Romans 9:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 9:3, NIV: For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race,

Romans 9:3, ESV: For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.

Romans 9:3, KJV: For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

Romans 9:3, NASB: For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my countrymen, my kinsmen according to the flesh,

Romans 9:3, NLT: for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed--cut off from Christ!--if that would save them.

Romans 9:3, CSB: For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the benefit of my brothers and sisters, my own flesh and blood.

What does Romans 9:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

With great declarations about his honesty and sincerity, Paul has stated that he is deeply and continually heartbroken about his people, the Jews. Though Paul was a Roman citizen, he was born to Jewish parents, studied the law, and became a Pharisee, as his father had been (Acts 23:6), before being converted to Christianity on the road to Damascus (Acts 9).

Paul is so heartbroken about the Jews' rejection of Christ that he makes what sounds like a rash statement. It is certainly a bold one. He could wish that he himself could be accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of his Jewish brothers by birth. Paul does not appear to be actually asking God to make this happen. After all, as one who is in Christ, not even a prayer like that could separate him from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:39).

Rather, Paul seems to be saying he would wish for such a thing if it was permissible. He feels so strongly that he would trade his own eternal place in God's family through faith in Christ to have his Israelite kinsmen believe in Jesus. Paul is not only referring to his immediate family, though he may be thinking of some of them, as well. He is speaking of all God's chosen people Israel. His heart breaks for all of them to trust in Christ and be permanently justified before God.