Romans 10 Commentary
Romans 10 Commentary
Overview: “The most important thing Paul does in this section is to explain where he, his readers, and the people he is discussing are within God’s story with Israel and the world. Learning to think like this—to understand a grand narrative that is larger than ourselves, that may be challenging or even threatening to us—is a major task for those who undertake to live with Scripture. […] It is the story of how people who had no airs and graces of their own, no thought of being sought by Israel’s God, the creator; nevertheless found themselves grasped by the divine call and love as an act of sheer grace.” 
vv. 1-4 “There can therefore be no doubt that Paul regards the zeal of his fellow Israelites as a good thing. The problem, however, is that — like the pre-Christian Paul (Acts 22:3; Phil. 3:6) — their zeal was not directed by knowledge. As Paul makes clear in Romans 10:3-4, what the Jews did not understand was that God now is offering a right relationship with himself through faith in Jesus Christ, the culmination of salvation history. […]
“But in seeking to establish their own righteousness, they were also guilty of relying on their own works.”
v. 4 “Paul may well here be thinking of the race course imagery he has used in 9:30 – 32 (‘pursuing’ and ‘obtaining’). Let’s picture Israel as the runner, the law as the race, and Christ as the finish line. What Israel has failed to understand, Paul is saying, is that the finish line has been reached. The Messiah and the salvation he brings have come. Thus, the ‘race’ has attained its end and goal — or, to use the best English equivalents, its ‘culmination’ or ‘climax.’
“As a result of Christ’s coming and bringing the law to its culmination, righteousness is now available for everyone who believes. Christ opens a new phase in salvation history, in which God extends his offer of a right relationship with himself to Gentiles as well as to Jews. Faith, apart from ethnic origin or works, is the sole basis for experiencing this gift he offers to the world.”
“Christ is the ‘end of the law’ in two ways. He fulfills the purpose and goal of the law (Matt 5:17) in that he perfectly exemplified God’s desires on earth. But he is also the termination of the law because in comparison to Christ, the law is powerless to save.” 
vv. 5-8 “The apostle cites Leviticus 18:5 in Romans 10:5 to describe legal righteousness: “The man who does these things will live by them.” Paul is not suggesting here that Moses taught that one could be saved by doing the law. ‘Living’ in the Old Testament context refers to the enjoyment of covenant privilege and not necessarily to eternal life. Rather, Paul’s point is that any righteousness based on the law is, by definition, something one can get only by ‘doing.’ For ‘doing’ is what the law is all about […].
“In contrast to this legal righteousness, then, is the ‘righteousness that is by faith.’ […] The general point he wants to make about the righteousness by faith is clear enough: Through Christ’s being brought down to earth (i.e., his incarnation, Rom. 10:6) and his being brought up from the dead (10:7), God has made righteousness readily available (10:8). One does not have to ascend into heaven or plumb the depths of the sea to discover it. All one needs to do to attain righteousness is to respond in faith to the gospel as it is preached.” 
vv. 12-13 “The fact of there being no distinction between Jew and Greek highlighted the fact that all alike were in sin, and all alike were redeemed and justified by the faithful death of the Messiah and through faith in God’s covenant action in him, not some other way. […]
“‘The same Lord is Lord of all.’ That was what Caesar claimed, and it was what Paul claimed for Jesus. At the same time, Paul is picking up, and transforming, a regular Jewish theme: one God, therefore on people of Iarael. Where, before, ‘no distinction’ was explained by ‘for all have sinned’ (3:23), now it can be explained by ‘for there is one Lord of all.’“ 
vv.20-21 “The prophecy of Isa. 65:1 has been fulfilled in that the Gentiles who did not seek after God have now experienced God’s saving promises. Israel, on the other hand, has fulfilled the words of Isa. 65:2. They have rebelled against and disobeyed the gospel message. Still, God extends his hands to them, inviting them to be saved.”
 N.T. Wright, “The Letter to the Romans,” New Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. X (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2002) 670.
 Life Application Study Bible, study notes (co-published by Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan; Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1991) 2046.
 Douglas J. Moo, Romans, NIV Application Commentary Pradis CD (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000).
 N.T. Wright, “The Letter to the Romans,” New Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. X (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2002) 665.
 English Standard Version Study Bible On-line, study notes for verse 3 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008).