The Berean Expositor
Volume 19 - Page 100 of 154
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The significance of Gen. 15: 6.
(3: 30 - 4: 25).
pp. 122 127
Having considered the general bearing of the argument of this section, we must now
give the teaching closer study. To prevent us, in the wealth of detail employed, from
missing the essential arguments, we may discover from the structure of the passage a
threefold theme:--
The relation of circumcision to the matter in hand.
The "making void" and of "none effect" of promises and faith if the law and works
are introduced.
The great example of Abraham who believed God, and to whom it was reckoned for
The structure is as follows, omitting any elaboration of the two large members
C | 4: 1-8., and C | 4: 17-25.:--
Rom. 3: 30 - 4: 25.
A | 3: 30. | a | Circumcision.--By faith.
b | Uncircumcision.--Through faith.
B | 3: 31. | c | Make void.
d | Establish.
C | 4: 1-8. Abraham believed.--Imputed righteousness.
A | 4: 9-13. |
b | Uncircumcision.--That believe.
a | Circumcision.--Steps of that faith.
B | 4: 14-16. | c | Make void.--None effect.
d | Sure.
C | 4: 17-25. Abraham believed.--Imputed for righteousness.
Chapter 3: opened with the question suggested by the argument of Rom. 2:: "What
advantage then hath the Jew? and what profit is there of circumcision?" Chapter 4:
re-opens the question, this time focusing attention upon Abraham.
The Greek texts of 4: 1 vary somewhat, but if we leave the verse as it stands, we
must recognize that the order of the Greek words eurekenai kata sarka, requires the
rendering "gained in the way of the flesh"; they cannot be joined to the word "father".
It is not "Abraham our father, according to the flesh", that is in view, but the question as
to what "Abraham our father gained by way of the flesh". While it would scarcely be
true to say that "according to the flesh" means nothing more than circumcision, it is
evident that this important rite, that meant so much to the Jew, is uppermost in the mind,
and that if that can be assailed, the innermost fortress of Jewish prejudice has collapsed.