King James Version
4 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:
15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb:
20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;
24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
Justification by Faith Evidenced in Old Testament
4 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather [a]humanly speaking, has found? [Has he obtained a favored standing?] 2 For if Abraham was justified [that is, acquitted from the guilt of his sins] by works [those things he did that were good], he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed in (trusted, relied on) God, and it was credited to his account as righteousness (right living, right standing with God).”(A) 4 Now to a laborer, his wages are not credited as a favor or a gift, but as an obligation [something owed to him]. 5 But to the one who does not work [that is, the one who does not try to earn his salvation by doing good], but believes and completely trusts in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is [b]credited to him as righteousness (right standing with God). 6 And in this same way David speaks of the blessing on the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
“Blessed and happy and favored are those whose lawless acts have been forgiven,
And whose sins have been covered up and completely buried.
“Blessed and happy and favored is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account nor charge against him.”(B)
9 Is this blessing only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say, “Faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness.” 10 How then was it credited [to him]? Was it after he had been circumcised, or before? Not after, but while [he was] uncircumcised. 11 He received the sign of circumcision, a seal or confirmation of the righteousness which he had by faith while [he was still] uncircumcised—this was so that he would be the [spiritual] father of all who believe without being circumcised—so that righteousness would be credited to them, 12 and [that he would be] the [spiritual] father of those circumcised who are not only circumcised, but who also walk in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had before he was circumcised.
13 For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through [observing the requirements of] the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.(C) 14 If those who are [followers] of the Law are [the true] heirs [of Abraham], then faith [leading to salvation] is of no effect and void, and the promise [of God] is nullified. 15 For the Law results in [God’s] wrath [against sin], but where there is no law, there is no violation [of it either].
16 Therefore, [inheriting] the promise depends entirely on faith [that is, confident trust in the unseen God], in order that it may be given as an act of grace [His unmerited favor and mercy], so that the promise will be [legally] guaranteed to all the descendants [of Abraham]—not only for those [Jewish believers] who keep the Law, but also for those [Gentile believers] who share the faith of Abraham, who is the [spiritual] father of us all— 17 (as it is written [in Scripture], “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the sight of Him in whom he believed, that is, God [c]who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.(D) 18 In hope against hope Abraham believed that he would become a father of many nations, as he had been promised [by God]: “So [numberless] shall your descendants be.”(E) 19 Without becoming weak in faith he considered his own body, now as good as dead [for producing children] since he was about a hundred years old, and [he considered] the deadness of Sarah’s womb.(F) 20 But he did not doubt or waver in unbelief concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and empowered by faith, giving glory to God, 21 being fully convinced that God had the power to do what He had promised. 22 Therefore his faith was credited to him as righteousness (right standing with God).(G) 23 Now not for his sake alone was it written that it was credited to him, 24 but for our sake also—to whom righteousness will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead— 25 who was betrayed and crucified because of our sins, and was raised [from the dead] because of our justification [our acquittal—absolving us of all sin before God].
- Romans 4:1 Lit according to the flesh.
- Romans 4:5 Faith is not an equivalent or substitute for righteousness, but God graciously treats it as if it were the same. Otherwise, no one could be saved from sin and have eternal life.
- Romans 4:17 A reference to both the birth of Isaac, and the resurrection of Christ.
Tree of Life Version
Abraham Set Right by Faith
4 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was set right 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 to him as righteousness.” [a] 4 Now to the one who works, the pay is not credited as a gift, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but trusts in Him who justifies the ungodly, his trust is credited as righteousness— 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven and whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the man whose sin Adonai will never count against him.”[b]
9 Is this blessing then only on the circumcised, or also on the uncircumcised? For we say, “trust was credited to Abraham as righteousness.”[c]
10 In what state then was it credited? While circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised! 11 And he received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness of the trust he had while he was uncircumcised, so he might be the father of all who are trusting while uncircumcised—that righteousness might be credited to them as well. 12 Also he is the father of the circumcised, to those not only circumcised but also walking in the footsteps of the trust of our father Abraham before his circumcision.[d]
Trusting in the Promise
13 For the promise to Abraham or to his seed—to become heir of the world—was not through law, but through the righteousness based on trust. 14 For if those who are of the Torah are heirs, trust has become empty and the promise is made ineffective. 15 For the Torah brings about wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there a violation.
16 For this reason it depends on trust, so that the promise according to grace might be guaranteed to all the offspring—not only to those of the Torah but also to those of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all 17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”[e]). He is our father in the sight of God in whom he trusted, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence that which does not exist. 18 In hope beyond hope, he trusted that he would become the father of many nations according to what was spoken—“So shall your descendants be.” [f] 19 And without becoming weak in faith, he considered his own body—as good as dead, since he was already a hundred years old—and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 Yet he did not waver in unbelief concerning the promise of God. Rather, he was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that what God has promised, He also is able to do. [g] 22 That is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”[h]
23 Now not only for his sake was it written that it was credited to him, 24 but for our sake as well. It is credited to us as those who trust in Him who raised Yeshua our Lord from the dead. 25 He was handed over for our transgressions and raised up for the sake of setting us right.[i]
- Romans 4:4 Gen. 15:6; cf. Gal. 3:6; Jacob 2:23.
- Romans 4:8 Ps. 31:1-2(LXX); cf. Ps. 32:1-2.
- Romans 4:9 Gen. 15:6.
- Romans 4:12 cf. Gen. 17:1ff.
- Romans 4:17 Gen. 17:5.
- Romans 4:19 Gen. 15:5.
- Romans 4:22 cf. Gen. 18:14.
- Romans 4:22 cf. Gen. 15:6; 17:17, 21-27; 18:14; 21:2.
- Romans 4:25 cf. Isa. 53:4, 11.
New Living Translation
The Faith of Abraham
4 Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? 2 If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way. 3 For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”[a]
4 When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. 5 But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners. 6 David also spoke of this when he described the happiness of those who are declared righteous without working for it:
7 “Oh, what joy for those
whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sins are put out of sight.
8 Yes, what joy for those
whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.”[b]
9 Now, is this blessing only for the Jews, or is it also for uncircumcised Gentiles?[c] Well, we have been saying that Abraham was counted as righteous by God because of his faith. 10 But how did this happen? Was he counted as righteous only after he was circumcised, or was it before he was circumcised? Clearly, God accepted Abraham before he was circumcised!
11 Circumcision was a sign that Abraham already had faith and that God had already accepted him and declared him to be righteous—even before he was circumcised. So Abraham is the spiritual father of those who have faith but have not been circumcised. They are counted as righteous because of their faith. 12 And Abraham is also the spiritual father of those who have been circumcised, but only if they have the same kind of faith Abraham had before he was circumcised.
13 Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith. 14 If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless. 15 For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!)
16 So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. 17 That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.”[d] This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.
18 Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!”[e] 19 And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb.
20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. 22 And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. 23 And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded 24 for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.