Romans 11 Good News Translation (GNT)
God's Mercy on Israel
11 I ask, then: Did God reject his own people? Certainly not! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected his people, whom he chose from the beginning. You know what the scripture says in the passage where Elijah pleads with God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me.” 4 What answer did God give him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not worshiped the false god Baal.” 5 It is the same way now: there is a small number left of those whom God has chosen because of his grace. 6 His choice is based on his grace, not on what they have done. For if God's choice were based on what people do, then his grace would not be real grace.
7 What then? The people of Israel did not find what they were looking for. It was only the small group that God chose who found it; the rest grew deaf to God's call. 8 As the scripture says, “God made their minds and hearts dull; to this very day they cannot see or hear.” 9 And David says,
“May they be caught and trapped at their feasts;
11 I ask, then: When the Jews stumbled, did they fall to their ruin? By no means! Because they sinned, salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make the Jews jealous of them. 12 The sin of the Jews brought rich blessings to the world, and their spiritual poverty brought rich blessings to the Gentiles. Then, how much greater the blessings will be when the complete number of Jews is included!
The Salvation of the Gentiles
13 I am speaking now to you Gentiles: As long as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I will take pride in my work. 14 Perhaps I can make the people of my own race jealous, and so be able to save some of them. 15 For when they were rejected, all other people were changed from God's enemies into his friends. What will it be, then, when they are accepted? It will be life for the dead!
16 If the first piece of bread is given to God, then the whole loaf is his also; and if the roots of a tree are offered to God, the branches are his also. 17 Some of the branches of the cultivated olive tree have been broken off, and a branch of a wild olive tree has been joined to it. You Gentiles are like that wild olive tree, and now you share the strong spiritual life of the Jews. 18 So then, you must not despise those who were broken off like branches. How can you be proud? You are just a branch; you don't support the roots—the roots support you.
19 But you will say, “Yes, but the branches were broken off to make room for me.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because they did not believe, while you remain in place because you do believe. But do not be proud of it; instead, be afraid. 21 God did not spare the Jews, who are like natural branches; do you think he will spare you? 22 Here we see how kind and how severe God is. He is severe toward those who have fallen, but kind to you—if you continue in his kindness. But if you do not, you too will be broken off. 23 And if the Jews abandon their unbelief, they will be put back in the place where they were; for God is able to do that. 24 You Gentiles are like the branch of a wild olive tree that is broken off and then, contrary to nature, is joined to a cultivated olive tree. The Jews are like this cultivated tree; and it will be much easier for God to join these broken-off branches to their own tree again.
God's Mercy on All
25 There is a secret truth, my friends, which I want you to know, for it will keep you from thinking how wise you are. It is that the stubbornness of the people of Israel is not permanent, but will last only until the complete number of Gentiles comes to God. 26 And this is how all Israel will be saved. As the scripture says,
“The Savior will come from Zion
28 Because they reject the Good News, the Jews are God's enemies for the sake of you Gentiles. But because of God's choice, they are his friends because of their ancestors. 29 For God does not change his mind about whom he chooses and blesses. 30 As for you Gentiles, you disobeyed God in the past; but now you have received God's mercy because the Jews were disobedient. 31 In the same way, because of the mercy that you have received, the Jews now disobey God, in order that they also may now[a] receive God's mercy. 32 For God has made all people prisoners of disobedience, so that he might show mercy to them all.
Praise to God
33 How great are God's riches! How deep are his wisdom and knowledge! Who can explain his decisions? Who can understand his ways? 34 As the scripture says,
“Who knows the mind of the Lord?
36 For all things were created by him, and all things exist through him and for him. To God be the glory forever! Amen.
Romans 11 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Israel’s Rejection Is Not Final
11 I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars; I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” 4 But what is the divine reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace would no longer be grace.[a]
7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written,
“God gave them a sluggish spirit,
9 And David says,
“Let their table become a snare and a trap,
The Salvation of the Gentiles
11 So I ask, have they stumbled so as to fall? By no means! But through their stumbling[b] salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel[c] jealous. 12 Now if their stumbling[d] means riches for the world, and if their defeat means riches for Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!
13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I glorify my ministry 14 in order to make my own people[e] jealous, and thus save some of them. 15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead! 16 If the part of the dough offered as first fruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; and if the root is holy, then the branches also are holy.
