New English Translation
The Illustration of Justification
4 What then shall we say that Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh,[a] has discovered regarding this matter?[b] 2 For if Abraham was declared righteous[c] by works, he has something to boast about—but not before God. 3 For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited[d] to him as righteousness.”[e] 4 Now to the one who works, his pay is not credited due to grace but due to obligation.[f] 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in the one who declares the ungodly righteous,[g] his faith is credited as righteousness.
6 So even David himself speaks regarding the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
9 Is this blessedness[l] then for[m] the circumcision[n] or also for[o] the uncircumcision? For we say, “faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness.”[p] 10 How then was it credited to him? Was he circumcised at the time, or not? No, he was not circumcised but uncircumcised! 11 And he received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised,[q] so that he would become[r] the father of all those who believe but have never been circumcised,[s] that they too could have righteousness credited to them. 12 And he is also the father of the circumcised,[t] who are not only circumcised, but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham possessed when he was still uncircumcised.[u]Read full chapter
- Romans 4:1 tn Or “according to natural descent” (BDAG 916 s.v. σάρξ 4).
- Romans 4:1 tn Grk “has found?”
- Romans 4:2 tn Or “was justified.”
- Romans 4:3 tn The term λογίζομαι (logizomai) occurs 11 times in this chapter (vv. 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 22, 23, 24). In secular usage it could (a) refer to deliberations of some sort, or (b) in commercial dealings (as virtually a technical term) to “reckoning” or “charging up a debt.” See H. W. Heidland, TDNT 4:284, 290-92.
- Romans 4:3 sn A quotation from Gen 15:6.
- Romans 4:4 tn Grk “not according to grace but according to obligation.”
- Romans 4:5 tn Or “who justifies the ungodly.”
- Romans 4:7 tn Or “Happy.”
- Romans 4:8 tn The word for “man” or “individual” here is ἀνήρ (anēr), which often means “male” or “man (as opposed to woman).” However, as BDAG 79 s.v. 2 says, here it is “equivalent to τὶς someone, a person.”
- Romans 4:8 tn The verb translated “count” here is λογίζομαι (logizomai). It occurs eight times in Rom 4:1-12, including here, each time with the sense of “place on someone’s account.” By itself the word is neutral, but in particular contexts it can take on a positive or negative connotation. The other occurrences of the verb have been translated using a form of the English verb “credit” because they refer to a positive event: the application of righteousness to the individual believer. The use here in v. 8 is negative: the application of sin. A form of the verb “credit” was not used here because of the positive connotations associated with that English word, but it is important to recognize that the same concept is used here as in the other occurrences.
- Romans 4:8 sn A quotation from Ps 32:1-2.
- Romans 4:9 tn Or “happiness.”
- Romans 4:9 tn Grk “upon.”
- Romans 4:9 sn See the note on “circumcision” in 2:25.
- Romans 4:9 tn Grk “upon.”
- Romans 4:9 sn A quotation from Gen 15:6.
- Romans 4:11 tn Grk “of the faith, the one [existing] in uncircumcision.”
- Romans 4:11 tn Grk “that he might be,” giving the purpose of v. 11a.
- Romans 4:11 tn Grk “through uncircumcision.”
- Romans 4:12 tn Grk “the father of circumcision.”
- Romans 4:12 tn Grk “the ‘in-uncircumcision faith’ of our father Abraham.”
New International Version
Abraham Justified by Faith
4 What then shall we say(A) that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh,(B) discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God.(C) 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[a](D)
4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift(E) but as an obligation. 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.(F) 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
9 Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised?(H) We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness.(I) 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 11 And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised.(J) So then, he is the father(K) of all who believe(L) but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12 And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.Read full chapter