What does Romans 9:1 mean?
ESV: I am speaking the truth in Christ — I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit —
NIV: I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit—
NASB: I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying; my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit,
CSB: I speak the truth in Christ —I am not lying; my conscience testifies to me through the Holy Spirit —
NLT: With Christ as my witness, I speak with utter truthfulness. My conscience and the Holy Spirit confirm it.
KJV: I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,
NKJV: I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit,
Verse Commentary:
Paul turns suddenly from the previous topic and begins to focus on the people of Israel. He has just finished making the case that because of Jesus' death and resurrection, all who come to God by faith in Christ will be loved by God forever. In fact, nothing in all of creation will be able to separate anyone who is in Christ from God's love (Romans 8:38–39).

Perhaps that led Paul to think of his own people Israel. Some Jewish people had come to faith in Christ, but the vast majority had rejected Jesus as the Messiah. Paul shows here how deeply that breaks his heart in this and the following verse.

He starts out by insisting passionately that he sincerely means what he is about to say. Perhaps he was concerned that some readers would not believe him. After all, wasn't he in grave conflict with the Jewish religious leaders? Hadn't they tried to kill him? They had done just that repeatedly to try to stop Paul from preaching the good news about Jesus. Still, Paul declares that his conscience vouches for him in the Holy Spirit that what he is about to say in the following verse is true. He is heartbroken for his Jewish brothers and sisters.
Verse Context:
Romans 9:1–18 finds Paul heartbroken over the rejection of Christ by his people the Jews. They have been given so much as God's chosen people, and Paul insists that God will keep His promises to Israel. Not everyone born to Israel is truly Israel, though, Paul writes. Specific examples are given to show that God does, in fact, choose those who will receive His blessings. The following passage tackles whether this choice, by God, is fair.
Chapter Summary:
Romans 9 begins with Paul describing his anguish for his people Israel in their rejection of Christ. After describing all the privileges God has given to the Jewish people as a nation, Paul insists that God will keep those promises. However, not every person born to Israel belongs to Israel, he writes. God reserves the right to show mercy to some and not others, as Paul demonstrates from Scripture. God is like a potter who creates some vessels for destruction and others for glory. God has called out His people from both the Gentiles and the Jews to faith in Christ, the stumbling stone.
Chapter Context:
Romans 8 ended with Paul's grand declaration that nothing can separate those who are in Christ Jesus from the love of God. Romans 9 turns a sharp corner and finds Paul heartbroken that his people, the Jews, have rejected Christ. He insists that God will keep His promises to Israel, but that not everyone born to Israel is truly Israel. God will show mercy to whomever He wishes, calling out His people from both the Jews and the Gentiles to faith in Christ. Romans 10 will find Paul discussing how Jewish people can be saved.
Book Summary:
The book of Romans is the New Testament's longest, most structured, and most detailed description of Christian theology. Paul lays out the core of the gospel message: salvation by grace alone through faith alone. His intent is to explain the good news of Jesus Christ in accurate and clear terms. As part of this effort, Paul addresses the conflicts between law and grace, between Jews and Gentiles, and between sin and righteousness. As is common in his writing, Paul closes out his letter with a series of practical applications.
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