17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the rich root[f] of the olive tree, 18 do not boast over the branches. If you do boast, remember that it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you. 19 You will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare you.[g] 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness toward you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And even those of Israel,[h] if they do not persist in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree.
All Israel Will Be Saved
25 So that you may not claim to be wiser than you are, brothers and sisters,[i] I want you to understand this mystery: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved; as it is written,
“Out of Zion will come the Deliverer;
28 As regards the gospel they are enemies of God[j] for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved, for the sake of their ancestors; 29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now[k] receive mercy. 32 For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.
33 O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord?
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.
Romans 11 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
11 “In that case, I say, isn’t it that God has repudiated his people?” Heaven forbid! For I myself am a son of Isra’el, from the seed of Avraham,[a] of the tribe of Binyamin. 2 God has not repudiated his people,[b] whom he chose in advance. Or don’t you know what the Tanakh says about Eliyahu? He pleads with God against Isra’el, 3 “Adonai, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars, and I’m the only one left, and now they want to kill me too!”[c] 4 But what is God’s answer to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not knelt down to Ba‘al.”[d] 5 It’s the same way in the present age: there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 (Now if it is by grace, it is accordingly not based on legalistic works; if it were otherwise, grace would no longer be grace.) 7 What follows is that Isra’el has not attained the goal for which she is striving. The ones chosen have obtained it, but the rest have been made stonelike, 8 just as the Tanakh says,
“God has given them a spirit of dullness —
9 And David says,
“Let their dining table become for them
11 “In that case, I say, isn’t it that they have stumbled with the result that they have permanently fallen away?” Heaven forbid! Quite the contrary, it is by means of their stumbling that the deliverance has come to the Gentiles, in order to provoke them to jealousy.[g] 12 Moreover, if their stumbling is bringing riches to the world — that is, if Isra’el’s being placed temporarily in a condition less favored than that of the Gentiles is bringing riches to the latter — how much greater riches will Isra’el in its fullness bring them!
13 However, to those of you who are Gentiles I say this: since I myself am an emissary sent to the Gentiles, I make known the importance of my work 14 in the hope that somehow I may provoke some of my own people to jealousy and save some of them! 15 For if their casting Yeshua aside means reconciliation for the world, what will their accepting him mean? It will be life from the dead!
16 Now if the hallah offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole loaf. And if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you — a wild olive — were grafted in among them and have become equal sharers in the rich root of the olive tree, 18 then don’t boast as if you were better than the branches! However, if you do boast, remember that you are not supporting the root, the root is supporting you. 19 So you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 True, but so what? They were broken off because of their lack of trust. However, you keep your place only because of your trust. So don’t be arrogant; on the contrary, be terrified! 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he certainly won’t spare you! 22 So take a good look at God’s kindness and his severity: on the one hand, severity toward those who fell off; but, on the other hand, God’s kindness toward you — provided you maintain yourself in that kindness! Otherwise, you too will be cut off! 23 Moreover, the others, if they do not persist in their lack of trust, will be grafted in; because God is able to graft them back in. 24 For if you were cut out of what is by nature a wild olive tree and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree!
25 For, brothers, I want you to understand this truth which God formerly concealed but has now revealed, so that you won’t imagine you know more than you actually do. It is that stoniness, to a degree, has come upon Isra’el, until the Gentile world enters in its fullness; 26 and that it is in this way that all Isra’el will be saved. As the Tanakh says,
“Out of Tziyon will come the Redeemer;
28 With respect to the Good News they are hated for your sake. But with respect to being chosen they are loved for the Patriarchs’ sake, 29 for God’s free gifts and his calling are irrevocable. 30 Just as you yourselves were disobedient to God before but have received mercy now because of Isra’el’s disobedience; 31 so also Isra’el has been disobedient now, so that by your showing them the same mercy that God has shown you, they too may now receive God’s mercy. 32 For God has shut up all mankind together in disobedience, in order that he might show mercy to all.
33 O the depth of the riches
36 For from him and through him
Romans 11 The Message (MSG)
The Loyal Minority
11 1-2 Does this mean, then, that God is so fed up with Israel that he’ll have nothing more to do with them? Hardly. Remember that I, the one writing these things, am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham out of the tribe of Benjamin. You can’t get much more Semitic than that! So we’re not talking about repudiation. God has been too long involved with Israel, has too much invested, to simply wash his hands of them.
2-6 Do you remember that time Elijah was agonizing over this same Israel and cried out in prayer?
