Main point summary
The Word of God has not failed, for he has been faithful to those whom he has called according to his purpose.
Οὐχ οἷον δὲ ὅτι ἐκπέπτωκεν ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ.
Now, it is certainly not that the word of God has failed,
οὐ γὰρ πάντες οἱ ἐξ Ἰσραὴλ οὗτοι Ἰσραήλ•
for all who are from Israel, these are not Israel.
οὐδʼ ὅτι εἰσὶν σπέρμα Ἀβραὰμ πάντες τέκνα,
Neither is it that all the children are offspring of Abraham,
ἀλλʼ• ἐν Ἰσαὰκ κληθήσεταί σοι σπέρμα.
but, "in Isaac your offspring will be called,"
τοῦτʼ ἔστιν, οὐ τὰ τέκνα τῆς σαρκὸς ταῦτα τέκνα τοῦ θεοῦ
That is (what it means or how it is possible that not all are true offspring), the children of the flesh, these are not children of God,
ἀλλὰ τὰ τέκνα τῆς ἐπαγγελίας λογίζεται εἰς σπέρμα.
but the children of the promise are being counted as offspring,
ἐπαγγελίας γὰρ ὁ λόγος οὗτος•
for the word of the promise is this:
κατὰ τὸν καιρὸν τοῦτον ἐλεύσομαι
"According to this time I will come,
καὶ ἔσται τῇ Σάρρᾳ υἱός.
and a son will be [born] to Sarah."
Οὐ μόνον δέ, ἀλλὰ καὶ Ῥεβέκκα ἐξ ἑνὸς κοίτην ἔχουσα, Ἰσαὰκ τοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν•
Now not only this, but also Rebekkah, having conceived from one man, Isaac, our father,
μήπω γὰρ γεννηθέντων
for, although they were not yet born,
μηδὲ πραξάντων τι ἀγαθὸν ἢ φαῦλον,
neither had they done anything good or bad,
ἵνα ἡ κατʼ ἐκλογὴν πρόθεσις τοῦ θεοῦ μένῃ,
in order that God's purpose of election might persist,
οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων
not from works
ἀλλʼ ἐκ τοῦ καλοῦντος,
but from the one who calls,
ἐρρέθη αὐτῇ ὅτι ὁ μείζων δουλεύσει τῷ ἐλάσσονι,
it was said to her, "The greater will serve the lesser,"
καθὼς γέγραπται• τὸν Ἰακὼβ ἠγάπησα, τὸν δὲ Ἠσαῦ ἐμίσησα.
just as it has been written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."
What is the "not only this" referring to, and how does it function in the development of the argument?
Grammar Notes, Questions
Parsing οἷον - nom, neut, sing - such as, as ἐκπέπτωκεν - stative, active, indicative, 3, sing - to fall, to fail ἐλεύσομαι - fut, mid/pas, indic, 1, sg - from ἔρχομαι Translation Now it is certainly not that the word of God has failed, for all who are from Israel, these are not Israel. Neither is it that all are children, namely offspring of Abraham, but " in Isaac your offspring will be called." That is, these children of the flesh are not children of God, but children of the promise are considered offspring. For the word of promise is this, "At this appointed time I will come, and a son will be to Sarah." Now, not only this, but also Rebekkah, having conceived from one, namely Isaac, our father, for although they were not yet born nor had they done anything good or wicked, in order that God's purpose of election might persist, not from works but from the one who calls, it was said to her, "The greater shall serve the lesser," just as it has been written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." Grammar Notes -BDAG says that ουχ οιον οτι is a combination of two phrases meaning "by no means" and "not as if," so I translated with an emphatic "certainly not..." in the beginning of v. 6. -It seems that the οὐδ' ὁτι in v. 7 is a parallel construction with the ουχ οιον οτι in v. 6. Therefore, I translated them similarly (minus the emphatic "certainly"). - σπέρμα seems to be used in connection with the true Israel in both v. 7b and v. 8, but ESV & NASB translate such that its use in v. 7a would represent the non-true Israelite. I think it more consistent to take all three uses of the word in such close proximity to refer to the same group, that is, the true Israel. -παντες is used twice in v. 6, and I am taking it to be a substantival adjective functioning as a subject in both places. Questions 1. What propositions in the discourse are connected by οὐδέ in v. 7 and ου μονον δε in v. 10? How does this function in the argument? Stated another way, How are vv. 7-9 and vv. 10-13 working? Do they support 6b alone by way of explaining what it means to be from Israel and not Israel, or are they together the ground for the collective statement in v. 6? 2. How do these particular OT quotations add strength to Paul's argument?
