Romans 4:3
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
For what does the Scripture say? "ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS."

King James Bible
For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Darby Bible Translation
for what does the scripture say? And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.

World English Bible
For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."

Young's Literal Translation
for what doth the writing say? 'And Abraham did believe God, and it was reckoned to him -- to righteousness;'

Romans 4:3 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

For what saith the Scripture? - The inspired account of Abraham's justification. This account was final, and was to settle the question. This account is found in Genesis 15:6.

Abraham believed God - In the Hebrew, "Abraham believed Yahweh." The sense is substantially the same, as the argument turns on the act of believing. The faith which Abraham exercised was, that his posterity should be like the stars of heaven in number. This promise was made to him when he had no child, and of course when he had no prospect of such a posterity. See the strength and nature of this faith further illustrated in Romans 4:16-21. The reason why it was counted to him for righteousness was, that it was such a strong, direct, and unwavering act of confidence in the promise of God.

And it - The word "it" here evidently refers to the act of believing It does not refer to the righteousness of another - of God, or of the Messiah; but the discussion is solely of the strong act of Abraham's faith. which in some sense was counted to him for righteousness. In what sense this was, is explained directly after. All that is material to remark here is, that the act of Abraham, the strong confidence of his mind in the promises of God, his unwavering assurance that what God had promised he would perform, was reckoned for righteousness. The same thing is more fully expressed in Romans 4:18-22. When therefore it is said that the righteousness of Christ is accounted or imputed to us; when it is said that his merits are transferred and reckoned as ours; whatever may be the truth of the doctrine, it cannot be defended by "this" passage of Scripture.

Faith is uniformly an act of the mind. It is not a created essence which is placed within the mind. It is not a substance created independently of the soul, and placed within it by almighty power. It is not a principle, for the expression a principle of faith, is as unmeaningful as a principle of joy, or a principle of sorrow, or a principle of remorse. God promises; the man believes; and this is the whole of it.

(A principle is the "element or original cause," out of which certain consequences arise, and to which they may be traced. And if faith be the root of all acceptable obedience, then certainly, in this sense, it is a principle. But whatever faith be, it is not here asserted that it is imputed for, or instead of, righteousness. See the note above.)

While the word "faith" is sometimes used to denote religious doctrine, or the system that is to be believed (Acts 6:7; Acts 15:9; Romans 1:5; Romans 10:8; Romans 16:26; Ephesians 3:17; Ephesians 4:5; 1 Timothy 2:7, etc.); yet, when it is used to denote that which is required of people, it always denotes an acting of the mind exercised in relation to some object, or some promise, or threatening, or declaration of some other being; see the note at Mark 16:16.

Was counted - ἐλογίσθη elogigisthē. The same word in Romans 4:22, is is rendered "it was imputed." The word occurs frequently in the Scriptures. In the Old Testament, the verb חשׁב chaashab, which which is translated by the word λογίζομαι logizomai, means literally, "to think, to intend," or "purpose; to imagine, invent," or "devise; to reckon," or "account; to esteem; to impute," that is, to impute to a man what belongs to himself, or what "ought" to be imputed to him. It occurs only in the following places: Psalm 32:2; Psalm 35:4; Isaiah 10:7; Job 19:11; Job 33:10; Genesis 16:6; Genesis 38:15; 1 Samuel 1:13; Psalm 52:4; Jeremiah 18:18; Zechariah 7:10; Job 6:26; Job 19:16; Isaiah 13:17; 1 Kings 10:21; Numbers 18:27, Numbers 18:30; Psalm 88:4; Isaiah 40:17; Lamentations 4:2; Isaiah 40:15; Genesis 31:16. I have examined all the passages, and as the result of my examination have come to the conclusion, that there is not one in which the word is used in the sense of reckoning or imputing to a man what does not strictly belong to him; or of charging on him what ought not to be charged on him as a matter of personal right. The word is never used to denote imputing in the sense of transferring, or of charging that on one which does not properly belong to him. The same is the case in the New Testament. The word occurs about forty times (see "Schmidius' Concord)," and, in a similar signification. No doctrine of transferring, or of setting over to a man what does not properly belong to him, be it sin or holiness, can be derived, therefore, from this word. Whatever is meant by it here, it evidently is declared that the act of believing is what is intended, both by Moses and by Paul.

For righteousness - In order to justification; or to regard and treat him in connection with this as a righteous man; as one who was admitted to the favor and friendship of God. In reference to this we may remark,

(1) That it is evidently not intended that the act of believing, on the part of Abraham, was the meritorious ground of acceptance; for then it would have been a work. Faith was as much his own act, as any act of obedience to the Law.

(2) the design of the apostle was to show that by the Law, or by works, man could not be justified; Romans 3:28; Romans 4:2.

(3) faith was not what the Law required. It demanded complete and perfect obedience; and if a man was justified by faith, it was in some other way than by the Law.

(4) as the Law did not demand this; and as faith was something different from the demand of the Law; so if a man were justified by that, it was on a principle altogether different from justification by works. It was not by personal merit. It was not by complying with the Law. It was in a mode entirely different.

(5) in being justified by faith, it is meant, therefore, that we are treated as righteous; that we are forgiven; that we are admitted to the favor of God, and treated as his friends.

(6) in this act, faith, is a mere instrument, an antecedent, a "sine qua non," what God has been pleased to appoint as a condition on which men may be treated as righteous. It expresses a state of mind which is demonstrative of love to God; of affection for his cause and character; of reconciliation and friendship; and is therefore that state to which he has been graciously pleased to promise pardon and acceptance.

continued...

Romans 4:3 Parallel Commentaries

Library
Waiting 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
Thomas Hooker, graduate and fellow of Cambridge, England, and practically founder of Connecticut, was born in 1586. He was dedicated to the ministry, and began his activities in 1620 by taking a small parish in Surrey. He did not, however, attract much notice for his powerful advocacy of reformed doctrine, until 1629, when he was cited to appear before Laud, the Bishop of London, whose threats induced him to leave England for Holland, whence he sailed with John Cotton, in 1633, for New England, and
Various—The World's Great Sermons, Vol. 2

Now this Election the Apostle Demonstrating to Be...
17. Now this election the Apostle demonstrating to be, not of merits going before in good works, but election of grace, saith thus: "And in this time a remnant by election of grace is saved. But if by grace, then is it no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace." [2672] This is election of grace; that is, election in which through the grace of God men are elected: this, I say, is election of grace which goes before all good merits of men. For if it be to any good merits that it is given,
St. Augustine—On Patience

Justification.
Christ is represented in the gospel as sustaining to men three classes of relations. 1. Those which are purely governmental. 2. Those which are purely spiritual. 3. Those which unite both these. We shall at present consider him as Christ our justification. I shall show,-- I. What gospel justification is not. There is scarcely any question in theology that has been encumbered with more injurious and technical mysticism than that of justification. Justification is the pronouncing of one just. It may
Charles Grandison Finney—Systematic Theology

Cross References
Genesis 15:6
Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.

Romans 4:9
Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, "FAITH WAS CREDITED TO ABRAHAM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS."

Romans 4:22
Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Galatians 3:6
Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.

James 2:23
and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS," and he was called the friend of God.

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