Romans 9:6 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 9:6, NIV: It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.

Romans 9:6, ESV: But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel,

Romans 9:6, KJV: Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

Romans 9:6, NASB: But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel;

Romans 9:6, NLT: Well then, has God failed to fulfill his promise to Israel? No, for not all who are born into the nation of Israel are truly members of God's people!

Romans 9:6, CSB: Now it is not as though the word of God has failed, because not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.

What does Romans 9:6 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul has expressed his broken heart over the fact that the majority of Jewish people had rejected Christ as the Messiah and the way to salvation. He has listed many of the privileges God has given to Israel as His chosen people.

Paul now begins to deal with an enormous question, one that will dominate the next three chapters of Romans. If God gave to Israel all of those covenants and promises and privileges, what happens to His relationship with Israel now that they have rejected His Son?

Paul's first answer here is to defend the character of God. His Word has not failed. He will still keep His promises to Israel. God does not go back on His word. Then Paul begins to make a distinction between the physical descendants of Israel and what we might call "true Israel." He says something similar to what he wrote at the beginning of this letter in Romans 2:28–29: "For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter…"

Here Paul puts it more simply in saying that not everyone who is descended from Israel, ethnically, belongs to "true Israel." This matches similar statements made by Jesus during His earthly ministry (John 8:36–39).