing in Christ Jesus, have a right to all the blessings contained in the Abrahamic covenant. All the seed necessarily comprehends all mankind. Of the Gentiles there can be no doubt, for the promise was given to Abraham while he was a Gentile; and the salvation of the Jews may be inferred, because they all sprang from him after he became an heir of the righteousness or justification which is received by faith; for he is the father of us all, both Jews and Gentiles. Dr. Taylor has an excellent note on this verse. "Here," says he, "it should be well observed that faith and grace do mutually and necessarily infer each other. For the grace and favor of God, in its own nature, requires faith in us; and faith on our part, in its own nature, supposes the grace or favor of God. If any blessing is the gift of God, in order to influence our temper and behavior, then, in the very nature of things, it is necessary that we be sensible of this blessing, and persuaded of the grace of God that bestows it; otherwise it is not possible we should improve it. On the other hand, if faith in the goodness of God, with regard to any blessing, is the principle of our religious hopes and action, then it follows that the blessing is not due in strict justice, nor on the foot of law, but that it is the free gift of Divine goodness. If the promise to Abraham and his seed be of faith on their part, then it is of grace on the part of God. And it is of faith, that it might be by grace: grace, being the mere good will of the donor, is free and open to all whom he chooses to make the objects of it: and the Divine wisdom appointed faith to be the condition of the promise; because faith is, on our part, the most simple principle, bearing an exact correspondence to grace, and reaching as far as that can extend; that so the happy effects of the promise might extend far and wide, take in the largest compass, and be confined to no condition, but what is merely necessary in the nature of things."

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Therefore - In view of the course of reasoning which has been pursued. We have come to this conclusion.

It is of faith - Justification is by faith; or the plan which God has devised of saving people is by faith, Romans 3:26.

That it might be by grace - As a matter of mere undeserved mercy. If people were justified by law, it would be by their own merits; now it is of mere unmerited favor.

To the end - For the purpose, or design.

The promise … - Romans 4:13.

Might be sure - Might be firm, or established. On any other ground, it could not be established. If it had depended on entire conformity to the Law, the promise would never have been established, for none would have yielded such obedience. But now it may be secured to all the posterity of Abraham.

To all the seed - Romans 4:13.

Not to that only - Not to that part of his descendants alone who were Jews, or who had the Law.

But to that … - To all who should possess the same faith as Abraham. The father of us all. Of all who believe, whether they be Jews or Gentiles.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The promise was made to Abraham long before the law. It points at Christ, and it refers to the promise, Ge 12:3. In Thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. The law worketh wrath, by showing that every transgressor is exposed to the Divine displeasure. As God intended to give men a title to the promised blessings, so he appointed it to be by faith, that it might be wholly of grace, to make it sure to all who were of the like precious faith with Abraham, whether Jews or Gentiles, in all ages. The justification and salvation of sinners, the taking to himself the Gentiles who had not been a people, were a gracious calling of things which are not, as though they were; and this giving a being to things that were not, proves the almighty power of God. The nature and power of Abraham's faith are shown. He believed God's testimony, and looked for the performance of his promise, firmly hoping when the case seemed hopeless. It is weakness of faith, that makes a man lie poring on the difficulties in the way of a promise. Abraham took it not for a point that would admit of argument or debate. Unbelief is at the bottom of all our staggerings at God's promises. The strength of faith appeared in its victory over fears. God honours faith; and great faith honours God. It was imputed to him for righteousness. Faith is a grace that of all others gives glory to God. Faith clearly is the instrument by which we receive the righteousness of God, the redemption which is by Christ; and that which is the instrument whereby we take or receive it, cannot be the thing itself, nor can it be the gift thereby taken and received. Abraham's faith did not justify him by its own merit or value, but as giving him a part in Christ.
Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 3, 396

Every move from the first made by Satan was the beginning of his work to continue to the end to exalt the false, to take the place of the genuine Sabbath of Jehovah. He is just as intent now and more determined to do this than ever before. He has come down with great power to deceive them who dwell on the earth with his satanic delusions.... 3SM 396.1

As we meet the emergency, the law of God becomes more precious, more sacred, and as it is more manifestly made void and set aside, in proportion should arise our respect and reverence for the law.... 3SM 396.2

In the exercise of the longsuffering of God, He gives to nations a certain period of probation, but there is a point which, if they pass, there will be the visitation of God in His indignation. He will punish. The world has been advancing from one degree of contempt for God's law to another, and the prayer may be appropriate at this time, “It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law” (Psalm 119:126).... 3SM 396.3

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 183.3

The Jews claimed to have descended from Abraham, but by failing to do the works of Abraham, they proved that they were not true children of his. Only those who are spiritually in harmony with him are reckoned as true descent. Christ recognized the beggar [Lazarus] as one whom Abraham will take into the very heart of friendship, although he belonged to a class looked upon by men as inferior. TDG 183.3

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Ellen G. White
Child Guidance, 18

The home should be a preparatory school, where children and youth may be fitted to do service for the Master, preparatory to joining the higher school in the kingdom of God.4 CG 18.1

Not a Secondary Matter—Let not home education be regarded as a secondary matter. It occupies the first place in all true education. Fathers and mothers have entrusted to them the molding of their children's minds.5 CG 18.2

How startling is the proverb, “As the twig is bent, the tree is inclined.” This is to be applied to the training of our children. Parents, will you remember that the education of your children from their earliest years is committed to you as a sacred trust? These young trees are to be tenderly trained, that they may be transplanted to the garden of the Lord. Home education is not by any means to be neglected. Those who neglect it neglect a religious duty.6 CG 18.3

The Great Scope of Home Education—Home education means much. It is a matter of great scope. Abraham was called the father of the faithful. Among the things that made him a remarkable example of godliness was the strict regard that in his home he paid to the commands of God. He cultivated home religion. He who sees the education given in every home, and who measures the influence of this education, said, “I know him that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.”7 CG 18.4

God commanded the Hebrews to teach their children His requirements, and to make them acquainted with all His dealings with their people. The home and the school were one. In the place of stranger lips, the loving hearts of the father and mother were to give instruction to their children. Thoughts of God were associated with all the events of daily life in the home dwelling. The mighty works of God in the deliverance of His people were recounted with eloquence and reverential awe. The great truths of God's providence and of the future life were impressed on the young mind. It became acquainted with the true, the good, the beautiful. CG 18.5

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Ellen G. White
God's Amazing Grace, 265.1

Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace. Romans 4:16. AG 265.1

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