Romans 11:26 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 11:26, NIV: and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: 'The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.

Romans 11:26, ESV: And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;

Romans 11:26, KJV: And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

Romans 11:26, NASB: and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written: 'THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.'

Romans 11:26, NLT: And so all Israel will be saved. As the Scriptures say, 'The one who rescues will come from Jerusalem, and he will turn Israel away from ungodliness.

Romans 11:26, CSB: And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,The Deliverer will come from Zion;he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.

What does Romans 11:26 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The meaning of this verse has been hotly debated by Bible teachers and scholars throughout history. What does Paul mean, exactly, when he says that all Israel will be saved?

Here's the picture Paul has painted in the previous verses: As a nation and, in large part, as individuals, God's chosen people Israel have refused to believe in Christ as Messiah and the only way to be saved. In fact, God Himself has caused them, the nation and most of her people, to become hardened in this unbelief. Why has God done this? In part, Israel's rejection of Christ created room for the rest of the world (Gentiles) to come to God themselves through faith in Christ. In the previous verse, Paul wrote that when the "fullness" of the Gentiles has come to Christ, God will remove the hardening on the nation and people of Israel.

Now Paul writes that "in this way all Israel will be saved."

Some have read this to mean that every Israelite who has ever lived will be saved in the end. This does not seem to fit with Paul's teaching in Romans that salvation comes only by God's grace through faith in Christ. Clearly, some Jewish people—as is the case in any culture—had thoroughly and totally rejected God. God is not extending salvation to those who actively hated Him, merely based on their ethnicity.

Some read this to be an account of specific events during the end times when Israel, under great persecution, will be saved from further earthly harm by the "Deliverer." "Salvation" and "deliverance," in an Old Testament sense, are closely related. This interpretation does not take Paul to mean eternal salvation in this verse, though the context seems to be about salvation from sin. Paul likely refers to the end times, the last days of history, when Isaiah's prophecies about a Deliverer from Zion banishing Israel's ungodliness will be fulfilled (Isaiah 59:20. Most Bible teachers understand Paul to be describing the second coming of Christ.

Another view is that by "all Israel," Paul means all who are in Christ, both Jews and Gentiles. This view understands the church to be a new Israel. This view is not in keeping with the full context of Scripture. Paul has written that everyone who comes to God by faith are the children of Abraham (Romans 4:16), but in this very chapter he has made a clear distinction between believing Gentiles and Israelites.

Many Bible teachers have concluded that by "all Israel," Paul means either all Israelites who trust in Christ (Romans 9:6–8) or the nation of Israel as a whole. In either view, the outcome would be the same: All Israelites will be saved who come to faith in Christ at some future time after God removes the hardening of their hearts. The sense of Paul's words conveys the idea that this will include enough Israelites to represent the nation as a whole, though it will not necessarily include every Israelite living at the time.

Not every verse of Scripture is crystal clear, and not every question we can ask about the Bible ends in a neat, clean answer. This statement is obscure enough that some translations title this section "The Mystery of Israel's Salvation." As is always the case, however, the Bible is only obscure on issues which don't affect our relationship with God, or the core doctrines of the faith.