God, they murdered your prophets,
And do you remember God’s answer?
I still have seven thousand who haven’t quit,
It’s the same today. There’s a fiercely loyal minority still—not many, perhaps, but probably more than you think. They’re holding on, not because of what they think they’re going to get out of it, but because they’re convinced of God’s grace and purpose in choosing them. If they were only thinking of their own immediate self-interest, they would have left long ago.
7-10 And then what happened? Well, when Israel tried to be right with God on her own, pursuing her own self-interest, she didn’t succeed. The chosen ones of God were those who let God pursue his interest in them, and as a result received his stamp of legitimacy. The “self-interest Israel” became thick-skinned toward God. Moses and Isaiah both commented on this:
Fed up with their quarrelsome, self-centered ways,
David was upset about the same thing:
I hope they get sick eating self-serving meals,
Pruning and Grafting Branches
11-12 The next question is, “Are they down for the count? Are they out of this for good?” And the answer is a clear-cut No. Ironically when they walked out, they left the door open and the outsiders walked in. But the next thing you know, the Jews were starting to wonder if perhaps they had walked out on a good thing. Now, if their leaving triggered this worldwide coming of non-Jewish outsiders to God’s kingdom, just imagine the effect of their coming back! What a homecoming!
13-15 But I don’t want to go on about them. It’s you, the outsiders, that I’m concerned with now. Because my personal assignment is focused on the so-called outsiders, I make as much of this as I can when I’m among my Israelite kin, the so-called insiders, hoping they’ll realize what they’re missing and want to get in on what God is doing. If their falling out initiated this worldwide coming together, their recovery is going to set off something even better: mass homecoming! If the first thing the Jews did, even though it was wrong for them, turned out for your good, just think what’s going to happen when they get it right!
16-18 Behind and underneath all this there is a holy, God-planted, God-tended root. If the primary root of the tree is holy, there’s bound to be some holy fruit. Some of the tree’s branches were pruned and you wild olive shoots were grafted in. Yet the fact that you are now fed by that rich and holy root gives you no cause to crow over the pruned branches. Remember, you aren’t feeding the root; the root is feeding you.
19-20 It’s certainly possible to say, “Other branches were pruned so that I could be grafted in!” Well and good. But they were pruned because they were deadwood, no longer connected by belief and commitment to the root. The only reason you’re on the tree is because your graft “took” when you believed, and because you’re connected to that belief-nurturing root. So don’t get cocky and strut your branch. Be humbly mindful of the root that keeps you lithe and green.
21-22 If God didn’t think twice about taking pruning shears to the natural branches, why would he hesitate over you? He wouldn’t give it a second thought. Make sure you stay alert to these qualities of gentle kindness and ruthless severity that exist side by side in God—ruthless with the deadwood, gentle with the grafted shoot. But don’t presume on this gentleness. The moment you become deadwood, you’re out of there.
23-24 And don’t get to feeling superior to those pruned branches down on the ground. If they don’t persist in remaining deadwood, they could very well get grafted back in. God can do that. He can perform miracle grafts. Why, if he could graft you—branches cut from a tree out in the wild—into an orchard tree, he certainly isn’t going to have any trouble grafting branches back into the tree they grew from in the first place. Just be glad you’re in the tree, and hope for the best for the others.
A Complete Israel
25-29 I want to lay all this out on the table as clearly as I can, friends. This is complicated. It would be easy to misinterpret what’s going on and arrogantly assume that you’re royalty and they’re just rabble, out on their ears for good. But that’s not it at all. This hardness on the part of insider Israel toward God is temporary. Its effect is to open things up to all the outsiders so that we end up with a full house. Before it’s all over, there will be a complete Israel. As it is written,
A champion will stride down from the mountain of Zion;
From your point of view as you hear and embrace the good news of the Message, it looks like the Jews are God’s enemies. But looked at from the long-range perspective of God’s overall purpose, they remain God’s oldest friends. God’s gifts and God’s call are under full warranty—never canceled, never rescinded.
30-32 There was a time not so long ago when you were on the outs with God. But then the Jews slammed the door on him and things opened up for you. Now they are on the outs. But with the door held wide open for you, they have a way back in. In one way or another, God makes sure that we all experience what it means to be outside so that he can personally open the door and welcome us back in.
33-36 Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It’s way over our heads. We’ll never figure it out.
Is there anyone around who can explain God?