Abraham’s Faith Counted as Righteousness

What then shall we say that Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh, has found? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? “And Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness.”[a] Now to the one who works, his pay is not credited according to grace, but according to his due. But to the one who does not work, but who believes in the one who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited for righteousness, just as David also speaks about the blessing of the person to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

“Blessed are they whose lawless deeds have been forgiven,
    and whose sins are covered over.
Blessed is the person against whom the Lord will never count sin.”[b]

Therefore, is this blessing for those who are circumcised[c], or also for those who are uncircumcised[d]? For we say, “Faith was credited to Abraham for righteousness.”[e] 10 How then was it credited? While he[f] was circumcised[g] or uncircumcised[h]? Not while circumcised[i] but while uncircumcised[j]! 11 And he received the sign of circumcision as a seal[k] of the righteousness by faith which he had while uncircumcised[l], so that he could be the father of all who believe although they are uncircumcised[m], so that righteousness could be credited to them,[n] 12 and the father of those who are circumcised[o] to those who are not only from the circumcision, but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised[p].

The Promise to Abraham Secured through Faith

13 For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants, that he would be heir of the world, was not through the law, but through the righteousness by faith. 14 For if those of the law are heirs, faith is rendered void and the promise is nullified. 15 For the law produces wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there transgression. 16 Because of this, it is by faith, in order that it may be according to grace, so that the promise may be secure to all the descendants, not only to those of the law, but also to those of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all 17 (just as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”)[q] before God, in whom he believed, the one who makes the dead alive and who calls the things that are not as though they are, 18 who against hope believed in hope, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was said, “so will your descendants be.”[r] 19 And not being weak in faith, he considered his own body as good as dead, [s] because he[t] was approximately a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 And he did not waver in unbelief at the promise of God, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God 21 and being fully convinced that what he had promised, he was also able to do. 22 Therefore[u] it was credited to him for righteousness. 23 But it was not written for the sake of him alone that it was credited to him, 24 but also for the sake of us to whom it is going to be credited, to those who believe in the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was handed over on account of our trespasses, and was raised up in the interest of our justification.[v]


  1. Romans 4:3 A quotation from Gen 15:6
  2. Romans 4:8 A quotation from Ps 32:1–2
  3. Romans 4:9 Literally “the circumcision”
  4. Romans 4:9 Literally “the uncircumcision”
  5. Romans 4:9 A quotation from Gen 15:6
  6. Romans 4:10 Here “while” is supplied as a component of the participle (“was”) which is understood as temporal
  7. Romans 4:10 Literally “in circumcision”
  8. Romans 4:10 Literally “in uncircumcision”
  9. Romans 4:10 Literally “in circumcision”
  10. Romans 4:10 Literally “in uncircumcision”
  11. Romans 4:11 Or “confirmation”
  12. Romans 4:11 Literally “in uncircumcision”
  13. Romans 4:11 Literally “through uncircumcision”
  14. Romans 4:11 Some manuscripts have “could be credited to them also”
  15. Romans 4:12 Literally “of the circumcision”
  16. Romans 4:12 Literally “of the in uncircumcision faith of our father Abraham”
  17. Romans 4:17 A quotation from Gen 17:5
  18. Romans 4:18 A quotation from Gen 15:5
  19. Romans 4:19 Some manuscripts have “already as good as dead”
  20. Romans 4:19 Here “because” is supplied as a component of the participle (“was”) which is understood as causal
  21. Romans 4:22 Some manuscripts have “Therefore, indeed,”
  22. Romans 4:25 Or “vindication”; or “acquittal”