Romans Chapter 10 Bible Commentary

Hey there, friend! Today, we’re delving into Romans chapter 10, and let me tell you, it’s packed with some powerful insights that are sure to stir your soul.

But before we plunge headfirst into the word of God, let’s take a moment to understand how it flows from the preceding one. Chapter 9 of Romans is a heartfelt reflection on God’s sovereignty and the place of Israel in His redemptive plan. Christ had become a stumbling stone for the nation of Israel because they were pursuing the righteousness of the law based on good works rather than the power of God through the righteousness of faith in Christ and the gospel of peace.

Paul, the author, pours out his heart, wrestling with the tension between God’s divine choice and human responsibility. And as we transition into chapter 10, we see Paul continuing this exploration, but now focusing on the role of faith in our salvation to the glory of God.

From Romans 9 alone we might think that salvation is God’s doing alone, but from Romans 10 we might think that salvation is man’s doing alone – together we see the matter from each perspective. – Enduring Word Commentary by David Guzik

Romans Chapter 10 Commentary

Let’s walk through Romans 10 verse by verse to discover it’s meaning and how we can apply these words to our lives today.

Romans 10:1-4

In this first section of chapter 10 we see Israel’s rejection of the gospel and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Verses 1-2

Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. 2 For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. NASB

This section begins with Paul announcing his desire for his fellow Jews to be saved. Romans 9:2 was our first glimpse into Paul’s heart for his brethren.

He goes on to say that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. This description of their condition resembles that of Paul’s before his conversion.

circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. – Philippians 3:5-6

If we look up the Greek word for “knowledge” we find that it means: precise and correct knowledge; full discernment

Paul, before his conversion, and the unbelieving Jewish community all had a zeal for God. Their religious practices, traditions, and ceremonies all give witness to their passion and fervor to worship God.

They knew the Jewish laws and customs. However, their zeal for God was not rooted in the right kind of knowledge. 

Zeal for God alone cannot save a person. This passion must flourish out of a knowledge of the Truth of the word of God; a knowledge of the righteousness of God through Christ.

Romans Chapter 10:3

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3 For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.

Just as a correct knowledge of the truth leads to genuine salvation, ignorance of the truth leads to deeper depravity.

These people of Israel were seeking to establish their righteousness through keeping the law. Paul had spent much time in the first few chapters of Romans explaining the futility of this type of righteousness.

because by the works of the Law, none of mankind will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes knowledge of sin. – Romans 3:20

In Romans 1, Paul explained the consequences of unbelief and mankind’s progression toward depravity and sinfulness. 

For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their reasonings, and their senseless hearts were darkened. – Romans 1:21

When we lack a correct knowledge of God’s truth it leads to a darkening in our hearts and in our ability to perceive correctly. This is what we see manifesting within the Jewish community in their refusal to submit to God’s plan. 

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Romans 10:4-13

This next section of Romans chapter 10 teaches that the word of faith leads to salvation.

Verse 4-8

For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes. 5 For Moses writes of the righteousness that is based on the Law, that the person who performs them will live by them. 6 But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will go up into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), 7 or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching…

In this section, the apostle Paul is quoting from the Old Testament in Deuteronomy 30:11-14. Moses has just laid out the requirements of the law to the generation of Israel who would possess the land that the Lord had promised. He commanded them to obey all that the Lord had commanded. He goes on to announce the following:

For this commandment which I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it far away. 12 It is not in heaven, that you could say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us and get it for us, and proclaim it to us, so that we may follow it?’ 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, that you could say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us and get it for us and proclaim it to us, so that we may follow it?’ 14 On the contrary, the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may follow it. – Deuteronomy 30:11-14

These words, first spoken by Moses, told Israel that God’s commands weren’t too difficult for them to take hold of. Righteousness through God’s law was available to them and ready to be obeyed.

While Moses taught about the word of the law being near, now Paul is teaching about the word of faith being near and available to all people. 

Romans 10:9-11

9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame.” 

Paul gives very specific instructions for how a person is saved by grace through faith in the Son of God.

First, we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord.

The Greek word here for “Lord” is kyrios. It means, “supreme in authority, i.e. (as noun) controller; by implication, Master (as a respectful title):—God, Lord, master”.

To confess means that we agree. Confessing that Jesus is Lord means we agree with God that Jesus is not only the Lord of all of heaven and earth but also Lord of our life. 

Secondly, we must also believe that God raised Him from the dead.

We agree that Jesus is, not only, the Lord, but we must also agree that placing our faith in His death and resurrection is the only way to receive justification and righteousness before God.

Therefore, to confess with your mouth and believe in your heart means that we appropriate the person and work of Jesus Christ to our own lives. The fruit of believing is righteousness, and the fruit of confessing is salvation.

Verses 12-13

Romans 10:13

12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

This invitation for righteousness and salvation is given to all! Back in Romans chapter 9 we saw God’s soverignty in chosing the Jews as His chosen people. He set them apart to be a light to the rest of the world and display His glory through them.

Here we see another example of man’s responsibility to call on the name of the Lord.

Romans 10:14-17

14 How then are they to call on Him in whom they have not believed? How are they to believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? 15 But how are they to preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” 16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

In this section, Paul reasons that a person cannot confess and believe unless they hear the good news of the gospel. Faith is initiated by hearing. Christ has commissioned us with this task. Here is the Great Commission in the New Testament:

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20

As believers, we have the responsibility to carry this good news of the gospel into the world. As we do we must remember that this mission is a partnership. Christ, through His Spirit, joins us in making disciples of all nations. It’s by His power that we can carry out this ministry.

Romans Chapter 10:18-21

Romans 10:17

18 But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? On the contrary:

“Their voice has gone out into all the earth,
And their words to the ends of the world.”

19 But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says,

“I will make you jealous with those who are not a nation,
With a foolish nation I will anger you.”

20 And Isaiah is very bold and says,

“I was found by those who did not seek Me,
I revealed Myself to those who did not ask for Me.”

21 But as for Israel, He says, “I have spread out My hands all day long to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

In this passage, Paul explains that Israel’s rejection of the gospel message was prophesied about multiple times before He came. 

Paul is quoting from the following verses:

  • Isaiah 53:10
  • Psalm 19:4
  • Deuteronomy 32:21
  • Isaiah 65:1-2

A person must first hear the message before believing it. However, hearing is not enough. Hearing the message must be followed by confession and belief.

For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also did; but the word they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united with those who listened with faith. – Hebrews 4:2

In Romans chapter 11 we will see the mystery of the salvation of the Jews. As we wrap up our exploration of Romans chapter 10, I hope you’re leaving with a renewed sense of awe and wonder at the depth of God’s love and the power of faith in our lives.

Throughout this chapter, we’ve seen Paul’s passionate plea for the salvation of all, emphasizing the simplicity of faith and the inclusivity of God’s grace. It’s a reminder that no matter who we are or where we come from, salvation is available to all who believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life. 

This knowledge should compel us to take Christ’s message into our world. There are so many people around us as we go about our daily lives who need to hear the message we carry.

And let’s not forget how seamlessly Chapter 10 flows from the preceding chapter. Paul’s reflections on God’s sovereignty in chapter 9 lay the groundwork for his discussion on faith in chapter 10, showing us the intricate harmony of God’s divine plan.

So, as we close this chapter, let’s hold fast to the truths we’ve uncovered: that salvation is by faith alone, that God’s love knows no bounds, and that His redemptive plan is perfect and beautiful.

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