reflections of mine others might find useful

Reviewing Romans 9:1-13 (Sat)

In case you’re wondering what these daily “Reflections” are all about, check out my explanation here: Join Me For Breakfast
Also, check out Pastor Bob’s blog at

click here for the Net Bible link to today’s passage

Each Saturday we will be reviewing the passages. For me this means re-reading everything in this Exchange: Relationship series so far, which today is only 13 verses. We’ve been inspecting each verse at ground level, but now i want to back up and look at it all again from 10,000 feet. Then we can move on to the next part tomorrow morning in preparation for Bob’s new message.

Today, I’m going to read the passage in Eugene Peterson’s “The Message” rather than my usual ESV study Bible. I don’t ever read The Message for clarity (it ISa paraphrase after all), but it is useful for looking at the big picture in a fresh way. Here’s the link if you want to try it.

What struck me after reading it was the idea of Paul wanting to save the Jews on a loving basis, as Peterson says: “They’re my family, I grew up with them.” I was thinking of it only in terms of loving his enemies, so this expanded my thinking.

Also, Peterson brings out in earthy terms the contrast between the flesh and the promise. Words like sperm, and sexual transmission made me see better the spiritual vs physical realities.

His spin on the whole “God hated Esau” dilemma was surprisingly insightful for such a loose paraphrase:

God told Rebecca, “The firstborn of your twins will take second place.” Later that was turned into a stark epigram: “I loved Jacob; I hated Esau.”

I’ll close with a couple of good quotes I found today by Dr. Constable on that whole “God hated Esau” passage, that shed even more light on the controversy. They don’t satisfy me completely, but they do add perspective…

If God’s love of Jacob consists in his choosing Jacob to be the ‘seed’ who would inherit the blessings promised to Abraham, then God’s hatred of Esau is best understood to refer to God’s decision not to bestow this privilege on Esau. It might best be translated ‘reject.’ “Love’ and ‘hate’ are not
here, then, emotions that God feels but actions that he carries out.” [Ibid., p. 587. Cf. Cranfield, 2:480]

“The strong contrast is a Semitic idiom that heightens the comparison by stating it in absolute terms.” [Mounce, p. 199.]

These quotes make me even more certain of how little I really know! Luckily, I DO know a great deal of God’s love and grace and I conclude that that’s the main takeaway for me.

Any final thoughts from you before we move on to verses 14-18 next week?

Thanks to those of you who have been posting your thoughts–it stretches my thinking.

If you have any insights, stories, or thoughts about today’s passage, please comment below! Thanks!


  1. Thanks to you, too, Mark. That’s quite a commitment from both you and Bob to blog daily on Romans! Dr. C’s notes on Romans have been very helpful throughout this study of Romans, I’ll agree. Two scriptures that came to mind this a.m. with regards to Romans 9—Deut. 29:29 & Deut. 7: 6-11. To jump ahead to Romans 11 for a moment, truly, who can know the mind of the Lord? We have an awesome God!
    Diane T.

  2. I heartily agree with Diane’s comments above!

  3. I heartily agree with Martha’s comments above regarding Diane’s comments above that!

    Except that I’d amend it slightly to say thanks to you as well for posting comments. It seriously keeps me going knowing that the effort to write down my thoughts is in some way useful. And your thoughts are shaping mine. I’ve always thought discipleship is a two-way thing and this proves it.

  4. Your asking very good questions, Mark. Romans is such an amazing letter. Taking more than two verses at a time is almost too much. I did an Impact group study on four verses in chpt 7 and I was overwelmed with the content. We need this Mark. The true Body of Christ needs this kind of doctrinal challenge. Thank you again for sharing this with us. Joe

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