Romans 4:12 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 4:12, NIV: "And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised."

Romans 4:12, ESV: "and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised."

Romans 4:12, KJV: "And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised."

Romans 4:12, NASB: "and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised."

Romans 4:12, NLT: "And Abraham is also the spiritual father of those who have been circumcised, but only if they have the same kind of faith Abraham had before he was circumcised."

Romans 4:12, CSB: "And he became the father of the circumcised, who are not only circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith our father Abraham had while he was still uncircumcised."

What does Romans 4:12 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul is showing that Abraham's faith, and God's declaration that he was righteous because of it, caused him to become the father of all believers in God, both Gentile and Jewish. In the previous verse, Paul showed that Abraham believed God and was declared righteous long before he was circumcised. This made Abraham a spiritual father to everyone who believes God without being circumcised, referring to all non-Jewish people, whether circumcised for other reasons or not.

Now Paul shows that Abraham was also the father of circumcised people, as well. However, in this case Paul is not referring to all of them. Abraham is, of course, physically the father of all the Jewish people. He is their primary ancestor. They are his descendants. Paul, however, qualifies this second group of the children of Abraham.

He describes them as, yes, circumcised and Jewish, but also as those who walk in his footsteps by having the same faith in God Abraham did before he was circumcised. In other words, Abraham became the spiritual father both of the believing non-Jews and the believing Jews. Paul's point here is crucial: even under circumcision, faith is what truly separates those who are in God's family from those who are apart from it. Abraham set the example for all who would follow in faith.