Romans 9:7 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 9:7, NIV: Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, 'It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.'

Romans 9:7, ESV: and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”

Romans 9:7, KJV: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

Romans 9:7, NASB: nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: 'THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE NAMED.'

Romans 9:7, NLT: Being descendants of Abraham doesn't make them truly Abraham's children. For the Scriptures say, 'Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted,' though Abraham had other children, too.

Romans 9:7, CSB: Neither is it the case that all of Abraham's children are his descendants. On the contrary, your offspring will be traced through Isaac.

What does Romans 9:7 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Not everyone physically descended from Israel actually belongs to Israel. That's what Paul wrote in the previous verse. He seems to have meant something similar to what he wrote in Romans 2:28 that "no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly." The spiritual aspect of our relationship with God is far more important than our ethnicity, heritage, or biology.

Now Paul begins to give examples from Israel's history to clarify his point. To begin with, not all of Abraham's offspring were counted as the "children of Abraham." Some of them were not included in God's promises to Abraham's descendants. Both Abraham's son Ishmael, born before Isaac (Genesis 16), and his sons with Keturah, born long after Isaac (Genesis 25:1–4) were excluded from Israel.

Paul quotes from Genesis 21:12 where God said to Abraham that it is through Isaac that his offspring will be named. Jesus made similar remarks to His critics, as recorded in the gospel of John (John 8:36–39).