Romans 4:10 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 4:10, NIV: "Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before!"

Romans 4:10, ESV: "How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised."

Romans 4:10, KJV: "How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision."

Romans 4:10, NASB: "How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised;"

Romans 4:10, NLT: "But how did this happen? Was he counted as righteous only after he was circumcised, or was it before he was circumcised? Clearly, God accepted Abraham before he was circumcised!"

Romans 4:10, CSB: "In what way then was it credited--while he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? It was not while he was circumcised, but uncircumcised."

What does Romans 4:10 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul has asked once more whether the blessing of being forgiven for our sin, of being declared righteous by God and welcomed into His family, is only for the circumcised. Or, is it for the uncircumcised, as well? In other words, can Gentiles be saved by faith and not by following the law?

To answer, Paul pointed again to what was said of Abraham in Genesis 15:6. There, we are told that Abraham believed God, and God credited that faith as righteousness. Now Paul asks and answers whether that moment happened before or after Abraham was circumcised in obedience to God's command. Of course, Abraham's expression of faith happened before circumcision.

How do we know this? Abraham is declared righteous for his faith in Genesis 15 as God was promising Abraham a son. Sometime later, Ishmael was born when Abraham was 86 years old (Genesis 16:16). Abraham was not circumcised until he was 99 years old (Genesis 17:24). So it was at least 13 years after God declared Abraham righteous before he was circumcised.

Paul's point is that Abraham's circumcision had nothing to do with Abraham being declared righteous by God for his faith. The two were not connected. So what is there to exclude the uncircumcised non-Jewish world from being justified by God for faith in Christ?