Romans 9:8 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 9:8, NIV: In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring.

Romans 9:8, ESV: This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.

Romans 9:8, KJV: That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

Romans 9:8, NASB: That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.

Romans 9:8, NLT: This means that Abraham's physical descendants are not necessarily children of God. Only the children of the promise are considered to be Abraham's children.

Romans 9:8, CSB: That is, it is not the children by physical descent who are God's children, but the children of the promise are considered to be the offspring.

What does Romans 9:8 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

No Israelite would have disagreed with Paul's example in the previous verse. He pointed out that not all of Abraham's children were included in the line of God's promises to Israel. Only those who came through Isaac were included. So, while the promise was certainly given to Abraham's offspring, it was not promised to absolutely all his descendants.

Now, though, Paul gets to the point of his illustration: It's not enough to simply be born "of the flesh" into Israel. It is the children of the promise who count as offspring. They are the ones who are truly Israel and will inherit God's promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Paul will build from this argument to describe the difference between these two groups.

This parallels similar statements made by Jesus, who pointed out that being a true "child," spiritually, is not a matter of biology. It's a question of one's spiritual state, and their relationship with God (John 8:36–39).