Exegetical Notes - παντες seems to be used in parallel in vv. 6b & 7a. Since the "all" in 6b are members of natural Israel, I am taking the "all" in 7a to also be referring to the members of natural Israel, which is also supported by Moo's translation. -I'm still convinced, and further supported by Moo's translation, that σπέρμα is being used to refer to spiritual Israel each of the 3 times it is used in this passage. The corrective ἀλλά in v. 7 seems to be effectively saying, "These are not offspring, these are offspring," making the contrast with παντες, which as mentioned above seems to be parallel with the παντες in v. 6, referring to natural Israel. -The translation of v. 7 is still a bit puzzling with respect to τεκνα , but I am confident enough in the way that παντες and σπέρμα are functioning to affirm my previous translation, "Neither is it that all are children, that is offspring of Abraham." Moo's translation is difficult for me because it uses παντες (masc) as an adjective modifying τεκνα (neut). Additional evidence I see for my translation is that there are two types of children discussed in v. 8. So, conversationally, it could go something like this– Not all are children (spiritual). Some are natural children, and these are not spiritual children. The spiritual children are children of the promise. These are considered offspring. -chiasm of quotations. 7b is the divine basis for 9b-c, and 13 is the divine basis for 12c. -11a-b, election is not just prior to actions but not based on actions. "Before they were born" encompasses the fact that they haven't yet done anything. Why then does he choose to explicitly say that "they had not done anything good or bad" except to go beyond the temporal explanation of the first phrase? Before they had done anything and because it doesn't depend on anything they had done. -Have to establish that this is talking about election for personal salvation and not just election of a national people. See Moo on v. 13. Questions 1. What propositions in the discourse are connected by οὐδέ in v. 7 and ου μονον δε in v. 10? How does this function in the argument? Stated another way, How are vv. 7-9 and vv. 10-13 working? Do they support 6b alone by way of explaining what it means to be from Israel and not Israel, or are they together the ground for the collective statement in v. 6? -Although I am still inclined to depart from the translation of the ESV, having been confirmed by Moo's translation of v. 7, I would conclude that 6a is grounded by 6b, which is collectively substantiated by vv. 7-9 and vv. 10-13, which function together as a progression. So, although the οὐδέ appears to grammatically coordinate v. 7 with v. 6, it seems to logically subordinate all of vv.7-13. I think this is further supported by the way ου μονον δε functions in v. 10. "Not only this..." suggests that what follows is the second reason in the argument. If 6b progressed to 7-9, which progressed to 10-13, it doesn't seem like ου μονον δε would be an appropriate transition. 2. How do these particular OT quotations add strength to Paul's argument? -That offspring will be called through Isaac counters any superficial claims of the Jews that Abraham is their father. That Jacob, the younger, will be greater than Esau, the elder, shows again that natural descent does not guarantee one's place in the spiritual community. This is one main theme that is common between the two OT references in vv. 6-13, that simply being of the Jewish race does not entitle one to the blessings of being a true offspring. But why? Forms of καλεω are used in both arguments. "In Isaac offspring will be called to you," and, "the older will serve the younger" in order that God's purpose of election might continue from the one who calls . The close connection of purpose and calling (προθεσις and καλεω) in vv. 11-12 seems to recall Rom. 8:28, where it says that God works all things together for good for those who are called according to his purpose . To synthesize, the word of God has not failed, for those who rejected Christ were not part of true, spiritual Israel, whom God has called according to his purpose. -Begins with Abraham/Sarah to show that from the beginning of this process he has been choosing. Doxological Response Not according to works but according to the One who calls. What a statement. It brings both indomitable assurance and infinite joy. God, the one who created the universe with a word, who continually upholds the universe with his word, who is above all things and for whom all things exist, this God is the one who has called me to himself. Who then can stand between us? Certainly not my insubordinate will, for when his tender, loving call reaches human ears and opens them to truly hear the great news of the gospel, the reasonable and natural response is not rejection but embrace. Neither can any other human activity separate us. Lofty words of wisdom are cut down by God's rock-solid truth. Persecution brings blessing as we share in Christ's sufferings. Spiritual powers cannot tear us away, for they have been put to open shame at the triumph of Christ Jesus. Sin cannot stop us, for it has been nailed to the cross. Death cannot defeat us, for Jesus has risen from the dead. Why can nothing separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord? Because it is not up to us to prevent the separation, because it was not up to us to create the union. He called, he justified, he glorified us. By faith and faith alone we receive this great gift of immeasurable grace, so let us rejoice in him, for he will hold us fast!