Romans 11:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 11:20, NIV: Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble.

Romans 11:20, ESV: That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear.

Romans 11:20, KJV: Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:

Romans 11:20, NASB: Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear;

Romans 11:20, NLT: Yes, but remember--those branches were broken off because they didn't believe in Christ, and you are there because you do believe. So don't think highly of yourself, but fear what could happen.

Romans 11:20, CSB: True enough; they were broken off because of unbelief, but you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but beware,

What does Romans 11:20 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul has warned the Gentile Christians not to be arrogant toward the Jewish people. Though Israel had rejected faith in Christ as the way to be right with God, Gentile Christians are in no way superior or favored to the Jews. Paul has compared those Israelites to unproductive branches broken from a tree. Purely for the sake of this point, those people are like limbs deliberately pruned to make way for the new branches to be added: those new branches are the Gentiles.

That fact, Paul now writes, should cause a Gentile Christian to be even more humble about their place on that symbolic tree. The only difference between the broken off branches and the newly added branches is faith in Christ. Paul warns the Gentile Christians to hold tight to the branch by continuing in their faith in Christ.

Lest we lose sight of Paul's point here, this is not a suggestion that saved believers can lose their salvation. The analogy of branches and trees, so far as this specific statement goes, extends only to the idea that God has the right to add or remove branches. Since God removed Israel for their stubbornness and pride, He is more than able to do the same to Gentiles for their arrogance.

Instead of pride in their position, these non-Jewish believers should respect the consequences of drifting from the very faith that brought them to the tree in the first place (Hebrews 2:1). Instead of false confidence in themselves because of their position, the Gentile believers should fear the God who gave them that spot and took it away from the unbelieving Jewish people of their era.