New American Standard Bible
What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?
King James Bible
What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
Darby Bible Translation
What shall we say then that Abraham our father according to flesh has found?
World English Bible
What then will we say that Abraham, our forefather, has found according to the flesh?
Young's Literal Translation
What, then, shall we say Abraham our father, to have found, according to flesh?
Romans 4:1 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
What shall we say then? - See Romans 3:1. This is rather the objection of a Jew. "How does your doctrine of justification by faith agree with what the Scriptures say of Abraham? Was the Law set aside in his case? Did he derive no advantage in justification from the rite of circumcision, and from the covenant which God made with him?" The object of the apostle now is to answer this inquiry.
That Abraham our father - Our ancestor; the father and founder of the nation; see the note at Matthew 3:9 The Jews valued themselves much on the fact that he was their father; and an argument, drawn from his example or conduct, therefore, would be especially forcible.
As pertaining to the flesh - This expression is one that has been much controverted. In the original, it may refer either to Abraham as their father "according to the flesh," that is, their natural father, or from whom they were descended; or it may be connected with "hath found." "What shall we say that Abraham our father hath found in respect to the flesh?" κατὰ σάρκα kata sarka. The latter is doubtless the proper connection. Some refer the word "flesh" to external privileges and advantages; others to his own strength or power (Calvin and Grotius); and others make it refer to circumcision. This latter I take to be the correct interpretation. It agrees best with the connection, and equally well with the usual meaning of the word. The idea is, "If people are justified by faith; if works are to have no place; if, therefore, all rites and ceremonies, all legal observances, are useless in justification; what is the advantage of circumcision? What benefit did Abraham derive from it? Why was it appointed? And why is such an importance attached to it in the history of his life." A similar question was asked in Romans 3:1.
Hath found - Hath obtained. What advantage has he derived from it?
LibraryWaiting Faith Rewarded and Strengthened by New Revelations
'And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before Me, and be thou perfect. And I will make My covenant between Me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for Me, behold, My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
Hooker -- the Activity of Faith; Or, Abraham's Imitators
Now this Election the Apostle Demonstrating to Be...
and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father'; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.
concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh,
But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in human terms.)
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
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